Battles Through
Time

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    1776: Fort Nassau

    The First Amphibious Raid

     

    Just weeks after banding together, the Continental Marines successfully executed their first amphibious landing on a hostile shore.

    The British had been storing large supplies of gunpowder at Fort Nassau in the Bahamas for use in battle against the 13 colonies. Captain Samuel Nicholas and 234 Marines sailed with the Continental Navy on a mission to capture the supply.

    Within minutes of the Marines' arrival, the British troops had surrendered. In addition to the gunpowder, Captain Nicholas successfully acquired cannons and other military stores.

    The Marines' first battle and success paved the way for greater operations to come.

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    1776: Fort Nassau

    The First Amphibious Raid

     

    Just weeks after banding together, the Continental Marines successfully executed their first amphibious landing on a hostile shore.

    The British had been storing large supplies of gunpowder at Fort Nassau in the Bahamas for use in battle against the 13 colonies. Captain Samuel Nicholas and 234 Marines sailed with the Continental Navy on a mission to capture the supply.

    Within minutes of the Marines' arrival, the British troops had surrendered. In addition to the gunpowder, Captain Nicholas successfully acquired cannons and other military stores.

    The Marines' first battle and success paved the way for greater operations to come.

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    1805: Battle of Derna

    To the Shores of Tripoli

     

    When pirates had been raiding American merchant ships off the Barbary Coast, President Thomas Jefferson sent in an expeditionary force of Marines to fight back.

    During this time, Marines received the nickname ‘Leathernecks’, after the high collar they wore as protection against pirates’ saber cuts.

    Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of the Libyan Desert to storm the Tripolitan city of Derna and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia.

    The Marines' victory helped protect U.S. ships and secure our trading in the area. As a gesture of respect and praise for the Marines’ action at the Battle of Derna, First Lieutenant O’Bannon was presented a Mameluke sword by the Ottoman Empire vicery, Prince Hamet, which is now the oldest ceremonial weapon still in use by United States armed forces today.

    The Battle of Derna was the Marines' first ground battle on foreign soil and is notably recalled in the Marines' Hymn: "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea"

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    1805: Battle of Derna

    To the Shores of Tripoli

     

    When pirates had been raiding American merchant ships off the Barbary Coast, President Thomas Jefferson sent in an expeditionary force of Marines to fight back.

    During this time, Marines received the nickname ‘Leathernecks’, after the high collar they wore as protection against pirates’ saber cuts.

    Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines marched across 600 miles of the Libyan Desert to storm the Tripolitan city of Derna and rescue the kidnapped crew of the USS Philadelphia.

    The Marines' victory helped protect U.S. ships and secure our trading in the area. As a gesture of respect and praise for the Marines’ action at the Battle of Derna, First Lieutenant O’Bannon was presented a Mameluke sword by the Ottoman Empire vicery, Prince Hamet, which is now the oldest ceremonial weapon still in use by United States armed forces today.

    The Battle of Derna was the Marines' first ground battle on foreign soil and is notably recalled in the Marines' Hymn: "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country's battles in the air, on land and sea"

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    1847: The Battle of Chapultepec

    From the Halls of Montezuma

     

    The Mexican-American War played a critical role in defining the border between the two nations that remains in place today.

    In 1847, knowing that the capture of the Palacio Nacional would greatly disrupt the Mexican army, the Marines stormed the enemy fortress during the Battle of Chapultepec. After two days of battle, Marines gained control of the castle, better known as the "Halls of Montezuma," and were given the honor of raising the Stars and Stripes over the palace to mark their victory.

    Upon returning home, the same Marines presented their flag to the commandant. Their victory at the "Halls of Montezuma" remains a part of Marine Corps tradition, immortalized in the opening line of the Marines' Hymn.

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    1847: The Battle of Chapultepec

    From the Halls of Montezuma

     

    The Mexican-American War played a critical role in defining the border between the two nations that remains in place today.

    In 1847, knowing that the capture of the Palacio Nacional would greatly disrupt the Mexican army, the Marines stormed the enemy fortress during the Battle of Chapultepec. After two days of battle, Marines gained control of the castle, better known as the "Halls of Montezuma," and were given the honor of raising the Stars and Stripes over the palace to mark their victory.

    Upon returning home, the same Marines presented their flag to the commandant. Their victory at the "Halls of Montezuma" remains a part of Marine Corps tradition, immortalized in the opening line of the Marines' Hymn.

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    1918: Battle of Belleau Wood

    The Relentless "Devil Dogs"

    Deep in Belleau Wood, just outside of Paris, the 4th Marine Brigade fought tenaciously against German soldiers. The Marines suffered heavy casualties and were pinned down by machine-gun fire.

    On 7 June 1918, with few grenades and no signal flares left, Marine forces launched an assault with fixed bayonets, seizing enemy positions. Marine riflemen demonstrated their superior marksmanship, shredding the lines of an oncoming German counterattack.

    After 20 days of intense fighting, the Marines had won the Battle of Belleau Wood. The German survivors, exhausted and wounded, gave a fitting nickname that suited the relentless fighting spirit of their opponent: Teufelhunden, or "Devil Dogs."

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    1918: Battle of Belleau Wood

    The Relentless "Devil Dogs"

    Deep in Belleau Wood, just outside of Paris, the 4th Marine Brigade fought tenaciously against German soldiers. The Marines suffered heavy casualties and were pinned down by machine-gun fire.

    On 7 June 1918, with few grenades and no signal flares left, Marine forces launched an assault with fixed bayonets, seizing enemy positions. Marine riflemen demonstrated their superior marksmanship, shredding the lines of an oncoming German counterattack.

    After 20 days of intense fighting, the Marines had won the Battle of Belleau Wood. The German survivors, exhausted and wounded, gave a fitting nickname that suited the relentless fighting spirit of their opponent: Teufelhunden, or "Devil Dogs."

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    1945: Battle of Iwo Jima

    An Iconic Victory

     

    When the U.S. sent Marines to capture the Japanese airfields at Iwo Jima, the Corps showed the world their unyielding willingness to overcome the enemy.

    Japanese soldiers had turned the island into a trap, fighting from a maze of tunnels and bunkers beneath Mt. Suribachi. The battle lasted 36 days and despite heavy casualties, Marines overpowered the enemy and secured the island.

    A variety of innovations and fighting tactics were used by Marines to achieve victory at Iwo Jima, including Close Air Support, where F4F Wildcats and Corsairs supported Marines on the ground by providing cover and bombing raid that allowed Marines on the ground to advance their positions.

    Early in the battle, a patrol reached the summit of Mt. Suribachi and raised the American Flag to encourage troops below. Later, Marines returned with a larger, more visible flag, the raising of which was captured by photographer Joe Rosenthal.

    The photo embodying the Marines' struggle and victory became an iconic symbol of the Marine Corps. The monument of the Marine Corps War Memorial has been cast in its image, inspiring each generation of Marines to strive for greatness.

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    1945: Battle of Iwo Jima

    An Iconic Victory

     

    When the U.S. sent Marines to capture the Japanese airfields at Iwo Jima, the Corps showed the world their unyielding willingness to overcome the enemy.

    Japanese soldiers had turned the island into a trap, fighting from a maze of tunnels and bunkers beneath Mt. Suribachi. The battle lasted 36 days and despite heavy casualties, Marines overpowered the enemy and secured the island.

    A variety of innovations and fighting tactics were used by Marines to achieve victory at Iwo Jima, including Close Air Support, where F4F Wildcats and Corsairs supported Marines on the ground by providing cover and bombing raid that allowed Marines on the ground to advance their positions.

    Early in the battle, a patrol reached the summit of Mt. Suribachi and raised the American Flag to encourage troops below. Later, Marines returned with a larger, more visible flag, the raising of which was captured by photographer Joe Rosenthal.

    The photo embodying the Marines' struggle and victory became an iconic symbol of the Marine Corps. The monument of the Marine Corps War Memorial has been cast in its image, inspiring each generation of Marines to strive for greatness.

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    1950: Chosin Reservoir

    Overcoming Incredible Odds

     

    Following the successful Inchon landing, U.N. forces had North Korean troops on the run, but communist China's unexpected entry into the Korean War threatened that progress.

    At Chosin Reservoir, the 1st Marine Division found itself surrounded and outnumbered 8-to-1 by the Chinese army. The worst weather in 50 years cut off air support and assaulted the Marines with snow, wind and temperatures of -40 degrees F.

    Even so, the "Chosin Few," as they would come to be called, decimated 10 Chinese infantry divisions and fought their way back to the sea to rejoin the American forces.

    No Marines had ever faced worse weather, terrain or odds than those who fought at Chosin Reservoir, but to anyone familiar with the Marines' fighting spirit, there was no doubt the 1st Marine Division would prevail.

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    1950: Chosin Reservoir

    Overcoming Incredible Odds

     

    Following the successful Inchon landing, U.N. forces had North Korean troops on the run, but communist China's unexpected entry into the Korean War threatened that progress.

    At Chosin Reservoir, the 1st Marine Division found itself surrounded and outnumbered 8-to-1 by the Chinese army. The worst weather in 50 years cut off air support and assaulted the Marines with snow, wind and temperatures of -40 degrees F.

    Even so, the "Chosin Few," as they would come to be called, decimated 10 Chinese infantry divisions and fought their way back to the sea to rejoin the American forces.

    No Marines had ever faced worse weather, terrain or odds than those who fought at Chosin Reservoir, but to anyone familiar with the Marines' fighting spirit, there was no doubt the 1st Marine Division would prevail.

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    1968: Battle of Hue

    Street-Fighting Marines

     

    One of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War took place during 33 days in the winter of 1968. Vastly outnumbered, Marines fought a viciously intense urban battle against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong until finally securing victory on 2 March, 1968.

    The battle began when Communist forces launched the Tet Offensive on the first night of the Vietnamese lunar New Year, attacking hundreds of military targets and civilian centers across the country, including the ancient city of Huế.

    Despite enormous losses on both sides, including to the city itself, after a month of intense house-to-house street fighting which foreshadowed the tactics Marines would employ in Fallujah some 35 years later, American forces steadily retook the city of Huế, block by block.

    The victory at Huế was extremely hard-won, and further cemented the Marines’ reputation for unwavering toughness and resolve.

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    1968: Battle of Hue

    Street-Fighting Marines

     

    One of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War took place during 33 days in the winter of 1968. Vastly outnumbered, Marines fought a viciously intense urban battle against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong until finally securing victory on 2 March, 1968.

    The battle began when Communist forces launched the Tet Offensive on the first night of the Vietnamese lunar New Year, attacking hundreds of military targets and civilian centers across the country, including the ancient city of Huế.

    Despite enormous losses on both sides, including to the city itself, after a month of intense house-to-house street fighting which foreshadowed the tactics Marines would employ in Fallujah some 35 years later, American forces steadily retook the city of Huế, block by block.

    The victory at Huế was extremely hard-won, and further cemented the Marines’ reputation for unwavering toughness and resolve.

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    1991: Operation Desert Storm

    Success in Modern Warfare

     

    After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations intervened with a stern resolution warning Iraq to withdraw or be driven out by United States and UN forces. Iraq refused, and Operation Desert Storm began.

    From the air, Marine pilots used fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to destroy Iraq's air and naval forces, anti-air defenses and ballistic missile launchers. The 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions broke through Iraq's southern border while 8,000 Marines kept the Iraqi army distracted in the north.

    On Iraqi soil, Marines crossed minefields, barbed-wire obstacles, booby traps and fire trenches while under attack from Iraqi artillery. Combining precise air operations, tenacious amphibious assaults and versatile land tactics, the Marines led one of the most successful assaults in modern warfare.

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    1991: Operation Desert Storm

    Success in Modern Warfare

     

    After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations intervened with a stern resolution warning Iraq to withdraw or be driven out by United States and UN forces. Iraq refused, and Operation Desert Storm began.

    From the air, Marine pilots used fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to destroy Iraq's air and naval forces, anti-air defenses and ballistic missile launchers. The 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions broke through Iraq's southern border while 8,000 Marines kept the Iraqi army distracted in the north.

    On Iraqi soil, Marines crossed minefields, barbed-wire obstacles, booby traps and fire trenches while under attack from Iraqi artillery. Combining precise air operations, tenacious amphibious assaults and versatile land tactics, the Marines led one of the most successful assaults in modern warfare.

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    2001: Operation Enduring Freedom

    Afghanistan

     

    After the attack on our nation on September 11, 2001, the entire American military focused its might on defeating Al-Qaeda. Two months later, Marines were the first major ground forces in Afghanistan. In mid-December, 2001, Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit captured Kandahar Airport and converted it into one of the first coalition command centers in the country.

    Since the initial invasion, much progress has been made. The threat of violence has been greatly reduced, hundreds of schools have been constructed and millions in aid have been distributed. In October of 2004, Afghanistan held its first direct elections, and one year later, they conducted the first Afghan parliamentary election.

    At the start of 2010, Marines lead Operation Moshtarak, the largest military operation since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan and reclaimed cities across southern Afghanistan, including the Taliban stronghold of Marjah. As of June, 2010 the War in Afghanistan officially became the longest in U.S. history, one that Marines fought with honor and unwavering determination until power was returned to the Afghan people.

    Marines continue to fight the Taliban alongside Afghan soldiers to eventually shoulder the burden of Afghanistan's national security.

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    2001: Operation Enduring Freedom

    Afghanistan

     

    After the attack on our nation on September 11, 2001, the entire American military focused its might on defeating Al-Qaeda. Two months later, Marines were the first major ground forces in Afghanistan. In mid-December, 2001, Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit captured Kandahar Airport and converted it into one of the first coalition command centers in the country.

    Since the initial invasion, much progress has been made. The threat of violence has been greatly reduced, hundreds of schools have been constructed and millions in aid have been distributed. In October of 2004, Afghanistan held its first direct elections, and one year later, they conducted the first Afghan parliamentary election.

    At the start of 2010, Marines lead Operation Moshtarak, the largest military operation since the beginning of the war in Afghanistan and reclaimed cities across southern Afghanistan, including the Taliban stronghold of Marjah. As of June, 2010 the War in Afghanistan officially became the longest in U.S. history, one that Marines fought with honor and unwavering determination until power was returned to the Afghan people.

    Marines continue to fight the Taliban alongside Afghan soldiers to eventually shoulder the burden of Afghanistan's national security.

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    2003 - 2011: Iraq War

    Toppling a Harmful Regime

     

    During the Iraq War, Marines fought in dense metropolitan areas, often engaged in house-to-house combat as they searched for insurgents. The fighting method of breaching and clearing buildings was a hallmark technique in the Iraq War, particularly in Fallujah.

    There were several methods and tactics for breaching used in Fallujah. Oftentimes, doors were booby-trapped and so foot patrols employed portable battering rams to break through walls as a method of entry.

    Much warfighting knowledge was gathered during Fallujah, and can be found in a detailed report compiled by Marines titled “Lessons Learned: Infantry Squad Tactics in Military Operations in Urban Terrain During Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.” This text has gone on to help Marines restructure their fighting tactics to improve their ability to win battles in urban areas.

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    2003 - 2011: Iraq War

    Toppling a Harmful Regime

     

    During the Iraq War, Marines fought in dense metropolitan areas, often engaged in house-to-house combat as they searched for insurgents. The fighting method of breaching and clearing buildings was a hallmark technique in the Iraq War, particularly in Fallujah.

    There were several methods and tactics for breaching used in Fallujah. Oftentimes, doors were booby-trapped and so foot patrols employed portable battering rams to break through walls as a method of entry.

    Much warfighting knowledge was gathered during Fallujah, and can be found in a detailed report compiled by Marines titled “Lessons Learned: Infantry Squad Tactics in Military Operations in Urban Terrain During Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.” This text has gone on to help Marines restructure their fighting tactics to improve their ability to win battles in urban areas.