Somewhere in Aden, likely the Radfan mountains area, August 1963: “Royal Marines Demonstrate Army’s new anti-tank gun,” an early model Swedish-made FFV Ordnance Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle.
45 Commando Marine Eric Pearson, of Salford, Manchester, prepares to fire the new anti-tank gun during trials at Little Aden. IWM A 34756.
In such an environment, “Charlie G” was sure to make a dust-up when fired, and you are gonna want some goggles.
Marine Chris Pow, of Plymouth, firing the new anti-tank gun during trials at Little Aden. IWM A 34755
The 84s in the above images were the first crop of weapon adopted by the British as the “L14, Gun, 84mm, Infantry Anti Tank Weapon,” and later standardized with the improved M2 (L14A1) model after 1970.
It remained in service– seeing action in the Falklands– with the RM and British Army, especially the Paras, well into the 1990s when they were replaced by the more potent 94mm LAW 80 and subsequently the 150mm NLAW, disposable 84mm L1A1/A2 (AT4), and Javelin.
However, images have been seen of SAS downrange with the updated M3 Carl Gustav, showing that Charlie G still exists in some circles at least.
Royal Marines exercise “Codename Snake Eyes” circa 1960 documentary– in Color!— by the Central Office of Information for the Admiralty. A great way to spend a half-hour.
The exercise involves a combined-arms amphibious attack on a fictitious Mediterranean island nation that looks suspiciously like Cyprus, complete with an airfield and radar station.
It is jolly good stuff, complete with pipe smoking, beards, Denison smocks, a wet predawn paradrop from an RAF Boxcar by SBS frogmen, Fleet Air Arm Vampires launched from an RN carrier conducting rocket attacks to soften things up, dory-landed (and Enfield/Sterling-armed!) Royal Marines from 45 Commando leaping ashore from LCVPs to complete a rock face free climb, then reinforced by Wessex helicopter-delivered 40 Commando (“choppers may be useful but they have no natural dignity”), finished off by LCM-landed 42 Commando (who finally have some FN FALs/L1A1s) on the third wave after NGFS from gun-armed cruisers.
And that’s just in the first 10 minutes!
For a less varnished but no less fascinating look at Royal Marines at the sharp end, check out “Jungle Green,” a 1964 BBC documentary following an isolated 25-man long-range patrol/listening post of 40 Commando and their two Iban trackers some 50 miles deep in the bush in Borneo during the very Vietnam-ish Konfrontasi, the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.
The Royal Marines and RM Reserve complete the same rigorous Commando tests carrying the same weight, and in the same times.
The Endurance course is two miles cross country through water, tunnels and submerged culverts followed by a 4 mile run back to camp. Uniform of the day are boots and utes with basic pack and SA80.
The Enfield is not a rubber duck, so you have to keep your weapon clean and optic intact because once they make it back to camp Marines must shoot and pass a marksmanship test with said rifle.
All in under 73 Minutes
To recap: 73 minutes for 2 miles cross country, 4 miles on road and 1 range shoot.
It seems a sizable portion of the Royal Marines are ditching the long-maligned L85 (SA80) Enfield bullpup in favor of an AR-15/M16 platform that, in basic design at least, predated it by about 25 years.
American Marines and 43 Commando Royal Marines prepare to enter a mock nuclear facility in the Scottish Highlands, testing the close-quarters combat techniques they shared during exercise Tartan Eagle 14, Sep. 18. The three-week exercise brought U.S. Marine Security Forces and Royal Marine Fleet Protection Group to deepen their relationships and operational capacity for the protection and safeguard of nuclear weapons. (USMC Photo: MSgt Chad McMeen)
The unit that is making the switch, 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group, was orignially set up as the Comacchio Group back in the 1980s to keep Soviet Naval Infantry and Spetnsaz types off of the North Sea oil derricks and from poking around HM Naval Base Faslane, where the Queen keeps her only nukes (remember, the UK only has SLBMs, having retired its last strategic bombers with the Vulcans in 1984, and has no ICBMs hiding in the moors).
As noted by Janes, the group’s 790 members will switch to the Colt Canada C8 carbine with its standard 14.5-inch barrel, which they have used in small numbers for years designated as the L119 in British service (as witnessed in the above image).
The Royal Navy said this was a “one-off” purchase and was not a signal that the Royal Marines 3 Commando Brigade was going to be re-equipped with new weapon.
A Fascinating insight of the mission by 12 men who would later become known as the “Cockleshell Heroes ” Presented by Paddy Ashdown former SBS man himself . Also highlights how SOE also conducted an operation against the same target but never telling once of there objective to Combined Operations .
n 1942, Britain was struggling to fight back against Nazi Germany. Lacking the resources for a second front, Churchill encouraged innovative and daring new methods of combat. Enter stage left, Blondie Hasler. With a unit of twelve Royal Marine commandos, Major Blondie Hasler believed his ‘cockleshell’ canoe could be effectively used in clandestine attacks on the enemy. Their brief was to navigate the most heavily defended estuary in Europe, to dodge searchlights, machine-gun posts and armed river-patrol craft 70 miles downriver, and then to blow up enemy shipping in Bordeaux harbour. Lord Ashdown recreates parts of the raid and explains how this experience was used in preparing for one of the greatest land invasions in history, D-day.
“…..It is a tale of massive Whitehall cock-up”