Rogers Rules

Major Robert Rogers in 1759 wrote Standing Orders, Rogers Rangers, from lessons learned in the first 3 years the Rangers were formed. These are at least 17 rules. Simple rules, but learned at the cost of blood. All SOPs are guidelines.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP): A step by step procedure written down that delineates how things should be done correctly. They can serve many purposes, but for a survival situation they give you a proper plan of action in the midst of stress. It is too late once an emergency occurs to come up with SOPs.

1. DON’T forget nothing.

2. HAVE your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute’s warning.

3. WHEN you’re on the march, act the way you would if you was sneaking up on a deer. See the enemy first.

4. TELL the truth about what you see and what you do. There is an army depending on us for correct information. You can lie all your please when you tell other folks about the Rangers, but don’t never lie to a Ranger or Officer. Ranger Assault at Pointe du Hoc, D-Day

5. DON’T never take a chance you don’t have to.

6. WHEN we’re on the march we march single file, far enough apart so one shot can’t go through two men. With my team, Winter Warfare Training above 10,000 Feet, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

7. IF we strike swamps, or soft ground, we spread out abreast so it’s hard to track us.

8. WHEN we march, we keep moving till dark, so as to give the enemy the least possible chance at us.

9. WHEN we camp, half the party stays awake while the other half sleeps.

One of my Ranger Handbooks is above. Slightly worse for wear.

10. IF we take prisoners, we keep ’em separate till we have had time to examine them, so they can’t cook up a story between ‘em.

11. DON’T ever march home the same way. Take a different route so you won’t be ambushed. 12. NO matter whether we travel in big parties or little ones, each party has to keep a scout 20 yards ahead, 20 yards on each flank, and 20 yards in the rear so the main body can’t be surprised and wiped out.

13. EVERY Night you’ll be told where to meet if surrounded by a superior force. Don’t sit down to eat without posting sentries.

14. DON’T sleep beyond dawn. Dawn’s when the French and Indians attack.

15. DON’T cross a river by a regular ford.

16. IF someone’s trailing you, make a circle, come back onto your own tracks, and ambush the folks that aim to ambush you.

17. DON’T stand up when the enemy’s coming against you. Kneel down, lie down, hide behind a tree. Let the enemy come till he’s almost close enough to touch, then let him have it and jump out and finish him up with your hatchet.

SOPs are an essential part of emergency and survival preparedness.

I also have written about Major Rogers and the execution of Nathan Hale in Equinox (Time Patrol).

A free slideshow on this topic and many others about interesting history, survival, writing and other topics is on my web site at