Special Operations: August 1, 2004


Members of Britains Special Boat Squadron (SBS) are rumored to be going back to school to learn more about infantry combat. The SBS are the British equivalent of the American SEALs. But the SBS, unlike the SEALs, spend more time practicing  moving ashore, be it across beaches or onto ships at sea or offshore oil platforms. When SBS went to Iraq last year, and got involved with operating far inland, they did not perform as well as expected. The SBS is a small organization, with only about 250 operators, and until about ten years ago, were part of the Royal Marines. Now, SAS and SBS are both part of the British Special Forces. One reason for the SBS becoming overspecialized in maritime operations, was the perceived vulnerability of Britains offshore oil rigs to terrorist attack. There was also fear that terrorists might take over a large ship, perhaps even an oil tanker, in the crowded English Channel shipping lanes, and cause a lot of damage. In both these cases, the SBS was seen as the cure for the problem. 

The Director of Special Forces ordered an investigation into the source of this SBS story, believing that it was more a continuation of a long term competition between the SAS and SBS, a situation which has sometimes turned ugly. The Director of Special Forces denied that there was any problem SBS ground combat skills. Not everyone in the SAS agrees. 


Article Archive

Special Operations: Current 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close