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british special forces » royal marines » 3 Commando Brigade
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3 Commando Brigade

3 Commando Brigade is the UK's commando force. It provides an amphibious contigency capability and can deploy over 5000 personnel. It is manned by men from the Royal Marines, Royal Navy and British Army.

The Commandos

3 Commando Brigade consists of 3 battalion-sized 'Commandos' :

  • 40 Commando
    (based at Norton Manor Barracks, Taunton, Somerset)
  • 42 Commando
    (based at Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth, Devon)
  • 45 Commando
    (based at Condor Barracks, Arbroath, Angus, Scotland)

Each Commando rotates into 1 of 3 roles: Lead Commando Group, Force Generation (training) and Standing Tasks.

Other Brigade elements include:

Command Helicopter Force

Sea King and Lynx helicopter support is provided by the Commando Helicopter Force

Attached Army Units

3 Commando Brigade includes elements from the British Army. Most of these men go through extensive Commando training which enables them to operate alongside the Royal Marines.

With the addition of the attached Army units, 3 Commando Brigade can operate as a self-contained expeditionary force.

Response Force Task Group

The Response Force Task Group (RFTG) - previously named the Amphibious Task Group (ATG) - is a scalable contingency force made up of various 3 Commando Brigade elements, Royal Fleet Auxillary vessels, Royal Navy warships and associated helicopter assets. The RFTG is usually deployed from the carrier HMS Ocean but may also operate from Landing Platform Docks such as HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

The RFTG is on standby to deploy in respond to a crisis anywhere in the world. The core fighting element of the RFTG is the Lead Commando Group (LCG) which is built around 40, 42 or 45 Commando. The LCG is on 5-days notice to move with one company - designated the Lead Commando Company (LCC) - on 2 days notice.

HMS Bulwark
3 Commando Brigade carry out amphibious operations from HMS Ocean, HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark (pictured here) as well as various auxiliary landing ships such as RFA Mount's Bay.
photo: US DoD

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