The British Royal Marines are the Royal Navy's land-fighting forces, with their green berets, one of the most iconic pieces of British military headgear. One of the world's elite forces, their training programme is demanding in the extreme.
Induction and early weeks
They were formed as an official corps in 1755, but can trace their origins back even further into Britain's naval past to the 17th Century, when soldiers went to sea to fight the Dutch.
The first step for any recruit is induction, though they should have done some training and fitness work ahead of this stage, as a preparation for the grueling weeks ahead.
Paper work and kit issues The course begins with administration paper work and kit issues, very mundane, but vital to acquaint recruits with military routine and procedure. They learn to stow kit, and equip themselves properly, and also how to correctly wear the Royal Marines uniform. The recruits begin to build-up their fitness in these early stages, with physical training in the gym and many running outdoors. Basic techniques
As the early weeks progress, recruits begin to learn basic military techniques for coping with life outdoors. Activities include building shelters ('bivis'), and spending a night in the field.
Drill routines and fitness levels are also built-up.
Physical and battle training
Programme of the training
Marine recruit training goes up a notch in intensity from weeks four to ten of the programme, as the recruits learn individual weapon, combat and medical skills, as well as continuing the intense physical work. This phase of the programme ends with 'Operation Hunters Moon', a four-day field exercise which tests the skills of the recruits. Advanced skills
Weeks 11 to 15 take these skills to new advanced levels, improving the range of armaments a recruit can use, and boosting communications and signaling skills. Activities, such as live-firing exercises, helicopter, under-water training and chemical and biological procedures make up this part of the course. Battle skills Weeks 16 to 25 of the course are advanced battle skills, teaching the recruit how to function effectively as an infantryman in a war situation. Much of the focus of this part of the programme is on specific battle skills in specific environments, such as urban war-fare.
Final test and green berets
Weeks 26 to 31 are the most testing parts of the course, when a recruit's readiness for active duty as a commando is assessed through a range of demanding activities. Live-firing, endurance runs and intense drill are indeed important. Final week The final week of the course consists of successful recruits being officially recognised if they have successfully completed the course, with a 'passing-out parade' marking their success publicly. A Royal Marines Officer would undergo a separate programme to that of non-commissioned recruits.