The Special Forces are highly trained military units, and a force to be reckoned with. Only the top soldiers are chosen for these elite groups and the entry regimes are notorious for their difficulty. Few graduate from training and gain a place in these units. Special Forces take on the most difficult operations of the military and are well respected. Today we are going to look at the toughest of the tough from around the world.
The British SAS (Special Air Service) were created during World War 2 in 1941 and became one of the first prominent Special Forces in history. Most Special Forces worldwide base their groups on the SAS model. They are one of the oldest forces and their main duty is to fight terrorism. The SAS are a formidable sight when in action. They invade enemy land to gain intelligence and perform rescue missions. Lieutenant David Stirling started the group. He had an idea for a super group who were highly skilled, deadly soldiers to work together on special tasks and would take the enemy by surprise. They began as a regiment and then a corp. The entry process for the SAS is not to be taken lightly. Soldiers must undergo gruelling training regimes and if they pass they begin their specialist training. There is a fail rate of over 90%. During the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege they successfully saved many hostages. This event was televised and brought them to the attention of the world. They are often considered the best Special Forces in the world.
US Navy Seals
The US Navy Seals were formed during World War 2. They are a key part of the US military and constantly fight in active war zones, including the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They were the team responsible for killing Osama Bin Laden. When a task seems doomed it is passed along to the Seals to take over the operation. To join them you have to participate in a yearlong training course that puts mental and physical strength to its limits. Many American movies mention or portray the Navy Seals, such is their importance to the country and shows the respect Americans have for them. They are specially trained in unorthodox methods different to those that a regular soldier would experience. They learn to survive in many different environments, but above all the sea. ‘Seal’ stands for ‘Sea, Air and Land’. When they are not on a mission they are consistently in training. One of their most impressive skills is the timing of their operations. They invade land, kill opposition and perform rescue missions in very little time. Getting in and out quickly without being seen is something they excel at.
Israeli Shayetet 13
This veteran group is instrumental in the Israel Defense Forces but is one of the most private Special Forces. They do not readily share information on their group so it is difficult to gain knowledge about them and what they are doing. Only a handful of people know about the missions they are on at any given time. They are a tough group and only the best soldiers make it in. The Krav Maga style of fighting is their area of expertise, where they use their entire body as a lethal weapon. If you join you must stay with them for at least four years. They are constantly compared to the British SAS and US Navy Seals as their missions and way of operating is so similar. They deal with maritime hostage rescues, sea-to-land incursions, reconnaissance and also counter-terrorism. Their most memorable operation is their elimination of assailants who attacked great Israeli athletes, earning them their legendary status.
This special unit force in Canada was set up after the success of the British Special Forces. Their Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) are trained in biological, radiological, chemical and nuclear warfare, but mainly counter-terrorism. They are one of the newer Special Forces but have developed rapidly over the years and are known as one of the best Special Forces in the world. Like the Israeli Shayetet 13, the JTF2’s operations are strictly classified and very little is known about their activities. Surprisingly, their covert tasks are so confidential that the Canadian Prime Minister did not known they were working in Afghanistan. They are armed with the most sophisticated and expensive weapons and instruments in the world. Canadians can sleep well at night knowing this group are protecting them.
The Spetsnaz is a word meaning all of Russia’s Special Forces. They are arguably the most aggressive force globally in the Special Forces. They have been involved in every major terrorist operation, notably the 2002 Moscow theatre siege. Their sniper precision is a spectacle to watch. Training includes prisoner interrogation, assassination and military drills. They are one of the best groups for withstanding torture. The group do not allow any of their plans or intelligence leak, and are willing to undergo abusive practices of torture so dangerous that they are banned in the US. Almost nothing was known of them until the 1980s, when a policy of politician Mikhail Gorbachev brought many secrets to light. They are still active today.
The French GIGN, stands for the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, and is a special unit of the national French police. They are the most prestigious group of law enforcement. Their primary job is performing counter-terrorism missions and surveillance of threats to the country and government. They work worldwide but are based from France. The combat levels of the members are notoriously high. Many believe they are the best counter-terrorism unit globally. Their training regime spans 14 months and is infamous for its brutality. Classes include handling weapons, survival training and diving. Very few recruits complete it.