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43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines ( 43 Cdo FP Gp RM )

Once known as 'Comacchio Group', then later 'Fleet Protection Group', this specially trained and equipped cadre of Royal Marines Commandos are responsible for the security of Britain's Nuclear Weapons. They are also on the front line in Britain's fight against piracy on the high seas.

43 Commando - Organisation

43 Commando Fleet Protection Group are based at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde (HMNB Clyde), Faslane, Scotland. When it was known as the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (FPGRM), it was under the command of the Commander Operations Fleet, Royal Navy. In April 2012, the unit was renamed to '43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines' and placed under the command of 3 Commando Brigade, forming the largest component therein.

43 Cdo FP Gp RM are organised into several squadrons

  • HQ headquarters squadron
    • Operations
    • Logistics
    • Transport
    • Boat Troop
  • O rifle squadron
  • R rifle squadron

Rifle squadrons each consist of an HQ element and 4 Troops. Each Troop is made up of 4 4-man patrols.

Note: Until it was moved in 2017, 43 Commando's ORBAT included S Squadron, which specialised in maritime interdiction operations. The Squadron has been permanently moved into Juliet Company, 42 Commando as part of 42 CDO's restructuring for its dedicated maritime role.

43 Commando Offshore Raiding Craft
Members of 43 Commando Boat Troop patrol in a Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC). Working in conjunction with Mod Police boat teams, Boat Troop escorts nuclear submarines in and out of HMNB Clyde. A MoD Police Rigid inflatable Boat (RIB) can be seen behind the ORC in this photo.
DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro


43 Commando Island Class Patrol Boats
The Boat Troop fleet includes two Island Class patrol boats.
DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Joint Support Unit

Elements of 43 Commando provides physical security at Northwood Command Centre (NCC), the UK's defence Headquarters.

O and R Squadrons

O & R Squadrons protect Britain's nuclear deterrant i.e. the Trident ballistic missile submarines based at Faslane, the nuclear warhead storage facility at Royal Naval Arnaments Depot (RNAD) Coulport and the overland transport of nuclear weapons,

Between them, O & R Squadrons carry out static nuclear security tasks i.e. guarding facilities at Faslane and Coulport. They also carry out dynamic nuclear security tasks, a role that includes fielding Recapture Tactics Troops (RTT) to retake nuclear weapons that have fallen into hostile hands.

Another aspect of nuclear security concerns the transit of warheads. 43 Commando work with the Special Escort Group of the Ministry Of Defence Police when guarding road convoys carrying nuclear weapons.

43 Commando Video



More video: Introducing: S Squadron Of 43 Commando
(Forces.tv)

43 Commando Weapons

FPG Marines have been spotted using the following weapons:

43 Commando firing mp5a3 smgs
Royal Marines with 43 Commando advance while firing L91A1 MP5a3 smgs.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Esdras Ruano/Released

43 Commando Watercraft

FPGRM use a range of surface vessels including:

43 Commando Clothing

Specialist clothing includes:

  • drysuits
  • Gecko Marine safety helmets
  • life jackets

(view photo of FPGRM wearing the above)

43 Commando - background

Before the role was taken over fully by the SBS in 1987, 3 Cdo FP Gp RM's forerunners, Comacchio Group, were responsible for protecting the UK's maritime interests from terrorism. Even though MCT (Maritime Counter-Terrorism) is no longer their main role, their training in VBSS (Vessel Boarding, Search and Seizure) and other techniques means that FPG Marines are well suited to supporting large-scale SBS MCT operations. In such scenarios, FPG Marines will be able to act as a backup force, searching and securing areas of large vessels/installations whilst the SBS storm the primary objectives. It is most likely that is was the unit's skills in such support operations that led to it providing the bulk of Royal Marines manpower to the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) when it was created a few years ago.

fleet protection group Royal Marine
A Royal Marine from O rifle squadron, Fleet Protection Group, takes aim with his Browning High Power 9mm pistol whilst training aboard HMS Portland, a Royal Navy frigate. Note the cord attached to the pistol, ensuring that the weapon cannot be lost.
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Kevin H. Tierney.

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