Monday, 8 August 2016

Top 10 Special Forces

10 : MARCOS - India

There are special forces and then there are the Indian Navy’s Marine Commandos or MARCOS. The Indian Navy’s elite special force, that specialises in everything from counter terrorism to underwater operations and sabotage to anti-piracy ops. Thanks to this wide field of operation, they have not only served on the high seas but also been called in during Op Vijay, better known as the Kargil War.

In 1988, the MARCOS, as a part of Op Cactus, thwarted an attempted coup in Maldives. They captured the boat with 46 mercenaries and their hostages that had escaped after the failed coup attempt. During the Kargil War, the MARCOS were tasked to undertake covert operations behind enemy lines. During the Mumbai attacks in 2008, they stormed the Oberoi Trident and Taj hotels where the terrorists were killed.

Operation Rakshak Ongoing Counter-insurgency (COIN) operations in Jammu and Kashmir, in the Jhelum River, and Wular Lake. Two to four teams of MARCOS are deployed round the year in Jammu & Kashmir, at Wular Lake. This 250 square km lake, surrounded by mountains, was being used freely by militants to reach Srinagar, saving them from having to travel 100 km through the mountains. In 1995, a team of MARCOS was positioned at the lake and within weeks, militant activity on the lake ceased. Some MARCOS personnel are also attached with the Army special forces units conducting counter-terrorism operations in the area. MARCOS use tactics similar to the Israeli undercover special warfare units called Mista'arvim, sporting beards and wearing the 'pheren' (Kashmiri suit), thus making them indistinguishable from the locals.

9 : JW GROM - Poland

The elite counter-terrorism group of Poland is called JW GROM or Jednostka Wojskowa GROM. In order to fight the life-threatening issues of terrorism that are rising all over the world, this Special Force of Poland was created. It happened way back on July 13, 1990. The Truth is, this is just one of the 5 Special Forces established by the Polish Armed Forces. Most of us do not remember very well that once Poland was one of the most powerful countries in Europe. This period is called by historians “the golden age” of Poland.

Instructors who helped to train the first GROM operators were specialists from the USA and UK. Today, it’s not a secret anymore that they were experts from Delta Force and SAS. The first GROM soldiers were sent off to be trained in these units. GROM took part in police-type military operations in Haiti in 1994.

On Balkans (1996, 1999, 2001) the soldiers arrested 7 war criminals, including Slavek Dokmanovic aka “Butcher of Vukovar,” during Operation Little Flower. They also took part in missions in Slovenia and Kosovo. In the Persian Gulf, the soldiers’ principal assignment was inspection of ships in 2002-2003. The Unit took part in the attack on Iraq in 2003 (Battle of Umm Qasr 21.03.2003) and then in Iraq itself in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, hand-in-hand with the American special forces, and were responsible to catch people from the “personality identification playing cards.” They took part in many other covert operations.

For the last 23 years, JW GROM has been gaining experience in different parts of the world. Their operators are trained to conduct operations in all climate conditions. Their training prepares them to operate in the severe climate of Scandinavia, as well as tropical jungles in South America. The experience and lessons learnt from combat and extensive trainings are the reason why the curricula is constantly modified and adjusted to meet current needs and enable the soldiers to be ready to respond to current threats.
GROM is prepared to conduct operations in peace and in war times. Their tasks consists of Hostage Rescue, counter-terrorist land operations (aka ‘black tactics’) include rescuing hostages from fixed structures (houses, high-rise buildings) and vehicles (airplanes, cars, trains), VIP detail duty, perimeter protection, and supporting operations of other military and non-military units. Special operations (aka ‘green tactics’) include reconnaissance, sabotage deep in the enemy hinterland, eliminating potential human and structural threats from the enemy’s infrastructure, assistance in evacuating the civilian population, and winning ‘hearts and minds.’

GROM soldiers are divided into operators who work within battle groups and sub-units with soldiers. The latter consists of analysts, electronics engineers, IT specialists, EOD specialists and MOE specialists, as well as specialists from wybuchowe wchodzenie do pomieszczeń. The smallest cell is a section. Every section consists of 6 persons and they then are part of a group. Groups create teams. These teams consist of perfectly trained and equipped operators, each of them has minimum two specializations e.g. Radio-operator, explosive specialist, paramedics. The aim of this is to be able to quickly replace each operator in case of loses. Each unit has also snipers.

8 : GIGN - France
Few of the world's counterterrorism forces can compete with France's National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, or GIGN. The group is 200 strong and trained specifically to respond to hostage situations. It claims to have freed more than 600 people since it was formed in 1973. It is against French law to publish pictures of its members' faces.
One of the most extraordinary episodes in the GIGN's history was the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 1979. Because of the prohibition on non-Muslims entering the holy city, a team of three GIGN commandos briefly converted to Islam before helping the Saudi armed forces plan the recapture of the mosque. Starting off our list are the National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) from France. The GIGN, like many European special-forces, trace their origins back to the hostage massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The French had also experienced a prison mutiny the year before in which hostages had been taken and murdered. The result of these experiences contributed to the creation of a force which today stands at around 400 members. Specializing in anti-terrorist and hostage rescue, the GIGN have seen their share of action. Past operations have included rescuing 30 school children held hostage in Djibouti, capturing war criminals in Bosnia, battling Somali pirates and, of course, the dramatic assault and hostage rescue of passengers aboard Air France flight 8969 in Marseille in 1994.

7 : Sayeret Matkal - Israel
Israel's Sayeret Matkal is another of the world's most elite units. Its primary purpose is intelligence gathering, and it often operates deep behind enemy lines. During the selection camp (Gibbush), would-be recruits endure hardcore training exercises while being constantly monitored by doctors and psychologists. Only the strongest get in.

In 2003, Israeli taxi driver Eliyahu Gurel was kidnapped after transporting four Palestinians to Jerusalem in his cab. But the Sayeret Matkal unit located and rescued him from a 10-meter pit in an abandoned factory in a suburb of Ramallah.
This Israeli special-forces unit is focused on reconnaissance, anti-terrorism and hostage rescue outside of Israel. Sayeret Matkal was formed in 1957 to fill a void in Israel’s special-forces and is made up of candidates selected for their high physical and intellectual characteristics. Candidates undergo eighteen months of training which includes basic infantry school, parachute school, counter-terrorism training and reconnaissance related training.

The force has taken part in many large scale operations since the 1960s. The most famous of these, Operation Entebbe/Thunderbolt, demonstrated the determination and reach of Sayeret Matkal to the world. The operation came to be after several Palestinian and pro-Palestinian terrorists had taken hostages onboard an airliner which was flown to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Many hostages were released but over 100, mainly Israeli and Jewish hostages, were kept in the airport terminal building. A group of around 100 Israeli commandos, including an assault force of Sayeret Matkal assaulted the position, killing the terrorists and freeing almost all of the hostages.

6 : Russian Spetsnaz

During the 1970’s, when the Cold War was at its height, the West became aware of the existence of Soviet Spetsnaz troops, which were grouped into what were known as “diversionary brigades.”  Although the Cold War is over, Spetsnaz units are still part of the Russian order-of-battle, although their missions have changed. The Spetsnaz (Troops of special purpose) were raised as the troops of the Main Intelligence Department – GRU and in the 1980s numbered 30,000 soldiers. These were deployed: one Spetsnaz company per Army; one Spetsnaz regiment in each of the three “theaters of operations”; one Spetsnaz brigade in each of the four Soviet Fleets; and an independent Spetsnaz brigade in most military districts of the USSR. There were also special Spetsnaz intelligence units, one to each Front and Fleet: total 20. A Spetsnaz company was 135 strong, normally operating in 15 independent teams, although they could also combine for specific missions. A Spetsnaz brigade was 1,000-1,300 strong and consisted of a headquarters, three or four parachute battalions, a communications company, and supporting troops.

Spetsnaz training would be illegal in the US or other Western nations. They are constantly out fighting and are practically invincible to any kind of punishment. Not to mention the fact that they have some of the best weapons on earth, like the AK-74m.M+85 Survive the most brutal training, some of the training that they have to go through is not even allowed in the US. And it is SPETSNAZ not spetnazM+58 Spetsnaz are the most trained soliders in the world. There almost impossible to crack in interrogation and are taught not ignore pain but to enjoy it.M+46 Russia has had some of the best battles through history and should be known for the ancient training that they still do today.

5 : Green Berets– USA

They were the first troops to hit the ground in Afghanistan while al Qaeda’s dirty work still smoldered back in the United States. On foot, helicopter and horseback, ArmySpecial Forces showed that if the U.S. was to win a long counterinsurgency war against Islamic extremists, the special skills of Green Berets would be fundamental. Nearly 14 years later, these soldiers, some of the military’s smartest and best trained, are still creating lots of headlines, but not necessarily for heroics. The Green Berets practice "unconventional warfare" in its many forms. The Green Berets are organized into elite commando units, each consisting of 12 members, which conduct stealth raids and ambushes. In addition to direct combat, Green Berets are trained for guerrilla war, sabotage, and subversion. An aspiring Green Beret must serve about three years in the Army before applying. From there, he enters a two-yearlong "pipeline" before being assigned to an operational group. Every Green Beret must learn to speak a foreign language.
The green beret was the official headdress of the British Commandos of the Second World War. It is still worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Commando Course and men from other units attached to the Marines who have passed the All Arms Commando Course. There are certain other military organizations which also wear the green beret because they have regimental or unit histories that have a connection with the British Commandos of the Second World War.

These two dozen Green Berets have almost as much fire power on their Humvees as a conventional platoon of 40 men. Each vehicle carries a variety of automatic weapons.  Some vehicles are equipped with M2 .50 Caliber machine guns mounted in a turret while others are equipped with an M247 Automatic Grenade Launcher also mounted in the turret.  All vehicles have M240 Machine Guns mounted in the rear and side mounts for additional weapons such as an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

4 : Navy SEALs – USA

Established to serve U.S. Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) support personnel, and their families, the Navy SEAL Foundation provides a comprehensive set of programs specifically designed to reduce the stressors associated with the tremendous amount of uncertainty and pressure that comes with life in Naval Special Warfare (NSW). Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there has been an unprecedented demand for Special Operations Forces around the globe. SEALs spend up to 270 days away from home each year in the most unforgiving environments and training at an unrelenting pace in order to maintain their ability to execute our nation’s toughest military missions.

The US Navy SEALS might one-up even the Marines. To join their ranks, you have to be able to do a minimum of 42 push-ups in two minutes, 50 sit-ups in two minutes, and a 1.5-mile run in 11 minutes. And that's before training starts. You knew these guys were going to have to show up sometime. The SEALs are an American special-forces group created in 1962 which have achieved near mythical status.

This in part is thanks to Operation Neptune Spear – the mission in which SEALs flew into Abbottabad, Pakistan in May, 2011 and killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda. The SEALs are elite and the physical and mental strength required to make it in this force is ridiculously high. Training takes over a year and most applicants can’t even get past the physical qualification test which involves a lot of swimming, push-ups, sit-ups and running, all accomplished in a very strict time limit. Get past that and you enter general training. Pass that and you move on to SEAL qualification training which then opens the door to specialized training. All of this ensures that SEAL members are physically and mentally as tough as nails and capable of undertaking the most difficult operations in the world, wherever that may be.
3: Delta Force – USA

The full name of this group is the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. In addition to counter-terrorism operations, Delta Force can also take part in hostage rescue, raids, reconnaissance and less covert direct action operations. The group was formed in 1977 as a result of an increasing number of high-profile terrorist operations. Since then it has been composed largely of soldiers who have served in US special-forces like the Green Berets or Rangers.

To be considered for training, potential candidates must be male, at least 21 years old, score highly on an aptitude test and be between the rank of corporal and master sergeant. A series of grueling physical and mental tests follow with the aim of weeding out the weakest. Allegedly, this testing means less than 1 in 10 make it through to the 6 month-long training course. Delta Force operations remain highly guarded secrets but you can bet they are in the vanguard of any US-led operation. 

Operation Eagle Claw - In 1980, during the Iran Hostage Crisis a failed attempt at a rescue due to aviation equipment/operator error led to the death of eight Americans;as a result the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment was created.
Operation Urgent Fury - Grenada prisoner rescue from the Richmond Hill prison.
Operation Just Cause - Panama invasion to capture Noriega and protect some 35,000 Americans living in Panama. Gulf War - Iraq invades Kuwait and the US-led alliance defeats Saddam Hussein and his Army, pushing them back into Iraq.
Operation Gothic Serpent - Part of the Battle of Mogadishu (1993) where U.S. helicopters were shot down and two Delta Operators SFC Randall Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their efforts that day.
War in Afghanistan -Within a month of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Special Forces operators aided in defeating and dismantling the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Battle of Tora Bora - A massive joint engagement to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.
Operation Red Dawn - Locating and capturing Saddam Hussein.
2 : Spetsgruppa "A" – Russia

Alpha Group (Alfa), also known as Spetsgruppa “A”, is a special unit within the Center for Special Operations of the Russian FSB. Russia's Alpha Group is one of the best-known special forces units in the world. This elite antiterrorism unit was created by the KGB in 1974 and remains under its modern-day counterpart, the FSB.Russian special forces, and the Alpha Group in particular, came under criticism during the 2002 Moscow hostage crisis in which 129 hostages died from the effects of the gas used to knock out militants who had seized a theatre.
Administration”A”- has five departments , and the administration” B ” has four departments. The department is a permanent unit consisting of an assault group of 30 people. All duties in the operative-fighting departments are  officer’s. Commander of Alpha group is a officer of the rank of general, and the selection of personnel for the unit Alpha is performed by the most stringent criteria for anti-terrorist unit.

Within the Russian special-forces, Alpha Group is as bad as they come. This force started out in the mid-1970s and came to fame during the invasion of Afghanistan during which members of Alpha stormed the Presidential Palace in Kabul, killing everyone in the building. In 1985, a group was dispatched to Beirut to try and rescue four Soviet diplomats. When the diplomats were killed, Alpha Group allegedly hunted down relatives of the hostage takers and returned them to their families in much smaller pieces to send a message to would-be terrorists. It apparently worked for over 20 years. Domestically, Alpha has been involved in most of the major anti-terrorist/hostage operations in Russia such as the Moscow theatre siege of 2002 and the Beslan school siege in 2004. Both events demonstrated the rather heavy handed nature of the Russian special-forces as hundreds of hostages were killed during operations.

1 : SAS – Britain

The British Special Air Service, known commonly as the SAS, is the infantry counterpart to the Special Boat Service. Their insignia bears the phrase "Who dares wins." Asked about the importance of the SAS' role in the fighting that followed the Iraq war, US Gen. Stanley McChrystal responded: "Essential. Could not have done it without them." What’s this, a group rated higher than the SEALs? Indeed. The British Special Air Service was created in 1941 as a force which could operate behind German and Italian lines and support resistance movements against the occupation forces. Understandably, the force is made up of British military personnel with the most coming from the airborne forces.

Physical requirements are harsh and require a lot of marching with full packa. This culminates in a 40 mile march with a full pack that must be finished in 20 hours. Candidates must also be able to swim two miles in an hour and a half and run four miles in 30 minutes. After this, you get dropped in the jungle to learn survival and navigational skills, after which you endure survival practice. The final test is a 36-hour interrogation session meant to break the candidate’s will. The handful who make it through this get transferred to an operation force for further training. Not convinced this is ‘better’ than the SEALs? It may help you to know that the SAS is also trained by MI5 and MI6 security and intelligence services to undertake counter-espionage operations. It’s like having a SEAL and James Bond all rolled into one.

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