— Furnish close and continuous fire support by neutralizing, destroying, or suppressing targets that threaten the success of supported units. To accomplish this mission, Marine Corps artillery (a) provides timely, close, accurate, and continuous fire support. (b) Provides depth to combat by attacking hostile reserves, restricting movement, providing long-range support for reconnaissance forces, and disrupting enemy command and control systems and logistics installations. (c) Delivers counter-fire within the range of the weapon systems to ensure freedom of action by the ground forces.
For half of its 245-years, the U.S. Marine Corps has operated as a task-organized, mission-centered expeditionary force capable of quickly responding to any national emergency when so directed by the national military command authority. The term “task organized” simply means that the size of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) depends entirely on the mission assigned to it. A Marine Corps combat team could range from a rifle company to a reinforced brigade.
Before the Spanish-American War, when the mission of the Marine Corps was limited to providing sea-going detachments of qualified riflemen, the size of the Corps depended on the number of ships that required Marine Detachments. The mission of the Marine Corps has changed considerably since the Spanish-American War. The U.S. Navy’s evolving role is one factor in the changing Marine Corps mission, but so too is advancing technological development and a greater demand for the Corps’ unique mission capabilities. One thing hasn’t changed: The Marine Corps has always been —and remains today— essentially a task-organized service. Today, we refer to all forward-deployed Marine Corps combat forces as Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs).
Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl.
—Frederick the Great
Artillery is a weapons platform used for launching munitions beyond the range of infantry weapons. Modern artillery evolved from much-simpler weapons in ancient times — used to breach fortifications and by defensive forces to withstand an enemy assault. Although not referred to as artillery, siege engines such as the catapult have been around since around 400 BC. Until the development of gunpowder, the effectiveness of artillery depended on mechanical energy. If one wanted to increase the effectiveness of such weapons, then one would have to construct larger engines. Gunpowder changed all that. For instance, first-century Roman catapults launching a 14-pound stone could achieve kinetic energy of 16,000 joules. A 12-pound gun in the mid-19th century reached kinetic energy of 240,000 joules.
In the Middle Ages, artillerists adapted their weapons to support land armies. They accomplished this by constructing horse-drawn wagons to provide mobility to heavy weapons. Before the 20th century, when artillerists (gun crews) marched along beside the horse-drawn wagons, field artillery was commonly referred to as “foot artillery.” There was also a distinction between field artillery and horse artillery; the latter was used to support cavalry units, employing lighter guns and, eventually, horse-mounted gun crews. During World War I, technology changed horse-drawn artillery to wheeled or tracked vehicles.
Marine Corps Artillery: The Early Years
In addition to serving as shipboard riflemen, early Marines also manned naval guns. This may be the Corps’ earliest connection to the use of artillery. There are differences between the employment of naval vs. land artillery, but the fundamentals are similar. Nevertheless, the evolution of Marine artillery is linked to the growth of the Corps, and the modern development of the Corps began at the outset of the Spanish-American War. Marines have performed amphibious raids and assaults from its very beginning, but only as small detachments, often augmented by members of the ship’s crew (ship’s company). The Marine Corps formed its first (task-organized) amphibious battalion in the Spanish-American War. In that episode, the Corps distinguished itself as a naval assault force and proved its usefulness in projecting naval power ashore. See also: The First Marine Battalion.
As the U.S. Navy grew into a global force, the Marine Corps grew with it. Within a few decades, the Marine Corps evolved from shipboard detachments and providing security for naval yards and stations to a force capable of seizing and defending advanced bases and forming and employing expeditionary assault forces. Artillery played a vital role in this evolution. From that time on, innovative thinkers helped make the Marine Corps relevant to the ever-evolving nature of war and its usefulness to our national defense.
The Marine Corps developed tables of organization and equipment (TO/E) to standardize requirements for combat and combat support personnel and their equipment. For example, all infantry, artillery, and combat support battalions are uniformly organized. Artillery regiments (generally) have the same number of battalions, battalions have the same number of batteries, and all headquarters/firing batteries are likewise similar in composition. Organizational standardization remains a key element used by headquarters staff in determining whether or the extent to which Marine Corps units are combat-ready.
Infantry is the mission of the Marine Corps — projecting naval power ashore. The mission for anyone who is not an infantryman is to support the infantryman. The mission of Marine Corps artillery reflects this reality.
Following the Spanish-American War (1898), the Marine Corps developed the Advanced Base Force. This was essentially a coastal and naval base defense battalion designed to establish mobile and fixed bases in the event of major landing operations outside the territorial limits of the United States. The Advanced Base Force was a significant shift away from the Marine Corps’ mission up to that time. It marked the beginning of Marine expeditionary forces.
The Advanced Base Force was useful because it enabled the Navy to meet the demands of maritime operations independent of the nation’s land force, the U.S. Army. This decision was far more than an example of service rivalry; it was practical. In many cases, troops, and supplies (as the Army might have provided) were simply unavailable at the time and place the Navy needed them. The General Board of the Navy determined, at least initially, that no more than two regiments of Advance Base Forces would be required from the Marine Corps. In those days, Advanced Base Battalions had one artillery battery (to provide direct fire support to the battalion) and naval shore batteries to defend against hostile naval forces.
In July 1900, a typical Marine artillery unit was equipped with 3-inch guns and colt automatic weapons. The Marine Corps organized its first artillery battalion in April 1914 at Vera Cruz, Mexico. This battalion would become the foundation of the 10th Marine Regiment, which distinguished itself in combat in the Dominican Republic in 1916.
First World War
Global war didn’t just suddenly appear at America’s doorstep in 1917; it had as its beginnings the Congress of Vienna in 1814. By the time the United States entered World War I, the war to end all wars was already into its third year of bloody mayhem. During those three years, the American press continually reported on such incidents as German submarine attacks on U.S. commercial shipping and a German proposal to Mexico for an invasion of states in the U.S. Southwest. There is no evidence that Mexico ever gave serious consideration to Germany’s proposal.
To prepare for America’s “possible” involvement, Congress authorized an expansion of the Marine Corps to include two infantry brigades, two air squadrons, and three regiments of artillery. The three artillery regiments and their initial date of activation were: the 11th Marines (3 January 1918), the 10th Marines (15 January 1918), and the 14th Marines (26 November 1918).
Major General Commandant George Barnett wanted to form a Marine infantry division for duty in France; General John J. Pershing, U.S. Army, commanding the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) not only opposed the formation of a Marine infantry division, but he also wasn’t fond of the idea of Marine Corps artillery regiments., 
When the Commanding Officer of the 11th Marines became aware of Pershing’s objection to Marine artillery, he petitioned the Commandant to re-train his regiment as an infantry organization. Thus, in September 1918, the 11th Marines deployed to France as an infantry regiment of the 5th Marine Brigade. However, once the 5th Brigade arrived in France, General Pershing exercised his prerogative as overall American commander to break up the brigade and use these men as he saw fit. Pershing assigned most of these Marines to non-combat or combat support duties. Upon returning to the United States in August 1919, Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) deactivated the 11th Marines.
The Commanding Officer of the 10th Marines also pushed for service in France. The regiment was equipped with 3-inch guns. Since there were no 3-inch guns in France, the War Department (Army) barred the 10th Marines from European service. When the Navy offered to convert 14-inch naval rifles for use as rail guns (mounted on train cars), the War Department conditionally approved the suggestion (along with a 7-inch weapon) — but only so long as the Navy used sailors to man the guns, not Marines. Eventually, the Navy negotiated a compromise with the Army: sailors would handle the 14-inch guns, and the 10th Marines would service the 7-inch guns. The 10th Marines began training with the 7-inch guns in early October 1918. The war ended on 11 November 1918. On 1 April 1920, the 10th Marine regiment was re-designated as the 1st Separate Field Artillery Battalion, which had, by then, incorporated French 75-mm and 155-mm howitzers.
The 14th Marines, having been trained as both infantry and artillery, never deployed to Europe. The result of political/in-service rivalry was that no Marine Corps artillery units participated in World War I.
(Continued next week)
Brown, R. J. A Brief History of the 14th Marines. Washington: Headquarters, US Marine Corps, 1990
Buckner, D. N. A Brief History of the 10th Marines. Washington: US Marine Corps History Division, 1981
Butler, M. D. Evolution of Marine Artillery: A History of Versatility and Relevance. Quantico: Command and Staff College, 2012.
Emmet, R. A Brief History of the 11th Marines. Washington: Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, 1968
Kummer, D. W. U. S. Marines in Afghanistan, 2001-2009. Quantico: U.S. Marine Corps History Division, 2014.
Russ, M. Breakout: The Chosin Reservoir Campaign, Korea 1950. Penguin Books, 1999.
Shulimson, J., and C. M. Johnson. U.S. Marines in Vietnam: The Landing and the Buildup, 1965. Washington: Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, 1978.
Smith, C. R. A Brief History of the 12th Marines. Washington: Headquarters, US Marine Corps, 1972.
Strobridge, T. R. History of the 9th Marines. Quantico: Gray Research Center, 1961, 1967.
 The size of the detachment depended on the size of the ship.
 A measure of energy equal to the work done by a force of one newton when its point of application moves one meter in the direction of action of the force, equivalent to one 3600th of a watt hour. A newton is equal to the force that would give a mass of one kilogram an acceleration of one meter per second – per second.
 If there is a “father of the modern navy,” then it must be Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), whom historian John Keegan believes is the most important strategist of the 19th Century and, perhaps, the most influential American author of his time (1890). Mahan’s writing so influenced Theodore Roosevelt that it led him to pursue modernization of the US Navy as the key to achieving America’s full potential as an actor on the world stage.
 Currently, infantry battalions consist of “lettered” rifle companies. Artillery battalions consist of “lettered” firing batteries. In the past, when the primary mission of a combat organization was infantry, subordinate units were generally referred to as companies, even when one of those subordinate units was an artillery unit.
 Established in 1900, the General Board of the Navy was tasked to anticipate and plan for future tasks, missions, and strategic challenges and make recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy on matters of naval policy, including the task organization of naval expeditionary forces.
 Senior army officers had legitimate concerns with regard to the incorporation of Marines into field armies during World War I. Beyond the fact that army officers did not see a need for a Corps of Marines, and regarded them as a “waste of manpower” that could be better utilized in the army, the naval forces operated under a different system of laws and regulations. Perhaps the question in the minds of some senior army officers was whether the Marines would obey the orders of their army commanders.
 Prior to World War I, it was common practice for shipboard Marine Detachments to form provisional (temporary) organizations for specific purposes. In most instances, such organizations involved provisional battalions, but occasionally the Marines also formed provisional regiments and brigades. When the mission assigned to these provisional organizations was completed, brigades, regiments, and battalions would deactivate, and the Marines assigned to such organizations would return to their regular assignments. Marine regiments did not have formally structured battalions until after World War I. Instead, regiments were composed of numbered companies (e.g., 24th Company). One of the army’s concerns was that the use of Marine formations within Army units would only confuse ground commanders and further complicate the battlefront. It was during World War I that the Marine Corps adopted the Army’s regimental system. Rifle companies were formed under battalions, and battalion commanders answered to their respective regimental commanders.
 Before 1947, the Secretary of War (Army) and Secretary of the Navy operated as co-equal cabinet posts. After the creation of the Department of Defense, all military secretaries, service chiefs, and combat forces operated under the auspices of the Secretary of Defense (except the Coast Guard, which at first operated under the Treasury Department and now operates under the Department of Homeland Security).
Archaeologists and historians will say that maritime history dates back “thousands” of years, citing evidence of sea trade between ancient civilizations and the discovery of pre-historic boats, such as dugout canoes developed somewhat independently by various stone age populations. Of course, fashioning out a handmade canoe and using it to cross a river may not exactly qualify as “maritime.” Nor should we conclude that Austronesian explorers qualified as a naval force, per se, but it was a start.
Egyptians had well-developed trade routes over the Red Sea to Arabia. Navigation was known to the Sumerians between 4,000-3,000 B.C., and it was the search for trade routes that led the world into the Age of Exploration and Discovery.
Minoan traders from Crete were active in the Mediterranean by 2,000 B.C., and the Phoenicians (ancient Lebanese) became a somewhat substantial maritime culture from around 2,500 to 64 B.C. What the ancient Syrians, Greeks, and Romans knew of sailing vessels, they learned from the Phoenicians. At least, that’s what we believe.
The Romans were an agricultural/land-based culture. There is evidence of a “warship” that carried a Roman ambassador to Delphi in 394 BC, but history’s first mention of a Roman navy didn’t occur until 311 B.C. In that year, citizens of Rome elected two men to serve as “naval officers,” charging them with creating and maintaining a fleet of ships. They were called Duumviri Navales (literally, “two men for dealing with naval matters). Each officer controlled twenty ships. There is some confusion, however, whether these officers exercised command over Roman ships or those of Roman allies. The ships were very likely triremes — a type of galley with three banks of oars (one man per oar).
Because Rome was a land-based culture, its primary defense and expansionist element was its land army. Maritime trade did become an important element of the Roman economy, but this trade involved privately owned ships who assumed the risk of losses at sea due to storms and pirates rather than “Roman flagged” vessels. When Rome did incorporate naval warships, they always served in a support role and as part of the Roman Army. Any career soldier today will tell you that’s the way it should be — but then this would be the same kind of soldier who thought it would be a good idea to use camels in the U.S. Cavalry.
Ships capable of survival at sea were always an expensive proposition, and comparatively speaking, there were never large numbers of people standing in line to go to sea. Men of the ancient world were always fearful of the sea (as they should be even now). To avoid the expense of building and maintaining ships, a Roman legate generally called upon Greeks to provide ships and crews whenever necessary to impose blockades.
It wasn’t until the Romans set their sights on Sicily in 265 BC that they realized that their land-based army needed the support of a fleet of ships to maintain a flow of supplies and communicate with the Roman Senate. This realization prompted the senate to approve the construction of 100 quinqueremes and 20 triremes in 261 B.C. Note also that quinqueremes were referred to as “the fives” because the rowers were arranged in groups of five. The Romans arranged their ships’ company as centuries (100 men per ship). Contrary to Hollywood films, Roman crews, particularly the rowers, were seldom slaves. Roman crewmen were free-born citizens or provincials who signed on as rowers, artisans, riggers, or Marinus (Marines).
To the Marines (naval infantry) fell the task of defending their ship or assaulting an enemy vessel. This was accomplished by archers, followed by boarders armed with the Roman gladii (short sword). Thus, the primary tactical objective at sea was to board and seize enemy ships. What a fantastic experience that must have been. Boarding activities remained prevalent long after the advent of sailing ships, gunpowder, and massive cannon.
Naval Forces in the Middle Ages
Beginning sometime after 1300 rowed A.D. galleys were replaced by sailing ships armed with broadside-mounted cannons. It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of this innovation because combining the striking power of massed artillery with shipboard Marines firing from the topsail rigging was an enormous leap forward in naval warfare. Equally significant, naval power became the means by which Europeans created and maintained their overseas empires.
However, early in the Elizabethan era, ships were thought of as little more than transport vehicles for troops. The goal then was to corral an enemy ship, storm it, and capture it. There was no value to sinking an enemy ship. A sea captain could sell a captured ship, its cargo, and occasionally, he could ransom passengers and crew or sell them into slavery.
Beginning in medieval times, the design of ships emphasized resistance to boarders. A ship’s aft and forecastle, for example, closely resembled towering fortresses bristling with archery and gun slits. Necessity being the mother of invention, maritime tactics evolved further when it became apparent that defeating the enemy would require “other means.”
The Royal Navy’s Articles of War
What the United States Navy knew about operations at sea it learned from the British Royal Navy, and if we are to understand how the Royal Navy became the world’s most formidable sea power, then we must look to the British Navy’s Articles of War. The Articles of War governed how men in uniform conducted themselves under almost every set of circumstances, including during combat.
To begin with, a British navy commander’s defeat at sea was never acceptable to either the sovereign, the admiralty, or to the Parliament. The commanding officer of a British warship must engage the enemy and defeat him, or he must die in the attempt — even if the British ship was “outclassed.” The standard applied to naval warfare in the 1700s and 1800s was that a British naval commander entrusted with the control of a warship should defeat an enemy ship twice as large as his own. Fighting the vessel was the British commander’s first critical mission; winning the fight was the second.
Article XII, Articles of War, 1749:
“ Every person in the Fleet, who through cowardice, negligence, or disaffection, shall in time of action withdraw or keep, or not come into the fight or engagement, or shall not to do his utmost to take or destroy every ship which it shall be his duty to engage, and to assist and relieve all and every of His Majesty’s Ships, or those of his allies, which it shall be his duty to assist and relieve, every such person so offending, and being convicted thereof the sentence of a court-martial, shall suffer death.”
Before 1749, British naval officers had demonstrated a tendency to refuse to engage the enemy if there was any possibility that the British ship would be lost. This behavior was, perhaps, caused in part by common sense and the fact that naval courts refused to inflict severe punishments on such officers. The Articles of War of 1661 allowed that losses at sea could result from the ill fortunes of nature, but Article XII ruled out all such excuses.
Nor was there, after 1749, a great deal of “special trust and confidence” in the fidelity and ability of British naval commanders. We know this because it was the duty of the ship’s First Lieutenant to maintain a log of his captain’s actions — he was the ship’s watchdog. If the First Lieutenant had formed a too-personal relationship with his captain, other lieutenants were encouraged to watch and record the actions of the First Lieutenant. The ship’s master also maintained a journal. The Royal Navy’s intent was clear: there would be no lying or “fudging” journals in His or Her Majesty’s navy.
Nothing was more motivational, however than case law.
The island of Minorca had been a British possession since 1708, captured during the War of Spanish Succession. In 1748, government cost-cutting measures reduced the Royal Navy to three ships of the line in the Mediterranean Sea. As the British sought to expand their territory in North America in 1754, hostilities broke out between the British and French (and their Indian allies), quickly spreading to British and French allies in Europe.
In 1755, France began the process of constructing twelve new warships. British diplomats warned the Home Office that France would soon be in a position to attack Minorca. Lord High Admiral George Anson, out of his concern of a possible French invasion of England, recalled the Mediterranean squadron and assigned them to patrol duties along England’s long coastline. The Royal Navy could not afford to lose three ships of the line.
On 11 March 1756, the British Admiralty ordered Admiral John Byng to raise a fleet of ten ships, proceed to Toulon to protect the British garrison at Port Mahon. However, only six ships were present in Portsmouth, and all of them were in a state of disrepair (not ready for sea). Moreover, none of those ships were fully manned. Admiral Byng, realizing that there was no money to repair the vessels or construct four additional ships and because no one in England was willing to enlist in the Royal Navy, struggled to find a solution to the problem. There were no solutions. Admiral Byng promptly protested his orders. What the Admiralty demanded of him was impossible to achieve.
The Admiralty eventually provided funds for ship repairs and instructed Byng to carry out his orders. When shipwrights informed Byng that repairs would take longer than expected, the Admiralty ordered Byng to outfit channel ships and proceed to Port Mahon in advance of his somewhat diminished fleet.
On 6 April, still short of men, the British army loaned the navy Colonel Robert Bertie’s fusilier regiment, enabling Admiral Byng to set sail from Portsmouth. While Byng was en route to Toulon, a fleet of French naval vessels escorted 1,000 tartanes and other transports carrying 15,000 French troops to the far western side of Minorca.
Upon his arrival at Gibraltar, Admiral Byng reported to the senior officer, Lieutenant General Thomas Fowke. In their meeting, Byng presented Fowke with a letter from the British Home Office instructing him to provide Admiral Byng with such troops as he may require toward completing his mission.
When Byng realized that the French had landed a large force of soldiers at Minorca, he requested a regiment of Royal Marines to bolster his forces. General Fowke refused. His refusal may have had some justification if, for example, providing the Marines would have reduced Fowke’s ability to defend the British garrison as Gibraltar. In any case, Admiral Byng’s problem was further complicated because the ship repair facility at Gibraltar was inadequate to the task of repairing his ships. Frustrated, Byng dispatched a terse note to the Admiralty explaining his situation and then, despite his dire circumstances, sailed toward Minorca to assess the situation first hand.
The Battle of Minorca was fought on 20 May 1756. Byng had gained the weather gauge and ordered a lasking maneuver but his lead ship, HMS Defiance, rather than steering directly toward the enemy’s front, took a course parallel to that of the French fleet — with HMS Portland, Buckingham, and Lancaster, following in trace. The delay in getting his ships back into the proper formation allowed the French to make the rest of the battle a running fight.
After a battle of around four hours in duration, the French successfully withdrew from Minorca with 38 dead seamen and 168 wounded. Admiral Byng suffered extensive damage to one ship and the loss of 43 sailors killed and 173 wounded. Still, Byng took up station near Minorca for four days. After holding a council of war with his captains, Admiral Byng decided to return to Gibraltar for repairs, arriving on 19 June.
Before Byng could return to sea, a ship arrived from England with dispatches. The Admiralty relieved Byng of his command, the Home Office relieved General Fowke of his command, and both men were ordered back to England to face court-martial charges.
Upon arrival in England, authorities took Byng and Fowke into custody; both men received courts-martial. The Home Office charged General Fowke with disobeying an order to support Byng with troops. The Admiralty charged Byng with violating Article XII, failing to do his duty against the enemy.
Admiral Byng’s court-martial resulted in an acquittal on the charge of cowardice, but he was found guilty of failing to exercise command of his fleet and failing to engage the enemy. He was sentenced to death by firing squad.
Admiral of the Fleet John Forbes, Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, was the officer who defeated the French at the Battle of Toulon in 1744. It fell upon Forbes to sign Byng’s death warrant. Forbes refused to sign the warrant because he believed Byng’s sentence was excessive and illegal. King George II refused to grant clemency to Byng and further declined to approve Prime Minister William Pitt’s recommendation for commutation. Thus, on 14 March 1757, Admiral Byng was escorted to the quarterdeck of HMS Monarch and shot dead by a squad of Royal Marines.
Article XII established the standard for command responsibility, but Byng’s court-martial set the legal precedent: a commanding officer is responsible for the actions of his subordinates. If a junior officer runs the ship aground, the captain is responsible. If a ship’s commander fails to maneuver his vessel properly, his senior officer is responsible. If a captain fails to fight his ship, his admiral is responsible.
The American Navy
The power of Congress to regulate the Army and Navy was first established during the Second Continental Congress, which on 30 June 1775, legislated 69 Articles of War to govern the conduct of the Continental Army (which, at the time, also included the Navy). The Articles of War, 1775, were not identical to the Articles of War promulgated by Great Britain but quite similar. Congress retained this power in the U.S. Constitution, promulgated within Article I, section 8, stating, “It shall be the power of the Congress to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.”
On 10 April 1806, Congress enacted 101 Articles of War. These were not significantly revised until 1912 and remained in effect until 31 May 1951, when Congress developed and implemented the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Notably, Article 52 of the Articles of War (1806) stated:
“Any officer or soldier, who shall misbehave himself before the enemy, run away, or shamefully abandon any fort, post, or guard, which he or they may be commanded to defend, or speak words inducing others to do the like, or shall cast away his arms and ammunition, or who shall quit his post or colours [sic] to plunder and pillage, every such offender, being duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a general court-martial.”
About navy fighting formations
There were only a few fighting formations of a naval fleet under sail. Responsibility for selecting which formation (or variation) employed during a sea battle fell to the fleet admiral (or commodore): line ahead, line abreast, and line of bearing. The admiral also determined sailing order — first ship in line, second, and so forth. In establishing his combat formation, the fleet admiral would attempt to gain the weather gauge and signal his intent to subordinate commanders through signal flags.
The line ahead formation did not allow for concentration of fire because, for naval guns to be effective on a rolling platform, combatants had to close to 300 — 500 yards of the enemy. The most devastating assault came from raking fire, initiated either from the bow or stern where cannon shot would do the most damage by traveling the length of the enemy ship.
Admiral Horatio Nelson was the first British officer to break the line in 1797 and again in 1805. His instruction to his captains was, “No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of his enemy.” Breaking the enemy’s line disrupted the enemy’s cohesion and made it possible to overwhelm individual ships and seize them. Again, the primary aim of the battle formation was to board and capture the enemy’s ships.
Boarding Operations may be the world’s oldest example of naval warfare. The boarding of an enemy vessel, or a friendly one to capture it from pirates and other low vermin, is an example of up close and personal extremism — which more or less defines all close combat. To achieve cross-ship boarding, the offending vessel needed to sail alongside the enemy vessel and direct an assault onto the enemy vessel. The individuals performing this operation were sailors and Marines who were (and are) trained for such missions. In the days of sail, sailors performed the task when the attacking ship was too small for a detachment of Marines.
Armed with swords, cutlasses, pistols, muskets, boarding axes, pikes, and grenades, the boarding party attacked the enemy crew, beginning with the helmsman and officer of the watch, or the ship’s captain if present on the bridge, all gun crews, and any other crewman left alive. Again, the purpose of boarding operations was to seize the ship, which was always the intent of privateers and pirates — even today.
Captain John Paul Jones conducted a classic example of boarding operations during the American Revolution. Jones’ Marines assaulted HMS Serapis from the sinking USS Bonhomme Richard in 1779. Captain Jones’s boarding operation is exemplary because it was the only known fight during the Age of Sail when a ship’s captain captured an enemy ship while losing his own. In 1813, the British returned the compliment by boarding and seizing USS Chesapeake from HMS Shannon.
Boarding enemy ships was also the purpose of the “cutting out” operations during the Age of Sail. To “cut out” is to seize and carry off an enemy vessel while at anchor in a harbor or at sea. The operation would typically target a small warship (a brig, sloop, or a two-masted ship of fewer than 20 guns). Cutting out operations avoided larger ships because of the crew size (300 or so men).
A cutting-out party would generally include sailors and Marines who began the assault in the dark of night. For an example of a cutting-out operation, see also At the Heart of the Corpsand the capture of the Sandwich during the Quasi-War with France.
Boarding operations are rare in modern times. U. S. Marines conducted their last boarding operation during the Mayaguez Incident in 1975, which involved a vertical assault from helicopters. Current operations may also involve small submarines and inflatable boats. The U.S. Coast Guard routinely incorporates boarding operations as part of its maritime drug interdiction operations.
A Final Note
While the Uniform Code of Military Justice is a massive improvement over the articles of war, severe penalties are still prescribed for certain crimes. The Manual for Courts-martial, Article 99 (Misbehavior Before the Enemy) includes, as offenses: (a) running away from a fight, (b) shamefully abandoning, surrendering, or delivering up any command, unit, place, or military property, which it is a duty to defend, (c) through disobedience, neglect, or intentional misconduct, endanger the safety of any command, unit, place, or military property, (d) casting away arms (weapons) or ammunition, (e) displaying cowardly conduct, (f) quitting one’s place of duty to plunder or pillage, (g) causing false alarms, (h) willfully failing to do one’s utmost to encounter, engage, capture, or destroy enemy troops, combatants, vessels, aircraft, or any other thing, which it is a serviceman’s duty to do, and/or (i) failing to afford all practicable relief and assistance to troops, combatants, vessels, or aircraft of the armed forces of the United States or their allies when engaged in battle. Any person found guilty of these offenses shall face a maximum punishment of death.
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McKee, C. A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U. S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794-1815. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1991
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The Library of Congress, Military Legal Resources, online.
Warming, R. An Introduction to Hand-to-Hand Combat at Sea: General Characteristics and Shipborne Tactics from 1210 BCE to 1600 CE. Academia College, 2019.
Winthorpe, W. Military Law and Precedents. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1920.
United States Constitution, Article I, section 8.
 The quinquereme was the more common Hellenistic-era warship, and the heaviest at that particular time. The Romans seized a Carthaginian ship, took it back to Rome, reverse-engineered it, and used it as a blueprint for Roman-made ships. The quinquereme had three to five banks of oars. The trireme had only three banks of oars but was much lighter and faster.
 Roman commanders of these ships were “Magistrates,” who knew nothing of sailing ships, but they were supported by lower-ranking officers who were seasoned sailors (most likely Greek seamen).
 Sinking ships as a naval strategy didn’t evolve until the mid-1800s when nations began building ironclad ships.
 In time, a ship’s captain would share the prize money with his crew as a reward for their victory at sea.
 The term “ship’s captain” is the traditional title of the person who serves in overall command of a ship. The naval rank of that person could be Lieutenant, Commander, or Captain — but no matter what his rank, he is called “Captain.” A ship’s master is the person who runs the ship (rather than commanding it). He is the most experienced seaman, and what he doesn’t know about running a ship isn’t worth knowing.
 One could understand this mindset in the British Army, where aristocrats bought and sold commissions. Under those conditions, there was never a guarantee that a colonel knew what the hell he was doing. The Royal Navy never sold commissions. All navy officers were promoted on merit.
 Channel ships (or Packet Ships) were medium-sized vessels designed to carry mail, passengers, and cargo. They were not suitable for sea battles with regular ships of the line.
 A fusil is a flintlock musket; a fusilier is someone who shoots a fusil. Also, musketeer or in modern parlance, a rifleman.
 A tartane was a small coastal trader/fishing vessel.
 A maneuver in which all ships turn into the enemy at once.
 King George II dismissed Fowke from the Army. King George III later reinstated him.
 Line-ahead battle formation (also, Ship of the line warfare) was a columnar formation developed in the mid-17th Century whereby each ship followed in the wake of the ship ahead at regular intervals. This formation maximized the firing power of the broadside and allowed for rapid “melee formation” or, if necessary, disengagement. Note that a ship of the line was of the largest (most formidable) fighting ship used in the line of battle (formation).
Between the 12th and 15th centuries, interconnecting river and sea trade routes transformed Europe’s economy.This development led to Europe becoming the world’s most prosperous trade networks.The only limiting factor to river or sea trade was the inadequacy of ships for that purpose.As Spain began a campaign to push Moslems out of the Iberian Peninsula, it realized economic growth in Andalusia and eventually allowed Spain to seize Lisbon in 1147.In Venice, Genoa, and Pisa, the Italians dominated trade in the eastern Mediterranean.In the North Atlantic, Norsemen began their conquest of England, which evolved into the development of peaceful trade along the North Sea.Trade organizations developed, which involved merchant guilds in northern Germany.
Historians credit the beginning of the Age of Discovery to the Portuguese, under the patronage of Infante Dom Henrique (also known as Prince Henry the Navigator).Henry directed the development of lighter ships, a design known as the caravel.With improved sails, the caravel could sail farther and faster than any other ship of the day.The caravel was highly maneuverable and could sail nearer the wind.With this ship, the Portuguese began exploring the Atlantic coast of Africa [Note 1].
In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias reached the Indian Ocean by sailing around the Horn of Africa.Perhaps the most significant discovery of all was Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the American continent in 1492.This discovery set into motion competition between Portugal and Spain, under whose patronage Columbus made his discovery.To avoid conflicts between these two nations, the Pope issued bulls, which divided the world into two exploration regions. The Pope granted each kingdom exclusive rights to claim newly discovered lands [Note 2].
Gradually, other European states developed maritime interests that placed them into direct competition with Portugal and Spain.In pursuing these interests, exploring nations attacked the ships and seized their competitors’ cargos; it was a behavior that led European countries toward the development of navies, which they used to protect their ships, shipments, and foreign operating bases.Newly discovered lands would be of no benefit to European adventurers unless or until these new lands were conquered, controlled, and colonized.Through the use of superior military technologies, Europeans enslaved indigenous peoples. They used them to harvest the new lands’ bounties, which included precious metals, previously unknown grains, spices, and fruits.
By the 16th century, Italians and Arabs shared a monopoly on overland trade with India and China.The Portuguese broke this monopoly by developing sea routes to both countries.Rivals for business, notably the Dutch East Indies Company, soon eclipsed the Portuguese by establishing bases of operation in Malacca, Ceylon, several Indian port cities, Indonesia, and Japan [Note 3].
In this competitive setting, European powers pursued their overseas interests through treaty, colonization, conquest, or a combination of all three.Trade with China was desirable because of the high demand for Chinese goods and because they offered immense profits.Through the 1700s, China had become the center of the world economy [Note 4].Every European power wanted a trade relationship with China that favored their country at every other competitor’s expense.The inability of the Qing (also Ch’ing) Dynasty to deal with internal challenges in the late 1700s sent a strong signal to the European powers (and Japan) that China was ripe for the taking.
The Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) was China’s last imperial dynasty.Evidence of dynastic decline became evident when Chinese officials proved incapable of ending sectarian violence among Sufi Moslem groups.The Qing’s interference in Moslem affairs led to an insurrection that lasted from 1781 to 1813.It was only with the assistance of a third Moslem group that the rebellion was finally put down.
Soon after the uprising, the European powers (and Japan) began chipping away at Chinese sovereignty —and continued to do so for nearly seventy years.For the Chinese, European and Japanese encroachments were far more than a lengthy series of military assaults; they were the catalyst of a national identity crisis and damaged the Chinese psyche.After several hundreds of years of deluding themselves into believing China was the center of the universe, the Chinese suddenly learned that much-younger nations possessed far superior technologies and had no hesitation in using them to achieve selfish interests.Foreign powers took advantage of every opportunity to whittle away at Chinese sovereignty, including the illegal importation of opium from Afghanistan, India, and Turkey.
In earlier times, chemists believed opium contained harmless healing properties, but in the early to late 1700s, its true nature became apparent as tens of thousands of people became addicted to opium.As more Chinese became opium-dependent, increased demand drove prices higher, which increased the profits of foreign trading companies, smugglers, dealers, and government officials who accepted bribes to look the other way.Finally, realizing opium’s effects, Emperor Jia-Qing issued a succession of edicts (1729, 1799, 1814, and 1831) declaring opium illegal and imposing severe penalties for its importation use.The only tangible result of these laws was that (a) they made opium even more profitable, and (b) high demand for opium guaranteed its continued importation.Everyone involved in the opium trade was making money —except the user.
Opium aside, China enjoyed a favorable trade balance with European interests.China sold porcelains, silks, and tea in exchange for silver bullion.In the late 18th century, the British East India Company (BEIC) expanded the cultivation of opium within its Indian Bengal territories, selling it to private traders who transported it to China.In 1787, BEIC sent 4,000 chests of opium to China annually.By 1833, 30,000 chests went to China.American shipping companies were also engaged in opium, including the grandfather of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the ancestors of former Secretary of State John F. Kerry.The opium trade was euphemistically called the “Old China Trade.”Other foreign powers became involved in opium, as well. BEIC may have lost its monopoly, but profits remained high.
Partly concerned about his people’s moral decay, and somewhat concerned about the outflow of silver, the Emperor directed his high commissioner, Lin Tse-Hsu, to end the trade.Lin ordered the seizure of all opium, including that held in foreign trading company warehouses.Charles Elliott, Chief Superintendent of British Trade (in China), was very quickly inundated with British merchants’ complaints.To assuage their concerns, Elliott authorized the issuance of credits to merchants for 20,000 chests of opium, which he promptly turned over to Commissioner Lin.Lin destroyed the opium; Elliott immediately cabled London, suggesting the British Army’s use to protect the United Kingdom’s investments in the opium trade.
A small skirmish occurred between British and Chinese vessels in the Kowloon Estuary in early September 1839.In May 1840, the British government sent troops to impose reparations for British traders’ financial losses in China and to guarantee future security for trade.On 21 June 1840, a British naval force arrived off Macao and began a bombardment of the city of Din-Hai.Chinese naval forces sent to interdict the Royal Navy were utterly destroyed.The Treaty of Nanking (1842), which ended this First Opium War, was the first of many “unequal treaties” imposed on China.China agreed to cede to the British the island of Hong Kong (and surrounding smaller islands) and granted treaty ports at Shanghai, Canton, Ning-Po, Foo-Chow, and Amoy.
In 1853, northern China became embroiled in a massive civil war known today as the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).Its leader was Hong Xiu Quan —a man who believed that he was the brother of Jesus of Nazareth.The stated intentions of the Taiping were to (a) convert the Chinese people to Hong’s version of Christianity, (b) overthrow the Qing Dynasty, and (c) reform the state.Hong established his capital at Nan-King.
Despite this massively disruptive upheaval, the Emperor appointed Ye Ming-Chen as his new high commissioner and ordered him to stamp out the opium trade.Ye’s seizure of the British ship Arrow prompted the British Governor of Hong Kong, Sir John Browning, to again request the Royal Navy’s assistance.The British fleet, under Admiral Sir Michael Seymour [Note 5] responded by bombarding fortifications outside the city of Canton.
When Chinese mobs set British properties on fire on 15 December, Browning requested military intervention.The murder of a missionary prompted the French to align with Great Britain against the Chinese government.The Russian Empire soon joined the fray, demanding greater concessions from China, including the legalization of the opium trade and exempting foreign traders from import duties.In late June 1858, foreign powers forced China to pay reparations for the Second Opium War, open additional port cities to European commerce, and authorize missionaries’ unlimited access to Chinese cities.Like circling sharks, Europeans and the Japanese began to carve out their niches in China —sometimes through secret agreements, at other times through military conflict.
By the late 1800s, Shandong Province in North China, long known for social unrest, strange religious sects, and martial societies, had had enough foreign meddling in Chinese affairs.One of these societies was the Yihe-Quan, loosely translated as The Righteous and Harmonious Fists.They were called “Boxers” because of their martial arts expertise and their use of traditional Chinese weapons.The Boxers were staunchly anti-Imperialistic, anti-foreign, and anti-Christian.
The people of North China had long resented the arrogant meddling of Christian missionaries. This outrage grew worse after the Treaty of Tientsin in 1860, which granted foreign missionaries’ freedom of movement throughout China and the government’s authority to purchase land and build churches.Chinese villagers objected to the foreign settlements that developed around these Christian church communities.Natural calamities did not help matters [Note 6].
In November 1897, a band of armed Chinese men stormed a German missionary’s residence and killed two priests.The murders prompted Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II to send a naval squadron to seize Jia-Zhou Bay on the Shandong Peninsula’s southern coast [Note 7].Wilhelm’s intent to seize Chinese territory initiated a scramble for further concessions by the British, French, Russians, and Japanese.Germany gained exclusive control of developmental loans, mining, and railway systems in Shandong.Russia gained complete control of all territory north of the Great Wall, which they soon occupied with Russian military forces.The French gained control of Yunnan, Guangxi, and Guangdong provinces.The Japanese gained control over Fujian province, and the British gained control over the entire Yangtze River Valley, from Tibet to the Henan and Zhejiang provinces.The Italians, for whatever reasons, were excluded.
In Chinese religious myth, the Jade Emperor represents the first god, one of three pure ones and the highest power of all Chinese deities.A temple to the Jade Emperor had been built in the village of Li-Yuan-Tun.In 1869, the temple was converted to a Catholic Church.Soon afterward, the French minister in Peking demanded (and received) authorization for the Li-Yuan-Tun priests to bypass local officials in family law and authority to resolve regional disputes.In 1898, the Guangxi Emperor proclaimed the so-called Hundred Days of Reform (22 June-21 September).The reform period enraged Chinese conservatives, as it served to prove that the Qing Dynasty was corrupt, weak, or both.Boxers attacked the Christian community, murdering priests and others.
In an attempt to avoid another uprising, the Empress Dowager Cixi [Note 8] placed the reformist Guangxi Emperor under house arrest and assumed absolute power in China.What made the Boxers particularly worrisome to Cixi was that they were mostly unemployed teenagers with nothing better to do.After several months of ever-increasing violence against foreigners (generally) and missionaries (mostly) in Shandong and on the North China Plain, the Boxers covered on Peking (present-day Beijing). They demanded either the expulsion or extermination of all foreigners.
The Boxer crisis was one of national prominence and one primarily caused by foreign aggression in China.From the Chinese perspective, foreigners were slowly but steadily dismembering China, destroying Chinese culture, and demeaning Chinese religious beliefs.
Initially, Cixi viewed the Boxers as bandits, but realizing that most Chinese conservatives supported the Boxers, she changed her position and issued edicts in their defense.In the spring of 1900, the Boxer movement spread rapidly north from Shandong into the Peking countryside.The Boxers burned Christian churches, killed Chinese Christians, intimidated Chinese officials, or murdered anyone who stood in their way.American Minister Edwin H. Conger cabled Washington, stating, “…the whole country is swarming with hungry, discontented, hopeless idlers.”
Christian missionaries flocked to the Legation seeking the protection of their various ministers on 28-29 May.On 30 May, British Minister Claude Maxwell MacDonald requested multinational troops to secure the Legation.Ambassador Conger cabled Washington to protect the Asiatic Fleet; Kaiser Wilhelm II was so alarmed by the Chinese-Moslem troops that he requested intervention by the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire.
The situation in Peking continued to deteriorate, prompting Admiral Seymour of the Royal Navy to dispatch a second force
On 31 May, Captain John Twiggs (Handsome Jack) Myers, U. S. Marine Corps, arrived in Peking in command of two ship’s detachments of American Marines.The guard force consisted of Myers and twenty-five Marines from USS Oregon, Captain Newt Hall, 23 Marines, five sailors, and U. S. Navy Assistant Surgeon T. M. Lippert from the USS Newark.British and Russian troops, numbering around 325, arrived the same day.
On 5 June, Boxers cut the railway line to Tianjin, isolating Peking and making further military reinforcements difficult.
On 10 June, the “Great eight” organized a second multi-national force under British Vice Admiral Sir Edward Seymour [Note 5] —the largest contingent of which were British, augmented with 112 American sailors and Marines. Captain Bowman McCalla of the U. S. Navy was appointed to serve as Admiral Seymour’s second in command.
Admiral Seymour obtained the Chinese foreign office (headed by Prince Qing) to proceed. Still, when the Empress Dowager learned about Qing’s approval, she replaced him with Prince Duan, a radical anti-western member of the royal family.Prince Duan was the de facto head of the Boxer movement, and it was Prince Duan who ordered the Chinese Imperial Army to attack the western powers.
Admiral Seymour’s expedition had not progressed very far when he discovered that Chinese Boxers destroyed the railway tracks in front of him.He considered returning to Tianjin [Note 9] but found that the Chinese also ripped up those tracks.The distance between Tianjin and Peking was only about 75 miles, prompting Seymour to proceed on foot.
On 11 June, the Japanese minister to China was attacked and murdered by Chinese soldiers guarding the Yong-Ding Gate on the southern wall.The murder was likely intentional because the Chinese commander, General Dong Fu-Xiang, had earlier issued violent threats toward foreign legations.On the same day, German sentries observed the first Boxer in the Legation Quarter.German Minister Clemens von Ketteler ordered his soldiers to capture the Boxer, a teenager, whom Ketteler ordered executed.
Beyond inhumane, killing the lad was a foolish decision because the boy’s execution served only to enrage the Boxers further.In retaliation, thousands of Boxers attacked the walled city.So furious were the Boxers that they began a systematic campaign of pillaging, arson, and murder of all Christian properties and persons, including Chinese Christians.Joining them were gleeful Chinese Moslems.In fear for their lives, dozens of American and British missionaries took refuge inside the Methodist Mission.A Boxer onslaught there was repulsed by U. S. Marines.
On 18 June, Vice Admiral Seymour received word of the Boxer attacks.
On 18 June, the Empress Dowager warned foreign ministers that a state of war would exist between China and the western powers unless they withdrew from Peking within 24-hours.Cixi promised safe passage out of Peking, but only as far as Tientsin.Presumably, after that, the diplomats would be “on their own.”
The Seymour expedition had advanced to within 25 miles of Peking when his relief force was set upon by overwhelming numbers of Boxers and Imperial Chinese soldiers [Note 10].The attacks were so unrelenting (and bizarre) that Seymour was forced to seize and then occupy the Chinese forts at Taku [Note 11].By that time, two hundred of Seymour’s men had either been killed or wounded, and the men were low on ammunition, food, water, and medical supplies.It was a victory for the Chinese, but at a terrible cost in Boxer and Imperial Army lives.Seymour dispatched a Chinese servant with word of his predicament to the Peking legation.
On 19 June, the foreign ministers within the Legation informed the Empress Dowager that they had no intention of withdrawing from Peking.Cixi issued her declaration of war on 20 June; a Boxer/Imperial army siege of the city began on the same day.
Also, on 19 June, Major Littleton W. T. Waller arrived at Taku in command of 107 Marines detached from the First Regiment at Cavite, Philippines.Along with another detachment of 32 Marines, those men formed a light battalion, who immediately moved inland to join a Russian column of 400 men.The small force set off for Tianjin at around 0200 on 21 June.Facing them were between 1,500 to 2,000 Chinese combatants.
The Chinese outnumbered the joint force from the start.When the international force encountered intense enemy fire, they retreated.Waller and his Marines served as a rearguard contingent, forced to leave behind his dead and drag his wounded men.Waller successfully fought off a numerically superior Chinese force and reached the relative safety of Tianjin City. After providing for his wounded Marines, Major Waller immediately attached his remaining men to the 1,800-man British column formed under Commander Christopher Cradock, Royal Navy.At 0400 on 24 June, Cradock’s international expedition (consisting of Italians, Germans, Japanese, Russians, British, and American military contingents) set off again to relieve the Legation.They instead ended up rescuing Admiral Seymour.
In Peking, the Boxers were initially content to harass the foreign Legation with harassing rifle and artillery fires, but there was no organized assault.Foreign ministers agreed to form pro-active, mutually supporting military defenses with the few men at their disposal.On 15 June, Captain Myers placed his Marines on the Tartar Wall, a critical position that would otherwise allow Boxers to direct devastating fire into the legation area.
On 25 June, Seymour was at the point of being overrun by Chinese Boxers and Imperial soldiers when Cradock’s regiment reached what remained of Seymour’s expedition.Admiral Seymour and the relief force marched back to Tianjin unopposed on 26 June.In total, Seymour suffered 62 killed and 228 wounded.
In Peking, Boxers decided to employ the anaconda tactic of squeezing legation guards to death.To accomplish this, they constructed barricades some distance from the front of the Marine position—each day moving them further forward to the legation perimeter.During the night of 28 June, Private Richard Quinn reconnoitered one of these barricades by low-crawling to the barricade.His observation of Boxer activities provided useful intelligence as to the Boxer’s intentions.
On 2 July, Captain Myers determined that he had had enough of the Chinese “squeezing” strategy.The Chinese barricade was, in Myers’ opinion, unacceptably close to the legation perimeter.He decided to organize his men for an assault against the Chinese fence.
Myers launched his assault at 0200 on 3 July.The timing and weather conditions couldn’t have been more perfect.The attack commenced in the middle of a torrential downpour.The legation guard’s attack drove the Boxers back several hundred yards.Two Marines were killed during the attack, and Captain Myers received a severe wound in the leg from a Chinese pike.After the action, Captain Myers was evacuated to the Russian Legation. He received medical treatment; his injury was significant enough to cause Myers to pass his command to Captain Newt Hall.After the assault, sniper and artillery fire died down, and diplomats agreed to an informal truce on 16 July.The desultory fire continued, however, until the foreign legations were relieved on 14 August.
On 6 July, the U. S. Ninth Infantry Regiment joined the allied force near Tianjin.
On 10 July, Colonel Robert L. Meade, commanding the First Marine Regiment, led 318 Marines ashore from USS Brooklyn.Meade led his Marines to Tianjin and joined up with Waller’s battalion.Meade assumed command of all American military forces.
On 13 July, the allied forces launched an assault against Tianjin under Major General Alfred Gaselee, British Army (known as the Gaselee Expedition), appointed as Supreme Commander of the international force [Note 12]. Fighting took place for most of the day with little allied advance.Meade’s 450 Marines suffered 21 casualties.A Japanese-led night attack broke through the Chinese defenses, giving international force access to the walled city.
On 28 July, diplomats in the Legation Quarter received their first message from the outside world in more than a month.A Chinese boy—a student of missionary William S. Ament, covertly entered the Legation Quarter with news that a rescue army of the Eight-Nation Alliance had arrived in Tianjin and would shortly begin its advance.For some, the news was hardly reassuring because the Seymour expedition had failed to break through the Chinese Boxer and Imperial Army.
On 30 July, Brigadier General Adna R. Chaffee, U. S. Army, arrived in Tianjin to assume command of all U. S. Forces in China.Also arriving with Chaffee was one battalion of Marines under Major William P. Biddle [Note 13], two battalions of the Fourteenth U. S. Infantry, the Sixth U. S. Cavalry, and one battery of the Fifth U. S. Artillery.On 4 August, the international expedition of approximately 18,000 men departed from Tianjin for Peking.Chaffee’s force included around 2,500 men, including 425 Marines.
On 5 August, Japanese forces of the international expedition engaged and defeated Chinese forces at Pei-Tsang.A second battle occurred the next day at Yang-Stun.For many allied troops, the unseen enemy was the broiling heat, which caused numerous heat casualties during the 75-mile march to Peking.
On 13 August, the Chinese broke the temporary truce with the foreign Legation with a sustained artillery barrage.The barrage lasted until around 0200 on 14 August.
Five national contingents advanced on Peking’s walls on 14 August: British, American, Japanese, Russian, and French.Each of these had a gate in the wall as their primary objective.The Japanese and Russians encountered the heaviest Chinese resistance.The British entered the city through an unguarded entrance and proceeded into the city with virtually no Chinese opposition.
Rather than forcing their way through a fortified gate, the Americans decided instead to scale the walls.Marines destroyed Chinese snipers and set up an observation post from the vantage point of being on the high wall.In the Marine’s assault, First Lieutenant Smedley D. Butler and two enlisted men received gunshot wounds.
U. S. Marines advanced to the Old Imperial City on 15 August, encountering sporadic resistance, but scattered gunfire did continue to plague the American Legation for several more months.By the end of the siege, Marine casualties included 7 killed, 11 wounded, including Captain Myers and Assistant Surgeon Lippert.
Among the Marines who participated in the Boxer Rebellion, thirty-three received the Medal of Honor … including Private Harry Fisher [Note 14], killed on 16 July 1900; he was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Diplomats signed a Boxer protocol in September 1901.
Cohen, P. A. History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Edgerton, R. B.Warriors of the Rising Sun: A History of the Japanese Military.Norton & Co., 1997.
Harrington, P.Peking, 1900: The Boxer Rebellion.Osprey Publishing, 2001.
Martin, W. A. P.The Siege of Peking: China Against the World.New York: F. H. Revell Company, 1900.
Myers, John T. “Military Operations and Defense of the Siege of Peking.Proceedings of the U. S. Naval Institute, September 1902.
O’Connor, R. The Spirit Soldier: A Historical Narrative of the Boxer Rebellion.New York: Putnam, 1973.
Plante, T. K.U. S. Marines in the Boxer Rebellion.Prologue Magazine, Winter 1999.
 Aided by a Chinese invention known as the magnetic compass, first used in Europe around 1200 AD.
 Later modified by the Treaty of Tordesillas, which established an arbitrary line east of which were relegated to Portugal, west of which belonged to Spain.
 In 1599, Japan’s Tokugawa shogunate closed its borders or limited contacts with foreigners until the mid-1800s.
 Between the 15th and 18th centuries, silver had become the medium of exchange between China and Spain.Approximately 35% of all silver bullion produced in the Americas found its way to China.
 Sir Michael Seymour was the uncle of Sir Edward Seymour, also a Royal Navy admiral.
 Traditional Chinese viewed natural (cyclic) events, such as earthquakes, droughts, and severe flooding, as omens that the ruling Emperor had lost the mandate of heaven.Such periods were frequently accompanied by civil unrest and dynastic changes.
 The German government was likely less bothered about the murder of two priests and more interested in using the incident to obtain more concessions from the Chinese government.
 Empress Dowager is the English title given to the mother or widow of an East Asian emperor.Cixi was born with the name Yehe Nara Xing-Zhen of the Manchu clan.She was selected as a concubine to the Emperor Xian-Feng and gave birth to a son in 1856.When the Xian-Feng Emperor died in 1861, her son became the Tong-Zhi Emperor, and she became the Empress Dowager.Calling herself Cixi, she ousted a group of regents appointed by the late Emperor and assumed the regency.She gained control over the dynasty after installing her nephew as the Guangxi Emperor when her son died in 1875.She may have poisoned her nephew after keeping him under house arrest for a while.
 The cities Tianjin and Tientsin are the same; they are merely English language spelling variations from the Chinese lettering.However, there were two distinct areas of the city.In 1900, there were two adjacent subdivisions, one to the Northwest was the ancient high-walled city measuring about one-mile on each side.To the Southeast, about two miles away along the Hai River, was the treaty port and foreign settlements, measuring about a half-mile wide.Around a million Chinese lived within the walled city; the port settlement housed around 700 European merchants, missionaries, and approximately 10,000 Chinese servants, employees, or businessmen.Two of these residents were the American Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry-Hoover.Hoover later became President of the United States.
 Seymour’s glaring error was that (a) he assumed that his western force could easily push aside the Chinese Boxers, and (b) he elected not to include field artillery within the expedition’s composition.
 Chinese Boxers and Imperial troops employed well-aimed artillery against Seymour, and a number of different tactics to keep the western powers off their guard.For example, the Chinese redirected waterways to flood the main routes of march, ambuscades, pincer assaults, and sniper attacks.Seymour’s discovery of a substantial cache of Imperial Chinese arms and ammunition (including Krupp field guns), a million or so pounds of rice, and ample medical supplies saved the expedition from total destruction.
 The actual senior military officer present was General (Baron) Motomi Yamaguchi.Yamaguchi was not selected as supreme commander owing to the fact that he wasn’t a white man.The Japanese contingent did distinguish itself during this series of actions.
 Biddle served as 11th Commandant of the Marine Corps (Major General Commandant) (3 February 1911-24 February 1914).
 Harry Fisher was a soldier and a U. S. Marine and the first to receive a posthumous award of our nation’s highest military decoration.After his award, it was discovered that Private Fisher had enlisted in the Marine Corps under a false name.He had previously served in the U. S. First Infantry Regiment.When the Army refused his request for sick leave (having contracted malaria during the Spanish-American War), he deserted for the purpose of receiving proper medical treatment.When he afterward attempted to restore himself to duty, the War Department refused, and he was “discharged without honor.”His real name was Franklin J. Phillips (20 Oct 1874 – 16 July 1900).With a dishonorable discharge on his record, he changed his name to Harry Fisher and joined the U. S. Marine Corps.
What is a Marine? The short answer would be a specialized member of the armed forces who participates in efforts to project naval power ashore. What makes a Marine stand out from a regular soldier and sets him apart from any other fighting organization isn’t just a matter of how they’re trained, the equipment they use, or their tactical skills. It is the fighting spirit that lives within each Marine —and this is what drives a Marine to accept nothing less than victory in all lethal situations. It is the determination to win, the eagerness to fight, and the high standard of excellence they demand of themselves and each other that makes a Marine unique. Their battle record speaks for itself.
Marines are, by definition, an expeditionary force in readiness who are deployed at a moment’s notice to quickly and aggressively win their nation’s battles. Marines have a long history of developing expeditionary doctrine and amphibious innovation that sets the standard for all other branches of military service. In projecting naval power into a hostile environment, Marines rely on their superior training, their self-confidence, their discipline, and each other to win the day. Toward this end, Marines are trained to improvise, adapt, and overcome every obstacle in whatever situation they encounter. They are not only willing to engage any enemy force; they are also determined to defeat them until national victory has been achieved. Marines have but one mission: fight, and win.
Of all Marine organizations that exist in the world today, only two stand out: United States Marines, and their British counterparts—the Royal Marines.
The story of the Royal Marines began on 28 October 1664 when Great Britain formed the Duke of York and Albany’s Maritime Regiment of Foot. It soon became known as the Admiral’s Regiment. The Holland Regiment (later called The Buffs) was also raised to serve at sea on 11 July 1665. Both regiments were paid for by the Admiralty. John Churchill, later 1st Duke of Marlborough, was a famous member of The Buffs. Additionally, a company of foot guards served as Marines to augment the Admiral’s Regiment during the sea battle at Sole Bay in 1672. The Holland Regiment was disbanded in 1689 after James II was deposed during the so-called Glorious Revolution.
Two maritime regiments of the British Army were raised in 1690 —the Earl of Pembroke’s and Torrington’s Regiments, later designated Lord Berkeley’s Regiment. These Marines participated in an opposed landing during the Williamite War in Ireland at Cork on 21 September 1690, John Churchill commanding. The Marine Establishment was reformed in 1698. Two existing regiments became a single regiment under Thomas Brudenell, and the foot regiments under William Seymour, Edward Dutton Colt, and Harry Mordaunt were converted to Marine regiments —all of which were disbanded in 1699.
In 1702, six regiments of Marines and six Sea Service Regiments of foot were formed to participate in the War of Spanish Succession. While on land, the Marines served under Brigadier General William Seymour; while at sea, they fell under the authority of the senior naval commander and the captain of the ship to which assigned. The Admiral’s Regiment first distinguished itself in 1704 when the Marines captured the mole  during the assault on Gibraltar. British and Dutch Marines later defended the fortress from counterattack. After the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, three Marine regiments were transferred to the army, where they were designated as the 30th, 31st, and 32nd Regiments of Foot.
The Admiral’s Regiment was redesignated as His Majesty’s Marine Forces on 5 April 1755; fifty companies were organized into three divisions, placed under the command of the Admiralty, and stationed at Portsmouth, Chatham, and Plymouth. Note: shown left, a painting of an early Maritime officer.
British Marines were not the first naval infantry to emerge in Europe. They were preceded by the Spanish Infanteria de Marina (1537), Venice’s Fanti da Mar (1550), the Portuguese Marine Corps (1610), and the French Troupes de Marine (1622). The British, in turn, established a regiment of (3,000) American Colonial Marines during the War of Jenkins’ Ear, around 1739.
In the early days, all field-grade officers of the Marines were serving officers in the Royal Navy. Because the Admiralty believed that the top field officer ranks were largely honorary posts (which was also true in the Army), the farthest a field officer could advance was to lieutenant colonel. It was not until 1771 that the first Marine officer was promoted to colonel, but this situation persisted well into the 1800s. In any case, British Marines performed numerous amphibious landings throughout most of the 18th Century. Among the more famous was the landing at Belle Isle  in 1761. British Marines also served during the American War of Independence. A company of Marines under Major John Pitcairn broke rebel resistance at Bunker Hill and took possession of the American’s redoubt. When Royal Navy ships were becalmed, Marines often took to ship’s boats to repel attackers during blockade operations. On the day that Captain James Cook was killed in Hawaii (14 February 1779), he had with him four British Marines: Corporal James Thomas, Private Theophilus Hinks, Private Thomas Fatchett, and Private John Allen.
In May 1787, four companies of Marines under Major Robert Ross accompanied the First Fleet  to protect a new colony at Botany Bay (New South Wales). Due to a gross oversight, the First Fleet departed Portsmouth without its main supply of ammunition, cartridge paper, and flintlock tools. The oversight was noted early in the voyage and a dispatch sent back to England that the missing supplies be urgently forwarded to the fleet. Captain William Bligh was assigned this mission while in command of HMS Bounty. Ten thousand rounds of ammunition were obtained from Rio de Janeiro, but these stores were still inadequate and in time, the Marines would find themselves in difficult circumstances. A full measure of stores was never sent to the First Fleet.
In total, the Marine contingent of four companies included 212 Marines; of these, 160 privates. Marine strength was based on the advice of Mr. Joseph Banks, who counselled the British government that local Aborigines were few and retiring by disposition. Upon their arrival at New South Wales, Captain Arthur Phillip, Royal Navy, found that the natives were populous and aggressive. Within a year, Aboriginals had killed 6 of the First Fleet and wounded scores of others. Marines were ordered to expand the initial settlement area at Sydney Cove and organize farming operations at Parramatta. When Aboriginals contracted smallpox, some journalists claimed that the British Marines deliberately spread the disease. Most modern scholars regard this as uncorroborated bunk, however.
At the instigation of Admiral John Jervis, 1st Earl of St. Vincent in 1802, His Majesty’s Marine Forces were titled Royal Marines by King George III.
Up until 1804, the Royal Artillery Regiment had provided artillery support to the British Marines. A lawsuit by a Royal Artillery Officer led a civil court to declare that Army officers were not subject to Navy regulations or the orders of Naval officers. Accordingly, Royal Marine Artillery was added to the Royal Marines in that very same year. They were referred to as “Blue Marines” because these forces retained the blue coats of the Royal Artillery Regiment. In contrast, the Royal Marines dressed in scarlet coats (as did the British Army). They were called “Red Marines” or, more derisively, Lobster backs by the unenlightened naval ranks.
During the Napoleonic Wars, Royal Marines took part in every notable naval battle on board Royal Navy ships, executed amphibious raids, provided security aboard ship, maintained discipline among the crew, engaged enemy crews with long rifles, and led boarding parties.
The number of Marines assigned to Royal Navy ships depended on the size of the ship, but Marine strength was usually maintained at a ratio of one Marine per ship’s gun, plus officers commanding. A “first rate ship of the line” would have a compliment of 104 Marines; a 28-gun frigate would have 29 Marines. Between 1807 and 1814, a total of 31,400 men served in the Royal Marines but given the size of the Royal Navy during this period, and the missions assigned to the Royal Navy, British Army detachments frequently served aboard Navy ships to augment the Royal Marines. Seaborne operations frequently included blockading French ports and conducting amphibious raids against French signal communications stations and other operations designed to harass the enemy.
In the Caribbean, freed French slave volunteers formed the 1st Corps of Colonial Marines to help bolster the ranks of Royal Marines. This practice was repeated during the War of 1812, when escaped American slaves were formed into the 2nd Corps of Colonial Marines. These men were commanded by Royal Marine officers and fought alongside their regular Marine counterparts at the Battle of Bladensburg (August 1814). During this battle, a detachment of Royal Marine Artillery under Lieutenant John Lawrence deployed Congreve rockets  with telling effect against American militia. A battalion of Royal Marines augmented the 21st Regiment of Foot during the burning of Washington. They did not torch the U. S. Marine Corps Barracks at 8th & I Streets, however.
During the War of 1812, Royal Marines frequently operated in the Chesapeake Bay, including operations up the Penobscot River. This was a composite battalion, formed from several ship’s detachments, serving under Captain John Robyns . A smaller organization of Royal Marines, numbering around 100 troops, served under captains John T. Wilson and John Alexander Phillips that augmented the British Army force of 700 men under Major Thomas Adair, who successfully led an attack against the west bank of the Mississippi River. This was Britain’s only success at New Orleans. These same Marines later helped to capture Fort Bowyer in Mobile Bay —the last action of the War of 1812.
In 1855, the Royal Marines were renamed the Royal Marines Light Infantry (RMLI). A slight modification to this designation was affected in 1862: Royal Marine Light Infantry. After 1850, the Royal Navy saw limited service at sea until 1914. During this time, Naval planners became more interested in the concept of Naval Brigades, which is to say Royal Marines, augmented by artillery, who would make amphibious landings ahead of naval infantry and conduct skirmishes —a traditional function of light infantry. For most of their history, the Royal Marines have functioned as fusiliers (riflemen). In this capacity, they served with distinction during the First and Second Opium Wars (1839-1860) in China. Every engagement in China was successful save one: when British Admiral Sir James Hope ordered the Marines to make a landing across a wide expanse of mud flats. I will forego any comment about Admiral Hope’s leadership ability.
Royal Marines, along with their American counterparts, played a prominent role during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. See also: Send in the Marines!
Pursuing a career in the Royal Marines was considered “social suicide” through much of the 18th and 19th centuries. Royal Marines had a lower standing than their counterparts in the Royal Navy . In 1907, the British government reduced professional differences between the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. In time, the Royal Marines were elevated to a position of respect within the British forces, although sharing a pint of ale with British Army veterans, one might come away with an entirely different point of view. What British soldiers have never understood, however, is that ARMY stands for “Aren’t Ready to be Marines Yet.”
During the first part of the 20th century, the role of the Royal Marines remained traditional, that is, providing shipboard infantry for security, boarding parties, and amphibious raids. The Marines’ other traditional role while aboard Royal Navy ships was manning gun turrets on battleships or cruisers.
During World War I, Royal Marines landed with the Royal Navy Division in Belgium in 1914 to defend Antwerp. They later participated in the amphibious landings at Gallipoli in 1915 and conducted the Zeebrugge Raid in 1918. After this “war to end all wars,” Royal Marines took part in the allied intervention in post-Revolutionary Russia. In 1919, the 6th Battalion mutinied and was disbanded in disgrace.
In 1922, during post-war demobilization, the Royal Marines were reduced from a strength of 55,000 to around 15,000. To further reduce the costs of maintaining this force in readiness, Royal Marine Artillery (RMA) and Light Infantry units were consolidated in June 1923. Even so, tremendous political pressure was applied to disbanding the Royal Marines altogether. As a compromise, opposing politicians agreed to a Royal Marine organization of 9,500 troops. To accomplish this, the RMA was deactivated; henceforth, the title Royal Marine would apply to the entire Corps. Artillery organizations would be part of the force structure, but on a much smaller scale. After consolidation, the Royal Marine full-dress uniform became dark blue and red; Royal Marine officers and SNCOs continue to wear scarlet uniforms as part of their mess dress kit. The rank structure was also modified. The private of infantry and gunner of artillery were replaced by the rank of Marine.
In World War II, Royal Marine shipboard detachments continued to make amphibious raids with limited objectives, such as accepting the surrender of French Axis forces. Initially, Royal Marine infantry units were organized as Mobile Naval Base Defense Organizations (which were similar to U. S. Marine Corps’ Advanced Base Defense Battalion). The MNBDO’s took part in the defense of Crete, Malaya, and Singapore.
In 1942, Royal Marine infantry battalions were reorganized as commando units. The Division command structure became a Special Service Brigade command. In total, four Special Service (Commando) Brigades were raised during World War II. Nine RMC battalions were created, numbered from 40 Commando to 48 Commando. Brigades were task organized, which means that Royal Marine commando organizational structure depended on their assigned mission. In the early years, British Army units served alongside the Marines within Commando Brigades. Support troops served as landing craft crew and saw extensive action on D-Day in June 1944. In January 1945, an additional two RM brigades were formed, both organized as conventional infantry. Of these, only one saw any action during World War II.
Several Royal Marine officers served as pilots during the World War II, one of these leading the air attack that sank the German warship Konigsberg. Eighteen RMOs commanded fleet air squadrons, and after the formation of the British Pacific Fleet, Royal Marine aviation assets were well-represented in final operations against Japan. Squadron commanders were usually captains and majors. Lieutenant Colonel R. C. Hay commanded an air group on board HMS Indefatigable. Meanwhile, Royal Marine detachments continued to serve aboard Royal Navy cruisers and battleships.
During World War II, the Victoria Cross  was awarded to only one Marine: Acting Corporal Thomas P. Hunter, aged 21 years, of 43 Commando, during combat operations at Lake Comacchio, Italy. On 2 April 1945, Hunter commanded a Bren gun (light machine gun) section.
According to the citation for this award, 43 Commando was advancing to its final objective and was within 400 yards of an east-west canal. Corporal Hunter observed that the enemy was entrenched around a group of houses south of the canal and realized that his troops, who were following in trace of his advance, would soon be exposed to enemy fire in an area devoid of cover or concealment. Seizing his light machine gun, Hunter charged alone across two hundred yards of open ground. The Germans engaged Hunter with no fewer than nine automatic weapons. Attracting enemy fire away from his men, and demonstrating a complete disregard for his own safety, Corporal Hunter assaulted the German position while firing from the hip, changing magazines as he ran, killing several of the enemy and clearing houses of all enemy troops. Six German soldiers surrendered to him, while the remaining enemy fled across a footbridge to the north bank of the canal. Taking a position atop of pile of rubble, Corporal Hunter engaged the enemy’s new positions with deadly accurate fire while encouraging his men to take up secure positions within the cluster of houses. It was then that Corporal Hunter received the bulk of enemy’s fire and he was killed. Corporal Hunter is remembered at ten separate locations throughout the United Kingdom.
In 1946, British Army Commandos were disbanded, leaving the Royal Marines to continue the commando role (with supporting army elements).
At the outset of the Korean War, 41 Commando was reformed for service with the United States Navy. After the landing of the X Corps at Wonsan, 41 Commando joined the 1st U. S. Marine Division. 41 Commando formed the nucleus of Task Force Drysdale under Lieutenant Colonel Douglas B. Drysdale, Royal Marines, with one US Marine Corps rifle company and one US Army rifle company, and attachments of rolling stock and fought their way from Koto-ri to Hagaru-ri after the Chinese erected blockades along the north road. It then took part in the epic Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. 41 Commando subsequently implemented several raids against Communist Chinese forces. The Royal Marines were withdrawn from the Korean conflict in 1951. For its service in the Korean War, 41 Commando was awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation and Colonel Drysdale received the Silver Star Medal for valor.
Between 1948 and 1960, elements of the Royal Marines participated at various times and places in the Malayan Emergency . In 1955, 45 Commando was dispatched to Cyprus to undertake anti-terrorist operations against Greek Cypriot insurgents. In 1956, 3 Commando Brigade with 40, 42, and 45 Royal Commando took part in the Suez Crisis. This event marked the first time the Royal Marines employed helicopters in vertical assault operations. British and French forces ultimately defeated the Egyptians, but US diplomatic activities helped to defuse the crisis. 40 and 41 Commando were sent to Borneo at various times to help defuse tensions between Indonesian-Malayan belligerents. In January 1964, elements of the Tanzanian Army mutinied. The United Kingdom responded by dispatching 41 Commando from Devon and landing Royal Marine elements from HMS Bulwark. The Tanzanian revolt was put down rather quickly, but it took another six months to disarm rebel elements of the Tanzanian military.
Royal Marine units regularly deployed to Northern Ireland to help contain that conflict. Referred to as “the Troubles,” the Northern Ireland conflict lasted from 1969 through 1998. In total, 24 Royal Marines died as a result of protestant snipers and bombers.
Between 1974 and 1984, the Royal Marines undertook three United Nations peacekeeping tours of duty in Cyprus. The first was operation took place after the Turkish invasion in November 1974. 41 Commando took over responsibility for the Limassol District from the 2nd Battalion Guard’s Brigade. 41 Commando was the first Royal Marine unit to wear the light blue beret of the United Nations Command.
When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April 1982, the United Kingdom dispatched a task force to recapture them, which given the necessity for an amphibious assault, included the Royal Marine Commando. British troops landed at San Carlos Water on East Falkland and moved across the entire island to the capital city of Stanley. In Royal Marine parlance, the troops “yomped” across the Falklands, which means a long-distance force march in full kit. Stanley fell to the Brits on 14 June 1982. Major General Jeremy Moore, Royal Marines, commanded the land forces in the Falklands Conflict.
During the 1991 Gulf War, 24 Marines from Kilo Company, 41 Commando served as six-man raiding teams aboard Royal Navy destroyers and frigates. They were mainly used as ship boarding parties. Elements of 3 Commando Brigade were deployed to provide aid and protection to Iraqi Kurds in Northern Iraq as part of Operation Safe Haven.
After the turn of the century, Royal Marines began converting from their light-infantry role towards an expanded force-protection role. The British refer to this reorganization as Commando-21: the establishment of two battalion-sized commando units (which included 40 Commando and 45 Commando. Each organization consists of six company sized units, and these organized into “troops,” (platoons). The change has given the Royal Marines more firepower, greater mobility, better access to intelligence, and more operational flexibility. The size of each commando is roughly 692 of all ranks. 41 Commando has taken on a specialized maritime mission since 2017 under the auspices of 3 Commando Brigade.
Now approaching the end of the second decade of the 21st Century, Royal Marines and their American counterparts have never been closer. They share a tradition, a similar mission, and the title Marine goes a very long way in defining who they are. To cement this tie, British flight officers have begun training alongside Marine Corps aviators; US Marine officers serve in exchange billets in the United Kingdom, and lately, junior Royal Marine officers (three so far) have begun serving 18-month tours within US Marine Corps ground units. US Marine Corps lieutenants have not yet started serving in similar capacities in the United Kingdom, but it is likely that this will happen in the future.
Ballantyne, I. Strike from the Sea. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004
Chappell, M. Wellington’s Peninsula Regiments. Oxford: The Oxford Press, 2004
Moore, J. The First Fleet Marines. Queensland: University of Queensland Press, 1989
Mountbatten, L. Combined Operations: The Official Story of the Commando. New York: Macmillan Company, 1943
Poyntz, W. H. Per Mare, Per Terram: Reminiscences of Thirty-two Years’ Military, Naval, and Constabulary Service. London: Print & Publishing Company, 1892
Thompson, J. The Royal Marines, from Sea Soldiers to a Special Force. London: Pan Books, 2001
 A mole is a massive stone structure constructed to serve as a pier, a breakwater, or causeway between bodies of water.
 The operation at Belle Isle was an amphibious expedition intended to capture the French island off the Brittany coast during the Seven Years’ War. The initial attack was repulsed, but a second landing forced a beach head. After a siege of six weeks, the French surrendered (as they almost always do) and this gave the British total control of the island. Belle Isle was returned to French authority after the Treaty of Paris in 1763.
 The First Fleet consisted of eleven ships that departed from Portsmouth, England on 13 May to establish a penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. The fleet involved two Royal Navy vessels, three store ships, and six convict transports carrying between 1,000 to 1,500 convicts, Marines, seamen, civil officers, and free people. From England, the fleet sailed to Rio de Janeiro, east to Cape Town and then to Botany Bay … arriving between 18 to 20 January 1788.
 The Congreve rocket was designed and developed by Sir William Congreve in 1804; it was an adaptation of the Mysorean rockets used against the British in India. By 1813, there were three classes of Congreve rockets: heavy, medium, and light. Heavy rockets consisted of between 100 and 300 pounds but were generally regarded as too cumbersome to use in the field. Medium rockets were between 24 and 42 pounds, and from two to four feet in length. Light rockets were between 6 and 18 pounds and from 16 to 25 inches in length. Medium and light rockets could be case shot, shell, or explosive.
 Major General John Robyns, Royal Marines, (1780-1857) served with distinction during the Napoleonic Wars, including Martinique, and the War of 1812. In America, Robyn faced off against the U. S. Marines at Bladensburg, Washington, Baltimore, and New Orleans.
 This was true in the United States, as well. My grandmother was devastated when I joined the U. S. Marine Corps in 1962. Every member of my family up until then had served in the Army. It wasn’t until 1965 when my uncle (my grandmother’s son, a career army NCO) was able to convince her that the Marines was the right choice for me. I was, at the time, a very proud and somewhat cocky corporal of Marines. By the time I received my commission in 1975, Grandmother had fully embraced my service and bragged to her few remaining friends that her grandson was a United States Marine.
 The Victoria Cross is the United Kingdom’s highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
 Following World War II, British authorities attempted to form the Malayan Union. Their goal was to create a state wherein all citizens (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) would have equal stature, but many ethnic Malayans, along with regional rulers, rejected this scheme. Armed insurgency first occurred on 16 June 1948 when three of four targeted plantation managers were assassinated. The ensuring guerrilla war involved pro-communist, anti-British forces who engaged in terror tactics like those employed by the Viet Cong during the Viet Nam War. Nearly 12,000 people lost their lives in this 12-year conflict.