America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab

America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab


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America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab

America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab

This book looks at the history US Special Forces, from the pre-revolutionary Rangers (including the famous Roger's Rangers), their revolutionary war successors, sharpshooters of the Civil War through the various elite units of the Second World War and on to the Vietnam and post 9-11 eras.

Much of the text comes from earlier Osprey volumes. This includes the Second World War Cabanatuan Raid, taken from Raid 3, Civil War sharpshooters from Warrior 60, some of the Vietnam section comes from Fortress 33 (Special Forces Camps) and from Warrior 28 (Green Beret in Vietnam). Presumably much of the remaining text comes from other volumes.

This isn't automatically a problem - the similar volume on Operation Barbarossa is excellent - but it does concern me that there isn’t a list of the original sources anywhere in the book, making it hard to judge if you already have all or part of the material included here. Because the text has many different authors and comes from different books it can be rather uneven in pace - some sections focus on a small number of individual actions, others provide more of an overview.

The pre-existing text is linked by well written bridging sections, so the joins are rarely noticeable. The test is supported by an impressively wide range of contemporary photos and art, Osprey illustrations, maps and diagrams. This is a good single volume history of US Special Forces, as long as you don’t already have the earlier books used as its sources.

Chapters
Colonial and Civil War Warriors
Elite Troops of World War II
Vietnam and Cold War Special Forces
New Wars
Conclusion

Author: Chris McNab
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 376
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013



The 6th Rangers history begins with a mule-drawn pack artillery unit, the 98th Field Artillery Battalion. The 98th Field Artillery was formed at Camp Carson, Colorado in 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James M. Callicutt. In December 1942, the battalion embarked for Brisbane, Australia, but due to Australian animal importation laws, the battalion was redirected to New Guinea, arriving at Port Moresby on 17 February 1943.

The Battalion spent the next 12 months in training, but saw no combat. In February 1943, US Sixth Army decided that the battalion was obsolete, and removed the unit's 800 mules, as well as its commander, who was transferred to the 1st Cavalry Division. The battalion's new commander was Lieutenant Colonel Henry A. Mucci. [2] The mules and some of the artillerymen and mule skinners were transferred to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) in Burma, [3] [4]

Mucci had led a training camp in Hawaii which used Ranger training techniques. He announced that the battalion was being converted from field artillery to Rangers, and downsized from 1,000 men to only 500. Some of the artillery officers were transferred out and replaced by infantry and engineer officers.

The task of conversion and training took over a year, but by July 1944 it was completed. The battalion was transferred to Finschhafen, New Guinea, where it was reorganized as a Ranger battalion and redesignated as the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion.

The 6th Rangers were to lead the invasion of the Philippines. The battalion left Finschhafen for Leyte in the Philippines on 10 October 1944. It was to secure the islands of Dinagat, Homonhon and Suluan, located in the entrance to the Leyte Gulf. These islands had the potential to disrupt Sixth Army's landing operations if they remained in Japanese hands. After initial delays due to bad weather, the operation went ahead on 18 October, and was a success. The 6th Rangers on Dinagat raised the first American flag on Philippine soil as part of General Douglas MacArthur's 'Return to the Philippines'. [5]

After the success of this mission, the invasion of Leyte got underway on 20 October 1944. The 6th Rangers were moved to Tacloban on Leyte, where they were mostly used for patrolling actions. Late in the year, the order came through for the battalion to prepare to take part in the landings in Lingayen Gulf, which were to form the invasion of Luzon. On 1 January 1945, the Rangers were transported by sea from Tacloban to Lingayen Gulf, and were landed on Lingayen Gulf Beach on 10 January 1945. Elements of the battalion were sent to Santiago Island to secure the entrance to the Gulf and prevent the enemy outflanking the landing area. [6]

Sixth Army Intelligence indicated that the Japanese were holding a large number of American POWs in Cabanatuan, 60 miles north of Manila. An incident at a camp on Palawan led intelligence to believe that the POWs would be executed as the Imperial Japanese Army retreated. General Walter Krueger, Sixth Army commander, ordered 6th Rangers to "bring the prisoners out alive".

C Company, under Capt. Robert Prince, reinforced with a platoon from F Company and accompanied by Lt. Col. Mucci, was to undertake the mission. Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas accompanied the 6th Ranger force, and provided reconnaissance and flank protection. The attack went ahead at dusk on 30 January. During the battle, the Rangers rescued 511 POWs and killed or wounded 523 enemy troops. [7] Two Rangers were killed and two prisoners died during the evacuation, and 21 Filipino guerrillas were wounded. Both Mucci and Prince received the Distinguished Service Cross, all other officers involved in the raid the Silver Star and all enlisted men the Bronze Star. The operation is still considered one of the most successful rescue operations in US military history. [8]

For the remainder of the Luzon campaign, the 6th Rangers performed a variety of small-scale missions, including long-range reconnaissance patrols, mopping up bypassed pockets of Japanese resistance, and serving as a headquarters guard for the Sixth Army. On 23 June, they seized an airfield near the town of Aparri to prepare for the arrival of Task Force Gypsy, comprising 11th Airborne Division paratroopers and glider troops. The Rangers then pushed south and linked up with the 37th Infantry Division, concluding their last major operation of the war. [9]

After the war, the 6th Ranger Battalion was sent to Japan for occupation duties. The battalion was deactivated on 30 December 1945, and its members sent home or assigned to other units. [10]


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Notable operations [ edit | edit source ]

An Iraqi-American military interpreter pictured with Saddam shortly after his capture

During the Iraq War United States' Task Force 121 was involved in Operation Red Dawn which led to the capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003. ⎤] ⎥] Earlier that year on July 22, 2003 Task Force 20, led by Delta Force operators and supported by the 101st Airborne Division, were involved in a three hour firefight in Mosul, Iraq where both of Saddam's sons, Qusay and Uday were killed. ⎦] ⎧]


COLONIAL AND CIVIL WAR WARRIORS

THE B RITISH N ORTH A MERICAN COLONIES evolved in the face of hostile fortune from the first settlements in Virginia and Massachusetts in the early 17th century. The development and success of the various colonies set up along the North Atlantic coastline was truly extraordinary. Within a few decades, after usually difficult beginnings, the population and wealth of the communities grew rapidly. Some of the small coastal settlements grew into important port cities such as Boston, New York (originally founded by the Dutch), Baltimore, and Philadelphia. By the middle of the 18th century the colonial populations of European origin were reckoned to total over a million and a half souls.

Unlike those implanted by other European powers, the early settlers of these English colonies in North America were often refugees from their own native land, usually for religious reasons. They were soon joined in the New World by individuals from all walks of life who were seeking a better future than they could hope for in Europe. Thus, for example, the Puritans in Massachusetts and the Quakers in Pennsylvania were eventually outnumbered by later immigrants inspired by more material motives but the special character of the first settlements was never quite lost, and continued to be influential in the social and political lives of these colonies. The settlers in Virginia and further to the south were not as rigid in their religious beliefs, being for the most part adventurers who wished to establish rich plantation domains they were especially successful in Virginia and South Carolina.

The colonies were not established without many struggles – first against the Indians, who periodically resisted the arrival of the settlers by waging ferocious wars, and later against the Spanish in Florida to the south and especially against the French to the north and west. The Spanish remained somewhat contained in Florida and, while worrisome to the British settlers in the Carolinas and Georgia, did not constitute a major or consistent menace. The French were another matter. Due to their extensive explorations in the interior of North America, they had established colonies and outposts that formed an arc from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of the St Lawrence by the early 18th century. The French colonies were far smaller in population but were militarily very powerful, largely due to their many Indian alliances. They were governed by a largely autocratic and military authority apart from regular garrisons they also had well-organized and well-led militias which became intimately familiar with long-range movement through the wilderness and with the tactics of woodlands warfare.

Here, if anywhere, lie the roots of the future development of US Special Forces. The soldiery of the emergent colonies was a varied tapestry of improvised and formalized units, a mix of regular and provincial militias, the latter of frequently uneven quality. Yet the challenges of fighting in the American wilderness meant that those who combined field craft with the ability to handle a musket and knife were soon in demand. One of the earliest formal expressions of such an ethos was the Ranger, especially those associated with a certain Robert Rogers.

A Minuteman of the Revolutionary War, as depicted in an engraving from Harper’s Weekly from July 15, 1876. The Minutemen were a militia force geared up for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice. (NARA)

RANGERS’ KIT, EQUIPMENT, WEAPONS, AND SPECIAL CLOTHING, 18TH CENTURY

1) A c.1735–50, .75-cal Long Land Pattern Brown Bess musket, sawed down from its overall length of 61 34in (157cm) to a lighter, more maneuverable 50 38in (128cm), with its sight repositioned. 2) An English-made, .65-cal carbine with a rifled barrel and socket bayonet. 3) Field officer’s fusil, a short, streamlined musket generally weighing several pounds less than a Brown Bess. 4) Belt hatchet or tomahawk. 5) A pair of silver-mounted Queen Anne style screw-barrel (or cannon-barrel ) pistols, favorites of many officers and civilians. 6) An American-made cutlass with a cylindrical wooden grip and iron hilt, its blade 26½in (67cm) long. 7) Folding clasp knives such as this bone-handled, brass-ended one were favored by Rangers over sheath knives, and for obvious reasons were dubbed scalping knives. 8) Small spying-glasses, or prospective glasses, often closing to only 4in (10cm) in length (such as this all-brass type), were carried by Rogers and his officers on scouts. 9) Rangers preferred shooting with loose ball and powder horn rather than with fixed cartridges. 10) A typical Ranger round, as noted by Captain Knox, consisting of a smaller shot, of the size of full-grown peas: six or seven of which, with a ball, they generally load. 11) An iron ice creeper, worn under the instep and held in place by thongs or buckled straps. 12) A type of ice skate common to the 18th century, with straps, small iron peg for the heel of the thick moccasin or shoe, and three smaller points for the sole. 13) Detail of a decorated leather legging, or Indian stocking. Leather leggings, however, were not as common among the Rangers as were those made of such coarse woolen materials as frieze, stroud, or rateen, generally green in color, as in 14), or dark blue. A ribbon or binding trims the edges of the cloth, and straps for belt and feet keep the legging from sagging. 15) A snowshoe of a shape common to the 18th-century New England frontier. Hide strings, and sinew of deer, moose, or horse, made the netting. 16) A typically wide-brimmed, civilian Scotch bonnet, most often blue, although some colonial merchants sold them in various colors. 17) A simply made leather jockey cap, its upturned visor left unfaced. 18) Mitten made of blanket material. Others were made of knitted wool, or of beaver or other skins. 19) A hat with its brim cut down to enable the Ranger or soldier to move more easily through the woods. 20) A pair of Snow Moggisons, as they were called in a list of clothing for a planned winter drive against Crown Point in 1756. (Gary Zaboly © Osprey Publishing)


The United States military definition in the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms comes from Joint Publication 3-05.1 – Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations (JP 3-05.1). [2] JP 3-05.1 defines a "special mission unit" as "a generic term to represent a group of operations and support personnel from designated organizations that is task-organized to perform highly classified activities." [3]

The U.S. government does not acknowledge which units specifically are designated as special missions units, [4] only that they have special mission units within the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is part of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC). In the early 1990s then–Commander in Chief of SOC, General Carl Stiner, identified both Delta Force and SEAL Team Six as permanently assigned special mission units in congressional testimony and public statements. [5] In 1998, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Walter B. Slocombe publicly referred to special mission units during a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "We have designated special mission units that are specifically manned, equipped and trained to deal with a wide variety of transnational threats" and "These units, assigned to or under the operational control of the U.S. Special Operations Command, are focused primarily on those special operations and supporting functions that combat terrorism and actively counter-terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These units are on alert every day of the year and have worked extensively with their interagency counterparts." [6]

List of US SMUs Edit

So far, only five SMUs have been publicly disclosed:

  • JSOC
    • The Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (1st SFOD-D), commonly known as Delta Force.
    • The Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), commonly known as SEAL TEAM 6.
    • The Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24 STS). [12]
    • The Army's Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) known as "The Activity". It is also known by a series of code names, which are changed every two years. [citation needed] The Army once maintained the ISA, but after the September 11 attacks, the Pentagon shifted direct control to the JSOC. [15]
    • The Army Ranger's Regimental Reconnaissance Company (RRC), part of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), has also been referred to as an SMU. [16]

    Units from Special Forces, the 160th SOAR, and the Flight Concepts Division are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145. [21]

    The Australian Army's elite Special Air Service Regiment is described as being a special missions unit with unique capabilities within the Australian Defence Force". [22] The Regiment is a component of Australia's Special Operations Command (SOCOMD), and is tasked with conducting "sensitive strategic operations, special recovery operations, training assistance, special reconnaissance and precision strike and direct action". [22]

    The SASR currently has four sabre squadrons, known as 1, 2, 3 and 4 Squadron. [23] 1, 2 and 3 Squadrons rotate through the two roles performed by the Regiment one squadron conducts the counter terrorism/special recovery (CT/SR) role, and the remaining squadrons conduct the warfighting/reconnaissance role. 4 Squadron is responsible for collecting intelligence and also supports the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. [24]


    The United States military definition in the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms comes from Joint Publication 3-05.1 – Joint Special Operations Task Force Operations (JP 3-05.1). [2] JP 3-05.1 defines a "special mission unit" as "a generic term to represent a group of operations and support personnel from designated organizations that is task-organized to perform highly classified activities." [3]

    The U.S. government does not acknowledge which units specifically are designated as special missions units, [4] only that they have special mission units within the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which is part of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOC). In the early 1990s then–Commander in Chief of SOC, General Carl Stiner, identified both Delta Force and SEAL Team Six as permanently assigned special mission units in congressional testimony and public statements. [5] In 1998, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Walter B. Slocombe publicly referred to special mission units during a briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "We have designated special mission units that are specifically manned, equipped and trained to deal with a wide variety of transnational threats" and "These units, assigned to or under the operational control of the U.S. Special Operations Command, are focused primarily on those special operations and supporting functions that combat terrorism and actively counter-terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). These units are on alert every day of the year and have worked extensively with their interagency counterparts." [6]

    List of US SMUs Edit

    So far, only five SMUs have been publicly disclosed:

    • JSOC
      • The Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (1st SFOD-D), commonly known as Delta Force.
      • The Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), commonly known as SEAL TEAM 6.
      • The Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron (24 STS). [12]
      • The Army's Intelligence Support Activity (ISA) known as "The Activity". It is also known by a series of code names, which are changed every two years. [citation needed] The Army once maintained the ISA, but after the September 11 attacks, the Pentagon shifted direct control to the JSOC. [15]
      • The Army Ranger's Regimental Reconnaissance Company (RRC), part of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), has also been referred to as an SMU. [16]

      Units from Special Forces, the 160th SOAR, and the Flight Concepts Division are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145. [21]

      The Australian Army's elite Special Air Service Regiment is described as being a special missions unit with unique capabilities within the Australian Defence Force". [22] The Regiment is a component of Australia's Special Operations Command (SOCOMD), and is tasked with conducting "sensitive strategic operations, special recovery operations, training assistance, special reconnaissance and precision strike and direct action". [22]

      The SASR currently has four sabre squadrons, known as 1, 2, 3 and 4 Squadron. [23] 1, 2 and 3 Squadrons rotate through the two roles performed by the Regiment one squadron conducts the counter terrorism/special recovery (CT/SR) role, and the remaining squadrons conduct the warfighting/reconnaissance role. 4 Squadron is responsible for collecting intelligence and also supports the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. [24]


      This firearm was a modified variation of the M/46. The only major improvement was the simplified retracting handle. Introduction of the M/50 occurred on November 7, 1950 at Mosede, Denmark, until 1953. [1]

      The M/50 is made of stamped sheet metal. It is an open bolt design which means it fires when the bolt is in the locked back open position with a fixed firing pin. The M/46-M/50 share a unique design: the firearm is stamped from 2 pieces of sheet metal which are shaped with an integral rear pistol grip and magazine housing. The two pieces fit together like a clam shell with the hinge at the rear of the pistol grip. The firearm is held together with a barrel locking nut which is threaded onto the fore section of the two receiver halves. The pistol grip is hollow, providing storage space for a magazine loading tool. [1]

      The folding stock is made of tubular steel covered with leather and folds onto the right side of the firearm. The M/50 fires in full-auto only. It also features a safety lever,( also known as grip safety ), unusually placed in front of the forward magazine housing. To fire the M/50 the operator must grip the magazine housing and hold down the safety lever. [2]


      E-book: Improbable Victory: The Campaigns, Battles and Soldiers of the American Revolution, 1775 83: In Association with The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

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      Overview

      This firearm was a modified variation of the M/46. The only major improvement was the simplified retracting handle. Introduction of the M/50 occurred on November 7, 1950 at Mosede, Denmark, until 1953. [1]

      The M/50 is made of stamped sheet metal. It is an open bolt design which means it fires when the bolt is in the locked back open position with a fixed firing pin. The M/46-M/50 share a unique design: the firearm is stamped from 2 pieces of sheet metal which are shaped with an integral rear pistol grip and magazine housing. The two pieces fit together like a clam shell with the hinge at the rear of the pistol grip. The firearm is held together with a barrel locking nut which is threaded onto the fore section of the two receiver halves. The pistol grip is hollow, providing storage space for a magazine loading tool. [1]

      The folding stock is made of tubular steel covered with leather and folds onto the right side of the firearm. The M/50 fires in full-auto only features a safety lever unusually placed in front of the forward magazine housing. To fire the M/50 the operator must grip the magazine housing and hold down the safety lever. [2]