Unit History: Commando

In 1940, the Army formed "independent companies". These units were reformed as battalion sized "commandos". It was intended that the British Army Commandos would be small, highly mobile raiding and reconnaissance forces. Commandos were not intended to remain in field operations for more than 36 hours and carried all they needed. Army Commandos were all volunteers selected from existing soldiers still in Britain.
The Royal Navy also controlled Royal Navy Beach Parties, based on teams formed to control the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940. These were later known simply as RN Commandos, and they did not see action until they successfully fought for control of the landing beaches as in the disastrous Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942. The RN Commandos, including Commando "W" from the Royal Canadian Navy, saw action on D-Day.
The Special Operations Executive formed commando units from British personnel and Europeans from German-occupied countries. Perhaps the best-known SOE unit was Norwegian Independent Company 1, which — among other operations — damaged the Norwegian heavy water facility in Norway, in 1941.
In 1942, the Royal Navy’s 9 Royal Marine infantry battalions were reorganized as commandos, numbered from 40 to 48. They joined the Army Commandos in combined Commando Brigades.
On October 18, 1942 Hitler issued his Commando Order requiring that British or Allied soldiers participating in Commando operations should be "annihilated to the last man", even if in uniform, escaping, or surrendering — contrary to the the Geneva Convention.
During the war the Army Commandos spawned several other famous units such as the Special Air Service, the Special Boat Service and the Parachute Regiment. The Army Commandos themselves were never regimented and were disbanded at the end of the war while the Royal Marine Commandos continued, though in smaller numbers and with much reorganisation.
The single brigade of Commandos, 3 Commando Brigade, is part of the Royal Marines; this includes 3 Royal Marine Commandos roughly of battalion size, one Royal Artillery Commando Regiment, one Royal Engineers Commando Regiment, and a Commando Logistic Regiment consisting of Royal Marine and Royal Navy personnel. 1 Battalion The Rifles joined the Brigade on 1 April 2008.
Commando Gunner Regroup
E-mail: commandogunner@aol.com
Website: http://commandogunner.co.uk/
Royal Marines Association
RMA Central Office,
Building 32,
Whale Island,
Portsmouth Hants PO2 8ER
Phone: 023 9265 1519
Fax: 023 9254 7207
E-mail: chiefexec@rma.org.uk
Website: http://www.royalmarinesassociation.org.uk/index.htm
Royal Marines Museum
Eastney Esplanade
Southsea Hampshire PO4 9PX
Phone: 023 9281 9385
Fax: 023 9283 8420
E-mail: info@royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk
Website: http://www.royalmarinesmuseum.co.uk/

Related Historic Documents

Search for a name in our archive

Please enter a surname
Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait