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Chilean Navy special forces sailors seen here using the MP5N.
The Chilean Marine Corps (ESP Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina)(once popularly known as Cossacks) is an entity of the Chilean Navy special forces which specializes in amphibious assaults.


The Marine Corps was born with the First National Force. It was founded by Don Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme on June 16, 1818 by a Supreme Decree. However, its presence in Chilean history dates back to the early efforts made by the patriots against Spain to challenge control over the sea. In fact, aboard the brig "Aguila" embarked a staff of 25 soldiers who constituted the embryo of the Marines, since participating in all the actions that were committed warships that formed the Chilean naval forces.

The aforementioned Supreme Decree described their roles in the following terms: "These people will fire rifles from the deck, will handle the machete in the collision and bayonet and cannons in the landings." Thus becoming an indispensable complement to the Naval endowments, whose primary responsibility was to properly maneuver the craft during combat.


"To provide the operational commander of Marines forces organized, equipped and trained, with the aim of contributing to the projection of naval power, to defend the coast and internal security and institutional."

In other words, it consists mainly of amphibious assault force, coastal defense force, special forces, support organs and garrisons.

It also organizes, equips and trains them to develop in times of conflict operations and actions that are characteristic over territory or where necessary, as irreplaceable component of the naval power of the nation, contributing effectively to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Marines were to move in line with the means available to the Chilean Navy. The advent of steam ships and the longer range of the artillery, and many other circumstances, ensured fighting occurred at a greater distances; Collisions were becoming increasingly impractical and rifles on the deck, unnecessary. For that reason was the predominant role of gunner and the Marine Corps became Artillery Battalion of the Navy.

The year 1866, the members of this battalion had to cover the garrisons of warships and fortifications on the ground. In such condition subsequently participated in all actions of the Naval War of the Pacific, displaying extraordinary courage and aggressiveness.

This war highlights the Chilean Disembark in Pisagua, the first amphibious assault of the modern era. Amphibious operations were conducted on November 2nd 1879, where the Chilean squadron provided escort and naval fire support, while the landing forces composed by 9,000 men landed in Caleta Pisagua and captured the position in a fast offensive action, taking only 4 hours. The Peruvian forces, after a strong initial resistance, were defeated due to the strong and sustained aggressiveness shown by the Chilean soldiers.

Since 1887, it functions as coastal artillery. Such a definition of the mission led to the updating of Organic Regulations of the Corps, which in 1938 was defined as Coastal defense.

Beginning in the year 1964, the Corps was completely reorganized and refocused, being renamed the Marine Corps and constituting a modern amphibious force which has continued to evolve in line with the requirements of the institution to have a real amphibious capacity and capable of contributing on projecting naval power over hostile territory

The other mission of the Marines is the protection, maintenance and monitoring of the naval facilities, the most famous being The Lions Gate with its security unit under the Guarnicion IM order and security Talcahuanomarker (main naval base Chile) is responsible for maintaining order and security inside the naval base and naval populations.


The Chilean Marines are organized into four battalion sized detachments (Destacamento de Infantería) plus support units.
  • 1st Marine Detachment "Lynch" (Destacamento de Infantería de Marina Nº 1 Lynch), stationed at Fort Condell, Punta Gruesa in south of Iquiquemarker (Fourth Naval Zone): Its main function is to artillery and coastal defense, with batteries of howitzers and missile systems Excalibur. Depends directly on its respected Naval Zone, due to its border location.
  • 2nd Marine Detachment "Miller" (Destacamento de Infantería de Marina Nº 2 "Miller"), stationed at Fort Aguayo, Torquemada sector, Concónmarker (First Naval Zone): He is described as a reinforced battalion of Marines, is the main detachment of chilean Marines, understood as a unit amphibious assault and force projection. This unit, therefore, is the increased mobility, training throughout the Chilean coast. In his installations also runs the Center for Logistics Support of CIM, which delivers higher maintenance on vehicles and body materials.
  • 3rd Marine Detachment "Aldea" (Destacamento de Infantería de Marina Nº 3 "Aldea"), located at the former Naval School of Crafts, today Fort O'Higgins, Tumbes Peninsula, north of Talcahuanomarker (Second Naval Zone): From this detachment depends Training Center Marine Corps Base (CENBIM), in which cadets receive instruction, cadets and conscripts.
  • 4th Marine Detachment "Cochrane"(Destacamento de Infantería de Marina Nº 4 "Cochrane"), located in Río de los Ciervos in south of Punta Arenasmarker (Third Naval Zone): this Marine Detachment it similar characteristics to 1st Marine Detachment because of its border location. Sum of its specialization in terms of coastal defense, combat terrestrial, amphibious operations and monitoring of inland waters.

Other units

Each zone has a detachment Naval of "Order and security" (Destacamento de Orden y Seguridad in spanish) that acts as garrison bases and military police.There are smaller detachments in remote areas like Puerto Williamsmarker and Isla de Pascuamarker. The CIM (Cuerpo de Infantería de Marina in spanish), also, is responsible for the protection of the commander in chief of the Navy and contributed a section to the security of the facilities of the Ministry of Defense in Santiagomarker.

See also

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