|Active||1947 - present|
The Naval Commandos (French language: Commandos Marine) are the special forces of the French Navy. They are made up of ~500 members, mostly based in northwestern France (Brittany), with several bases across the country for specific training needs. The Naval Commandos are nicknamed bérets verts (Green Berets). They operate under the Naval rifle and special force Command and the French Special Operations Command.
The Naval Commandos were formed during World War II in Great Britain modeled alongside the British Commandos (who were founded in 1940). They were formed from Free French Navy Fusiliers-Marins (naval infantry) and trained at the Commando training facility Achnacarry, Scotland. To remember this the beret of the French naval commandos is worn pulled to the right with the badge worn over the left eye or temple, the opposite of all other French units.
Recruitment and training
All the recruits must first be Fusiliers-Marins with at least 9 months of service. They have to enter a special forces basic training course reputed to be one of the toughest among the NATO Special Operation Forces. The basic training is called Stage Commando (commando training).
Commando training is the gateway to the special forces for the marines. Conducted at the Fusilier Marins school at Lorient on the Atlantic coast, it provides upon graduation access to the commandos and the right to wear the green beret and the badge of the commandos. Lasting 20 weeks, it includes one week of commando testing, 6 weeks of preparatory training, 4 weeks of evaluation, the actual commando training for 7 weeks, and 2 weeks of parachute training. During this period, any mistake can instantly disqualify the candidate. The ultimate goal of this training is to detect individuals with the physical, intellectual and psychological potential needed to work into the marine commandos. The historical roots of commando training date back to the Second World War, when volunteers of the Free French Navy went to the Commando training center in Achnacarry, Scotland. Since then, naval commandos has kept by tradition the green beret pulled right with the bronze shield badge on the left, the only such exception in the French armed forces. They have mostly retained the principle of exceptional training without compromise, based on immersion in a highly stressful environment, close to the conditions of combat operations.
The Commandos in training are constantly under stress and pressure from instructors leaving them no respite. All activities are timed and scored: marching several tens of kilometers with equipment and weapon, obstacle course, combat strokes, navigation at night on the ground. The training is punctuated by firearms training and special combat techniques, rappeling and climbing, boating, explosives and hand-to-hand combat. The instructors are usually former commando operatives who monitor and punish any misconduct with extra-hard physical activity.
The Commandos Marine have evolved to be broadly comparable to the British Special Boat Service.
- Commando Hubert (also named Commando d'Action Sous-Marine Hubert, CASM, "underwater operations commando"): Submarine action (combat divers).
- Commando Jaubert: Assault at sea, exfiltration, close quarters battle at sea.
- Commando Trepel: Assault at sea, exfiltration.
- Commando de Penfentenyo: Reconnaissance, Intelligence Operations (recon swimmers)
- Commando de Montfort: Long range neutralisation (missile launchers, light mortars, heavy sniper rifles), fire support designation
- Commando Kieffer: C3I, military dogs
- "Le commando de Montfort". Net-Marine. http://www.netmarine.net/forces/commando/montfort/index.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- (French) Official website
- (French) netmarine.net
- (French) L'école des bérets verts a 52 minutes TV documentary focused on the commando-marine course
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