Marine Raiders Case Study

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Introduction to the Marine Raiders
In 1942, World War II had been raging for three years. The United States of America have declared war upon the Axis powers following the devastating Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor. At this point in the war the Allies are in a grave situation. German forces have pushed the British off mainland Europe, and the Japanese have conquered much of the Pacific region, coming increasingly nearer to the American mainland. In order to combat this rising threat, the American military headship began to search for viable alternatives to replace widely used established tactics. The motive for this search for irregular methods the fact that the Allied forces were not strong enough to meet the Axis powers on a conventional
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3) Encouraged by the success of the British commando units, such as the SAS, LRDG, Royal Marine Commandos, and the enthusiastic endorsement of such units by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Roosevelt urged the Marine Corps leadership to form specialized amphibious raider units. Although Holcomb believed that by its nature the Marines could carry out amphibious raids and did not need such special units, Holcomb re-designated 1st and 2nd Separate Battalions, 1st and 2nd Marine Raider Battalions. It was at this point that the Marine Raiders were officially born.
Marine Raider Battalions Organization, Leadership, and Training
The organization of each Raider battalion varied according to the philosophies of their respective commanding officers. Major General Merritt A. Edson commanded 1st Raider Battalion and tended to align with more conventional Marine Corps training methods and doctrine. Major General Edson, also known by his nickname “Red Mike,” emphasized light infantry tactics, not guerilla warfare, as he formed 1st Raider into highly trained, special operations capable battalion, prepared for conventional employment as
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2nd Raider battalion was one of the first U.S. military units to use the newly issued M-1 Garand in combat. This special privilege allowed the Raiders to experiment with a variety of new innovations and weaponry, resulting in a unique, yet deliberately selected armory. With an emphasis on mobility, the Raiders opted for lighter weapons with higher rates of fire. For example the Raiders utilized the .30-caliber air-cooled Browning machine gun instead of its .50 caliber brother, issued to standard infantry units. The Raiders tested a plethora of innovative equipment including, individual, man portable stoves, collapsible bicycles, and eight foot toggle ropes which had a loop at one end and a peg at the other, useful for scaling cliffs. Certain items in the Raider arsenal became unique to the raiders such as the “Raider Stiletto,” a dagger issued to Raider units modeled after the British commandos Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife, and the “Gung Ho” knife and jacket, the later being a large heavy Bowie style knife and the jacket being a hunting jacket with large pockets replacing the need for a pack. One of the most unique weapons in the Raider arsenal was the British Boys anti-tank

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