The United States Marine Raider Division is a specialized military force capable of fighting in all situations in ground and air combat.
- Main article: Organization
The doctrine of the Marine Raiders is to be flexible in all tasks required by wartime. Filling a mainly ground-air combat role, the Marine Raider division is capable of waging large scale campaigns, combating insurgencies, and providing all kinds of security. The infantry and armored regiments of the division are capable of making rapid insertions via land, sea, and air. The main forces of the division include infantry, engineers, artillery, light armor, heavy armor, intelligence, and aircraft. Their primary objective is to take and hold ground, as well as destroying enemy forces by any means necessary. Infantry is meant to be a mobile force, supported by engineering elements and armored forces. Fire support is very important, and it is provided by light and heavy artillery, as well as close air support from aircraft. Due to their hybrid capabilities of mobile and static warfare, the marine raiders have performed well against enemy forces superior in numbers and positioning.
The Marine Raider Division can be traced back to individual continental militia regiments, whose commanders experimented with tactics emphasizing mobility and volume of fire. These regiments performed well in colonial conflicts against other European powers as well as Native American tribes. Additionally, many veterans of the French and Indian War who were advocates of this doctrine went on to hold leadership positions when the marine raiders were officially created.
The original two marine raider regiments were created by the Continental government to fight against Great Britain during the American Revolution. The 1st Marine Raider Regiment, based in Massachusetts, was formed in 1775 and fought in the Northern theater of the war. The 2nd Marine Raider Regiment, based in Virginia, was formed in 1776 and fought in the Southern theater. Both regiments saw huge successes in combat against much larger well-equipped British forces. At the time of the revolution, the raiders relied heavily on muskets and bayonets, but employed rifles, mortars, and every type of field artillery in a supporting role. They did not advance in a line and fire volleys as other forces during this time period did, but utilized individual marksmanship, cover, and small unit tactics to decimate enemy forces while suffering minimal casualties. Both regiments were also successful after the war for independence was won, utilizing their innovative tactics against rebellions and Indian hostilities in the years after.
When it seemed like a war against Jacobin France was inevitable, the United States Marine Raider Division was formally created in 1798, bringing both regiments under a unified leadership. The efforts of both regiments were better coordinated as a result of this change.
After the seizure of the American Northwest during the Northwest Indian War, a new regiment was to be created. The 1st Regiment, which had defeated the local tribes, could not possibly be stretched from its base in Massachusetts to include the northwest (later the Midwest) in its sphere of influence. Thus, the 3rd Marine Raider Regiment was formed in 1811, based in Michigan. It was primarily formed to counter the Indian leader Tecumseh, but later found itself part of a larger conflict. During the War of 1812, the marine raider regiments all had a part to play. The 1st fought in the Niagara theater, invading Canada and repelling British attacks on New York. The 2nd, mainly embroiled in the Red Stick Creek War, fought off British attacks on Baltimore and Washington, delivering a decisive defeat to the enemy at New Orleans in 1815. The 3rd fought in their area, fighting the British and their native allies all across the northwest. Though 1812 was a bittersweet war at best, it was the first time the division fought a multiple front war as a cohesive military unit, something they would become accustomed to in the following eras.
It would not be until 1846 that the marine raiders would fight another real war. The only fighting was against the Native tribes, who fought tenaciously against expansion to save their homes. Of particular note is the fact that many retired officers from the division used their military skill in the fight for Texan independence in 1836, reforming the Texas Army with the tactics they themselves had used in battle. When another war came, this time against Mexico, the Marine Raider Regiments turned their attention to the southwest. The 1st drove the Mexican forces from Texas and into the heart of Mexico, capturing the capital city in an impressive time frame. The 2nd slugged it out with Mexican forces in New Mexico, and the 3rd secured California and avenged the Bear Flag Revolt. The success seen by the division was shocking to those in the military who thought the division was not worth its maintenance, and the marine raiders secured their place in history.
The largest and most casualty-producing war in American history had a profound effect on the division. When the rebellion began, the men of the division moved south, expecting an easy victory. Instead, the Civil War would rage for years, kill an unprecedented number of people, and devastate half the country. In the early battles of the war, the marine raiders were very successful against Confederate forces in combat, but lack of support from the unreliable Union militias made many engagements defeats. The Eastern theater, one of the most prolonged and grueling campaigns experienced by soldiers, was handled by the 1st Regiment, who fought the rebels to a standstill in Virginia and eventually forced a defeat on the enemy after years of combat. the 3rd Regiment took the Western theater, more mobile, but just as difficult and deadly. The 2nd Regiment, based in the south, suffered massive amounts of desertion as men from its ranks flocked to join the Confederacy. Because of its size, this regiment was restricted to operate along the coastline, fighting in small but nonetheless important engagements. The newly created 4th Marine Raider Regiment, based in California, fought the Confederates in New Mexico and Arizona, reaching parts of western Texas before the war's end. After the bitter war came to an end in 1865, the marine raiders were assigned occupation duties in the defeated south, demonstrating their capabilities as an effective occupying force. In the western territories, the marine raider regiments still fought battles against the native american tribes.
The Civil War had offered many technological advancements which increased the division's arsenal. Repeating rifles, advanced artillery, and even machine guns contributed to the range and volume of their firepower, enabling them to take on even larger enemy forces than they had before.
The nation's distaste for war in the late 19th century offered few means of service for the division. However, in 1898, the appetite for war increased with the declaration of war on Spain. This was the first time since 1815 that the marine raiders had fought a major European power, and they fought just as well. The 1st and 2nd Regiments fought on Cuba, continuing to Puerto Rico once Santiago had been taken. The 4th took Guam and the Philippines, and the 3rd never saw deployment. A year later, as war against the Filipino insurgents broke out, the 4th Regiment continued to fight there. That regiment would see combat in the Philippines in a total of four separate conflicts. As the American empire grew, the marine raiders would deploy all around the world. The 1st returned to Cuba and fought in China and Nicaragua. The 2nd would deploy to Panama and Honduras, the 3rd fought in Haiti, the 4th landed in the Dominican Republic, and the Newly-formed 5th Marine Raider Regiment, based in Texas, fought a number of actions with Mexico. With a large amount of small conflicts to fight, the Marine Raiders demonstrated that they were capable of fighting a war anywhere in any circumstance, for any duration.
When war engulfed half the world, the United States remained neutral. However, the division was able to observe it from the sidelines and discover the new kind of warfare. New technology was being used to kill hundreds in the terrible, stalemated war. The raiders were able to secure many of these new war materials, through private purchase or other means. Machine guns, advanced mortars, and modern artillery had their place, but even more noteworthy armaments would be added to the division's arsenal. The 1st Marine Raider Armored Regiment was created, offering ground support in the form of tanks and armored cars. The 1st Marine Raider Aircraft Wing was also formed, to offer air support from a mix of fighters and bombers. When the United States entered the war on the side of the allies, the division was fully equipped, but most of the enlisted men were new recruits who knew little of trench warfare. To remedy this, the division enlisted the help of experienced allied officers who had faced the war since its beginning. With a fully trained and equipped fighting force, the marine raiders went to war. The 1st and 2nd Regiments fought the German Empire in Northern France, the 3rd Regiment fought the Austro-German alliance in Italy, and the 4th Regiment fought the Ottomans in the Middle East (the 5th Regiment was still busy with Mexico). The division helped bring an end to the Great War on all fronts, proving that is was more than capable of dealing with the harsh realities of modern war.