London—Royal Marines break the speed march world record.

A team of eight Royal Marine Commandos managed to cover the 26.2 miles distance in 4 hours 16 minutes and 43 seconds, breaking the previous record by two minutes.  Each man was carrying more than 40lbs.  And for the attempt to be valid, all the team members had to finish.

The previous record stood since 1998 and was held by the men of the 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Royal Marines are an amphibious light infantry unit renowned for their toughness.  Their 32-week selection process culminates with a 30-mile forced march in full battle order through the Dartmoor heath. The test must be completed in 7 hours for officers and 8 hours for ranks.

Yomping, the name the Royal Marines use for rucking, is one of the core skills of their Corp.

“I believe ‘to yomp’ was originally a Royal Naval slang word meaning ‘to eat enthusiastically or noisily,” said in an interview with SOFREP Brigadier Ian Gardiner, who captained a company in the Falklands. “For instance, if you fell into the sea you might be yomped by a shark.”

Their great rivals of the Parachute Regiment prefer the term tabbing, instead. “Nobody really knows how the word ‘Tab’ came about,” said Colonel David Benest, who served with 2 PARA in the Falklands. “Some have claimed that it stands for ‘Tactical Approach to Battle’ but I personally doubt this.”

The Commandos’ yomping niche isn’t just a useful tactical advantage but a strategical asset as well.

In the Falklands War, for example, the terrain and Argentinians offered them the opportunity to prove it.  At the outset of the land campaign, the Chinook and Wessex helicopters destined to ferry them from the landing beaches of San Carlos to Stanley, the islands’ capital, rested at bottom of the South Atlantic Ocean, courtesy of the Argentinian Air Force.

The distance between the beaches to Stanley was 56 miles as the crow flies.  This number, however, is an illusion.  The Commandos had to zig-zag to engage secluded Argentinian units.  Add all their forward and combat patrols, and the distance they had to cover swelled to around 120 miles. The terrain, moreover, was filled with rocks and ankle-breaking crevasses.

Typical Falklands’ terrain. The Royal Marines had to walk 120 miles with up to 140lbs to reach Stanley (Courtesy of Ian Gardiner).

 

But they did it.  In three days.  Carrying up to 140lbs.

No wonder why it’s a team of Royal Marines that holds the world speed march record again.

 

Featured image courtesy of Wikipedia

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