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commando, small, elite military raiding and assault unit or soldier. Although the word was coined in the Boer War (1899–1902), the role is as old as battles themselves. In 1940, when the British organized a number of such units, the term came into wide use. Made up of hand-picked volunteers, specifically trained for dangerous work, these units were employed in missions throughout World War II, including the raid on Field Marshal Rommel's headquarters (1941). The U.S. Army's Ranger battalions were also popularly called commandos. After World War II the British army's commandos were disbanded, but the British Royal Marine Commandos were employed in the Korean war and the Suez operation, and the elite Special Air Service has engaged in extensive action against the Irish Republican Army and other nonstate-sponsored commandos. The United States has active commando, or Special Operations, units, including the Navy Seals and the Army's Rangers, Green Berets (Special Forces), and Delta Force. Some of these forces were used in the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, operations in Afghanistan (2001), and numerous counterinsurgency operations. Soviet commandos (Spetsnaz) fought in the Afghanistan War. Israel and Vietnam have particularly proficient commando units. Commandos today often use special weapons, such as satellite communications, silenced small arms, exotic explosives, and delicate sensors.

See also guerrilla warfare.


See J. Adams, Secret Armies (1987); M. Klare and P. Kornbluh, ed., Low Intensity Warfare (1987).

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a. an amphibious military unit trained for raiding
b. a member of such a unit
2. the basic unit of the Royal Marine Corps
3. (originally) an armed force raised by Boers during the Boer War
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: ABOVE RIGHT: A fun time was had by all when the Commando Lites played the Military Attache Lame Ducks on Wednesday 30 January.
Apart from this SSU Commandos have also made effective security arrangements for VVIPs/VIPs and Dignitaries during their visit in Province of Sindh.
The 37-year-old, from London, was given a tour of Woodlands Garden which was opened in 2011 and is a site of remembrance to honour those who have died in 45 Commando since 1971.
"The instructors' drive and enthusiasm will help instil our ethos of 'life in all its fullness' and we are looking forward to seeing each class flourish under the watchful eye and support of Commando Joe's."
Will is following in his grandfather and father's footsteps, beginning his career with 40 Commando Royal Marines in Taunton.
Dave Aston, Commando Joe's instructor and ex-Marines Sgt Major, said: "This was the first time Commando Joe's has worked with a charity like Caudwell Children."
However, the collections of "Commando" were slightly better than "Nautanki Saala" at domestic box offices.
He added: "If you bring in non-commando trained engineers, they will not have the training that the guys in 24 Commando have.
He added the commando unit was able to launch night time operations and most of such operations were conducted in line with the directives of Chief of Army Staff and the Ministry of Defence.
The distinctive hallmark of a Royal Marines Commando is the Green Beret.
He underwent 32 weeks of intense training and is now a Royal Marines Commando.