Marines: November 11, 2003
The British SBS (Special Boat Service), roughly equivalent to American SEALs, are becoming increasingly distinct from the Royal Marine Commandos they have long been associated with. Over the past few years, the SBS has become more a part of British Special Forces (which includes the SAS and several smaller organizations.) The SBS evolved during World War II as a specialist unit within the Royal Marine Commando organization (combat units of the Royal Marines.) After World War II, SBS developed into a separate organization. But it was still part of the Royal Marine Commandos. The SBS troops wore the same uniform as the Royal Marines and many operations attributed to the Royal Marines were SBS actions. Moreover, the SBS recruited exclusively from the Royal Marine Commando units. That has all changed. Now SBS recruits from the army as well as the Royal Marines. The SBS are also getting some distinctive headgear so that they will not be wearing the exact same uniform as Royal Marine Commandos. Little else has changed. The SBS is still a small organization, with only about 250 operators. The SBS has its own base and is flown off in small groups for missions around the world. Currently there are several dozen SBS serving in Iraq and a smaller number in Afghanistan. The SBS prefers to operate close to the sea, for much of their training is in performing amphibious operations. But they are basically commandos and will go wherever the action is.