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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 HM Naval Base 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
  • S rifle squadron
Rifle squadrons each consist of an HQ element and 4 Troops. Each Troop is made up of 4 4-man patrols.

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.

S Squadron

S Squadron guards the nation's defence HQ and fields contingency maritime security forces.

Joint Support Unit

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

Fleet Standby Rifle Troops

S Squadron fields Fleet Standby Rifle Troops (FSRT). These troops specialise in fleet security and the boarding of ships. FSRTs was designed to be called in to bolster an existing on-ship force of Marines as needed, anywhere within the fleet.

Fleet Contingency Troop

The squadron also fields the Fleet Contingency Troop (FCT) which deploys in globally in support of maritime security / counter-piracy operations 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

S Squadron deploys these specialist Maritime Sniper Teams (MST) on maritime security operations.

read more : the Maritime Sniper Team

43 Commando Video

More video: Introducing: S Squadron Of 43 Commando

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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FPGRM Resources

The SAS Training Manual
Chris McNab

How to Get Fit Enough to Pass a Special Forces Selection Course.

more info: The SAS Training Manual
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