The British Special Air Service
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The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. Founded in 1941 as a regiment, it was reconstituted in 1950 as a corps. The unit takes care of many military matters including covert reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, direct action, and hostage rescue.
The British Government nor the Ministry of defense comment on the SAS as much of the information and actions of the unit are classified. Although founded decades ago, the SAS demonstrated its skills to the world during the televised rescue of the hostages during the 1980 Iranian Embassy Seige.
US Navy SEALs
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The United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Teams, commonly referred to as Navy SEALs, are the US Navy’s primary special operations force. Part of the Naval Special Warfare Command, the Navy SEALs can trace their history back to World War II when the Navy realized their need for covert reconnaissance of beach landings and coastal defense.
The SEAL’s purpose is to conduct small-unit maritime military operations. They’re trained to operate in all environments for which they are named. The SEALs are so revered in the military that the CIA’s highly secretive and elite Special Operations Group recruit directly from Seal Teams.
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The Russian Spetsnaz or Special Purpose Forces is a blanket term for the Russian special forces, which operate in numerous post-soviet states. The term Spetsnaz refers to special military units that are controlled by the military intelligence service GRU. The term is also applied to other special purpose ministries such as the Ministry of Internal Affairs ODON and the Ministry of Emergency Situations special rescue unit.
Members of the special forces wear different berets to signify which branch of the armed forces they belong to. These branches include ground forces and Airborne Troops, Russian Navy and Russian Marines, and National Guard.
See which Indian unit are masters of amphibian warfare.
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Shayete 13 is a unit of the Israeli Navy and is one of the main reconnaissance units in the Israel Defense Force. Commonly referred to as the “Israeli Navy Seals,” Shayete 13 specializes in land-to-sea incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, hostage rescue, and boarding.
They are trained for land, sea, and air missions and are one of the most secretive in the Israeli military. The details of their missions are highly classified as well are the identities and active operatives. They are considered one of the top special forces in the world and have fought in almost all of Israel’s major wars.
The Delta Force
Formed in the 1970s after publicized terrorist incidents, the US government decided to develop the full-time counter-terrorism unit, Delta Force. Officially known as 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, the Delta Force is a highly trained and elite special mission unit of the United States Army under the control of the Joint Special Operations Command.
The unit is primarily involved in missions that involve hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, and reconnaissance against high-value targets. Delta Force, along with the Navy SEALs are the country’s primary counter-terrorism units and perform the most dangerous and highly-classified missions possible.
US Green Berets
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The United States Army Special Forces or Green Berets are a special operations task force that are the head of five primary missions. These include unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism.
They are usually tasked with training foreign troops although they also participate in combat search and rescue, counter-narcotics, counter-proliferation, hostage rescue, manhunts, and other aspects of the United States Specials Operations Command. The Green Berets have been known to work closely with the CIA as well, a relationship that can be traced back to the Vietnam War.
Pakistan Special Service Group (SSG)
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Formed in 1956, the Special Service Group or SSG is the main special operations task force of the Pakistan Army. Headquartered at Tarbela Cantonment, the SSG is headed by a major-general and divided into eight battalions. Each battalion is made up of 700 men in four companies, with each company split into platoons and then 10-man teams.
In order to be eligible to become a member of the SSG, military personnel must have at least two years of prior experience, as well as complete a rigorous nine-month training course at Cherat. Only about 5% of recruits actually make it to be able to call themselves members of the SSG.
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Previously known as the Marine Commando Force, MARCOS is the special forces unit of the Indian Navy. The unit was established to carry out missions involving amphibious warfare, close-quarter combat, counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, and just about any task that requires special forces. MARCOS are capable of performing on all types of terrain, although they are highly specialized in maritime operations.
They are particularly feared by terrorists who call them “Dadiwala fauj” or the “Bearded Army,” as they wear bearded disguises in public areas. Many members of MARCOS are also involved with the Army special forces units conducting counter-terrorism operations.
Check out which special forces group are nicknamed “The Surgeons.”
British Special Boat Services
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The Special Boat Services is the special forces unit of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy. The unit was formed in 1940 although it was known as the Army Special Boat Section. It underwent numerous name changes such as the “Special Boat Company” and “Special Boat Squadron” until they settled on the Special Boat Service in 1987.
The SBS is responsible for maritime counter-terrorism, conducting highly-classified missions that are never spoken of outside of the military. They are also rarely acknowledged by the British government or Ministry of Defense due to their secretive and sensitive nature.
German GSG 9
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The Grenzschutzgruppe 9 (GSG 9) or Border Protection Group 9 is a highly trained and organized Police Tactical Unit of the German Federal Police. The unit was formed after the Palestinian terrorist attack on the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
The German police didn’t have the proper training, equipment or means for a counter-terrorist operation. The police rescue failed which resulted in the deaths of one policeman, five of the eight kidnappers, and all of the remaining nine hostages. As a result of the tragedy, the West German government created the GSG 9.
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JW Grom or “Military Unit GROM” was named in honor of the Silent Unseen of the Home Army and is Poland’s elite counter-terrorism unit. Grom Operators also have earned the nickname The Surgeons over the years due to their medical training and knowledge, as well as their surgeon-like ability to coordinate and successfully execute special operations.
Formed in 1990, GROM also learned from the best as they modeled their training and expectations around other special operations units such as the US Delta Force, US Navy SEAL Team Six, and the British Army’s SAS.
You’ll never believe which UK military branch was completely secret for almost 100 years!
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Mossad, translated to mean “The Institute for Intelligence and Operations,” is the national intelligence agency of Israel. It is one of the biggest parts of the Israeli Intelligence Community which also includes Aman (military intelligence) and Shin Bey (international security). Mossad is in charge of intelligence collection, covert operations, and counter-terrorism.
Unlike the government at the military, Mossad are exempt from the Basic Laws of Israel. The director of Mossad, known as Kidon, answers directly to the Prime Minister, with much of Mossad’s activity never being published or revealed.
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The United States Army Rangers are considered to be past, present, or graduates from the U.S. Army Ranger School. The 75th Ranger Regiment is an elite airborne infantry combat unit within the United States Army Special Operations Command. There are six battalions of Rangers who have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
However, the history of the Rangers can be traced back to three of the six battalions that were established in World War II. Headquartered in Fort Benning, The Ranger Training Brigade controls the Ranger School, a training facility in which only those who graduate can wear the Ranger Tab.