US rangers Rome ?

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Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 26 May 2005 11:39

Grease Spot,
Did the Ranger companies only have two platoons? ISTR that a normal inf. coy. had about three times that many men and a battalion would have had over 800. Even though a Ranger unit would be traveling "light" 65 men still sounds skimpy.
I found this on the web:
tp://www.armyranger.com/mod.php?mod=userpage ... d=48&menu=

The 1st Ranger Battalion was formally activated on 19 June 1942 on the parade field at Carrickfergus with a strength of twenty-nine officers, 488 enlisted. The battalion was organized into a headquarters company and six line companies. The line companies consisted of two platoons, each platoon having two assault sections and a 60-mm mortar section. The Rangers were lightly armed with M-1 rifles, .30-caliber machineguns...which would be replaced by Browning Automatic Rifles (BAR), 45-caliber submachineguns, and 60-mm mortars at platoon level. The lightness of their weapons was to enhance their mobility.

Looked in Perspectives on Infantry by English and didn't find anything. Will look in another book today and get back to you.

Mike

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 26 May 2005 12:57

Delta Tank wrote:The line companies consisted of two platoons, each platoon having two assault sections and a 60-mm mortar section.
Okay, that sounds reasonable. Good luck with further searches. If I get some time today, I'll look around and see what I can find too.

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Post by Delta Tank » 02 Jun 2005 00:52

Grease-Spot,

The following comes from Leavenworth Papers no. 11 Rangers: Selected Combat Operations in World War II, by Dr. Michael King, June 1985. Page 10-11

The battalion, which was now authorized 26 officers and 452 enlisted men, remained composed of a headquarters and headquarters company and six line companies. Headquarters and headquaters company was authorized eight officers and seventy-four enlisted men. Each line company was authorized three officers and sixty-three enlisted men and was composed of a company headquarters, which included a command section, two mortar sections, and two platoons. The company command section was authorized a company commander, a first sergeant, one meesenger/orderly armed with a submachine gun, and one clerk. Each of the two mortar sections had one 60-mm mortar and was authorized one mortar sergeant, one gunner, one assistant gunner, and two ammunition bearers.

Each platoon was authorized one officer and twenty-five enlisted men and was composed of a platoon headquarters and two sections. The platoon headquarters was authorized a platoon leader, a platoon sergeant, one messenger armed with a submachine gun, and one sniper/grenadier armed with a Springfield 1903 rifle.

Each section was authorized a section leader, an assistant section leader, two scouts, one BAR-man, one assistant BAR-man, and five riflemen. All men in a section were armed with M-1 rifles except one of the scouts, who carried a submachine gun, and the BAR-man.


This was the basic TO&E and it would fluctuate depending on the mission. I believe that it eventually was beefed up later in the war, but the added firepower was added at battalion level and not company level. I will have to check. The above organization is as of September 1942 and I believe it was this formation described above that went into France in June 1944.

Any errors in typing, grammar, or whatever is my fault and Yellow Tail Shiraz from South Eastern Australia! :lol:

Mike

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 02 Jun 2005 14:30

Thank you, Delta Tank. They were traveling light indeed! Interesting though that their squad size was almost identical to that of standard infantry. It would be interesting to see how the Ranger battalion organization compares to the equivalent Commando one, since I think the Rangers were to some extent modeled on the Commandos but evolved to fit "the American way of doing things".

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Post by Delta Tank » 02 Jun 2005 20:00

Grease-Spot,
It would be interesting to see how the Ranger battalion organization compares to the equivalent Commando one, since I think the Rangers were to some extent modeled on the Commandos but evolved to fit "the American way of doing things".
The following comes from Leavenworth Papers no. 11 Rangers: Selected Combat Operations in World War II, by Dr. Michael King, June 1985. Page 5-6, Origin of the Rangers.

The Rangers of World War II had their genesis in the spring of 1942 when Army Chief of Staff, General George C. marshall, sent Colonel Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., to London to arrange for American troops to take part in British commando raids against German-occupied Europe . . . .

The commandos had been organized to fit the limitations and characteristics of British landing craft and naval organization. For example, a commando platoon was equal to the number of men who could fit aboard an assault landing craft (ALC); a commando troop could fit aboard two ALCs; and a battalion-size unit called a commando could be carried by a flotilla. Truscott reasoned that, because the American forces would be under British control and using British landing craft, they should be organized like the commandos. On 26 May, the day on which Truscott was promoted to Brigadier general, he proposed to Marshall that an American unit be organized along commando lines on a provisional basis pending the War Department's completion of a table of organization and equipment (TOE). Authorization from the War Department arrived by cable two days later.

. . . .The letter both directed and gave guidance for the organization of an American "commando unit for training and demonstration purposes," which was to be "the first step in a program specifically directed by the Chief of Staff for giving actual battle experience to the maximum number of personnel of the American Army." The men joining the unit would be trained by the British and take part in combat operations under British control. After receiving training and exposure to combat, as many men as possible would be returned to their original organizations and their places taken by other men. The new unit was thus intended to be more of a school than a conventional fighting organization. It differed from other schools in that combat would be part of its curriculum.

. . . .American equipment would be kept and American tactical doctrine and methods used as much as possible.

INTERESTING!
Mike

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 02 Jun 2005 23:57

Delta Tank,

Yes, this is all consistent with what I've read before, although I think that in the early days, the Rangers were more integrated into the Commando style of fighting than this text might lead one to believe. It was probably after the North African landings that they started to go their own way.

BTW, the LCA, as it was more commonly known in naval nomenclature, had a capacity of 35 men and 800 lbs. of equipment. This was in addition to its own crew of 5.

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Post by Michael Emrys » 09 Jun 2005 23:39

Came across this site: http://niehorster.orbat.com/013_usa/44_ ... nf-bn.html. My sum of the numbers given here result in

Platoon = 34
Company = 72
Battalion = 538

But I'm not sure what his sources for this information are, so take it for what it's worth.

Regards.

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Post by Delta Tank » 10 Jun 2005 00:40

Grease-Spot,

I will stick with the figure of 65 or so, but let me look around some more. But, the bottom line is a Ranger Company was very, very small! When you watch Private Ryan and he states how many men he has lost it is around 100% killed IIRC.

Mike

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Post by Michael Emrys » 10 Jun 2005 00:56

Yes, not much difference between 65 and 72. The difference could be accounted for by taking the count at different times, before and after some level of combat and replacement, etc. TO&Es changed a lot during the course of the war and actual numbers on the ground even more so.

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Post by Delta Tank » 10 Jun 2005 02:02

Grease-Spot,

You are correct, TO&Es changed a lot in World War II! And they should, as experience is gained in actual combat, things should change. The Airborne Divisions had something like 3 different TO&E during World War II.

Mike

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