The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the United Kingdom's amphibious light infantry force, forming part of the Naval Service, along with the Royal Navy. The Royal Marines were formed in 1755 as the Royal Navy's infantry troops. However, the marines can trace their origins back to the formation of the English Army's "Duke of York and Albany's maritime regiment of Foot" at the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company on October 28th, 1664.
As a highly specialized and adaptable light infantry force, the Royal Marines are trained for rapid deployment worldwide and capable of dealing with a wide range of threats. The Royal Marines are organized into a light infantry brigade (3 Commando Brigade) and a number of separate units, including 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, 43 Commando Royal Marines formerly Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (previously the Comacchio Group), and a company strength commitment to 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, and its commitment to the UK's Rapid Reaction Force.
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 and the War in Afghanistan. The Royal Marines have close international ties with allied marine forces, particularly the United States Marine Corps, Canadian Marine Corps and the Netherlands Marine Corps (Dutch: Korps Mariniers). Today, the Royal Marines are an elite fighting force within the British Armed Forces, having undergone many substantial changes over time.
Today[edit | edit source]
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. As of October 2014 the Royal Marines have a strength of 12,000 active duty personnel and 1,500 reserve personnel, giving a combined component strength of around 13,500 personnel. The Royal Marines are the only European marine force capable of conducting amphibious operations at brigade level.