Special Operations: December 20, 2004

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Britain has decided to follow the example of the United States, and create a battalion of rangers. Britain wants to use the rangers for the same purposes; to provide some mobile and well trained muscle to back up commando operations. Currently, Britain uses parachute or marine battalions for these tasks. But, as the United States has discovered, its much more effective to create an elite infantry unit just for this purpose. Britain will take one battalion of their paratroopers and retrain them for this purpose. Britain will call the unit rangers. The original rangers, after which the American rangers are named, were actually a British unit. The first rangers (long range scouts, or ranging men), were American colonists, led by American Major Robert Rogers, fighting for Britain during the French & Indian war (1750s). When the American Revolution came along (1776), the rangers fought for the British, not against them (as one of many loyalist units). The rangers were revived during World War II as American versions of the British commandoes. However, the American commandoes, while they had some successes, did not do well enough to be kept on after World War II. They were revived during the Korean war as long range scouts and commandos, but then disbanded. Same thing was going to happen during and after the Vietnam war. But instead, in 1974, the first battalion of modern (as they are now) rangers were created. So the rangers have come full circle, beginning in British service, and now returning to British service. The United States has three battalions of rangers.

 


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