The Commandos formed during the Second World War, following an order from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in June 1940 for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe. Churchill stated in a minute to General Ismay on 6 June 1940: "Enterprises must be prepared, with specially-trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down these coasts, first of all on the "butcher and bolt" policy..." Commandos were all volunteers for special service and originally came from the British Army but volunteers would eventually come from all branches of the United Kingdom's armed forces and foreign volunteers from countries occupied by the Germans. These volunteers formed over 30 individual units and four assault brigades.
The commandos would serve in all the theatres of war from the Arctic Circle, to Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific. Their operations ranged from small groups of men landing from the sea or by parachute to a brigade of assault troops spearheading the Allied invasions of Europe and Asia.
After the Second World War most of the commands were disbanded leaving just the Royal Marine 3 Commando Brigade but their legacy is the present day Royal Marines Commandos, the Parachute Regiment, Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service who can all trace their origins to the commandos. Their legacy also extends to mainland Europe, the French Naval commandos, the Dutch Korps Commandotroepen and the Belgian Paracommando Brigade can all trace their origins to men who volunteered to serve with the British Commandos.