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Royal Thai Marine Corps
Royal Thai Marine Corps insignia
Active 1959 – Present
Country  Thailand
Branch Flag of the Royal Thai Navy.svg Royal Thai Navy
Type Marine (Naval)
Role Marines
Size 36,000 men
Garrison/HQ RTMC headquarters, Sattahip, Chonburi
March "มาร์ชราชนาวิกโยธิน (Royal Thai Marine Corps march)
Anniversaries July 30
Engagements Franco–Thai War
Pacific War
Southern Insurgency
Flag of the Commander of the Marine Corps Flag Commander of the Royal Thai Marine Corps.svg

Thai marine royal guards (full dress) in the procession in the royal cremation of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana

The Royal Thai Marine Corps (Thai language: นาวิกโยธินแห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย) are the marines of the Royal Thai Navy. The Royal Thai Marine Corps was founded in 1932, when the first battalion was formed with the assistance of the United States Marine Corps. It was expanded to a regiment in 1940 and was in action against communist guerrillas throughout the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s the United States Marine Corps assisted in its expansion into a brigade. The Royal Thai Marine Corps saw action on the Malaysian border in the 1970s, and has now been increased to two brigades.

History[edit | edit source]

Historically, there was no distinction in Siam between soldiers and marines, with the army performing both functions. The first "Thahan Ma-Rine", meaning "Marine Soldiers", were formed in 1833, during the reign of King Rama III. "Ma-Rine" was simply a transliteration of the English word. The development of the modern Thai Marine Corps can be divided into three periods:

Early years[edit | edit source]

The Marine Soldiers of the 19th and early 20th centuries were few in number and served mainly as a royal honor guard that provided security for the King whenever he traveled around the country.

On March 2, 1913, however, the Ministry of the Navy reorganized the Marine Soldiers. The Marine artillery platoon was attached to the Operation Command Department of Ships and Fortresses, while the Marine infantry platoon in Bangkok was attached to the Vehicle Division of the Department of the Navy Amphibious Assault Group.

The Revolution in 1932 transformed Thailand from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Shortly after, the Royal Thai Navy was reorganized, and the vehicle battalion became the Marine Corps Battalion of the Bangkok Navy Station. This is considered the first Marine Corps Battalion in Thailand.

Post 1932 Revolution (1932–1955)[edit | edit source]

The 2nd Marine Corps Battalion was established at Sattahip in 1937. Two years later, the 2nd Battalion was expanded into the Marine Corps Department. Shortly after that, a border dispute with French Indo-China turned violent, and the Marine Corps Department's "Chanthaburi Division" was engaged in action with the French Foreign Legion several times. During World War II, the Marine Corps sent troops to defend the southern border with Malaya and also guarded Phuket Province from possible attack.

After Imperial Japan's surrender in September 1945, Thai Marines helped disarm the Japanese Army at Baan Pong District in Ratchaburi Province. In 1950, when violence in Malaysia spilled over into Thailand, Marine Corps Troop 6 was sent to help restore the peace in Narathiwat Province.

Surprisingly, on June 29, 1951, the Thai government disbanded the Marine Corps Bureau, and the Marines were distributed into naval units. However, this was during the Korean War, and both the United States Military and the Royal Thai Navy urged Thailand to reconsider.

New Age (1955 – present)[edit | edit source]

Four years later, the Thai Government acknowledged that a Marine Corps could perform a useful role in national defense. On July 30, 1955, the government created the Marine Corps Department. In 1961, tensions flared over the disputed Preah Vihear Temple, situated on the Thai side of a high cliff on the Cambodian border but shown on French maps as being in the Cambodia. The Chanthaburi and Trat borders with Cambodia gave the Marine Corps Department its first assignment, safeguarding the coastline and southeastern border. Since 1970 the Marine Corps' Chanthaburi-Trat Task Force has been officially assigned the defense of this area.

During 1972 and 1973, Thai Marines were involved in the "Sam-Chai" anti-communist operations in Phetchabun Province and the "Pha-Phum" anti-communist operations in Chiang Rai Province. In 1973 and 1974, they took part in anti-communist operations in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Since 1975, Thai Marines have been assigned to Narathiwat as Marine Corps special forces. In 1977, they captured the communist camp at Krung-Ching in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, and remaining there until 1981.

Thai Marines today are responsible for border security in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces. They have fought communist insurgents in engagements at Baan Hard Lek, Baan Koat Sai, Baan Nhong Kok, Baan Kradook Chang, Baan Chumrark, and in the battle of Hard Don Nai in Nakhon Phanom Province.

Many Thai Marines have lost their lives serving their country, and they continue to do so today, especially in the southern border provinces now facing an Islamist insurgency. A monument to their valor stands at the Royal Thai Navy base at Sattahip.

Organization[edit | edit source]

  • RTMC division headquarters;
  • 3 Marine infantry regiment, with 9 Marine battalions (one battalion designated King's Guard),
  • 1 Marine artillery regiment, with 3 Marine artillery battalions and 1 antiaircraft artillery battalion
  • 1 assault battalion
  • 1 reconnaissance battalion (formed in 1965, including wardogs and V-150 armored vehicles).

Equipment[edit | edit source]

Small arms[edit | edit source]

Name Type Caliber Origin Notes
M16A1/A2/A3 Assault rifle 5.56mm United States Standard marine rifle.
M4A1/A3 Assault rifle 5.56mm United States Standard marine rifle.
AR-15 Assault rifle 5.56mm United States
G36C Assault rifle 5.56mm  Germany Used by recon.
CQ M-311 Assault rifle 5.56mm  China
Sago Defence Tikka Sniper rifle .223inch/.338inch United States
M249 Light machine gun 5.56mm United States
M60 General-purpose machine gun 7.62mm United States
M2 Browning Heavy machine gun 12.7mm United States

Rocket, grenade, and missile systems[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M203 Grenade launcher ? United States
Armbrust Anti-tank weapon ?  Germany
M47 Dragon Anti-Tank Guided Missile ? United States
BGM-71 TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missile ? United States Use in Humvee.
M40A2 Recoilless rifle ? United States
QW-18 MANPAD ?  China

Utility vehicles and prime movers[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Humvee Utility vehicle ? United States RTMC use M998,M1097A2,M997,M1025,M1045A2,M966.
M151 Utility vehicle ? United States RTMC use M151A2,M718A1,M825.
M151A2 mod Amphibious vehicle ?  Thailand Improve to Amphibious vehicle.
M813 Prime Mover ? United States RTMC use M54A2,M543A2.
M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck Prime Mover ? United States RTMC use M35A2,M50A2,M49A2,M109A2.
Isuzu Prime Mover ?  Japan/ Thailand RTMC use SBR,TXD 4x2,TSD 4x4,TWD 6x6,HTW,FTR 4x4.

Armoured fighting vehicles[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
AAV-7A1 Armoured personnel carrier 36 United States Variants include: AAVP-7A1, AAVC-7A1, AAVR-7A1.
BTR-3E1 Armoured personnel carrier 12  Ukraine
V-150 Commando Armoured car 24 United States
Type 69-ll Main battle tank 5  China

Field artillery[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M101A1 mod 105 mm towed howitzer 6 United States Improve the Nexter LG1 caliber.
M101A1 105 mm towed howitzer 30 United States
GC-45 howitzer 155 mm towed howitzer 12  Austria
GHN-45 A1 APU howitzer 155 mm towed howitzer 6  Austria
M19 60 mm motar ? United States
M224 60 mm motar ? United States
M29A1 81 mm motar ? United States
M120 120 mm motar ?  Israel

History equipment[edit | edit source]

Armoured fighting vehicles[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
LVT Amphibious vehicle 16 United States
M3 Half-track Half-track armored personnel carrier 12+ United States

Field artillery[edit | edit source]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer 16+ United States

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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