top of page

Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders

Over the years since Behind The Lines was published in 2013, Michael has written several articles dealing with different aspects of special purpose, special mission forces. Once again Casemate Publishers agreed to publish Michael's latest book. When it was first submitted Michael was told that it was a little too short. At the time it had only 9 chapters and 1 appendix. Michael reviewed items that he had previously put together but had not been published in books. He found one article and a bunch of appendices dealing with World War II operations or units. [NOTE: Appendices B through L are all derived from entries on Wikipedia.] All were added. Michael also expanded the chapter dealing with the American airborne forces and some illustrations. The expanded portions were acceptable and the result was worked on. The book was published in March 2023 in the UK and in April 2023 in the US. The book was selected by the Military Book Club.

Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders - Origin, Organization, and Operations of Selected Special Operations Forces 

ISBN: 978-1-63624-283-5 (hardcover)

Special purpose, special mission organizations have existed for many years, supplementing operations of theater forces. These organizations have been used by many countries and in many forms, from ground-based units, parachute units, glider units, and helicopter units. They have been used independently and in conjunction with other organizations. Until World War II, almost all of these type units were disbanded at the conclusion of fighting. Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders contains discussions of various special purpose, special mission organizations conducting operations from the time of the French and Indian War, through the American Revolutionary War, the American Civil War, World War II, up to and including the Vietnam War. Although most of these operations were conducted by American units, not all of them are. Included are the Special Operations Executive from England, a joint Allied force employed near the end of World War II, and a joint US-Canadian unit which saw action in Alaska and Europe. The book covers a variety of organizations and operations to show the wide range of capabilities of special organizations; it also contains unit insignia, organization charts, and sketch maps to make clear to the reader where operations occur.

How does Michael Dilley keep finding this stuff? In his latest tour de force, Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders, he again proves that he is sine pari among special operations authors. Dilley feeds hungry readers juicy slabs of new historical meat and garnishes the narrative with tasty visuals that inform and enhance. Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders is a wonderful contribution to the extant military history collective and a must fo every special operations library. Bravo!

        Lance Q. Zedric

        Author of Silent Warriors of WWII - The Alamo Scouts Behind Enemy               Lines

        Co-author (with Michael F. Dilley) of Elite Warriors - 300 Years of                       America's Best Fighting Troops

Great stories about elite military units. A fine example of truth being more interesting than fiction. Well done!!

        Michael Lee Lanning

        Author of Inside the LRRPs: Rangers in Vietnam

Michael Dilley has added to his already significant contributions to the literature on special operations with this review of a number of units and missions, primarily American, that aren't well-known except to specialists. Ranging from the American Revolution to Vietnam, each chapter covers a different mission performed by highly trained soldiers assigned difficult and dangerous tasks, illustrating the wide application of special operations forces. A short but most interesting book.

        John R. Scales, Brigadier General (retired), US Army Special Forces

        Author of Sherman Invades Georgia; A Reluctant Hero's Footsteps;             The Battles and Campaigns of Confederate General Nathan Bedford             Forrest; and In Service of the Nation.

Modern readers cannot personally witness significant events in history, but Rangers, Scouts, and Raiders transports readers back in time to get first-hand accounts of the courageous people who engaged in dangerous wartime missions.

        Jack Schafer, PhD., FBI Special Agent (retired)

        Author of Psychological Narrative Analysis; The Like Switch; and The            Truth Detector 

To paraphrase Emerson, Mike Dilley reminds us that All Military History is biography. We see the special character, training, discipline, and courage of those who pushed the edges of the envelope in pursuit of excellence in operations, and laid the foundation for the successes of today's stalwart men and women in defense of freedom.

        John Nolan

        Author of CONFIDENTIAL: Business Secrets - Getting Theirs -                          Keeping Yours

This is in many ways the very "bones" of special oepratioons as they have been organized and used over the years. The scope is as broad as good military planning itself. Personal reminiscences are fascinating, useful primary sources for historians but what Mr. Dilley has given us here is a record gleaned from many sources.

        Daniel J. Cragg, Sergeant Major (retired), US Army

        Co-author (with Michael Lee Lanning) of Inside the VC and the NVA;            (with Sergeant Major of the Army Bill Bainbridge) Top Sergeant;                    (with John R. Elting and Earnest Deal) of a Dictionary of SoldierTalk

Mike Dilley is a reliable researcher for all things exceptional military. His research is exhaustive, his organization of historic information and the service member's perspective will find you turning page after page.

        James Pyle, Conversation CODEX LLC

        Co-author (with Maryann Karinch) of Find Out Anything from Anyone,            Anytime

A superb anthology of American special operations units created over the course of her history.  The author has performed a great service by recording their achievements. Rangers, Scouts and Raiders will prove to be the go-to source for books on U.S. elite forces. A must read for all those interested in this topic. Well done, Mike Dilley. 

        Gary Linderer, F/he Eagle

Well-written and meticulously researched, the book is an excellent example of truth being more interesting than fiction. It is easy to read with photos, charts and maps that help the reader keep pace with the action . . is an excellent behind-the-scenes view of the planning and tactics of selected . . . special operations forces . . . a welcome addition to any military historian's collection, and it will appeal to anyone just looking for a first-rate book to add to their reading list.

      Command Sgt Maj Jimmie Spencer, U.S. Army (Ret.) 

      ARMY magazine, December 2023

“...a recommended read for anyone interested in the development of airborne operations, special mission units, and the organizational perspectives of U.S. special operations during the Office of Strategic Services in World War II to the John F. Kennedy years.”


      Andrew Young

      On Point: The Journal of Army History

"The strength .... is its exceptional prose and style; it is simply hard to put down...Each chapter contains a list of sources for further research. This work is highly readable and would be an excellent addition to the library of any historian or student with an interest on the subject."

       James McIntyre III, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)

       Infantry magazine, Spring 2024

All Material - Copyright © 2024 by Michael F. Dilley. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be used in any form by any means without the written consent of Mr. Dilley

bottom of page