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Royal Marines Units

The Royal Navy's own amphibious infantry are the Royal Marines, acknowledged as one of the world's elite fighting forces.

3 Commando Brigade is on permanent operational readiness and is a core component of the UK's Joint Rapid Reaction Force.

When combined with the Royal Navy's amphibious ships, 3 Commando Brigade is a highly mobile, self-sustained and versatile force with a strategic power projection capability which is unique among the British armed forces.

The brigade can deploy anywhere in the world, at short notice, either to mount an amphibious assault or else to be poised offshore in a strategic demonstration of military force in order to deter an aggressor’s hostile intent. Capable of operating ashore as a light brigade in any terrain or climate, their particular is in expertise in mountain and cold weather operations.

The brigade comprises three commando units, combat support and combat service support units. In transition to war it would be enhanced by Royal Marine Reservists as well as Territorial Army units.

The commando units each number around 700 men and are based in Taunton (40 Commando), Plymouth (42 Commando) and Arbroath (45 Commando). These units are the equivalent of light infantry battalions and each can deploy either independently or as an operational group with combat support units.

The latter bring additional capability which can be deployed to tie down or fix enemy forces while the commando units manoeuvre to strike them. This comes from units such as 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.

Offloading an amphibious force and its equipment quickly and efficiently is a key operational step. Some landing craft will be based on the amphibious ships but extra support is afforded by 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, and airlift support is provided by the Joint Helicopter Command.

The Commando Logistic Regiment provides the organised control, distribution and availability of material which has a direct bearing on a commander's ability to achieve his objective. In this, it is a key enabling component of the Brigade.

At the top of everything, the brigade staff and the Command Support Group are responsible for command, control and communications, all vital functions in the complex world of amphibious operations.