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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.

43 Commando Royal Marines
Royal Marines from 43 Commando pictured wearing gask masks and PVS-14 night vision devices during a training op on Gibraltar, 2018. Note the L119A1 carbines - the unit's standard primary firearm.
Image by L(Phot) Will Haigh | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2018
Used under Open Government Licence

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
  • O Squadron
  • P Squadron (reformed in 2018)
  • R Squadron
    • Boat Troop

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.

O, P and R Squadrons protect Britain's nuclear deterrant i.e. Trident ballistic missile submarines and associated storage faciltiies. P Squadron guards the naval base at Faslane, home to the Trident submarines. O Squadron protects the nuclear warhead storage facility at Royal Naval Arnaments Depot (RNAD) Coulport.

O and P Squadrons each consist of an HQ element and several Troops. Each Troop is made up of four four-man patrols. O Squadron has Brac, Commachio, and Solta Troops. P Squadron has Anzio, Dubrovnik, and Miljet Troops.

R Squadron includes Boat Troop, which patrols the waters off Faslane and escorts submarines and in out of the base.

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 three Island Class patrol boats.
DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro

Recapture Tactics Troop

Recapture Tactics Troop (RTT) deploys teams trained to a very high level in close quarters battle (CQB) techniques and tasked with retaking nuclear weapons that have fallen into hostile hands.

Recapture Tactics Team Royal Marines
Members of a Recapture Tactics Troop on an exercise in the U.S.
Image by L(Phot) Will Haigh | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2017
Used under Open Government Licence

Stand-Off Escort Troop

Stand-Off Escort Troop (SOE Tp) 43 Commando work with the Special Escort Group of the Ministry Of Defence Police when guarding road convoys carrying nuclear weapons between Coulport and Faslane.

Stand off escort troop Royal Marines
Members of 43 Commando SOE Troop train alongside an armoured Mercedes 818D Protected Escort Vehicle (PEV) of the type used to escort road moves of nuclear warheads.
Image by POA(Phot) Tam McDonald | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright 2008
Used under Open Government Licence

Northwood Security

A detachment from 43 Commando provides force protection at Northwood Command Centre (NCC), the UK's defence Headquarters.

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. 43 CDO remains the primary Royal Marines'feeder unit' for the SFSG.

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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