Royal Marines

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Royal Marines

Royal Marines emblem
Lineup October 28, 1664
Country United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Armed forces Royal Navy
Armed forces Royal Marines
Strength approx. 5000
Location Poole , Plymouth , Chivenor RNAS Yeovilton
motto "Per Mare Per Terram" (From Sea to Land)
Web presence [1]
commander Major General Matthew Holmes

The Royal Marines are the Marines of the British Naval Service and Britain's main support for amphibious operations. Each of the three commands (No. 40, No. 42 and No. 45) is regularly part of an "Amphibious Task Group" on the landing ship HMS Ocean . Since 2005 units of the Royal Marines have also been regularly stationed on the dock landing ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark . In contrast to their American counterpart, the United States Marine Corps , they are not a separate armed force , but are subordinate to the Royal Navy .

There is a particularly close connection to the Dutch marine infantry, the Corps Mariniers , with which the Royal Marines have been combined in a NATO association, the UK / NL Landing Force , since 1973 . A Dutch battalion is regularly assigned to the brigade during operations or exercises .


At first, marines were part of the crew of every British warship . Their tasks were varied: in addition to carrying out amphibious operations , they served as snipers during a sea battle and from 1804 also operated guns. Even later on the battleships of the First and Second World War, part of the main and secondary armament was traditionally served by the Royal Marines. In addition, the marines were supposed to maintain discipline and order on board and, in particular, to support the officers in the event of a mutiny, which is why their sleeping accommodations were also set up between the crew and officers' rooms.

17th and 18th centuries

The Royal Marines were on an October 28, 1664 Order-in-Council as The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot ( German as: "Maritime Regiment of Foot of the Duke of York and Albany ") set up. Since the Duke of York and Albany at that time, later King James II , also held the office of Lord High Admiral and the regiment was financed from the Admiralty's budget , it was also called Admiral's Regiment .

The troops experienced their first major operation with a strength of almost 1900 men in August 1704 in the War of the Spanish Succession , when they held the Gibraltar peninsula against Spanish reinforcements after the capture of Gibraltar and later recaptured it together with 400 Dutch marines . The close ties between the British and Dutch marines emerged from these events.

19th century

By decree of King George III. In 1802, at the suggestion of Lord St. Vincent , the corps was given the official name "The Royal Marines". In the course of the century, the British government also restructured the Royal Marines, which until then had played a purely infantry role. It was common practice to ship army artillery soldiers to operate mortars for land fire. These soldiers were still subject to the Army Act and therefore did not have to submit to the stricter Naval Discipline Act , which the respective ship commanders often displeased.

The Admiralty approved the establishment of the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) in 1804 because of this disciplinary gradient and the intrinsic necessity of naval artillery . The members of this unit continued to wear the blue uniforms of the army artillery and not the red uniforms of the rest of the corps. This began the separation of the troops into blue and red marines, which was formalized in 1855 with the official distinction between Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) and Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) .

The unit made an important contribution to the conquest of the British Empire . Its members participated in the occupation of Australia in 1788 and were incorporated into the policy of Imperial Policing . They were also involved in the bombing of Algiers in 1816 and the battle of Navarino against the Ottoman fleet in 1827.

After participating in the Napoleonic Wars , in which the participation of almost 2500 Royal Marines in the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, the Royal Marines came mainly in the numerous colonial wars , but also in the Crimean War and in the fight against slavery off West Africa for use. In addition, the crown used them again and again to suppress nationalist uprisings in Ireland .

20th century

Royal Marines in Afghanistan in December 2008 during Operation Sond Chara

During the First World War , the missions in the battle of Gallipoli (1915) and Zeebrugge (1918) should be mentioned.

In 1942, during World War II , the first of the famous commandos to be recruited from the ranks of the Royal Marines was set up. The Royal Marines Commandos took part in many skirmishes: the destruction of the Saint-Nazaire dock in France ( Operation Chariot ), the loss-making attack on Dieppe , the landings in the Mediterranean and, ultimately, Operation Overlord ( D-Day , June 6, 1944 ).

In the post-war period, the Marines were used in numerous operations in the Middle and Far East (such as Aden , British Malaya , Korea , Cyprus and Suez ). They also played an essential role in the Falklands War (landings at San Carlos Bay) and in Desert Shield and Desert Storm ( Second Gulf War 1990/91).


Since the 1990s there has only been one command brigade, the 3 Commando Brigade . It includes almost all units of the Royal Marines.

For the sake of simplicity, the German translations are listed behind the English names. British regiments are equivalent in strength to a German battalion . Squadrons are comparable to German companies , batteries or squadrons .

3rd Commando Brigade

Structure of the Royal Marines.
Royal Marines on Rigid Raider boat
  • 3rd Commando Brigade
    • Royal Marines Armored Support Group, Yeovilton, Somerset
    • United Kingdom Landing Force Command Support Group (CSG) (Staff Battalion), Plymouth
      • CSG Headquarters Troop (staff train)
      • Brigade Staff Squadron ( 3 Commando Brigade headquarters )
      • Communications Squadron (telecommunications company)
      • Y Squadron ( EloKa company )
      • Support Squadron (support company)
      • Logistics Squadron (supply company)
        • Catering Troop (food train)
        • Equipment Support Troop (supply train)
        • Motor Transport Troop (transport train)
        • Stores Troop (cargo train)
    • 40 Commando (40th Marine Battalion), Taunton, Somerset
    • 42 Commando (42nd Marine Battalion), Plymouth
    • 45 Commando (45th Marine Battalion), Arbroath
    • Commando Logistic Regiment Royal Marines (Logistics Battalion), Chivenor (Devon)
    • 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (539th Landing Craft Squadron)
(trained for inland operations)
Royal Marines (2003)

From the British Army

  • 54 Commando Headquarters and Support Squadron
  • 1st Battalion The Rifles (light infantry battalion), Chepstow
  • 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery (29th Artillery Battalion), Plymouth
    • 23 (Gibraltar 1779–1783) Battery Royal Artillery (stick battery), Plymouth
    • 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery (field artillery battery), Arbroath
    • 8 (Alma) Battery Royal Artillery (field artillery battery), Plymouth
    • 79 (Kirkee) Battery Royal Artillery (field artillery battery), Plymouth
    • 148 (Meiktila) Battery Royal Artillery (marine artillery reconnaissance battery), Poole
    • 29 Commando Royal Artillery Regimental Workshop REME (repair train), Plymouth
  • 24th Commando Regiment Royal Engineers (24th Engineer Battalion), Chivenor, Devon
  • 56 Commando Field Squadron
  • 59 Commando Field Squadron

Other units

  • Royal Marines Band Service (Marine Music Corps)
  • Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (property protection)
  • Special Boat Service (special forces)
  • Commando Helicopter Force, Yeovilton, Somerset
    • 845 Naval Air Squadron (845th Medium Transport Helicopter Squadron)
    • 846 Naval Air Squadron (846th Medium Transport Helicopter Squadron)
    • 847 Naval Air Squadron (847th Light Transport Helicopter Squadron)
    • 848 Naval Air Squadron (848th Training Squadron)
  • 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1st landing squadron)
    • 4 Assault Squadron (4th Dropship Squadron), supports HMS Bulwark
    • 6 Assault Squadron (6th Dropship Squadron), supports HMS Albion
    • 9 Assault Squadron (9th Dropship Squadron), supports HMS Ocean
    • 10 Landing Craft Training Squadron (10th Landing Craft Training Squadron)
    • 11 Amphibious Test and Trials Squadron Royal Marines (11th training and testing squadron)
  • Commando Training Center (training center)

Rank badge

NATO code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Royal Navy
general Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant Colonel major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant
general Lieutenant General Major general Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant colonel major Captain First lieutenant lieutenant
general Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant Colonel major Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant
Chief of the Corps Brigade
Deputy Brigade
Company commander Platoon leader Platoon leader Cadet
NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Regne Unit Conductor Quartermaster Sergeant Oficial Tècnic de Segona Classe Sergent de staff not in use Caporal Soldier de Primera marine not in use
Sergeant Major Staff Sergeant Sergeant Major Oberfeldwebel
- Corporal
Private -
Warrant Officer 1 Warrant Officer 2 Color Sergeant sergeant - Corporal Lance Corporal marine -
Battalion Sergeant Company sergeant Material
management sergeant
deputy platoon leader - Squad leader deputy group leader Hunter -



  • Sören Sünkler: Europe's elite and special units. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-613-02853-1 , pp. 111-131.

Web links

Commons : Royal Marines  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Royal Marines Corps Birthday . Retrieved June 11, 2020 .
  2. ^ Walter Vernon Anson: The Life of John Jervis Admiral Lord St. Vincent , 1913, p. 290.
  3. Naval Book Reference BR3, Part 6, Annexe 40: ILLUSTRATIONS OF ROYAL MARINE BADGES OF RANK & OTHER INSIGNIA (February 2014).