World War II US Marine Infantry Regiments

Published: August 20th, 2018     
Product Image
Author: Gordon L. Rottman; Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Reviewed by: Bill Kluge - IPMS# 45849
ISBN #: 9781472826084
Other Publication Information: Paperback, 2018; 64 pages
Price: $19.00
Product / Stock #: Elite 222
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

Prior to the First World War, U.S. Marine units were generally small and specialized, primarily naval base guard units or ship based detachments. In the decade leading up to The Great War, these smaller units were combined as needed to form provisional regimental sized units for specific missions, and disbanded when those missions were completed. Fourteen Marine regiments were raised during World War I, but by the eve of World War II, only seven understrength regiments remained. By the end of the war, the Marines had established six divisions comprising 18 infantry regiments, in addition to numerous specialized outfits that were created, disbanded, or merged into other Marine Corps units.

With his description of the Marine's infantry regiments, author Gordon Rottman has presented here a very detailed overview of the structure and organization of what became the Corps's basic foundational building block. During WWII, and ever since, the individual Marine's identity has been more closely associated to his or her regiment than with any other specific unit to which they belong. As with so many things about the Corps, Marines have their own vocabulary and their own way of describing things. Whereas the Army soldier may have been a part of the "5th Infantry Regiment", a Marine was with "the 5th Marines". And so the Marine regiments were named. Where the Army's units have now become brigades, the Corps kept it's regiments. The six Marine infantry divisions that were eventually raised during WWII often rotated regiments within them as needed. They did eventually settled on a permanent set of specific regiments within them (the Marines currently retain three active duty divisions). Although the Marines officially emphasize a "Corps first" policy, individual Marines retain a strong loyalty to their regimental units.

Instead of being a history of the various Marine regiments during the war (although the author does briefly list the actions of each regiment, where they fought and the Medal of Honor award winners from each), the volume details the organization, structure and tactical use of the Marine regiment as the role of amphibious warfare evolved during the Pacific War. Numerous tables break down such things as when and where individual regiments were formed, regimental leadership positions (from regimental commander down to fire team leader), and weapons typically issued to infantry regiments (interestingly, by 1943, pistols were no longer part of the regiments table of organization, the M1 carbine being issued instead. However, quite a few M1911s managed to find their way to the war's end by the side of many a Marine). Many of the photographs throughout the volume highlight the equipment or weapons carried by Marines, as do the eight pages of illustrations showcasing each of the six regular infantry divisions, plus special units like Raider and Parachute Regiments, with their accompanying descriptive text.

This volume presents a brief but thorough description of the organization and use of the most successful amphibious warfare specialists during the war in the Pacific, as well as background on their formation and history. Thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS for the opportunity to review this fine publication.

  • Cover
  • Weapons Table
    Weapons Table
  • Equipment Illustration
    Equipment Illustration
  • Equipment Description
    Equipment Description

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