Ranger Regiment (United Kingdom)

The Ranger Regiment is a special operations-capable unit of the British Army which was formed on 1 December 2021 under the Future Soldier reform and is part of the Army Special Operations Brigade.[1][8] It is intended to be used primarily in an unconventional warfare and foreign internal defence capacity in a similar manner to the US Green Berets,[9] on whom the Ranger Regiment is modelled.[10]

Ranger Regiment
Cap badge of the Ranger Regiment
Active1 December 2021 – present
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeSpecial operations-capable[1]
SizeFour battalions of ≈ 250 personnel;[2][3]
≈ 1,000 personnel in total[4][5][6]
Part ofArmy Special Operations Brigade
Motto(s)By All Means
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier Gus Fair As of 25 November 2021[7]

History

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On 22 March 2021, the Defence in a Competitive Age paper was released underlining the future of the British Armed Forces. As part of a wider reorganisation of the British Army, the following was announced:[11]

A new four-battalion Ranger Regiment will be formed in August 2021, seeded from the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland; 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment; 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment; and 4th Battalion, The Rifles. The new regiment will sit within the redesignated Specialised Infantry Group, becoming the Army Special Operations Brigade.

— British Army, Army Special Operations Brigade

Initially, the regiment is planned to be "based on four Infantry Battalions but selecting personnel from across the Army". The regiment's task will be as follows: "[It will be] designed to support and conduct special operations discreetly in high-risk environments".[11] According to a reporter of Forces News, the regiment will "conduct missions traditionally carried out by United Kingdom Special Forces (Special Air Service and Special Boat Service)".[12] During an interview with the (then) Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, the rangers will be "special forces" and will "go beyond training, advising, and assisting" to "support local operations". He also stated the Ranger's functions will be similar to the United States Army's "Green Berets", a nickname for the US Army Special Forces.[13]

The regiment was initially due to form in August 2021, however this was subsequently postponed to 1 December 2021.[14] In early 2022 soldiers from the regiment deployed as part of a UK government support package to Ukraine.[15] In February 2022 soldiers from the regiment deployed to Ghana to conduct training with the Ghanaian Special Operations Brigade, in preparation for a major exercise as well as to help them eliminate threats originating from their border regions.[16]

Elements of the Ranger Regiment deployed to Ukraine in 2022 to provide anti-tank training.[17] In October 2022 elements of the 3rd Battalion conducted exercises with the 193rd Jägarbataljonen, part of the Norrland Dragoon Regiment, specialised arctic light infantry.[18]

In March 2024, the Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey, said that the Ranger Regiment had deployed 691 times since 2021 and that, as of 1 January 2024, it consisted of 1,040 regular Army personnel.[19][20][21]

Regimental organisation

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Organisational structure of the Army Special Operations Brigade, which includes the Ranger Regiment.

The regiment was formed on 1 December 2021 through the renaming of four of the existing Specialised Infantry battalions.[22] All four battalions were formed on 1 December 2021 and fall under the Army Special Operations Brigade,[23] operationally they are aligned to regions around the globe.[24]

A gun-metal grey beret and stable belt are worn by the Regiment.[25] The four battalions of the Ranger Regiment each consist of ≈ 250 personnel.[2][3]

1st Battalion

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The 1st Battalion, Ranger Regiment (1 RANGER) was previously the Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland. The battalion is based at Palace Barracks in Belfast, Northern Ireland.[23] It is regionally aligned to West Africa.[24]

2nd Battalion

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The 2nd Battalion, Ranger Regiment (2 RANGER) was previously the 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires). The battalion is based at Keogh Barracks, Ash Vale, Surrey.[26] It is regionally aligned to East Africa.[24]

3rd Battalion

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The 3rd Battalion, Ranger Regiment (3 RANGER) was previously the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border). The battalion is currently based at Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, but will move to Aldershot Garrison in 2027.[23] It is regionally aligned to Europe.[24]

4th Battalion

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4th Rangers receiving their new berets in 2021. The battalion is now earmarked for Middle East activities.

The 4th Battalion, Ranger Regiment (4 RANGER) was previously the 4th Battalion, The Rifles. The battalion is based at Normandy Barracks, Aldershot Garrison. It is regionally aligned to the Middle East.[24]

Reinforcement companies

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The regiment also includes a pair of Gurkha reinforcement companies. These were raised as part of the plan to reform the 3rd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, which would be the fifth battalion assigned to the Specialised Infantry Group. A (Coriano) Company was formed on 31 January 2020 as the first sub-unit of the new battalion.[27][28] The formation of the new battalion's second company was planned for 18 November 2021. However, prior to this taking place, the formation of the new battalion was cancelled, with the two companies instead to be used as independent units attached to other battalions of the new Ranger Regiment. Upon the formation of the Rangers, the second formed company, F (Falklands) Company, was attached to 2 RANGER,[29] while the original company, renamed as G (Coriano) Company, was attached to 4 RANGER.[30]

Team organisation

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ODA 574 with Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, 2001. The structure and role of ODAs are similar to those of Ranger teams.

The Ranger Regiment is organised into "teams" of 11 personnel[31][32] similar to United States Army Special Forces ODAs,[10] which consist of 12 soldiers, each of whom has a particular specialist role.[33] Ranger teams consist of:[34]

  • Team Commander (Captain / Lieutenant)
  • Team Operations Officer (Sergeant)
  • Team Logistics (Sergeant)
  • Team Comms (Corporal)
  • Team Manoeuvre Support (Corporal)
  • Team Fires (Corporal)
  • Team Weapons (Corporal)
  • Team Medic (Corporal)
  • Team Medic Bravo (Lance Corporal)
  • Team Intelligence (Lance Corporal)
  • Team Force Protection (2 x Privates)

Training and selection

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The Ranger battalions are planned to be "all-arms" battalions and thus be open to anyone serving in the Army, providing that they have served for 18 months from completing basic training.[12][13][14][35] All applicants to the ranger regiment have to undertake a two-week Ranger assessment cadre (RAC),[35] followed by a ten week All Arms Ranger course (AARC) before joining their battalion.[36]

Ranger assessment cadre (RAC)

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The RAC is an opportunity for the individual to demonstrate they possess the unique set of skills required for service in one of the Ranger Battalions. It is a two-week continuous period which incorporates mentally and physically challenging scenarios. The pinnacle is a 100-kilometre (62 mi) patrol as team, reacting to the evolving situation whilst embedded in a partner focused scenario. The purpose of the RAC is for the candidate to show they have the required skills, whilst also demonstrating potential operations.[34]

Brigadier Gus Fair, then commander of the Ranger Regiment, said the RAC involves "protracted periods of time under duress" and seeks to select applicants with emotional intelligence, resilience, calmness, and self-awareness.[37]

Cap badge controversy

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The cap badge of the Selous Scouts, which some commentators claimed bore a resemblance to the badge of the Ranger Regiment.

After it was revealed to the public, the cap badge of the Ranger Regiment was the subject of a controversy after some commentators claimed it bore a resemblance to the badge of the Selous Scouts, a special forces unit of the Rhodesian Army which operated during the Rhodesian Bush War. A Daily Telegraph article claimed that several British Army officers who were privy to the discussions over the creation of the Ranger Regiment's beret were concerned that the new cap badge was potentially based on the badge of the Selous Scouts and unsuccessfully attempted to change the design. An anonymous source in the Ministry of Defence told the Daily Telegraph that "An officer said he had seen an email saying that it was actually based on the Selous Scouts... There's obvious differences but it's fucking close and clearly based on it." However, the British Army rejected such claims, with an army spokesman stating that "The Ranger Regiment cap badge has been designed around the peregrine falcon. Any comparison or association to the osprey depicted in the Selous Scouts’ cap badge is completely inaccurate. The Ranger Regiment is very proud of its new cap-badge which takes inspiration and spirit from the peregrine falcon; fast, agile and fiercely loyal to its partner, it operates around the world in all environments including deserts, mountains and cities."[38][39][40]

References

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  1. ^ a b Defence in a Competitive Age (PDF). Ministry of Defence. March 2021. pp. 46, 68, 69. ISBN 9781528624626. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b Brown, Larisa (20 March 2021). "Army creates Ranger regiment to free up Special Forces". The Times. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b "Ranger Regiment: What we know about the British Army's elite force". Forces Network. 18 November 2022. Archived from the original on 20 January 2024. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  4. ^ Cotterill, Tom (24 March 2021). "Hampshire infantry unit joins UK's new special forces 'ranger regiment'". www.portsmouth.co.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2022. Troops from 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (2PWRR) will merge with three other units to form the 1,000-strong regiment.
  5. ^ Warrell, Helen (19 March 2021). "UK looks to new 'Ranger' regiment to tackle emerging conflicts". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 September 2022. UK defence chiefs are launching a special operations "Ranger regiment"...the new 1,000-strong regiment
  6. ^ Haynes, Deborah (25 November 2021). "Defence secretary saves 500 troops from army cull, as new elite Ranger regiment is unveiled". Sky News. Retrieved 27 September 2022. the creation of a 1,000-strong Ranger Regiment
  7. ^ Larisa, Brown (25 November 2021). "British Army's elite Ranger force to fight extremists". The Times. Archived from the original on 25 November 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  8. ^ British Army (25 November 2021). "Future Soldier Guide" (PDF). pp. 71–72. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  9. ^ "New British Army brigade: reshaping UK special operations for the better?". IISS. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  10. ^ a b Irwin, Fort; Grylls, George (14 May 2024). "Elite UK troops prepare for Russian invasion of Europe — in the Mojave desert". The Times. Archived from the original on 24 December 2022. Retrieved 18 May 2024. Modelled on the US Green Berets, the Rangers, tasked with special operations, function somewhere between the SAS and the ordinary infantry.
  11. ^ a b "Future Soldier". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  12. ^ a b Newton, Simon. "Soldiers To Take On Special Forces Roles In New Army Unit". Forces Network. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  13. ^ a b "New Ranger Regiment To Be 'Open To Anybody In Armed Forces', CDS Says". Forces Network. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  14. ^ a b "New Army Ranger Regiment: What We Know So Far". Forces Network. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  15. ^ "British Army Sent Elite Rangers Troops to Ukraine". 27 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Soldiers from the 1st Battalion the Ranger Regiment (1 Ranger) have deployed to West Africa to conduct joint training with their Ghanaian Armed Forces counterparts". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Action-packed first year for Ranger Regiment".
  18. ^ "Norrland Rangers and UK Rangers side by side". Swedish Armed Forces. 13 October 2022. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  19. ^ Candlin, Alex (18 March 2024). "Revealed: Ranger Regiment deployed on hundreds of missions since creation". Forces Network. Archived from the original on 19 March 2024. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  20. ^ "Ranger Regiment: Deployment - Question for Ministry of Defence". UK Parliament. 15 March 2024. Archived from the original on 19 March 2024. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  21. ^ "Ranger Regiment - Question for Ministry of Defence". UK Parliament. 15 March 2024. Archived from the original on 19 March 2024. Retrieved 19 March 2024.
  22. ^ "Ranger Regiment: What we know about Army's new elite force". Forces.net. 1 December 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  23. ^ a b c "Future Soldier Guide" (PDF). United Kingdom Parliamentary Publications. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  24. ^ a b c d e SOLDIER Magazine August 2022, Pg 34
  25. ^ "Introducing the Army's latest cap badge: Ranger Regiment". The British Army. Retrieved 14 February 2023.
  26. ^ "Special lecture report". Sikh Museum. 26 March 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  27. ^ "The Third Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles reformation parade". Gurkha Brigade Association. 3 February 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  28. ^ "Exercise ASKARI SPEAR 2020". Gurkha Brigade Association. 30 April 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  29. ^ "F (Falklands) Company, Second Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, Formation Parade 18th November 2021". Gurkha Brigade Association. Brigade of Gurkhas. 30 November 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  30. ^ Rushworth, Will (9 February 2022). "4 RANGER'S GURKHAS DEPLOYED ACROSS AFRICA" (PDF). 4 RIFLES. Bugle. No. 19 Spring 2022. Kettering: Crest Publications. p. 30. … G (Coriano) Coy, the newest addition to 4 RANGER, …
  31. ^ "Action-packed first year for Ranger Regiment". British Army. 1 December 2022. Archived from the original on 25 September 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  32. ^ "British Army's elite Ranger Regiment reviews its action-packed first year". Forces Network. 2 December 2022. Archived from the original on 6 February 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  33. ^ USASOC (26 October 2009). "Special Forces - Shooters and thinkers". United States Army. Archived from the original on 1 October 2023. Retrieved 18 May 2024. The 12-man ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha) or "A-team," is largely made up of NCOs. Each man has a specific function, ranging from operations and intelligence, to weapons, engineering, medical and communications.
  34. ^ a b "Ranger Regiment | The British Army". British Army. Archived from the original on 2 October 2023. Retrieved 20 January 2024.
  35. ^ a b SOLDIER Magazine, August 2022, Pg 33
  36. ^ "Exclusive: Ranger Regiment selection process before taking on Special Forces roles". Forces News. 26 November 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  37. ^ Nicholls, Dominic (25 November 2021). "'Emotional intelligence' key for Army's new Rangers units". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 November 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  38. ^ Sheridan, Danielle (24 November 2021). "Fury as new Army regiment's cap badge 'identical' to apartheid terror squad". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  39. ^ Cooke, Millie (25 November 2021). "British Army fury as new badge compared to Nazi and Apartheid death squad symbols". Daily Express. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  40. ^ "Introducing the Army's latest cap badge: Ranger Regiment". Ministry of Defence. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 29 November 2021.