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History

In mid-1943, in order to to provide partisan elements with supporting and comparatively heavily armed units, etc, a 'raiding support regiment' was raised.   However, in its early days the regiment was used mainly as a raiding force at the time of desert warfare, along side such more well known desert forces as the Long Range Desert group (LRDG), the Special Air Service (SAS) - the unit was a part of 2 SAS, and Popski's Private Army (PPA).

By October of that year, the regiment had acquired the name 'Raiding Support Regiment', or RSR, and was under the command of Lt. Col. Sir Thomas Devitt Bt., formerly of the Seaforth Highlanders.

The regiment comprised of five batteries:

A Battery: Machine-gun battery of 12 Vickers and captured Spandau medium machine-guns;
B Battery: Mortar battery of heavy mortars;
C Battery: Light anti-aircraft of 18 Browning and 50 heavy machine guns;
D Battery: Anti-tank battery of 4 Italian 47 / 32mm anti-tank guns
E Battery: Mountain battery of 4 US M8 75mm Pack Howitzers.

Its real history as an independent unit actually started after the Allied Armies had landed in Italy.  Once in Italy the regimental headquarters were established at Bari in Southern Italy, and a squadron headquarters was on the Island of Viz, one of the Dalmatian group lying off the Yugoslav coast, and which was completely under Yugoslav Partisan control.

The RSR saw action in the Dalmatian Islands, Yugoslavia, Greece and Albania with some of the first operation being a series of island hops up the Yugoslavian coast and through the Dalmatian Islands and carried out in conjunction with the Yugoslav partisan units.  Some elements of the regiment also operated throughout the war with guerilla units in Greece, whilst others operated with guerilla elements in Yugoslavia and Albania. 

The regiment was disbanded in early 1945 as the war in Europe was drawing to a close.

Insignia

The unusual cap badge was designed by Captain D C Rose, Royal Artillery, following a competition posted by Lt. Col. Devitt and open to all ranks.  The badge represented armed help from the air (a winged, mailed, fist) coming to the aid of partisans (the bare hand) in their beleaguered mountain strongholds (the castle turret).

The motto itself was the choice of Lt. Col. Devitt.  It was the shorted version of a quote from St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, Chapter 16, Verse 13: "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong".  Some have suggested that it was intended to be read backwards - 'men like you quit' - and directed at the German forces, but this has not been substantiated.

The regiment also wore the SAS jump wings as all regimental personnel were qualified parachutists.

The colour of berets varied from brown, to the sand coloured beret of its sister raiding force the SAS, and also black.

 



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RSR Cap Badge




RSR Cap Badge

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