question about US military Rangers

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by globetrotter, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    ok, this is just a stupid conversational question, but I think that there are a few people here who could anser it.

    I talked with a guy yesterday who wore a "ranger" tag on his lapel (wearing a suit). about 50. anyway we got to talking about what rangers did, he wasn't in a ranger battalion, he was a ranger trained infantry officer. basically, he said that the rangers did direct action operations, and that as a ranger trained officer in an infantry battallion, he did the direct actions for the infantry battalion. he said, essentially, that recon troops didn't really to any direct action in the US army. I honestly wasn't sure if he was bullshitting me or not. anyway, here are my questions:

    1. the way it works in the IDF, basically the people who do recon do the major "direct action operations" - the concept being that the same skills are needed to look at a bridge as are needed to blow a bridge up, essentially. it doesn't work the same way in the US military?

    2. in the IDF, all infantry end up doing stuff like ambushes and so on. usually, if there is a very specific ambush or direct action, the best recon unit will do it, a lesser one will be done by a lesser recon unit, then a lesser recon unit, then a regular infantry platoon. but every infantryman will do ambushes in his service, and will certainly train for them. this guy was very dismisive of line infantrymen (even though he served as a platoon leader in a rifle company in an infantry battalion).

    3. if an infantry battalian needs to do something major, in the IDF they will use the recon platoon, in a brigade strength unit they will use the recon company. this guy was pretty dismisive of the infantry battalion recon platoon - essentially saying that they were used for recon but never for direct action stuff.


    anyway, this is just curriosity, and I am guessing that somebody here knows the answers to this. I am not sure if this guy was a bullshitter or not.
     


  2. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    I can't offer any insight onto the rangers thing, but I know in the UK we have some dedicated groups of recon/observers who do not take action themselves -
    for example the Special Forces Reconnaissance Regiment, they avoid fighting themselves and provide info for other forces, so the idea of having reconnaissance dedicated groups is not unheard of.
     


  3. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I can't offer any insight onto the rangers thing, but I know in the UK we have some dedicated groups of recon/observers who do not take action themselves -
    for example the Special Forces Reconnaissance Regiment, they avoid fighting themselves and provide info for other forces, so the idea of having reconnaissance dedicated groups is not unheard of.


    actually, that is a good clarification - I guess my point being if you have a group of military that are trained for recon, do they not also do other stuff, espectially "direct action"
     


  4. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    actually, that is a good clarification - I guess my point being if you have a group of military that are trained for recon, do they not also do other stuff, espectially "direct action"
    In the case of the reconnaissance regiment I am sure they do take action themselves sometimes, depending on the mission and what the situation requires, but they are generally supposed to avoid any kind of contact with the enemy. In the case of the SFRR they have to pass Special Forces selection and training but then undergo specialist training in observation, recon and detection avoidance, it is not so much a case of not being able to carry out direct action, but rather that they would not generally be deployed for anything except specialist reconnaissance missions to which their specialist training makes them more suitable than a more generally trained unit. Just my 0.02, never served myself, so its probably not even worth the 0.02 just what I remember from my brief infatuation with the armed services from when I was a cadet at school.
     


  5. Bhowie

    Bhowie Senior member

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    Rangers do conduct direct action.
    Not sure what that guy was talking about.

    The only pure division between pure recon and direct action that I know of is the Marine Recon units. Within the USMC's MAGTF recon units they have Force Recon units. These units basically special forces and are allowed to conduct direct action. I don't think that one of the primary functions of the MAGTF Recon Unit's is to conduct direct action ops.
     


  6. Philosoph

    Philosoph Senior member

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    From what I understand, recon in the US Army is a more separated discipline than in the IDF. I think the infantry would handle more strategic or indirect recon, but if direct action was required, they'd send in a group like the Rangers who would then do their own tactical recon of targets.
     


  7. Bellum

    Bellum Senior member

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    Rangers are trained in recon but it's mostly direct action; there's a recon element, Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment.
     


  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    Rangers are trained in recon but it's mostly direct action; there's a recon element, Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment.

    ok, I think that I am clear on what the rangers do, I guess I am unclear on what recon forces do, and how non-ranger forces deal with direct actions. does everybody "outsource" this to rangers? recon forces don't undertake any direct action operations?
     


  9. Pitt 84

    Pitt 84 Member

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    There are two sorts of Rangers in the USArmy. First you have the 75th inf. regt., The Rangers. They are a direct action group, tasked with missions such as deep penetration raids, airport seizure, key point/command node destruction, follow-on force interdiction, & recon in force.

    The second sort of Ranger, is the like the fellow you met, a Ranger tabed officer (a black arc with ranger in gold). The army has a Ranger course to give infantry officers an elavated skill set in patroling, recon, ambushes, & small unit tactics. It is a fairly tough course and passing is not easy. The other major benefit of the school is that it helps develop leadership/confidence in junior officers, who then will take their new skills back to their parent unit and enhance its preformance.

    Now a little history; Rangers were a recon/raiding group of frontiersmen during the French & Indian war and the American Revolution. The came back in vouge in WWII as a commando force, to deal with difficult tasks (the Point Du Hoc mission on D-Day). After the Korean War the fell out of favor and were disbanded. I can't remember when the school came back to train the Tabbed officers, I went in the early 70s a ROTC cadet. In the Viet Nam era the Ranger unit idea was brought back as a holding unit for LRRP gorups assigned to Divisions & Independent Brigades. After the Viet Nam War, the need for a dedicated direct action/quick reaction force was realized and the 75th was brought to life.

    Early on as they established themselves they traveled the world in small teams to train allied forces in small uint direct action skills. The first notable, publised action for the Rangers was the airport siezure during the Granada operation.

    One can tell a member of the 75th Ranger Regt firstly by their sandy beret & jump boots and their shoulder insignia...a Ranger scroll indicating battlion surmounting their unit patch (Merrill's Marauders).

    Where the Ranger tabbed officer wears the aforementioned Ranger tab (arc) over their current unit patch (on the left shoulder).

    So if you met a Ranger tabbed officer, his tasking would vary with the era in which he was tabbed and how his parent unit chose to employ his Ranger skills.

    Hope this helps...[​IMG]

    Be seeing you!
    Pitt 84
     


  10. MLIW

    MLIW Senior member

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    Very comprehensive review thanks

    I know that in the UK the SRR is an elite group and you must be selected etc
    Its also I belive fairly new!
     


  11. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    [
    So if you met a Ranger tabbed officer, his tasking would vary with the era in which he was tabbed and how his parent unit chose to employ his Ranger skills.

    Hope this helps...[​IMG]

    Be seeing you!
    Pitt 84[/size][/font]


    thanks, this pretty much answers my question. very interesting.

    I guess the basic answer is that the parent unit chooses how to use him.
     


  12. eqpablon

    eqpablon Senior member

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    I'm in the Army, my original branch was Infantry. This is the basic breakdown.

    As someone already mentioned all a Ranger tab means is that someone (officer or enlisted) has passed the Ranger course. Keep in mind the Ranger course is commonly considered the Army's premiere leadership course. A Ranger scroll means that the Soldier is actually serving in Ranger Battalion. Google image search to see the differences in the patches/tabs.

    Alot of non combat arms officers go through Ranger course. Finance guys, Adjutant guys (think HR), JAG, etc. Do you think any of those Officers have any clue as to what real (scrolled) Rangers do? They don't, for the most part.

    Rangers have multiple missions. They conduct raids, direct action operations, airport seizure, and SF perimeter security. Most people know about the airport seizure mission, but a lot of people forget the SF perimeter security mission. Remember the movie Blackhawk Down? The Ranger's mission there was perimeter security for the Delta force guys.

    That being said, Rangers are not recon. In the Army we had Long Range Surveillance Detachments (LRS-D); however all active LRS-D units were deactivated a few of years ago. In asymetrical warfare they really don't have a mission. All Ranger Battalions do have 3 6 man recon teams; however they aren't set up like the old LRS-D's were.

    Any other questions?
     


  13. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    I'm in the Army, my original branch was Infantry. This is the basic breakdown.

    As someone already mentioned all a Ranger tab means is that someone (officer or enlisted) has passed the Ranger course. Keep in mind the Ranger course is commonly considered the Army's premiere leadership course. A Ranger scroll means that the Soldier is actually serving in Ranger Battalion. Google image search to see the differences in the patches/tabs.


    thanks, understood.

    yeah, I understand. I am surprised that non- combat officers get to do the ranger course. I can understand the value in having line infantry officers and non-coms do it, but can't see why you would have hq guys do it. but such is life.


    interesting, airport seizure and perimeter security seem like very different tasks than direct operations and raids - closer to traditional paratrooper tasks. in any event, the guy I was talking to made it sound like anything that involved holding a postion was beneth a ranger.


    interesting


    interesting.

    would these, essentially, work as guides and recon for the rest of the Ranger Battalian? for want of a better term, for internal intellegence as opposed to intel operations? is that how it would work?


    thanks.


    I guess what triggered this was the conversation I had with this guy. the main issues that sort of surprised me were (his saying)

    1. that line infantry didn't really do any direct action stuff at all, and aren't trained for it. I understood that to mean any raids, ambushes, etc.

    2. that, in an infantry battalion, usually the people who do any type of direct action would be the platoon with the Ranger trained platoon leader. he went so far as to say that a platoon leader with a ranger tag in a line infantry battalion would see more direct action than a ranger platoon leader. that may be the case - I had a friend who was a very good medic in a realy bad unit, and he was taken on every single operation they had, because he was the only medic the battalion trusted. but it seemed like a strange statment the guy made.

    3. that recon troops don't get used for any type of fighting or direct action.

    4. that rangers don't do recon



    in the IDF. recon is sort of synonomous with special forces, or special operations. it seems that the skill sets needed - good navigation, resourcefulness, ability to fight in a small group against much larger numbers (recon troops shouldn't have to fight, but if they have to, it is usually against overwhelming superior forces) lend themselves to both recon and direct action. the skill set needed to go out and look at a bridge is very similar to the skillset needed to blow up that bridge.

    recon troops in the IDF serve several tasks -

    recon, both in the heat of battle and in peacetime. for instance, if your battle plan requires you to cross a certain bridge in an enemy country, you need to check that bridge periodically to make sure it is fit to bear the weight that you are planning on crossing it with. in wartime, recon in front of the main force.

    pathfinding - when a large force moves, usually there is a small recon force setting their path.

    direct action - blowing stuff up, capturing and killing specific enemies

    swat action - recon teams also act as the swat teams for certain areas, usually as backup to the national team. so, for instance, if there is a hostage situation in jerusalem, the paratroopers recon team will be called in as the swat team. if the national team can get there in time, they will go in, if not, the paratroopers swat team will.

    sometimes for security of intel personel or high ranking officers - if the comander of the paratroopers goes to the front, his bodyguards will be from the paratroopers recon unit. if an intel guy needs to cross the border into an enemy country, he may be escorted in my recon guys, both for security and as navigators.


    also, in the IDF, pretty much every infantryman does ambushes, and might be called on to do raids. they are certainly trained for that.





    anyway, I sort of assumed that the US army operated more or less the same way, but it makes sense that with such a large pool, there can be more specialization.
     


  14. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    ok, I think that I am clear on what the rangers do, I guess I am unclear on what recon forces do,

    Go forward, look around, see stuff. Report back. Decide whether an Abrams can be effective 'up there'.

    Or we (often) drop tons of bombs, artillery, or close air support from helos or fixed wing aircraft, etc.

    edit - yes I think this goes to the idea of having a large pool of troops (specialization) as well as having a large group of military assets (recon on the ground could lead to a cruise missile fired from a ship or submarine).
     


  15. Grayland

    Grayland Senior member

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    I served in the 1/75 Ranger Bn (Airborne) from 1982-1985. I was in B Co., Weapons Platoon. I know that was a long time ago and things have probably changed quite a bit, but much remains the same. According to the US Army 75th Ranger Regiment website, the mission of those units is:

    The 75th Ranger Regiment's mission is to plan and conduct special missions in support of U.S. policy and objectives.

    Pretty open-ended huh? They do what they are asked. When I was in, we concentrated on airport siezures and snatch missions mostly. The idea of the airport siezure is that Rangers would parachute in, take over a small airport (in some 3rd world country like Grenada) and gain control. Afterwards, more traditional infantry troops might take over and the Rangers would leave. Snatch missions involved dropping in quickly and taking back a hostage.

    The mission has changed a bit. They now do short-term contingency missions (as above) in addition to continuous combat operations (including recon). There are only 3 Ranger Battalions with about 500-600 soldiers each, so the unit isn't big enough for full-scale operations.

    Completion of Ranger School results in the Ranger Tab. While Ranger School is based on small-unit infantry tactics, it is really a leadership school. Many officers go through Ranger School upon graduation - even though in areas outside of combat missions. Again, it's really about the leadership development.

    Service in a Ranger Battalion results in the Ranger Scroll. All officers and NCO's have gone through Ranger School prior to being assigned to a Ranger Battalion. Upon meeting some pretty stringent requirements, privates without a ranger tab are assigned to the ranger battalion. They get "trained up" and are sent off to Ranger School within 4-8 months. They come back with the tab above the scroll.

    Having the tab and never having served in the Ranger Battalion means you are Ranger qualified and is very respectable. Having the tab and having served in the Ranger Battalion means you are a Ranger...period!

    As an aside: serving in elite units is much more about mental strength than physical strength. You don't have to be big (I weighed 147 lbs. - I was slightly smaller than normal), but you have to have intestinal fortitude. It's all about not quitting. That's what weeding out is all about; getting rid of those don't have what it takes. If they quit in training, they'll quit in battle.
     


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