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The division consists of Nelson's flagship and a fleet of at least ten smaller battleships. They also hired Eric the Whirlwind to bolster their military forces, but was betrayed by the mercenary when he found them no use to his personal agenda any longer.
The unit possesses certain levels of military weaponry, having a small fleet of at least 10 ships, under the special flag ship. The main seen technique, which this branch uses to capture pirates, is the "Crane's Wing Formation" (鶴翼の陣 Kakuyoku no Jin?), which consists of surrounding an enemy with a fleet of battleships and then blocking all escape routes by connecting each battleship with several large chains.
The unit also hired the mercenary Eric the Whirlwind, due to his reputation. Unfortunately for them, Eric was merely using them, and ultimately betrayed when he has no further use for them. Coupled with Nelson's tyrannical hold and abuse of his privileges, this unit's capabilities was lowered, as Nelson endangered even his own subordinates to accomplish his goals.
The main ship of the 8th Branch is unlike any other previously seen Marine ship. It first appeared in Episode 54. By Episode 60, with the assistance of a Sennenryu, Luffy delivered a devastating kick that split the ship in two, effectively destroying it completely.
It is a large ship with plenty of gilding and an odd-shaped hull. It is also more wide than a common Marine ship and its rudder had a structure attached to it strangely akin to that of a house. It compromises of three frontal structures, the middle one being the highest, having an odd, seven pointed red roof shape. The middle structure is where Nelson usually resides. There are also structures in the back of the ship. The ship's clothes has the number "8" on it.
For offense, the ship, unlike standard Marine ships, has no inbuilt "slots" for cannons, but instead has portable cannons to be moved around on deck. It also leads a fleet of other Marine ships, and while those circle around the targets with chains linked to each other for the Crane's Wing Formation, effectively sealing off the escape paths for the trapped vessels, the main ship launches attacks. The ship's main weapon is the "Superpower Cannon" (超強大砲 Chō Kyodai Hō?), which is normally pulled in. This was destroyed when Usopp managed to fire a cannon shot into it, just as it was being prepared to shoot, resulting in its explosion.