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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2018 9:52 p.m. PST

"There are some military units that are known the world over and just the mention of their name evokes respect and fear, and the US Marine Corps is one of these. So iconic is the USMC that they have captured the name "marine" itself and dominated its definition since the First World War despite not being the oldest Marine corps in the world. That honor goes to the Spanish Navy Marines, founded in 1537. With the nexus of ideas, history, iconography surrounding these marine units, they have become a popular source for inspiration for science fiction space infantry units with the name marine itself being used countless times with varying degrees of accuracy. I thought it was high time to discuss Marine units and cover the relationship between science fiction and the Marines. There will be some bleed over with the previous FWS blogpost on Space Marines…"
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Amicalement
Armand

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2018 4:33 a.m. PST

OK, I'll bite. Only in the USA.

Legion 413 Jan 2018 8:20 a.m. PST

Did not Rome have Marines per se ? I know I have seen that term used in many forms of media. And yes, as a former US ARMY trooper, I do have a lot of respect for the USMC. But I also respect other units in both the US and elsewhere. E.g. Army Airborne, Rangers, US SF, Delta, SAS, FFL, etc. Of course I'm a bit biased being both an American and former US Army Infantryman. evil grin

Wolfhag13 Jan 2018 9:20 a.m. PST

The Romans had infantry on triremes to defeat the Carthaginians. Before that, the Greeks and Persians had naval infantry.

I'll go with the Sea Peoples:
The Sea Peoples were a confederacy of naval raiders who harried the coastal towns and cities of the Mediterranean region between c. 1276-1178 BCE, concentrating their efforts, especially on Egypt. The nationality of the Sea Peoples remains a mystery as the existing records of their activities are mainly Egyptian sources who only describe them in terms of battle such as the record from the Stele at Tanis which reads, in part, "They came from the sea in their war ships and none could stand against them." This description is typical of Egyptian references to these mysterious invaders.

Names of the tribes which comprised the Sea Peoples have been given in Egyptian records as the Sherden, the Sheklesh, Lukka, Tursha and Akawasha. Outside Egypt, they also assaulted the regions of the Hittite Empire, the Levant, and other areas around the Mediterranean coast. Their origin and identity has been suggested (and debated) to be Etruscan/Trojan to Italian, Philistine, Mycenaen and even Minoan but, as no accounts discovered thus far shed any more light on the question than what is presently known, any such claims must remain mere conjecture.

No ancient inscription names the coalition as "Sea Peoples" – this is a modern-day designation first coined by the French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero in c. 1881 CE. Maspero came up with the term because the ancient reports claim that these tribes came "from the sea" or from "the islands" but they never say which sea or which islands and so the Sea Peoples' origin remains unknown.

Wolfhag

Captain Gamma Inactive Member13 Jan 2018 9:42 a.m. PST

I always assumed Sci-Fi used the term 'Marine' simply because they were military units on space SHIPS rather than due to some misty eyed worship of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Legion 413 Jan 2018 2:10 p.m. PST

Yes, thanks for that update Wolf. I just was just looking at an old Osprey book and they used the term Roman Marines.

Captain Gamma, I tend to believe as you do. Military units aboard ships in that case Space Ships. The series "Enterprise" had Grunts aboard, called MACOs. I don't think they ever used the term Marine. link

That was the most "realistic" of the ST series, IMO.thumbs up

When it comes to Sci-fi, the author(s) could just as easily called Infantry troops aboard spaceships something other than Marines. E.g. Heinlein's "Starship Troopers".

Now I don't have anything against the USMC. I've worked with them a number of times while on active duty. Even went to USN/USMC Basic Amph Training at Little Creek when I was with the 101. They always performed very well and got the job done. That is all that counts, IMO …

I even have some friends that were USMC ! evil grin

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2018 4:11 p.m. PST

Interesting post – although I would note that "Troupes de marine" in French colonial parlance referred to the fact that French colonial troops – who were pretty much all land-based infantry – were the responsibility of the Ministry of the Navy

VonTed13 Jan 2018 6:29 p.m. PST

That was a ton of text!

Mobius13 Jan 2018 9:33 p.m. PST

Marine Aviation – Our Navy's army has it's own air force. That's why.

Wolfhag14 Jan 2018 9:03 a.m. PST

The USMC amphib mission is centered around the Battalion Landing Team.

A Marine expeditionary unit (MEU, pronounced "Mew"), formerly called Marine amphibious unit (MAU), is the smallest Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) in the United States Fleet Marine Force. Each MEU is an expeditionary quick reaction force, deployed and ready for immediate response to any crisis, whether it be natural disaster or combat missions.

A Marine expeditionary unit is normally composed of: a reinforced Marine infantry battalion (designated as a Battalion Landing Team) as the ground combat element, a composite medium tiltrotor squadron forms the aviation combat element, a combat logistics battalion provides the logistics combat element, and a company-size command element serves as the MEU headquarters group. Troop strength is about 2,200 and usually commanded by a colonel, and is deployed from amphibious assault ships. Currently, a Marine expeditionary unit embarks Marines and equipment onto the amphibious warfare ships of an Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) which also includes escort ships and submarines to protect them from air, surface, and submarine threats. For further protection and strong air support, such an ESG is often deployed along with one or more carrier battle groups.

It's a flexible combined arms unit that is mostly self-sustaining. Having dedicated air support that includes active duty pilots on the ground helping coordinate air strikes is devastating. They've also been pretty successful at integrating cutting-edge SigInt and SpecOps assets into the MEU too.

Typical tactics involve a Marine Rifle Company being inserted inland by helicopter to cut off roads to the beach landing. That allows infantry in amtracks to land and tanks to be brought in unopposed.

Wolfhag

Legion 414 Jan 2018 9:27 a.m. PST

Marine Aviation Our Navy's army has it's own air force.
So does the US Army, e.g. the 101 alone has @ 450 helicopters, etc.

As Wolfhag points out, the USMC fights as a combined arms team. And they are aboard ship. The US Army does the same but are not normally all deployed from aboard ship into the assault.

Typical tactics involve a Marine Rifle Company being inserted inland by helicopter to cut off roads to the beach landing.
Yes, the same tactic US Army Airborne and Air Assault units do. Vertical Envelopment can be very useful if used properly. The advantage the USMC has they have forces aboard ships to go directly into the assault. At all times …

The US Army has a Bn TF size unit of the 82d ready to deploy at all times, or at least they used to. To go directly into the assault from USAF aircraft. As do the Rangers. The 101 has the same. But has be moved to an area by air nearby the battlefield to go into the direct assault.

Elements of the 82d, Rangers and 101 work together at times to make this all occur. Again deployed by the USAF. And even at times units of the USMC get involved.

E.g. Cutting off roads, Avenues of Approach, etc. was exactly the US Army's 82d and 101 primary mission was at Normandy.

But as we know throughout WWII both the US Army and USMC made assault landings. And the US Army had done more because the US Army had @ 90+ Divs[68 ETO ; 24 PTO (?)] while the USMC had 6 Divs., plus a number of smaller units, that maybe that could add up to another USMC Div.

But IMO all services provide very "usefully" specialties to the battlefield. And just for context, the USAF was part of the US Army until 1947. As the USMC is part of the USN. Plus in WWI, USMC units were the 3d Bde of the US Army's 2ID. So IMO … bottom line … we all are "Brothers in Arms" …

Wolfhag14 Jan 2018 1:54 p.m. PST

Didn't the US Marines draw their traditions from the British Royal Marines?

I think the Rangers are tasked with taking airports like when they parachuted onto the runways at Grenada which was the lowest altitude ever dropped. Marines don't parachute on a battalion basis. The Marines do have the advantage of being forward deployed.

The US Army has the best combat proven tank / mechanized units in the world. However, that's not the Marines real mission, they are not an exploitation force.

The different branches compliment each other with some overlap in responsibilities. The Marines want to stay small as their mission is supposed to be limited. Their sustained operations in I Corps in VN was not what they should have been used for. In Spring of 1973, I participated in the war games at HQ Marine Corps using the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions to invade North Vietnam. It was a high-level logistics and C&C operation. Amphib invasion is their specialty.

The Marines resisted SpecOps because it did not directly support Marine Divisions. The Army is much more equipped to handle that. Special Forces embeds with local forces long-term to train them, Marine don't and shouldn't. Rangers have specialized training the Marines don't as it's not part of their mission.

Wolfhag

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2018 3:00 p.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!.

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 414 Jan 2018 3:19 p.m. PST

Didn't the US Marines draw their traditions from the British Royal Marines?
I believe they did. I know some US Army traditions, etc., were taken from the UK. The US military at the time of AWI, many were former British subjects and/or have served in the UK military …

The US Army Rangers take the much of their linage from Roger's Rangers who were "attached" to the UK Army during the French & Indian War.

I think the Rangers are tasked with taking airports like when they parachuted onto the runways at Grenada which was the lowest altitude ever dropped.
IIRC that is correct. Capturing airfields is a classic Ranger and Airborne/Para mission.

The US Army has the best combat proven tank / mechanized units in the world. However, that's not the Marines real mission, they are not an exploitation force.
Yes, that is true and that is way I trained as well. Units like the USMC, Rangers, Airborne and Air Assault are basically Rapid Deployment Forces. And being "lighter" in organization and equipment, etc., they can deploy more quickly than heavy forces like Armor and Mech units.

The different branches compliment each other with some overlap in responsibilities.
Yes, I agree completely.

The Marines resisted SpecOps because it did not directly support Marine Divisions. The Army is much more equipped to handle that. Special Forces embeds with local forces long-term to train them, Marine don't and shouldn't. Rangers have specialized training the Marines don't as it's not part of their mission.
Agreed … And based on the situation, they all work together, at times.

E.g. on an FTX in the ROK, my Mech Bn had a cross-attached Tank Co.from another Bde in the Div[2ID] along with a USMC Inf Co., from Guam[IIRC] that flew in. And was attached to our Mech Heavy Bn TF.

Covert Walrus14 Jan 2018 4:14 p.m. PST

Captain Gamma asked -

I always assumed Sci-Fi used the term 'Marine' simply because they were military units on space SHIPS rather than due to some misty eyed worship of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Well, kinda both at the same time; the Mobile Infantry (MI) of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" were based heavily on the US Marine Corp, especially multiple specializations and the phrase "Everybody fights". The book is often seen by military observers as both a 'love letter' to the Leathernecks and an indictment of the support echelon-heavy militaries of the time or at least the direction they were moving in ( See the passage about decorations specifically for non-combat branch personnel in the novel: Not as scathing as Pohl's military detachment of some 5000 personnel, 30 of which were combat soldiers, in "The Wizards of Pung's Corners" written about the same time :) ).

Wolfhag wrote -

Didn't the US Marines draw their traditions from the British Royal Marines?

To certain extent, I believe so. And the Royal Marines consider themselves pretty damn elite as well ( Though the Paras and SAS may have something to say about that at times :D )

Wofhag also noted –

The Marines resisted SpecOps because it did not directly support Marine Divisions. The Army is much more equipped to handle that. Special Forces embeds with local forces long-term to train them, Marine don't and shouldn't. Rangers have specialized training the Marines don't as it's not part of their mission.

True, and underlined by a comment in the series of nera-future Naval warfare Amanda Garrett books by James H Cobb, where a commander points aout "The Marines don't need a specific SpecOps force like the USAF's Air Commandoes. Every Marine unit is trained in the basic SpecOps missions already as part of the whole Marine approach." Though it is mentioned that the best candidates in that training are selected for units within Marine divisions in this future called MarineSOC to perform those missions when required as part of scouting, intel, etc. A MarineSOC unit is assembled as and when required, then integrated back into the force once mission is completed.

Lion in the Stars14 Jan 2018 4:19 p.m. PST

Marine SpecOps are much more focused in their mission training than everyone else.

Recon. Whether it's checking beaches for the easiest approach or operating well beyond the rest of the MEU to give early warning of what is coming.

Sure, they get the same 'basic' specops training that everyone else does, so they can do a lot of the same missions, but Force Recon is normally assigned to work more like Army LRRPs than like Green Berets. Tactical or Operational level support, not strategic level or too many deniable operations.

Mobius15 Jan 2018 7:01 a.m. PST

Space Fleet Aviation – It probably wouldn't make sense to say our Space Fleet's army has its own space fleet. But, the SF Marines could have their light landing/boarding space craft.

Legion 415 Jan 2018 8:09 a.m. PST

To certain extent, I believe so. And the Royal Marines consider themselves pretty damn elite as well ( Though the Paras and SAS may have something to say about that at times :D )
Don't forget the SBS which at it's inception during WWII was a UK Army unit. As was and is the SAS. And many RM units during WWII became Commando units like in the UK Army at that time.

And certainly a lot of units, like Airborne/Para, Ranger/Commando, Special Forces/SAS, etc., etc., are considered "elite" … and justifiably so.

Lion in the Stars16 Jan 2018 3:29 p.m. PST

Space Fleet Aviation It probably wouldn't make sense to say our Space Fleet's army has its own space fleet. But, the SF Marines could have their light landing/boarding space craft.

I'd expect SF Marines/Espatiers to have their own drop assets, probably both direct drop Heinlein-style and a more 'sedate' drop Aliens-style. I've seen the number-crunching, one SF Marine/Espatier has to pull the weight of at least 80 mud-grunts (between transport and everything else). So I'd be really surprised if the SF Marines didn't have the option of dropping in Heinlein power suits, to be able to carry enough firepower and protection.

Not sure whether the Marines would own the orbital patrol/boarding craft, or if they'd be Fleet flight crews with Marine passengers.

And honestly, I see a space fleet having at least two broad classes of small craft: atmosphere-capable spacecraft and orbit patrol boats. I'd guess that the Marines (or Army) would own anything that wasn't space-capable. As to why you'd want atmosphere-only craft, well, imagine for a second you're in some Sanger skip-bomber and you catch some holes in your thermal protection system from flak. Can you say "Columbia Disaster?" Plus, CAS tends to demand relatively slow flight with lots of loiter time, which is most definitely NOT a feature of something that can reach escape velocity. Ever tried a Space Shuttle flight sim? I'd say that the Shuttle glides like a freaking rock, but quite frankly that's insulting to rocks. At ~5 minutes to landing (about the time a conventional airliner is entering the landing pattern), the Shuttle is still at 60,000ft!

So a spacefaring military probably has some really big dropships that carry atmosphere-only craft down, and the big dropship kicks them all out well clear of any defensive fire that might threaten the dropship's ability to climb back out.

Legion 417 Jan 2018 2:22 p.m. PST

I would think just like the USMC, a Space based force would have a number of landing and assault landing vehicles, etc., in both their Marine and Navy inventories. E.g. Dropships, Drop Pods, Space to Ground Landers/Landing Craft, etc. Instead of ship-to-shore … it's Space-to-Ground. Only the "medium" would change.

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