43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines

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43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
Active 1943–1946
1980 – present
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Branch Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
Type Commando
Role Force protection
Maritime Interdiction Operations
Nuclear Security
Size 790 personnel
Part of 3 Commando Brigade [1]
Base HMNB Clyde
Nickname(s) FPG
Motto(s)Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land) (Latin)
Colours (Lanyard) Red and Old Gold
March Quick – A Life on the Ocean Wave
Slow – Preobrajensky
Anniversaries Lake Comacchio, 3 April 1945
Website 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
Captain General HRH The Duke of Sussex, KCVO, ADC(P)
Commandant General Major General Charles Stickland OBE
Superior Commander Commander Operations, Fleet Headquarters
Current Commander Colonel Tony De Reya [2]
Security of nuclear weapons at Faslane, HM Naval Base Clyde is part of the Group's responsibilities HMNB Clyde.jpg
Security of nuclear weapons at Faslane, HM Naval Base Clyde is part of the Group's responsibilities

The 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (43 Cdo FP Gp RM), [3] formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983), Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001) and Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (2001–2012), is a 550-man unit of the Royal Marines responsible for guarding the United Kingdom's Naval nuclear weapons and providing Royal Marine Boarding Teams and the very high readiness Fleet Contingent Troop to conduct maritime interdiction operations in support of the Royal Navy. The unit, based at HM Naval Base Clyde, is part of 3 Commando Brigade.

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.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom, officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but more commonly known as the UK or Britain, is a sovereign country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state‍—‌the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Nuclear weapon Explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or from a combination of fission and fusion reactions. Both bomb types release large quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first test of a fission ("atomic") bomb released an amount of energy approximately equal to 20,000 tons of TNT (84 TJ). The first thermonuclear ("hydrogen") bomb test released energy approximately equal to 10 million tons of TNT (42 PJ). A thermonuclear weapon weighing little more than 2,400 pounds (1,100 kg) can release energy equal to more than 1.2 million tons of TNT (5.0 PJ). A nuclear device no larger than traditional bombs can devastate an entire city by blast, fire, and radiation. Since they are weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a focus of international relations policy.



Second World War

Early Commando units were all from the British Army but by February 1942, the Royal Marines were asked to organize Commando units of their own, and 6,000 men volunteered. [4]

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.

43 Commando was formed in July 1943 after the decision was made to convert the battalions of the Royal Marine Division into commando units. [5] The initial intake of personnel was drawn from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Marines, [6] and following commando training at Achnacarry in Scotland, the unit consisted of about 450 men organized into a headquarters, five infantry troops consisting of three officers and 63 other ranks, along with a heavy weapons troop—armed with Vickers machine guns, 3-inch mortars and 6-pounder anti-tank guns—and a signals platoon. [7] [8]

Battalion military unit size

A battalion is a military unit. The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. A battalion is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. In some countries, the word "battalion" is associated with the infantry.

The Royal Marines Division was formed in August 1940 as the British Royal Marines expanded to meet operational demands during the Second World War.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Along with No. 2, No. 9 and No. 40 (Royal Marine) Commandos, 43 Commando formed the 2nd Special Service Brigade. [9] Throughout the course of 1943–45, No. 43 (Royal Marine) Commando served in Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece. [10]

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. 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.

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.

Victoria Cross

Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during Operation Roast at Lake Comacchio, Italy during the Second World War. Hunter cleared a farmhouse containing three Spandau machine-guns on his own, firing a Bren Gun from his hip. Hunter then proceeded to draw enemy fire until most of his troop had taken cover. [11] The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Riches RM was also awarded the DSO in this action. He went on to be Commandant General Royal Marines between 1959 and 1962. [12]

Victoria Cross highest military decoration awarded for valour in armed forces of various Commonwealth countries

The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for gallantry "in the presence of the enemy" to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously. It was previously awarded to Commonwealth countries, most of which have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. It may be awarded to a person of any military rank in any service and to civilians under military command although no civilian has received the award since 1879. Since the first awards were presented by Queen Victoria in 1857, two-thirds of all awards have been personally presented by the British monarch. These investitures are usually held at Buckingham Palace.

Operation Roast

Operation Roast was a military operation undertaken by British Commandos, at Comacchio lagoon in north-east Italy, during the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy, part of the Italian Campaign, during the final stages of Second World War.

Valli di Comacchio lagoons in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

The Valli di Comacchio, meaning "fish basins of Comacchio", are a series of contiguous brackish lagoons situated to the south of Comacchio, close to the Adriatic coast of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. They lie within the comuni of Comacchio and Argenta in the province of Ferrara and the comune of Ravenna in the province of Ravenna.


43 Commando RM was reformed at Stonehouse Barracks in 1961 [13] "as a further contribution to the forces available for seaborne operations". [14] The unit was disbanded again in 1968. [13]

Stonehouse Barracks military installation at Stonehouse, Plymouth in the UK

Stonehouse Barracks is a military installation at Stonehouse, Plymouth. It is the home of 3 Commando Brigade and referred to by commandos as 'the spiritual home of the Royal Marines'.

On 1 May 1980, the Comacchio Company Royal Marines was formed - taking its name from the battle honour "Comacchio, Italy 1945", where Hunter posthumously received the Victoria Cross for his actions. [15] On its formation, Comacchio Company took on the colours and traditions of the then-defunct 43 Commando. [16] The company's purpose was to guard the UK's Naval nuclear weapons and as a Maritime Counter-Terrorism unit for offshore installations, including oil rigs and ships. [16] The company initially numbered around 424 personnel. [16]

The Comacchio Company RM became Comacchio Group RM in November 1983. [16] From 1987 onwards, Comacchio Group also ceased performing the Maritime Counter-Terrorism role, after a study transferred the task to the newly formed M-squadron of the Royal Marines Special Boat Service. [16]

The Comacchio Group RM was renamed Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in March 2001, and was restructured into its current organisation. [16] The Group also moved from RM Condor in Arbroath Angus (where it was co-located with 45 Commando) to HM Naval Base Clyde, which is situated near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute (both in Scotland). [16]

In 2012, FPGRM formally adopted the name 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines. [17]

In 2016, it was announced that elements of the unit would be using the Colt Canada C8 carbine instead of the standard L85A2. [18]

Commanding officers

Fleet Protection Group

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines

Tasks and organisation

The primary mission is to prevent unauthorised access to the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent through the provision of specialist military capability. Additionally, maritime boarding and sniper teams and the very high readiness Fleet Contingent Troop are deployed world-wide to conduct specialist maritime security tasks in support of the Royal Navy. [21]

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines is a Royal Marine Unit based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Scotland and is part of 3 Commando Brigade, the UK’s high readiness expeditionary amphibious force. [21] As of 2016, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines has over 550 personnel and is organised into several sub-units: [21]

Royal Navy Reserve Augmentation

Naval ratings of the Royal Naval Reserve have been attached to 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines to support the force protection tasks outside of the United Kingdom, this organisation was known as P Squadron but was disbanded with the force protection duties being transferred to the standing tasks commando unit, a duty which rotates annually between Commando units. [23]

See also

Related Research Articles

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The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. and is responsible for the operation of naval aircraft. The Fleet Air Arm recently started operating the F-35 Lightning II in a Maritime Strike Role, the AW159 Wildcat and AW101 Merlin in both Commando and Anti-Submarine roles, and the BAE Hawk. Helicopters such as the Lynx and Westland Wasp were previously deployed on smaller vessels since 1964, taking over the roles once performed by biplanes such as the Fairey Swordfish.

Standing Royal Navy deployments

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

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Her Majestys Naval Service United Kingdoms naval warfare and maritime service

Her Majesty's Naval Service, also known as the Senior Service, is the United Kingdom's naval warfare and maritime service. It consists of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve and Naval Careers Service. The term Naval Service should be distinguished from the "UK Naval Services", which consist of the Naval Service and the Merchant Navy. The Naval Service as a whole falls under the command of the Navy Board, which is headed by the First Sea Lord. This position is currently held by Admiral Sir Phillip Jones. The Defence Council delegates administration of the Naval Service to the Admiralty Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Marines Military service branch specialized in amphibious warfare

Marines, also known as naval infantry, are typically an infantry force that specializes in the support of naval and army operations at sea and on land and air, as well as the execution of their own operations. In many countries, the marines are an integral part of that state's navy. In others, it is a separate organization altogether, such as in the United States, where the Marine Corps falls under the US Department of the Navy, yet it operates independently. Marines can also fall under a country's army like the Troupes de marine and Givati Brigade.

All Arms Commando Course

The All Arms Commando Course (AACC) lasts for 13 weeks and is run by the Royal Marines at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone. Members from any of the United Kingdom's Regular Armed Forces and overseas exchange personnel can attend to serve with 3 Commando Brigade. On completion of the course the successful candidate earns the right to wear the green beret, and to wear the "Commando Dagger" on their uniform. The Royal Marines expects that nearly half of the volunteers will drop out or be dismissed before completing the AACC.

The Brigade Patrol Troop is a troop of Royal Marines, United Kingdom, under command of the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS), 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group.

42 Commando is a subordinate unit within the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Fleet Commander.

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The history of the Royal Marines began on 28 October 1664 with the formation of the Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot soon becoming known as the Admiral's Regiment. During the War of the Spanish Succession the most historic achievement of the Marines was the capture of the mole during the assault on Gibraltar in 1704. On 5 April 1755, His Majesty's Marine Forces, fifty Companies in three Divisions, headquartered at Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth, were formed by Order of Council under Admiralty control.

RM Condor

RM Condor is a large Royal Marines base located near Arbroath in East Angus, Scotland. The base also houses 7 (Sphinx) Battery Royal Artillery, part of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

Fleet Command is responsible for the command, operations, readiness, training and force generation of all ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, diving teams, and shore establishments of the Royal Australian Navy. Fleet Command is headquartered at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney, and is led by the Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT), also referred to as Fleet Commander Australia (FCAUST), which is a rear admiral (two-star) appointment.

3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron

3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron, Royal Marines, was formed in 1968 in Singapore by the amalgamation of three Commando Air Troops and the Brigade Flight. The squadron moved to Plymouth in 1971 and the two remaining UK Commando Air Troops became part of it. Apart from during the Falkands War, when the whole squadron was involved, it operated mostly on individual flight detachments. 3 Commando Brigade Air Squadron became 847 Naval Air Squadron in 1995.


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  2. "Colonel Tony de Reya Royal Marines" (PDF). Royal Navy. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  3. "43 Commando resurrected as historic Royal Marines unit returns".
  4. Haskew, pp.48–49
  5. Neillands 2004, pp. 81–82.
  6. Neillands 2004, p. 81.
  7. Neillands 2004, p. 79.
  8. Saunders 1959, p. 180.
  9. Chappell 1996, p. 28.
  10. Neillands 2004, p. 78.
  11. "Ninth Supplement". The London Gazette . London (37127): 3087. 12 June 1945.
  12. Obituary: General Sir Ian Riches The Independent, 6 January 1997
  13. 1 2 "43 Commando". British Army units 1945 on. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  14. "The Naval Review, Vol XLIX, No 3 dated July 1961, p292" (PDF). 1961. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  15. "No. 37127". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 1945. pp. 3087–380.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Fleet Protection Group" (PDF). RM Historical. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  17. 43 Commando resurrected as historic Royal Marines unit returns – Royal Navy, 04/04/12
  18. "UK Royal Marine unit ditches the SA80 for Colt C8" . Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  19. "No. 59784". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 May 2011. p. 9237.
  20. "43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines" . Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Fleet Protection Group". Elite Forces. Retrieved 15 July 2017.
  22. "Royal Marines storm the Rock to protect Britain's ultimate weapon". Royal Navy. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  23. HMS Eaglet accessed 14 December 2015