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2ND RANGER BATTALION

 

Formation of 2nd & 5th Ranger Battalions

On 1 April 1943 the 2nd Ranger Battalion was formed at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, along with the 5th Ranger Battalion.

Both battalions were officially activated in September 1943 and shipped to Scotland to train with the British Commandos, where they were prepared for Operation Overlord, D-Day.

 

Assault at Point du Hoc

On 6 June 1944, Dog, Easy, and Fox Companies, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Rudder, landed at Pointe du Hoc, from LCA (Landing Craft Assaultand specially modified DUKW (Amphibious vehicle) operated by the Royal Navy.

The 225 Rangers had set off from Britain to launch an assault upon the cliffs overlooking the English Channel. 

A number of landing craft containing Rangers and supplies capsized, but this did not stop the attack. The Rangers had planned to land at the base of the cliffs at 0600 hours, however, because of a navigational error, they landed over an hour late. The error cost the lives of more Rangers as well as the element of surprise. During the attack, the 190 Rangers scaled the cliffs utilizing ropes and grappling hooks whilst under fire from the Germans above, but still managed the 200 foot climb with the full weight of their equipment and after 2 days of relentless fighting only 90 Rangers were still able to bear arms.

During the assault, 2nd Battalion managed to achieve their primary objective, disabling a battery of six 155mm French artillery guns despite them having already being moved by the Germans before the assault took place.

These guns were found approx' a mile away in an orchard, ready to use and aimed at Utah & Omaha Beaches. However, the Rangers prevented their use by using thermite grenades on the mechanisms and smashing the gun sites with the butt of their guns, saving thousands of American lives on the shores of Normandy.

 

Omaha Beach

Meanwhile, Able, Baker, and Charlie Companies were diverted to land alongside the 5th Rangers, assisting the 1st Infantry Division, and the 29th Infantry Division at Omaha Beach. They suffered extremely heavy casualties but were able to complete their D-Day objectives. Able Company suffered up to 96% casualties with just two men making it off the beaches.

The 2nd Rangers were later involved in the Battle for Brest and the Battle of Hürtgen Forest where they led the assault on Hill 400, Bergstein.

 

Deactivation

The 2nd battalion and 5th Battalion were deactivated in November 1945.

The modern day 2nd Ranger Battalion also draws heritage from the 5307 Composite Unit, also known as Merrill's Marauders. This unit was consolidated with Company H, 475th Infantry before eventually being deactivated after the end of the war.

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