- Long range penetration
A Long-range penetration patrol, group, or force is a
special forcesmilitary unit able to remain in and move long distances behind enemy lines far away from direct contact with friendly forces. For recent doctrine, see special reconnaissance.
Though the concept of long range penetration is as old as war itself, in the modern era it is recognised as starting with
Major Ralph Alger Bagnoldwith his 1940 Long Range Desert Group( LRDG) in the Western Desertand Orde Wingatewith his 1943 Chindits in Burmain World War II. The LRDG carried out operations of reconnaissanceand sabotagefar behind the enemy's lines in the Western Desert MajorBagnold was an experienced desert explorerwho had his LRDG trained in desert driving, navigation though using the sun and stars as well as a compass, and knowing their territory. They were supplied by all the equipment that their trucks could carry. BrigadierOrde Wingate, a professionalsoldier with eccentric behaviourcreated and led guerillaunits in Palestineand Ethiopiabefore being transferred to Burmain 1942. Wingate had ideas of deep penetration operations that could be made possible through improvements in the range of communication devices and airborne supply by long range aircraft. At the Quebec Conferencein 1943, Wingate explained his ideas to Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many other leaders. Wingate proposed creating strongholds in enemy territory that would be supplied by air and be as effective against the enemy as conventional troops.
Brigadier Wingate was given command of the 77th Indian Brigade that acquired the name of
Chinditfrom a suggestion by CaptainAung Thin of the Burma Rifles. The name was a corruption of the mythical beast that guards Buddhist templescalled 'Chinthé' or 'Chinthay'. The unit was supported by the United States Army Air Forces 1st Air Commando Groupand carried out two major operations. The first was entering Burma on a 200 mile mission in February 1943 with 3,000 troops, with mules and some elephants for the carrying of supplies. Wingate thought the operation a success, but Field Marshall William Slimthought the operation a failure [Ogburn Jr, Charlton "The Marauders" (1956)]
Inspired by the Quebec Conference and keeping in mind General
Joseph Stilwell's requests for American Infantry to support his Chinese troops in the China Burma India Theatre of World War II, General George Marshallsent a telegram to Stilwell notifiying him that America would organise their own Long Range Penetration Force made up of three groups, one from jungle warfaretrained troops whose presence were no longer required in Panama, jungle warfare trained troops from Continental American army bases, and experienced jungle fighters from the South Pacific (Admiral Chester Nimitz's troops who had fought on Guadalcanaland in the Solomon Islands) and South West Pacific (General Douglas MacArthur's troops who had fought in New Guinea) Commands. The unit was renamed the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional)but more popularly known as Merrill's Maraudersand carried out operations in Burma in 1944. [Ogburn Jr, Charlton "The Marauders" (1956)]
Post World War II
After World War II, long range operations were primarily performed by small units often of strength no greater than four men. Sabotage, surveillance and reconnaissance is carried out by the British
Special Air Service(SAS), Australian Special Air Service Regiment, and the Special Air Service of New Zealand. Long Range operations were also carreid out by the Rhodesian Special Air Serviceand American Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols ( LRRP) in the Vietnam War. The South African 32 Battalionperformed long range penetraion operations in Angolaafter the Angolan Civil War. The Sri Lanka Armylong range penetration units have also carried out successful long range operations during the Sri Lankan Civil War. [ [http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/200791921302.asp "www.strategypage.com"] ]
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