Armed with light-equipped 9mm handguns, Royal Marines from the Fleet Protection Group conduct anti-piracy boarding training on the HMS Monmouth.
The term “commando” is so widely used today that it is easy to forget that the original Commandos were Winston Churchill’s “Steel Hand from the Sea” meant to harass the German-held coastlines of Europe during World War II. Churchill chose the designation “Commando” for his raiding units based upon his experience with the fast-moving, hard-hitting Boer Commandos he had faced in South Africa. However, it was the WWII British Commandos that started the elite tradition of raiders wearing green berets, which continues to today.
Currently, 3 Commando Brigade of the Royal Marines continues the British Commando tradition. During WWII, there were Army and Marine Commandos as well as Royal Navy Beachhead Commandos, but at the end of the war, only the Royal Marine Commandos remained. Since that time, the Commandos and their well-known green berets and Fairbairn-Sykes daggers have become one of the most respected elite units in the world. Royal Marine Commandos have taken part in virtually every British military commitment since WWII, even carrying out raids and amphibious operations alongside the USMC in Korea. During the 1956 Suez Crisis, Royal Marine Commandos carried out the first ever air assault by helicopter.