Osprey's study of the US Marine Raiders (an 'elite within an elite') during World War II (1939-1945). The US Marine Raiders were modeled on the British Commandos and, in the 2nd Battalion, also on Communist Chinese guerillas. They were organized to conduct long-range amphibious hit-and-run raids behind Japanese lines and trained to secure beacheads in advance of more conventional landings. Raiders were trained to land from submarines, specially converted high-speed destroyer transports, and small craft and rubber boats. They were expected to be skilled in watercraft, jungle survival, and jungle warfare. They were the earliest forerunners of the various Special Operations units of the modern US military.
Raider units would conduct operations with only the equipment they could carry on their backs, their heaviest weapons being light mortars and machine guns. They were the first American units to be issued with specially manufactured camouflage uniforms and rubber-soled boots developed for jungle warfare. Highly trained in close-in fighting, they carried many distinctive weapons such as the Fairbairn Commando dagger, the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), the Thompson submnachine gun and even the British Boys Anti-Tank Rifle.
The Raiders battle honors include Guadalcanal, as well as the Solomon Islands and the Dragon Peninsula campaign. This book follows two Raiders from different battalions through some of the toughest training ever experienced by a Marine and onto combat during the Makin Raid and the horrific jungle battles of the Solomon Islands giving a soldier's eye view of life, combat and death in this 'elite within an elite'.