The Republic of China Marine Corps is the amphibious infantry of the Republic of China Navy responsible for amphibious combat, counter-landing and reinforcement of the main island of Taiwan, remote islands, defense of ROCN facilities, and also functions as a rapid reaction force and a strategic reserve. They serve a similar function as the Royal Marines and USMC.
The Republic of China Marine Corps (ROCMC), in peacetime, assumes naval base defense, guards appointed offshore islands and acts as a rapid reaction force. In wartime, the Marine Corps, as the strategic preparation forces, are engaged in combat missions.
The Republic of China Marine Corps were previously arranged on the basis of two divisions, the 66th and 99th, supported by one amphibious regiment and one logistics regiment. However during the armed forces re-organisation plan, details of which were announced by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in August 2000, the divisional commands were phased out – the key units are now the Marines Brigades, a
Base Security Guard Brigade and a Garrison Brigade.
Under the armed forces re-organisation plan, (which was announced by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) in August 2000), the divisional commands were phased out and the key units are now three combat Brigades:66th Marine Brigade in Linkau, northern Taiwan: 3,500 strong, includes one tank battalion (equipped with M41s and may re-equip with Yunpao, wheeled 105 mm-armed AFVs), three infantry battalions, one cadre infantry battalion, one artillery battalion (with M109A2 SP 155 mm howitzers) plus anti-tank, air defence and support companies.
Equipped with M113, M-733, LARC-5, LVTP 5 personnel carriers and LVTH 6 armored tractors, the marines are based at 99th Marine Brigade at Tsoying Naval Base at Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan: as 66th Brigade except that the tank battalion may re-equip with ex-army CM12 MBTs and the anti-tank company is part of the tank battalion. 77th Marine Brigade at Tsoying naval base with battalion-sized units at Tsoying, Makung, Keelung and Suao: defensive formation includes tank, air defence and SP howitzer battalions.
Each naval base has a defence company with Chaparral surface to air missiles, Stinger SAMs (on dual mounts) and static 40 mm and 5 inch coast defence guns taken from Yang class destroyers.
A coastal defence detachment unit was also at Pratas in the South China Sea. The Spratly Islands Marine Corps detachment has been replaced by men from the paramilitary Coast Guard command. The ROCMC deployed eight SAM platoons, equipped with Chaparral SAM quad-launchers, to the offshore island of Wuchiu (Spratly) and the Pratas islets in the South China Sea. The ROC Marine Corps defended Pratas Island and Itu Aba Island, and straight succession of jurisdiction under the administration of present government. Pratas Island and Itu Aba Island are at an important location, and have beautiful seascapes and special reefs.
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In 2004 one Marine brigade was redeployed near the Taipei area to defend the capital in the event of a suprise attack by the People’s Liberation Army. Marines were also be used to guard major Naval and Marine Corps buildings in Taipei.
The Marines in Taiwan are drafted and serve an average of 18 months. They also have very limited training grounds. Because Taiwan is so small, it’s hard to find places in to train. For example, Tawain Marines have trouble finding places to do live-fire exercises. Because of the size of the United States, there are many places U.S. Marines can train. Tawain Marine Corps do not have combat experience as many American Marines do. They aren’t as involved in world events as the US Marines here are. And because Tawain Marines only serve a year and a half, thei combat readiness is decreased.
ROCMC is worldwide renown for it’s tough training and as one of the best force in world. The ROC Marine elite corps of frogmen are officially called the Amphibious Searching Unit of the ROC Marine Corps. Their motto is: “Let the high mountains bow and the deep seas give way before us.” In war, they serve as a spearhead of the armed forces. They must slip into enemy occupied territory before a major attack. Their task is to destroy the barriers facing a landing force, pinpoint enemy pillboxes and map airports and sandbars. On the sea, they are taught to maneuver rubber boats while combating the enemy and detonating targets. On the land, they are trained in long-distance jogging, demolitions, searching, surveillance, hand-to-hand fighting and guerilla warfare. In the mountains, they learn to scale cliffs and cross ravines.