Commando

The first appearance and use of the term "commando" was taken from the Dutch Afrikaner guerilla units known as "Kommandos" in South Africa during the Second Boer War of 1899-1902
The "commando" name was permanently established with the introduction of the British Commandos in 1942 the elite special forces units of the British Army in World War II
The French Navy commando unit Jaubert storms a naval vessel in a mock assault
Sri Lankan commandos marching

A commando is a soldier or operative of an elite light infantry or special operations force often specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting or abseiling.

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 "command", including the sense of a military or an elite special operations unit.

In the militaries and governments of most countries, commandos are distinctive in that they specialize in assault on unconventional high-value targets. However, the term commando is sometimes used in relation to units carrying out the latter tasks (including some civilian police units). Commandos differ from other types of special forces in that they primarily operate in overt combat, front-line reconnaissance, and raiding, rather than long range reconnaissance and unconventional warfare.

In English, occasionally to distinguish between an individual commando and the unit Commando, the unit is capitalized.[1]

Etymology

The word stems from the Afrikaans word kommando, which translates roughly to "mobile infantry regiment". This term originally referred to mounted infantry regiments, who fought against the British Army in the first and second Boer Wars.

It is also possible the word was adopted into Afrikaans from interactions with Portuguese colonies.[2] Less likely, it is a High German loan word, which was borrowed from Italian in the 17th century, from the sizable minority of German settlers in the initial European colonization of South Africa.[1]

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:[3]

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 Roberts and Kitchener had 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.

During World War II, newspaper reports of the deeds of "the commandos" led to readers thinking that the singular meant one man rather than one military unit, and this new usage became established.

Other Languages
العربية: مغاوير
Cymraeg: Cyrchfilwr
فارسی: تکاور
Frysk: Kommando
한국어: 코만도
hrvatski: Komandos
italiano: Commando
Bahasa Melayu: Komando
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကွန်မန်ဒို
norsk nynorsk: Kommandosoldat
occitan: Comandò
português: Comandos
română: Comando
සිංහල: කමාන්ඩෝ
Simple English: Commando
slovenščina: Komandos
Türkçe: Komando
українська: Командос
Tiếng Việt: Biệt kích
中文: 突击队