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Originally "a commando" was a type of combat unit, as opposed to an individual in that unit. In other languages, commando and kommando denote a "
In the militaries and governments of most countries, commandos are distinctive in that they specialize in assault on unconventional
In English, occasionally to distinguish between an individual commando and the unit Commando, the unit is capitalized.
The word stems from the
It is also possible the word was adopted into Afrikaans from interactions with Portuguese colonies. Less likely, it is a
The officer commanding an Afrikaans kommando is called a kommandant, which is a regimental commander equivalent to a lieutenant-colonel or a colonel.
The Oxford English Dictionary ties the English use of the word meaning "[a] member of a body of picked men ..." directly into its Afrikaans' origins:
1943 Combined Operations (
Min. of Information) i. Lt. Lieutenant-Colonel D. W. Clarke... produced the outline of a scheme.... The men for this type of irregular warfare should, he suggested, be formed into units to be known as Commandos.... Nor was the historical parallel far-fetched. After the victories of Robertsand Kitchenerhad scattered the Boer army, the guerrilla tactics of its individual units (which were styled ‘Commandos’)... prevented decisive victory.... His [sc. Lt.-Col. D. W. Clarke's] ideas were accepted; so also, with some hesitation, was the name Commando.