Royal Marines recently ‘engaged’ US Marine Corps in Mojave Desert as part of a training exercise.

Royal Marines from 40 Commando’s Charlie Company were formed into teams of 12 commandos and were tasked to ‘wreak havoc’ on opposing US Marine Corps forces.

The commando teams – named Teal 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35 – were mobilised after a period of battle preparation, which saw everything not matching the desert palette painted tans and browns, from fuel cans to camouflage nets.

Royal Marines in the US

Teal 31 and 32 were dispatched first into Hidalgo, with the former spotting a patrol of light armoured vehicles from their observation posts and destroying two of them with their anti-tank weapon, the Javelin missile launcher.

The team soon turned their attentions to a mortar line and command post, destroying both, with observers – who collect data on the exercise – giving a 75% kill ratio say the MoD.

Teal 33 also reportedly caused havoc of their own, ‘shooting down’ two AH-1V Cobra gunships with the Javelin, before ambushing enemy armour in which three light armoured vehicles, two Humvees and four trucks were ‘destroyed’ along with dozens of mock casualties.

According to the news release:

“This was part of the unscripted warfighting exercise for which Charlie Company were acting as unconventional enemy forces, tasked and equipped to disrupt their adversary at every turn. The commando teams operated around Hidalgo City, a huge town otherwise known as Range 220 that was purpose-built for desert urban training exercises and is one of the largest such facilities in the world.

There, they blended into their environment and created chaos, destroying advancing enemy armoured vehicles, mortar lines, command posts and aircraft using a range of weaponry and developing Future Commando Force tactics to great effect. Alongside a US Army Special Forces team, the commandos held Hidalgo City – near Twentynine Palms in California – until their mock enemy had exhausted all options and combat power.”

This main exercise followed intensive training 7,000ft up in the mountains at the Mountain Training Warfare Centre at Pickel Meadow, northwest of Bridgeport, California. You can read more about this from the source here.

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Happy New Year everyone.

Sounds like the Royal Marines had a whale of a time.

On a serious note it just goes to show how effective a well trained small force can be in the right terrain using asymmetric tactics, although I would caution that any such force would probably need to be extracted from an operational area after mounting a number of attacks.

Cheers CR


Totally agree it’s quite easy to cause damage to a larger force it’s the extraction part that is hard however this classic hit and run tactic used all over the world wouldn’t be used unless there is a way of getting away or melting back into the population


Oh, it works alright but I suspect that it is possible to overplay your hand in a given area especially if the opposing forces are significantly larger than your force. Which is most likely the case as why else would you use asymmetric tactics?

The point is that these tactics are raiding tactics, which is where the Royal Marines are intending to place themselves – North Norway not withstanding.

Cheers CR

George Royce

I agree CR, that’s why I think we should increase our RM force from 7,500 to about 30,000 in the long run. With better funding and more training facilities, it’s possible. The 5th largest economy should not have to rely on hit and run tactics, no matter how good they are. Thankfully, the RM are returning to their original roles of seabourne landings and rapid momentum-led war, instead of playing a supportive role for the Army.

Last edited 2 months ago by George Royce
Robert Blay

That’s why we have the British Army, along with the RM. 30,000 RM will never ever happen.

George Royce

Perhaps a little ambitious. 15,000 is possible though.


Hi George,

I have often thought that 10,000 to 15,000 would be a good number for the Royal Marines. Of course, we should forget that 3 Commando Brigade includes Army Commando units e.g. artillery, engineers and a contringent of RLC personnel. So the total number of Commandos available to the UK is more than the 7,700 Royal Marines, although I cannot find a figure for the Army Commandos.

Cheers CR

George Royce

Indeed. I think we should aim for 15,000 paras and 15,000 RM. This would mean we are continuously fishing for the best young fighting men, giving them the training facilities, funding and equipment to maintain the best (albeit small) fighting force.

Personally I think we should seek to raise our field army to 100,000. If the French can field 120,000, surely we can aim for something similar.


I joined the Army in 1975 when we had 180,000 regulars and 60,000 TA! But those numbers were required to be ready for WW3, to conduct Op Banner in NI and to be able to mount at least one expeditionary operation. Options for Change review in 1990 reset the army at 120,000 regulars and a reduced TA. That was deemed to be the right number for the post-Cold War World, and that was without the consideration of major expeditionary operations being likely, such as Gulf War 1 or 2 or Op Herrick in Afghanistan. How we have therefore reduced to… Read more »

George Royce

Indeed, with China, Russia, Iran and NK all acting up, it’s rather foolish to just have 80,000 odd regulars. However, perhaps just as important is our geopolitical standing in our own continent. We’re not going to be part of an EU Army, NATO will be undermined by such an organisation and thus, having that amount mentioned above, is rather foolish again. Ofc we’re allies with all European nations but we shouldn’t have to rely on them, (as history shows it’s not wise). Personally I think 100,000 is the standard. In a perfect world, we’d have 200,000. But the former figure… Read more »

John Clark

There is certainly a good argument for increasing the size of the Royal Marines and the Parachute regiment. The RM’s at 10,000 to allow them to deploy at Brigade level (maintain their current capability) and have a fully developed raiding capability. A modest increase in Parachute regiment to allow them to generate another battalion to replace the special forces dedicated battalion. This would take us back to a complete Brigade. I know the days of air dropping at Brigade level are long gone, but used as Helicopter borne light formations they have a usefulness and bite ‘far’ in excess of… Read more »

George Royce

I agree John.

Robert Blay

Happy Brexit day shipmate 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧


You know what Hannibal from the A team said “I love it when a plan comes together”…


If Bojo et al are our ‘A’ team then God help us!
Ref Harold…why bother replying. Such an obvious wind up deserves no recognition whatsoever. I assume that his postscript is Scottish Garlic!


But I enjoy his sad contribution. However you are right, alas I find his replies and sad grumpiness slightly amusing. Maybe I need to leave him alone, I will try.


If Bojo is Hannibal….which cabinet members are Baracus, Murdoch etc. I’d have Gove down as B J Baracus just for fun?


Impressive. What on Earth is going on with Trump blocking the US defence budget that has been overuled by congress?


He doesn’t like the blank cheques that some defence contractors seem to be given! He may have a point there,


Happy New Year All,

Yeh, I noted that I actually agreed with Trump on something. Giving defence contractors blank cheques is just plain daft, but some of his other objections were definately going to put him at odds with Congress.

Cheers CR


Yes, I was quite shocked at agreeing with Trump. That’s the problem with Trumpski…..he is quite good on government being ripped off by contractors (perhaps he could find a role advising the MOD)…but pretty flaky at best elsewhere!


That has absolutely nothing to do with why Trump vetoed the bill.




According to the BBC, there were limits put in place on how many troops could be withdrawn from Europe and Afghanistan, and plans to change the names of some military bases named for Confederate generals- both things that went against his stated intentions. He also wasn’t happy that the bill didn’t repeal “section 230”, which I think is what you’re referring to. However BBC describes this as liability protection for media companies- so they can’t be held responsible for what is posted on them. I’ve not read it though, so I honestly don’t know what else it says- I know… Read more »


Oh dear, the trolling efforts are getting much weaker. Not even a link to a Scottish angle on this one. But then again, your mid 70s now, living in a budget electric item warehouse/distribution centre and using an avatar from an 11th Century Anglo Saxon King, and talking in code……. You are setting the bar low for 2021. Cheers.