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111th Independent Mechanized Brigade
130th Amphibious Brigade

Egypt does not have separte marine force, but continues to field a two-battalion brigade specialized in naval infantry missions and capabilities. The 111th Independent Mechanized Brigade is the successor to the former 130th Amphibious Brigade. The 111th Independent Mechanized Brigade of the Egyptian Army, with at least 1,000 troops and possibly as many as 1,500 troops, can conduct short range coast-wise amphibious assault operations.

This brigade has some 250 amphibious BMR-600P APCs with a further 100 amphibious BMP-1s in reserve. Assuming all the Navy's 3 LSMs [6 MBT + 180 troops] and 9 LCUs [3 MBT or 100 troops] were operational, an amphibious force of 1,500 troops could be supported by 18 MBTs, or a force of 540 troops with 45 MBTs. While the naval infantry is sea-based, Egypt has no small, fast landing or raiding craft to transport the troops from the heavy landing ships offshore to gain an initial beachhead. The naval infantry have no dedicated helicopter support. While there are reportedly a total of 26 Westland Commando variants helicopters, there are no afloat spots for them.

The Egyptian navy has one special operations brigade - but there is no such thing as Egyptian Marines. Egypt has Marines, but they are not related to anything military. On the contrary their young men find their ways to escape the military service. The Egyptian Marines are the residents of the famous A class Summer resort “Marina” in the North Coast. Marina is the gathering place of the A Class from socialites, politicians, ministers, pop and film stars. The term "Egyptian Marine" is used by some to disparage those Arabs who are committed to America's Wars than their home country's best of interests. Inside the secularist camp, advocates of US pressure to democratize Egypt are called “Egyptian marines” by their secularist opponents. The inter- and intra- ideological tensions among Egyptian opinion leaders are apart of a common and inherent flaw in the Arab culture that admires violence and lacks the ability to conduct peaceful dialogue. The Egyptian Marines include top Egyptian journalists are said to be "paid by CIA to favor America" in their writings. The argument over the path the Arab world should pursue was -- in some cases -- reduced to a war of words between "the Egyptian marines" or "the neo-liberal Arabs" on the one hand (as they were called by their opponents for their supposed complete acquiescence to US dictates in the region), versus "the Arab fascists, Stalinists and their Islamist substitutes" (as their opponents termed them).

The 130th Amphibious Brigade was Egypt's equivalent to the US Marines. While not a large part of the Egyptian military, they are a critical component in operations in which large scale amphibious assaults are conducted via landing craft and helicopter from larger naval ships. These units are well equipped with PASGT helmets, and American made M-16A2 rifles, M240 (FN-MAG) machine guns, as well as a few Russian weapons such as the RPG-7. These units have a proud history and espirit de corp.

Herodotus (7.89.3) records the Egyptian marines of his day in the following manner: "They wore woven helmets and carried convex shields with broad rims, and spears for sea-fighting (dorata te naumacha), and great poleaxes. Most of them wore corselets and carried long swords (machairas de megalas)". These Egyptian marines were used for ship-to-ship battles as well as for attacking enemy targets that are either on shores or only reachable from shores. Admirals were not really admirals, they were generals of marines, commanding the land troops on board. An ancient sea-fight took a double form, according as whether the ship herself, or her marines, were for the moment the weapon in use.

The first years of the 5th Century AD are marked by the tumults occasioned by the persecution of the celebrated Chrysostom, archbishop of Constantinople. The fearless preaching of that prelate against the corrupt practices which prevailed in the Church raised up against him a host of enemies, especially among the ladies of the Court, but his immense popularity rendered it dangerous to attack him openly. The Emperor Arcadius resigned himself to the sway of his wife, the beautiful Eudoxia. The empress, inviting the aid of the hostile bishops, especially of Theoph'ilus, archbishop of Alexandria, formed a plan for his destruction. A body of Egyptian marines was sent to Constantinople to encounter the populace, while a synod of bishops was convened in a suburb of Chalcedon, surnamed " the Oak", in order to condemn him. Chrysostom, having refused to attend this synod, was arrested; but the people fell upon the monks and the Egyptians, and slaughtered them without mercy in the streets of Constantinople.

After Julius Caesar burned an Egyptian fleet of 110 sail, on the open sea, and sacked Alexandria and Cairo, the Egyptian marine, which had flourished for two thousand years, scarce made a trace in the subsequent records of history. Egypt had never been a shipbuilding nation, but had purchased vessels from the Phoenicians. However, by 1869 the Egyptian marines were reported to be dressed in the closest imitation of the British R.M.L.I., and differed only in the badge on their shakoes.

In December 1916 Allied detachments were landed in Athens as a measure of precaution, with orders not to seize the war material which the King in October promised to surrender to the Allies as compensation for that delivered to the Bulgars and Germans. Meanwhile the Greek troops suddenly assumed an aggressive attitude, and the events reported followed. Subsequently 600 English and Egyptian marines marched out from the Zappeion with all their equipment under a strong guard, en route to the Piraeus.

The funeral of Hussein Kemal, first Sultan of Egypt, was held in Cairo, 10 October 1917. The Times described Kamil as ‘a true patriot’, who ‘considered it the duty of all patriotic Egyptians to cooperate loyally with the Occupying Power’. The chief mourner is the Sultan's brother and successor, Ahmed Fuad I. The road to the palace had many spectators, and British soldiers lining the route as an honour guard. Lancers of the Sultan's bodyguard lead the parade, followed by Sultan Fuad in a landau, the Lancers of the Guard, and other carriages. The next scene is the funeral procession on foot to the Rifai Mosque, with many Egyptian mourners in black, and British naval and military representatives (including one Australian officer) as official mourners. The coffin was carried by Egyptian Marines.

Formed from an existing Special Forces Unit the 130th Amphibious Brigade was operational around July or August 1972. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Mahmud Sha'ib and was 1000 men strong and consisted of two battalions with support weapons. It included some 20 PT-76 amphibious tanks and 80 BTR50's formed into two battalions [other sources report the brigade had seventy-four amphibious BTR-50 or OT-62 APCs and twenty PT-76 tanks].

At 1405 Hours, 6 October 1973 the Egyptian Army began their attack on Israel with air and missilestrikes. The Egyptians opened fire with four thousand weapons. Egyptian aircraft flew 250 battlefield air interdiction strikes. In the Third Army sector on the east bank were the 7th and 19th Infantry divisions, the 130th Amphibious Brigade, and the 3rd, 22nd, and 25th Tank Brigades; while on the west bank were the 4th Armored Division (minus the 3rd Tank Brigade) and the 113th Mechanized Brigade from the 6th Mechanized Division. The 130th Brigade of the Egyptian 3rd Infantry Division, equipped with PT-76 amphibious tanks, crossed the Great Bitter Lake and moved toward the Mitla and Gidi Passes. Two platoons of PT-76s of the Egyptian 130th Amphibious Brigade attacked the Bir El Thamada Air Base at 1010 hours, 7 October. Colonel Dan Shomron's brigade from Mandler's division, equipped with M-60 and Centurion tanks, defeated the Egyptian 130th Amphibious Brigade west of the Gidi Pass.

PASGT helmets and M16A2 rifles are used by some of these Marine units. Egyptian Marines operated Soviet-made T-54 main battle tanks during the multinational joint service exercise Bright Star `85. Egyptian marines use the SG-43 Type 53 heavy machine gun copied from the SG-43 Goryunov. This Medium machine gun was designed by P.M. Goryunov in 1943 and was in service between 1943 and 1968 in the Soviet Union. It remained in service in many other countries for decades thereafter.

In 1972, the Comisión de Desarrollo de Vehículos Blindados of the Dirección de Investigación of the Spanish Army Ministry, and the Dirección de Proyectos of ENASA started development work on a wheeled infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to meet the requirements of the Spanish Army. In 1982, Egypt signed a contract for 250 BMR-600s, the first of which were delivered by late 1984. This order comprised 217 APCs, 13 command post vehicles, 10 recovery and maintenance vehicles and 10 ambulances. These are used by the Egyptian Marines.

Coalition forces along with Marines and Sailors from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) stormed Egyptian beaches near Alexandria during a major amphibious assault demonstration 12 October 2009 as part of Exercise Bright Star. Twelve aircraft from the MEU, five landing craft from the Bataan ARG, two Egyptian landing craft utilities, six amphibious assault vehicles, five Egyptian amphibious tracked vehicles and a host of forces from other partner nations participated in the event. The day's event began as a team of Egyptian special forces inserted on the beach, simulating beach reconnaissance prior to the assault. The next waves of forces consisted of AAVs and Egyptian amphibious assault craft which displayed the maneuverability and firepower amphibious vehicles can deliver on enemy positions ashore.

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Page last modified: 10-01-2012 19:29:26 ZULU