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Subject: SBS/SAS still the best?
Johnny Frost    5/7/2003 2:44:23 PM
I didnt hear much about the british special forces in Iraq (Not that suprising as silence is UK govt policy I know) but what I did hear sounded a bit worrying. see . Are they still the world leaders, or are the US catching up. On another matter in Afganistan this time. It was muted in UK papers that an SAS solider was awarded the VC for a cave action in Afganistan, involing an entire squardron of the SAS. Does anyone know any more about this story? is it true?
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Johnny Frost    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   5/7/2003 2:45:37 PM
Wrong category sorry
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Soylent Green    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   5/7/2003 2:55:38 PM
Couple of points. First, if anyone tells you that they KNOW which special forces unit is the best in the world they are almost certainly talking out of their backsides because it's a very difficult thing to measure with empirical evidence. Are the SAS/SBS "Better" than Delta Force or the SEALS or vice versa? I don't know. Better in what way? better at what? It's not really a very good debate to have. Second, the article you posted isn't really an example of anything. Certainly nothing conclusive or indicative of any general trend for better or worse. Actually, it does tell you something. The guys successfully walked over 100 miles across the desert. Without getting captured. Which is an achievement in itself.
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Johnny Frost    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   5/8/2003 3:30:17 AM
Soylent Hi Good and obvious points on the difficulty of comparison. I feel they are applicable to many aspects of these boards and their discussions. I assumed that most people did not expect scientific vigour in opinion based boards. On your second point of 'better at what'? I agree I hadn't made it that clear. I meant of course cooking and culinary presentation. Recently I have heard that Delia Smith has become quite vogue in special ops circles. In fact 14 int company have asked to appear as sushi chefs on the next series. Flippancy aside, I do see that my attempts to get a debate going on this subject are probably pointless. As we obviously don't know what goes on, and successes are never published. And that this area brings out alot of jingoistic view points. I would however like to know if anyone knew any more about my second point on the engagement in Afghanistan and the awarding of a VC. thanks for reading
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giblets    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   5/8/2003 5:39:27 AM
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Horse Soldier    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/19/2003 7:31:38 AM
I tend to agree with Soylent about comparisons -- anyone outside of that community isn't fit to make comparisons, and people in that community don't seem prone to do so. Much like main battle tanks, top-end special ops (US, UK, Australian SASR, etc.) are all pretty good, with comparison made more difficult by the cross-pollination of ideas and cooperative training. Last I heard (and have not followed the story since shortly after it was reported), a senior NCO from the SAS was being considered for the VC after the action Frost referenced in Afghanistan. Don't know if it was ever approved or awarded.
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Thomas    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/19/2003 7:55:18 AM
What I know from exercises: US Rangers good and observe rules of engagement scroupiously - fair in the debrief. Cruel to their own if fouling up. Danish Jægerkorps and Frømandskorps medium, but cheats (extensive help from referee) and won't admit mistakes. SAS/SBS good, but not to good debriefers.
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Heorot    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/21/2003 6:39:20 AM
Re the proposal for the VC. The problem is that the SAS sergeant is still alive. The British Army in the past has been very reluctant to make awards to the Special Forces, and then usually only posthumously for things like the VC. Of course, in the past there was a strong veil of secrecy over what the SAS/SBS did that has now been swept aside, so there may be an award. Just don't hold your breath.
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DragonReborn    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/22/2003 8:12:48 AM
British SBS commando to get 'American VC' By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent (Filed: 26/03/2002) AMERICA is to award the Congressional Medal of Honour, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, to a British Special Boat Service commando who led the rescue of a CIA officer from an Afghan prison revolt. It will be the first time the medal has been awarded to a living foreigner. The Queen will have to give permission for the SBS soldier to wear it. The SBS senior NCO led a patrol of half-a-dozen SBS commandos who rescued a member of the CIA's special activities section from the fort at Qala-i-Jangi near Mazar-i-Sharif, last November. The fort was holding 500 al-Qa'eda and Taliban prisoners, many of whom had not been searched and were still armed. An exchange of fire developed into a full-scale revolt and two CIA officers who had been interrogating the prisoners were caught in the battle. One, Johnny "Mike" Spann, was killed by the prisoners. The other, who has been named only as Dave, was trapped inside. The SBS patrol was about to leave the area when the revolt broke out but returned to rescue Dave. The uprising went on for three days and the SBS commandos remained throughout, bringing down aerial fire to quell the revolt. The battle was one of the most contentious episodes in the war last year with human rights groups raising concerns over air strikes against prisoners, some of them unarmed. The SBS is often seen as a poor relation of the SAS but has been present at all leading special forces operations of recent years. The eagerness of the Americans to recognise the courage of the NCO contrasts with suspicion within the regiment that two SAS soldiers being considered for VCs for an attack on the al-Qa'eda cave complex will not get them. One led the main attack on the heavily defended al-Qa'eda mountain cave complex near Kandahar while the other directed aerial fire at extreme risk to his life.
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Rob Lane    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/29/2003 3:41:21 PM
Suspicion? Since when did the SAS/SBS expect medals? I think that would be a bit of a dig at how British special forces conduct themselves, to be honest.
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Soylent Green    RE:SBS/SAS still the best?   6/29/2003 4:16:36 PM
I don't think it's in any way an ill reflection onf the SAS blokes if they don't get the VC (I strongly suspect they won't). The Victoria Cross is broadly recognised as the single hardest medal in the world to get. Quite possibly the most exclusive club ever. People who get the VC are basically expected to have put themselves in a position where they are pretty much definitely going to get killed. If somebody doesn't get it posthumously it's generally Intervention of God territory. There are very few surviving VCs left and it hasn't been awarded non-posthumously in a long time. I don't know the exact details of the SAS men's actions in Afghanistan so it's difficult to judge, but leading an assault or calling in fire support under fire doesn't strike me as the sort of thing that would cut it in normal circumstances. I suspect this is simply something that was seized upon by the press and blown out of proportion. For example, it's absolutely great that the SBS man is getting the Congrssional Medal of Honour, but from what the article Dragon posted said there's no way near that being the sort of thing that would get him the VC. For the VC he'd pretty much have to have charged headlong into the prison alone with nothing but two grenades and a machete clutched between his teeth and come out with the CIA man under one arm, a bunch of severed Afghan heads in the other and his goolies shot off.
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