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Royal Marine Corps
RoyalMarineBadge.png
Crest of the Royal Marine Commandos
Founded 28 October 1664 (349 years)
Country  United Kingdom[nb 1]
Allegiance Queen Elizabeth II
Type Marine combined arms
Role Expeditionary & amphibious warfare
Size 8,430 Royal Marines
Part of Naval Service, British Armed Forces
Nickname Royals
Bootnecks
The Commandos
Jollies
Motto "Per Mare, Per Terram" (Latin)
"By Sea, By Land"
March Quick: "A Life on the Ocean Wave"
Slow: "Preobrajensky"
Engagements
Website www.royalnavy.mod.uk/royalmarines
Commanders
Captain General Prince Philip
First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas
Commandant General Major General Martin Smith
Insignia
Flag Flag of the Royal Marines.png

The Royal Marine Corps, or Royal Marines (RM), is a branch of the British Armed Forces. It is the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom, and forms part of the Naval Service (along with the Royal Navy and associated organisations) under its own command.[1] The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as marine infantry for the Royal Navy. However, it can trace its origins back to the formation of "the Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on 28 October 1664.[2]

The Royal Marines are a maritime-focused, amphibious, highly specialised light infantry force of commandos.[3] They are capable of deploying at short notice in support of Her Majesty's Government's military and diplomatic objectives overseas. The Royal Marines are organised into a light infantry brigade (3 Commando Brigade) and a number of separate units including the Special Boat Service, 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (previously the Comacchio Group), and a company within the Special Forces Support Group. The Corps operates in all environments and climates, though particular expertise and training is spent on amphibious warfare, arctic warfare, mountain warfare, expeditionary warfare, Rapid Reaction and supporting Special Forces.

Throughout its history, the Royal Marines have seen action in a number of major wars often fighting beside the British Army – including the Seven Years' War, the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, World War I and World War II. In recent times the Corps has been largely deployed in expeditionary warfare roles such as the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Bosnian War, the Kosovo War, the Sierra Leone Civil War, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. The Royal Marines have close international ties with allied marine forces, particularly the United States Marine Corps[4] and the Netherlands Marine Corps/Korps Mariniers.[5]

History[edit]

The Royal Marines were formed as part of the Naval Service in 1755. However, it can trace its origins back as far as 28 October 1664 when at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company "the Duke of York and Albanys maritime regiment of foot" was first formed.[2]

Early British Empire[edit]

Major General John Tupper His Majesty's Marine Forces.

On 5 April 1755, His Majesty's Marine Forces, fifty Companies in three Divisions, headquartered at Chatham, Portsmouth, and Plymouth, were formed by Order of Council under Admiralty control. Initially all field officers were Royal Navy officers as the Royal Navy felt that the ranks of Marine field officers were largely honorary. This meant that the farthest a Marine officer could advance was to Lieutenant Colonel. It was not until 1771 that the first Marine was promoted to Colonel. This attitude persisted well into the 1800s. During the rest of the 18th century, they served in numerous landings all over the world, the most famous being the landing at Bellisle on the Brittany coast in 1761. They also served in the American War of Independence, being particularly courageous in the Battle of Bunker Hill led by Major John Pitcairn. These Marines also often took to the ship's boats to repel attackers in small boats when RN ships on close blockade were becalmed.

In 1788 a detachment of four companies of marines, under Major Robert Ross, accompanied the First Fleet to protect a new colony at Botany Bay (New South Wales). Due to an error the Fleet left Portsmouth without its main supply of ammunition, and were not resupplied after arrival. Recent research claims that by early 1789 the marines in New South Wales were running out of ammunition and had no other option than to use smallpox against local tribes to protect themselves and the settlement[6][7][8] although earlier authors suggested the infection was accidental,[9] or from actions unsanctioned by the Governor of the Colony, naval Captain Arthur Phillip.[8]

In 1802, largely at the instigation of Admiral the Earl St. Vincent, they were titled the Royal Marines by King George III. The Royal Marines Artillery (RMA) was formed as a separate unit in 1804 to man the artillery in bomb ketches. These had been manned by the Army's Royal Regiment of Artillery, but a lawsuit by a Royal Artillery officer resulted in a court decision that Army officers were not subject to Naval orders. As RMA uniforms were the blue of the Royal Regiment of Artillery they were nicknamed the "Blue Marines" and the Infantry element, who wore the scarlet uniforms of the British infantry, became known as the "Red Marines", often given the semi-derogatory nickname "Lobsters" by sailors.

During the Napoleonic Wars the Royal Marines participated in every notable naval battle on board the Royal Navy's ships and also took part in multiple amphibious actions. Marines had a dual function aboard ships of the Royal Navy in this period; routinely, they ensured the security of the ship's officers and supported their maintenance of discipline in the ship's crew, and in battle, they engaged the enemy's crews, whether firing from positions on their own ship, or fighting in boarding actions. The marines continued in their on-board function after the war, taking a prominent part in the navy's anti-piracy and anti-slavery actions. In 1855 they were newly designated as the Royal Marines Light Infantry, serving in the Crimean war in numerous amphibious raids on Russian forces. The Royal Navy suffered a shortage in manpower within the Marines during these long wars and regular Infantry units from the Army occasionally had to be used as shipboard replacements.

In the Caribbean theatre volunteers from freed French slaves on Marie Galante were used to form the 1st Corps of Colonial Marines. These men bolstered the ranks, helping the British to hold the island until reinforcements arrived. This practice was repeated during the War of 1812, where escaped American slaves were formed into the 2nd Corps of Colonial Marines. These men were commanded by Royal Marines officers and fought alongside their regular Royal Marines counterparts at the Battle of Bladensburg.

Throughout the war Royal Marines units raided up and down the east coast of America including up the Penobscot River and in the Chesapeake Bay. They fought in the Battle of New Orleans and later helped capture Fort Bowyer in Mobile Bay in what was the last action of the war.

Royal Marines parade in the streets of Chania in spring 1897, following British occupation.

In 1855 the Infantry forces were renamed the Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI) and in 1862 the name was slightly altered to Royal Marine Light Infantry. The Royal Navy did not fight any other ships after 1850 (until 1914) and became interested in landings by Naval Brigades. In these Naval Brigades, the function of the Royal Marines was to land first and act as skimishers ahead of the sailor Infantry and Artillery. This skirmishing was the traditional function of Light Infantry. For most of their history, British Marines had been organised as fusiliers. It was not until 1923 that the separate Artillery and light Infantry forces were formally amalgamated into the Corps of Royal Marines. In the rest of the 19th Century the Royal Marines served in many landings especially in the First and Second Opium Wars (1839–1842 and 1856–1860) against the Chinese. These were all successful except for the landing at the Mouth of the Peiho in 1859, where Admiral Sir James Hope ordered a landing across extensive mud flats even though his Brigadier, Colonel Thomas Lemon RMLI, advised against it. During the Crimean War in 1854 and 1855, three Royal Marines earned the Victoria Cross, two in the Crimea and one in the Baltic. The use of the new "torpedoes" (mines) by the Russians in the Baltic made the campaign there particularly suited to RM raiding and reconnaissance parties. Landings by the British and French Navy and Marines in 1854 were repulsed by the Russians at Petropavlovsk on the Pacific coast of Russia.

The Royal Marines also played a prominent role in the Boxer Rebellion in China (1900), where a Royal Marine earned a Victoria Cross. For the first part of the 20th Century, the Royal Marines' role was the traditional one of providing shipboard Infantry for security, boarding parties and small-scale landings. The Marines' other traditional position on a Royal Navy ship was manning 'X' and 'Y' (the aftermost) gun turrets.

Pursuing a career in the Marines had been considered social suicide through much of the 18th and 19th centuries since Marine officers had a lower standing than their counterparts in the Royal Navy. An effort was made in 1907 through the common entry or "Selbourne Scheme" to reduce the professional differences between RN and RM officers through a system of common entry that provided for an initial period of service where both groups performed the same roles and underwent the same training. Upon promotion to Lieutenant officers could opt for permanent service with the Royal Marines. The scheme was abandoned after three years when only two of the new entrants chose this option over that of service as naval officers, for whom promotion prospects were much greater. At the outbreak of World War I the Corps was 58 subalterns under establishment.

World Wars[edit]

During the First World War, in addition to their usual stations aboard ship, Royal Marines were part of the Royal Naval Division which landed in Belgium in 1914 to help defend Antwerp and later took part in the amphibious landing at Gallipoli in 1915. It also served on the Western Front. The Division's first two commanders were Royal Marine Artillery Generals. Other Royal Marines acted as landing parties in the Naval campaign against the Turkish fortifications in the Dardanelles before the Gallipoli landing. They were sent ashore to assess damage to Turkish fortifications after bombardment by British and French ships and, if necessary, to complete their destruction. The Royal Marines were the last to leave Gallipoli, replacing both British and French troops in a neatly planned and executed withdrawal from the beaches. It even required some Marines to wear French uniforms as part of the deception. In 1918 Royal Marines led the Zeebrugge Raid. Five Royal Marines earned the Victoria Cross in the First World War, two at Zeebrugge, one at Gallipoli, one at Jutland and one on the Western Front. After the war Royal Marines took part in the allied intervention in Russia. In 1919, the 6th Battalion RMLI mutinied and was disbanded at Murmansk.

The Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) and Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) were amalgamated on 22 June 1923.[10] Post-war demobilisation had seen the Royal Marines reduced from 55,000 (1918) to 15,000 in 1922 and there was Treasury pressure for a further reduction to 6,000 or even the entire disbandment of the Corps. As a compromise an establishment of 9,500 was settled upon but this meant that two separate branches could no longer be maintained. The abandonment of the Marine's artillery role meant that the Corps would subsequently have to rely on Royal Artillery support when ashore, that the title of Royal Marines would apply to the entire Corps and that only a few specialists would now receive gunnery training. As a form of consolation the dark blue and red uniform of the Royal Marine Artillery now became the full dress of the entire Corps. Royal Marine officers and SNCO's however continue to wear the historic scarlet in mess dress to the present day. The ranks of Private, used by the RMLI, and Gunner, used by the RMA, were abolished and replaced by the rank of Marine.[11]

Commandos in action during Operation Archery, Norway.

During the Second World War, a small party of Royal Marines were first ashore at Namsos in April 1940, seizing the approaches to the Norwegian town preparatory to a landing by the British Army two days later. The Royal Marines formed the Royal Marine Division as an amphibiously trained division, parts of which served at Dakar and in the capture of Madagascar. In addition the Royal Marines formed Mobile Naval Base Defence Organisations (MNBDOs) similar to the US Marine Corps Defense Battalions. One of these took part in the defence of Crete. Royal Marines also served in Malaya and in Singapore, where due to losses they were joined with remnants of the 2nd Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders to form the "Plymouth Argylls". The Royal Marines formed one Commando (A Commando) which served at Dieppe. One month after Dieppe, most of the 11th Royal Marine Battalion was killed or captured in an amphibious landing at Tobruk in Operation Agreement, again the Marines were involved with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders this time the 1st Battalion. In 1942 the Infantry Battalions of the Royal Marine Division were re-organised as Commandos, joining the Army Commandos. The Division command structure became a Special Service Brigade command. The support troops became landing craft crew and saw extensive action on D-Day.

Men of No 4 Commando engaged in house to house fighting with the Germans at Riva Bella, near Ouistreham.

A total of four Special Service, later Commando, Brigades were raised during the war, and Royal Marines were represented in all of them. A total of nine RM Commandos (Battalions) were raised during the war, numbered from 40 to 48. 1 Commando Brigade had just one RM Battalion, No 45 Commando. 2 Commando Brigade had two RM battalions, Nos 40 and 43 Commandos. 3 Commando Brigade also had two, Nos 42 and 44 Commandos. 4 Commando Brigade was entirely Royal Marine after March 1944, comprising Nos 41, 46, 47 and 48 Commandos. 1 Commando Brigade took part in the assaults on Sicily and Normandy, campaigns in the Rhineland and crossing the Rhine. 2 Commando Brigade was involved in the Salerno landings, Anzio, Comacchio, and operations in the Argenta Gap. 3 Commando Brigade served in Sicily and Burma. 4 Commando Brigade served in Normandy and in the Battle of the Scheldt on the island of Walcheren during the clearing of Antwerp.

In January 1945, two further RM Brigades were formed, 116th Brigade and 117th Brigade. Both were conventional Infantry, rather than in the Commando role. 116th Brigade saw some action in the Netherlands, but 117th Brigade was hardly used operationally. In addition one Landing Craft Assault (LCA) unit was stationed in Australia late in the war as a training unit. In 1946 the Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the Commando role (with supporting Army elements). A number of Royal Marines served as pilots during the Second World War. It was a Royal Marines officer who led the attack by a formation of Blackburn Skuas that sank the German cruiser Königsberg. Eighteen Royal Marines commanded Fleet Air Arm squadrons during the course of the war, and with the formation of the British Pacific Fleet were well-represented in the final drive on Japan. Captains and Majors generally commanded squadrons, whilst in one case Lt. Colonel R.C.Hay on HMS Indefatigable was Air Group Co-ordinator from HMS Victorious of the entire British Pacific Fleet.

Throughout the war Royal Marines continued in their traditional role of providing ships detachments and manning a proportion of the guns on Cruisers and Capital Ships. They also provided the crew for the UK's Minor Landing Craft and the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group manned Centaur IV tanks on D Day one of these is still on display at Pegasus Bridge.

The RM are lifted by the Navy's "jungly" Sea King HC4 helicopters, seen here over Norway in 2014

Only one Marine (Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter of 43 Commando) was awarded the Victoria Cross in the Second World War for action at Lake Comacchio in Italy. Hunter was the last RM Commando to be awarded the medal.

The Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment under Blondie Haslar carried out Operation Frankton and provided the basis for the post-war continuation of the SBS.

Post-colonial era[edit]

The Corps underwent a notable change after 1945 however, when the Royal Marines took on the main responsibility for the role and training of the British Commandos. The Royal Marines have an illustrious history, and since their creation in 1942 Royal Marines Commandos have engaged on active operations across the globe, every year, except 1968.[12] Notably they were the first ever military unit to perform an air assault insertion by helicopter, during the Suez Crisis in 1956.[13] They were also part of the land element during the Falklands War.

Today[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Royal Marines in Afghanistan.

The Royal Marines are part of the Naval Service and under the full command of Fleet Commander. The rank structure of the corps is similar to that of the British Army with officers and other ranks recruited and initially trained separately from other naval personnel, Women are only permitted to serve in the Royal Marines Band Service. On average, 1,200 recruits and 2,000 potential recruits, and 400 potential officers attend training courses and acquaint courses at CTCRM every year.

At its height in 1944 during the Second World War, more than 70,000 people served in the Royal Marines. Following the Allied Victory the Royal Marines were quickly reduced to a post-war strength of 13,000. When National Service finally came to an end in 1960, the Marines were again reduced, but this time to an all Commando-trained force of 9,000 personnel.[14]

As of 1 December 2013 the Royal Marines had a strength of 7,730 Regular[15] and 700 Royal Marines Reserve, giving a combined component strength of around 8,430 personnel. The Royal Marines are the only European marine force capable of conducting amphibious operations at brigade level.[16]

Equipment[edit]

Infantry The basic infantry weapon of the Royal Marines is the L85A2 assault rifle,[17] sometimes equipped with the L123A3 underslung grenade launcher.[18] Support fire is provided by the L110A1 light machine gun,[18] the L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)[19] and the L111A1 heavy machine gun[20] (which is often mounted on an armoured vehicle); indirect fire by the L16A2 81mm mortar.[20] Sniper rifles used include the L115A3,[19] produced by Accuracy International. More recently the L129A1 has come into service as the designated marksman rifle.[18] Other weapons include the Javelin Anti-Tank missile,[21] the L107A1 pistol,[17] the L131A1 pistol[17] and the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

Armour The Royal Marines maintain no heavy armoured units, instead, they operate a fleet of lightly armoured and highly mobile vehicles intended for amphibious landings or rapid deployment. The primary Armoured fighting vehicle operated by the Armoured Support Group is the BvS 10 Viking All Terrain Armoured Vehicle.[22] Other lighter vehicles include the Land Rover Wolf Armoured Patrol Vehicle, the Jackal (MWMIK) Armoured Vehicle and the Pinzgauer High Mobility All Terrain Vehicle.[23]

Artillery Artillery support is provided by the 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery of the British Army using the L118 Light Gun, a 105 mm towed howitzer. The regiment is Commando-trained.

Aviation The Fleet Air Arm and Royal Air Force provide transport and attack helicopters in support of the Royal Marines. It uses both Sea King transport and Lynx attack helicopters from the Fleet Air Arm to provide direct aviation support for the Corp. However, the air force additionally provides Chinook heavy-lift, Merlin HC3 and Puma HC1 medium-lift transport helicopters.

Vessels The Royal Marines operate a varied fleet of military watercraft designed to transport troops from ship to shore or conduct river or estuary patrols. These include the 2000TDX Landing Craft Air Cushion, the Mk9 and Mk10 Landing Craft Utility, the Mk5 Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel and the SDV Mk8 Mod 1 Swimmer Delivery Vehicle for special forces. Other smaller amphibious craft such as the Offshore Raiding Craft, Rigid Raider and Inflatable Raiding Craft are in service in much greater numbers.

Formation and structure[edit]

The overall head of the Royal Marines is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in her role as Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces. The ceremonial head of the Royal Marines is the Captain General Royal Marines (equivalent to the Colonel-in-Chief of a British Army regiment). The current Captain-General is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Full Command of the Royal Marines is vested in the Fleet Commander (FLTCDR)[24] with the Commandant General Royal Marines, a Major-General, embedded within the Navy Command Headquarters (NCHQ) as Commander UK Amphibious Force (COMUKAMPHIBFOR).

The operational capability of the Corps comprises a number of Battalion-plus sized units, of which five are designated as "Commandos":

Structure of the Royal Marines.

With the exception of the 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group and Commando Logistic Regiment, which are each commanded by a full Colonel, each of these units is commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Royal Marines, who may have sub-specialised in a number of ways throughout his career.[26] There is also a Mountain Leader Training Cadre based at Lympstone Commando Training Centre, Lympstone, Devon.[citation needed]

3 Commando Brigade[edit]

Main article: 3 Commando Brigade
Insignia of 3 Commando.

Operational Command of the five Commandos and the Commando Logistics Regiment is delegated to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, of which they are a part. Based at Stonehouse Barracks, the brigade exercises control as directed by either CINCFLEET or the Permanent Joint Headquarters. As the main combat formation of the Royal Marines, the brigade has its own organic capability to it in the field, 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group, a battalion sized formation providing information operations capabilities, life support and security for the Brigade Headquarters.

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, responsible for the security of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent and other security-related duties was originally outside the brigade however from April 2012 it moved into it.[27] It also provides specialist boarding parties and snipers for the Royal Navy worldwide, for roles such as embargo enforcement, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy and counter-insurgency activities of the Royal Navy. It is the largest unit in the brigade at 790 strong[27] with a different structure from the other Commandos.

Independent elements[edit]

The independent elements of the Royal Marines are:[28]

A Royal Marines team board US Navy destroyer USS O'Bannon.
  • Commando Training Centre: This is the training unit for the entire corps, and consists of three separate sections:
    • Commando Training Wing: This is the initial basic commando training section for new recruits to the Royal Marines, and the UK Forces All Arms Commando Course.
    • Specialist Wing: This provides specialist training in the various trades which Marines may elect to join once qualified and experienced in a Rifle Company.
    • Command Wing: This provides command training for both officers and NCOs of the Royal Marines.
  • Royal Marines Band Service provides regular bands for the Royal Navy and provides expertise to train RN Volunteer Bands. Musicians have a secondary role as medics and field hospital orderlies. Personnel may not be commando trained, wearing a dark blue beret instead of green; the band service is the only branch of the Royal Marines which admits women.

Structure of a Commando[edit]

Main article: Commando 21

Royal Marine and Albanian Commando.jpg

The Commando Flash and dagger worn on the sleeve

The three Commando units are each organised into six companies, further organised into platoon-sized troops, as follows:[29]

Command Company

  • Main HQ
  • Tactical HQ
  • Reconnaissance Troop with a sniper section
  • Mortar Troop
  • Anti-Tank (AT) Troop
  • Medium Machine Gun Troop

Logistic Company

  • A Echelon 1
  • A Echelon 2
  • FRT (Forward Repair Team)
  • RAP (Regimental Aid Post)
  • B Echelon

Two Close Combat Companies

  • Company Headquarters
  • Three Close Combat Troops

Two Stand Off Companies

  • Company Headquarters
  • Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Troop
  • AT Troop
  • Close Combat Troop.

In general a rifle company Marine will be a member of a four-man fire team, the building block of commando operations. A Royal Marine works with his team in the field and shares accommodation if living in barracks. This structure is a recent development, formerly Commandos were structured similarly to British Army light Infantry Battalions.[30] During the restructuring of the United Kingdom's military services the Corps evolved from a Cold War focus on NATO's Northern Flank towards a more expeditionary posture.

Amphibious Task Group[edit]

A Royal Marine RIB 'Underslinging', from an RAF Chinook as a method of quick extraction and insertion of waterborne personnel.

Formerly known as the Amphibious Ready Group, the Amphibious Task Group (or ATG) is a mobile, balanced amphibious warfare force, based on a Commando Group and its supporting assets, that can be kept at high readiness to deploy into an area of operations. The ATG is normally based around specialist amphibious ships, most notably HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the British fleet. Ocean was designed and built to accommodate an embarked commando and its associated stores and equipment. The strategy of the ATG is to wait "beyond the horizon" and then deploy swiftly as directed by HM Government. The whole amphibious force is intended to be self-sustaining and capable of operating without host-nation support. The concept was successfully tested in operations in Sierra Leone.[31]

Commando Helicopter Force[edit]

The Commando Helicopter Force forms part of the Fleet Air Arm. The force comprises four helicopter squadrons and is commanded by the Joint Helicopter Command.[32] It consists of both Royal Navy (RN) and Royal Marines personnel. RN personnel need not be commando trained. The Commando Helicopter Force is neither under the permanent control of 3 Commando Brigade nor that of the Commandant General Royal Marines but rather is allocated to support Royal Marines units as required. It uses both Sea King transport and Lynx Light lift helicopters to provide aviation support for the Royal Marines.

Selection and training[edit]

A Royal Marine stands beside a large tree to sight in his weapon during a training exercise.
Royal Marines snipers displaying their L115A1 rifles.

Royal Marines are required to undergo one of the longest and most physically demanding specialist infantry training regimes in the world. Recruit training lasts for 32 weeks for Marines and 64 weeks for officers. Potential recruits must first undertake a series of interviews, medical tests, an eye/sight test, psychometric tests and a PJFT (Pre-joining fitness test).[33] Once a potential recruit passes these, enlisted recruits undertake a 3-day selection course called PRMC (Potential Royal Marine Course) and potential officers undertake POC (Potential Officer Course) – both take place at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon. Officers must also take the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB).[34] Upon passing the 3-day course, recruits then start basic recruit training (RT) at CTCRM.[33] Unlike in many countries, enlisted Marines and officer Marines often train together for the first 32 weeks. A large proportion of training is carried out on Dartmoor's inhospitable terrain and Woodbury Common woodland. The culmination of their training ends with their infamous commando courses which they initially pre-train for. The commando courses are a series of physical and mental endurance tests that highlight their military professionalism.

Throughout the recruit training, Royal Marines learn and develop many military skills such as weapons handling, marksmanship and proficiency with different firearms, personal administration, marching and parade ground skills, map reading and navigation, physical fitness and mental toughness development, fieldcraft skills such as camouflage and stalking, basic survival techniques, patrolling and sentry duty development, unarmed and armed close quarters combat (CQC), first aid, underwater escape, chemical biological radiological nuclear (CBRN) training, military communications and signals, teamwork skills, amphibious landings training, and leadership skills for officers to name a few.

The best recruit to finish training is awarded the Kings Badge, King George V directed that his Royal Cypher, surrounded by a Laurel Wreath, would be known as the King's Badge, and would be awarded to the best all round recruit in the King's Squad, provided that he was worthy of the honour. The badge was to be carried on the left shoulder, and worn in every rank. The King's Badge is not awarded to every squad, and is only presented if a Recruit measures up to the very exacting standards required. One of the most famous recipients was Si Capon, the famous dressmaker to nobility.[35]

Throughout his career, a Marine can specialise in a number of different roles upon completion of their respective courses after spending 1–2 years as a general duties (GD) Marine. Examples of some specialisations and different courses includes the mountain leader (ML), physical training instructor (PTI), Assault Engineer (AE), military police (MP), sniper course, medical assistant, pilot, reconnaissance operator (RO), drill instructor, driver, clerk, chef, signaller, combat intelligence, armourer, and heavy weapons training. Royal Marines can also apply for swimmer canoeist/Special Boat Service selection (SBS) or any other branch of the UKSF.[36] All Royal Marines will also conduct training exercises on differing military skills on a regular basis including development in mountain, arctic, jungle, amphibious and desert warfare. They can also be involved in exchange training programs with other countries forces – particularly the United States Marine Corps[4] and the Netherlands Marine Corps/Korps Mariniers.[5]

Customs and traditions[edit]

The Royal Marines have a proud history and unique traditions. With the sole exception of "Gibraltar", their colours (flags) do not carry battle honours in the manner of the regiments of the British Army or of the US Marine Corps, but rather the "globe itself" as a symbol of the Corps. This reflects their engagement, from aboard ship, in a host of naval battles and skirmishes, and amphibious actions, wherever the Royal Navy fought in the age of sail.

Royal Marine Beret Badge

The heraldic crest of the Royal Marines commemorates the history of the Corps. The Lion and Crown denotes a Royal regiment. King George III conferred this honour in 1802 "in consideration of the very meritorious services of the Marines in the late war." The "Great Globe itself" was chosen in 1827 by King George IV in place of Battle honours to recognise the Marines' service and successes in multiple engagements in every quarter of the world.[37] The laurels are believed to honour the gallantry they displayed during the investment and capture of Belle Isle, off Lorient, in April–June 1761. The word Gibraltar refers to the Capture of Gibraltar by a force of Anglo-Dutch Marines in 1704 and the subsequent defence of the strategic fortress throughout a nine-month siege against a numerically superior Franco-Spanish force.[37][38] Their determination and valor throughout the siege led to a contemporary report published in The Triumphs of Her Majesty's Arms in 1707 to announce:

Encouraged by the Prince of Hesse, the garrison did more than could humanly be expected, and the English Marines gained an immortal glory

—referred to by Paul Harris Nicolas, Historical record of the Royal marine forces

There are no other battle honours displayed on the colours of the four battalion-sized units of the current Corps. The Latin motto "Per Mare Per Terram" translates into English as "By Sea By Land". Believed to have been first used in 1775 this motto describes the Royal Marines ability in fighting both afloat on-board ships of the Royal Navy, as well as ashore in their many land engagements. The fouled anchor, incorporated into the emblem in 1747, is the badge of the Lord High Admiral and shows that the Corps is part of the Naval Service.

When referring to individual Commandos: 45 Commando is referred to as "four-five" rather than "forty-five commando" as is 42 Commando, 40 Commando is "forty". The only units which carry colours are 40 Commando, 42 Commando, 43 Commando and 45 Commando.

The regimental quick march of the Corps is "A Life on the Ocean Wave", while the slow march is the march of the Preobrazhensky Regiment, awarded to the Corps by Admiral of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burma on the occasion of the Corps's tercentenary in 1964. Lord Mountbatten was Life Colonel Commandant of the Royal Marines until his murder by the IRA in 1979.

Dress headgear is a white Wolseley pattern pith helmet surmounted by a ball, a distinction once standard for artillerymen. This derives from the part of the Corps that was once the Royal Marine Artillery. Their nickname "Bootneck" derives its origins from the leather 'stock' worn round the neck inside the collar by soldiers (cf. Leatherneck).

The Royal Marines are one of six regiments[citation needed] allowed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London to march through the City as a regiment in full array. This dates to the charter of Charles II that allowed recruiting parties of the Admiral's Regiment of 1664 to enter the City with drums beating and colours flying.

Uniforms[edit]

The modern Royal Marines retain a number of distinctive uniform items. These include the green "Lovat" service dress worn with the green beret, the dark blue parade dress worn with either the white Wolseley Pattern Helmet (commonly referred to as "pith helmet") or white and red peaked cap, the scarlet and blue mess dress for officers and senior non-commissioned officers and the white hot-weather uniform of the Band Service.

For historical information regarding Marine uniforms, see History of the Royal Marines.

Order of precedence[edit]

As the descendant of the old marine regiments of the British Army, the Royal Marines used to have a position in the order of precedence of the infantry; this was after the 49th Regiment of Foot, the final lineal descendant of which was the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (RGBW). Therefore, the Royal Marines would have paraded after the RGBW. This is because the 49th Foot was the last regiment raised prior to the formation of the Corps of Marines as part of the Royal Navy in 1755. In 2007, the RGBW was amalgamated into a large regiment–this new regiment is placed last in the order of precedence, as it is a regiment of rifles. However as a result of new Army amalgamations the Royal Marines have now been removed from the infantry order of precedence and now always take post, as a constituent part of the Royal Navy (the Senior Service), at the head of the parade alongside the Navy, or alone if the Navy are not represented. Thus, if only the infantry is represented, the Royal Marines would parade before the Grenadier Guards, the senior infantry regiment of the Army.

Preceded by
As part of Naval Service, assumes precedence before all Army units
Infantry order of precedence Succeeded by
Grenadier Guards

Affiliations[edit]

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

Early connections date from Balaclava in the Crimean War and Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny, but the main association stems from World War II. In July 1940, after the fall of Dunkirk, the 5th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders served with the Royal Marine Brigade for over a year. When the battleships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk in December 1941, the Royal Marines survivors joined up with the remnants of the 2nd Battalion, in the defence of Singapore. They formed what became known as 'The Plymouth Argylls', after the association football team, since both ships were Plymouth manned. Most of the Highlanders and Marines who survived the bitter fighting were taken prisoner by the Japanese. The Royal Marines inter-unit rugby football trophy is the 'Argyll Bowl', presented to the Corps by the Regiment in 1941. A message of greetings is sent to the Regiment each year on their Regimental Day, 25 October, the anniversary of the Battle of Balaclava in 1854.

The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment

The fore-bearer regiments of the The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, The East Surrey Regiment (Villier's Marines) was initially raised as amphibious troops. They served as Marines for a period. To this day one officer from the Royal Marines serves with the PWRR and Vice Versa. Also the Royal Marine Lanyard is worn by all ranks in Service Dress and Number 2 Dress uniform and barrack dress of PWRR

Netherlands Marine Corps

The Royal Marines have close links with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, with whom they conduct NATO exercises throughout the year. Formed during the Anglo-Dutch Wars in 1665, the Dutch Marines distinguished themselves in raids on the English coast, where it is likely they met their future counterparts. Units of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps work in close co-operation with 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines. Operational units of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps are fully integrated into this brigade. This integration is known as the United Kingdom-Netherlands Landing Force and is a component of the United Kingdom-Netherlands Amphibious Force as a key strike force during the Cold War to strengthen the Nordic area.[39]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

References
  1. ^ "Naval Personnel Hierarchy", BR3 Naval Personnel Management (Ministry of Defence), October 2012, retrieved 12 December 2012 
  2. ^ a b Origins of Royal Marines
  3. ^ Royal Marines home page on Royal Navy website
  4. ^ a b Royal Marines Train In Californian Desert, mod.uk
  5. ^ a b Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, royalnavy.mod.uk
  6. ^ Bennett Michael J (2009). "Smallpox and Cowpox Under the Southern Cross: The Smallpox Epidemic of 1789 and the Advent of Vaccination in Colonial Australia". Bulletin of the History of Medicine 83 (1): 37–62. doi:10.1353/bhm.0.0167. 
  7. ^ Mear C (2008). "The origin of the smallpox outbreak in Sydney in 1789". Journal of Royal Australian Historical Society 94 (1): 1–22. 
  8. ^ a b Warren Christopher (2013). "Smallpox at Sydney Cove – Who, When, Why". Journal of Australian Studies. doi:10.1080/14443058.2013.849750. 
  9. ^ Warren, Christopher, Could First Fleet smallpox infect Aborigines? – a note, "several authors – including Josephine Flood, Alan Frost, Charles Wilson and Judy Campbell – maintain that First Fleet smallpox did not cause the outbreak" 
  10. ^ London Gazette, 20 July 1923
  11. ^ London Gazette, 16 October 1923
  12. ^ History of RM deployments
  13. ^ Royal Marines Museum – Suez deployment (PDF)
  14. ^ Nicholas van der Bijl and Nick Bijl, The Royal Marines 1939–93, Osprey Publishing, 1995
  15. ^ Royal Navy monthly situation report, 1 December 2013. See table 1a page 7 and table 5b page 22.
  16. ^ "Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review". HM Government. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force Aircraft and Weapons page 44". Royal Air Force. 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force Aircraft and Weapons page 45". Royal Air Force. 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Royal Air Force Aircraft and Weapons page 46". Royal Air Force. 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Royal Air Force Aircraft and Weapons page 48". Royal Air Force. 2013. 
  21. ^ "Royal Air Force Aircraft and Weapons page 49". Royal Air Force. 2013. 
  22. ^ IISS 2010, pp. 168
  23. ^ Joint Committees On Transportation Holds Public Hearing Re: Trans 123 www.wisconsin-pinzgauers.org
  24. ^ "Senior Naval Staff". Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. "As the Commander-in-Chief Fleet, a position he took up in November 2007, Mark Stanhope has full command of all deployable Fleet units, including the Royal Marines." 
  25. ^ "30 Commando Information Exploitation Group". Royal Navy. Retrieved 2 June 2010. 
  26. ^ Bridge Card – 11 February 11
  27. ^ a b "43 Commando resurrected as historic Royal Marines unit returns". 
  28. ^ Other Units of the Royal marines on Royal Navy website
  29. ^ Extract from The Globe & Laurel, November–December 2000, archived from the original on 5 November 2010 
  30. ^ Commando Units To Be Reshaped, Navy News article
  31. ^ comukamphibfor
  32. ^ Commando Helicopter Force webpage
  33. ^ a b Recruitment Process Royal Marines, royalnavy.mod.uk
  34. ^ Admiralty Interview Board (pdf), royalnavy.mod.uk
  35. ^ Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, royalnavy.mod.uk
  36. ^ Commando specialisations, royalnavy.mod.uk
  37. ^ a b Royal Marines Museum:The Crest, Colours, Beret, Nicknames and Prayers of the Royal Marines, royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk
  38. ^ http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/The-Royal-Marines/About-the-Royal-Marines/History%7C Royal Marines History
  39. ^ http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/The-Fleet/The-Royal-Marines/About-the-Royal-Marines/Royal-Netherlands-Marine-Corps
Notes
  1. ^

Bibliography[edit]

  • A Brief Chronology of Marines History 1664–2003, Royal Marines Museum
  • Historical Records of the Buffs, East Kent Regiment, 3rd Foot, Formerly Designated the Holland Regiment, by H. R. Knight, 1905.
  • The Whitefoord Papers; Being the Correspondence and Other Manuscripts of Colonel Charles Whitefoord and Caleb Whitefoord, from 1739 to 1810, by Charles Whitefoord, Clarendon press, 1898. Searchable full text available on-line at Google Books. Charles Whitefoord served in Wynyard's (4th Marines), Gooch's, and the 5th Marines in the 1740s.
  • Historical record of the Royal marine forces, by Paul Harris Nicolas, Thomas and Boone, London, 1845. Searchable full text available on-line at Google Books.
  • Per Mare, Per Terram: Reminiscences of Thirty-two Years' Military, Naval, and Constabulary Service by William Henry Poyntz, Economic Print. & Publ. Co. (1892). Searchable full text available on-line at Google Books.
  • Britain's sea soldiers : a history of the Royal Marines and their predecessors and of their services in action, ashore and afloat, and upon sundry other occasions of moment, by Cyril Field, Liverpool:The Lyceum Press, 1924, (2 vol.) Covers British Marines until around 1900.
  • Britain's Sea Soldiers: A Record of the Royal Marines during the War 1914–1919, by General Sir H.E. Blumberg, Devonport, 1927. Very detailed with excellent maps. The USMC used the maps from this book for their studies of Gallipoli in the 1920s and 30s that led to the formation of US amphibious doctrine in 1935.
  • By Sea and Land by Robin Neillands, 1987, Cassell Military Paperbacks, ISBN 0-304-35683-2. Traces the history of the Corps until the end of the Falkands Campaign in 1982.
  • Uniforms of the Royal Marines by Charles Stadden, 1997, ISBN 0-9519342-2-8
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies; Hackett, James (ed.) (3 February 2010). The Military Balance 2010. London: Routledge. ISBN 1-85743-557-5. 
  • The Royal Marines 1939–93 (Osprey Elite Series 57), by Nick van der Bijl and Paul Hannon, 1994. London, UK: Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-85532-388-5.

External links[edit]


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