1st Ranger Battalion
 Italy late 1943

Player: Ken Fox

Army: Stars & Stripes, Ranger Company

 

C Company

 

HQ Section (10pt)

2 Bazookas +40pt

50

1st Ranger Platoon (2 sections 135pt)

upgrade HQ to SMG +0pt

135

2nd Ranger Platoon (2 sections 135pt)

upgrade HQ to SMG +0pt

135

Ranger Mortar Platoon (3 sections 100pt)

100

 

D Company

 

HQ Section (10pt)

2 Bazookas +40pt

50

1st Ranger Platoon (2 sections 135pt)

upgrade HQ to SMG +0pt

135

2nd Ranger Platoon (2 sections 135pt)

upgrade HQ to SMG +0pt

135

Ranger Mortar Platoon (3 sections 100pt)

100

 

 

Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Platoon - M3 75mm GMC (2 sections 235pt)

upgrade all M3s with .50 cal AAMG +20pt
upgrade 1 jeep to AAMG +5pt

 

Rangers jokingly called this platoon “Cannon Company”. Capt Charles Shunstrom commanded the M3s and used tactics similar to the tank destroyers. It was an integral part of the Ranger Force. This platoon eventually included at least two tanks, both of which fought at Cisterna.

 

260

Tank Platoon – M5A1 Stuart (5 tanks 275pt)

add Staff Sergeant Cole ‘Reb’ Jackson +25pt

 

Rangers increasingly were used as line troops. By the time of the Cisterna attack, they were supported by elements of the 3rd Infantry Division including the 751st Tank Battalion. Although Sgt Jackson did not fight here, any tank platoon able to keep up with the Rangers must have had its own unsung heroes.

300

 

 

Limited Air Support

 

In addition to very limited air support, Rangers had excellent naval support several times during their invasions.

100

 

TOTAL

1500

 

Battalion History

 

  • Activated June 19, 1942 in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland
  • Dieppe Raid, August 1942
  • North African campaign begins: Operation TORCH, November 1942
  • Algeria-French Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Sicilian campaign begins: Operation HUSKY, July 1943
  • Gela
  • Italian campaign begins: Operation AVALANCHE, September 1943
  • Salerno
  • Naples-Foggia
  • Rome-Arno
  • Anzio: Operation SHINGLE, January 1944
  • Cisterna di La Latina, January 29, 1944
  • Disbanded August 15, 1944

 

Capt William Darby

 

The Rangers were created as the U.S. equivalent of British Commandos. The tactics, training, equipment and unit organization were essentially copied from the Commandos. The original Rangers even trained in British facilities under Commando instructors. Command of the Rangers was given to an enthusiastic artillery officer, Capt William Darby.

 

Darby and his Rangers earned tremendous respect for the tough victories they achieved in almost every major invasion in the ETO. The bravery and esprit de corps displayed by the Rangers truly earned them their motto “Rangers Lead the Way.”

 

Although the Rangers were conceived of as a light infantry assault force to be used in special operations behind enemy lines, they eventually became main line of battle troops. This role did not fit the Rangers, but Darby accommodated the demands by adding additional mortar and anti-tank assets. Even though the Rangers performed extremely well, the line duty seriously degraded their abilities because trained replacements were not available. In Italy, replacements were taken from regular infantry volunteers and trained on-line in battles and on patrol. Ranger John Prochek remembers, “You were not allowed to wear the Ranger patch until you proved yourself. What a proud day it was when I was granted that right.”

 

Politics also complicated the matter because the original Rangers were trained in British Commando programs and did not fit into the existing U.S. organization structure. Incredibly, the unofficial, Commando-trained 29th Ranger Battalion disbanded and the men returned to their original units even while the official Ranger units were struggling with untrained replacements.

 

The last battle fought by the 1st Rangers, Cisterna di La Latina, saw the complete destruction of the force. The 1st and 3rd Rangers lost 12 men killed, 36 wounded and 743 captured. Only 6 men returned. A large number of factors played a part. Poor allied intelligence indicated the Germans had low morale and no armor support. Inadequately trained replacements became lost during night infiltration. Lack of radio discipline gave away positions allowing the Germans to prepare ambushes. Artillery support was not available because of communication problems. Air support was available, but prioritized armor over the Rangers. Whatever the cause, most of Darby’s Rangers spent the rest of the war in German POW camps and Darby himself was reassigned to the 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division.

Photos

 

1st Ranger Battalion, Company C, Italy 1944

Disembarking at Gela, Sicily 1943


Attacking at Arzew, Algeria 1942