World War II Ranger Batallions
Maj. (later Brigadier General) William O. Darby organized and activated the 1st Ranger Battalion on June 19, 1942, at Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. The 1st Ranger Battalion participated in the North African landing at Arzeu, Algeria, the Tunisian Battles, and the critical Battle of El Guettar.
The 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions were activated and trained by Col. Darby in Africa near the end of the Tunisian Campaign. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Battalions formed the Ranger Force. They began the tradition of wearing the scroll shoulder sleeve insignia, which has been officially adopted for today’s Ranger battalions.
The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions participated in the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings at Omaha Beach, Normandy. It was during the bitter fighting along the beaches that the Rangers gained their motto, “Rangers, lead the way!” They conducted daring missions to include scaling the cliffs of Pointe Du Hoc, overlooking Omaha Beach, to destroy German gun emplacements trained on the beachhead.
Attached to the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, Companies D, E, and F of the 2nd Ranger Battalion accomplished the mission of capturing the gun emplacements of Pointe du Hoc, after encountering fierce opposition from the defending German garrison. The operation demanded the utmost in Ranger courage and skill as the assault troops climbed rope ladders up the sheer rock face while under intense machine gun, mortar, grenade, and small arms fire.
The 6th Ranger Battalion operated in the Philippines and formed the rescue force that liberated American Prisoners Of War from a Japanese POW camp at Cabanatuan in Jan. 1945. The 6th Battalion destroyed the Japanese POW camp and evacuated more than 500 prisoners.
The 75th Infantry Regiment was first organized in the China-Burma-India Theater on Oct. 3, 1943 as Task Force Galahad. It was during the campaigns in the China-Burma-India Theater that the regiment became known as Merrill’s Marauders after its commander, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill. The Ranger Battalions were deactivated at the close of WWII.
Click on the respective Ranger Battalion history tabs to read more...