Rangers in World War II
Robert W. Black

In the American Civil War a few hundred men called themselves Rangers. After this war it would take eighty years until the name Rangers was used again. This book, written by a former member of the Rangers, tells the story of the men who were part of the Ranger battalions during WW2.

The book starts with the story about the foundation and training (24 pages) of the first Ranger battalion in 1942. The purpose of the unit was to be a training and demonstration unit, and to participate in operations under British control. The intention was to return as many as possible men to their former unit after gaining (combat) experience in the Ranger battalion. On June 19 the 1st Ranger Battalion was officially activated and commanded by Major William O. Darby.

The first operation in which Rangers took part, the raid on Dieppe in August ’42, was a disaster. After this operation (20 pages) the author covers all the battles in chronically order in which Rangers participated: North-Africa (30 p.), Italy (90 p.), D-Day and following battles (70 p.), Pacific (40 p.) and the last hurdles in Germany (45 p.). In most cases each chapter starts with the pre-battle situation, the battle plan and it’s objectives. After that the author gives a day-to-day (or even hour-to-hour) description of the battle. These descriptions are mixed with personal eyewitness reports of the Rangers themselves.

The book is completed with the history of their famous insignia and a list with lineage, campaigns, decorations and weapons of the Rangers in WW2. And last but not least a list with all men who served in the Ranger battalions during WW2. The book includes 15 black/white photo's, 10 maps, bibliography and a full index.

In my opinion this is a very good book about the Rangers. I liked the mix of personal stories and battle descriptions. I can recommend this book to everyone who wants to know more about the Rangers in WW2.

(Reviewed by William Van Dijk)

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