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What is the Ranger Regiment (UK)?

Introduction

The Ranger Regiment (Rangers) is a special operations regiment of the British Army which was formed on 01 December 2021 under the Future Soldier reform, and forms part of the Army Special Operations Brigade.

It is intended to be used primarily in an unconventional warfare and foreign internal defence capacity in a similar manner to US Army Special Forces (aka the 'Green Berets').

The regiment gained media attention after reports that multiple British Army officers had expressed fears the regiment's cap badge was based on that of the Selous Scouts, a claim denied by the British Army.

The British Army states that "The Ranger Regiment badge takes its inspiration and spirit from the Peregrine Falcon, a bird that is fast, found across the globe and loyal to its partner." (Future Soldier Guide, 2021, p.71).

Brief History

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:

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.

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". 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)". 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.

The regiment was initially due to form in August 2021, however this was subsequently postponed to 01 December 2021.

Role

"The Ranger Regiment provides the foundation for the Army Spec Ops Bde, operating at the vanguard of expeditionary posture in austere and hostile environments. This involves deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and if necessary accompanying partners in support of national interests." (Future Soldier Guide, 2021, p.71).

Organisation

The regiment was formed on 01 December 2021 through the renaming of four of the existing Specialised Infantry battalions. The fifth Specialised Infantry battalion, 3rd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, which was initially formed in January 2020, was not made part of the Rangers, with instead its formation cancelled and its planned personnel formed into a number of company sized units. One of these, F (Falklands) Company, was formed on 18 November 2021 and attached to the 2nd Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).

  • Regimental Headquarters.
  • 1st Battalion, The Ranger Regiment, at Palace Barracks, Belfast; ex- The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
  • 2nd Battalion, The Ranger Regiment, at Aldershot Garrison; ex- 2nd Battalion, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).
  • 3rd Battalion, The Ranger Regiment, at Aldershot Garrison; ex- 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border).
  • 4th Battalion, The Ranger Regiment, at Aldershot Garrison; ex- 4th Battalion, The Rifles.

The battalions are planned to be "all-arms" battalions and be open for anyone in the Army. All four battalions form the main element of the Army Special Operations Brigade.

All four battalions were formed on 01 December 2021 and restructuring should be complete by April 2023, as noted in the document 'Future Soldier Guide' published on 30 November 2021.

  • 1st Battalion, Ranger Regiment (Belfast).
  • 2nd Battalion, Ranger Regiment (Aldershot).
  • 3rd Battalion, Ranger Regiment (Pirbright then Aldershot in 2027).
  • 4th Battalion, Ranger Regiment (Aldershot).

The infantry will be reorganised into four new Infantry Divisions, each with an affiliated Ranger Battalion. (Future Soldier Guide, 2021, p.17).

Training

All applicants to the ranger regiment will have to undertake a two-week Cadre Course, followed by a six-week Ranger Course, before continuing with eight months of training at their battalion.

Reference

British Army (2021) Future Soldier Guide (30 November 2021).

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