SDSR 2015 Sacred Cows #2 – Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment


So I know most Paras and Royal Marines would rather rub shit in their eyes than entertain the idea but this is a perennial sacred cow subject, even more so than the Red Arrows, but still, the question should be asked.

Does the UK get more than the sum of its parts from the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines?

We like to talk of tradition the modern Royal Marines actually have a short(ish) history and the Parachute Regiment, likewise.

Both have their own training methods, ethos, specialisms and fighting spirit, but is the duplication justifiable when in reality, amphibious and airborne assaults are looking increasingly unlikely? (a questionable comment by the way, but one for discussion) and at the end of the day, they are both light infantry?

Is there that much difference between the two and other infantry units, did the Rifles perform any differently to 2 PARA or 3 CDO in Afghanistan?

Is the ‘creative tension’ between the two advantageous to both and the UK’s wider defence needs?

Would there be any savings by amalgamating the two anyway?

What would happen to the specialist knowledge that resides in both?

How would any such move affect special forces?

What would an amalgamated force be called, Para Commando, Rangers or something else?

What about drill, regimental silver and buttons?

And of course, what colour would the beret be?

Parachute Regiment
Royal Marines beret

In your own time…


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