Venezuelan Marine Corps

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Bombardment of Solano Castle during the June 1962 "Porteñazo" uprising, in which the Second Battalion of the Marine Corps participated

The Venezuelan Bolivarian Marine Corps are known as the Bolivarian Marine Infantry or formally as the Marine Division "General Simon Bolivar" (División de Infantería de Marina General Simón Bolívar) and is part of the Venezuelan Navy. Its motto is: Valor y Lealtad (Valor and Loyalty).

History[edit]

Nineteenth century[edit]

The Venezuelan Marines trace their history back to the combined marines corps of Gran Colombia which was formed in 1822 and was dissolved in 1829 following Venezuela's secession from Gran Colombia. This was surprising as the Marine Corps of the Confederation largely consisted of Venezuelans. The Marines' most notable engagement in this era was the Battle of Lake Maracaibo (1823). During this time the Marines were mostly manned by personnel by the Grand Colombian Army, and used army-style ranks while wearing naval uniforms.

Twentieth century[edit]

In the beginning of the 20th century, during the term of President Cipriano Castro, the Navy had a marine artillery command manned by Venezuelan Army personnel tasked to provide artillery crews aboard its vessels.

Ater years of inactivity the Venezuelan Marines were finally reformed at Puerto Cabello on 1 July 1938 when a company was formed to provide ships detachments. A second company was formed on 8 December 1939 and a third in 1943. They were then merged into the 1st Marine Battalion (Batallion de Infanteria de Marina -BIM) Simon Bolivar, headquartered at Puerto Cabello, on 11 December 1945. This date is looked upon as the official anniversary of the marines. In February 1946 a second BIM General Rafael Urdaneta was raised at Puerto Cabello and the original BIM became the 1st battalion and was then moved to Marquetia. Marine headquarters was then located in Caracas. The third Battalion Mariscal Antonio Jose de Sucre was then formed up in 1958 at Carupano, the very same year the Marines became a full command of the Navy. In the late 1970s the Amphibious Assault Company, equipped with LVTP-7s and the Marine Anti-Aircraft Artillery Company, equipped with M42 Dusters, were raised. The 4th Battalion General Francisco de Miranda was raised in the early 1980s and initially consisted of the Amphibious Assault Company and the Marine Anti-Aircraft Artillery Company.[1]

In June 1962, the 2nd Marine Battalion at Puerto Cabello rebelled. The rebellion was put down by the navy and other marines from the 1st and 3rd Marine Battalions.

Between 1975 and 1994 the marines underwent two new adjustments to its organization. On 11 December 2000, by presidential decree, the Marine Infantry were honored with the name Gen. Simón Bolívar Marine Division. On 15 October 2003 the Naval Police Command Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho was integrated into the ranks and organization of the Marines.

On 5 April 2005, the Marine Corps of Engineers, was activated and was later placed directly under the General Command of the Navy by Presidential Resolution No. DG-031,764 dated 21 July 2005. In turn, the Naval Police Brigade "Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho Antonio José de Sucre" was formally reestablished as the Naval Police Command ceasing its dependence on the Division and remained attached to the Naval Operations Command directly.

Organization[edit]

Headquartered in Meseta de Mamo, Vargas, the estimated numerical strength of this unit is of approx. 11,000 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". It is divided into 9 active brigades and a headquarters unit.

As of 2014, Vice Admiral Remigio Ceballos Ichaso is the current commandant of the Marine Corps.

Major Units[edit]

  • Headquarters Battalion
  • Marine Communications Battalion CDR Felipe Baptista
  • Marine Logistics Support Battalion ADM Luis Brión
  • 393rd Marine Air Defense Artillery Group RADM José María García
  • Marine Corps Basic School
  • Marine Special Operations School CPT Rafael Francisco Rodríguez
  • 8th Marine Special Operations Command Brigade Generalissimo Francisco de Miranda
    • HQ Company
    • Marine Special Operations (Commando) Battalion LTCDR Henry Lilong Garcia
    • Marine Force Reconnaissance Battalion GC Jose Felix Ribas
    • Marine Combat Engineers Battalion Chief Guaicaipuro
    • Marine Special Operations Support Battalion Juan German Roscio
  • Naval and Marine Reserve and Marine Replacement Regiment RADM Armando López Conde
    • Regimental HQ
    • Naval Reserve Battalion Battle of Chichiriviche
    • Naval Reserve Battalion Battle of Punta Brava
    • Naval Reserve Battalion Expedición de la Vela de Coro
    • Naval Reserve Battalion Expedición de Los Cayos
    • 1st Marine Reserve Battalion

1st Marine Brigade (Amphibious) CPT Manuel Ponte Rodriguez

  • 2nd Marine Battalion GEN Rafael Urdaneta
  • 9th Marine Battalion (Assault Amphibian) LCDR Manuel Ponce Lugo
  • 1st Marine Logistics Battalion RADM José Ramón Yépez

2nd Marine Brigade (Amphibious) RADM José Eugenio Hernández

3rd Marine Brigade (Amphibious) MGEN Manuela Saenz

  • 1st Marine Battalion (Assault Amphibian) GEN Simón Bolívar
  • 6th Marine Battalion ADM Luis Brión
  • 1st Marine Artillery Group VADM Lino de Clemente
  • 3rd Marine Logistics Battalion Pedro Gual

4th Marine Brigade (Amphibious) ADM Alejandro Petión

  • 4th Marine Battalion Generalissimo Sebastian Francisco de Miranda Rodriguez
  • 2nd Marine Artillery Group (Self-Propelled) MSHL Juan Crisostomo Falcón
  • 8th Marine Battalion RADM Renato Beluche
  • 4th Marine Logistics Battalion Ana Maria Campos

5th Marine Riverline Brigade LTCDR José Tomas Machado

  • 1st Riverline Command LTGEN Daniel Florence O'Leary
  • 2nd Riverline Command GC Ezequiel Zamora
  • 3rd Riverline Command Jose Maria Espana
  • 1st Marine Fluvial Squadron CPT Antonio Diaz
  • 5th Riverline Support Battalion LTJG Vicente Parado
  • 5th Aerial Cavalry Group LT Pedro Lucas Urribarri

6th Marine Border Riverine Brigade ADM Manuel Ezequeil Bruzual

  • 5th Riverline Command RADM Jose Maria Garcia
  • 6th Border Riverline Command LT Jacinto Muñoz
  • 7th Riverine Command LT Pedro Camejo
  • 6th Riverline Support Battalion CDR Joaquin Quintero
  • 6th Aerial Cavalry Group GC Jose Gregorio Monagas

7th Marine Border Riverine Brigade MGEN Franz António Risques Irribarren

  • 8th Upper Orinoco (Riverine) command VADM Armando Medina
  • 9th Middle Orinoco (Riverine) command VADM Francisco Pérez Hernández
  • 7th Aerial Cavalry Group CPT Sebastian Boguier
  • 7th Riverline Support Battalion COL Antonio Ricaurte

Each border/riverine command consists of the following:

  • Command headquarters,
  • a headquarters and service company,
  • a Marine Battalion,
  • a Maintenance company and
  • a Service Support company.

These units have a base of operations and five naval outposts with a Marine company and no less than 6 assault and river combat speedboats each.

Naval Construction Brigade RADM José Ramón Yépez (from 2005 the Navy Corps of Engineers)

  • Brigade HQ
  • 141st Combat Engineers Battalion LT Jerónigo Rengifo
  • 142nd Maintenance and Construction Battalion RADM José María García
  • 143rd Maintenance and Construction Battalion CPT Nicolás Jolly
  • 144th Maintenance and Construction Battalion GEN Ezequiel Zamora
  • 145th Maintenance and Construction Battalion LT Pedro Camejo
  • 146th Maintenance and Construction Battalion CPT Agustin Armario

Naval Police Command Grand Marshal of Ayacucho Antonio José de Sucre

  • Command HQ
  • Command Staff
  • 9th Naval Police Brigade
    • Brigade HQ
    • 1st Naval Police Battalion CPT Alejo Sánchez Navarro
    • 2nd Naval Police Battalion RADM Matías Padrón
    • 3rd Naval Police Battalion RADM Otto Pérez Seijas
    • 4th Naval Police Battalion CPT Juan Daniel Daniels
  • Naval Police Commando Company
    • Naval Police Commando Sniper Platoon
  • Naval Police Investigations Division
  • Naval Police Canine Training Unit
  • Naval Police Finance Division

Arms and equipment[edit]

Naval Infantry's equipment is the same standard issue as the rest of the armed forces, excluding Special Forces armaments. Armored units and heavy equipment of the Naval Infantry is the following:

Armor

  • 8x8 VN-1 Amphibious Armored Personnel Carrier. *China[2]
  • NORINCO VN18 Amphibious Light Tank and VN16 Amphibious Assault APC. * China
  • 6x6 Engesa EE-11 Urutu Amphibious Assault APC. *Brazil - 38 EE-11, (3 EE-11 VCMDM3S1+3 EE-11 VRCPM3S2 +12 EE-11 VTTRM3S7 +20 EE-11 VTTRM3S6, all to be modernized)[3]
  • FMC LVTP-7 Amphibious Assault Armored Vehicle. *US - 11 AAVT-7s, (1 AAVTC-7 +1AAVTR-7 +9AAVTP-7)

Artillery and anti-aircraft batteries

  • SR-5. (China)
  • SM4 mortar. (China)
  • Oto Melara M-56 105/14mm towed howitzer. (Italy)- 50
  • Thomson-Brandt MO-120 120mm heavy mortar. (France)- 35
  • Bofors RBS-70 anti-aircraft battery. (Sweden)- 20

Tactical and transport land vehicles

  • Land Rover Defender 90HT/110HT. (United Kingdom) - +500
  • Ford M151 MUTT. (United States)
  • Chevrolet M-705. (United States)
  • IAI M-325 Commandacar.
  • Steyr-MAN L-80 series, tactical transport truck (Austria)
  • Engesa EE-25, tactical transport truck. (Brazil)

Speedboats and launches

  • Guardian 22' patrol speedboat. (United States)
  • Guardian 25' patrol speedboat. (United States)

Other models in service include Caroní, Manapiare, Caimán, 22 Apure/Apure II assault launches, (all designed and made in Venezuela) and US Coibas.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]