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Subject: Who are the Best Special Forces?
Harold C. Hutchison    7/31/2005 9:33:20 PM

Who are the best special forces? These are the troops who carry out a large number of missions that rarely, if ever, make headlines. Most of these groups want to keep things quiet. This is a big deal, since they are relatively small forces containing very highly trained soldiers – the training often takes years, and is done at a very high standard. For example,  eight out of ten trying to become Air Force pararescuemen wash out at one point or another.
While there are many special forces organizations in the world, the following are those that stand out in terms of quality and quantity.

The United States has a wide variety of special forces (nicknamed “snake eaters”). One of the most famous, due to Hollywood portrayals, are the SEALs. The United States has about 2300 SEALs, divided among six SEAL Teams (with 50 platoons of 16 men between them), plus DEVGRU (the new designation for SEAL Team Six). SEAL Team One (8 platoons) covers Southeast Asia (including hot spots like Indonesia and the Philippines), and , SEAL Team Two (8 platoons) covers Europe (including the Balkans), SEAL Team Three (8 platoons) handles Southwest Asia (think the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq), SEAL Team Four (10 platoons) covers Central and South America (Colombia and Venezuela), SEAL Team Five covers the Northern Pacific (North Korea), and SEAL Team Eight covers the Caribbean, Med, and Africa (Nigeria). The manpower and structure of DEVGRU/SEAL Team Six is classified, but some estimates place the total of personnel in that group at 200. It has been mixed in with an administrative and testing section of 300 personnel.

The U.S. Army also has Special Forces, better known as the Green Berets. These are in seven groups (five active, two reserve), each with 1400 personnel. Each group has a total of fifty-four A teams, organized into three battalions, each with three companies (consisting of six A teams – each with twelve men). These groups also have geographic assignments: The 1st Special Forces Group is assigned to Pacific Command (with a battalion in Okinawa), the 3rd Special Forces Group is assigned to European Command (specializing in Africa), the 5th Special Forces Group is assigned to Central Command, the 7th Special Forces Group is assigned to Southern Command, and the 10th Special Forces Group is assigned to European Command (with a battalion in Germany). The two reserve groups also work with various commands. The 19th Special Forces Group is assigned to Central and Pacific Commands, while the 20th is under Southern Command.

The British Special Air Service is one of the most well-known special operations groups. It got its start in World War II, when it carried out numerous missions in North Africa under David Stirling – making life miserable for the Afrika Korps. The 22nd SAS is the active duty regiment, and has four “Sabre” squadrons (A, B, D, and G Squadrons), each with 6 officers and 78 men. Two reserve SAS regiments also exist, the 21st (with A, C, and E Squadrons) and the 23rd (with A, B, and C squadrons).  When support troops like the 264th Squadron (a communications unit) various headquarters units, and the retirees of R Squadron are added, that the SAS consists of about 1,000 men.

Not as well-known as the SAS, but even more selective, is the Special Boat Section (SBS). This unit consists of three squadrons (C, M, and S Squadrons) and is part of the Royal Marines. SBS members first must undergo SAS selection, then receive additional training in diving, photography, canoeing, and other skills. Among its operations include missions to convince Iraqi troops that amphibious landings were imminent in the 1991 liberation of Kuwait (a mission also performed by SEALs), the liberation of South Georgia during the Falklands War, and covert operations in Northern Ireland.

Germany also features superb special forces with a track record of success. The two major units are Grenzschutzgruppe 9 (GSG-9), and Kommando Spezialkrafte (KSK). GSG-9 is part of the German police, and was founded in the wake of the terrorist attack during 1972 Munich Olympics that left 11 Israeli athletes dead. It has about 250 men in its three main sub-groups, and among its successes were the recapture of hijacked airliners in 1977 and 1994. In its 1300 missions (many kept classified), there have been only four occasions where shots have been fired (the two confirmed incidents were the 1977 hostage-rescue of a Lufthansa airliner, and a 1993 shootout with two Red Army Faction terrorists). KSK is part of the Bundeswehr, and has 420 men in four fighting subgroups (out of a total of 1,000). Not much is known about their operations yet, but they have been deployed to Kosovo and Afghanistan.

This is not an exhaustive list, but these are probably the most famous of the groups out there. The SAS is probably the best of these groups, due to a long track record (since 1941) of making life miserab
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Artur Szastak       12/8/2006 9:27:49 PM
What about GROM?  I've talked to ex-Navy Seals and they said these were the guys they respected the most due to their hard work and the fact that they love their country so much.
I'm Polish so I know a bit about GROM, and these guys are the cream of the crop. SEALS and SAS come to train with these guys ever since they helped Poland form this elite group of soldiers. Not much is known about them, but if you ever talk to a soldier that's ever met a GROM member, you'll understand why they get so much respect.
These guys were the first people sent over to Iraq to help our US boys, and because of Poland's efforts to help the US in Afganistan and Iraq, it has just become US's #2 Ally, just under UK. (Well thats what i heard in one of Bush's speeches at least)
just read about them or ask around if you have access to someone who knows special forces well, or if you are an ex Spec soldier, first of all MAJOR PROPS, and just try to find some stuff out about them its pretty cool.    
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jamesbaf       2/8/2007 4:50:08 PM
The British SAS and SBS are the best and it's been proven loads of times.
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Retired CCT Chief    Retired CCT Chief   7/22/2009 9:30:33 AM
Who are the best special forces?
In his book, CCT @ The Eye of the Storm, CMSgt Gene Adcock, USAF (CCT) Retired quotes Dalton Fury from his book "Bomb Like There Is No Tomorrow" Kill Bin Laden, St. Martin's Press. New York. 2008. pp 236-237.
?...if you asked what tool of the trade would be the very last thing they would leave behind, you might be surprised at the answer. You would likely hear that is is not a tool that makes one nervous when it isn't there, but rather a capability that is not organic to a troop of Delta operators or Navy SEALs.
Just because you are the best of the best does not mean you are the best at everything. Any Delta operator can vouch for the capabilities of the air force combat controllers, and very rarely goes on a "hit" without the men who wear the scarlet berets.
Arguably they are the best-rounded and uniquely trained operators on the planet. The initial training "pipeline" for an air force special tactics squadron combat controller costs twice as much time and sweat as does the journey to become a Navy SEAL or Delta operator. Before their training is complete someone brainwashes these guys into thinking they can climb like Spiderman, swim like Tarzan, and fly like Superman---and then they have to prove they can do so if they plan to graduate. And that is just to get to a place where they can do the job for which they are really trained, calling those deadly air strikes. the life of a combat controller is split between working with Delta and SEALs, with a little moonlighting with the 75th Ranger Regiment now and again.

They carry the motto that would be hard to look another operator in the face and say---if it weren't true. "First There."
In Tora Bora, we counted ourselves lucky to have the Admiral and Spike, and their capability...?
NOTE: Dalton Fury was the Delta Force ground commander at Tora Bora.

For more about USAF Combat Control Team history, visit:
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zealot7777       10/26/2011 12:30:10 AM
The Navy SEALS are the best, toughest and deadliest. Their training pushes the human body and mind to the absolute limit. America, the greatest super-power in the world would never allow themselves to be second to anyone.
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Dking       11/25/2012 6:26:50 AM

The Navy SEALS are the best, toughest and deadliest. Their training pushes the human body and mind to the absolute limit. America, the greatest super-power in the world would never allow themselves to be second to anyone.
The Navy SEALs might very well be the best, toughest and deadliest, for all I know.  But what I can tell you is that if true this has nothing to do with America being the 'greatest superpower in the world' that would 'never allow themselves to be second to anyone.'  
Chinese economy predicted to overtake American economy in size in 2015, and with over 4 times the population size, one would have to say that America is not then going to be the 'greatest superpower'.  It will continue to be the predominant military power for some time after that, but as your experience in Vietnam and Iraq proves, success involves a good deal more than brute force.  Intelligence is also a factor.

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