The largest permanent Marine formations prior to early 1941 were the 1st and 2nd Marine Brigades, formed on the East and West Coasts in 1935-36. Each brigade was built around an infantry regiment and an aircraft group, but all units were nevertheless under strength. If deployed for combat, it was planned to supplement them with ship's guards.
Initially, the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) was oriented principally toward the Atlantic and Caribbean; the Pacific at that time was of secondary importance. From 1949-41 German submarines were the major threat, and the fear that Germany might occupy French possessions in the Caribbean and possibly attack the Aleutians. It was not until the summer of 1941 that the FMF began to focus its attention more on the Pacific. By that time the entire 15, 000 man Marine Corps Reserve had been mobilized and the Marine Corps itself consisted of some 50, 000 troops, though its units were still largely under strength.
A 1st MarDiv weapons platoon armed with M1919A machine guns, undertakes landing training on Chesepeake Bay in early 1942. At this time the Marines were still planning to participate in the invasion of North Africa alongside the Army. (Shelby Stanton Collection)
Osprey, US Marine Corps 1941-45, 1995, Rottman and Chappell
RESTORE THE REPUBLIC!
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952- (Plt #437PISC)-'72
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