Queen's York Rangers-Move Fast, Fight Dirty
The Queen’s York Rangers are “Warriors of the Crescent Moon”. It has something to do with owls riding fiery steeds while shooting arrows during the Battle of Brandywine; but let’s move on. What is this nonsense about moving fast and fighting dirty? Another good question!
You will recall that Rangers of all stripes were stealthy warriors who liked to move at night, lived off the land and were not only highly respected; they were feared. Now if you were to meet a contemporary Queen’s York Ranger you would certainly be impressed by the professionalism of this modern Canadian. You would certainly be impressed by his or her courtesy and friendliness. As a modern Militia armoured regiment, the QYR embodies the spirit expected in all armoured cavalry units. They are fast; they are bold; they are decisive. Armoured warfare is all about these three aspects of modern combat and as proud members of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, the QYR wear their black berets with well-deserved pride. That explains the first half of the winning motto; but why the latter half? Read on!
Broadly speaking, warfare can be separated into two forms: conventional and unconventional. The former type of warfare is the stuff of great linear confrontations: the Battle of Thermopylae; the Battle of Waterloo; the Battle of Quebec; or the Battle of the Bulge. Troops are arrayed against one another in a conventional setting and irrespective of numbers, the battle plays out in a predictable format: attack versus defence; counterattack; fire and manoeuver. Such battles can be short or long and can be tragically destructive. They are inevitably bloody and tragic affairs. Unconventional warfare is another matter. Just as bloody and easily as tragic, there are no bugles; there are no heralds. This is war in the shadows.
Previously, we talked about Major Robert Rogers, the first CO of the Rangers. One of the reasons that he and his unit were so successful – and so feared, was that they were masters of irregular warfare, war in the shadows. War in the 18th and 19th centuries was not as we know it today. It ranged widely from highly ritualistic affairs where commanders sent notes to each other to raids upon villages in the middle of the night, the burning of crops and unspeakable savagery.
Modern war is no less savage; but today we are much more circumspect regarding who is and who is not a combatant. Canadian soldiers have a hard-won reputation: it is with merit that Canadians were once known as the “shock troops of the empire”. But our reputation is not only for being worthy opponents; it is just as importantly for avoiding unnecessary casualties, for protecting the innocent and for tending to the wounded – irrespective of uniform. But that is not the same as fighting fair. Nothing in war is “fair”.
So, if you want to see a fair fight, then go watch a boxing match; but if you make us angry enough to fight you in a war, then be warned for we have and we will fight “dirty”.
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