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42 Commando

42 Commando (pronounced 'Four Two Commando') is a Maritime Operations Commando (MOC), specialising in maritime security operations and overseas training missions. 42 Commando is based at Bickleigh Barracks near Plymouth, Devon.

Juliet Company boarding team
A boarding team from Juliet Company 42 Commando is lowered into the sea from HMS Duncan.
NATO photo by Royal Navy LPhot Paul Hall

42 Commando Organisation

42 Commando was previously a unit of similar structure and role to 40 Commando and 45 Commando. In April 2017 it was announced that 42 Commando would be reorganised to specialise in maritime operations. [1] Under Project Sykes, the unit was radically restructured, including the intake of 120 personnel from S Squadron 43 Commando.

  • Support Company
    • Command elements
    • Recce Troop
    • Sniper Troop
    • Signals Troop
  • Juliet Company (J Coy)
  • Kilo Company (K Coy)
  • Lima Company (L Coy)
  • Mike Company (M Coy)

42 Commando Role

As 3 Commando Brigade's maritime operations specialists, 42 Commando's roles include:

Maritime Interdiction

J Coy (formerly S Squadron 43 Commando) provides boarding teams for various maritime interdiction operations (MIOPs) such as counter piracy and counter narcotics:-

  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troops

    J Coy fields Fleet Standby Rifle Troops (FSRT). These troops specialise in fleet security and the boarding of ships.

  • Fleet Contingency Troop

    J Coy also fields the Fleet Contingency Troop (FCT) which deploys globally in support of maritime security / counter-piracy efforts and is trained to make opposed boardings of maritime objectives. FCT operators are drawn from experienced FSRT ranks.

    read more : Fleet Contingency Troop

  • Maritime Sniper Teams

    These specialist Maritime Sniper Teams (MST) deploy on maritime security operations.

    read more : Maritime Sniper Team

42 Commando Juliet Company
Members of S Squadron 43 Commando (now Juliet Company 42 Commando) practise ship boarding and clearing drills.

42 Commando boarding team headwear includes Team Wendy EXFIL Lightweight, Tactical, Polymer (LTP) bump helmets. These helmets feature rails for mounting accessories such as torches (as shown above). Eye protection comes in the form of Revision Sawfly ballistic glasses. Clothing includes MTP uniforms (as shown above). They may also wear black dry suits over their uniforms. Over their clothing goes MTP plate carriers, black load-carrying vests and blue inflatable life preservers.

The primary weapon is the L119A1 carbine (short-barrel CQB version), fitted with Trijicon ACOG scope and Shield red dot CQB sight. A torch and laser light module (LLM) may also be fitted. Standard secondary / backup weapon is the L131A1 (Glock 17 Gen 4) 9mm pistol.
NATO Photo by LPhot Paul Hall/Released


42 Commando boarding team
J Coy deploys Royal Marine Boarding Teams (RMBT) for counter-smuggling and counter-piracy tasks. 539 ASRM provide the Landing Craftsmen (LC) to pilot the Pacific 24 RIBs used to deliver the RMBTs onto target.
NATO photo by GBR N LPhot Paul Hall/Released


Training Teams

Kilo Company fields short-term training teams (STTT) to train partner nations through so-called Support, Augment, Liaise and Train (SALT) operations.

Force Protection

Mike Company provides Ships Force Protection Teams which bolster security for Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary warships operating in high threat theatres.

42 Commando minigun operator
The Ships Force Protection Team role includes manning weapon systems such as General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) and MK44 Miniguns (as shown here).
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ace Rheaume/Released

Joint Personnel Recovery

Teams from Lima Company specialise in Joint Personnel Recovery (JPR). Elements from L Coy will be stationed on Royal Navy carriers to help rescue downed pilots or other personnel (see video below of L Coy training for such operations). L Coy is currently providng force protection aboard the carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth. Helicopter support for JPR operations will be provided by Merlin Mk4s flown by the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF).

Counter Terrorism

42 Commando is also rumoured to have a counter terrorism (CT) role although the specifics of this are not publicly known. In a leaked memo referenced in a press report, Major General Robert Magowan, Commandant General Royal Marines, said, "[the MOC] will also provide our core contribution to UK domestic operations in response to a terrorist event." [2] The same report stated that liaison officers from the SAS and SBS will be attached to the unit.

Other Roles.

Initial press reports indicated that elements of 42 Commando would carry out small scale operations such as raids and intelligence gathering.[2]

42 Commando Photos



42 Commando Royal Marine
A Royal Marine with 42 Commando pictured while on a training mission in the United States.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Carl King


42 Commando Kilo company
A RAF Chinook helicopter inserts members of Kilo Company, 42 Commando during an operation in Afghanistan, 2006.
Image by POA(Phot) Sean Clee | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2006
Used under Open Government Licence


42 CDO Arctic training
Royal Marines with 42 Commando undergo Arctic training in Norway, 2008.
Image by LA(Phot) Gaz Faulkner | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2008
Used under Open Government Licence

More info / further reading:

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