The Corps of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines, are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service. They are also the United Kingdom’s specialists in amphibious warfare, including the operation of landing craft; mountain warfare; and Arctic warfare. A core component of the country’s Rapid Deployment Force, the Corps’s 3 Commando Brigade is capable of operating on its own and consists of highly trained commandos. It is trained to deploy quickly and fight in any terrain. The Royal Marines have one of the longest basic infantry training courses in the world. The Royal Marines were formed as part of the Naval Service in 1755. However, it can trace its origins back as far as 1664, when English soldiers first went to sea to fight the Dutch. 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. Notably they were the first ever military unit to perform an air assault insertion by helicopter, during the Suez Crisis in 1956. The Royal Marines are a maritime-focused, amphibious, highly specialised light infantry force of commandos capable of deploying at short notice in support of the United Kingdom Government’s military and diplomatic objectives overseas and are optimised for operational situations requiring highly manoeuvreable forces. As the United Kingdom Armed Forces’ specialists in cold weather warfare the Corps provide lead element expertise in the NATO Northern Flank and are optimised for high altitude operations, with jungle training still carried out when deployments allow. The operational capability of the Corps comprises a number of Battalion-sized units, of which three are designated as “Commandos”:
# 40 Commando (known as Forty Commando) based at Norton Manor Barracks, Taunton, Somerset, England
# 42 Commando (known as Four Two Commando) based at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth, Devon, England
# 45 Commando (known as Four Five Commando) based at RM Condor, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland
# Commando Logistic Regiment based at Chivenor, Devon
# 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth
# Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines based at HM Naval Base Clyde, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute (Previously Comacchio Group).
# Special Boat Service based at Royal Marines Base Poole, Dorset (although Full Command is retained by CINCFLEET, Operational Command of SBS RM is assigned to Director Special Forces).
# 1 Assault Group Royal Marines based at HM Naval Base Devonport, Plymouth, Devon.
With the exception of the 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. There is also a Mountain Leader Training Cadre based at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth. Source