Further to the reply by huevans, here are some notes I made on larger formations of British Marines during the 1790-1815 period.
Throughout the FRev and Napoleonic wars, groups of Marines were removed from their ships and converged into larger formations for temporary service ashore as ordinary infantry (eg a detachment of 120 marines served at the siege of Toulon in 1793). However, complete battalions of Marines had also been formed from shore-based companies specifically for prolonged operations on land (two battalions, complete with flank companies, fought in North America from 1775 to 1778). From 1810, three long-term formations - the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Battalions – were created to support amphibious operations in the Peninsula and North America.
1st Battalion formed at Plymouth in November 1810, with one artillery and six – later eight – infantry companies, each of 80 all ranks.
Part of the Lisbon garrison until February 1812, it returned to Portsmouth and in June, it embarked for Spain, took part in the capture of a French-held fort at Castro-Urdiales, and then held it against a French counter-attack. Between August and December, the battalion was increased to 29 officers, 5 staff (paymaster, adjutant, quartermaster, surgeon and assistant), 5 staff-sergeants, 80 NCOs, 17 drummers, and 559 marines; joined by the 2nd Battalion, it was part of Commodore Popham’s squadron off the northern coast of Spain, and took part in operations around Santander and Santona. The battalion wintered on the Isle of Wight, and then Plymouth, where it expanded to 2 Majors, 8 Captains, 16 Lieutenants; 1 Paymaster, 1 Adjutant, 1 Quarter Master, 1 Surgeon, 1 Assistant-Surgeon, 2 Staff-Sergeants; 40 Sergeants, 40 Corporals, 16 Drummers, and 672 Privates. The artillery company comprised: 1 Captain of Artillery, 4 Lieutenants of Artillery, 4 Sergeants of Artillery, 4 Corporals of Artillery, 6 Bombardiers, 2 Drummers and 60 Gunners; equipment comprised four Light 6 Pounders, two Light 5¼” Howitzers, two 10” mortars, and two brass 8 inch howitzers (which suggests that the others had iron barrels). The 1st Battalion also had a Lieutenant of Artillery and 50 personnel organised as a small Rocket Corps. The battalion sailed for Bermuda in April, 1813, on the outbreak of war with America, where it was joined by a Lieutenant Colonel who took overall command of the battalion, the two Majors each commanding one wing of four companies. Along with the 2nd Battalion, the 1st Battalion formed the nucleus of two brigades that included various veteran and foreign corps, which took part in raids along the eastern seaboard of the United States. In October, the 1st Battalion was sent to Canada following the defeat of the British squadron on Lake Erie, where it was re-united with the 2nd Battalion, which had arrived there a month earlier. In March 1814, a small detachment (including part of the Rocket Corps) fought at LaColle Mills; however, four months later, the 1st Battalion was assigned to Commodore Yeo’s squadron on the Great Lakes – 7 officers and 324 men went to Lake Ontario, and 4 officers and 178 men to Lake Champlain (en route, some of them became the first Royal Marines to travel by steamship). The battalion staff and a small cadre, totalling 8 officers, 4 staff, 48 NCOs, 11 drummers and 46 marines, returned to Bermuda.
2nd Battalion also initially of six companies, formed at Chatham and Portsmouth in the summer of 1812, and immediately joined the 1st Battalion. In November, the battalion was reinforced by two more infantry companies and an artillery company to mirror 1st Battalion’s establishment, but without the rocket detachment. The 2nd Battalion wintered at Plymouth, before sailing to Bermuda with the 1st Battalion. In late 1813, it was separated from the 1st Battalion and served in garrison along the St Lawrence River; the following year, detachments of the 2nd Battalion fought at Fort Oswego and Big Sandy Creek where 150 marines were killed or captured. In May 1814, the 2nd Battalion was broken up, with some men transferred to the 1st Battalion to bring it back to full strength, and the rest distributed among Yeo’s squadron on Lake Ontario; the battalion staff were sent back to the Chesapeake.
3rd Battalion formed in January 1814 at Portsmouth, with 26 officers, 2 staff and ten infantry companies (the latter each 100 men strong), plus an artillery company; some of the men had, along with a Foot Guards detachment, accompanied the Prince of Orange when he returned to The Netherlands in November 1813, seeing action at Krabbendijke. The battalion’s first deployment was to Bermuda in April 1814, but unlike the 1st and 2nd Battalions, it was assigned to Rear Admiral Cochrane’s squadron and participated in raids along the Chesapeake and Potomac rivers. Apparently, the marine units under Cochrane’s command used hunting horns, but for giving the alarm, rather than for issuing tactical commands in the field. When the 2nd Battalion was dispersed in May 1814, its staff joined the 3rd Battalion, which was renumbered 2nd; soon after this, Cochrane ordered that three of its companies be detached and combined with three companies of the Corps of Colonial Marines*, to become the re-constituted 3rd Battalion. The re-numbered 2nd Battalion (ie former 3rd) was brigaded with the 21st Foot under General Ross, and took part in the Chesapeake campaign, alongside detachments of the re-created 3rd Battalion and a composite (un-numbered) battalion of marines drawn from the detachments aboard Cochrane’s ships. Together, these units fought at Bladensburg, the sack of Washington, Baltimore and North Point. Following the failed attack on Fort McHenry, both the re-created battalions took part in raids along the coast of Georgia until news of the peace treaty was received.
In January 1815, all three field battalions were stationed at Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, from where they were returned to Europe when the war ended (via Bermuda in the case of the re-constituted 3rd Battalion). The Colonial Marines were settled on Trinidad.
Another ad hoc battalion, formed from the marine detachments aboard the ships of Rear Admiral Cockburn’s squadron, also took part in the attack on New Orleans where, along with the 85th, they succeeded in breaching the American lines on the southern bank of the Mississippi. A company-sized detachment was based in Pensacola, where it supported raids by the Creek Indians.
Hope that helps to inspire ideas for slightly more individualistic SP2 games.
No plan survives first contact with the dice.