The origin and core of the Soviet Marines was the Baltic Fleet, whose 1st Infantry Brigade formed the special 1st Marine Brigade in 1940.
These Marines operated in amphibious landings, defended the coast, and guarded key naval strategic assets. 

Many stories have been told of the fighting spirit of these fearless sailors. Commander of the 95th SD Major General Vorobyov wrote: "Black Sea sailors fight with unparalleled bravery, courage, and dedication. These are brave soldiers."

To the Germans, these Marines were known as the "Black Death." The successful defense of Leningrad, especially at the beginning of the blockade, was thanks in great part to the courage of the eight marine brigades of the Baltic Fleet.