First In Last Out

The Post-war Organisation, Employment and Training of Royal Marines Commandos

A seminal piece of Royal Marines Commando history, this 1950s doctrine summing up the lessons of World War II is published for the first time.
Date Published :
July 2021
Publisher :
Editor :
Paul Winter
Contributor(s) :
Julian Thompson
Illustration :
B&W diagrams
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612009629
Pages : 216
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The official document Amphibious Warfare Handbook No. 10a: The Organisation, Employment and Training of Commandos is a unique piece of postwar Royal Marines Commando doctrine, never before published, or quoted at length.

Prepared in 1951 at the height of the Korean War by the Chief of Amphibious Warfare and the Commandant General Royal Marines, this seventy-page aide memoir is, in essence, the distillation of major lessons learned by the British wartime Combined Operations Headquarters regarding amphibious warfare, raiding, cliff assaults, sabotage, intelligence-gathering, specialized infantry work, guerrilla warfare and Commando tactics. In addition, it offers its readership a delineation of the characteristics, skills and qualities required of a Royal Marines Commando.

Published to mark the seventieth anniversary of its official issue, this rare example of bespoke Commando doctrine is a timely and highly relevant addition to a growing body of work on The Corps of Royal Marines. Currently undergoing significant institutional changes by means of the Future Commando Force (FCF) program, the Royal Marines are having to challenge their existing operating concept, force structures, doctrine, and organizational design to meet the emerging defense challenges of the 21st century. It serves to remind those currently evolving the FCF concept of General Sir John Hackett’s advice, namely, "To see where we are going, we must know where we are, and to know where we are, we need to discover how we got here."

About The Author

Educated at the universities of Warwick, London and Cambridge, Dr Paul Winter received his doctorate in history in 2009. He specialized in wartime intelligence and military history, publishing academic articles in Intelligence and National Security and War in History. In 2013 he was a Changing Character of War Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.

From 2017 to 2020, he was an affiliated academic at 40 Commando Royal Marines assisting with Professional Military Education and Officer Career Development. He is currently a member of the Land and Littoral Strike team at the Maritime Warfare Centre.

Born in Calcutta, Julian Thompson was educated at Sherborne School. He joined the Royal Marines aged 18 and served on seven continents over 34 years.

He commanded 40 Commando Royal Marines and then, during the Falklands War, 3 Commando Brigade which made the initial Landings and saw much of the action in the battles that followed.

Since retiring as a Major General he has pursued literary and academic interests. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London. Among his many published works are Ready For Anything; The Parachute Regiment at War 1940 – 1982, The Lifeblood of War: Logistics and Armed Conflict and The Royal Marines. He has published six books with the Imperial War Museum: Victory in Europe, The War at Sea: the Royal Navy in the Second World War, Behind Enemy Lines, Modern Warfare (ed), The War in Burma and The War at Sea 1914-1918.


Amphibious Warfare Handbook No. 10a: The Organisation, Employment and Training of Commandos

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