Original U.S. WWII USMC Marine Raider Named Grouping
Original Items: On-of-a-kind grouping. This named set is incredibly rare having been recently acquired from the Veteran’s family. I consists of a named Original United States Marine Raider stiletto with original leather scabbard, WW2 USMC brass dog tag, Japanese WW2 flag named bring back trophy, cloth raider patch, and 2 Original photos of the solider in the Pacific theatre during WW2!
The Marine Raiders were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct special amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines. "Edson's" Raiders of 1st Marine Raiders Battalion and "Carlson's" Raiders of 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion are said to be the first United States special operations forces to form and see combat in World War II.
This grouping named to Robert W. Johnson is truly amazing.
Included in the set are the following items:
Original United States Marine Raider stiletto with original leather sheath. Features of note include a copper skull inlaid in the grip, U.S.M.C. in scroll on the blade and it is nicely stamped on the blade;
The U.S. Marine Raider stiletto was similar to the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife. Both were designed hilt heavy, to lie in the hand, to prevent dropping the stiletto. Both had a tapered, double-edge blade with stiletto sharp tip and diamond shaped cross section, sharpened on both cutting edges all the way to the oval crossguard. They both had a slender symmetrical grip of "Coca-Cola bottle" shape and both weighed the same 1.5 pounds The primary difference was that the U.S. Marine Raider stiletto hilt was a one-piece construction, die-cast directly onto the blade tang, which is the extension of the blade shoulder, concealed by the knife grip. The stiletto hilt was die cast using zinc aluminium alloy, which exhibited the desirable characteristics of sharp casting, low shrinkage, low cost and above all, minimal use of strategic war-priority metals. However, over time it was discovered that the zinc ions in this alloy have a tendency to leach out, leaving the casting extremely brittle. As a result, more than half of the few Raider stilettos still in existence today have very fine hilt cracks or entire portions of the hilt missing with pieces having simply flaked off; many more have replacement handles. This decay can be delayed to some extent by coating the hilt with petroleum jelly.
Original USMC brass dog tag that reads:
Original Japanese WW2 flag with ink ranger skull illustration and stars and the name;
WW2 USMC ranger cloth shoulder patch.
Two Original photos of Bob Johnson, one with a Grease Gun the other with two captured Japanese prayer flags.
History of the rangers in WW2:
Provisional Rubber Boat Companies:
One of the deficiencies of the Fleet Marine Force was a lack of fast transport ships that could keep up with a Naval fleet. Until fast attack transports entered the Navy, either the fleet would have to keep its speed down to the speed of the transport ships, or the fleet would have to split in two components; neither option was desirable. With the start of World War II in 1939, a group was formed to come up with a solution that could be rapidly implemented. The group found a large number of destroyers built for the First World War that were in the mothball fleet. These destroyers had four boilers and four smoke stacks and were fast enough to keep up with the fleet. The group discovered that by removing two boilers and smoke stacks room could be found to quarter a company of 130 Marines who would be landed by inflatable boats. These high speed transports were named APDs by the Navy. The APDs later had four Higgins boats attached to them.
In February 1941 one company ("A", "E" and "I") from each battalion of the recently formed 7th Marines were designated "Provisonal Rubber Boat Companies" and participated in a Fleet Landing Exercise (FLEX-7) in 1941. After the exercise, General Holland Smith assigned the APDs and rubber boat function to the 1st Battalion 5th Marines.
With America thrust into the war, the President became interested in creating an American counterpart to the British Commandos and the Marine Corps was the natural place for this organization. Indeed, the commanding general of the 2nd Marine Division initially proposed the name "Marine Commandos". The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General Thomas Holcomb, was of the opinion, however, that "the term 'Marine' is sufficient to indicate a man ready for duty at any time, and the injection of a special name, such as 'Commando,' would be undesirable and superfluous." General Holcomb redesignated the 1st Battalion 5th Marines as the "1st Separate Battalion" and created the 2nd Separate Battalion to be commanded by Carlson in response to pressure from the President.
The debate over the creation of these elite units came to a climax when the new commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Chester Nimitz, requested "commando units" for raids against lightly defended Japanese-held islands. The commandant selected the term "Raiders" and created two battalions. The 1st Raider Battalion was activated on 16 February 1942, followed by the 2nd Raider Battalion on February 19. Carlson was given a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and placed in command of the 2nd Raiders, and LtCol (later, Major General) Merritt A. "Red Mike" Edson, command of the 1st.
The Raiders were created by an order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, acting on proposals from Colonel William J. Donovan and Major Evans F. Carlson. Carlson had been a soldier in the Punitive Expedition to capture Pancho Villa in Mexico and World War I, became a Marine officer during the American occupation of Nicaragua, and served as an Intelligence Officer of the 4th Marines in China. He had seen the tactics and strategy of Communist Chinese irregulars, Zhu Dé and the Eighth Route Army in particular, as they fought the occupying Japanese and became enthralled with their version of guerrilla warfare. In 1933 Carlson had commanded the Marine Detachment at the Warm Springs, Georgia vacation retreat of President Roosevelt, where he formed a close friendship with both Franklin D. Roosevelt and his son James. Carlson resigned from the Marines to speak to American businessmen to warn them against providing materials to Japan. Carlson rejoined the Marines in April 1941, gaining a commission from the Commandant as a reserve major. Carlson still had the President's ear as well as FDR's son James Roosevelt, who was now a Marine Captain and was his friend and protégé.
The Raiders were given the best of the Marines' equipment, and were handpicked from available volunteers. The two units approached their common mission from different directions. Carlson used egalitarian and team-building methods learned from the Communists during his years in China: he treated officers and enlisted men with minimum regard to rank as leaders and fighters, gave his men "ethical indoctrination," describing for each man what he was fighting for and why, and used the Chinese phrase "Gung-ho!" as a motivational slogan. He also eschewed standard Marine Corps organization, forming six rifle companies of two platoons each, and innovating 3-man "fire teams" as its basic unit. Edson's battalion, however, more closely followed standard Marine Corps doctrine in training, organization, and discipline.
Combat in the Central Pacific and Solomons:
Both Raider battalions were put into action at roughly the same time. On 7 August 1942, Edson's 1st Raider Battalion, assigned to the 1st Marine Division, landed on Tulagi in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate as the opening phase of the Guadalcanal Campaign. After the capture of Tulagi, the Raiders were moved to Guadalcanal to defend Henderson Field. One of their most notable engagements was the "Battle of Edson's Ridge", where the 1st Raiders, remnants of the 1st Parachute Battalion, and the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines scored a major defensive victory over Imperial Japanese Army forces on the night of September 1314. Out of the action both Edson and Major Kenneth D. Bailey were awarded the Medal of Honor, the latter posthumously. The Marine Raiders battledress was the M1942 Frog Skin pattern. In 1942, the Marine Raiders were the first unit issued with the M1942 Frog Skin pattern, which was reversible with a five-colour jungle pattern on one side and a three-colour beach pattern on the other side.
Carlson's 2d Raider Battalion boarded the submarines Nautilus (SS-168, Cdr William H. Brockman, Jr.) and Argonaut (APS-1, Cdr John R. "Jack" Pierce) and raided Makin Island on August 1718. During the raid, Sergeant Clyde A. Thomason was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and was the first Marine recipient of this honor during World War II. Unfortunately, nine men were unintentionally left on the island when the Raiders returned to the submarines. These men were captured and later beheaded at Kwajalein.
After the Battle of Savo Island, 1400 men in various support units of the 2nd Marine Regiment who had not yet landed on Tulagi were returned to Espiritu Santo after the transports they were on were withdrawn from the area. Deeming them "idle Marines", Admiral Richmond K. Turner decided to form them into a "2nd Provisional Raider Battalion" without consulting the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The unit was ordered created on 29 August 1942 but the order was superseded on 28 September 1942 by theater commander Admiral Robert L. Ghormley. Admiral Turner believed that regimental or larger sized Marine units were not suitable for Marine amphibious forces and desired that all Marine battalions be re-formed as Raider battalions, which may have influenced the Marine Corps to take a dim view of the entire Raider concept.
In the fall of 1942, two additional Raider battalions were created; the 3rd Raiders in Samoa, commanded by LtCol Harry B. Liversedge, and the 4th Raiders at Camp Pendleton, California, commanded by now-LtCol James Roosevelt. These battalions distinguished themselves in heavy combat alongside the 1st and 2d Raiders in the 1943 campaigns in the upper Solomons. On March 15, 1943, the four battalions were organized as the 1st Marine Raider Regiment at Espiritu Santo, with Liversedge as commander and Carlson as executive officer. LtCol Alan Shapley was named commander of the 2nd Raiders a week later and immediately returned it to a standard organization.
The 1st Raider Regiment enforced a common organization among the battalions. Each had a weapons company, and four rifle companies composed of three rifle platoons and a weapons platoon. The result reflected a mixture of Edson's and Carlson's ideas. Carlson's 3-man fire team and 10-man squad organizations were adopted, first by the Raiders and then by the entire Marine Corps. Edson contributed the concept of a highly trained, lightly equipped force using conventional tactics to accomplish special missions or to fill in for a line battalion.
During the New Georgia Campaign, the 1st Marine Raider Regiment was reorganized, consisting of the 1st and 4th Raiders, and two battalions of the 37th Infantry Division, commanded by Liversedge. At the same time, the 2nd and 3rd Raider Battalions were organized as the 2nd Marine Raider Regiment (Provisional) under Shapley, for the invasion of Bougainville, the final combat action of the Raiders before their dissolution. PFC Henry Gurke of the 3rd Raider Battalion was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions of 6 November 1943, on Bougainville.
In December 1943 command of the 1st Raider Regiment passed to Lieutenant Colonel Samuel D. Puller. The regiment left New Caledonia on 21 January and landed on Guadalcanal three days later. The provisional 2d Raider Regiment disbanded and rejoined into the 1st, with the senior Shapley in command and Puller the executive officer.
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