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D DAY Royal Marines

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: France

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1944

Date/s: 6 June 1944

D Day was the largest single commitment of Royal Marines in history, with over 17,500 RM taking part.

As well as providing 2,500 Marines forming 5 out of the 8 Commando units involved in Operation Overlord Royal Marines took part in many other roles including manning the guns of the battleships providing bombardment, crewing landing craft, crewing tanks, as pilots and in specialist units such as 30 Assault Unit and Landing Craft Obstacle Clearance Units, there was a Royal Marine presence on all 5 landing beaches.

By 1944, 500 Royal Marine officers and 12,500 Marines had become landing craft crew and 2/3 of all LCA's on D Day were manned by Royal Marines carrying British, American, and Canadian troops ashore.

The Five Commando's involved in the direct assault force 41, 46, 47 and 48(RM) CDO's landed at Juno and Gold under Brigadier Leicester (4th Special Service Brigade) with 46 CDO as a floating reserve (landing 7th June), and 45 (RM) CDO with 1st Special Service Brigade under Lord Lovat.

  • No 41 (RM) CDO to land at the far right (west) of Sword to clear coastal defences.

  • No 45 (RM) CDO on the left to reinforce 6 Airborne Division beyond teh Orne River.

  • No 46 (RM) CDO in reserve landed at Juno on 7th June and advanced on to Petit Enfer.

  • No 47 (RM) CDO to go to the west flank of Gold Beach to capture Port-en-Bessin and link upo with US forces at Omaha Beach.

  • No 48 (RM) CDO to go to Juno beach with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade.

By the end of the campaign in NW Europe over 25,000 Royal Marines had been involved.

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