1945: WW II’s Great Raid

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Rangers of the U.S. Sixth Ranger Battalion participated during a raid on the Cabanatuan prison camp to release American and Filipino prisoners.
Corbis.

It’s known as the most epic and complex mission of World War II. In January, 1945, 121 volunteer U.S. Army Rangers set out to rescue more than 500 allied prisoners of war who had already survived the Bataan Death March, a brutal multi-day forced walk through the searing heat of the Philippine jungles. Thousands of men died. Those who didn’t were imprisoned in the notoriously brutal camp, Cabanatuan.

To free their fellow soldiers, the Rangers snuck behind enemy lines and launched a surprise attack on the Japanese. The assault lasted 30 minutes and freed hundreds of soldiers, with minimal American casualties. The mission was chronicled in Hampton Sides’ 2002 bestseller "Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission."

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