What's the training like?

Royal Marines Officer training is one of the longest and most arduous programmes in the world. This is where you learn all the skills you need to lead a team of elite amphibious Commandos.
To hit the ground running when you start your training, you need to be in the best possible physical condition. Keep up the good work you will have done to prepare for your Pre-Joining Fitness Test Plus by sticking to the Royal Marines Fitness Programme.


Royal Marine Commando Officer at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM), Lympstone, training is split into 5 separate phases designed to take you as a civilian and develop you into a soldier with the skills to command your troop. You will be equipped with specialist amphibious skills that allow the Royal Marines to operate in the most difficult of environments. 

Phase 1

Phase 1: Initial Training

This 16-week training course will introduce you to the core skills you need to be a Royal Marine, and assess your abilities in an intensive and progressive environment. You will undertake a number of exercises, including:

  • First Stop – This is designed to introduce you to life in the field, teaching you how to look after yourself and navigate by day and night
  • Tenderfoot – Here you will put the skills you’ve developed into practice, progressing to basic fieldcraft
  • Lost Tribe – This is a day and night navigation exercise on Dartmoor. You’ll need to be able to cope with unfamiliar terrain and remain calm under pressure
  • Eye Opener – Another navigation exercise, this will also test your day and night navigation skills. It takes place over a longer period of time, so you will need stamina to be successful
  • Quickdraw I – This is a firing range exercise, which is designed to bring your marksmanship skills up to standard. At the end of the exercise, you will take the Annual Combat Marksmanship Test (ACMT)
  • Softly Softly – Here you will be introduced to low-level soldiering skills and basic operating procedures, at the same time as developing an understanding of the Estimate and Orders process

Phase 2

Phase 2: Tactics and Doctrine Training

For the next 12 weeks your training will switch focus to Section and Troop level tactical development. Using what you have already learnt, you will spend time preparing, delivering and receiving orders. This phase will incorporate a mixture of academic study and advanced physical training. The exercises you will complete, include:

  • Quickdraw II – You will make the transition from the firing range to live field firing, starting with Close Quarter Battle (CQB), before progressing to team firing and manoeuvres
  • Long Night – Over the course of a week you will develop your tactical knowledge, and the ability to take the lead in different scenarios
  • Eagle Eye – You will be taught to establish and run surface and sub-surface observation points
  • Jagged Edge – This will teach you all about Troop level battle procedures and offensive operations
  • Dragon Storm – Drawing on everything you’ve learned about offensive operations, you will complete a test exercise
  • Quickdraw III – Tactical live firing training

Phase 3

Phase 3 – Defensive, Fibua, Special to Arms, and Commando Course Phase

 This six-week phase will hone your defensive skills, teach you the principles of transitional operations, and introduce you to the tactics of Fighting In Built Up Areas (FIBUA). Exercises will include:

  • Open Door – This exercise will focus on conducting FIBUA operations up to Troop level
  • Special To Arms Week – Here you will have an introduction to the specialist weapons and equipment that you’ll use throughout your career


The Commando Course

This course is designed to replicate the conditions and rigours of a wartime environment, while exposing you to the challenges faced by individuals during Commando training in the Second World War. On completion of the exercise you will be required to complete the following tests in four consecutive days:


  • Endurance Course – You will need to complete this in less than 71 minutes
  • A 9-mile Speed March – You will need to complete this uphill route in less than 90 minutes
  • Tarzan Assault Course – This ropes and ladders course will need to be completed in less than 12 minutes
  • The 30 Miler – You will have 7 hours to complete this cross-terrain challenge

For the first three tests the weight carried is 21lbs, plus rifle. The 30 Miler requires you to carry more weight to incorporate safety stores.

Phase 4

Phase 4 – Advanced Military Management Training

This phase is designed to broaden your experience and military knowledge. You will complete a two-week range qualification course, before further academic study at BRNC Dartmouth. Additional exercises will take place during a deployment to the United States.

The exercises covered in this phase are:

  • Stone Post – You will conduct a number of visits that focus on the Army’s land capabilities. This will broaden your Service knowledge
  • Special To Arms Week – Here you will have an introduction to the specialist weapons and equipment that you’ll use throughout your career
  • Deep Blue – Similar to Stone Post, this exercise will provide you with an insight into the capabilities of the Royal Navy
  • Virginia Tempest – This is a three-week deployment to the US, where you will forge closer links with the United States Marine Corps, and complete a number field exercises

Phase 5

Phase 5 – Unit Management, Exercise Planning and Final Exercise

This phase will provide you with the essential ability to administrate and manage your men. Topics that you will cover, include:

  • Military law
  • Report writing
  • Unit documentation
  • Strategic studies
  • A planning exercise in Normandy

As part of the Final Exercise, you will complete:

  • Wet Raider – Taking place on the West Coast of Scotland, this is where your amphibious training will conclude
  • Counter Insurgency – This is one of the most realistic experiences in training, replicating a full-scale riot
  • Final Nail – You will be integrated with trained marines and use VIKING vehicles
  • Otter’s Run – Use a series of hypothetical scenarios to hone your decision-making skills