|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2013)|
Commando beret badge
|Size||~ 600 Commandos|
|Nickname||bérets verts (green berets)|
|Com. Philippe Kieffer|
The Naval Commandos (French: Commandos Marine) are the special operation forces of the French Navy. They are made up of some 600 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 Forces Command and form part of 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 Basic Training Centre Achnacarry, Scotland. To commemorate 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 (except for "Kieffer Commando" where recruits are specialists) 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 successful completion entry to the commandos and the right to wear the green beret. Lasting 20 weeks, it includes one week of commando testing, six weeks of preparatory training, four weeks of evaluation, the actual commando training for seven weeks, and two 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 serve in the marine commandos. The historical roots of commando training date back to the Second World War, when Fusilier-Marins volunteers from the Free French Navy went to the Commando training center in Achnacarry, Scotland. Since then, the naval commandos have 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 retained the principle of exceptional training without compromise, based on immersion in a highly stressful environment, close to the conditions of combat operations.
The prospective Commandos in training are constantly under stress and pressure from instructors leaving them no respite. All activities are timed and scored: marching tens of kilometers with equipment and weapon in all weathers, obstacle courses and night navigation exercises. The training is punctuated by firearms training and assault tactics, climbing and rappelling, boat handling, explosives instruction and hand-to-hand combat. The instructors are experienced operatives assigned to the Commando School who monitor and punish failure 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
- United Kingdom- Special Boat Service
- United States- Navy SEALs
- Denmark- Frømandskorpset
- Netherlands- Korps Mariniers - Maritime Special Operations Forces
- "Le commando de Montfort". Net-Marine. 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