Airborne Ranger manual
- Airborne Ranger
Welcome to AIRBORNE RANGER, the game of modern combat behind enemy
lines. This supplement includes instructions on how to load the
program (including troubleshooting tips) and a summary of joystick and
keyboard controls. It does not include instructions on how to play
the game. To start playing immediately, open the AIRBORNE RANGER
FIELD MANUAL to page 2, "How to Play Without Reading the Manual," and
follow the instructions there.
1. Commodore C64/C64C/C128
2. Commodore 1541 or 1571 disk drive
1. Turn off your computer and disk drive.
2. Attach one joystick in port #2. Do NOT leave a joystick in port
#1 (a joystick there can scramble the keyboard controls).
3. Turn on your disk drive. WARNING: Do NOT leave a disk in the
drive when you turn it on or off -- your disk could be damaged.
4. Remove all cartridges from your computer.
5. Insert the AIRBORNE RANGER disk, label upward, into the disk
drive. Close the drive door latch.
6. Turn on your computer.
* On a C128 computer, AIRBORNE RANGER loads automatically.
* On a C64 or C64C, you must type the following to load the
Load "*",8,1 and press RETURN
Note: After loading, leave the disk in the drive.
7. Have a spare disk handy. You'll need a blank disk to save your
Ranger. It doesn't have to be formatted since a special format
disk routine can be selected within the Save Ranger sequence.
* If the program does not load or run correctly, turn off BOTH the
computer and the disk drive. Leave them off for at least 10 seconds,
then try again.
* If it still doesn't load or run correctly, turn off your computer,
disk drive and all other attached equipment. Disconnect attached
peripheral devices such as printers, modems, light pens etc. AIRBORNE
RANGER uses memory in odd locations and sometimes attached equipment
tries to use this RAM memory too, destroying necessary parts of the
* Try loading the program on another machine. If it loads correctly
on that machine, your difficulties are in your hardware. The most
common problem is that disk drive speed or alignment (especially
alignment) is off. Have a local dealer or service department readjust
the disk drive. Be sure to treat your disk drive carefully --
something as minor as a gentle bump can throw it out of alignment.
* The C64 version of AIRBORNE RANGER uses a proprietary
fast-load-from-disk routine. (This greatly speeds disk access time,
and is faster than cartridge-based fast load programs.) Do NOT
attempt to use a cartridge fast-load program with AIRBORNE RANGER.
Similarly, non-Commodore disk drives may or may not work, depending on
their level of compatibility with the 1541 and 1571 drives.
* If you still have trouble loading on other machines as well as your
own, you may be one of the tiny percentage who receive a defective
disk despite our quality checks. However, we find that hardware
problems are (regrettably) much more frequent than damaged disks.
* If you have further problems, contact MicroProse Customer Service at
(301) 771-1151 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST. Please
have pencil and paper handy before your call.
Commodore C-64 and C128 are trademarks of Commodore Electronics, Ltd.
The controller referred to in the manual is your JOYSTICK.
To steer aircraft left, right: Push JOYSTICK left or right.
To drop supply pods: Press JOYSTICK FIRE BUTTON before jump light
To jump from aircraft: Press JOYSTICK FIRE BUTTON after jump light
To steer parafoil: Push JOYSTICK in direction you want to go.
To move: Push JOYSTICK in direction you want to go.
To run: Press either CRSR key. Note that combat indicator in upper
left corner changes from black background to white to indicate
running condition. To return to walking, press CRSR again.
To crawl: Press the SPACE BAR. To return to upright position, press
SPACE BAR again.
To aim: Use JOYSTICK to rotate Ranger until aiming in desired
direction. Line up the Target Crosshair with the target.
To attack: Press the JOYSTICK FIRE BUTTON to shoot (or stab, if
Carbine: Press the f1 key.
Hand Grenade: Press the f3 key. Weapon selected returns to Carbine
after each use.
Law Rocket: Press the f5 key. Weapon selected returns to Carbine
after each use.
Knife: Press the f7 key.
Time bomb (five second delay): Press the 5 key.
Time bomb (ten second delay): Press the 6 key.
Time bomb (fifteen second delay): Press the 7 key.
To use First Aid: Press the INST DEL key.
To see Map (pauses game): Press the RUN STOP key. Press key or
JOYSTICK FIRE BUTTON to return to combat screen.
To Recall Aircraft: Press the <- (left arrow)) key.
Modern Combat Behind Enemy Lines
Change 0, September 1987
Copyright (C) 1987
MicroProse Software, Inc.
180 Lakefront Drive, Hunt Valley, MD 21030
Airborne Ranger is a trademark of MicroProse Software, Inc.
Game Design and Documentation:
Original Software Developrnent (C-64):
Cornputer Graphics and Animation:
Iris Leigh Idokogi
Sound Effects and Music:
Print Creative Director:
Mark J. Ciola
Cover and Manual Illustrations:
Alan Roireau, Bill Stealey, Larry Martin, Steve Meyer,
Chris Taormino, Noah Callahan-Bever, Ed Bever, Silas Warner
Special Thanks To:
Rich McDowell, Public Affairs Office, Fort Benning
Introduction: "Rangers, Lead the Way!"
THE ELITE UNIT has always captured the imagination of both soldier and
civilian. Units such as the Rangers are the point men of the armed
forces, the cutting edge, and they fascinate us to an extent out of
proportion to their numbers. We envy them their sharp, distinctive
appearance, their high status, their esprit de corps. and most of all
their awesome skill in their chosen profession. They have an aura of
competence that is at once reassuring and intimidating, as if they
will admit no limits to what they can achieve. This unshakeable
confidence would seem preposterous if it had not been borne out time
and again by events on and off the battlefield. The really are as good
as they think they are.
Throughout history, when the need was there for a special unit to
perform extremely difficult and hazardous missions, the United States
has called on its soldiers to form a unit of Rangers. And every time
the volunteers have stepped forward - from throughout the Army the
toughest, the smartest and the most dedicated come forth to join the
Rangers. They know that a soldier qualified to wear the small
embroidered tab that says "RANGER" is a soldier who has proven
himself in one of the most rugged and rigorous training courses in the
world. They've suffered the worst that man and nature can throw at
them and come out hardened, tempered. They are te best of the best.
And they better be, for they are often called upon to do the seemingly
impossible. Need an impregnable shore fortiflcation taken out in
advance of a landing? Need supply lines cut behind enemy lines? A
lightning strike to liberate a prison camp? A low altitude combat drop
on an enemy airfield? Call the Rangers. They will do the job, if lt
can be done.
Airborne Ranger gives you a taste of what it's like to be an elite
soldier on a hazardous mission. Behind enemy lines, cut off from
friends and allies, you have nothing to depend on but stealth, quick
wits, combat skill and guts. You're surrounded, outnumbered and
outgunned. your enemies are dangerous and dedicated, but others are
counting on you to complete your mission. You have surprise on your
side, and a creed that won't admit of failure. Ranger, lead the way!
HOW TO PLAY WITHOUT
READING THE MANUAL
This "quick start" is for players who prefer to learn by
experimentation. To fully understand the game, you'll want to read the
appropriate sections of this manual, but to get started in a hurry,
just follow these instructions.
Loading: See Loading section of the Technical Supplement.
Ranger Assignment Screen: Press your controller button to select
Assign a Practice Ranger.
Mission Selection Screen: Press the button to select MISSION 1:
DESTROY A MUNITIONS DEPOT. Next is the Difficulty Level bar, which is
already set on the easiest level. Press the controller button again to
Campaign Ribbon Recognition: The next screen to appear will ask you to
identify a campaign ribbon. You will notice that there are ribbons
with identifying names at the bottom of many pages in this manual.
Find the name in the manual that matches the name on the screen, then
use the controller to move the pointer to the matching ribbon. Press
the controller button to select.
Mission Orders: Read your orders, be sure you understand them, then
press the button to CONTINUE.
Airdrop: The map screen will appear, scrolling toward the top of the
screen, with your aircraft in the center. Use your controller to steer
the aircraft left or right; press the button to drop your supply pods.
when the Jump Light turns green, press the button again to make the
Ranger jump. Use the controller to steer him to a safe (clear) landing
Combat Screen: Use te controller to move the Ranger; press the button
to use his current weapon. Look at the keyboard overlay to see which
keys enable you to change weapons or movement modes. Press the MAP key
to check your location (and pause the game). When you've accomplished
the mission, press the PICKUP key to recall your aircraft. Good luck,
and keep your head down!
PART 1: BEHIND ENEMY LINES
After loading the game. the title screen appears. You can let it run
through its entire animation and sound sequence, or you can leave the
title screen by pressing the controller button. After the title
screen, you report to the personnel officer for Ranger assignment.
This sequence of options lets you select a Ranger for the upcoming
mission. The initial choices are:
ASSIGN A PRACTICE RANGER
ASSIGN A VETERAN RANGER
FORMAT A NEW ROSTER DISKETTE
The first choice is always highlighted. To highlight a different
choice, use your controller to move the cursor up and down until the
choice you want is highlighted. Select it by pressing your controller
Assign a Practice Ranger: Worning: a practice Ranger will not be
recorded on the Veteran Roster after the game. This choice selects an
average Ranger from the ranks and assigns him to the mission. Use this
option for practice games or when you want to get into the mission
Assign a Veteran Ranger: This choice lets you assign a veteran Ranger
from the Veteran Ranger Roster to the mission. Insert your Ranger
Diskette so you can review the veterans and select the one most
qualified for the job. When you select a Ranger, you will be asked to
ASSIGN or RETIRE him. Select ASSIGN to use that Ranger on the mission.
Select RETIRE to replace that veteran with a new Ranger.
Warning: A retired Ranger is gone from the roster for good!
You can use this option to assign a ,,new" Ranger. You will be asked
to give him a name; just follow the instructions on the screen and
he'll soon be all set up on the Roster Diskette.
Picture of: ARMY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL
Format a New Roster Diskette: If you have created no Roster Diskette
for the storage of Rangers on a Veteran Roster, or your previous
Roster Diskette is full and you wish to create another, select this
choice and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. Be sure
to have a blank disk handy so it can be inserted for formatting when
the personnel officer asks for it.
There are always more missions that need to be done than there are
Rangers to do them. Choose the mission you wish by highlighting and
selecting it with your controller.
Campaigns: Experienced commanders may want to select ,,Campaign". A
Ranger assigned to a campaign will be expected to perform all of these
missions, in an order determined by his superiors. A Ranger on
campaign will not be able to select a specific mission until the
campaign is through. By selecting "Campaign" you show a commitment to
a career in the Rangers, and will be eligible for promotions and
awards that are not available to those who prefer to select their
Difficulty Level: After selection you will be asked to choose the
difficulty level of the mission (or campaign). The higher the
difficulty level, the more dangerous the mission, but the Ranger will
have the opportunity to score more merit points. Use the controller to
move the slider left or right on the difflculty bar (left = easy;
right = difficult). Press controller button to select.
Fatigue Test - Campaign Ribbon Recognition
To test your alertness, the next screen asks you to ldentify a
campaign ribbon from one of six showing. (A Ranger too fatigued to
tell one campaign ribbon from another will not be assigned a mission.)
There are ribbons with identifyng names at the bottom of pages in this
manual. They are shown in alphabetical order. Find the name in the
manual that matches the name on the screen, then use the controller to
move the pointer to the matching ribbon. Press the controller button
to select. Alternatively, enter the number corresponding to the
Picture of: ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL
Airdrop to the Mission Zone
The mission begins. While enemy attention is diverted elsewhere, a
V-22 Osprey aircraft flies your Ranger to the mission zone, hugging
the ground and dodging enemy radar. The Osprey will pass over the goal
area for a quick reconnaissance, then continue south to the Drop Zone
where you can jump in relative safety. Take note of the terrain you're
passing over - you'll have to find the best way across tis territory
to get to your goal.
Picture of: ARMY OF OCCUPATION MEDAL
Osprey Control: The Osprey flies south at a steady speed, but at your
request it can deviate course east or west to some extent (so you can
drop Supply Pods where you want, and jump at a favorable location). To
move the Osprey east or west, move your controller left or right.
Supply Pods: You have been issued three Supply Pods, each containing
extra arms, ammo and first aid. These may be dropped after the Osprey
enters mission zone airspace. To drop press the controller button
anytime before tile Jump Light turns green. Each time the button is
pressed a Supply Pod is kicked out te door of the Osprey; the pod's
parachute opens and it drops straight down. lt is recommended that
Supply Pods be dropped over open territory, as they may be damaged and
lost if they land in a ditch or on a boulder. A Ranger can't carry
three Supply Pods worth of arms and ammo, so it's probably a good idea
to drop them at intervals so they can be picked up later as needed.
Jump Into Danger: When the Jump Light turns green you can jump into
the mission zone. To jump, press the controller button. A
light-colored rectangle representing your parafoil (a controllable
parachute) appears on the map view. A dark shadow appears beneath it,
indicating your altitude. Use the controller to steer the parafoil.
Try to land in an open area, away from enemy defenses such as bunkers
and machine gun nests. If you land in a trench or on some obstacle
like barbed wire, you could be wounded. If you land in a minefield, or
in the badlands south of the drop zone, the mission could end before
Most of the action takes place on the Combat Screen, which shows you,
the Ranger, in the center, surrounded by your immediate environment.
In the upper left hand corner of the screen are the Combat Indicators.
Picture of: ASIATIC-PACIFIC CAMPAIGN
Picture of: COMBAT SCREEN
The Combat Indicators give a quick-reference summary of your current
condition. (For a more detailed summary, see the indicators on the Map
View, as explained below.) The Combat Indicators include the weapon
silhouette, ammo indicator, countdown clock, fatigue bar and wound
Picture of: Combat Indicators
Weapon Silhouette: This shows the weapon currently used. (See Weapon
Use for details.)
Picture of: BRONZE STAR
Ammo Indicator: This shows how much ammunition the Ranger has for the
current weapon. (See Weapon Use for details.)
Countdown Clock: This shows, in seconds, how much time the Ranger has
to complete the mission. (See completing the Mission for details.)
Fatigue Bar: This shows the Ranger's relative tiredness, which affects
his ability to run. (See Ranger Movement for details.)
Wound Indicator: This shows how many untreated wounds the Ranger has.
(See Wounds and First Aid for details.)
Direction: The direction of Ranger facing and movement is determined
using the controller. Simply move the controller in the direction you
want to go. You rotate until facing that direction, then move.
Changing Movement Speeds: You start the ground mission walking. To
change to running, press the RUN/WALK key; to switch back to walking,
press it again (it's a toggle). In like manner, pressing the
CRAWL/UPRIGHT key enables you to toggle between walking (or running)
and crawling. Press CRAWL/ UPRIGHT to go prone; press again to stand
Walking: Walking moves you at a reasonable rate speed, but it's
difficult to stay out of sight while walking (your head sticks up
above bushes, hedges, and the edges of trenches). Its main advantage
is that while walking you regain energy lost.
Running: Running moves you the fastest speed, but tires you rather
quickly. lt's best used for short dashes across dangerous open
terrain. Note the two "bar" indicators at the top left of the screen.
The leftmost bar grows from the bottom as you become more tired. When
the bar reaches the top, you drop back into ,,walking" mode until
rested sufficiently (bar decreased) to try running again. How fast you
tire depends on your health (number of wounds) and how much gear
you're carrying. A wounded Ranger carrying two Supply Pods can't run
far at all.
Picture of: DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
Crawling: Crawling is slowest, but in dangerous areas it's definiltely
the safest mode of travel. When crawling, you can hide behind
boulders, bushes, hedges, walls and other low objects. Furthermore,
when crawling in a depression such as a trench or ditch, enemies can't
see you unless they are also in the depression. When crawling through
water you are completely hidden, but if you stay down too long, you
start drowning (taking wounds).
An Airborne Ranger has a variety of weapons at his disposal. To see
which weapon you are currently armed with, look at the Combat
Indicator at the top left corner of the screen and note what
silhouette appears there. The Ranger always starts the mission armed
with the Carbine. Beneath the weapon silhouette is a digital ammo
indicator showing how many rounds are available for that weapon. To
change weapons just press the appropriate key for the weapon you want.
The silhouette will change when the weapons are switched.
When you first land, you are armed with an automatic carbine (with
four magazines) three hand grenades, a LAW rocket and a time bomb.
Further weapons and ammo must be collected from Supply Pods or (on
some missions) enemy sources.
Picture of: DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL
Aiming: No matter which way you face, a Target Crosshair appears in
front of you. This Target Crosshair indicates which way the Ranger's
fire would go if he were to shoot. To aim, line up the Target Cross
with a potential target and fire.
Picture of: COMBAT SCREEN
You can face in only eight directions for movement purposes but you
can shoot in many more - 32 directions, in fact. To control this fine
aiming ability, you'll have to master rotating just slightly so as to
make the Target Crosshair move only one or two positions. Practice
tapping the controller left or right, rotating the Target Crosshair
just a few positions, until you get a feel for how to aim using your
Carbine: This short automatic rifle fires when the controller button
is pressed. The Carbine is effective only against unarmored enemy
troops. The ammo indicator shows how many magazines you have for the
Carbine. Each magazine contains thirty rounds; a thrifty Ranger can
make his Carbine ammo go a long way. You always automatically return
to Carbine after using a Hand Grenade, LAW Rocket or Time Bomb.
Hand Grenade: To throw a Hand Grenade, press the controller button,
then release it. The grenade is thrown when the button is released.
The longer the button is held before release, the farther the grenade
is thrown. Hand Grenades are effective against enemy troops, machine
gun nests, wooden doors and other lightly-armored objects. The ammo
indicator shows how many individual Hand Grenades you have. After
throwing a Hand Grenade you automatically return to Carbine.
Picture of: EUROPEAN-AFRICAN CAMPAIGN
LAW Rocket: A Light Antitank Weapon rocket is launched when the
controller button is pressed. LAW Rockets are effective against nearly
all enemy troops and defenses. The ammo indicator shows how many
individual rockets you have. After using a LAW Rocket you
automatically return to Carbine.
Knife: When the controller button is pressed, you stab in the
direction you are facing. The Knife is effective only against enemy
troops who are right next to the Ranger. Its advantage is its silent
attack (which attracts no attention) and the fact that it never runs
out of ammunition.
Time Bombs: These are charges of plastic explosive with variable
time-detonators. There are three different Time Bomb keys for weapon
selection, each with a different length of time to detonation: 5, 10
or 15 seconds. When you select a Time Bomb you also select the length
of time its detonator is set for. After setting a Time Bomb you
automatically return to Carbine.
To select Time Bomb, press one of the Time Bomb keys. Press the
controller button to place the bomb. When you release the button, the
countdown to detonation begins. lt's a very good idea to get away from
a ticking Time Bomb. If you can't get away, get behind cover.
Time Bombs are effective against all enemy troops and defenses. They
are also excellent for causing diversions, as you can set a time bomb
with a long fuse, move well away, and watch all the enemy troops
scurry toward the crater after it goes off. The ammo indicator shows
how many individual Time Bombs the Ranger has.
Wounds and First Aid
Wounds: In the Combat Indicators, the rightmost bar shows how many
wounds you have suffered. Each time you are wounded one part of the
three-segment bar lights up. Thanks to your superb new lightweight
body armor, most small-caliber bullets fail to penetrate and only
succeed in knocking you down. But you can't stand up in front of a
hail of fire and expect to escape unscathed - occasionally you'l1 get
hit in an unprotected spot, or suffer a light wound even through the
armor. With one or two wounds, you keep moving; with three wounds, you
die (and the mission ends).
Some weapons, such as land mines, flame throwers or antitank rockets,
can inflict multiple wounds on a Ranger - maybe even, kill hirm
Picture of: GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL
First Aid: To treat a wound, press die FIRST AID key on the keyboard.
You are issued one First Aid kit with which you can treat a wound and
keep going long enough to complete the mission. Each Supply Pod
contains another First Aid kit.Use of a First Aid kit removes one
wound from your total and exhausts that First Aid kit.
Using the Map: You have been provided with a detailed map of the
mission zone. To look at this map, press the MAP key. (This also
pauses die game). To return to the mission, press the MAP key again,
or press the controller button.
The Ranger's position appears near the center of the map. The map
shows the approximate area within range of the Ranger's vision. To see
more, use the controller to scroll the map up and down.
Picture of: JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD
Desert Map Symbols
MG Nest Bush Bunker
Barbed Wire SAM Launcher Wall
Tent Guard House Explosives Magazine
Bouler Hostage Prison Ammo Shack
Mine Field Trench
Temperate Map Symbols:
Barbed Wire Minefield Communications Post
Tree Stump Tank Traps Manned Turret
Ditch MG Nest Tent
Pond Wall Turret Bunker
Proximity Mines Tiger Pit Fuel Dump
Controls Pyramid Bunker
Arctic Map Symbols
Aircraft Icy Pond Wall
Bunker Ravine Fir Tree
Radar Hangar Snow Drift
MG Nest Barbed Wire
Airstrip Aviation Fuel Dump Guard House
Map View Indicators: These indlcators are provided so you can see at a
glance the condition of the Ranger's suppiles. Shown Is the total
amount of ammunitlon the Ranger is carrying. First Aid kits, Wounds
sustained and a backup Countdown Clock are also shown.
Completing the Mission
Mission Goals: Each mission has different goals, explained in the
MISSION BRIEFINGS section. On some missions it pays to be stealthy,
sneaking past enemy positions and hiding until patrols pass by. On
others it's best to do as much damage as possible, regardless of how
much attention you attract. Every mission has a specifted Pickup
Point, shown on the Map. All missions end when you are picked up by
the Osprey, killed or captured.
Countdown: These rapid Insertion and retrieval missions are timed verv
tightly. You have only a certain specifled amount of time in which to
complete a mission. The time starts counting down the moment the
Ranger lands, as shown on the Countdown Clock in the indicators. If
not summoned eariler, the Osprey will show up at the Pickup Point when
the countdown reaches zero. Don't get left behind!
Picture of: KOREAN SERVICE MEDAL
Recall: To call the Osprey to pick you up, press the RECALL key.
After a short delay, the Osprey will return to the mission zone And
hover over the Pickup Point, unrolling a rope ladder so you can climb
on. The Pickup Point is either at the mission goal or near the mission
goal; either way lt is marked on the map by an "X." The Osprey comes
ONLY to this pickup Point to retrieve you.
The Osprey can only stay above the Pickup Point for a limited time. If
you don't make it to the Pickup Point before the Osprey leaves, you
face death or capture.
Capture: If you miss your pickup and then run out of ammunition, you
may be captured. The mission is over, but you may not be lost forever.
If not killed, you will be taken to an enemy P.O.W. camp. See tile
Liberate a P.O.W. Camp mission for an explanation of how a captured
Ranger can be freed and returned to active duty.
Twelve general types of missions are avallable for assignment. Four
of these are set in desert terrain, four in a temperate zone (like
Central Europe) and four in an arctic environment. In the desert, the
heat rapidly tires you out, so the distance you can run before becommg
fatigued is decreased. In the arctic wastes, sound is absorbed by the
snow and the constant winds; it's hard to hear footsteps and gunfire.
Destroy a Munitions Depot: Analysis of high-altitude photography of
the enemyheld desert zone has identified the location of a key
munitions depot which is supplying fuel and ordnance to the enemy.
Your mission is to penetrate the defenses around this munitlons depot
and destroy as much of it as possible thus disrupting the enemy's line
Picture of: LEGION OF MERIT
The enemy depot consists of an ammunition shack, a bunker-like
explosives magazine, and a fuel dump. All three should be destroyed,
if possible. Intelligence suggests that the enemy is storing
ammunition compatible with your weapons, so it may bepossible to raid
the ammo stores before destroying them.
You are advised to use your own initiative when deciding on a high- or
low-profile approach. However, extra merit points will be awarded for
the number of enemies eliminated, so Command's advice is to let 'em
Tactical Tip: Keep an eye on the countdown clock! It pays to be
stealthy, but if you spend too much time sneaking around you'll miss
your pickup. Try to move quickly through unfortified areas.
Steal a Code Book: Your mission is to infiltrate an enemy headquarters
area in the temperate zone, find the communications post, and steal a
pouch containing secret radio codes. The enemy HQ is somewhere within
the walls of a ruined village. To find the communications post, look
for the distinctive radio aerial. Move next to the radio to pick up
Be advised that the area is currently occupied by an elite unit of
enemy troops who are expecting trouble. Extra merit points will be
awarded for number of enemies eliminated, but the primary target is
that code book.
Picture of: NCO PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Tactical Tip: Don't drop all your supply pods in one place. If you
drop them all near the goal zone, you'll have a long way to go before
reloading; if you drop them all near your Drop Zone, you'll find that
all that ammo is too much to carry. Spread them out, dropping them
along your probable route through the combat zone. It's useful to drop
them between ditches, where you can make a short dash from
concealment, pick up the ammo and get back to cover. Don't drop them
near enemy fortifications!
Disable Enemy Aircraft: Your Ranger unit is going to attempt to force
a mountain pass at 0900; to have a chance of success they're going to
need air superiority. Your mission Is to disable the aircraft that
would most likely be called to support the enemy defense. You'll be
dropped near the crude arctic runway where the planes are stationed.
You must penetrate the runway defenses and damage or destroy every
enemy plane you find there.
Caution: If he enemy sees you coming and becomes alarmed, they may
scramble the fighter(s) for safety, and the runway will be empty when
you arrive. Try to avoid eliminating enemy troops and installations
before your arrival at the runway area. (If, absolutely necessary, use
your knife.) If they think they're under attack by a dangerous enemy,
those jets will be gone. Additional merit points will be awarded on
the basis of number of enemies eliminated, but if you don't destroy
the aircraft your mission is a failure.
Tactical Tips: Stick to the ravines as much as possible, crawling to
maintain minimum visibility. Use the map to plot a course, using the
ravines as "safe" routes past enemy positions. Be patient - wait for
patrolling soldiers to pass before moving.
Picture of: OVERSEA SERVICE
Capture an enemy Officer: Army Intelligence has reason to believe that
a certain enemy elite unit has been tapped for a special assignment.
It is urgent that Intelligence find out what that assignment is. Your
mission is to infiltrate the desert headquarters of the enemy unit and
capture an officer for interrogation.
You are advised to search through the tents of the enemy HQ area for a
target. To identify an enemy officer, look for a soldier with a
different-colored uniform from other enemy troops. If you can get next
to an enemy officer and threaten him with a weapon, he will probably
After accomplishing your goal, recall the Osprey for pick up. You may
have to defend yourself and prisoner while waiting for the plane to
arrive-make sure your prisoner isn't hurt! A wounded prisoner may not
be able to stand interrogation, and thus is worth fewer merit points.
Further merit points will be awarded for the number of of enemies
Note: The Pickup Point marker that appears on the map before the
officer is captured is for emergency pick ups only. Once captured the
Pickup Point moves to the capture location.
Tactical Tip: Once you've captured an officer, don't leave him alone -
he may make a break for it.
Cut a Pipeline: Army Intelligence has become aware of a possible
weakness in the enemy's supply line. They have identified a location
where a vital gas pipeline emerges from the ground in the temperate
zone at a pumping station. Your mission is to penetrate the guards
around this pumping station and damage or destroy it.
The pumping station Is known to be heavily armored - only a time bomb
can destroy it. Further reports indicate that it is defended by the
enemy's new automated minitanks. Good luck.
Picture of: PHILIPPINE DEFENSE
Tactical Tip: Save LAW Rockets for use on the minitanks. Learn the
trick of firing from a ditch at a tank or bunker: aim, pop up, fire,
and duck. Knock Out Enemy Radar Array: Stealth jet overflights have
finally located the enemy early-warning radar array that has been
giving the Air Force so much trouble. The radar antennas are guarded
by elite troops, but one Ranger might be able to take them by
surprise, slip in and knock them out before a proper defense can be
The radar array is bounded on the south by a partially-frozen river.
Intelligence suggests that the enemy would not expect anyone to be
foolish enough to attack from that direction, so naturally that's
where you'll be dropped. Once you cross the river, disable as many
radar antennas as you are able.
Tactical Tip: Try dropping all supply pods in the top third of the
combat zone. Then, lightly armed, run as far as possible before going
to cover, dodging fortifications and leaving surprised patrols behind.
This may get you to the goal zone with relatively little combat.
Disable a SAM Site: Command has planned an air strike on a critical
enemy installation deep in the desert, but the target is ringed by
Surface-to-Air Missile sites. These must be taken out. The SAMS are
portable and can be replaced, so they must be eliminated just before
the alr strike. You will be dropped near one of these sites just ahead
of H-Hour with orders to sneak in and disable it, then get out - if
possible. The actual site consists of at least one, and possibly as
many as four, SAM launchers. (The number depends upon the difficulty
of the mission.) The primary mission is to destroy all the SAM
Picture of: PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION
It is important that the enemy have little or no advance warning of
the attack on its SAM sites. If you give away the assault too soon,
reinforcements may be called and the missions of all the other Rangers
in the area may be seriously compromised. Therefore your orders are
to avoid eliminating any enemies (except with the knife) until you
arrive in the mission goal zone (the area around the SAM launchers).
They may see you. but if you refrain from shooting they won't go on
full alert. Avoiding enemy contact will result in a large merit point
bonus. Premature enemy contact may result in a merit point penalty.
Additional merit points will be awarded on the basis of number Of
enemies eliminated, but these will never be sufficient to offset the
penalty of premature contact. Keep your head down and your finger off
Warning: Intelligence reports indicate that the SAM launchers may be
guarded by new automated mini-bunkers that shoot at any movement their
motion detectors sense.
Tactical Tip: When approaching the automated mini-bunkers, listen for
the distinctive whine of the motion detector. You may be able to tell
when a motion detector is active or inactive even before it appears on
the combat screen. The motion detectors can't tell friend from foe, so
don't come between a mini-bunker and a moving enemy soldier or you may
get shot by accident!
Liberate a P.O.W. Camp: A pre-planned diversion has drawn most of the
defenses away from a small enemy Prisoner of War camp; one Ranger
might be able to get through and liberate the prisoners. This is your
The prisoners are being held in "tiger pits," cells set into the
ground with barred steel doors across the top. The controls to open
these doors are located in a small concrete pyramid set between the
tiger pits. To open the pits, you must blow up the pyramid (exposing
the controls), then kick the control lever over. Once this is
accomplished, recall the plane to pick you up and the prisoners.
Defend the prisoners until the Osprey arrives.
Picture of: PURPLE HEART
It is important that the enemy have little or no advance warning of
the attack on the P.O.W. camp. If you show yourself too soon, the
prisoners may be removed from the camp and there will be no one to
rescue. Therefore your orders are to avoid shooting until you arrive
in the mission goal zone. Freeing the prisoners will result in a large
meritpoint bonus. Premature enemy contact which causes the prisoners
to be moved away may result in a merit point penalty. Additional merit
points will be awarded based on number of enemies eliminated, but it's
far more important to liberate the prisoners.
If any veteran Rangers have been captured in previous missions, they
will probably be kept prisoner at this camp. A successful completion
of this mission will restore them to active duty, making them
available once again for Ranger Assignment.
Tactical Tip: If you're caught in the fire zone of an enemy machine
gun nest or bunker, dodge back and forth as you run and the gunners
will have a harder time drawing a bead on you.
Photograph a Secret Experimental Aircraft: The enemy have been testing
a new experimental aircraft of unknown potential at one of their
arctic airfields. Your mission is to infiltrate this airfield, sneak
into the hangar and remain long enough to take a series of photos of
the aircraft. Stealth is important in the area of the hangar, as any
enemies who see you enter it will probably follow and prevent you from
achieving your mission. Elsewhere it probably won't be necessary to
maintain a low profile. Merit points will be awarded on the basis of
number of enemies eliminated, but remember that the goal of this
mission is to get pictures of that plane.
Picture of: SILVER STAR
Tactical Tip: If completely blocked by a barbed wire fence, use a Hand
Grenade to blow a hole in it. You can also use Hand Grenades to blow
your way through a mine field (though it does tend to attract
Free the Hostages: American and European hostages have been taken by a
group of fanatical terrorists and are now in the hands of the country
that sponsored them. The hostages are being held in a special prison
in the desert, where they are being guarded by enemy soldiers. Your
mission is to infiltrate the mission zone and liberate the hostages.
According to intelligence, the hostages are being held in a concrete
building with adjacent guard house. You are advised to eliminate the
guards, then blow open the prison door with a grenade. Once this is
accomplished, recall the plane. Defend the hostages until the Osprey
arrives to pick up you and the hostages.
Caution: We have reason to believe that the enemy would rather kill
the hostages than allow them to be rescued. The enemy may have wired
the prison with explosives. Do not alert the enemy unnecessarily! When
you make your attack on the prison, beware of attempts by
heavily-armed enemies to destroy the hostages before you can liberate
Tactical Tip: Recall the plane before blowing open the prison door and
you will shorten the period in which you have to defend the hostages
before help arrives.
Create a Diversion: Our agents are planning to sneak a very important
person across a fortified enemy border. It is vital that none of the
enemy notice this activity, so it has been decided that a big
diversion should be staged to attract the enemy's attention. Your
mission is to create that diversion.
Picture of: SOLDIER'S MEDAL
You will be landed on the other side of the border, behind enemy
lines. Your mission is to lie low until your Countdown Clock gives you
a beep alarm, then start fighting your way toward the border, causing
as much damage as possible on the way. Your Pickup Point is within the
actual border zone itself; you must make it through the interior
defenses to the Pickup Point in order to be retrieved.
Time constraints on this mission are tight. If you start shooting
before the alarm sounds, you will suffer severe merit point penalties.
On this mission, you cannot recall the Osprey early; you are expected
to keep the battlee going until the full missio time has run out. The
Osprey will appear above the Pickup Point when the clock reaches zero.
Warning: The border zone is heavily defended by turret bunkers, barbed
wire, mines, and proximity bombs mounted on posts. Stay alert lor
these dangers, but don't let the diversion slack off.
Tactical Tip: Your LAW Rocket has quite a long range. You can fire at
targets off the combat screen by lining yourself up on the map. An
exploding LAW Rocket also serves as a diversion, attracting the
attention of any nearby soldiers. If surrounded by searching troops, a
LAW Rocket fired at a distant target may draw them away from you.
Delayed Sabotage: It is necessary that the soldiers at one of the
enemy's arctic airfields be distracted by a presumed attack at around
midnight tonight, but no forces can be spared at that time to cause
the diversion. Therefore your mission is to sneak past the airfleld's
defense perimeter and plant a special time bomb at the aviation fuel
dump. This time bomb will explode at midnight, which should make the
enemy believe they're under attack. You will be issued time bombs that
are all pre-set to explode at midnight, regardless of what fuse time
Picture of: UNITED NATIONS SERVICE MEDAL
You must maintain a low profile in the vicinity of the fuel dump. If
anyone notices a Ranger, they may become suspicious and find the time
bomb before midnight. Try to catch one of the enemy guards in a
guardhouse, eliminate him and don his uniform. This should enable you
to approach the fuel dump while disguised. Merit points are awarded
on the basis of number of enemies eliminated, but won't add up to much
if the enemy spots you and the bomb is disabled before it explodes.
Tactical Tip: Wait until no enemy soldiers can be heard moving around
the area before moving into the vicinity of the fuel dump.
After the Mission
When the mission is over, you will see an assessment of your
performance, covering whether you met your goal, and whether you were
retrieved, captured or killed in action. Merit point score for this
mission and new merit point cumulative score are displayed, as are any
promotions or awards.
Promotions: If you complete your mission successfully you can expect
to be promoted. The ranks a Ranger can achieve in this way are, in
order: Private First Class (PFC), Corporal (CPL), Sergeant (SGT),
Staff Sergeant (SSG), Platoon Sergeant (PSG), Sergeant Major (SGM),
Second Lieutenant (2LT), First Lieutenant (1LT), Captain (CPD), Major
(MAJ), Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) and Colonel (CCL - achievable only by
Commendations and Medals: Medals are awarded for achievement above and
beyond the call of duty. A Ranger can earn: First Army Commendation
Medal (COM1), Second Army Commendation Medal (COM2), Bronze Star
(BSTR), Silver Star (SSTR), Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and
Congressional Medal of Honor (achievable only by selection
Picture of: VALOROUS UNIT AWARD
PART II: AIRBORNE RANGERS
Standing Orders, Rogers' Rangers, 1759
1. Don't forget nothing.
2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds
powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute's warning.
3. When you're on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking
up on a deer. See the enemy first.
4. Tell the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army
depending on us for correct information. You can lie all you please
when you tell other foks about the Rangers, but don't ever lie to a
Ranger or officer.
5. Don't never take a chance you don't have to.
6. When we're on the march we march single file, far enough apart so
one shot can't go through two men.
7. If we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast, so it's
hard to track us.
8. When we march, we keep moving until dark, so as to give the enemy
the least chance at us.
9. When we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half
10. If we take prisoners, we keep 'em separate till we have had time
to examine them, so they can't cook up a story between 'em.
Picture of: VIETNAM PRES. UNIT CITATION
11. Don't ever march home the same way. Take a different route so you
won't be ambushed.
12. No matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each
party has to keep a scout twenty yards ahead, twenty yards on each
flank and twenty yards in the rear, so the main body can't be
surprised and wiped out.
13. Every night you'll be told where to meet if surrounded by a
14. Don't sit down to eat without posting sentries.
15. Don't sleep beyond dawn. Dawn's when the French and Indians
16. Don't cross a river by a regular ford.
17. If somebody's trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own
tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.
18. Don't stand up when the enemy's corning against you. Kneel down,
lie down, hide behind a tree.
19. Let the enemy come till he's almost close enough to touch. Then
let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.
History of the Rangers
Early Days: The history of the American Rangers is a long and
honorable one, beginning a hundred years before there even was a
United States of America. The early English colonists quickly
discovered that the rules and tactics of European standup warfare were
of little use in the backwoods of 17th century North America, where
the combatants were loose confederations of Indians and
independent-minded settlers. In European wars, armies met by consensus
and fought set battles to determine who would be victor; in America,
the Indians attacked wherever they would do the most damage and
meet the least resistance.
Picture of: VIETNAM SERVICE MEDAL
Inevitably, the European colonists began to adopt similar tactics.
Small "Ranger" units were first formed to scout the territory around
the settlements, watch for signs of approaching enemies, and
eventually strike back at enemy bases with raids of their own. The key
attributes of these reconnaissance and strike teams were stealth,
independence, physical toughness and versatility - still the chief
characteristics of Rangers today.
The first commander to really articulate the concept of the Rangers
and exploit their unique capabilities was Major Robert Rogers, who
organized and commanded a large Ranger company during the French and
Indian War (1754-1763). Rogers emphasized a rigorous program of
training and preparedness, another Ranger hallmark.(Rogers' Standing
Orders are reproduced at the beginning of Part II of this manual.)
Rogers' Rangers could move fast and strike hard. When most units were
immobilized by winter weather, the Rangers were on the move, attacking
the enemy when and where they least expected it.
When the Revolutionary War came, Ranger units were at the forefront,
confounding and confusing the British and their allies with their
unorthodox tactics. Dan Morgan's "Corps of Rangers," all expert
riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland And Virginia, played crucial
roles at Saratoga and the Battle of the Cowpens, two important
American victories. Thomas Knowlton's Connecticut Rangers performed
dangerous reconnaissance duty in the Northeast. Most famous of all
were the Rangers of Colonel Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox,"
irregulars who disrupted and disorganized the British efforts in the
Picture of: WORLD WAR II VIRTORY MEDAL
The Rangers were disbanded at the end of the war, the usual fate of
these elite but specialized units. Maintaining highly-trained elite
groups like the Rangers is expensive, and difficult to justify in
peacetime. But when war breaks out they suddenly seem essential, and
the Rangers rise again. A few years later, in the War of 1812,
Congress raised twelve companies of Rangers to serve on the frontiers,
protecting the United States on ist vulnerable inland side.
The War Between the States:
The Confederacy made by far the most effective use of Rangers during
the Civil War. Confederate Rangers under Colonel Thruer Ashby and
Colonel John S. Mosby operated behind Union lines, conducting
effective hit-and-run campaigns that tied down many times their number
in Union troops. The threat of Mosby's Rangers forced the Union to
garrison soldiers at many locations that would otherwise have gone
safely undefended. Mosby showed what a small, fast-moving group of
Rangers could accomplish in enemy-held territory.
World War II: Shortly after the United States entered World War II, it
became apparent that the Army would once again need small specialized
units of tough, elite troops. Six Ranger Battalions were organized,
all composed of soldiers who had volunteered for the Rangers' rigorous
training and hazardous missions. The Rangers were employed in every
theater of the war, acting as spearhead units, and performing
dangerous independent assaults that no other type of unit could
The 1st, 3rd and 4th Ranger Battalions were commanded by Major William
O. Darby. Darby's Rangers got their feet wet in the Dieppe commando
raid and the North Mrican campaign, and played significant roles in
the amphibious invasions of Sicily and Italy. They fought with great
distinction against the German Army on the Italian front, often In
exposed positions or behind enemy lines.
The 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions were key players in the Normandy
"D-Day" Invasion. The 2nd Battalion had the difficult and Incredibly
hazardous mission of scaling the sheer cliffs at Pointe du Hoc to
destroy the heavy gun emplacements there. Without reinforcements, and
despite fierce resistance, the position was taken. The 5th BattalIon
landed on Omaha Beach with the 1st and 29th DivisIons, where the
entire assault force was pinned down by an elite German division dug
in on the bluffs overhead. The Americans had to break through and get
inland, or Omaha Beach could turn into a massacre. It was here that
the Commanding General of the 29th DIvision gave the Rangers their
motto, when he turned to the commander of the 5th Ranger Battalion and
said, "Rangers, lead the way." Drawing on all their training,
resourcefulness, and sheer guts, the Rangers penetrated the German
defenses and led the breakout from the beach.
The 6th Ranger Battalion was assigned to the Pacific Theater, where
they performed the classic Ranger missions of recon and raiding behind
the enemy lines. The 6th Ranger Battalion was the first American unit
to return to the Philippines, paving the way for the invasion forces
Though not specifically designated as a Ranger unit, the 5307th
Composite Unit (Provisional), commanded by General Frank D. Merrill
and known as "Merrill's Marauders," performed classic Ranger-style
operations against the Japanese Army in Burma. Merrill's all-volunteer
unit operated behind Japanese lines, disrupting supply, cutting
communications, and eventually driving the enemy from the mountains of
northern Burma. The 5307th was redesignated the 75th Infantry, the
current official unit designation of the Rangers.
The Korean War: As usual, the Rangers were disbanded after World War
II, but they were needed again sooner than anyone expected. At the
outbreak of the Korean War, Colonel John Gibson Van Houten was
appointed to head a new Ranger training program at Fort Benning,
Georgia (where Ranger training is held to this day). Eight Ranger
companies were to be organized, and for the first time airborne skills
were to be included in their training. The call went out for
volunteers, and the response was phenomenal, particularly from the
crack 82nd Airborne Division. Many of the volunteers had fought in
various elite groups in WWII, including the 0SS and earlier Ranger
units. Since only a few could be chosen, the new Ranger Infantry
Companies (Airborne) were composed of the cream of America's fighting
men. At this time, the U.S. Army was still racially segregated. One of
the first four Ranger companies was composed entirely of experienced
black paratroopers. The only all-black Ranger unit ever formed.
Instead of operating as battalions, these Ranger companies were
assigned to Infantry divisions, one company per division. In Korean
combat the Rangers were used as firemen, sent from one hot spot to
another, stiffening defensive lines, leading attacks, scouting,
raiding and counterattacliing. They often found themselves in that
classic Ranger situation, wreaking havoc behind enemy lines. They
conducted raids on the enemy by land, water and air. They performed
with great courage, endurance, and wit, but due to being attached to
larger units, they received precious little publicity. Everybody knew,
however, that in a bad situation they could count on the Rangers.
Recent History: Veterans of the Korean War airborne Rangers were
involved in the creation of the Special Forces in the late 1950s.
later, when the United States became heavily involved in the Vietnam
War, Ranger companiees were once again trained an sent to wherever the
fighting was hottest. As in Korea, the fourteen Ranger companies that
served in Vietnam were attached to other units. These Ranger companies
were primarily utilized for reconnaissance missions, rather than
raiding. As America's conflict diminished most of these companies role
in the Vietnam were deactivated.
With a global need for quick reaction forces (and finally realizingthe
waste of experience involved in reconstituting the Rangers every time
they were needed), in 1974 the Army formed two permanent Ranger
Battalions. The 1st and 2nd Battalions (Ranger), 75th Infantry, were
trained at Fort Benning and stationed in Georgia and Washington state.
The utility of maintaining standing Ranger battalions was proven
during the sudden invasion of Grenada, in 1983. The 1st and 2nd Ranger
Battalions performed a dangerous low-level combat drop on the airfield
at Port Salines, securing it in short order. As a result of this
graphic example of the effectiveness of the Ranger battalions, a 3rd
Battalion and a Headquarters company were added, bringing the 75th
Infantry Rangers up to full regimental strength. Today, the Rangers
stand ready to perform, any time, any mission they may be assigned, as
soon as they hear the command: "Rangers - lead the way!"
U.S. Army Ranger Training is one of the most rigorous military
training programs in the world. It stresses physical toughness, combat
and leadership skills, resourcefulness and independence. This
training is standard for soldiers assigned to the 75th Infantry
(Ranger) Regiment. It is also available for qualified officers and
noncommissioned officers of the U.S. armed services and allied armed
forces. Students wear no insignia or rank during the course; all are
addressed merely as "Ranger." Understandably, it is a mark of some
status to make it through Ranger school; graduates of the Ranger
course can be found in key positions throughout the armed forces. (The
troopers assigned to solo missions in Airborne Ranger are graduates of
the Ranger course who have been assigned to a secret Special
The purpose of the Ranger course is to provide rigorous training in
tactical and leadership skills in a realistic environment. There is
little classroom study, as the emphasis is on practical, and
strenuous, field work. The course is eight weeks long, and training
goes on seven days a week, for an average of 19 hours a day. During
the training, Ranger students are often subjected for long periods to
mental and physical stress similar to that found in combat. Even while
near-exhausted, students must learn how to cope with complicated
tactical problems, solve them and move on to the next challenge.
Prerequisites: All applicants to the Ranger course are volunteers.
They need not be airborne qualified, but they must be in top physical
condition, able to do at least 50 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, and run two
mlles in under 15 minutes. They must have passed the Combat Water
Survival Test, which means they can walk blindfolded off a 3-meter
diving board, and swim 15 meters, in full combat gear. They must be
qualified in marksmanship, first aid, camouflage, orienteering, and
construction of observation posts and defensive positions. They must
be confident of their skills and abilities, and ready and eager to
There are four main phases to the Ranger course: the Benning phase,
the mountain phase, the desert phase and the florida phase. Each
emphastzes different skills; each builds on the skills learned in the
The Benning Phase: The initial phase is run at the Ranger Course
Headquarters at Fort Benning, Georgia. The first segment of this phase
consists of a tough physical training program that indudes three- to
five-mile runs, hand-to-hand combat, demanding obstacle courses, and
skill training in map navigation, first aid and demolitions. The
second segment of the Benning phase is more mission oriented, and
includes airborne, reconnaissance and combat patrol training. The
student must take part in five combat-style operations. By the end of
the Benning phase, the Ranger student is in a hardened physical
condition and has learned the basic skills required in the demanding
The Mountain Phase: In this phase the Ranger learns to put theory into
practice, leading squad and platoon-sized units through ambush and
raiding missions in rugged terrain. The Ranger must maintain himself
and his equipment in the field for long periods of little or no
supply, performing infiltrations, river crossings, and mountaineering.
The mountain-climbing segment culminates In a 200-foot night rappel
down a sheer mountain face.
The Desert Phase: At the end of the mountain phase, the Ranger
students are picked up by aircraft and flown to the Utah desert. They
prepare for a jump on the way, and as they arrive they conduct a
parachute assault into the next training area. Here the Ranger student
learns desert tactics and survival skills, then undertakes a five-day
fast patrol across the desert to a distant destination. In the second
segment of the desert phase the students undertake combat exercises
that involve simulated enemies. Each student Is required to plan,
rehearse and command a platoon-size assault that includes mortar
support, air strikes and demolition of targets with explosive charges.
This is a live fire raid, i.e. all weapons use live ammunition.
The Florida Phase: This phase begins with a combat parachute Jump into
the Florida jungle. In the first segment the training focuses on
jungle combat skills, use of boats and river navigation, beach
landings, helicopter rappelling, air resupply and evacuation, and
counterinsurgency techniques. The second segment features combat
exercises employing guerilla and counterguerilla warfare tactics,
culminating in a company-sized beach assault followed by an attack on
a fortified guerilla camp. This final exercise is no pushover - it
simulates a very dangerous mission. The Ranger students must draw on
all their training to succeed.
Graduation: Ranger students must receive passing grades on all of
these physical and leadership tests. They are rated by their
instructors, by the other students, and by themselves - and none of
these groups are easily satisfied. But those who make it, the best of
the best, go on to the graduation ceremony at Fort Benning, where they
receive they right to join the exclusive fraternity of those who wear
the unobtrusive patch that reads: RANGER.
Weapons and Equipment
Parafoil: Not the usual globe-canopy parachute, a parafoil is shaped
more like an airplane wing. This shape is difficult to control, but in
the hands of an expert it enables the parachutist to glide forward
rather than drop straight down. The 'chutist can control the direction
of the glide by pulling down on the left or right. This action spills
air out one side of the foil, causing it to pivot on the other side
and turn in the direction of the pull. Since turning spills air, you
fall faster in a turn.
Carbine: The CAR-15 Colt Commando assault rifle. This is basically a
handier version of the M-16A1 assault rifle, with a shorter barrel and
collapsible buttstock. Designed for close-quarters work, it was issued
to Special Forces soldiers in Vietnam. Its small size makes it
particularly useful for airborne and air cavalry troops. loaded, it
weighs less than eight pounds.
Ammunition: 5.56mm (.223 caliber) catrridge, in 30-round magazines.
Hand Grenade: M26 Fragmentation Grenade, which looks like a smooth-
sided version of the familiar "pineapple" grenade. It consists of an
outer casing, a coil of notched wire, a high-explosive filling, and a
fuse with a cap on top. A lever is attached to the cap, and a pin
safety holds the lever down. When the pin is pulled and the lever
released, the fuse is Ignited, and after a short delay the grenade
explodes, scattering sharp bits of wire all around.
LAW Rocket: M72A2 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW) consists of a
collapsible launch tube with an antitank rocket already loaded. The
whole assembly weighs less than six pounds. To fire it, the soldier
extends the tube, pops up the sight, disarms the safety, aims, presses
the trigger and fires. The rocket launches in a sudden burst of
propellant (all of which is used before the rocket clears the tube, in
order to protect the soldier from back-blast); as it emerges from the
tube, folding fins pop up to stabilize its flight. The warhead
detonator explodes on contact, firing a shaped charge forward,
penetrating inch-thick steel or concrete several inches thick. The
explosion tends to set off ammunition or fuel stored Inside the
target. The launch tube is disposable.
Time Bomb: A shaped charge of plastic explosive with an attached timer
detonator. The time to detonation is selected; when the detonator
counts down to zero, it sends an electric charge into the plastic
explosive, detonating it. The shaping forces most of the explosion
against the object It is attached to.
Knife: M7 Knife, which doubles as a bayonet for the Colt Commando.
One day in early 1987 "Wild Bill" Stealey. President of MicroProse,
came into a Product Development meeting and said, "let's do a fast-
action easy-to-learn combat game called Airborne Ranger in which one
soldier is pitted against lots of enemies!"
"An arcade video game!" we screeched, "Bleahh!"
"No, not an arcade game, but a, uh, combat action simulation! Yes,
that's it!" he said, pounding the table. (That always gets our
attention.) In short order he had convinced us we could do it - we
could create an intelligent, fun, suspenseful arcade-style - uh, I
mean fast-action - game that would appeal to fans of our usual intense
simulations and to devotees of you-know-what-type games. Gamers
everywhere were waiting for this! It was our duty to them to start
So we did. We formed a design team consisting of Lawrence Schick (game
design, project management), Scott Spanburg (software development) and
Iris Idokogi (software graphics) - all designers of Serious
Simulations, but also veterans of other companies where we'd worked
on, you know, action games. We got down to it, hashing out how the
game was going to work, what effects we were trying to achieve, what
features we should include and what order we should create them in -
the usual process of organizing a game design. As it started to come
together we realized that Bill was right - this was going to be a fun
game. And somewhat to our surprise, the more we worked on it, the
better we liked it.
See, there are problems with most computer action games in that they
are descended from coin-operated arcade games, and arcade games have
different economic objectives from home computer games. An arcade game
wants quarters, and it wants them often. That means an arcade game
has to be an intense experience of relentless action... that kills you
after 2.5 minutes. There's precious little time for thinking in the
sudden-death world of the arcade game. To succeed you must learn to
react by reflex, twitching and Jerking the controller around like a
crazed weasel until you're exhausted. Well, that's exciting, but it's
not enough for us. We wanted a more complex experience with a greater
dynamic range: we wanted to be able to plan a reasonable strategy,
make intelligent tactical decisions based on the situation, and then
have to fight like crazed weasels when the enemy closed in. We think
we've achieved this goal.
Not-so-incidentally, we also wanted to reproduce at least some of the
thrills and challenges facing a U.S. Army Ranger in a desperate
situation. We think we've achieved that as well. However, our game
differs from most real combat situations in two important ways.
First, a commando raid is not a typical wartime experience. Elite
specialists like Rangers are selected as much for independence as for
toughness and combat skill: they are expected to be able to go it
alone when necessary and do the job with little or no support. But
real wars aren't won by commando raids, they're won by legions of
disciplined troops who support each other at every move. Even the
Rangers usually work in close contact with other units. The lone
warrior makes a great game subject, but that's not the way it usually
The second big difference is that in games no one really gets killed.
Or hurt, or maimed, or mentally shattered. We could simulate all of
that if we wanted to, in detail - make this like a real combat
experience, yes sirree. But we wouldn't like that game one little bit,
and neither would you (we hope). We're not in this business to shock,
horriiy, or batter the sensibilities of our customers - we're here to
entertain you. Deadly combat, dreadful though it may be, is also
exciting and fascinating, and those are the aspects we choose to
emphasize. Mter all, it's only a game - and anybody who tells you
otherwise is insulting your intelligence by implying you can't tell
A few final notes: Scott wants you to be sure to note the way the
various soldiers move around each other without getting confused about
who-overlaps-who. Iris wants you to take the time to admire the
soldiers themselves. Due to computer memory limitations, we only gave
her a few animation frames to work with, but she did wonders with
them. l,awrence wants you to know that he's responsible for the
opinions expressed in the preceding paragraphs, so if you disagree,
you can blame him. We all hope you'll get many evenings of fun out of
Airborne Ranger. Drop us a line and let us know what you think of it.
THE AIRBORNE RANGER DESIGN TEAM
Control your Ranger:
Joystick ... move/aim
Joystick Button ... fire weapon
CRSR up ... run/walk
Space ... crawl/upright
Run/Stop ... map (use Joystick to scroll map)
F1 ... Carabine
F3 ... Hand Granade
F5 ... LAW Rocket
F7 ... Knife
5 ... set Time Bomb to 5 seconds
6 ... set Time Bomb to 10 seconds
7 ... set Time Bomb to 15 seconds
Inst/Del ... use First Aid Kit
<- ... call pick up