Military Wiki

Peruvian Naval Infantry conducting exercises on the Amazon River

Spanish and U.S. Marines, marched together in a change of command ceremony at Naval Station Rota, Spain (July 2002)

Marines, also known as a marine corps or naval infantry, are an infantry force that specializes in naval operations such as amphibious assault. In the majority of countries, the marine force is part of the navy, but it can also be under the army or independent command.

Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included providing protection from war while at sea, reflecting the pressed nature of the ships' company and the risk of mutiny. Other tasks would include boarding of vessels during combat or capture of prize ships and providing manpower for raiding ashore in support of the naval objectives. Marine elements would also contribute to the campaign ashore, in support of the military objective.

With the industrialization of warfare in the 20th century the scale of landing operations increased; thus brought with it an increased likelihood of opposition and a need for co-ordination of various military elements. Marine forces evolved to specialize in the skills and capabilities required for amphibious warfare.


sketch of an ancient Greek sailing trireme with the sail extended

Ancient Greek trireme

In the earliest day of naval warfare, there was little distinction between sailors and soldiers on a warship. In ancient China, the first well-known naval battles took place during the Warring States period (481 BC - 221 BC), where kings ruling regional states battled against one another. Chinese naval warfare in this ancient period featured grapple-and-hook, as well as ramming tactics with ships called "stomach strikers" and "colliding swoopers".[1] It was written in the subsequent Han Dynasty that the Warring States era Chinese had employed ge chuan ships (dagger-axe ships, or halberd ships), thought to have a simple description of a ship manned by marines carrying dagger-axe halberds as personal weapons to defend their ship . In the west as the oarsmen of Ancient Greek and Roman ships had to be capable of fighting the rowers of opposing ships hand-to-hand;[1] though hoplites began appearing on Greek ships specifically for the boarding of enemy ships.[2][3] The Roman Navy's two fleet legions, I Adiutrix and II Adiutrix, were among the first distinct naval infantry units.[4][5]

The first organized corps of marines was created when the Spanish King Carlos V first assigned the naval infantry of the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley Squadrons) in 1537, progenitors of the current Spanish Navy Marines (Infantería de Marina) corps.[6][7]


The word marine is from the English adjective marine, meaning of the sea, via French marin(e), of the sea from Latin marinus ("maritime").

The word marine was originally used for the forces of England and exact one-word translations for the term do not exist in many other languages except for the Dutch word marinier. Typically, foreign equivalents are called naval infantry or coastal infantry. In French-speaking countries, two phrases exist which could be translated as marine, troupes de marine and fusiliers-marins; similar pseudo-translations exist elsewhere, e.g., Fuzileiros Navais in Portuguese. The word marine/marina means "navy" in many European languages such as Dutch, French, Italian, German, Danish and Norwegian.


U.S. Marines conducting a live fire training exercise aboard an amphibious assault ship

The principal role of marine troops is military operations in the littoral zone, operating from ships they are trained to land on and secure key points to around 50 miles inland, or as far as ship borne logistics can provide.[citation needed]

Marine units primarily deploy from warships using helicopters, landing craft, hovercraft or amphibious vehicles.

In addition to their primary role, marine troops are also used in a variety of other naval roles such as ships detachments, small scale raiding, boarding operations, naval vessel & port security, riverine missions, mess duty, and field day operations.

By country


  • The Argentine Marine Corps (Infantería de Marina de la Armada de la República Argentina or IMARA) is a part of the Argentine Navy. Argentine marines have the same rank insignia and titles as the rest of the Navy. It is composed of a Fleet Marine Force (one marine battalion, plus artillery, air defence, communications, logistics, engineer and vehicle units), a Southern Marine Force (two marine battalions), a river operations battalion, a special forces unit (the Amphibious Commandos Group) and several security battalions and companies. The 5th Battalion of the Infanteria de Marina fought in the Falklands War (Spanish language: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur



  • Several of the Colonial navies of Australia raised volunteer naval infantry and naval militia brigades in the second half of 19th century. The Victorian Naval Brigade was formed in 1859, the Sydney Naval Brigade in 1864 (later supplemented by the Naval Artillery Volunteers in 1897) and the Queensland Naval Brigade in 1873. Following the Federation of Australia they were combined into the Commonwealth Naval Militia. With the formation of the Royal Australian Navy in 1911 they were renamed the Royal Australian Naval Brigade. At its peak in 1915 it numbered 2,817 officers and men. The Naval Brigade was disbanded in 1920 and volunteers were absorbed into the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.
  • The 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment of the Australian Army will be retrained in the marine role by 2014.[8]



Brazilian marines demonstrate lane training.

  • The Corps of Naval Fusiliers (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais), with about 15,000 men, is subordinate to the Brazilian Navy. The Marine Corps is composed of an Operational Brigade and some Guard and Ceremonial Duty Battalions. The main unit is the brigade-sized Divisão Anfíbia (Amphibious Division).



Chilean Navy special forces seen here using the MP5N

China, People's Republic of


  • The 24,000-member Colombian Marine Corps is organized into a single division with four brigades (one counter-terrorist and three river brigades), each with several battalions plus numerous small security units. It is a part of the Colombian Navy.


  • The Croatian Navy maintains a 200-man naval infantry corps headquartered in Split. The group consists of three companies divided between Pula, Šibenik and Ploče and the 4th Guards Brigade (based at Split), which was transferred to the Croatian Navy as a naval infantry unit in January 2002.[9]


  • The Cuban Revolutionary Navy (Marina de Guerra Revolucionaria or MGR) maintains a small marine battalion called the Desembarco de Granma.


  • The 5,000-man Ecuadorian Navy maintains a 1,700-man Naval Infantry Corps (Cuerpo de Infanteria de Marina) headquartered in Guayaquil. It was formed on 12 November 1962. It is organised into two security battalions, one in the Amazon River area and the other on the Pacific coast. There is also a commando battalion based on the Galápagos Islands.


Egyptian marines aim a SG43 machine-gun during an amphibious during Exercise Bright Star '85

  • The 111th Independent Mechanized Brigade (formerly the 130th Marine Amphibious Brigade) of the Egyptian Army can conduct amphibious assault operations. There is also the 153rd Commando Group with three Marine Commandos Battalions (515th, 616th, 818th) controlling 12 Marine Commandos Companies.

El Salvador

  • The El Salvador Navy included two 600-man Marine Infantry Battalions (Batallon de Infanteria de Marina or BIM), and a 300-man Naval Commando Force. The BIMs were located at La Unión and Usulatan.
  • The Salvadoran Marine Corps uses green pixel and green woodland uniforms.


Finnish coastal jaegers in a landfall exercise

) in Ekenäs is a marine infantry unit of the Finnish Navy and trains the Finnish Navy's Coastal Jaegers. The detachment is the only Swedish-speaking unit in the Finnish Defence Forces.


Group of naval fusiliers of Toulon, France

  • The Fusiliers Marins (Naval Fusiliers) are naval personnel. They protect vessels and installations, provide the navy with military training, augment boarding-landing parties and support operations of the Commandos Marine. Out of their ranks come the naval special forces Commandos Marine (Naval Commandos), a six company Commando formation whose roots can be traced to the Second World War. The Commandos Marine have evolved to be broadly comparable to the British Special Boat Service, with whom they exchange officers.

French Troupes de marine with Task Force Korrigan in Afghanistan, 2009


A German Navy boarding team member provides security for the remainder of his team as they board a local cargo dhow by fast rope to conduct a search of the vessel.

  • The Spezialisierte Einsatzkräfte Marine (Naval Special Deployment Force) is a special operations formation of the German Navy. The battalion includes the Kampfschwimmerkompanie (German commando frogmen), the Minentaucher kompanie and a boarding-company. The unit is based at Eckernförde.
  • The Marineschutzkräfte (Naval Protection Force), is responsible for the protection of naval bases and facilities and can also conduct small scale landings. The battalion is based in Eckernförde and is organized into five units: one staff & support company, three infantry companies and an intelligence section.



  • The Honduran Navy established at least one 600-man marine infantry battalion (Batallón de Infantería de Marina or BIM) in 1982.


  • The Indian navy has platoons of amphibious soldiers, similar to US Marines except incorporated as navy instead of a separate corps.[citation needed]
  • The Indian Navy has an elite special operations unit called "MARCOS" (Marine Commandos). They form a special/covert operations and counter-terrorism unit specializing in sea-air-land warfare. Also, they provide support to Indian Army units in specialized areas, such as preventing infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir's Wular lake. This unit was established in 1986, and is reputed to have a strength of 2000 personnel.
  • The Indian Army maintains the 340 Independent Infantry Brigade (Amphibious) subordinate to 12 Corps (Jodhpur, Rajasthan) of the South Western Command.[citation needed]




The Iraqi Navy is a small force with 800 sailors and six platoons of marines designed to protect the shoreline and inland waterways from insurgent infiltration. The navy is also responsible for the security of offshore oil platforms. The navy will have coastal patrol squadrons, assault boat squadrons and a marine battalion.[13] The force will consist of 2,000 to 2,500 sailors by 2010.[14]


  • Shayetet 13 is the elite commando unit of the Israeli Navy. It is tasked with performing special operations at sea, sea-to-land missions, reconnaissance, maritime intelligence gathering, and counter-terrorism operations.

The Lebanese Republic

Lebanon maintains an elite but very small in number "Navy Commando" regiment. Trained internationally and armed with mostly American and French made equipment, the Lebanese Navy Commandos maintain elite but seldom recognized status as some of the most skilled and well-trained special forces (alongside the Lebanese Maghaweer) in the Levant and Middle East.[15]


An Italian Marine sets security for his team to safely board a cargo ship to conduct a search of the vessel.

Italian Navy

  • The San Marco Regiment is the marine infantry unit of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).
  • COMSUBIN GOI (Commando Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori Teseo Tesei) is the elite commando frogman force of the Navy and one of the Italian special forces. It is largely drawn from the ranks of the San Marco Marines.

Italian Army


The JSDF has brigades operated similar to marines:

South Korea

  • The Republic of Korea Marine Corps is the marine corps of the Republic of Korea. Though theoretically it is under the direction of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Marine Corps operates as a distinct arm of the South Korean forces, unlike most other marine branches, which generally operate as part of the country's navy. It was founded as a reconnaissance force just prior to the start of the Korean War. The ROKMC has seen action in several major conflict. The ROKMC is most famously known for its participation in Vietnam, where it was credited with maintaining better control over its districts than any other country, by US commanders. The ROKMC also maintained a 25:1 kill/death ratio in battle. In one incident, a platoon of ROK Marines wiped out an NVA/VC battalion, alone.[16]

North Korea

  • The NKPA's Light Infantry Training Guidance Bureau has two or more amphibious light infantry/sniper brigades. These brigades are believed deployed to Wonsan on the east coast and Namp'o and Tasa-ri on the west coast. In organization and manpower, they are reduced versions of the regular light infantry brigades with a total strength of approximately 5,000 men organized into ten battalions. Each battalion has about 400 men organized into five companies each. Some amphibious brigade personnel are trained as frogmen.[17]


  • The Mexican Naval Infantry (Spanish: Infantería de Marina) of the Mexican Navy consists of 20,000 marines spread in a brigade of three battalions, plus a battalion attached to the Presidential Guard Brigade, three regional battalions with headquarters in Mexico City, Acapulco and Veracruz, and thirty-five independent companies (mainly In Celaya) and detachments distributed among ports, bases and zonal headquarters. The marines are responsible for port security, protection of the ten-kilometer coastal fringe, and patrolling major waterways. The marines have light arms, heavy weapons and armored amphibious vehicles. The Navy has ceded most of its riverine responsibilities to the Army, and has reduced the size of the marine force, putting them back aboard ships where they play a vital role in drug interdiction and boarding of suspect vessels in territorial waters.


  • The Myanmar Navy raised a naval infantry battalion of 800 men in 1964, followed by a second battalion in 1967. Two more battalions may have also been raised. They were deployed mainly to the Arakan and Tenasserim areas, and to the Irrawaddy delta, to assist in counter-insurgency operations, but also performed other security duties.


  • The Royal Netherlands Navy naval infantry unit is the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (Korps Mariniers), founded in 1665 as an infantry regiment to the Dutch Navy. They saw their first amphibious action in 1667 raiding the English coast during the Raid on the Medway. Today, it is a brigade approximately 3500 marines strong, consisting of three marine infantry battalions (one of which is in Aruba and Curaçao), one amphibious combat support battalion and one logistical battalion. The Dutch Marine Corps is an elite light infantry unit, operating as a rapid-reaction force, deployable anywhere in the world within 48 hours. Dutch Marines train in all possible geographical and climate conditions for their role. Enlisted marine recruit training lasts 30 weeks, and marine officers train up to five years (including naval academy time). It has its own Special Forces branch known as Maritime Special Operations Forces (MARSOF); including a smaller elite Counter Terrorism (CT) unit: the ‘Unit Interventie Mariniers’ (UIM) of roughly 130 operators. The UIM is the Netherlands main counter terrorism unit and upholds a reputation as one of the best of its kind, globally.


  • The Coastal Ranger Command (Kystjegerkommandoen or KJK) of the Norwegian Navy is an amphibious infantry unit trained to operate in littoral combat theatres, as naval infantry and coastal artillery. There is also an SBS type naval commando unit, the Marinejegerkommandoen.


Pakistani and U.S. Marines come ashore during a training exercise.

  • The Pakistan Marines division of the Pakistan Navy was re-established on April 14, 1990, with about 2000 men and plans to expand the force significantly by 2015. The marines are based at PNS Qasim naval base. The Pakistan Marine Corps assisted in the recovery efforts following the country's floods in 2010.


  • The Paraguayan Marine Corps (Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales) is a battalion-sized organization consisting of four company sized brigades.


  • The Peruvian Naval Infantry (Infantería de Marina del Perú) consists of around 3,000 naval infantrymen and includes an amphibious brigade of three battalions and local security units with two transport ships, four tank landing ships, and about forty Chaimite armored personnel carriers. Since 1982, IMAP detachments have been deployed, under army command, in counter-insurgency operations.


Philippine Marines push forward during an amphibious assault training exercise.

  • The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) has a strength of about 8,700 men divided into three brigades. The Philippine Marine Corps is considered the shock force of the armed forces and is the first unit to be involved in any amphibious or seaborne clashes.


  • The Polish Navy maintains several naval infantry units responsible for port and coastal security.
  • The Polish Army maintains the 7th Coastal Defense Brigade, which bears traditions of the disbanded 7th Coastal Defence Division (the Blue Berets), therefore it is sometimes referred to as the Marines of Poland. However, as of 2010 there are no plans by the Polish Army to create an active marine unit. Therefore, the 7th Brigade carries out only limited-scale exercises of amphibious assaults.


The Portuguese Corpo de Fuzileiros; the world's second oldest marine force.

  • The second oldest marine corps in the world was founded as the Terço of the Navy of the Crown of Portugal in 1618. The Portuguese Navy still maintains this naval infantry corps, which is currently known as the Corpo de Fuzileiros. The Portuguese Marine Corps consists of about 1500 men, including two naval infantry battalions, a naval police unit, a special operations unit and several support units (logistical, fire support, landing craft, etc.).


  • The 307th Marine Battalion (Batalionul 307 Infanterie Marină) is the light infantry/reconnaissance unit of the Romanian Naval Forces. It is located in Babadag, Tulcea County, and was formed in the mid-1970s for the defence of the Danube Delta and Romanian Black Sea shore.


A Russian Naval Infantryman on exercise

The Russian Navy also has the Russian commando frogmen, an elite unit of underwater reconnaissance.

Saudi Arabia

  • The Saudi Navy maintains two 1500-man marine brigades consisting of three battalions each. The brigades are assigned to the Western Fleet headquartered in Jeddah and the Eastern Fleet headquartered in Jubail. The brigades are equipped with 200 Pegaso BMR AFVs and HMMWVs.

South Africa

  • The South African Navy's new Rapid Reaction Squadron is a marine type unit. It is planned that this squadron will eventually be a battalion sized unit. Currently it consists of four companies. Members are sailors and use naval ranks. They are trained in infantry combat up to company sized operations. They are also used for crowd control and conduct peacekeeping operations. During peacekeeping operations they are meant to augment an army infantry battalion. Their role is very similar to the now disbanded South Africa Marine Corps.


Spanish Navy Marines deploying from an AAV-7

  • The Spanish Navy Marines (Infantería de Marina) are the oldest existing marine force in the world,[18] as they were established on February 27, 1537, by Charles I when he permanently assigned the Compañías Viejas del Mar de Nápoles (Naples Sea Old Companies) to the Escuadras de Galeras del Mediterráneo (Mediterranean Galley Squadrons). Their red trouser stripes mark the Infanteria de Marina as part of the Royal Household Corps, an honor only shared with the Royal Guard, and were given by Charles III to the marines in reward for their fierce defence of the Castillo del Morro in Havana against the British fleet in 1763.[19]

Sri Lanka

  • Special Boat Squadron is the elite special operations unit of the Sri Lanka Navy. It is capable of carrying out amphibious raids/operations, maritime counter-terrorism, reconnaissance and target indication, combat swimmer missions and small boat operations. As a special forces unit, its role is not limited to water-borne operations. It also conducts operations on land, either with ground combat units of the Navy and the Army, or separately.
  • Naval Patrolmen are naval infantry units of the Sri Lanka Navy. It may be 2-3 battalions strong. These units were formed primary as a protective force for base and port security, but has since been trained and deployed for amphibious and land combat operations. In addition to being equipped with light arms, the patrolmen have 60mm, 82mm mortars and operate Unibuffel light armored vehicles.


  • The Swedish Amphibious Corps (Svenska amfibiekåren) is an arm of the Swedish Navy. The Corps consists of six battalions, tasked with reconnaissance, amphibious assaults and combat on, over and under the surface of the sea.

Taiwan (R.O.C.)

  • The Republic of China Marine Corps (traditional Chinese:中華民國海軍陸戰隊) is responsible for amphibious combat, counter-landing and reinforcement of the main island of Taiwan, remote islands, defense of ROCN facilities, and also functions as a rapid reaction force and a strategic reserve.




File:DzKK BG (13).jpg

Amphibious Marine Infantry Brigade Command operatives during a training.

Amphibious Marine Infantry Brigade Command is the marine corps unit of the Turkish Naval Forces which consists 4,500 men based in Foça near İzmir, three amphibious battalions, an MBT battalion, an artillery battalion, a support battalion and other company-sized units.


A Ukrainian Marine displaying an AKS-74U

  • The Ukrainian Marines was founded in 1993 from a unit of the former Soviet Naval Infantry.

United Arab Emirates

  • The UAE Marines is a battalion-sized unit; it is equipped with BTR-3s.

United Kingdom

British Royal Marines disembark from their Rigid Raider landing craft onto a beach during an exercise.

  • The Royal Marines (RM) were formed in 1664 and are a part of the UK Naval Service. They have the longest infantry training in the world, which stands at 32 weeks for an enlisted recruit[20] and 64 weeks for an officer recruit.[21] They include a commando brigade (3 Commando Brigade RM), a naval security unit responsible for guarding Britain's naval nuclear weapons and other security duties (the Fleet Protection Group RM), a landing craft and boat-training group which is also a parent unit for three landing craft units deployed on amphibious-support ships, a naval special forces unit (the Special Boat Service) and a naval band service (Royal Marines Band Service).

United States

A U.S. Marine scaling the seawall at Inchon, 15 September 1950, during the Korean War

  • The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is currently the largest marine force in the world, responsible for the United States of America's maritime expeditionary operations. Created in 1775, they were originally intended only to guard naval vessels during the American Revolutionary War.[22] While the USMC is a component part of the Department of the Navy in the military command structure, it is a military branch completely separate from the United States Navy. Indeed when the navy was first established the USMC was used to train the Navy's untrained sailors.[citation needed] The USMC also provides marines as security guards at U.S. diplomatic posts throughout the world. They also provide helicopter transportation for the President of the United States aboard Marine One. Their motto is Semper Fidelis, which means "always faithful" in Latin.


  • The Uruguayan Marine Corps (Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales or FUSNA) is a battalion-sized organization consisting of four company sized brigades.


  • The Venezuelan Marine Corps (Infantería de Marina) is a sub-division of the Venezuelan Navy. Headquartered in Meseta de Mamo, Vargas, the estimated numerical strength of this unit is approximately 8,000 men and women. Its mission is to "enlist and direct its units in order to form the disembarking force and/or support of amphibious or special operations; executing naval safeguarding and environmental policing, as well as actively participating in the national development".


  • The Vietnam People's Navy maintains a naval infantry force. It once stood at eleven brigades each of several battalions. The first naval infantry unit was established in 1975 and was known as the 126th Brigade. Currently the Vietnam People's Navy maintains two naval infantry brigades which are the 101st Brigade and 147th Brigade.

Historical marine forces

Ancient Greece

The ancient Greek states did not possess specialized marine infantry, instead they used hoplites and archers as an onboard contingent (epibatai).

Ancient Rome

The Roman Navy used regular infantry as marines. Naval personnel were trained for raiding and also provided the troops for at least two legions (I Adiutrix and II Adiutrix) for service on land. The various provincial fleets were usually provided with marines from the adjacent legions.

Byzantine Empire

For several centuries, the Byzantine navy used the descendants of the Mardaites, who were settled in southern Anatolia and Greece, as marines and rowers for its ships. Emperor Basil I also established a separate marine regiment, 4,000 strong, for the central Imperial Fleet based at Constantinople. These were professional troops, and were counted among the elite tagmata.

In the 1260s, when emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos rebuilt the navy, he recruited the Tzakones (settlers from Laconia) and the Gasmouloi (men of mixed Greek-Latin descent) as special marine troops. Despite the progressive decline and virtual disappearance of the navy, they remained active until the late Palaiologan period.

Confederate States of America

The Confederate States Marine Corps (CSMC), a branch of the Confederate States Navy, was established by the Confederate Congress on 16 March 1861 and were mainly (80%) defectors from the U.S. Marines.


Marineregimentet (The Marine Regiment) was the naval infantry of the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy.


The Meredessantpataljon, was a short lived infantry battalion of the Estonian Navy. The battalion was created in 1919 from the crews of the Estonian surface warships and was based in Tallinn. The unit was mainly used on the Southern Front during the Estonian War of Independence. The unit was operational from March to June in 1919.


Late 19th century French Marines (officer and private)

The Troupes de marine were founded in 1622 (as compagnies ordinaires de la mer) as land forces under the control of the Secretary of State of the Navy, notably for operations in French Canada. The Compagnies de la Mer were transformed in line infantry regiments by Napoleon, but became once more marine forces in 1822 (for the artillery) and 1831 (for the infantry). These Troupes de marines were in the 19th century the main overseas and colonial forces of the French military. In 1900 they were put under the orders of the War Ministry and took the name of Troupes Coloniales (Colonial Forces). In 1958 the designation of Troupes Coloniales was changed to Troupes d'Outre-Mer (Overseas Forces) but in 1961 it reverted to the original Troupes de marine. Throughout these changes in title these troops continued to be part of the French Army.

Gran Colombia

The Confederation of Gran Colombia Marines were formed in 1822 and were disbanded in 1829, Personnel were mostly from Venezuela.


  • German Empire: During the German Imperial era, three ‘sea battalions’ or Seebataillone[23] based at Kiel, Wilhelmshaven and Tsingtao were maintained. These units served intermittently as colonial intervention forces. The III Seebataillon at the imperial navy’s east Asian station at Tsingtao was the only all-German unit with permanent status in a protectorate/colony. The battalion fought at the Siege of Tsingtao.
  • East Germany: The East German army's Nr29. Regiment ("Ernst Moritz Arndt") was a Motorized Rifle Regiment intended for amphibious operations in the Baltic Sea; while the Volksmarine Kampfschwimmer: Combat swimmer units were intended for support of amphibious operations and for raiding.



The Blackshirt militia maintained an independent Marine Group with four MVSN battalions (24th, 25th, 50th and 60th).


The landing of the Japanese Marines from the Unyo at Ganghwa Island, Korea, in the 1875 Ganghwa Island incident

During feudal Japan the Japanese also used Ashigaru soldier or regular Yumi archer as soldier to protect ships from pirates. Both the Imperial Japanese Navy and Imperial Japanese Army maintained marine-type units. Both were dissolved at the end of World War II and Japan does not currently have marines as such.

The Netherlands

The Corps was founded on 10 December 1665 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War by the unofficial leader of the republic Johan de Witt and Admiral Michiel de Ruyter as the Regiment de Marine. Its leader was Willem Joseph Baron van Ghent. The Dutch had successfully used ordinary soldiers in ships at sea in the First Anglo-Dutch War. It was the fifth European marine unit formed, being preceded by the Spanish Marines (1537), the Portuguese Marines (1610), the French Marines (1622) and the English Royal Marines (1664). Like Britain, the Netherlands has had several periods when its Marines were disbanded. The Netherlands itself was under French occupation or control from 1810 until 1813. A new marine unit was raised on 20 March 1801 during the time of the Batavian Republic and on 14 August 1806 the Korps Koninklijke Grenadiers van de Marine was raised under King Louis Bonaparte. The modern Korps Mariniers dates from 1814, receiving its current name in 1817.

The battle honors on the Korps Mariniers' colors are: Raid on the Medway (1667), Kijkduin (1673), Sennefe (1674), Spain, Dogger Bank (1781), West Indies, Algiers (1816), Atjeh, Bali, Rotterdam (1940), Java Sea (1942), Java and Madoera (1947–1948), New Guinea (1962) and Cambodia (1992-1993).

Ottoman Empire

The role of Ottoman naval infantry originated in Orhan's conquest of the Karasi Beylik and the capture of its fleet. From then on Janissaries and Azaps were sometimes deployed as marines during the 14th Century. The Deniz azaps were used during the 16th Century; while troops called Levend (Bahriyeli) were raised on and off over the centuries - over 50,000 of them by the late 18th century. The last raised units were the Ta'ifat al Ru'sa (corsair captains militia) recruited from among the North African Arabs and indigenous Berbers. Ottoman marines were part of the Ottoman navy.

Portuguese Empire

Portugal raised numerous companies of Special Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais) and African Special Marines (Fuzileiros Especiais Africanos), both at home and in the African colonies of Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique, for service in Africa during the Portuguese Colonial Wars. The African Special Marines were all-black units.

Russian Empire

The Imperial Russian Navy used several regiments of marine equipage troops that fought as much on land as they served in ship detachments. One battalion was formed within the Guard, and served on the Imperial family's ships.

Soviet Union

Soviet Naval Infantrymen during a demonstration in 1990

The Soviet Navy had a number of small battalion-sized naval infantry and coastal defence units that mostly served in the ports and bases before the Second World War. During the war, and building on the visuals of the mutinied sailors of Petrograd in 1917, the Stavka ordered formation of naval infantry brigades from the surplus to either ship or shore duty sailors, and forty brigades served in mostly ground troops roles until 1944 when they were used for amphibious operations in Norway and along the Black Sea coast.

South Africa

The South Africa Marine Corps was set up as a sub-branch of the South African Navy in 1979, with the primary purpose of protecting harbours. The Marines were disbanded in 1989, following a major restructuring of the Navy at the end of the South African Border War.

United Kingdom

  • The Royal Marines date from the establishment of a Maritime Regiment of Foot in 1664. Six Marine Regiments for Sea were formed in 1702 but by 1713 they had been disbanded or taken into the army as regiments of foot. In 1755, a permanent Corps of fifty companies of marines was established for direct service under the Admiralty and this force has an unbroken descent to the Royal Marines of today. See History of the Royal Marines.
  • The Royal Navy has since its beginning formed naval landing parties of seamen for action ashore, this being later formalised into the Naval Brigades. These brigades would often dismount guns from their parent vessels for use ashore, these guns often being the only artillery available. The most famous example of this form of land service was provided by the guns accompanying the forces relieving Ladysmith.
  • The Corps of Colonial Marines were raised from former slaves as auxiliary units of the Royal Marines for service in the Americas: Two of these units were raised and subsequently disbanded. The first was a small unit which existed from 1808 to 12 October 1810, the second was more substantial and existed from May 1814 to 20 August 1816.
  • The Royal Naval Division was part of the Royal Navy in the First World War. In 1914, the shortage of ground forces for the Western Front led to the creation of the Division, composed of two brigades of sailors and a brigade formed by the Royal Marines. The Division was part of the Royal Navy but for command purposes was integrated into the army's command structure. The sailors were initially disappointing as infantry, but eventually developed into one of the better divisions. The Division participated in the defence of the Belgian city of Antwerp in late 1914, and then served with heavy casualties at the Battle of Gallipoli. At different times the Division included various army units. The division ceased to exist after the end of the First World War.

United States

  • Gooch's Marines,[24] the 61st Foot, raised in the American colonies for the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739. This was a 3,000 man American regiment of the British Army that served alongside British Marines. Among its officers was Lawrence Washington, half-brother of George Washington. It was disbanded as a regiment in 1742 and the remaining independent companies were merged with another regiment in 1746.
  • Nobel Jones' Company of Marine Boatmen of the Georgia militia also fought in the War of Jenkins' Ear, helping defeat a Spanish amphibious landing on St. Simons Island in the Battle of Gully Hole Creek and the Battle of Bloody Marsh.
  • American Colonial Marines were State Marines raised for the various state navies that came into existence shortly before the Revolutionary War.
  • The Continental Marines were the marine force of the American Colonies during American Revolutionary War. The Corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775, and was disbanded in 1783. The Continental Marines' first and only Commandant was Captain Samuel Nicholas.
  • Hillet Marine River Regiment of the Union Army during the American Civil War, this regiment consisted of 10 rifle companies, a Cavalry Battalion of 5 companies, and an artillery battalion of three batteries, all of whom operated from Mississippi River gunboats as part of the Mississippi River Squadron.
  • The Republic of Texas Marine Corps Although a marine corps was suggested in the "Act and Decree Establishing a Navy," passed on November 25, 1835, it was not until acting governor James W. Robinson strongly urged the swift formation of such an organization in his message to the General Council on January 14, 1836, that steps were actually taken to commission officers of marines and recruit enlisted personnel. Before the end of the Republic of Texas and annexation to the United States, more than 350 men served with the Texas Marine Corps, and at least eighteen officers were commissioned to command them. The Texas Marine Corps served under the direction of the Navy Department of the Republic, and the duties of the corps were specifically ordained in fifteen articles passed by the Texas Congress on December 13, 1836. The corps was modeled upon the United States Marine Corps, but no post of commandant was ever established. Marines served under their own officers aboard ship and ashore but were subject to the orders of the senior naval officer present. Pay and allowances were based upon those of the United States Marine Corps, and the uniform of the Texas Marine came from discontinued USMC stocks, changing only the buttons and cap devices to those of Texas configuration.



Vietnamese dynasties had a long tradition of utilizing marines. This tradition went back no later than the Annam Protectorate of Tang dynasty when the governors built boats and trained marines to fight off pirates and invaders. The successive Vietnamese dynasties made full use of their marines' superiority at river and sea to launch successful campaigns against their northward and southward neighbours alike.

The forerunner of the Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps (VNMC) was established by Ngo Dinh Diem, then prime minister of what was then the State of Vietnam on October 13, 1954. The Republic of Vietnam was established in October 1955 after Diem used a fraudulent referendum to topple Bao Dai. The VNMC became defunct on 1 May 1975 after the fall of Saigon.


The 12th Naval Infantry Brigade (Mornaricka Pesadijska Brigada) of the Yugoslavian Navy consisted of 900 to 2,000 men in three battalions. A multi-ethnic unit, the brigade was broken up during the dissolution of the Yugoslav federation and saw little action.

See also


  1. Themistocles, History of the Peloponnesian War XIV
  2. Plutarch, Parallel Lives
  3. Casson, Lionel (1991). The Ancient Mariners (2nd ed.). Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01477-9. 
  4. Lendering, Jona. "Legio I Adiutrix". Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  5. Lendering, Jona. "Legio II Adiutrix". Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  6. Handbook for Marine NCOs, Kenneth W. Estes, Robert Debs Heinl, Naval Institute Press, 1995 ISBN 1-55750-238-2
  7. "Historia de La Infanteria de Marina" (in Spanish language). Spanish Navy Marines. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  8. "Specialist force trained for East Timor-style operations". Herald Sun. 12 December 2012. 
  10. [1]
  11. [2]
  12. The IISS estimates the IRGC Naval Forces are 20,000 strong including 5,000 marines (one brigade).
  13. The New Iraqi Security Forces, Article on MNF-I website, 20 April 2006
  14. US Department of State, Iraq Weekly Status Report Mars 21, 2007
  16. Battle of Trà Bình
  17. North Korea Country Study, LOC
  18. Handbook for Marine NCOs, Kenneth W. Estes, Robert Debs Heinl, Naval Institute Press, 1995, ISBN 1-55750-238-2
  20. "Royal Marines Recruit Training". Secretary of State for Defence. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  21. "Royal Marines Officer Training". Secretary of State for Defence. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  22. United States Department of the Navy. "Expeditionary Operations" (PDF). United States Government. pp. 35. Retrieved 14 November 2008. 
  24. "Birth of Marines". Recruit Knowledge. MCRD Museum Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2006-02-03. 

External links

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