Currently, only men are allowed to try out for the U. S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. It's primary missions are typically special reconnaissance, direct action, and internal defense within foreign nations.
Their training regimen is comprised of 4 phases, increasing in strenuousness. Phase 1 is SERE training, survival, evasion, resistance, escape. They are trained to make fire by friction, fire by mirrors, even fire by ice, depending on the location to which they are deployed. You mold the ice with the heat of your hands into the shape of a lens, which works just like a magnifying glass.
Of course, they take matches and Zippos with them. After this, they begin physical fitness training, and hand-to-hand combat, practicing a hybrid of the most functional martial arts: Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, even Pankration. Then, Sayoc Kali, which is Filipino knife fighting.
This is just phase 1. Phase 2 is marksmanship, amphibious demolitions, reconnaissance. Phase 3 is a contrinuation of 2, but with the addition of field radioes and satellite data-uplink systems. Phase 4 is "irregular warfare" instruction, which is a euphemism for "anything goes." This phase consists primarily of the Derna Bridge operation, which forces the recruits to use all skills acquired during the course.
9 - GSG - 9
While other CT teams were created because of the Munich Olympics, GSG-9 has distinction because the massacre in 1972 was, at least in part, directly attributed to the German police's lack of preparation and training for such trials. Because of this failure, GSG-9 was created and was considered operational on April 17, 1973--six months after the massacre in Munich.
GSG-9 is organised into three separate groups; GSG-9/1, GSG-9/2, and GSG-9/3. GSG/1 is the "regular" counter-terrorist assault group. GSG-9/2 is tasked against maritime terrorism and GSG-9/3 is the airborne unit. The first two groups have about 100 men each and the third has about 50.
Although now experimenting with the SIG SG 551-1P 5.56 mm special operations assault rifle, GSG-9 has a large variety of Hk Mp-5s in its arsenal, including the MP-5SD (Suppressed A1-A4 and the MP-5K (short).The preferred assault rifle is the HK 7.62mm G8 special rifle. Sniper rifles include the HK PSG-1, Mauser SP86, and the Venerable Mauser SP66, all chambered in the 7.62mm size. Personal weapons include the Smith and Wesson or Ruger .357 magnum revolvers and the Glock 17 9mm. Use of the HK P7 is also optional.
GSG-9 has a wide variety of vehicles assigned to enable completion of their mission. Unmarked Mercedes 280s, Volkswagon mini-buses, and BGS arsenal trucks fill out the motor pool. A special aviation group, the Bundesgrenzschutz Grenzschutz-Fliegergruppe is used to ferry GSG-9 to their targets. Pilots for this group are considered to be the best in Germany.
GSG-9s best known mission is the 1977 takedown of a terrorist held Lufthansa 707 in Mogadishu, Somali. A team of two men and two women hijacked the plane, demanding the release of Baader-Meinhof terrorists held in German jails. After the captain of the plane was killed, the German Government ordered GSG-9 in.
They arrived at 17:30 hours on 17, October 1977. Two SAS officers were along to "observe" the takedown; They brought the new "flash-bang" stun grenades with them. Members of GSG-9 and the two SAS troopers begin approaching the aircraft from the rear. At 23:50, with the help of the local Somali military, diversions were set up to distract the terrorists. They were told their demands had been met. Then a huge bonfire set by the Somali special forces began to burn 100 yards in front of the plane. At 00:05 (12:05 for those of you who can't read military time) the assault began.
Climbing up the rubber tipped ladders, 20 GSG-9 operators forced their way into the aircraft and tossed the flash-bang grenades towards the cockpit. One female terrorist was encountered immediately and killed. Another raced to the rear of the aircraft and barricaded herself in a toilet. She was critically wounded by a burst from an MP-5, but survived.
Two minutes after the assault began, the fuselage of the aircraft is secure and the evacuation of passengers begins as the battle rages for the cockpit. The leader of the terrorists tosses two fragmentation grenades at the GSG-9 operators; these detonate under a row of seats and do little harm. The leader is then dispatched by a burst of 9mm from a MP-5. The fourth and final terrorist is killed when the leader and father of GSG-9, Ulrich Wegener, places several .38 rounds into his head. Eleven minutes after the assault begins, the aircraft is secure, with no losses.
GSG-9's reputation was solid until June 27, 1993, when an operation went bad and Wolfgang Grams (member of the Red Army) was killed. Even though an investigation revealed that Grams had shot himself, statements from eyewitness that Grams had been shot in cold blood jeopardised the existance of the unit.
However, two months later a KLM flight from Tunis to Amsterdam was hijacked by a single terrorist who demanded the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was being held in New York in connection with the World Trade Center bombing. GSG-9 operators were dispatched to Dusseldorf (the airport the highjacked aircraft landed at) and managed to capture the hijacker without firing a shot. An editorial in the normally critical Aachener Volkseitung praised the units restraint and called for their continued existance.
GSG-9's existance remains in jeopardy, however. Ironically, this is due to the effectiveness and reputation they have earned. Terrorist incidents have fallen dramatically recently, and the new SEK (SWAT type units) are gaining in popularity. Hopefully this distinguished unit will be able to secure their future.
October 17, 1977/October 18, 1977: Lufthansa Flight 181 was hijacked by four Palestinian terrorists demanding the release of Red Army Faction members. GSG 9 officers stormed the aircraft on the ground in Mogadishu, Somalia, with minor help from the Somali Army and British SAS and freed all 86 hostages, killing three terrorists and capturing the last one.
1982: Arrest of RAF terrorists Mohnhaupt and Schulz.
June 27, 1993: Arrest of RAF terrorists Birgit Hogefeld and Wolfgang Grams in Bad Kleinen. The theory that Wolfgang Grams was executed in revenge for the death of GSG 9 operative Michael Newrzella during the mission (Grams had shot and killed Newrzella when Newrzella tried to tackle him) was discredited by the official investigation which found that Grams committed suicide.
1993: Ending of the hijacking of a KLM flight from Tunis to Amsterdam, redirected to Düsseldorf, without firing a single shot.
1994: Ended a hostage situation in the Kassel Penitentiary.
1994: Involved in the search for the kidnappers Albert and Polak.
1998: Arrest of a man trying to extort money from the German railway company Deutsche Bahn.
1999: Arrest of Metin Kaplan in Cologne.
1999: Arrest of two suspected members of the Rote Zellen (Red Cells) in Berlin.
1999: Involved in ending the hostage situation in the central bank in Aachen.
2000: Advised the Philippines in relation to a hostage situation.
2001: Arrested two spies in Heidelberg.
2001: Assisted in the liberation of four German tourists in Egypt.
2002: Arrested a number of terrorists related to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
2003: Protection of the four members of the German Technisches Hilfswerk (THW - the governmental disaster relief organization of Germany) in Baghdad, Iraq. The THW's mission was to repair the water distribution network.
2004: GSG 9 is responsible for protecting German embassy property and personnel, including the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. On April 7, 2004 two members were attacked and killed near Fallujah while in a convoy travelling from Amman, Jordan to Baghdad. The men, aged 25 and 38, were travelling in a car at the rear of the convoy, and therefore received most of the enemy fire after passing the ambush. The men were shot after their armored Mitsubishi Pajero/Shogun was hit and stopped by RPGs. In a later statement, the attackers apologized for mistaking the German convoy for an American convoy. One of the bodies is still missing.
2007: Three suspected terrorists were seized on Tuesday, 4 September 2007 for planning huge bomb attacks on targets in Germany. The bombs they were planning to make would have had more explosive power than those used in the Madrid and London terror attacks. They wanted to build a bomb in southern Germany capable of killing as many as possible. Fritz Gelowicz, 29, Adem Yilmaz, 29 and Daniel Schneider, 22, were charged with membership in a terrorist organization, making preparations for a crime involving explosives and, in Schneider's case, attempted murder.
2009: The GSG 9 were on the verge of boarding a German freighter, the Hansa Stavanger, which had been kidnapped by Somali pirates. The case of the Hansa Stavanger, this time off the Somali coast seemed sufficiently symbolic to justify another potentially successful rescue operation, though on a much larger scale. More than 200 GSG 9, equipped with helicopters, speedboats and advanced weapons, had been secretly brought, via Kenya, to a location 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the German freighter. The United States Navy helicopter carrier USS Boxer (LHD-4) was lent to the Germans to act as their flagship, and a screen of German Navy warships flanked the Boxer. The ships had been patrolling near the Hansa Stavanger for days, waiting at a distance to evade detection on the pirates' radar screens. But the operation was called off before the rescue effort could begin. US National Security Advisor James L. Jones had called the Chancellery to cancel the operation. The US government, worried that the operation could turn into a suicide mission, was sending the USS Boxer back to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, where the German forces were to disembark. Officials at the German Federal Police headquarters in Potsdam, outside Berlin, concerned about the potential for a bloodbath, had also spoken out against the operation.
8 - Shayetet 13
The name means "Flotilla 13," and their official motto is the same as the Israeli military: "Never Again," in reference to the Holocaust. Their unofficial motto, as they like to joke, is "When the going gets tough, the Jews get pissed."They are 1 of the 3 most elite Israeli special forces units, but Shayetet 13 is the unit most similar to the Delta Force. They specialize in hostage rescue and counter-terrorism, and because they live so close to a host of nations that seem bent on eradicating them, they are at all times ready in an instant to travel abroad and kill. They are very secretive, but of their missions publicized, the most notable include Operation Spring of Youth, in which they hunted down members of Black September in Beirut Lebanon and killed them, in revenge for the 1972 Munich massacre.
Apart from their firearms and heavy weapons training, they train extensively in Krav Maga, the national martial art of Israel, to which they endearingly refer as "Jew-jitsu." It's philosophy is based on the principle that in a real street fight no quarter will be asked or given. Fight to kill. Groin strikes are quite prevalent.
The Six Day War
The outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War found the unit under trained. Several of the unit's missions during the war failed, the most noticeable one on June 5, 1967, when six operators were captured and taken as POW during a covert mission. The S'13 POWs were released six months later in January 1968.
The War of Attrition
In 1969 the unit successfully carried out the Green Island raid in cooperation with Sayeret Matkal, although three operatives were killed and ten more were severely wounded during the operation. On September 7, 1969, Shayetet 13 carried out operation Escort, raiding the Egyptian anchorage at Ras Sadat and destroying a pair of Egyptian P-183 torpedo-boats. Three operators were killed on they way back from the mission when one of their charges detonated. Escort, nevertheless, allowed the IDF to carry out operation Raviv, a highly successful 10-hour raid of Egypt's Red Sea coast.
During the 1970s the unit underwent a rebuild with more emphasis placed on sea-to-land incursions and on effective training. More issues rose with other IDF SF units, which at the time suggested that that S'13 should only provide the transportation to the target and assistance in crossing water obstacles, while leaving the surface warfare to the other IDF SF units.
Operation Spring of Youth
S'13 took part in Operation Spring of Youth of 1973, in which Israeli special forces raided Beirut and killed several members of Black September, the group which had carried out the Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes in the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics.
From the early 1980s the unit became increasingly involved in the Lebanon conflict, demonstrating an excellent track record of dozens of successful operations each year, inflicting massive losses on Hezbollah, both in life and equipment, without Israeli casualties. Typical missions at the time were interdiction of terrorists' vessels, blowing up enemy headquarters and key facilities, conducting ambushes and planting explosives in terrorist routes. On September 8, 1997, the unit suffered a major blow during a raid in Lebanon: A team of 16 S'13 fighters stumbled upon an ambush of IEDs which had been laid by Hezbollah. At least 3 explosive devices were used against the team, killing 11. To this day, it is unknown whether or not the team fell into a random ambush or one that was set after the UAV, which accompanied the raid, broadcasted real time information about the fighters troop arrival and location through unsecured satellite channel due to human failure and hence provided Hezbollah with real time intelligence. Some suggested that the explosions that killed the 11 fighters were actually the team's own explosives, activated by accident. This is mostly considered an unlikely theory.
During the mid-1980s, Shayetet 13 played an active part in operation Moses which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. After the Mossad had established a diving resort on the Sudanese coast to serve a conduit for Jews fleeing Ethiopia, Shayetet 13 operatives would arrive on dinghies at night to ferry the refugees to an Israel Navy boat waiting offshore.
The al-Aqsa Intifada
During the al-Aqsa Intifada, S'13 soldiers took part in ground counter terror operations deep within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. S'13 performed hundreds of operations, including the arrest and/or killing of many militants of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. It earned high acclaim due to the successful capture of three Palestinian ships which attempted to smuggle in weapons: Karine A, Santorini and Abu-Yusuf. The takeover of Karine A in particular was considered a highly difficult operation and it was conducted flawlessly. In 2002 and in 2003, S'13 won the Chief-of-Staff citation for successful counter terrorism operations.
The Second Lebanon War
During the 2006 Lebanon War, S'13 commandos successfully raided Tyre, killing 27 Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives with only several wounded.
According to the Sunday Times, Shayetet 13 snipers shooting from a yacht were responsible for the assassination of Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman.
Operation Cast Lead
During Operation Cast Lead, which lasted from December 2008 to January 2009, Israeli Navy vessels landed Shayetet 13 commandos on the Gaza Strip coastline to strike Hamas targets on land.
On 4 November 2009, the Antiguan-flagged vessel MV Francop, which had been carrying arms and munitions from Iran to Hezbollah, was successfully boarded and taken over by Shayetet 13 commandos. The commandos subsequently found the well-hidden weapons.
Gaza Flotilla Operation
On May 31, 2010, Shayetet 13 took part in Operation Sea Breeze or Operation Sky Winds against a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. The commandos abseiled from helicopters and boarded from speedboats, and apprehended five ships with only passive resistance. Aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the commandos were attacked by activists armed with knives and improvised weapons, and allegedly with firearms. One soldier was thrown to a lower deck, and another three had their guns seized, were carried below deck, and were temporarily held in a passenger hall. After non-lethal means of dispersal failed, the commandos opened fire with live ammunition, and seized control of the ship. Nine activists were killed, and several dozen were wounded. Seven commandos were also wounded, two of them seriously. International condemnation of the action followed. Subsequently, S'13 commandos seized the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie with no resistance.
On March 15, 2011, Shayetet 13 took part in "Operation Iron Law," conducted on the high seas against the Liberian-flagged, German-owned Victoria, a cargo vessel found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons which intelligence reports indicated had been consigned to Hamas.The Victoria was interdicted approximately 200 nautical miles from the Israeli coast, as it traveled from Turkey to El-Arish port in Egypt (other sources give the destination as Alexandria, Egypt). According to the Israeli Defense Force, Victoria loaded the cargo in the port of Latakia in Syria and sailed to Mersin, Turkey. The ship was intercepted by Israeli Navy Sa'ar 5-class corvettes and boarded by commandos from Shayetet 13, without resistance. The IDF has stated that the ship's crew was unaware it was carrying weapons, as they were concealed in 39 of the 100 containers on deck beneath bags of Syrian lentils and cotton. When seized by Shayetet 13, Victoria was redirected to the port of Ashdod. There, further inspections were conducted and the contraband was unloaded. Israel then announced it would release the ship and allow Victoria to continue to the Egyptian port of Alexandria.
7 - Spetsnaz
Whereas most of the training regimens of militaries around the world are designed to teach, Russia's Special Purpose Regiments, equivalent to the U. S. Green Berets, endure punishment daily throughout their training. They may quit anytime they want. The Spetsnaz want only the best, pain-hardened, battle-loving killers.
They spar with the express goal of injuring each other, breaking ribs, fingers, vertebrae, healing only long enough to get back on their feet and complete the training. They are typically deployed for reconnaissance or house-to-house close quarters combat, but are also employed as extremely formidable bodyguards for high-ranking politicians.
They claim that they are not taught to ignore pain, since that is impossible. They are instead taught to enjoy it.
To understand the strength of spetsnaz one has to remember that spetsnaz is primarily reconnaissance, forces which gather and transmit information to their commanders to which their commanders immediately react. The strength of those reconaissance forces lies in the fact that they have behind them the whole of the nuclear might of the USSR. It may be that before the appearance of spetsnaz on enemy territory, a nuclear blow will already have been made, and despite the attendant dangers, this greatly improves the position of the fighting groups, because the enemy is clearly not going to bother with them. In other circumstances the groups will appear on enemy territory and obtain information required by the Soviet command or amplify it, enabling an immediate nuclear strike to follow. A nuclear strike close to where a spetsnaz group is operating is theoretically regarded as the salvation of the group. When there are ruins and fires all round, a state of panic and the usual links and standards have broken down, a group can operate almost openly without any fear of capture.
Similarly, Soviet command may choose to deploy other weapons before spetsnaz begins operations or immediately after a group makes its landing: chemical weapons, air attacks or bombardment of the coastline with naval artillery. There is a co-operative principle at work here. Such actions will give the spetsnaz groups enormous moral and physical support. And the reverse is also true - the operations of a group in a particular area and the information it provides will make the strike by Soviet forces more accurate and effective.
In the course of a war direct co-operation is the most dependable form of co-operation. For example, the military commander of a front has learnt through his network of agents (the second department of the 2nd Directorate at front headquarters) or from other sources that there is in a certain area a very important but mobile target which keeps changing its position. He appoints one of his air force divisions to destroy the target. A spetsnaz group (or groups) is appointed to direct the division to the target. The liaison between the groups and the air force division is better not conducted through the front headquarters, but directly. The air division commander is told very briefly what the groups are capable of, and they are then handed over to his command. They are dropped behind enemy lines and, while they are carrying out the operation, they maintain direct contact with their divisional headquarters. After the strike on the target the spetsnaz group - if it has survived - returns immediately to the direct control of the front headquarters, to remain there until it needs to be put under the command of some other force as decided by the front commander.
Direct co-operation is a cornerstone of Soviet strategy and practised widely on manoeuvres, especially at the strategic level, when spetsnaz groups from regiments of professional athletes are subordinated to commanders of, for example, the strategic missile troops or the strategic (long-range) aviation.
For the main principle governing Soviet strategy is the concentration of colossal forces against the enemy's most vulnerable spot. Soviet troops will strike a super-powerful, sudden blow and then force their way rapidly ahead. In this situation, or immediately before it, a mass drop of spetsnaz units will be carried out ahead of and on the flanks of the advancing force, or in places that have to be neutralised for the success of the operation on the main line of advance.
Spetsnaz units at army level, on the other hand, are dropped in the areas of operations of their own armies at a depth of 100 to 500 kilometres; and spetsnaz units under the command of the fronts are dropped in the area of operations of their fronts at a depth of between 500 and 1000 kilometres.
The headquarters to which the group is subordinated tries not to interfere in the operations of the spetsnaz group, reckoning that the commander on the spot can see and understand the situation better than can people at headquarters far from where the events are taking place. The headquarters will intervene if it becomes necessary to redirect it to attack a more important target or if a strike is to take place where it is located. But a warning may not be given if the group is not going to have time to get away from the strike area, since all such warnings carry the risk of revealing Soviet intentions to the enemy.
Co-operation between different groups of spetsnaz is carried out by means of a distribution of territories for operations by different groups, so that simultaneous blows can be struck in different areas if need be. Co-operation can also be carried out by forward headquarters at battalion, regiment and brigade level, dropped behind the lines to co-ordinate major spetsnaz forces in an area. Because spetsnaz organisation is so flexible, a group which has landed by chance in another group's operational area can quickly be brought under the latter's command by an order from a superior headquarters.
In the course of a war other Soviet units apart from spetsnaz will be operating in enemy territory:
Deep reconnaissance companies from the reconnaissance battalions of the motor-rifle and tank divisions. Both in their function and the tactics they adopt, these companies are practically indistinguishable from regular spetsnaz. The difference lies in the fact that these companies do not use parachutes but penetrate behind the enemy's lines in helicopters, jeeps and armoured reconnaissance vehicles. Deep reconnaissance units do not usually co-operate with spetsnaz. But their operations, up to 100 kilometres behind the front line, make it possible to concentrate spetsnaz activity deeper in the enemy's rear without having to divert it to operations in the zone nearer the front.
Air-assault brigades at front level operate independently, but in some cases spetsnaz units may direct the combat helicopters to their targets. It is sometimes possible to have joint operations conducted by men dropped from helicopters and to use helicopters from an air-assault brigade for evacuating the wounded and prisoners.
Airborne divisions operate in accordance with the plans of the commander-in-chief. If difficulties arise with the delivery of supplies to their units, they switch to partisan combat tactics. Co-operation between airborne divisions and spetsnaz units is not normally organised, although large-scale drops in the enemy's rear create a favourable situation for operations by all spetsnaz units.
Naval infantry are commanded by the same commander as naval spetsnaz: every fleet commander has one brigade of the latter and a brigade (or regiment) of infantry. Consequently these two formations, both intended for operations in the enemy's rear, co-operate very closely. Normally when the naval infantry makes a landing on an enemy coastline, their operation is preceded by, or accompanied by, spetsnaz operations in the same area. Groups of naval spetsnaz can, of course, operate independently of the naval infantry if they need to, especially in cases where the operations are expected to be in remote areas requiring special skills of survival or concealment.
There are two specific sets of circumstances in which superior headquarters organises direct co-operation between all units operating in the enemy rear. The first is when a combined attack offers the only possibility of destroying or capturing the target, and the second is when Soviet units in the enemy rear have suffered substantial losses and the Soviet command decides to make up improvised groups out of the remnants of the ragged units that are left.
In the course of an advance spetsnaz groups, as might be expected, co-operate very closely with the forward detachments.
A Soviet advance - a sudden break through the defences of the enemy in several places and the rapid for ward movement of masses of troops, supported by an equal mass of aircraft and helicopters -is always co-ordinated with a simultaneous strike in the rear of the enemy by spetsnaz forces, airborne troops and naval infantry.
In other armies different criteria are applied to measure a commander's success - for example, what percentage of the enemy's forces have been destroyed by his troops. In the Soviet Army this is of secondary importance, and may be of no importance at all, because a commander's value is judged by one criterion only: the speed with which his troops advance.
To take the speed of advance as the sole measure of a commander's abilities is not so stupid as it might seem at first glance. As a guiding principle it forces all commanders to seek, find and exploit the weakest spots in the enemy's defences. It obliges the commander to turn the enemy's flank and to avoid getting caught up in unnecessary skirmishes. It also makes commanders make use of theoretically impassable areas to get to the rear of the enemy, instead of battering at his defences.
To find the enemy's weak spots a commander will send reconnaissance groups ahead, and forward detachments which he has assembled for the duration of the advance. Every commander of a regiment, division, army and, in some cases, of a front will form his own forward detachment. In a regiment the detachment normally includes a motor-rifle company with a tank platoon (or a tank company with a motor-rifle platoon); a battery of self-propelled howitzers; an anti - aircraft platoon; and an anti-tank platoon and sapper and chemical warfare units. In a division it will consist of a motor-rifle or tank battalion, with a tank or motor-rifle company as appropriate; an artillery battalion; anti-aircraft and anti-tank batteries; and a company of sappers and some support units. In an army the scale is correspondingly greater: two or three motor-rifle battalions; one or two tank battalions; two or three artillery battalions, a battalion of multi-barrelled rocket launchers; a few anti-aircraft batteries; an anti-tank battalion; and sappers and chemical warfare troops. Where a front makes up its own forward detachment it will consist of several regiments, most of them tank regiments. The success of each general (i.e. the speed at which he advances) is determined by the speed of his very best units. In practice this means that it is determined by the operations of the forward detachment which he sends into battle. Thus every general assembles his best units for that crucial detachment, puts his most determined officers in command, and puts at their disposal a large slice of his reinforcements. All this makes the forward detachment into a concentration of the strength of the main forces.
It often happens that very high-ranking generals are put in command of relatively small detachments. For example, the forward detachment of the 3rd Guards Tank Army in the Prague operation was commanded by General I. G. Ziberov, who was deputy chief of staff. (The detachment consisted of the 69th me chanised brigade, the 16th self-propelled artillery brigade, the 50th motorcycle regiment, and the 253rd independent penal company).
Every forward detachment is certainly very vulnerable. Let us imagine what the first day of a war in Europe would be like, when the main concentration of Soviet troops has succeeded in some places in making very small breaches in the defences of the forces of the Western powers. Taking advantage of these breaches, and of any other opportunities offered - blunders by the enemy, unoccupied sectors and the like - about a hundred forward detachments of regiments, about twenty-five more powerful forward detachments of divisions, and about eight even more powerful forward detachments from armies have penetrated into the rear of the NATO forces. None of them has got involved in the fighting. They are not in the least concerned about their rear or their flanks. They are simply racing ahead without looking back.
This is very similar to the Vistula-Oder operation of 1945, on the eve of which Marshal G. K. Zhukov assembled all sixty-seven commanders of the forward detachments and demanded of each one: 100 kilometres forward progress on the first day of the operation. A hundred kilometres, irrespective of how the main forces were operating , and irrespective of whether the main forces succeeded in breaking through the enemy's defences. Every commander who advanced a hundred kilometres on the first day or averaged seventy kilometres a day for the first four days would receive the highest award - the Gold Star of a Hero of the Soviet Union. Everybody in the detachment would receive a decoration, and all the men undergoing punishment (every forward detachment has on its strength anything from a company to a battalion's worth of such men riding on the outside of the tanks) would have their offences struck out.
Say what you like about the lack of initiative in Soviet soldiers and officers. Just imagine giving men from a penal battalion such a task. If you succeed in not getting involved in the fighting, and if you manage to outflank the enemy and keep moving, we will strike out all your offences. Get involved in fighting and you will not only shed your blood, you will die a criminal too.
Operations by Soviet forward detachments are not restrained by any limitations. "The operations of forward detachments must be independent and not restricted by the dividing lines," the Soviet Military Encyclopedia declares. The fact that the forward detachments may be cut off from the main force should not deter them. For example, on the advance in Manchuria in 1945 the 6th Guards Tank Army advanced rapidly towards the ocean, having crossed the desert, the apparently impregnable Khingan mountain range and the rice fields, and covering 810 kilometers in eleven days . But ahead of it were forward detachments, operating continually, which had rushed 150 to 200 kilometers ahead of the main force. When the officer in command of the front learnt of this spurt ahead (by quite unprotected detachments, which really had not a single support vehicle with them), he did not order the detachments to slow down; on the contrary, he ordered them to increase their speed still further, and not to worry about the distance separating them, however great it was. The more the forward detachments were separated from the main force, the better. The more unsuspected and strange the appearance of Soviet troops seems to the enemy, the greater the panic and the more successful the operations of both the forward detachments and the main Soviet troops.
Forward detachments were of enormous importance in the last war. The speed at which our troops advanced reached at times eighty to a hundred kilometres a day. Such a speed of advance in operations on such an enormous scale causes surprise even today. But it must always be remembered that this terrible rate of advance was to a great extent made possible by the operations of the forward detachments'. These are the words of Army-General I.I. Gusakovsky, the same general who from January to April 1945, from the Vistula to Berlin itself, commanded the forward detachment of the 11th Guards Tank Corps and the whole of the 1st Guards Tank Army. In the last war the forward detachments pierced the enemy's defences with dozens of spearheads at the same time, and the main body of troops followed in their tracks. The forward detachments then destroyed in the enemy's rear only targets that were easy to destroy, and in many cases moved forward quickly enough to capture bridges before they were blown up. The reason th e enemy had not blown them up was because his main forces were still wholly engaged against the main forces of the Red Army.
The role played by forward detachments has greatly increased in modern warfare. All Soviet military exercises are aimed at improving the operations of forward detachments. There are two very good reasons why the role of the forward detachments has grown in importance. The first is, predictably, that war has acquired a nuclear dimension. Nuclear weapons (and other modern means of fighting) need to be discovered and destroyed at the earliest possible opportunity. And the more Soviet troops there are on enemy territories, the less likelihood there is of their being destroyed by nuclear weapons. It will always be difficult for the enemy to make a nuclear strike against his own rear where not only are his own forces operating, and which are inhabited but where a strike would also be against his own civilian population.
A forward detachment, rushing far ahead and seeking out and destroying missile batteries, airfields, headquarters and communication lines resembles spetsnaz both in character and in spirit. It usually has no transport vehicles at all. It carries only what can be found room for in the tanks and armoured transporters, and its operations may last only a short time, until the fuel in the tanks gives out. All the same, the daring and dashing actions of the detachments will break up the enemy's defences, producing chaos and panic in his rear, and creating conditions in which the main force can operate with far greater chances of success.
In principle spetsnaz does exactly the same. The difference is that spetsnaz groups have greater opportunities for discovering important targets, where as forward detachments have greater opportunities than spetsnaz for destroying them. Which is why the forward detachment of each regiment is closely linked up with the regiment's reconnaissance company secretly operating deep inside the enemy's defences. Similarly, the forward detachments of divisions are linked directly with divisional reconnaissance battalions, receiving a great deal of information from them and, by their swift reactions, creating better operating conditions for the reconnaissance battalions. The forward detachment of an army, usually led by the deputy army commander, will be operating at the same time as the army's spetsnaz groups who will have been dropped 100 to 500 kilometres ahead. This means that the forward detachment may find itself in the same operational area as the army's spetsnaz groups as early as forty-eight hours after the start of the operation. At that point the deputy army commander will establish direct contact with the spetsnaz groups, receiving information from them, sometimes redirecting groups to more important targets and areas, helping the groups and receiving help from them. The spetsnaz group may, for example, capture a bridge and hold it for a very short time. The forward detachment simply has to be able to move fast enough to get to the bridge and take over with some of its men. The spetsnaz group will stay at the bridge, while the forward detachment runs ahead, and then, after the main body of Soviet forces has arrived at the bridge the spetsnaz group will again, after briefing, be dropped by parachute far a head.
Sometimes spetsnaz at the front level will operate in the interests of the army's forward detachments, in which case the army's own spetsnaz will turn its attention to the most successful forward detachments of the army's divisions.
Forward detachments are a very powerful weapon in the hands of the Soviet commanders, who have great experience in deploying them. They are in reality the best units of the Soviet Army and in the course of an advance will operate not only in a similar way to spetsnaz, but in very close collaboration with it too. The success of operations by spetsnaz groups in strategic warfare depends ultimately on the skill and fighting ability of dozens of forward detachments which carry out lightning operations to overturn the enemy's plans and frustrate his attempts to locate and destroy the spetsnaz groups.
6 - French Marine Nationale Units
The "Commandos Marine" of the Navy's Commandement des Fusiliers Marins Commandos (COFUSCO)-(Naval Rifle Commandos) provide COS with a naval special operations component.Currently four naval assault commandos; the Commando Hubert combat diver unit; and the GCMC naval counter terrorist unit assigned to COS.
The four assault commandos are:
Commando de Monfort-
At one time there was also a reserve unit, Commando Francois, but it appears to have been disbanded. Each assault commando is composed of approximately 80 men, who are divided into four sections (Command, Support, Assault, or Reconnaissance). The assault commandos are tasked with performing beach recon, intelligence gathering, ship assaults, small boat operations, POW rescue, CSAR, and acting as shock troops during amphibious operations.
The GCMC (Goupement de Combat en Milieu Clos)-(Close Quarters Combat Group) is a 17 man force is tasked with conducting maritime counter terrorist (CT) missions. GCMC operates in close conjunction with Commando Hubert's CT team (B-section).
Commando Hubert CASM (Commmando Hubert: Commando D'Action Sous Marine-Comando Hubert: Underwater Action Commando) is the French Navy's combat diver unit, and performs missions similar to the US Navy SEAL's, or British SBS. Commando Hubert is divided into two companies. The first company is composed of 50 men divided into four sections:
B-section: Maritime Counter Terrorism
C-section: Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) section
D-section: Recon and heavy weapons support
The second company provides both maintenance and signal support to Commando Hubert's operational units. Future plans call for an E-section to be formed using assets drawn from A-section, and the second company. E-section will specialize in boat support with the units Hurricane RIBs.
5 - Green Berets
That's their nickname. Technically they are the U. S. Army Special Forces, as opposed to the special forces of other countries, many of which also wear green berets. Typically, the Green Berets are trained to administer "unconventional warfare," which entails infiltrating a hostile area in anticipation of a large-scale military engagement, and training the local resistance populations to fight back against the enemy. This was done in South Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. In the event that there is no local resistance to the enemy, the Green Berets infiltrate and soften up the enemy by "neutralizing" as many of its officers as possible. This usually involved sniping and throat cutting.
Training is very extensive and begins with the Army's assessment of the recruit's possession of 12 attributes: intelligence, physical fitness, motivation, trustworthiness, accountability, maturity, stability, judgment, decisiveness, teamwork, influence, and communications. 40% of applicants satisfy the Army that they have these attributes. Final training consists of various endurance courses, carrying heavy backpacks over 40 miles of rugged terrain, with nothing but a live chicken and a knife, day and night. If the recruit can make a fire, he can eat the chicken cooked. He is not given matches or a lighter. He is allowed only a compass and his own hand-drawn map, completed from earlier reconnaissance courses.
Southeast Asia (Indochina Wars)
The Vietnam era saw the testing and shaping of Special Forces policy and action for the United States. The mission of the Special Forces changed rapidly in the first years from a force which had initially been used like its WWII predecessors as an internal strike force into a training force which helped develop unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency tactics. The period between 1961-1965 were especially formative.
The first U.S. Special Forces operations in Vietnam were in 1957, when soldiers from the 1st Special Forces Group trained fifty eight Vietnamese Army soldiers at the Commando Training Center in Nha Trang. Special Forces units deployed to Laos as "Mobile Training Teams" (MTTs) in 1961, Project White Star (later named Project 404), and they were among the first U.S. troops committed to the Vietnam War. Beginning in the early 1950s, Special Forces teams deployed from the United States and Okinawa to serve as advisers for the fledgling South Vietnamese Army. As the United States escalated its involvement in the war, the missions of the Special Forces expanded as well. Since Special Forces were trained to lead guerrillas, it seemed logical that they would have a deep understanding of counter-guerrilla actions, which became the Foreign Internal Defense (FID) mission. The 5th Special Forces Group mixed the UW and FID missions, often leading Vietnamese units such as Montagnards and lowland Civilian Irregular Defense Groups. The deep raid on Son Tay, attempting to recover U.S. prisoners of war, had a ground element completely made up of Special Forces soldiers.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (March 2010)
In the 1980s, U.S. Army Special Forces trainers were deployed to El Salvador. Their mission was to train the Salvadoran Military, who at the time were fighting a civil war against the left-wing guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). In 1992, the FMLN reached a ceasefire agreement with the government of El Salvador. Following the success of SF in El Salvador, the 3rd Special Forces Group was reactivated in 1990.
In the late 1980s, major narcotics trafficking and terrorist problems within the region covered by the Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) worsened. USSOUTHCOM was (and remains) responsible for all of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean (CARIBCOM). The 7th Special Forces Group deployed detachments, trainers and advisers in conjunction with teams from the 1st Psychological Operations Battalion to assist Host Nation (HN) forces. During the late 1990s, 7 SFG(A) also deployed to Colombia and trained three Counter Narcotics Battalions and assisted in the establishment of a Brigade Headquarters. These were the first units of their kind in Colombia and each is known as "Batallón Contra Narcotraficantes" or BACNA. These elements continue to be very successful against the narcotics industry which thrives in Colombia. U.S. Army Special Forces detachments still rotate among various locations within Colombia, training HN units in counter-guerrilla and counter-narcotics roles, and SF detachments routinely deploy to other countries within the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility.
Special Forces units were the first military units (a Special Forces MSG wearing the Green Beret ring was the first person in country to seek out the Northern Alliance) that went into Afghanistan under Major General Geoffrey C Lambert after the 11 September 2001 attacks, although CIA paramilitary officers from the famed Special Activities Division (SAD) were the first U.S. forces in the country to prepare for their arrival. A number of Special Forces operational detachments worked with Afghan Northern Alliance troops, acting as a force multiplier, especially by using new techniques for precise direction of heavy air support. Since the initial invasion, the 3rd and 7th SFGs have been charged with conducting operations in Afghanistan. SF has been conducting its bread-and-butter, Unconventional Warfare, fighting the enemy in its own or influenced territory. During the daytime, SF will often be meeting with local village elders and working with the people to "win over the hearts and minds" as well as trying to identify possible Taliban spies in the villages. SF has worked closely with Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations to provide villages with food, water, medicine, medical treatment and clinics, and even education programs to the people. As well as humanitarian assistance such as building roads, schools, and wells. This also requires SF to have to constantly patrol the areas to defend the villages from Taliban attacks. At night, SF will often be hunting down the Taliban and other insurgencies in the area, conducting raids on camps, training centers, drug-smuggling operations, and other Taliban safe-havens. As well as ambushing weapons, supplies, and drug convoys and clearing hidden paths in the mountains that border Pakistan and Afghanistan, including mining operations on paths that the Taliban use, conducting reconnaissance, and capturing or killing high-ranking terrorist leaders. SF will almost always work with Afghan forces, who they have often trained. This shows the people that it is their own Afghans stopping the Taliban, not the Americans. SF soldiers will also make small changes to their appearance, such as growing beards, growing their hair longer, and wearing traditional Afghan scarfs or belts to show that they are not trying to force any American culture on them but rather that they respect their culture and traditions.
Special Forces along with Iraqi Army forces conduct an air assault in-route to their mission objective to capture terrorists of a known insurgent force, September 2007.
Just as in Afghanistan, SF were the first military units in Iraq after the initial entry of JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) and the CIA. 10th SFG was heavily deployed to Northern Iraq, where they, along with CIA/SAD officers contacted, organized, and trained Kurdish, anti-Saddam Forces. During the initial invasion, 10th SFG and CIA/SAD officers led one of the most successful campaigns in Iraq, the Group along with its Kurdish allies defeated six Iraqi Army Divisions with limited air support and no SF soldiers were killed. The joint Kurdish-Special Forces units killed over one-thousand Iraqi Army soldiers and captured hundreds more. Likewise, 5th SFG (1st BN) was deployed in Western Iraq. One battalion infiltrated the country weeks before the initial invasion in order to conduct DA strikes to destroy Saddam's SCUD missile capability. 5th SFG also organized anti-Saddam forces and, like 10th SFG, led an extremely successful operation which inflicted serious casualties to the Iraqi Army in Baghdad right after conventional forces had seized it. With major combat operations over, SF were charged with building a new Iraqi Army, eliminating Baath Party members, and, most importantly, finding Saddam and his sons.
4 - Navy SEALs
You might think there are a lot of them, given the number of action movies dedicated to the plot device of an invincible warrior, but there are only about 2,000 of them. They are the Unites States's most elite special warfare combatants. They are trained in all the fields in which the other U. S. special forces are trained, but to an even higher degree of competency. SEAL training lasts over a year, and requires an age of between 17 and 28 years, male, incorrect vision no worse than 20/200 in either eye, and correctable to 20/20, and the physical screening test, which is beyond belief.
500 yd (460 m) swim using breast or combat sidestroke in under 12:30 with a competitive time of under 10:30.
At least 42 push-ups in 2 minutes with a competitive count of 79 or more.
At least 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes with a competitive count of 79 or more.
At least 6 pull-ups from a dead hang (no time limit) with a competitive count of 11 or more.
Run 1.5 mi (2.4 km) in boots and trousers in under 11:30 with a competitive time of 10:20 or less.
Then training begins. Physical conditioning, diving, land warfare, for 24 weeks, then 26 more weeks of SEAL qualification training. Then specialization in whatever fields a SEAL team needs expertise in: anything from sniper to language specialist, rope climbing, diving, jumpmaster, surreptitious entry, dynamic entry (door breacher), etc.
During the closing stages of the Iran-Iraq War the United States Navy began conducting operations in the Persian Gulf to protect US flagged ships from attack by Iranian naval forces. A secret plan was put in place and dubbed Operation Prime Chance. Navy SEAL Teams 1 and 2 along with several Special Boat Units and Navy EOD teams were deployed on mobile command barges and transported by helicopters from the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Over the course of the operation SEALs conducted VBSS (Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure) missions to counter Iranian mine laying boats. The only loss of life occurred during the take down of the Iran Ajr. Evidence gathered on the Iran Ajr by SEALs and EOD techs later allowed the US Navy to trace the mines that struck the USS Samuel B. Roberts. This chain of events lead to Operation Praying Mantis, the largest US Naval surface engagement since the Second World War. During Operation Desert Shield and Storm, Navy SEALs trained Kuwaiti Special Forces. They set up naval special operations groups in Kuwait, working with the Kuwaiti Navy in exile. Using these new diving, swimming, and combat skills, these foreign SEALs took part in combat operations such as the liberation of the capital city.
The United States Navy contributed extensive special operations assets to the invasion of Panama, code named Operation Just Cause. This included SEAL Teams 2 and 4, Naval Special Warfare Unit 8, Special Boat Unit 26: all falling under Naval Special Warfare Group 2; and the separate Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DevGru). DevGru fell under Task Force Blue, while Naval Special Warfare Group 2 composed the entirety of Task Force White. Task Force White was tasked with three principal objectives: the destruction of Panamanian Defense Forces naval assets in Balboa Harbor and the destruction of Manuel Noriega's private jet at Paitilla Airport (collectively known as Operation Nifty Package), as well as isolating PDF forces on Flamenco Island.
The strike on Balboa Harbor by Task Unit Whiskey is notably marked in SEAL history as the first publicly acknowledged combat swimmer mission since the Second World War. Prior to the commencement of the invasion four Navy SEALs, Lt Edward S. Coughlin, EN-3 Timothy K. Eppley, ET-1 Randy L. Beausoleil, and PH-2 Chris Dye, swam underwater into the harbor on Draeger LAR-V rebreathers and attached C4 explosives to and destroyed Noriega's personal gunboat the Presidente Porras.
Task Unit Papa was tasked with the seizure of Paitilla airfield and the destruction of Noriega's plane there. Several SEALs were concerned about the nature of the mission assigned to them being that airfield seizure was usually the domain of the Army Rangers. Despite these misgivings and a loss of operational surprise, the SEALs of TU Papa proceeded with their mission. Almost immediately upon landing, the 48 SEALs came under withering fire from the PDF stationed at the airfield. Although the Noriega's plane was eventually destroyed, the SEALs suffered four dead and thirteen wounded. Killed were Lt. John Connors, Chief Petty Officer Donald McFaul, Torpedoman's Mate 2nd Class Issac Rodriguez, and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Chris Tilghman.
Coalition military planners were concerned that retreating Iraqi forces would destroy the Mukatayin hydroelectric dam northeast of Baghdad in an attempt to slow advancing US troops. In addition to restricting the maneuver of Coalition forces, the destruction of the dam would deny critical power needs to the surrounding area as well as cause massive flooding and loss of Iraqi civilian life. A mixed SEAL/GROM force was called in to seize the dam. This force was flown several hours by US Air Force MH-53 Pave Lows to the dam. The SEALs employed DPVs into blocking positions to defend against counter-attack and roving bands of Iranian bandits that had been crossing the border and raiding Iraqi towns. As in Al Faw the SEALs found their DPVs to be ineffective and this marked the last time they would employ them in Iraq.
The SEALs and GROM on foot fast-roped out of their helicopters and immediately stormed the dam. The minimal Iraqi security forces on site surrendered, and with the exception of a GROM operator who broke an ankle during the insertion, the operation went off with no casualties. After several hours of searching the dam for remaining hostile forces or any explosives, the SEALs fully secured the dam and were later relieved by advancing elements of the US Army.
On 12 April 2009, in response to a hostage-taking incident off of the coast of Somalia by Somalian pirates, three Navy SEALs from DEVGRU simultaneously engaged and killed the three pirates who were closely holding the hostage, Captain Richard Phillips, of the freighter ship, the Maersk Alabama. The pirates and their hostage were being towed in a lifeboat approximately 100 yards behind the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), when the three pirates were killed by three DEVGRU snipers with single shots to each of their heads.
Death of Osama bin Laden
In the early morning of 2 May 2011 local time, a team of 40 CIA-led Navy SEALs from DEVGRU, 24 on the ground, successfully completed an operation to kill Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan about 35 miles (56 km) from Islamabad, the country's capital. The Navy SEALs were part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, previously called "Team 6". President Barack Obama later confirmed the death of bin Laden, but did not directly mention the involvement of DEVGRU, saying only that a "small team" of Americans undertook the operation to bring down bin Laden. The unprecedented media coverage raised the public profile of the SEAL community, particularly the counter-terrorism specialists commonly known as SEAL Team 6. The Walt Disney Company tried unsuccessfully to trademark the name "SEAL Team 6" the day after the raid.
3 - British SAS
The Special Air Service is trained to perform equally well in all the fields listed for the SEALs, but is also trained by MI-5 and MI-6 for in-depth counter-espionage, more so than the SEALs. Physical competency must be of equal stature to the SEALs, to the degree that both special forces work closely together when necessary (Iraq and Afghanistan) and have good camaraderie. They wear a tan beret, just as the U. S. Army Rangers, and both the SAS and SEALs are trained in knife fighting by experts in Apache Indian knife techniques, as well as Sayoc Kali, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do, and for the last 3 years or so, the Keysi Fighting Method, made famous by the Chris Nolan "Batman" films.
In 1950, a 21 SAS squadron was raised to fight in the Korean War. After three months of training in England, it was informed that the squadron would no longer be required in Korea and so it instead volunteered to fight in the Malayan Emergency. Upon arrival in Malaya, it came under the command of Mike Calvert who was forming a new unit called the Malayan Scouts (SAS). Calvert had already formed one squadron from 100 volunteers in the Far East, which became A Squadron -- the 21 SAS squadron then became B Squadron; and after a recruitment visit to Rhodesia by Calvert, C Squadron was formed from 1,000 Rhodesian volunteers. The Rhodesians returned home after three years service and were replaced by a New Zealand squadron. By this time, the need for a regular army SAS regiment had been recognised; 22 SAS Regiment was formally added to the army list in 1952 and has been based at Hereford since 1960. In 1959 the third regiment, 23 SAS Regiment, was formed by renaming the Reserve Reconnaissance Unit, which had succeeded MI9 and were experts in escape and evasion.
Since serving in Malaya, men from the regular army 22 SAS Regiment have taken part in covert reconnaissance and surveillance by patrols and some larger scale raiding missions in Borneo. An operation against communist guerillas included the Battle of Mirbat in the Oman. They have also taken part in operations in the Aden Emergency, Northern Ireland, and Gambia. Their Special projects team assisted the West German counter-terrorism group GSG 9 at Mogadishu. During the Falklands War D and G squadrons were deployed and participated in the raid on Pebble Island. Operation Flavius was an anti-terrorist operation in Gibraltar against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA). The SAS counter terrorist wing famously took part in a hostage rescue operation during the Iranian Embassy Siege in London. It directed NATO aircraft onto Serb positions and hunted war criminals in Bosnia.
The Gulf War, in which A, B and D squadrons deployed, was the largest SAS mobilisation since the Second World War, also notable for the failure of the Bravo Two Zero mission. In Sierra Leone it took part in Operation Barras, a hostage rescue operation, to extract members of the Royal Irish Regiment. In the Iraq War, it formed part of Task Force Black and Task Force Knight, with A Squadron 22 SAS being singled out for exceptional service by General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of NATO forces: during a six month tour it carried out 175 combat missions. In 2006 members of the SAS were involved in the rescue of peace activists Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. The three men had been held hostage in Iraq for 118 days during the Christian Peacemaker hostage crisis. Operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan involved soldiers from 21 and 23 SAS Regiments.
Bravo Two Zero patrol member
In recent years SAS officers have risen to the highest ranks in the British Army. General Peter de la Billière was the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the 1990 Gulf War. General Michael Rose became commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994. In 1997 General Charles Guthrie became Chief of the Defence Staff the head of the British Armed Forces. Lieutenant-General Cedric Delves was appointed Commander of the Field Army and Deputy Commander in Chief NATO Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North in 2002-2003.
Following the post-war reconstitution of the Special Air Service, other countries in the Commonwealth recognised their needs for Special Forces-type units. Australia formed the 1st SAS Company in July 1957, which became a full regiment of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in August 1964. The New Zealand Special Air Service squadron was formed in 1954 to serve with the British SAS in Malaya. On its return from Malaya, the C (Rhodesian) Squadron formed the basis for creation of the Rhodesian Special Air Service in 1961.
Non-commonwealth countries have also formed units based on the SAS. Impressed by the Australian SASR methods in Vietnam, American General William Westmoreland ordered the formation of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) unit in each infantry brigade, modelled on the SASR. Another American unit, Delta Force, was formed by Charles Alvin Beckwith, who served with 22 SAS as an exchange officer, and recognized the need for a similar type of unit in the United States Army. It is claimed the Israeli Sayeret Matkal was also modelled on the SAS and even shares the same "who dares wins" motto. The French 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment can trace its origins to the Second World War 3rd and 4th SAS, also adopting its "who dares wins" motto.
2 - Spetsgruppa A
The Alpha (Alfa) Group (also known as Spetsgruppa A) is an elite Russian dedicated counter-terrorism unit that belongs to the Spetsnaz (special-purpose forces) of the FSB, or more specifically the "A" Directorate of the FSB Special Operations Center (TsSN). The main objective of this special unit - the power operations to prevent acts of terrorism, hostage rescue, etc. In addition, the men of Alpha are attracted to other operations of the FSB special and high complexity, as well as acting in "hot spots", including Chechnya. Similar in essence anti-terror special forces exist in many countries, in particular, KSK - in Germany, SAS - in the UK.
Their most notable mission during the Soviet period was the attack on the Amin's palace in Afghanistan on 27 December 1979, the special operation which began the Soviet-Afghan War. According to many Russian sources of information (including the memoirs of the Alfa and other special units' officers that took part in the seizure), the operation was called "Storm-333". The operation involved storming a high hill under extremely heavy fire and lots of intense close combat resulting in the death of the Afghan president, Hafizullah Amin, and his approximately 200 elite guards. In the operation Alfa group (called Thunder at the time) lost only two men while the other Soviet forces lost 19. Other governmental buildings such as the Ministry of Interior building, the Internal Security (KHAD) building and the Darul Aman Palace were also seized during the operation, which Alfa group's veterans called the most successful in the group's history. The unit served extensively in the following Soviet occupation of Afghanistan as well.
In October 1985, Alfa was dispatched to Beirut, Lebanon, when four Soviet diplomats had been taken hostage by a Sunni militant group. By the time Alfa was onsite, one of the hostages had already been killed. The perpetrators and their relatives were identified by supporting KGB operatives, and the relatives were taken hostage. Following the standard policy of 'no negotiation', Alfa proceeded to sever some of their hostages' body parts and sent them to the perpetrators with a warning that more would follow if the Russian hostages were not released immediately. The tactic was a success and no other Russian national was taken hostage in the Middle East for the next 20 years, until the 2006 abduction of Russian diplomats in Iraq. A Russian journalist, Vyzcheslav Lashkul, denies Alpha's involvement in torture, claiming that the release of the hostages was a result of extensive diplomatic negotiations, mainly with the perceived backer of the perpetrators, an alleged Hezbollah spiritual leader Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.
On March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Lithuanian SSR announced its secession from the Soviet Union and intention to restore an independent Republic of Lithuania. As a result of these events, on January 9, 1991, the Soviet Union sent in a small team of Spetsnaz Grupp Alfa to quash the uprising. This culminated in the January 13 attack on the State Radio and Television Building and the Vilnius TV Tower, killing at least fourteen civilians and seriously injuring 700 more. One KGB operative was also killed. When the media questioned why a KGB officer was in Lithuania the Soviet Union denied all knowledge. Though no record of the actual involvement of Alpha squad remains and it is doubtful that they actually took part in this attack, as the participants of the attack were mainly civilians and SSR infantry units, given Alpha squads previous record, had they actually taken part in this operation, SSR would have succeeded in the mission.
1 - The Delta Force
The only official United States counter-terrorism unit, dedicated to hostage rescues, counter-insurgency, and general counter-terrorism. They're full name is 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, managed by the Army. Selection is done according to a physical fitness test: situps, pushups, followed by a 3-mile run, in an undisclosed time limit. Then an all-night, 18-mile hike over mountainous terrain with a 35 lb backpack and a compass, no map. This finally culminated with a 40-mile hike with a 45 lb backpack, in a shorter time limit. Then psychologists conduct a grueling battery of mental exams on the recruit to try to break him into confusion. If he passes this, he actually gets to begin Delta Force training, for 6 months. Firearms, heavy weaponry, elite hand-to-hand training.
Operation Urgent Fury
A second Delta mission launched in the early daylight hours of the first day of Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada was to assault Richmond Hill Prison and rescue the political prisoners being held there. Built on the remains of an old eighteenth-century fort, the prison cannot be approached by foot from three sides except through dense jungle growing on the steep mountainside; the fourth side is approachable by a narrow neck of road with high trees running along it. The prison offers no place for a helicopter assault force to land. Richmond Hill forms one side of a steep valley. Across and above the valley, on a higher peak, is another old fort, Fort Frederic, which housed a Grenadian garrison. From Fort Frederic, the garrison easily commanded the slopes and floor of the ravine below with small arms and machine gun fire. It was into this valley and under the guns of the Grenadian garrison that the helicopters of Delta Force flew at 6:30 that morning.
The helicopters of Task Force 160 flew into the valley and turned their noses toward the prison. Unable to land, the Delta raiders began to rappel down ropes dragging from the doors of the helicopters. Suddenly, as men swung wildly from the rappelling ropes, the helicopters were caught in a cross-fire from the front, as forces from the prison opened fire; and more devastatingly, from behind, as enemy forces in Fort Frederic rained heavy small arms and machine gun fire down from above. According to eyewitness accounts by Grenadian civilians, a number of helicopters that could, flew out of the valley. In at least one instance, a helicopter pilot turned back without orders and refused to fly into the assault. Charges of cowardice were filed against the Nightstalker pilot by members of Delta who wanted to be inserted, but were later dropped.
On 29 July 1984 Aeropostal Flight 252 from Caracas to the island of Curaçao was hijacked. Two days later, the DC-9 was stormed by Venezuelan commandos, who killed the hijackers. Delta Force provided support during the ordeal.
President Ronald Reagan deployed the Navy's SEAL Team Six and Delta Force during the Achille Lauro Hijack to Cyprus to stand-by and prepare for a possible rescue attempt to free the vessel from its hijackers.
Delta planned an operation for three teams to go into Beirut, Lebanon to rescue Westerners held by Hezbollah, but the action was terminated when negotiations appeared to promise to deliver the hostages in exchange for arms. The operation was ultimately aborted in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Times story that revealed the Iran-Contra affair.
In his book Killing Pablo, Mark Bowden suggests that a Delta Force sniper may have killed Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. There is no hard evidence of this though and credit is generally attributed to Colombian security forces.
Before Operation Just Cause by US forces took place, there were key operations that were tasked to Special Operations Forces. Operation Acid Gambit was an operation tasked to Delta to rescue and recover Kurt Muse held captive in Carcel Modelo, a prison in Panama City. Another important operation that was assigned to Delta was Operation Nifty Package, the apprehension of General Manuel Antonio Noriega.
Delta was deployed during Desert Storm to the region and tasked with a number of responsibilities. These include supporting regular Army units that were providing close protection detail for General Norman Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia. Army relations' officers tried to play down Schwarzkopf's growing number of bodyguards. Delta was also tasked with hunting for SCUD missiles alongside the British Special Air Service and other coalition Special Forces.
On 3 October 1993, members of Delta Force were sent in with U.S. Army Rangers in the conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia codenamed Operation Gothic Serpent.They were tasked with securing several of Mohammed Farah Aidid's top lieutenants, as well as a few other targets of high value. The mission was compromised after two MH-60L Blackhawk helicopters were shot down by RPGs. This resulted in an ongoing battle and led to the death of five Delta operators (a sixth was killed by mortar fire some days later), six Rangers, five Army aviation crew, and two 10th Mountain Division soldiers. Estimates of Somali deaths range from 133 by an Aidid sector commander to an estimate of 1500 to 2000 by the US Ambassador to Somalia. In 1999, writer Mark Bowden published the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, which chronicles the events that surrounded the 3 October 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. The book, in a short brief, relates Delta Force's involvement in the operations that occurred before the events leading to the battle. The book was turned into a film by director Ridley Scott in 2001.
In January 1997, a small Delta advance team and six members of the British SAS were sent to Lima, Peru immediately following the takeover of the Japanese Ambassador's residence.
Members of Delta Force were also involved in preparing security for the 1999 Seattle WTO Conference, specifically against a chemical weapon attack.
Operation Enduring Freedom
Delta Force and British Special Boat Service commandos at Tora Bora
Delta Force was also involved in the offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. Delta Force has formed the core of the special strike unit which has been hunting High Value Target (HVT) individuals like Osama Bin Laden and other key al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership since October 2001, the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom. One such operation was an airborne assault supported by the 75th Ranger Regiment on Mullah Mohammed Omar's headquarters at a Kandahar airstrip. Although Delta Force's mission was a failure in capturing Mohammed Omar, the Rangers had captured a vital strategic airstrip. The strike force has been variously designated Task Force 11, Task Force 20, Task Force 121, Task Force 145 and Task Force 6-26. The Delta Force have also increased operations in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. "The Navy's SEAL Team 6, sometimes called Naval Special Warfare Development Group, or DEVGRU; the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, or Delta Force; the 75th Ranger Regiment; the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment; the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron; plus elements from other even more secret units and intelligence organizations" has killed or captured more than 2,000 enemy insurgents in Afghanistan against the Haqqani network, which is a strong faction of the Taliban.
Operation Iraqi Freedom
One of several operations in which Delta Force operators are thought to have played important roles was the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They allegedly entered Baghdad in advance and undercover. Their tasks included guiding air strikes, and building networks of informants while eavesdropping on and sabotaging Iraqi communication lines. They were also instrumental in Operation Phantom Fury in April 2004 when they were attached to USMC companies, usually as snipers. Delta were also present in the siege in Mosul where Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed, and were also involved in the hunt and eventual capture of Saddam Hussein. It has also been reported that Delta was on the ground north of Baquba on 7 June 2006 surveilling a compound where Al-Zarqawi had been staying. After a long manhunt, Delta had Zarqawi in their sights and had called in an airstrike.
Weapons Technology Youngster