Philippine Marine Corps Orbat
Date Updated: January 17, 2006
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The AFP relies mainly on two units to form the basis of its follow on reaction forces to crises around the country. These two units also provide the major combat power
behind any set-piece operations conducted against NPA and Muslim rebel forces. Specifically these two units are the Philippine Marines and the Army's First Scout Ranger
Regiment and Light Reaction Companies. This, traditionally has been the role of the Marines as opposed to the more traditional territorial role of the Philippine Army.
Marine units are rarely deployed on their own and are usually deployed together with other Army, Navy and PAF units in combined arms formations (i.e. with supporting forces
attached). Overall command of these units usually falls on area unit commanders frequently from the Philippine Army. Philippine Marine Battalion Landing Teams get armored,
artillery, and heavy weapons support attached (or chopped) from the mother units.
Like the USMC, the Philippine Marines relies on the Navy for its funding. To their credit, the Marines have managed to innovate and adapt to restrictive budgetary priorities.
It has managed to develop its own sniper rifle system (the Marine Scout Sniper Rifle), its own Night Fighting Silenced Weapon System, improve the firepower of its armored
assets through the installation of 40mm grenade launchers, and deploy a 90mm gun system. Most of which have no direct equivalents in the larger Philippine Army.
In a reaction to threats posed by the common RPG, the Marines are also developing a wire mesh system (similar to the slat armor used by US Army Styker vehicles).
The Marines have already built up a prototype and are waiting for sample RPG rounds from GHQ AFP for destructive testing to begin.
Manila based Marine units make up a large part of designated AFP Maneuver forces - a national fire brigade if you will. These units are tasked for deployment to any areas
around the Philippines where they may be needed. This assignment is shared with other Manila based AFP units as well (i.e. Philippine Army Light Reaction Companies,
some Army Light Infantry Battalions and some Scout Ranger Battalions)
Side note: AFP maneuver forces in general are severely hampered by the lack of airlift and sealift capabilities such that not all designated maneuver battalions can be
deployed by sea or air all at the same time.
The Philippine Marines are mandated by Philippine law to have 400 officers and 7,700 enlisted personnel.
Order of Battle
4 Marine Brigades in total including 1 Combat Service and Support Brigade (with Armor and Artillery Battalions)
1 Reserve Brigade with personnel to be drawn from designated reserves (ROTC etc.)
10 maneuver battalions (in the 3 line brigades).
Designated the 1st Marine Battalion, 2nd Marine Battalion , 3rd Marine Battalion ,
4th Marine Battalion, 5th Marine Battalion, 6th Marine Battalion, 7th Marine Battalion, 8th Marine Battalion,
9th Marine Battalion, and 10th Marine Battalion
Nominally 3 battalions per brigade (designated 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Brigades). Each battalion has 3 companies plus one HQ and Service company with heavy weapons (60 mm, 81 mm mortars and 106mm recoilless rifles)
1 Artillery Battalion attached to the Combat Service and Support Brigade
1 Armored Battalion (designated the Assault Armor Battalion) attached to the Combat Service and Support Brigade
1 Independent Battalion (Force Recon)
The Philippine Marine Ready Force, a brigade size unit composed of units from the Combat Service and Support Brigade as well as MBLTs currently based in Manila and attached to the
Ready Force. This unit forms part of the AFP National Maneuver Force tasked for deployment to any point in the country where they are needed.
One marine battalion is nominally composed of about 500 men.
The Combat Service and Support Brigade is basically a holding organization. Armor and artillery units are detached and assigned to support deployed marine units.
Deployed marine units are likewise attached to the regional HQs, oftentimes under Army command.
Typically Marine Battalions are deployed to operational areas for one year after which they are returned to Manila and the Marine Base Ternate for retraining and reequipping as well
as well as some rest and relaxation before deploying again. Such training periods normally take about a year before the unit is qualified to deploy again.
Unit Designations and Deployments
Marine Table of Equipment
Standard equipment issued to line units.
Additional equipment - generally held above the battalion (i.e. Brigade level)
V300 - 11 Fire Support Vehicles (FSV) and 12 APCs.
V150 - 20 Units
LVT5A1 - 32 held in reserve - no longer operational*
LVT6HA1 - 5 in reserve, 2 Fire Support Vehicles are operational with another 2 planned for next year.
Gun Trucks - 10, up to 15 planned.
CMC Cruiser Jeeps
– 20 Units. Locally built general purpose vehicles acquired to replace
the older M151 "Kennedy" Jeeps used by the Marines.
HMWV – Unknown numbers of units.
Acquired through the US Military Assistance Program. Some units have
been modified with local add-on armor and pintle mounted M60 Machine Guns with
a gun shield.
M151 "Kennedy" Jeeps
– Unknown number. Philippine versions have been re-engined with diesel
engines. Most came from US surplus stocks and re-engined, replacing the
original gasoline engine with second-hand Japanese engines. Conversions
were done mostly through the AFP Logistics Command.
- M35 Trucks – Unknown number.
Acquired through the US Military Assistance Program, some new, some surplus.
Latest delivery of 300 to the AFP came from US surplus stocks. Like the HMWVs,
the Marines have modified some into "gun-trucks" with add-on armor and pintle
mounted machine guns to serve as convoy escorts.
I am including the LVT5 and 6s in the order of battle despite their age. 4 are still operational. These 40 ton monsters would actually make ideal complements to the current crop of lighter Marine armor (V300 and V150s). Why? For one thing, they are better swimmers than the V300s and 150s. Also, especially in the case of the LVT6s, they pack heavier firepower that can provide both direct and indirect fire support. They also carry more troops in the most critical phase of an amphibious landing - hitting the beach.
Those very advantages however are the very things that make them vulnerable once the battle moves from the beach. The LVTs do not make good APCs inland (whatever the version LVT5, 6 or even 7). They are comparatively ungainly and slow compared to the V series of vehicles. Have thin armor that is vulnerable both to mines and RPGs - weapons common to Philippine rebel forces - and offer high and large silhouettes making them pretty juicy and high value targets. For this reason, once the battle moves inland, the V series vehicles are better and would have better survivability overall.