Saturday, October 9, 2010

Green Beret - Commandos Marine

The Naval Commandos (Commandos marine) are the special forces of the French Navy. They are made up of ~500 members, mostly based in northwestern France (Brittany), with several bases across the country for specific training needs. The Naval Commandos are nicknamed bérets verts (Green Berets). Their qualification training is one of the toughest in the world. They operate under the Naval Rifle and Special Force Command and the French Special Operations Command.
The Naval Commandos were formed during World War II in Great Britain, modeled along with the British Commandos (who were founded in 1940). Its manpower came from the Fusiliers Marins.

It took part in the Normandy Landing on D-day under command of Commandant Kieffer.
Cdr. Kieffer

On 6 June 1944, at 07:31, the Bérets verts landed on Sword Beach. Kieffer, recently promoted to capitaine de corvette, led his men personally. The unit suffered 21 killed and 93 wounded; Kieffer himself was almost immediately wounded twice, hit by shrapnel in the leg, but refused evacuation for two days. Kieffer rejoined his unit on 14 June, in time to take part in the breakthrough towards the Seine and Honfleur. Along with two of his men, he was the first member of the Free French Forces to enter Paris. His 18-year old son, who had recently joined the Maquis, was killed by German troops near Paris at nearly the same time.

By October 1944, the Commando Battalion had three companies. Kieffer led it during the attacks on Vlissingen and Walcheren to capture the port of Antwerp. He later took part in raids against occupied Dutch islands.
In 1945, he was nominated for the Consultative Assembly, and started working in the Inter-Allied Forces Headquarters. He was promoted to capitaine de frégate in 1954.

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