Gary Sterne
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
This is the first of 2 volumes covering the famous Pointe Du Hoc assault by the US Rangers; it examines the training equipment and doctrine of the US Rangers. All good armies see elite formations arise, compete, merge or survive. The US has the advantage that a large US Marine Corps makes for even more rivalries. The genesis for the US Rangers may be argued to have started with US interest in Combined Operations by Commandos; the first provisional Ranger Battalion was modelled on No 1 Commando.

In the preparation for Overlord the US Army had no cadre of light infantry, while the US Marines were mainly centred on amphibious operations in the Pacific theatre of operations. The small US contingent at the Dieppe landings had learned much from British and Canadian operations and the need for specialised troops in beach and cliff assaults.

Within Volume 1 Sterne explores the history of the US Rangers in awesome detail with copies of original orders, photographs and maps. This is a book clearly aimed at the military reader or historian rather than the casual reader. Yet, bizarrely , there is neither index or bibliography. The book terminates at a point 7 days before D Day so there seems little point in purchasing it as a read alone item. As a prequel to Book 2 it stands as a useful read. Readers may wish to look at the excellent review by @untallguy of Volume 2 on the Arrse reviews section website.

The book has a cover price of £35 which seems steep for a prequel bot there are cheaper new copies on Amazon. As ever Pen & Sword print to a high standard. For the pedantically minded, there is an amusing typo on page 488 referring to meals of beef, port and green vegetables. Elderly Arrse readers could only wish for such a military diet !

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