Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines
The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines (FPGRM), formerly Comacchio Company Royal Marines (1980–1983) and Comacchio Group Royal Marines (1983–2001), is a commando
Commando 21
Commando 21 is the name given to the reorganisation of the Royal Marines three battalion sized Commando units; namely 40 Commando; 42 Commando; and 45 Commando .-The Commando 21 Organisation:...

-sized specialist unit of the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 responsible for guarding the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

's Naval nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s and other security-related duties.


On 1 May 1980, the Comacchio Company Royal Marines was formed to guard the UK's Naval nuclear weapons and as a Maritime
A sea generally refers to a large body of salt water, but the term is used in other contexts as well. Most commonly, it means a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, and is commonly used as a synonym for ocean...

Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 unit for offshore installations, including oil rigs and ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s. The Comacchio Company RM initially numbered around 300 personnel.

Taking its name from a World War Two
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 battle honour, the Comacchio Company's purpose was deemed inappropriate for a Commando-level specification. Instead, the Comacchio Company was named after a battle fought in Lake Comacchio, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, by Royal Marines in 1945, where Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

 Thomas Peck Hunter
Thomas Peck Hunter
Thomas Peck Hunter VC was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:...

 of 43 Commando
43 Commando
No. 43 Commando or 43 Commando was a unit of Royal Marines trained as Commandos during the Second World War. They served in the 2nd Special Service Brigade in the Mediterranean, Italy and the Adriatic....

 posthumously received the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 for his actions. On its formation, Comacchio Company took on the colours and traditions of the-then defunct 43 Commando.

The Comacchio Company RM became Comacchio Group RM in November 1983 to reflect a manpower increase to over 400 Royal Marines. From 1987 onwards, Comacchio Group also ceased performing the Maritime Counter-Terrorism role, after a study transferred the task to the newly-formed M-squadron of the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 Special Boat Service
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...


The Comacchio Group RM was renamed Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines in March 2001, and was restructured into its current organisation. The Group also moved from RM Condor
RM Condor
RM Condor is a large Royal Marines base located near Arbroath in East Angus, Scotland. The base has been home to 45 Commando, which is part of 3 Commando Brigade, since 1971, although it was first constructed as a Fleet Air Arm base in 1938, when it was known as HMS Condor...

 in Arbroath Angus
Angus is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland, a registration county and a lieutenancy area. The council area borders Aberdeenshire, Perth and Kinross and Dundee City...

 (where it was co-located with 45 Commando
45 Commando
45 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized unit of the British Royal Marines and subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

) to HM Naval Base Clyde, which is situated near Helensburgh
Helensburgh is a town in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies on the north shore of the Firth of Clyde and the eastern shore of the entrance to the Gareloch....

, Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute
Argyll and Bute is both one of 32 unitary council areas; and a Lieutenancy area in Scotland. The administrative centre for the council area is located in Lochgilphead.Argyll and Bute covers the second largest administrative area of any Scottish council...

 (both in Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...


In 2004, rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 squadron P was renamed S squadron and the Group was further expanded to a complement of 530.

Tasks and organisation

As of 2009, the Fleet Protection Group has over 550 personnel and is organised into several sub-units:
  • HQ Headquarters
    Headquarters denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States, the corporate headquarters represents the entity at the center or the top of a corporation taking full responsibility managing all business activities...

     Squadron, including Boat Troop
  • O Rifle Squadron
  • R Rifle Squadron
  • S Rifle Squadron
  • P Squadron Royal Navy (a sub-unit created in 2010 comprising 145 Royal Navy personnel charged with protecting RFA ships, Mine warfare ships and MOD-owned ferries)

The Group currently performs several tasks, including:
  • Fleet Standby Rifle Troop (FSRT) - The Group provides a number of teams to conduct tasks in support of the Royal Navy worldwide, including counter-terrorist, counter-narcotics and counter-piracy. All the teams receive specialist training and equipment and are held at high readiness for deployment. Many of the teams are specifically trained in non-compliant boarding skills. Those wishing to join an FSRT team are required to serve an apprenticeship in FPGRM and to be specifically recommended as suitable for this highly demanding and rewarding role.

  • Security of Nuclear Weapons - The Group provides military support for the Final Denial of access to nuclear weapons in HM Naval Base Faslane, at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport and in transit. The duty squadron provides a number of Reaction Forces at various notices to move in order to support the Ministry of Defence Police
    Ministry of Defence Police
    The Ministry of Defence Police is a civilian police force which is part of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence. The force is part of the larger government agency, the Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency , together with the Ministry of Defence Guard Service...

    . This is a complex task that requires a thorough understanding of Rules of Engagement, accurate weapon handling and good Close Quarter Battle (CQB) skills. This role is becoming more demanding as new weapons, skills and tasks are being introduced.

  • Force protection of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels outside the UK - FPGRM provide force protection teams for HM ships alongside outside the United Kingdom to supplement organic security teams. This task is supported by members of the Royal Naval Reserve.

Only a proportion of squadron manpower is deployed at any one time, with the remainder taking leave, courses or training. When not on duty, the squadron conducts field firing, mountain training and other sub-unit training. It is also liable to be deployed on exercises such as Exercise Trade Winds (in the Caribbean), to take part in November Ceremonies at the Cenotaph in London, or conduct cross-training with the USMC during the biannual Exercise Tartan Eagle.

FPGRM is responsible for running the selection process for Royal Marines who wish to join the UK's Special Forces Support Group
Special Forces Support Group
The Special Forces Support Group or SFSG is a special operations unit of the British Armed Forces. The SFSG is the newest addition to the United Kingdom Special Forces. It was formed officially on 3 April 2006 to support the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service on operations. This could...


The Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines is the only operational Royal Marines Commando unit outside 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando...

 Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

, instead the group works through the Commander Operations Fleet to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet is the admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy...


Royal Navy Reserve Augmentation

Naval ratings of the Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Reserve
The Royal Naval Reserve is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present Royal Naval Reserve was formed in 1958 by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve , a reserve of civilian volunteers founded in 1903...

 have been attached to the Fleet Protection Group to support the force protection tasks outside of the United Kingdom.

See also

  • Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

  • British Armed Forces
    British Armed Forces
    The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

  • Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
    Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom was the third country to test an independently developed nuclear weapon, in October 1952. It is one of the five "Nuclear Weapons States" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the UK ratified in 1968...

  • Marine Corps Security Force Regiment

External links

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