The US Rangers, during the Second World War, will forever be remembered for their daring assault on the cliff-top German gun battery at Pointe du Hoc, the guns of which could have potentially decimated the troops landing on the beaches on D-Day. Companies D E and F of 2nd Rangers Battalion would scale 100 foot tall cliffs the German defenders considered to be impassable, by climbing ropes hanging from rocket-propelled grapnels.
Once at the top of the imposing cliffs, and under heavy German fire, they secured the battery site only to find that their intelligence was wrong and the lethal 15.5cm guns were no longer in position, having been moved 500 yards to the rear. Through bold actions and no little bravery, the Rangers located and destroyed the guns before they could bring their deadly payload to bear on the incoming invasion force, then defended the high ground through a further 56 hours of relentless German counter attack by the 352nd Infantry Division.
The 2nd Rangers were immortalised in such movies as Saving Private Ryan and The Longest Day in action on Omaha beach and indeed this is where their motto was first coined – Having landed on Dog-White sector at the western end of the beach, pinned down with the 29th infantry division, General Norman Costa found himself in a critical situation. At the point of calling off the assault he turned to a Ranger saying “Rangers, Lead the way!” Along with the 5th Rangers, A and B companies of 2nd Rangers forced their way off the beach under murderous fire, outflanking the beach defences by the bluffs and creating the opening needed for the successful landings.
Members of 5th Rangers Battalion then went on to relieve those of 2nd Battalion at Pointe du Hoc and keeping the momentum attacked the Maisy Battery near the French village of Grandcamp-Maisy that still threatened the Omaha Beach head.
The 23 Rangers of the 5th Battalion who reached Pointe du Hoc on the 6th of June were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the 5th Rangers for the “Deepest penetration of any combat unit on D-Day”. Their commanding officer, Major Richard Sullivan, won the Distinguished Service Cross for the 3 actions: The landings on Omaha Beach, the relief of Point du Hoc, and the successful capture of the Maisy Battery.
Ordinary men performing extraordinary missions, the highly motivated and highly trained troops of the US Rangers battalions played important roles in almost every major Allied invasion of the Second World War. Whether spearheading a landing force or scouting deep behind enemy lines, the US Rangers became one of the most legendary units in US military history.
Rangers Lead The Way! contains:
- Enough plastic and metal components to make 25 US Rangers miniatures, including a host of different weapon and command model options.
- Metal parts, including Bangalore torpedoes, M2 flame-thrower, pick/mattocks, axes, wirecutters, heads with goggles, and US Ranger knuckle-knife.
- 8 unique metal heads representing well-known film characters.
- Weapons include: M1 carbine, Springfield rifle (plus scoped version and also version with bayonet fitted), M3 ‘Grease Gun’ sub-machine gun, Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), M1 Garand rifle (plus scoped version and version with bayonet fitted), Bazooka, Thompson sub-machine gun, Winchester combat shotgun, Browning M1911 pistol, hand grenades, bandoliers and ammunition pouches.
- 25mm round plastic bases
Getting started couldn’t be simpler – Grab yourself a box and lets look inside:
First you’ll find a bag with all your metal components followed by 2 plastic sprue types, the smallest contains weapons and the larger sprue your infantry. Have a good look through these and familiarise yourself with the parts, don’t start cutting any parts out just yet.
To help recognise the parts use the included colour printed page on US Infantry that will describe what you’re looking at. This is useful so that you can start planning your infantry poses before cutting parts out.
Next – get building! You could start by working with your first large sprue, glue the five bodies to their bases and leave to dry.
Now working on one soldier at a time, glue on arms (use the code system from the colour sheet) and a corresponding weapon.
Add equipment and make sure you differentiate your Rangers from normal US infantry by adding their specialist kit from the metal bag included in the box.
If you add the head last you’ll be able to angle it to match the pose and really create a dynamic ‘soldier in action!’ look. Do the same with the remaining four and you’ll have your first Rangers squad ready.
Finishing touches with painting can come later – right now you’re ready for your first enemy contact!
Encourage one of your mates to do a German unit such as the 21st Panzer Grenadiers or 352nd Infantry Division Grenadiers and play out a meeting engagement this weekend, in the mean time have a great time building the rest of your elite Rangers.