'History and Training 1946 - present'

The following pages will tell you a little about current Commando training for the Royal Marines, and the All Arms Commando Course for the other Services of today, but first read about the changes the Commandos went through post war.

In 1946 a decision was made to disband the Army Commandos. Demobilization commenced almost immediately with some Commando Units being merged for short periods as numbers dwindled. The Commando Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry was closed and returned to the Lochiel. The task of maintaining the proud tradition that the Army Commandos had done so much to create was passed to the Royal Marines.

There is a small memorial of a Commando Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The quotation below it speaks for all wartime Commandos, Army or Royal Marines : 

"They performed whatsoever the King commanded"

The RM Commandos did not escape the cutbacks being reduced from nine units down to just three. The existing 3 Commando Brigade was reformed as 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines. In 1947 the Brigade consisted of 40 Commando ( formed from the disbanded 44RM Commando), 42 Commando, and 45 Commando. 

Unlike in WW2, nowadays all Royal Marines are Commando trained. However this did not occur immediately.  Throughout the 50's and 60's recruits attended the Infantry Training Centre, Royal Marines at Lympstone. Once finished their infantry training, Marines had a choice of of going either on the Commando course, or on a Gunnery Course and going to sea on “Big Ships”.  Eventually a decision was made for all Royal Marines to be Commando trained. In 1972 the name of the training centre at Lympstone was changed to the Commando Training Centre, Royal Marines (CTCRM). 

Veterans who served all their time on board ships wear the blue beret with red patch just as proudly as Commandos  who wear the green beret. These days the former is worn in service only by recruits, often harmlessly referred to in the past as Nods or Winks.

Today the CTCRM delivers training recruitment and selection, recruit and Officer training, leadership and career training for the Royal Marines, as well as Commando training for the rest of UK Defence.

Additionally Army Commando units have again returned. During 1962, 29 Field Regiment RA were deployed with 25 Pounder guns in Aden and Kuwait, deterring Iraq from invading the oil fields. On the back of these deployments, the Regiment was re-roled as Commando Artillery. The newly formed 29 Commando Regiment RA trained for and passed the All Arms Commando Course at the Training Centre Royal Marines Lympstone. It was a proud and historic moment when the first Army Commandos since the end of the War received their Green Berets on 15 May 1962.

24 Commando Engineer Regiment and 131 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers (V) provide integral engineer support to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. Currently 24 Cdo RE consists of 54 Commando Headquarters and Support Squadron RE and 59 Commando Squadron RE, as well as 131 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers.  

Today's Commando Logisitic Support Squadron can trace its Commando roots back to the 8th May 1964 when four Officers and 24 RAOC storemen and clerks completed their commando training and were awarded their Green Berets as part of the new 3 Commando Brigade Ordnance Field Park. Changing its name in 1972 to the Commando Ordnance Squadron, then being renamed again as the Commando Logisitic Squadron in 1996.

Sources: CVA / Royal Navy / MOD 

Read on from the link below ......

Training Centres 1946 - present

1946 to present day

In 1946 all the Army Commando units were disbanded and the Commando role was taken over by the Royal Marines. Additionally five of the eight RM Commando Units that were in existence were disbanded. The remaining three units were redesignated as 40 Commando RM, 42 Commando RM, and 45 Commando RM, and were grouped together to form the new 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. The Commando Basic Training Centre at Achnacarry closed.

Commando School

Those Royal Marines selected for specialised Commando training now attended the Commando School initially located at Towyn in Wales, then relocated in 1947 to Bickleigh in Plymouth. In 1954 it was moved to the ITC Lympstone.

Infantry Training Centre, Lympstone (ITCRM)

The base for the initial training for all Royal Marines. Not all Royal Marines received Commando training at this time.

Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM)

In the early 70's it was decided that all Royal Marines should be Commando trained. Commando training was centralised at Lympstone, and the ITCRM was re-designated as the CTCRM.

'Commando School RM'

After the war ended and Achnacarry closed, those Royal Marines selected for specialised Commando training attended the Commando School initially located at Towyn in Wales, then relocated in 1947 to Bickleigh in Plymouth. In 1954 it was moved to the ITC Lympstone.

'Commando Training Centre RM'

The Commando Training Centre, also known as CTCRM, is the principal training centre for the Royal Marines.

Based at Lympstone in Devon CTCRM selects and trains all Royal Marines Officers, recruits and reserves. CTCRM is unique in that it also provides all Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) command training as well as training 70% of all Royal Marines specialists.

On average, 1,300 recruits, 2,000 potential recruits and 400 potential officers attend training courses and acquaint courses at CTCRM every year. In addition the Training Wings run upwards of 320 courses a year for a further 2,000 students.
At the end of their course they have to pass the four Commando Tests.

[Source: royalnavy.mod.uk]

'The Four Commando Tests'

At the end of Royal Marines training recruits need to pass four Commando tests in the space of a week. All tests are completed carrying 21 lbs of equipment and a rifle.

On the Saturday they complete a six-mile endurance course which is a series of tunnels including a short-water tunnel followed by a four-mile run back to Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. A version of this test without equipment is done annually by thousands of civilians for charity during the Commando Challenge.

On Monday morning the recruits do a nine mile speed march in 90 minutes. Speed marching is a combination of running and marching.

The Commando Tests include an Endurance Course, a 9 mile speed march, a Tarzan Assault course and a 30 mile speed march across Dartmoor.

On Tuesday morning the recruits do the Tarzan Assault course. They have already passed the Assault course in five minutes in week 20 of training.  The Tarzan course is a high obstacle confidence course which recruits have five minutes to pass.

This third Commando test requires them to combine the Tarzan and Assault courses and they have 13 minutes to complete it which means they have to go flat out the whole way round.

After this they only have one more test to pass – a simple 30 mile march across Dartmoor. The 30 mile speed march starts at the north end of Dartmoor and finishes near Plymouth. Recruits have eight hrs to complete this test and will carry about 40 lbs of equipment.

If they have passed all the tests they are presented with their Green Berets at the end of the speed march.

Source and details valid as at December 2013: Royal Navy / MOD

The All Arms Commando Course

A brief insight into today's All Arms Commando Course.

all arms commando course

12 weeks (including 4 weeks preparatory course)
Location : Commando Training Centre Royal Marines
Pre Commando Course (PCC)
With sponsor units 29 Cdo RA, 24 Cdo RE,



To prepare Navy, Army or Air Force personnel for service with 3 Cdo Bde RM 
by developing the temperament, mental resolve, physical robustness and core 
military skills necessary in the demanding environment of expeditionary and 
littoral operations.


Field craft & tactics
First Aid, health & hygiene
Map reading & navigation
Organisation & role of Commando forces
Skill at Arms with troop weapons
Physical fi tness
Amphibious training
Vertical assault


Pass Royal Marines Battle Fitness Test (BFT) on joining course
Pass Combat Fitness Test (CFT) within 1 month of joining course
Swim 60 metres in clothing, tread water for 3 minutes, having entered water from 3 metres
Climb 30ft (9.2m) rope whilst wearing equipment weighing 6.8kg on joining course
Pass Weapons Handling Tests on personal weapon to a skilled standard on joining course


Twelve miles (19km) load carry (with equipment weighing 31.3kg and 
personal weapon) at night as a formed body within the time limit of 4 hours
Tarzan / Assault course in 13 minutes with equipment weighing 9.6kg and 
carrying personal weapon
Six mile Endurance Course in 73 minutes with equipment weighing 9.6kg 
and carrying personal weapon
Nine mile speed march in 90 minutes as a formed body with equipment 
weighing 9.6kg and carrying personal weapon
Final exercise testing basic military tactics (m ap reading, amphibious skills, 
endurance and stamina)
March 30 miles in 8 hours with equipment weighing 9.6kg and carrying 
personal weapon and safety stores on a given Dartmoor route as a syndicate


Emphasis is on fitness & stamina. All students must be physically prepared on arrival. The 4 week Preparation Course run by one of the 2 sponsor units takes place at Oakhampton Battle Camp or RMB Chivenor immediately precedes the AACC and 
provides for the essential preparation including weapons familiarisation.

Source & Photos: CVA/Royal Navy/MOD image gallery.
Photographers LAPhot Ben Sheard and WO2 Richard White

Read about the origins of the green beret here: History of the Commando Green Beret

For more precise information about the AACC watch the video from the link below right ......

'P.R.M.C.' - video

The 3 day 'Potential Royal Marines Course', or PRMC at Lympstone designed to test whether you have the right potential. Watch the video below.

'A.A.C.C.' - video

The All Arms Commando Course.

This video, in the form of a power point presentation,  is 25 minutes long and contains a good deal of information from the history of Commando Training to the present day All Arms Commando Course. It wil benefit all who are contemplating applying for the course, or who simply want to know more about what is required of candidates.