Date Founded: Spring 1942 (Disbanded
Mission When Founded: To provide intelligence and control on seashores; to remove obstacles, mines and other underwater obstructions; to mark the limits of the beachhead and consolidate it; to help and support the landing of personnel and equipment.
Mission During the War: Same
Jurisdiction: Wherever the Royal Navy operate
Headquarters: Special Training School at Ardentinny, Scotland
# of Personnel: 500-600
Annual Budget: Same
History/Profile: Between 1940 and 1942, the British Commandos carried a number of operations in which it became evident that the support on beaches for the Royal Navy was inadequate. The Royal Navy needed an amphibious force that could move with the first wave to mark the limits of the beachhead, that could provide intelligence gathering about the enemy strenghths and weaknesses, and that could secure the beach for subsequent waves. For these kinds of special operations, a new, higly specialized kind of Commando was needed : the first "beach parties" were formed during Operation Ironclad, to capture the port of Diego Suarez in Madagascar, between 5th and 7th May 1942. The operation was successful, and the Royal Naval Commandos were born.
Each Royal Naval Commandos unit was so composed : a Lieutenant-Commander (sometimes Commander) that lead three sections, each formed by two officers (beachmaster and assistant beachmaster), a Petty Officer and 17 other ranks. Later, the number of officers was raised to ten and the three sections were composed of 25 men.
The training of this special operation unit were conducted at the school at Ardentinny (Scotland), where there were between 500 to 600 men. The teamwork abilities were strengthened by training officers within the ranks, that at the time was rare. The Royal Navy Commandos were considered an elite corp of the original British Commando, and so they were expected to pass the Commando Traing Course; other specializations included the underwater swimming course, to qualify as "Frogmen".
In addition, they used the Loch Long location to teach their amphibious operations skills, including reconnaisance, rock climbing and field survival. Some of them were moved to Kabritt, near the Suez Canal, to operate in the Middle East area; others joined the Jungle Battle School at Chittagong, and later went into operations in South East Asia.
Their motto was "Imprimo Exulto" (First in last out). The Royal Navy Commandos take important roles in many WWII operations. In the North Africa theater (1942, Operation Torch), they joined the first major UK-USA amphibious operation, taking charge of beaches, eliminating dangerous snipers and setting up defences against low flying enemy aircraft. In Italy (1943, Operation Husky), during the invasion of Sicily, they supported the landing of the reinforcements and guided out prisoners and the wounded. At Salerno and Anzio, they also take charge of securing minefields (when wood encased mines could not be located with the conventional Royal Engineers metal detectors). Also the merit of capturing an enemy radio station at the Island of Monte Cristo was the work of the Royal Naval Commandos. In June 1944, their units took great losses due to the lethal enemy costal defences placed at the Island of Elba. Some parties of the Royal Navy Commandos were wiped out during this operation (Operation Brassard, later nicknamed "bloody little sideshow").
Other units operated in Yugoslavia and Greece, while the Royal Navy Commandos who specialised in jungle warfare were taked to the Far East, precisely to the Arakan Coast (February 1944, Operation Screwdriver I an II); during 1945 these units were active in Malaya, against Japanese forces.
The high point of operations was Operation Neptune, the naval portion of Overlord in Normandy. The Royal Naval Commandos suffered heavy losses, but managed to clear the obstacles (wrecked craft for the major part), and began bringing supplies ashore. During the landing of the invasion forces, they helped bring order out of the chaos of the largest amphibious operation in the history of warfare. Even if their training was not so rigorous or precise as that of Army or Marine Commandos, they showed the importance of beach control and logistic support during amphibious operations. Disbanded at the end of the war, their skills and roles were taken as teachings for modern special forces.
Royal Naval Commando: Climb, Demolitions, Hide, Knife, Navigate Boat, Rifle, Sneak, Spot Hidden, Swim, plus three of the following skills : Machine Gun, Military Science, Navigate(sea/air), Parachuting, Survival, SCUBA, Track
Sample CharacterAssistant Beach Master Matthew Winter, age 29
Written by Morpheus.
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