41 Commando

Last updated

'B' Commando
No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando
RoyalMarineBadge.svg
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
Active 1943–1945
1950–1951
1960–1981
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Branch RoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines
Type Commando
Role Coastal raiding force
Assault Infantry
Size Battalion
Part of 4th Special Service Brigade 1943–1945
3 Commando Brigade 1960–1981
Nickname(s) Four One
Motto(s)Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land) (Latin)
March Quick – A Life on the Ocean Wave
Slow – Preobrajensky
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Charles Ernest Palmer
Insignia
Commando Flash Royal Marines Commando.svg

41 Commando or No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando was a unit of the Royal Marines trained as Commandos during the Second World War. They were part of the all Royal Marine 4th Special Service Brigade that took part in the Normandy landings in June 1944 and later that served in World War II, the Korean War, and in Northern Ireland. They were disbanded in 1981.

Royal Marines marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom

The Corps of Royal Marines (RM) is the amphibious light infantry and one of the five fighting arms of 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 28 October 1664.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

The 4th Special Service Brigade was a brigade-sized formation of the British Commandos formed during the Second World War in March 1944 from battalion-sized units of the Royal Marines. Due to the success of the British Army Commandos’ operations in Norway, the Channel Islands, St. Nazaire, and the Middle East, the Admiralty dissolved the Royal Marines Division in late 1942 and reorganized its amphibious assault infantry into eight additional Commando units.

Contents

History

Second World War

Troops from 41 Commando advance towards the lighthouse at Westkapelle, Netherlands, Nov 1, 1944 41 Commando 1 November 1944..jpg
Troops from 41 Commando advance towards the lighthouse at Westkapelle, Netherlands, Nov 1, 1944

The early British Commando units in the Second World War were all from the British Army but by February 1942, the Royal Marines were asked to organise Commando units of their own, and 6,000 men volunteered. [1]

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.

'B' (RM) Commando was raised at Pembroke Dock on 7 October 1942, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel P W O'H.Phibbs, from the men of the 8th Royal Marine Battalion. It was the second Royal Marine commando battalion formed after its sister 'A' (RM) Commando. Both commandos were based on the Isle of Wight and soon after the commando was renamed No. 41 (Royal Marine) Commando. It fought with the Special Service Brigade in the Allied invasion of Sicily and later during the Salerno landings, where they suffered heavy casualties including two second-in-command's and most of the Troop Commanders. The Unit's Chaplain, the Revd John Wallis RN, was awarded the DSC for "outstanding courage and devotion to duty shown ... in tending the wounded and bringing in casualties under heavy fire from the Enemy". [2] The Medical Officer, Surg Lt Ernest Davies was also awarded the DSC for bravery and devotion to the wounded. The Unit returned to the United Kingdom in January 1944, in preparation for the Normandy landings. It was part of the 4th Special Service Brigade and landed at Normandy on 6 June 1944, D-Day, and then took part in the capture of Douvres Radar Station on 17 June. It later took part in the battle of the Scheldt in November 1944. It then served on the Maas River for the remainder of the war and then occupation duties in Germany. On 20 January 1946 the commando was disbanded. [3]

Pembroke Dock community and a town in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales

Pembroke Dock is a town and a community in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of Pembroke on the banks of the River Cleddau. Originally Paterchurch, a small fishing village, Pembroke Dock town expanded rapidly following the construction of the Royal Navy Dockyard in 1814. The Cleddau Bridge, a toll bridge links Pembroke Dock with Neyland.

40 Commando RM is a battalion-sized formation of the British Royal Marines and subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet.

Isle of Wight county and island of England

The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines.

41 (Independent) Commando

During the Korean War 41 Commando was reconstituted as 41 (Independent) Commando following a request from the United Nations Command for more amphibious raiding forces. [4] The "Independent" designation meant that their commander had sole responsibility for their unit and did not have to consult with higher headquarters on operational and logistical matters. [5] On 16 August 1950 219 Royal Marine volunteers were assembled in Bickleigh then the Commando School. [6] They were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Douglas B. Drysdale DSO, MBE an experienced World War II Commando veteran who was the Chief Instructor at the Royal Marines Officer school. [7]

Korean War 1950–1953 war between North Korea and South Korea

The Korean War was a war between North Korea and South Korea. The war began on 25 June 1950 when North Korea invaded South Korea following a series of clashes along the border.

Bickleigh, South Hams village on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Devon, England

Bickleigh is a small village on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Devon, England. It has a population of about 50 people. It is in the South Hams district, and is about 7 miles (11 km) north of Plymouth city centre. The village is part of the electoral ward called Bickleigh and Shaugh. At the 2011 census the ward population was 4,723 42 Commando is currently based at Bickleigh Barracks.

Soldiers of 41 Independent Commandos plant demolition charges on a railway line in Korea. Commandoes of the 41st Royal British Marines plant demolition charges along railroad tracks of enemy supply line... - NARA - 520790.tif
Soldiers of 41 Independent Commandos plant demolition charges on a railway line in Korea.

The Commandos travelled to Japan in civilian clothes, with most of the civilian clothing issued by the Admiralty. The unit received more volunteers en route from 3 Commando Brigade involved in the Malayan Emergency. Arriving in Japan on 15 September 1950, the Commandos were issued American winter uniforms and weapons but retained their green berets, battle dress and boots. The first mission of the unit was in October where the Commandos embarked on two American high speed transports the USS Horace A. Bass (APD-124) and USS Wantuck (APD-125) supported by the destroyer USS De Haven (DD-727), where they executed a series of raids on the North Korean coast near Wonsan to disrupt North Korean transportation facilities. [4]

3 Commando Brigade commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines

3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando Qualified sailors, soldiers and airmen.

Malayan Emergency guerrilla war from 1948 to 1960

The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought in pre- and post-independence Federation of Malaya, from 1948 until 1960. The belligerents were the Commonwealth armed forces against the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).

The green beret was the official headdress of the British Commandos of the Second World War. It is still worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Commando Course and personnel from other units of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF who serve within 3 Commando Brigade and who have passed the All Arms Commando Course.

On 10 November 1950, 41 (Independent) Commando joined the United Nations advance in North Korea where they served with the United States Marine Corps; the second time the two organisations had served together, the first being the Boxer Rebellion. During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir Lt. Col. Drysdale was given command of a 900-man unit of his own Commando, American, and South Korean forces called Task Force Drysdale. Their hard fighting together with the American Marines and Army led to 41 Independent Commando being awarded the American Presidential Unit Citation that the 1st Marine Division earned. However it was not awarded until 1957. [8]

United States Marine Corps Amphibious warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.

Boxer Rebellion anti-imperialist uprising which took place in China

The Boxer Rebellion (拳亂), Boxer Uprising, or Yihetuan Movement (義和團運動) was an anti-imperialist, anti-colonial, and anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, toward the end of the Qing dynasty. They were motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and by opposition to Western colonialism and the Christian missionary activity that was associated with it.

Battle of Chosin Reservoir 1950 battle in the Korean War

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir, also known as the Chosin Reservoir Campaign or the Battle of Jangjin Lake was a battle in the Korean War. The name "Chosin" is derived from the Japanese pronunciation "Chōshin", instead of the Korean pronunciation.

The Commando reformed in Japan and in April 1951 were assigned to what eventually became the 1st Commonwealth Division. They raided the North Korean coast with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps until 41 Commando returned to England in December 1951; those who had served less than a year in the commando were drafted into 42 Commando operating in Malaya. They were disbanded on 2 February 1952, the Commando having 31 Marines killed and 17 captured with one Royal Marine choosing to stay in North Korea, who returned to the UK in 1960. [9]

Post Korean War

In 1960 41 Commando was reformed as part of the United Kingdom's Strategic Reserve. The Commando served in various places throughout the world. These included East Africa in 1964, [10] while in 1969 they were the first R.M.Commando to participate in operations in Northern Ireland. [11] In 1971 they were stationed in Malta, [11] and in 1974 together with 40 Commando they took part in United Nations operation in Cyprus following the Turkish invasion. [11] In 1977 they left Malta and in 1979 carried out public duties in London. [11] In 1981, then based at Deal, Kent they were disbanded again. [11]

Battle honours

The following Battle honours were awarded to the British Commandos during the Second World War. [12]

Korea Award

Related Research Articles

Commandos (United Kingdom) British commando formation

The Commandos also known as British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe. Initially drawn from within the British Army from soldiers who volunteered for the Special Service Brigade, the Commandos' ranks would eventually be filled by members of all branches of the British Armed Forces and a number of foreign volunteers from German-occupied countries. By the end of the war 25,000 men had passed through the Commando course at Achnacarry. This total includes not only the British volunteers, but volunteers from Greece, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the United States Army Rangers, which were modelled on the Commandos.

The 2nd Special Service Brigade was formed in late 1943 in the Middle East and saw service in Italy, the Adriatic, the landings at Anzio and took part in operations in Yugoslavia. On December 6, 1944, the Brigade was renamed 2nd Commando Brigade, removing the hated title Special Service and its association with the Schutzstaffel.

No. 7 Commando was a unit of the British Commandos and part of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in August 1940 in the United Kingdom. No. 7 Commando was transferred to the Middle East as part of Layforce. Committed to the Battle of Crete, it suffered heavy casualties, after which it was disbanded.

No. 11 (Scottish) Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in Scotland, members of No. 11 (Scottish) Commando adopted the Tam o'shanter as their official headdress.

No. 12 Commando

No. 12 Commando was a battalion-sized commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. Formed in 1940 in Northern Ireland, they carried out a number of small-scale raids in Norway and France between 1941 and 1943 before being disbanded and its personnel dispersed to other commando units.

No. 9 Commando

No. 9 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit raised by the British Army during the Second World War. It took part in raids across the English Channel and in the Mediterranean, ending the war in Italy as part of the 2nd Special Service Brigade. Like all Army commando units it was disbanded in 1946.

No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando

No. 10 (Inter-Allied) Commando was a commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War, recruited largely from non-British personnel from German-occupied Europe. This unit was used to help co-oridinate attacks with other allied forces.

The No. 1 Commando was a unit of the British Commandos and part of the British Army during the Second World War. It was raised in 1940 from the ranks of the existing independent companies. Operationally they carried out a series of small scale cross channel raids and spearheaded the Operation Torch landings in North Africa. They were then sent to the India as part of the 3rd Commando Brigade and took part in operations in the Burma Campaign. During the Second World War only eight commandos were recipients of the Victoria Cross, two of the eight were from No. 1 Commando. After the war they were sent to reoccupy Hong Kong before being amalgamated with No. 5 Commando to form No. 1/5 Commando. The amalgamated No. 1/5 Commando was disbanded in 1947.

No. 2 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The first No.2 Commando was formed on the 22nd June 1940 for a parachuting role at Cambrai Barracks, Perham Down, near Tidworth, Hants. The Unit at the time consisted of four troops - 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'. Eventually 11 troops were raised. On 21 November, it was re-designated as the 11th Special Air Service (SAS) Battalion and eventually re-designated 1st Parachute Battalion. After their re-designation as the 11th SAS Battalion, a second No. 2 Commando was formed. This No. 2 Commando was the leading commando unit in the St Nazaire Raid and suffered heavy casualties. Those who made it back from St Nazaire rejoined the few who had not gone on the raid, and the commando was reinforced by the first intake of volunteers from the new Commando Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry. No. 2 Commando then went on to serve in the Mediterranean, Sicily, Yugoslavia, and Albania, before being disbanded in 1946.

No. 44 Commando was a battalion size formation in the British Commandos, formed during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 3rd Special Service Brigade and served in the Burma Campaign.

No. 50 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from volunteers in Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after formation it was amalgamated with No. 52 Commando and became 'D' Battalion, Layforce.

No. 52 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from volunteers in Egypt and Palestine. Shortly after formation it was amalgamated with No. 50 Commando and became 'D' Battalion, Layforce.

No. 51 Commando was a battalion-sized British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1940, from Jewish and Arab volunteers from Palestine. The Commando fought against the Italians in Abyssinia and Eritrea before it was absorbed into the Middle East Commando.

Royal Air Force Commandos

Royal Air Force Commandos were formed from units of the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. They were formed in 1942 and served in the European and Far Eastern theatres of war before being disbanded in 1946.

No. 48 Commando was a battalion-sized formation of the British Commandos, formed in 1944 during the Second World War. No. 48 Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served in North West Europe, taking part in the Normandy landings and operations around Ostend and Antwerp before being disbanded after the war in January 1946.

No. 47 Commando was a battalion size formation in the British Commandos, formed in August 1943 during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served North West Europe and took part in the Normandy Landings, operations around Ostend, Antwerp and the Netherlands before being disbanded in January 1946.

No. 14 (Arctic) Commando sometimes also called the Special Commando Boating Group, was a 60-man British Commando unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commando was formed in 1942 for service in the Arctic and was disbanded in 1943.

No. 46 Commando was a battalion size formation of the Royal Marines, part of the British Commandos, formed in August 1943 during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served in North-west Europe and took part in the D-Day landings, as well as operations around Ostend and Antwerp, before being disbanded after the war in January 1946.

General Sir Campbell Richard Hardy, (1906–1984) was a Royal Marines officer who served as Commandant General Royal Marines from 1955 to 1959.

References

Notes

  1. Haskew, pp.48–49
  2. Wallis, Canon John, With God's Blessing and a Green Beret, 1994, Firebird Books, Poole; pp 57,67
  3. Moremann, p.93
  4. 1 2 Van Der Bijl, p.47
  5. Daugherty III, Leo J. Train Wreckers and Ghost Killers: Allied Marines in the Korean War 2003 History and Museums Division, Headquarters U.S.M.C.
  6. "Royal Marines".
  7. p.837 Proceedings United States Naval Institute
  8. "Britain's Sheet Anchor, Old Brothers in Arms: The 41 Independent Commando at Chosin". November 2001. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  9. The Royal Marines 1939–93
  10. Fowler, p.6
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 Fowler, p.7
  12. Moreman, p.94

Bibliography