3 Commando Brigade
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2009)|
|3 Commando Brigade|
Cap Badge of the Royal Marines
|Active||14 February 1942–present|
|Role||Commando/Amphibious Landing Force|
|Size||8 Battalion strength
30 Commando Information Exploitation Group - Plymouth
|Part of||Royal Marines|
|March||Quick - Sarie Marais|
|Engagements||Second World War|
|Brigade Commander||Brigadier Martin Smith RM|
|Brigade Regimental Sergeant Major||Warrant Officer 1st Class A C Jacka RM|
|3 Commando Brigade Formation Badge|
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, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando Qualified Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen.
The brigade was formed in 1943, during the Second World War with a mixture of army commando and Royal Marine commando units and served in the Burma Campaign. After the Second World War the army commandos were disbanded and the brigade became a Royal Marine formation. Recently the Brigade has again became a mixed army and marine formation with the addition of an army infantry battalion, artillery regiment and engineer regiment alongside three Royal Marine battalions and support services. Since the end of the Second World War it has served in the Suez crisis, Falklands War, Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan.
3 Commando Brigade can trace its origins back to World War II, when it was formed as the 3rd Special Service Brigade. The Commandos were formed as forces to perform raids on occupied Europe. Many of these raids were relatively small affairs, but some were very large, such as the 1942 Dieppe Raid, and the attack on St. Nazaire to cripple the dry dock there.
The 3rd Special Service Brigade was formed in 1943 and sailed for the Far East and saw action against the Japanese in the Burma Campaign. On 6 December 1944 the Brigade was re named 3rd Commando Brigade, removing the hated title Special Service and its association with the German SS. In January 1945 they were involved in the battles to secure the Myebon peninsula and Kangaw, holding a key position during the battle of Hill 170 against repeated Japanese attacks. The Brigade was then withdrawn to India to prepare for the amphibious assault on Malaya, but the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan ended the war before the planned invasion. Instead the Brigade moved to Hong Kong to secure the Crown Colony. In 1946 the Army Commandos in the Brigade were disbanded and the Brigade became a Royal Marine Commando formation.
Formation in World War II 
Post World War II 
3 Commando Brigade was at the forefront of many actions over the next 25 years, acting as a strategic reserve for the Far East and Mediterranean areas. Its most high profile operation during this time was the Suez Crisis, when it took part in the amphibious assault against Egyptian targets. During Operation Musketeer, units of the Brigade made the first British helicopter-borne assault in history.
1971 saw the withdrawal of British forces from the Far East and Persian Gulf. The Brigade returned to the UK with other British units. It moved to Stonehouse in Plymouth, where it remains to this day.
Operation Corporate 
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The Brigade's next large operation was in 1982. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, and 3 Commando Brigade, reinforced by 2 Para and 3 Para, was one of the two main British land formations that took part in operations to recapture the islands. The Brigade landed at San Carlos Water and marched across East Falkland to Stanley. Argentine units were defeated in several sharp engagements, and their forces surrendered on 14 June.
Gulf War 
In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the Brigade was deployed on a non-combat task in northern Iraq. The Kurds had suffered immensely during the war and its immediate aftermath, and the Brigade was used due to its rapid deployment ability. It provided humanitarian aid to the Kurds and saved many from starvation.
21st Century 
Recently, the brigade has been involved in two major campaigns, including Operation Veritas in Afghanistan, 2001 and 2002, and Operation Telic during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In Afghanistan, no contact was made with enemy forces, despite contrary predictions. Iraq, however, saw heavy fighting occur in the early stages of the campaign, as the Brigade made its first amphibious assault in over 20 years by landing on the Al-Faw peninsula in south east Iraq. Both operations were successful, and demonstrated the brigade is still ready to perform its traditional role as one of the United Kingdom's elite fighting forces.
The Brigade is commanded by a Royal Marines Brigadier and contains Royal Marines, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Brigade headquarters staff are located at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth, Devon with the majority of the subordinate formations in South West England. By 2003 the brigade's constituent Commando units had been re-organised in accordance with the Commando 21 re-structuring.
The subordinate units are:
- 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group
- 40 Commando Royal Marines, based at Norton Manor Camp in Taunton, Somerset.
- 42 Commando Royal Marines, based at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth
- 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines, HM Naval Base Clyde
- 45 Commando Royal Marines, based at RM Condor, Arbroath
- 539 Assault Squadron, Royal Marines
- 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers
- 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Royal Citadel, Plymouth
- Commando Logistic Regiment, based at RM Chivenor, Devon
- 383 Commando Petroleum Troop Royal Logistic Corps(Territorial Army)
- 1st Battalion The Rifles
When the Brigade is operating as the United Kingdom/Netherlands Landing Force the Operational Control of one Marine Infantry Battalion, a Mortar Company, 7th SBS Troop (NL) and a Combat Service Support element of the Korps Mariniers are delegated to the formation.
The Brigade structure has recently been enhanced with the formation of 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers subsuming 59 and 131 Squadrons and increasing the capacity to bring it into line with the deployable brigades of the British Army.
Based on the Army 2020 reorganisation, the Brigade will lose British Army units such as 1st Rifles and 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers. The Engineer role will be taken up by 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers
Commanders have included:
- 1943–1944 Brigadier Peter Young
- 1944–1945 Brigadier Campbell Hardy
- 1948–1951 Brigadier Campbell Hardy
- 1951–1952 Brigadier Cecil Phillips
- 1952–1954 Brigadier James Moulton
- 1954–1955 Brigadier Ian Riches
- 1955–1957 Brigadier Reginald Madoc
- 1957–1959 Brigadier Robert Houghton
- 1959–1960 Brigadier Peter Hellings
- 1960–1962 Brigadier Norman Tailyour
- 1962–1964 Brigadier Francis Barton
- 1964–1965 Brigadier Leslie Marsh
- 1965–1966 Brigadier Anthony Willasey-Wilsey
- 1966–1968 Brigadier Ian Gourlay
- 1968–1970 Brigadier Peter Whiteley
- 1970–1972 Brigadier Patrick Ovens
- 1972–1975 Brigadier Roderick Ephraums
- 1975–1977 Brigadier John Richards
- 1977–1979 Brigadier Jeremy Moore
- 1979–1981 Brigadier Michael Wilkins
- 1981–1983 Brigadier Julian Thompson
- 1983–1984 Brigadier Martin Garrod
- 1984–1986 Brigadier Henry Beverley
- 1986–1988 Brigadier Robin Ross
- 1988–1990 Brigadier Andrew Whitehead
- 1990–1992 Brigadier Andrew Keeling
- 1992–1994 Brigadier David Pennefather
- 1994–1995 Brigadier Jonathan Thomson
- 1995–1997 Brigadier Anthony Milton
- 1997–1998 Brigadier Robert Fulton
- 1998–1999 Brigadier David Wilson
- 1999–2001 Brigadier Robert Fry
- 2001–2002 Brigadier Roger Lane
- 2002–2004 Brigadier James Dutton
- 2004–2006 Brigadier John Rose
- 2006–2007 Brigadier Jeremy Thomas
- 2007–2008 Brigadier David Capewell
- 2008–2008 Brigadier Buster Howes
- 2008–2009 Brigadier Gordon Messenger
- 2010–2011 Brigadier Ed Davis
- 2011–present Brigadier Martin Smith
Battle honours 
- Moreman 2008, p. 32.
- Chappell 1996, p. 31.
- Chappell 1996, p. 28.
- Royal Navy Senior Appointments
- Moreman, p.94
See also 
- British Commandos
- British military history
- Ski warfare
- Military of the United Kingdom
- 1st Commando Brigade
- 2nd Commando Brigade
- 4th Commando Brigade
- Australian commandos
- Marine Expeditionary Brigade American equivalent
- Chappell, Mike (1996). Army Commandos 1940–1945. Elite Series # 64. London: Osprey Military Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-579-9.
- Moreman, Tim (2008). British Commandos 1940–46. Battle Orders. London: Osprey Military Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84176-986-8.
Further reading 
- Southby-Tailyour, Ewen (2009). 3 Commando Brigade. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-192696-0.
- Neillands, Robin (2004). By Sea and Land: The Story of the Royal Marine Commandos. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Classics. ISBN 1-84415-043-7.
- Philip, Sea soldiers' readied for a new world disorder,' Jane's Navy International, September 2001 - re Commando 21 and COMUKMARFOR reorganisations