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The United States


At the outset of World War II, the United States lacked active Special Forces units. This situation changed, inspired by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s belief in the morale-boosting impact of offensive actions during challenging times. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt echoed this sentiment, advocating for commando-like raids as a means to bolster the spirits of English-speaking populations. He often discussed the significance of such operations in his iconic fireside chats, aiming to restore confidence among Americans.

The historical context of American irregular forces dates back to as early as 1675 during the Indian Wars, with units like Church’s Rangers. These early Rangers were essentially local militias, comprising forest men, hunters, and frontiersmen. In the French and Indian War from 1755 to 1763, numerous Ranger companies served a similar purpose, engaging in scouting, deep penetration raids into enemy territories, and supporting the British Army. The most notable pre-World War II Ranger unit was Rogers Rangers, initially part of the New Hampshire Provincial Regiment and later an independent entity known as His Majesty’s Independent Company of American Rangers. Although disbanded post-war in 1763, their legacy continued to influence military tactics and formations.

Allied Intelligence Bureau
Office of Strategic Services (OSS)Badge Office of Strategic Services

Small Units
Naval Amphibious ScoutsBadge Naval Amphibious Forces
Native American Code TalkersNative American Code Talkers
JedburghsBadge Jedburgh Teams
Operational Groups, Office of Strategic Services (OSS)Badge Office of Strategic Services
Naval Amphibious ForcesBadge Naval Amphibious Forces
U.S. 6th Army Alamo Scouts
U.S. 6th Army Special Reconnaissance Unit
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U.S. Navy Beach Jumper UnitsBadge Naval Amphibious Forces


1st Marine Parachute BattalionBadge 1st Marine-Parachute Battalion
29th Ranger BattalionBadge of US Army Rangers
124th Cavalry Regiment (Special)Badge 124th Cavalry Regiment (Special)
2671st Special Reconnaissance Battalion, (Separate) (Provincial)Badge Office of Strategic Services
5217th Reconnaissance Battalion, SpecialBadge 5217th Reconnaissance Battalion, Special
Marine Raider BattalionsBadge Marine Raider Battalions

5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)
Merrill’s Marauders
Merril's Maurauders Badge
5332nd Brigade (Provisional)
475th Infantry Regiment (LRP, Special)
Badge Mars Task Force
U.S. Army Rangers
Darby’s Rangers
Badge of US Army Rangers

1st Special Service Force1st Special Service Force Badge
13th Airborne DivisionBadge 13th Airborne Division
17th Airborne DivisionBadge 17th Airborne Division
82nd Airborne Division
All Americans
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101st Airborne Division
Screaming Eagles
Badge 101st Airborne Division
1st Air Commando Group (China-Burma-India)
Project 9
1st Air Commando
2nd Air Commando Group (China-Burma-India)Badge 2nd Air Commando Group (China-Burma-India)
3rd Air Commando Group (South-West Pacific)Badge 3rd Air Commando Group (South-West Pacific)
Troop Carrier GroupsBadge Troop Carrier Groups
17th Bombardment GroupBadge 17th Bombardment Group
492nd Bombardment Group
Badge 492nd and 801st Bombardment Group
801st Bombardment Group
Badge 492nd and 801st Bombardment Group

1st Allied Airborne Army1st Allied Airborne Army
XVIII U.S. Airborne CorpsBadge XVIII U.S. Airborne Corps