A lot of Delta Force kits have been up on my blog posts lately. One of my main focuses has been on Ranger kits for a long time, so taking on something new has been very invigorating for me. But, now it is time to return to my roots. I recently got some new gear in, along with a new replica, the M16A1. With that, it is time to make a post that is long overdue in my opinion: Op Urgent Fury 1983 Ranger kit.
I have had the M653 carbine for a good while now, and while that is correct for the operation as well, the M16A1 was more commonplace with the Ranger units during that time frame. The M653 was mostly used by NCOs and officers, along with the Recoilless Rifle company Rangers. The M653 was easier to carry around, since they already had their heavy Recoilless Rifles to carry around, along with their ammunition and LAW Launchers.
This time, I will not do a short recap of the background of the operation, as I already did one on the post about the Delta Force kit of the same operation. Instead, let us dive into the main part of the post instead!
Rangers Lead The Way – Vietnam era Jungle Fatigue aesthetics
The above image is probably one of the first (if not the first) image that pops up when searching Google with the keywords ‘ranger grenada’. Image was taken at Point Salines and features the C Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Date for the photo is set at October 25th, 1983.
In this particular image we see M16A1s being carried by the Rangers. They are also using the Vietnam era Jungle Fatigues, the M1C helmet and some of them have the M1951 patrol cap. The Rangers used the Jungle Fatigues until the late 1980s, when they changed over to the new M81 Woodland BDUs. In Panama during Operation Just Cause, you see Rangers using these BDUs exclusively. These BDUs were around in Grenada as well, but they were very uncomfortable in tropical climates due to the heavy weight of the fabric in the early versions. Even the 82nd Airborne switched over to the Jungle Fatigues days into the operation.
Jungle boots seem to have been the selected footwear during the operation. On a sidenote, I think they are probably the best boots for warm climates/summer. I have a pair of -88 dated ones myself and they are simply rocking. Other gear for the period is, naturally, the ALICE LBE. Also of note are the leather gloves we can see quite clearly on the RTO on the left side of the photo and the Ranger behind him as well.
The above image is of my own kit. It is a very basic ALICE setup with 2 canteens, 2 ammo pouches and 2 compass/First Aid pouches. Additional ammo pouches could be added as well, if needed. As per usual, I have a foam pad for comfort on the belt as well. I don’t think I currently have a setup where I do not use this mod. My helmet has a RDF cover on it, and is of the M1 variant, so in that aspect not correct. I am using a G&P M16A1 replica for this kit. And of course, there are the Jungle Fatigues.
This is the very basic for getting the look right for Grenada. Additional items can be added, of course, and mall details make these even better. Last spring, before I had the correct rucksack straps and helmet cover, we did a weapons platoon Ranger inspired photoshoot. Main differences there were the M653 and the LAW Launcher. This photoshoot is planned for this spring as well, with some new items. The plan is to replicate the M67 90mm recoilless rifle as close as possible (with the weight and everything) to be used in the shoot. But for now, below are a few images from last spring. I am using a ALICE rucksack with added camo, attached to a piece of camo netting with extra vegetation. Vegetation has also been added to the helmet.
The vegetation camo you see in the images was inspired by the below image. You can see the Ranger at the back right carrying the M67 recoilless rifle and the lead Ranger is carrying the M653 or M16A1 carbine. They are using vegetation as additional camouflage. This is an effective form of camo, but needs to be changed depending on the terrain. This is the way I was taught to use camo back in the day.
As I mentioned earlier in the post, Rangers used the OD Jungle Fatigues quite far into the 1980s. During Operation Just Cause (Panama, 1989) they had switched over to the Woodland BDUs, however. Before the Jungle fatigues, from about 1974 until 1982/83, the Battalions wore the Vietnam era ERDL Jungle fatigues. Why the OD ones were used instead of the ERDL ones, I have no information on. If anyone does, please drop a comment below!
As per usual, to finish the post off, below are some more images of the current setup I have talked about in this post. Another photoshoot is planned around this concept later in the spring, once snow melts.