commando

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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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Commando ★★★ 1985 (R)

An ex commando leader's daughter is kid napped in a blackmail scheme to make him depose a South American president. He fights instead, and proceeds to rescue his daughter amid a torrential flow of fall ing bodies. Violent action spiced with throwaway comic lines. 90m/C VHS, DVD, Bluray Disc . Chelsea Field, Bill Paxton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dan Hedaya, Vernon Wells, James Olson, David Patrick Kelly, Alyssa Milano, Bill Duke; D: Mark L. Lester; W: Steven E. de Souza; C: Matthew F. Leonetti; M: James Horner.

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com·man·do / kəˈmandō/ • n. (pl. -dos) a soldier specially trained to carry out raids. ∎  a unit of such troops. ∎  a group forming part of a larger organization, typically an illegal or secret one, and carrying out attacks on its behalf.

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commando a soldier specially trained for carrying out raids; a unit of such troops. The term is recorded from the late 18th century (denoting a militia, originally consisting of Boers in South Africa); it comes ultimately from Portuguese commandar ‘to command’.
go commando informal expression meaning, wear no underpants.

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