No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando

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No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando
Active1 August 1943 – 31 January 1946
Country United Kingdom
BranchRoyalMarineBadge.svg Royal Marines
RoleCoastal raiding force
Assault Infantry
Part of4th Special Service Brigade
Nickname(s)Four Six
Motto(s)Per Mare Per Terram (By Sea By Land) (Latin)
MarchQuick – A Life on the Ocean Wave
Slow – Preobrajensky
Campbell Hardy
Combined Operations Shoulder PatchInsignia of Combined Operations units it is a combination of a red Thompson submachine gun, a pair of wings, an anchor and mortar rounds on a black backing.

No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando was a battalion size formation of the Royal Marines, part of the British Commandos, formed in August 1943 during the Second World War. The Commando was assigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade and served in North-west Europe and took part in the D-Day landings, as well as operations around Ostend and Antwerp, before being disbanded after the war in January 1946.


The British Commandos were formed in 1940, by the order of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. He called for specially trained troops that would "develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast".[1] At first they were a small force of volunteers who carried out small raids against enemy occupied territory,[2] but by 1943 their role had changed into lightly equipped assault infantry which specialised in spearheading amphibious landings.[3]

The man selected as the overall commander of the force was Admiral Sir Roger Keyes, himself a veteran of the landings at Galipoli and the Zeebrugge raid in the First World War.[4] Initially the Commandos were a British Army formation, the first Royal Marines Commando was formed in 1942.[5] The Royal Marine Commandos, like all British Army Commandos, went through the six-week intensive commando course at Achnacarry. The course in the Scottish Highlands concentrated on fitness, speed marches, weapons training, map reading, climbing, small boat operations and demolitions both by day and by night.[6]

Men of No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando entering the village of Douvres-la-Delivrande, France, 8 June 1944, watched by French civilians.

No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando was formed in August 1943, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Campbell Hardy as part of the conversion of the Royal Marines Division into commandos. Following training it was allocated to the 1st Special Service Brigade. It took part in the Normandy landings of 6 June 1944, serving on the Orne River bridgehead alongside the British 6th Airborne Division. It suffered heavy casualties in Normandy and at the end of September 1944 was returned to the United Kingdom to refit. Returning to mainland Europe in January 1945 it was the Antwerp guard force. The commando then participated in a number of assault river crossings during the advance into Germany. At the end of the war the commando took part in the occupation of Germany before being disbanded in February 1946.[7]

No. 46 (Royal Marine) Commando was disbanded after the Second World War.[8] The Royal Marine Commando tradition is today continued by 3 Commando Brigade and its units.

Battle honours[edit]

The following Battle honours were awarded to the British Commandos during the Second World War.[9]



  1. ^ Chappell, p.5
  2. ^ Chappell, p.3
  3. ^ Moreman, p.8
  4. ^ Chappell, p.6
  5. ^ Fowler, p.5
  6. ^ van der Bijl, p.12
  7. ^ Moreman, p.93
  8. ^ Lord & Graham, pp.216–317
  9. ^ Moreman, p.94


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  • Chappell, Mike (1996). Army Commandos 1940–45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-85532-579-9.
  • Fowler, Will (2009). Royal Marine Commando 1950–82: From Korea to the Falklands. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84603-372-1.
  • Haining, Peter (2006). The banzai hunters: the forgotten armada of little ships that defeated the Japanese, 1944–45. Robson. ISBN 1-86105-941-8.
  • Moreman, Timothy Robert (2006). British Commandos 1940–46. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-986-X.
  • Neilands, Robin (2005). The Dieppe Raid. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34781-5.
  • Shortt, James; McBride, Angus (1981). The Special Air Service. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0-85045-396-8.
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