The story about one of the tools with which the most democratic power on this and the next planets dictates its adamant will to the entire world community, we begin with a curious fact. The US Marine Corps officially exists even longer than the United States itself. The decree on the establishment of marines was signed on November 10, 1775, and, as we all know, 13 colonies proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776.
The first adversary for the Marine Corps was the troops of the British Empire, trying to replace the overseas rebels and regain control of the territories in North America, but the XX century was a real finest hour for the expeditionary forces.
From the very beginning of the century, marines have not been idle: one of the most exotic battlefields has been the Western Hemisphere, where a number of conflicts have been heard that are known as the “Banana Wars." Fighters with a star-striped flag on their sleeves defended the interests of the American government, fighting with the Spaniards in Cuba, with revolutionaries and rebels in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua and Haiti. In addition, the list of combat merit of the ILC of the United States is the suppression of the "Boxer Rebellion" in China.
All these conflicts gave the Marines invaluable experience in conducting anti-insurgency operations, which was reflected in the Small Wars Manual, a guide to combat guerrillas and other unpleasant personalities, first enlisted in the troops in 1935 and studied by USMC troops to this day.
Americans fight guerilla in Haiti, 1919
The World War II became a turning point for the Marine Corps, as well as for many other military branches. In the forties of the last century, one of the smallest types of US armed forces received its own Aviation and grew from two brigades to six divisions. After participating in the largest war in stories Despite the dissatisfaction of the military, the government decided to reduce the number of U.S. ILCs, but the Korean War put everything in its place and many units were reinstated. In 1962, on the basis of the 2nd division and the 2nd air wing, the Second Expeditionary Force of the Marine Corps was formed. From those distant days, “devil dogs” began to take on the form that they have now. This concludes our brief historical excursion and return to the harsh present.
Organization and structure
Today, the backbone of the marine corps is the expeditionary unit, which the highbrow Pentagon calls the Marine Air-Ground Task Force, which in an approximate translation to the great and mighty sounds like "air-ground operational forces of the marine corps."
MAGTF is a division that includes infantry, aviation, and rear services. All this allows the expeditionary forces not to spend precious time on establishing cooperation and to be completely self-sufficient, acting autonomously not only from parts of the Air Force or the US Army, but even from other USMC units. Unlike army leaders, the command of the United States ILC does not believe that only one aircraft can win a war. Of course, we can argue about this, remembering the NATO operation against Yugoslavia and its results, but today we are not talking about that at all. The main fist of the expeditionary forces is the infantry, and armored vehicles, aviation and other units only provide support, helping to achieve success on the battlefield.
At present, three naval divisions exist and are ready for action in the United States Naval Forces. Another division is in reserve, and its units can be used to strengthen existing units or make up for losses.
The largest combination of air-ground operational forces can safely be called the expeditionary corps of the marine corps. It is also abbreviated as MEF. There are three such cases. The most attentive reader, probably already noticed that the number of active divisions and corps coincides. In addition to 23 thousand bayonets, the commander of the battle group has an air wing and a supply group on whose shoulders the tasks of demining, building, providing medical assistance and, of course, providing their comrades with fuel and ammunition are laid.
As you understand, one expeditionary force is a very large force, because it makes up 1/3 of the field strength of the ILC. Therefore, the command deploys MEF rarely and only on large (for American cheers and sympathizers) holidays. The last time the full expeditionary force was sent to the war zone 17 years ago, taking part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
From the MEF, in turn, one expeditionary brigade and several expeditionary units of the marine corps are formed (except for the third corps, which has only one detachment).
The brigade is considered an intermediate link in the structure of the expeditionary forces and consists of three regiments: infantry, aviation and rear support. The size of such a unit can reach 15 people.
ILC fighter in exercises
Perhaps the most interesting formation in the structure of the Marine Corps can be called an expeditionary unit, abbreviated as MEU. The basis of the formation are the battalion of marines, mixed air squadrons and rear support units. The number does not exceed 2200 people.
The Pacific and Atlantic fleets have three expeditionary units at their disposal, which are participants in a continuous cycle: for 9 months, marines rest and engage in combat training on land, and then on duty for 6 months aboard universal landing ships.
It is the expeditionary units that are most often attracted for operations of various kinds: from anti-terrorist raids to the salvation of American citizens in the godforsaken corners of the globe and the elimination of the consequences of natural disasters.
Last time marines in releases News could be seen recently. At the very beginning of 2020, when the world was on the verge of a large-scale war between Iran and the United States, the soldiers provided security for the American embassy in Baghdad.
The landing of soldiers at the US Embassy in Baghdad. UAV image
But, as they say in television stores, this is not all. The Marine Corps has its own special forces. These are both Force recon - deep reconnaissance companies, obeying the command of expeditionary forces, and gentlemen of a more serious level from the raider regiment, which is at the disposal of the command of special operations of the United States ILC.
Equipment and armament
The armament of parts of the Marine Corps is very different from that used by army units. We start with a look at the marine equipment, because even here the differences are so strong that it will not be difficult to distinguish the “devil dog” from representatives of other military branches.
US Army soldier and marine. Try to find the differences
The main camouflage in the USMC can safely be called MARPAT. This name is an abbreviation for Marine pattern - the coloring of the marine corps. The development of MARPAT began in 2000, and the first batch went to the troops in 2002. Initially, there was only a forest version of camouflage, but after the start of the NATO operation in Afghanistan, it became clear that fighting forest terrorists in the Greater Middle East in forest camouflage was not a good idea. This, in turn, led to the creation of Desert MARPAT - a coloring suitable for operations in the desert.
Currently, the Marine Corps are equipped with both versions of camouflage, which in 2005-2014 compares them favorably with units of the US Army, which for a long time used the extremely unsuccessful coloring of UCP, whose camouflage properties were very, very low.
In addition, marines use ECH helmets, FILBE unloading systems and IMTV body armor, which you cannot see on marines and paratroopers.
The main assault rifle until the 2010s at the U.S. ILC was the M16A4. Now in the hands of the brave marines are more modern M4s, but if you believe the statements of the command, then very soon they will begin to replace them with the M27 - a version of the German rifle HK416 modified to the requirements of the Marines.
It is worth noting that in the units of the ground forces M16 was replaced by M4A1 in the first half of the 2000s.
Now we can talk about heavier weapons, which, by the way, are not so many among the Marines, because the USMC are considered quick reaction forces, and a large number of armored vehicles reduces the speed of the transfer of units.
The armored fist of the USMC consists of the M1A1 Abrams - quite formidable combat vehicles straight from the eighties of the last century. Now this tank can hardly be called modern, because M1A2s, which have more modern electronics and optics, have long been in the arsenal of ground colleagues. All "Abrams" of the Marine Corps are brought together in three tank battalion (one battalion in each division). The fate of combat vehicles is now quite vague: the command plans to completely abandon tanks in order to increase the mobility of expeditionary units.
Perhaps after what has been said above, it may seem that the Marine Corps is using outdated weapons and is seriously behind this area from ground forces. This is not entirely true. So, for example, at the disposal of motorized reconnaissance battalions is the Canadian LAV-25 armored car, equipped with a 25-mm automatic cannon and two 7,62 machine guns. Although the LAV-25 is capable of carrying a 6-man landing force, manuals issued for the Marines emphasize that the main tasks of the machine are reconnaissance and participation in patrols, and using it as an armored personnel carrier is a gross mistake. Currently in service with the U.S. ILC is about 250 LAV-25.
LAV-25 on the deck of the landing ship. Somewhere in the Pacific
Amphibian AAV-7, the production of the first modifications of which began back in 1972, remains the most massive amphibian among all armored vehicles of the U.S. KMP. For democracy and Western values, an armored personnel carrier is equipped with a 40-mm mk.19 automatic grenade launcher and a 12,7-mm Browning heavy machine gun, and in the bowels of the machine 25 marines can easily fit. AAV-7 is designed to deliver infantry from landing ships to the coast and direct participation in hostilities, which, incidentally, does not always end in success. For example, during the battle of Nasiria in Iraq, Americans lost 8 of these armored personnel carriers. Currently, there are 870 AAVP-7A1 units in the US ILC, which the command is going to replace with more modern cars starting from the last decade, but the American designers managed to create a worthy successor to the AAV-7 quite recently. New amphibians, according to the plan, should begin to be delivered to the troops this year, but this is a completely different story.
Amphibian AAV7A1 from the 4th regiment of the United States ILC. Camp Pandleton, CA June 2013
The U.S. ILC has a large and diverse fleet of aircraft. UH-1Y Venom and AH-1Z, which are deeply modernized versions of the Huey and Cobra used in the Vietnam War, as well as the Osprey convertible plane, which are now the most common aircraft in the sky, can support marines in the sky. at the USMC. The latter will be discussed further.
The history of the machine, which our journalists would surely call “unparalleled in the world”, is rather long and thorny: the Osprey made its first flight in 1989, but the tests did not go smoothly: several samples crashed, and the government began to consider the development of a new assault delivery vehicles are a waste of budget funds. However, in 2005, the Marine Corps began to receive the first MV-22B. The baptism of fire of Osprey took place in 2009, when they were involved in the transfer of three hundred marines during Operation Cobra's Anger.
The main highlight of this miracle of engineering is considered to be that the tiltrotor blades can change their position and be located not only in a vertical position, like in an airplane, but also in a horizontal plane, like in a helicopter, which allows this machine to combine the advantages of two types of flying apparatuses.
Despite the enormous cost, low reliability and a large number of accidents involving the Osprey, the MV-22B completely replaced the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter and continues to be actively used by the US Marine Corps.
MV-22 Osprey at exercises in Djibouti. 2017 year
Nowadays, the ILC, considered the largest expeditionary force in the world, is on the verge of large and radical reforms: the Marines will face rearmament, a change in the organizational and staff structure and a shift from the fight against terrorists in the Middle East to the development of opportunities for a quick transfer of forces from the island to an island in the western pacific to contain Chinese fleet. What will come of it, time will tell. Well, for today, our story about the Marine Corps has come to an end.