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William Orlando Darby: Darby’s Rangers

Discussion in 'A Soldier's Story' started by Jim, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Known as Darby’s Rangers, they had their baptism of fire during the November 1942 Allied invasion of North Africa. Led by 31 year-old William Orlando Darby (8 February 1911 – 30 April 1945) was an officer in the United States Army during World War II. Darby led the famous Darby's Rangers which evolved into the US Army Rangers and was also made famous as a major motion picture starring the American actor James Garner in the role of Darby.

    William Orlando Darby

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    Darby’s Rangers were an America’s version of the famed British Commandos. Prior to the landings in North Africa, Darby’s Rangers had been handed a daunting task: knock out four big coastal guns which could play havoc with the main body of assault troops. For a green force, the Rangers were spectacular. They destroyed or captured all the big guns and suffered incredibly low casualties: four dead and eleven wounded. Darby’s Rangers had no shortage of free-spirited, gung-ho characters. One in this category was Lieutenant Stanley Farwell, whose boot size was fourteen and a half. When his unit was battling the Afrika Korps in Tunisia in February 1943, his boots wore out on the rough terrain. Then he discovered that the U.S. Army had not contemplated having men with such enormous feet, so there were no spares available. Undaunted, Farwell located a pair of bedroom slippers in an abandoned house, and for weeks he marched and fought wearing the light footgear.

    During the fighting in Tunisia, a tire on his jeep was ruined, and there was no replacement. So that night, Farwell infiltrated German lines, crawled and creeped around in his slippers, and finally came upon an unguarded German version of the jeep. Working rapidly in the darkness, he removed one wheel and, lugging the heavy load, sneaked back to friendly lines.
     

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