World's elite special forces


Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
BRITISH Special Air Service (SAS)

The Special Air Service (SAS) is the British Army's most renowned special forces unit. From the moment several black-clad figures appeared on the balconies of the Iranian Embassy in London in 1980, the Special Air Service became 'celebrities' both at home and oversees. Their motto, 'Who Dares Wins', has become part of British popular culture.

Special Air Service (SAS) Selection / How To Join

Many try to get into the Special Air Service regiment. Most of them fail. Out of an average intake of 125 candidates, the grueling
selection process will weed out all but 10. There is now a joint selection process, UKSF selection, for both the SAS and SBS.

Selection Phase 1 - Endurance

The first phase of selection is known as the endurance, fitness and navigation, or 'the hills' stage. This is the endurance portion of selection and not only tests a candidate's physical fitness, but also their mental stamina. To pass this phase, a high level of determination and self-reliance is vital.

The hills stage lasts 3 weeks and takes place in the Brecon Beacons and Black Hills of South Wales. Candidates have to carry an ever-increasingly-heavy bergen over a series of long timed hikes, navigating between checkpoints. No encouragement or criticism is provided by the supervising staff at the checkpoints. SAS Directing Staff (DS) are fully-badged members of the regiment and leave each candidate to their own devices. This can be a marked contrast from the selectee's experience in their parent units. They would be used to their instructors shouting constant instructions at them, along with encouragement and abuse. The demands of life in a special forces unit require each member to be self-motivated.

The endurance phase culminates with 'the long drag', a 40 mile trek carrying a 55lb bergen, that must be completed in under 24 hours.

Selection Phase 2 - Jungle Training

Those who have passed stage 1 have to then pass jungle training. Training takes place in Belize, in the heart of deep jungles. Candidates learn the basics of surviving and patrolling in the harsh conditions. SAS jungle patrols have to live for weeks behind enemy lines, in 4 man patrols, living on rations. Jungle training weeds out those who can't handle the discipline required to keep themselves and their kit in good condition whilst on long range patrol in difficult conditions. Again, there is a mental component being tested, not just a physical. Special Forces teams need men who can work under relentless pressure, in horrendous environments for weeks on end, without a lifeline back to home base.

Selection Phase 3 - Escape & Evasion & Tactical Questioning (TQ)

The small number of candidates who have made it through endurance and jungle training now enter the final phase of selection. The likelihood of a special operation going wrong behind enemy lines is quite high, given the risks involved. The SAS want soldiers who have the wherewithal and spirit required to escape and evade capture and resist interrogation.

For the escape and evasion (E&E) portion of the course, the candidates are given brief instructions on appropriate techniques. This may include talks from former POWs or special forces soldiers who have been in E&E situations in the real world.

Next, the candidates are let loose in the countryside, wearing World War 2 vintage coats with instructions to make their way to a series of waypoints without being captured by the hunter force of other soldiers. This portion lasts for 3 days after which, captured or not, all candidates report for TQ.

Tactical Questioning (TQ) tests the prospective SAS men's ability to resist interrogation. They are treated roughly by their interrogators, often made to stand in 'stress positions' for hours at a time, while disorientating white noise is blasted at them. When their turn for questioning comes, they must only answer with the so-called 'big 4' (name, rank, serial number and date of birth). All other questions must be answered with 'I'm sorry but I cannot answer that question.' Failure to do so results in failing the course. The questioners will use all sorts of tricks to try and get a reaction from the candidates. They may act friendly and try to get their subjects chatting; or they stand inches away from their subjects and scream unfavourable remarks about the sexual habits of their mothers. Female interrogators may laugh at the size of their subject's manhood. Of course, a real interrogation would be a lot more harsh and the subject would not know that they get to leave alive when it's all over. That said, days of interrogations and enduring the stress positions and white noise break down a man's sense of time and reality. The SAS are looking for men who can withstand such treatment long enough so that the effects of revealing any operational information they might have can be lessoned by HQ.

After all that...

The small number of men who make it through selection receive the coveted beige beret with the distinctive winged dagger insignia. As a newly badged member of the Special Air Service they can feel justly proud. They are not out of the woods, however, as they are now effectively on probation. As brand new members of the regiment, they will be watched closely by the DS as they enter continuation training. Many SAS soldiers are RTU'd (returned to unit) during training.

Special Air Service (SAS) Weapons

As one would expect of a special forces unit, aside from the range of standard weapons used by the UK military, the men of the 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) have access to a wider selection of firearms and other weapons than your average British soldier.

This section of the site takes a look at some of the weapons known to be used by the Special Air Service.

C8 carbine
The Regiment's primary assault carbine
SAS - Weapons - C8 Carbine

M16 & variants
SAS - Weapons - M16 & Variants

7.62mm battle rifle used by UKSF
more info : HK G3 SAS - Weapons - G3 Assault Rifle

HK33 / 53
5.56mm version of the G3
more info : HK33 / 53 SAS - Weapons - Hk33 and HK53

HK G36
Modern assault rifle made by Heckler & Koch
more info : HK G36 SAS - Weapons - HK G36

World famous counter-terrorist weapons - the MP5 sub machine gun

MAC 11
9mm SMG once used by the SAS in Northern Ireland

Info on the Sig Sauer P226, Browning High Power and other pistols.
more info : Handguns

World War-era 2 silenced pistol
more info : Welrod SAS - Weapons - Welrod

Remington 870
Shotgun often loaded with special breaching rounds
more info : Remington 870 SAS - Weapons - Remington 870 Shotgun

Medium ranger sniper rifle
more info : HK417

The Regiment's long range sniper rifle
more info : L96A1 SAS - Weapons - L96 Sniper Rifle

AW 50
.50 cal anti-material rifle
more info : AW 50 SAS - Weapons - AW 50

Arwen Launcher
Arwen 37
Tear gas canister launcher used for counter-terrorism operations
more info : Arwen 37 SAS - Weapons - Arwen 37 Launcher

stun grenade
Stun Grenade devloped by the SAS CRW wing.

Compact anti-tank rocket launcher SAS - Weapons - M72 LAW Rocket Launcher

A portable anti-personnel mine used for defence and ambushes
more info : Claymore SAS - Weapons - Claymore Mine

40mm grenade launcher fitted to SAS rifles
more info : M203 SAS - Weapons - M203

A modern grenade launcher system
more info : UGL

40mm grenade launcher fitted to SAS vehicles used in the 1991 Gulf War
more info : MK19 SAS - Weapons - MK19 Grenade Launcher

Shoulder-fired Surface-To_Air missile (SAM)
more info : Stinger SAS - Weapons - FIM-92 Stinger

As with mmany other special forces units, Special Air Service troopers will train with many of the world's military weapons, such as Kalashnikovs. These are not weapons that they would normally choose to take with them on operations but due to their ubiquity amongst other armed forces, it is important for an SAS operator to have working knowledge of them. Not only might they be tasked with training foreign militaries with their use, they may also lead such forces into combat, using their weapons. The SAS may also need to use the enemy's guns in emergency situations - ie such as in escape and evasion, when a trooper may need to take and use guns from fallen enemy soldiers. Then there are 'false-flag' operations, in which the SAS may purposely use firearms likely to be identified with another force in order to cover their own identity.

Special Air Service Operations

This section features some notable special operations of the SAS.
1980 - The Iranian Embassy Siege

The SAS's most public operation - one which set the standard in counter-terrorism.
more info : Iranian Embassy Siege Operation Nimrod

1981 - The Gambia - Hostage Rescue

A small team of SAS men are flown into Africa to rescue hostages and reverse a coup.
more info : The Gambia - Hostage Rescue SAS - Operations - Gambia

1982 - The Falklands - Raid On Pebble Island

In the first land attack of the war, D Squadron raid an Argentine airfield.
more info : Raid On Pebble Island SAS - Operations - Raid On Pebble Island

1987 - Northern Ireland - Ambush At Loughgall

In a controversial ambush, the SAS intercept an IRA active service unit as they attack a Police Station.
more info : Ambush At Loughgall

1987 - Peterhead Prison Siege

The SAS deploy to the scene of a Scottish Prison riot and end it with non-lethal but brutal force.
more info : Peterhead Prison Siege SAS - Operations - Peterhead Prison

1988 - Operation Flavius - Gibraltar

A controversial SAS operation against an IRA active service unit on the Rock Of Gibraltar.
more info : Operation Flavius SAS - Operation Flavius - Gibraltar

1991 - Victor Two

Echoing their World War 2 beginnings, the SAS take to the Iraqi desert to raid an Iraqi communications center.
more info : 1991 - Victor Two SAS - Operations - Victor Two

1997 - Counter Sniper Ops - Northern Ireland

A joint SAS/14 Company operation against an IRA sniper unit in South Armagh.
more info : Counter Sniper Ops SAS - Counter Sniper Operations - Northern Ireland

1997 - Operation Tango - Bosnia

The SAS operation to arrest 2 suspected war criminals.
more info : Operation Tango Operation Tango - SAS vs War Criminals

1998 - Operation Ensue - Serbia

The SAS capture a Serb war criminal from his hideout in Serbia.
more info : Operation Ensue Operation Ensue - SAS Arrest Stevan Todorovic

2000 - Operation Barras - Sierra Leone

When British soldiers are held hostange, the SAS lead a daring rescue mission into the heart of the African jungle.
more info : Operation Barras Operation Barras - SAS Rescue Mission Sierra Leone

2001 - Operation Trent - Afghanistan

A 2-squadron strike against a Taliban base in the Aghanistan mountains.
more info : Operation Trent Operation Trent
2005 - Operation Marlborough - Baghdad

An SAS sniper mission against insurgents in the middle of the Iraqi capital.
more info : Operation Marlborough SAS - Operation Marlborough

2005 - Basra Rescue

The SAS rescue 2 of their own held captive in Basra
more info : Basra Rescue SAS Operation - Basra Rescue

2006 - Hostage Rescue - Baghdad

A multi-national operation, led by the SAS, rescues 3 western peace activists held captive by Iraqi kidnappers.
more info : Baghdad Hostage Rescue SAS - Rescue Of Norman Kember

SAS History

The Special Air Service was born in the African desert during World War 2 and has since carried out many operations.

Special Air Service (SAS) - Organisation

The 22nd Special Air Service Regiment is organised in the following way:
Sabre Squadrons

22 SAS is divided into 4 main Squadrons - A,B, D & G. Each squadron is divided into 4 specialised troops and a command/HQ element.

HQ Element

Comprising officers and support staff:

At the head of each squadron is the OC (Officer Commander), usually an Army Major.
The 2nd in Command, or 2ic, with the rank of captain.
Operations Officer
Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM)
Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant (SQSM)
Staff Sergeant
Assorted armourers, clerical and logistics staff.


SAS troops comprise of 16 men, led by a captain. There are 4 troops within each squadron, each specialising in a different method of insertion. The troops are Air Troop, Boat Troop, Mountain Troop and Mobility Troop. Non-officers who pass SAS selection lose their previous rank and are assigned the rank of trooper.

Each squadron will rotate through different roles:

counter terrorism
one squadron is on alert to deal with any terrorist threat, at home or abroad.
squadron training
consisting of training exercises to teach new recruits the ropes and hone the skills of the veterans.
'strip duty'
on standby to respond to any emergency anywhere in the world
operational deployment
- an SAS squadron is currently depoyed to Iraq as 'Task Force Black', part of TF-88, a coalition task force set up to battle Al-Qaeda.
- during peacetime an SAS Squadron would often perform so-called 'team tasks' - training foreign militaries.

Other Elements
There are some smaller elements within the SAS.

Counter Revolutionary War Wing (CRW)

The CRW is a specialised wing created during the 70s to prepare the SAS for its counter terrorism and bodyguarding role. The CRW developed advanced pistol shooting techniques, explosive entry methods and room clearing drills for the Anti-terrorist role. The CRW is responsible for training whichever Squadron is on counter-terrorism duties.
Operations Research Cell.

The Operations Research Cell Research Unit usually comprises of a couple of experienced SAS men who's job it is to evaluate and develop new equipment, weapons and techniques. Working with MOD technicians and scientists, the cell ensure that the Regiment stay on the cutting edge. The cell came up with the concept of Stun Grenades during the 70s. These stun grenades, or 'Flash Bangs' have since been adopted by militaries and police forces around the world.
Northern Ireland Cell

During the Troubles, the SAS provided a troop for deployment to Northern Ireland.

Special Air Service (Reserve) - (SAS(R))

The 2 territorial SAS regiments, 21 and 23 SAS, who form Special Air Service Reserves (SAS(R)), are independent entities staffed by civilian volunteers (except for senior ranks who are from 22 SAS).

SAS(R) comprises:

21st Special Air Service Regiment
(21 SAS(R))
HQ Squadron based at the Duke Of York Barracks in London
A Squadron (Greater London)
C Squadron (East Anglia and Eastern Wessex)
E Squadron (Wales)
23rd Special Air Service Regiment
(23 SAS(R))
HQ Squadron (West Midlands)
B Squadron (Yorkshire and Humberside)
D Squadron (Scotland)
G Squadron (North and North West of England)

21 and 23 SAS reservists are given communications and signals intelligence (SIGINT) support by 63 (SAS) Signals Squadron, of the Royal Corps of Signals, also manned by volunteers.
SAS(R) Role And Operational History

The traditional role of 21 and 23 SAS is to carry out long range reconnaissance patrols for the regular UK Army (although these days the focus is on augmenting UKSF operations), freeing the regular SAS from recon tasks and onto direct actions. 23 SAS had previously been trained for combat search and rescue (CSAR) although it's now reported that role has been given to dedicated RAF Regiment units.

In the 1991 Gulf War, members of SAS(R) were used as battlefield casualty replacements for deployed 22 SAS units, namely landrover fighting columns from A and D Squadrons who were operating in the Iraqi Desert.

SAS Reservists deployed to the Balkans in the mid-90s. Members from 21 and 23 SAS formed a composite unit known as 'V Squadron' and were engaged in peace support operations.

In 2003, it was reported that 21 and 23 SAS had been operating in Afghanistan where they have carried out long range reconnaissance operations(1).

Another role that SAS reservists are thought to carry out is that of so-called 'hearts and minds' operations. On such missions the SAS give medical and other assistance to local forces and populations in a given theatre. In Helmand Province, Afghansitan, SAS(R) were reportdely deployed in a mentoring role, training and operating alongisde the Afghan National Police (ANP).

According to a April 2010 Telegraph report(2), SAS(R) first deployed to Afghansitan in 2003 where they helped to establish a communications network across the country. They also acted as liason between various local political factions, NATO and the new Afghan goverment. The same report mentions that SAS(R) were withdrawn from frontline duties in Afghanistan due to a lack of a clear role. Their mentoring role with the ANP was taken over by regular units. Some SAS Reservists were reported to be carrying out close protection duties for Foreign Office personnel in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital city.

The men of 21 and 23 SAS are typically issued with standard UK infantry weapons, ie the SA80, LMG, GPMG etc.

SAS Skills

A typical SAS patrol is just 4 men, each expert in at least one specialized skill and proficient in several others.

more info : SAS - 4 Man Patrol


The Regiment has a wide range of responsibilities, each requiring specific training and disciplines :

Counter-Terrorism (CT)

One Sabre Squadron is responsible for counter-terrorism duties, with a team on a constant state of alert. The 4 squadrons rotate through this role on a 6 monthly basis.

Intelligence Gathering

Sneaking into enemy territory to gather intelligence about troop strengths and movements is not as glamorous as leaping across embassy balconies but it is the bread and butter of special operations work. SAS recon teams must be able to remain hidden under the nose of the enemy for days on end, lurking concealed in dug out hides and on so-called 'hard routine' (no talking, no smoking, cooking etc). The Regiment trained to do this against the Russians but the techniques were used to great success in the barren hills of the Falklands and the hedgerows of Northern Ireland.
Forward Air Control

With the emphasis on air power in modern warfare comes a need for skilled forward air controllers : men on the ground calling in air strikes. In any S.A.S. team there's likely to be one trooper specially trained to communicate with attack aircraft and guide them in for a strike. Sometimes a laser designator will be used to 'paint' the target; other times the attack aircraft will be guided in verbally. The S.A.S. called in air strikes against Scud launchers during the 1991 Gulf War, against Serbian tanks in Bosnia in the 90s and against Taliban positions in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2001.
Target Attacks - Behind the lines sabotage

The Special Air Service regiment began its life in World War 2, carrying out daring sabotage missions behind German lines, first in North Africa and then in the European theatre. The modern day S.A.S. keeps up the tradition and are experts at infiltration deep into enemy territory, destroying fuel dumps, communication lines, bridges and railway lines.
Close Protection

The Regiment are masters at close protection duties (CP) - body guarding to the layman - having developed many of the protocols themselves. VIP protection is the responsibility of the Counter Revolutionary War (CWR) wing. Nowadays much of UK Military CP work is being done by specialised military police units.

Training Foreign Militaries

Over the years, the Special Air Service has shared their expertise with friendly nations, training their own special forces and bodyguards in the dark arts. Known as 'team jobs' within the S.A.S., the UK government gets both political and financial benefits from such arrangements due in part to the reputation of the regiment.

Special Air Service (SAS) Training

Having passed the grueling selection process and earned their SAS wings, the SAS newbie enters a training phase that, in some respects, never ends. SAS troopers are constantly learning new skills and refining those already learned.
Part 1 - Counter-Terrorism Training

One squadron (A,B,D or G) is designated for counter-terrorism (CT) duties. The role is rotated through the squadrons every 6 months. After getting up to speed with CT techniques, the active squadron splits into two sections. One carries out training at the various SAS training facilities and is on standby for immediate response to a terrorist incident. The other takes part in exercises and is on 24 hour warning to respond.
The Killing House

The SAS do much of their CT training in a specially constructed house at SAS Headquarters, called the 'Killing House'. Featuring movable partitions, rubber-coated walls to absorb live rounds and extractor fans to clear out the gun fumes, the killing house can be configured to emulate various scenarios. The Killing House is used to hone the SAS trooper's Close Quarter Battle (CQB) skills. CQB techniques are practised over and over until the various drills become second nature. Room entry techniques are perfected. The SAS troopers will learn how to deploy stun grenades, tear gas, door and wall breaching explosives, shotguns loaded with hinge-busting Hattan rounds - all designed to give the assault teams the edge in siege busting operations. Once the CT teams have devloped the disciplines requried, they will begin to train with live ammunition. Members of the assault teams will take turns at playing hostages whilst their colleagues burst into the room. firing live rounds into targets sometimes very close to them. The Killing House is wired with cctv cameras so the assaults can be watched back and analysed.

The Killing House is also used by the Counter Revolutionary Wing to train for various close protection scenarios.
Building Assaults

When they need to practise getting into buildings, the SAS will use specially built buildings on which to play. Training includes :

abseiling down the side of buildings from the roof or onto the rooftops from helicopters
gaining access via ladders - either carried on foot or attached to the roofs of Range Rovers
blowing access holes into the side of buildings using explosives

The SAS use a multi-story building nicknamed 'the Embassy' to practise assaults. On at least one occassion, the SAS have practised assaults on condemned buildings, including blocks of flats.
Tubular Assaults

Terrorists have been known to take hostages aboard trains, buses and coaches. The SAS train constantly in assaulting such targets. SAS training facilities include a stretch of railway tracks complete with railway carriages for which to practise storming hijacked trains.
Aircraft Assaults

The SAS train for assaulting hijacked aircraft using a mock up of a passnger airliner at the training ground at Pontrilas, Herefordshire (see image below). The Killing House can also be configured to emulate the interior of airliners. Frequent exercises involving real-world aircraft (usually provided by British Airways) take place, complete with role-playing terrorists and hostages.

264 (SAS) Signals Squadron

264 (SAS) Squadron provides dedicated communications support to 22 Special Air Service.

Often deploying alongside the Sabre Squadrons, these signallers ensure that the SAS can communicate in a secure and reliable fashion not just within the Squadron's area of operations but also with Hereford, their home base.

The men of 264 (SAS) Signals are part of the Royal Corps of Signals and have not gone through SAS selection, although they do have to pass the Special Forces Communicator (SFC) selection course. 264 Signals are now under the umbrella of 18 UKSF Signals Regiment.

Signallers from 264 (SAS) Squadron are currently supporting Task Force Black, the SAS squadron operating in Iraq.

R Troop

R troop is a territorial unit which augments 264 Signals. The 50 men of R Troop are the signals squadrons equivalent of L-Detachment, who augment 22 SAS. Staffed by civilian volunteers, R troop provide extra manpower and casualty replacements for 264.


Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, 2003 it has been reported that an SAS Squadron has been assigned to a joint US/UK group of Special Operations units operating in the country, known previously as Task Force 145 (TF-145).

Now reportedly renamed to TF-88, this cream of Western Special Operators consists of several elements:

TF Black - - made up of an SAS sabre squadron, supported by a Company of SFSG (TF Maroon). Some SBS operators are thought to be attached to TF Black.
TF Blue - US Navy SEALs from DEVGRU (Seal Team 6)
TF Green - 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - or 'Delta Force'
TF Orange - signals intelligence gathers from the ISA

Mark Urban's account of the SAS's secret war in Iraq, focusing on Task Force Black, caused controversy when Director Special Forces (DSF) refused to approve its publication.

more info on the book (

**to be published on Feb 18th 2010**

Elements of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), US 24th Special Tactics Squadron, aircraft from the UK's 7 and 47 RAF Squadrons, along with a RAF Puma flight, provide specialised air support for TF-88. American military intelligence operatives alongside the UK's Joint Support Group, elements of MI6 and the SRR are believed to be attached to the Task Force to provide intelligence support. 18 UKSF Signals and their US equivalents (Task Force Orange) provide signals intelligence (SIGINT) capabilties to the task force.

The primary role of TF-88 is to hunt down senior members of Al-Qaeda operating in Iraq. To this end, the Task Force has had several successes including the killing of Al-Zarqawi. In response to a spate of kidnappings involving Westerners, TF-88's remit expanded to include countering this threat.

TF-Black is based in headquarters known as 'the Station', within Baghdad's green zone.

**update ** it is believed that the SAS is no longer operating in Iraq has been redeployed to Afghanistan.
Task Force Black Operations

In July 2003, an SAS team performed a close target reconnaisance of a residence in Mosul, thought to contain Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam's sons. British commanders pushed for the SAS to raid the house but are denied. A combined force of US Delta Force and the 101st Airborne eventually attacked the building and killed Uday and Qusay.

Operation Marlborogh
In July 2005 an SAS sniper team neutralized an insurgent bomb squad before they could reach their targets in the city.

In March 2006, in a bloodless operation, the SAS rescued British activist, Norman Kember, and 2 Canadians who had been kidnapped in Baghdad
more info: SAS rescue Norman Kember

September 5th, 2007 - A 30-man SAS team assaulted a house that intel had pinpointed as the location of a senior Al-Qaeda figure. The mission was a success but sadly it costs the life of one of the SAS assaulters.
more info : SAS soldier killed in mass raid on Al-Qaeda chief
(Times Online report)

March 26th, 2008 - 1 SAS soldier from Task Force Black is killed during an operation against insurgents in a town in Northern Iraq.
more info : 'Ambush' that left SAS trooper dead
(BBC News Report)

As with its other commitments such as counter-terrorism and training, the SAS rotates a squadron into Task Force Black on a 6-monthly basis.


SAS - Airstrike - - YouTube

This footage was filmed through the FLIR on a US F15E fighter/bomber during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The SAS fighting column of Land Rovers are deep behind enemy lines in Iraq's western desert. The Iraqi scud convoy has already been attacked by the SAS and the launcher vehicle has been set alight by a Milan anti-tank missile. After a protracted engagement, the SAS called in the bombers.

Make sure to enable your speakers for this one as it includes a rare recording of the SAS ground controllers - one calls in the coordinates and later you hear a second SAS controller identifying his own forces to avoid becoming a target for the bombers.

Things of interest in this clip:

The call sign 'Delta-2-1' indicates that this SAS column was from D Squadron.
The 2nd SAS voice identifies himself as 'Highlight', the codeword for UK special forces, as used during the war..
The co-ordinates given out for the SAS's location can be viewed via Google Earth:
click here to download the KMZ file for this SAS engagement
if you don't have Google Earth, get it here

SAS Photos


Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
Shayetet 13

Israel's Special Forces – the Shayetet 13 – is a branch of the Israeli Navy and one of the top special forces in the world. This elite commando group was first organized in 1948 and has participated in almost every major Israeli war since. The Shayetet 13, together with the Sayeret Matkal and Shaldag Unit, comprises the Special Forces units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Initially, the Israel Defense Forces debated the need for a Special Forces unit, which initially restricted both the size and the budget of the Shayetet 13. Though started in 1948, their existence was not made public until 1960.

Shayetet 13 selection

The arsenal of weapons to the American M-4 Carbine selection process of new members of the Special Forces IDF begins military indoctrination process until the Israeli commandos as teenagers and are still in high school. This is exactly the key factor in Israel's specific approach to creating and honoring their special forces. In most of the world's other special units in the selection process could be included only those candidates who have passed the basic level of the classic infantry training.
In Israel's case for joining the special forces do not need to have military experience, nor is it binding pre-serve military service in the IDF. Moreover, practice has shown that if a member of the IDF in the first month of service is not able to enter into the composition of the special units, it probably will not come true.

Furthermore, the practice of almost all the special forces in the world is that its members are recruited from the ranks of regular troops, and then gradually train and develop the forces' lower-rated, "which during the course of combat training and a certain level of quality grow until it becomes a handful of the best members of the elite units. Israeli practice is the opposite. Young men who have undergone a rigorous selection program, are included on the first day of the most elite units, which do not only done but long training and education in the spirit of the largest members of the Israeli state. Israeli concept works on the principle that the elected candidates who are not able to master the training and meet the criteria for unit members are imported into the composition less demanding special forces, or even to other units IDF. According to Israeli data has been recorded only a few isolated cases that are extremely capable individuals able to move from regular IDF units and manage the organizational structure of the military and special forces to command positions in the 13th Shayetet

Every year, as Israeli youths graduate from high school began the process of selecting the candidates who have applied for entry into the 13th Shayetet Several hundreds of candidates, many of them on average application, undergo a demanding treatment and program selection, which is known as Gibush. The usual length Gibusha five days, and is focused on checking motor skills, physical fitness and psychological endurance. Particular attention is paid to the evaluation of the results that these young people are making in terms of physical exhaustion, the constant exposure of effort, lack of sleep, or a continuous state of physical and psychological pressure.

An integral part of the selection phase and written examinations and interviews with psychologists and officers of units that are usually performed at the end of this phase. From hundreds of candidates in the Selection phase, the physical part Gibush program manages an average of only 50 of them go to 100 After conducting psychological testing only 20-25 gets the green light to "pass" and entering the 13th Shayetet Only then for them to begin the painstaking training process that will last for the next 21 months.

Shayetet 13 weapons

Standard personal weapons of soldiers in the Israeli Special Forces is a modified American assault rifle M-type 16 CAR 15, often in combination with the M203 grenade launcher. The result is that major reorganization in the Special Forces after in 1974. in action Mahalot special unit Sayeret Matkal suffered a fiasco. For committing errors and omissions (which included applied weapon) GS IDF banned the use of Soviet (Russian) weapons in the Special Forces. Except for one – 13th Shayetet
Russian AK-47 years was the only assault rifles that were used operatives naval commandos. After an extensive program of field testing and comparing the features of different tactical rifles such as the AK-47, IMI Galil AR, FN FAL, M14 and M16 in Shayetet 13 have come to the conclusion that the most reliable domestic IMI Galil assault rifle 5.56 mm AR and AK – 47th Their reliability is proven in harsh conditions, and notices under water, in salt water and sandy environment. In addition to the criteria of reliability, operatives troops Shayetet 13 had another important reason for the use of Soviet weapons. Most of its former operations unit was performed in the depth of enemy territory. Because these operations were covert type, Israeli operatives had to look to merge with the local population: clothing, language, accent, habits and choosing weapons. Operatives troops Shayetet 13 it usually gives a few seconds of life-saving benefits, while the opponent does not detect it before it was friend or foe.

In the past 20 years, the AK-47 has become a real myth in the naval commando unit, and is still the first weapon of that young recruits in a unit of borrowing. However, time and technical inferiority of these guns and other equipment that is used to it compared to today's similar to a modern tool of Western origin have led to the AK-47 used only in operations that include diving activities. Became the main weapon is a modified U.S. Rifle M16 CAR 15, which is much lighter, more versatile and more accurate. Another reason why the Shayetet 13 opted for the gun they used was the same ammunition (5.56 mm) and IMI Negev light machine gun, also the arms forces. Israeli special forces are used (especially in parachute operations), a special version of the machine gun with a shortened pipe to only 330 mm.

Arsenal classic firearms that use marine commandos from Shayetet unit 13 is varied and contains:
- Ministrojnica IMI MICRO UZI 9 mm which is specially developed type Sionics silencer, and is a favorite weapon of actions which provide diving and swimming because it is light and leaves a lot of freedom when both hands are needed for a "sluggish" action.
- Micro Galil MAR 5.56 – a modified version of the Galil assault rifle with a barrel length reduced to 195 mm.
- M16 CAR 15 Commando – a special version of the famous assault rifle designed for special forces. It is characterized by short pipe 292.1 mm.
- Gun Sig Sauer P226.
Arsenal of weapons complement different types of firearms, hand grenades, guns and underwater specially designed and weapons such as the so. Corner Shot 40 (equipped with a video camera intended to crack "around the corner" and eliminate targets without exposing the shooter danger).
Certain kinds and types of firearms have been imposed as a classic bit of all the special forces of the world. Israeli special forces, including Shayetet 13, and in this segment have some specifics. In fact, Israel is the only country in the Western provencijencije whose special forces do not use anything from the German Heckler & Koch's arsenal, and also the HK MP5 rifle designed specifically for the special forces. The reason is primarily political, not financial or technical.

Shayetet 13 operations


During the 1967 Six Day War, the unit was tasked with neutralizing enemy fleets. S'13 commandos infiltrated Port Said, but found no ships there, and during a raid into Alexandria, six divers were captured and taken prisoner, and released in January 1968. Several other missions also failed.[3][4]

In July 1967, Shayetet 13 commandos crossed the Suez Canal and blew up an Egyptian rail line in two places. The operation was carried out in retaliation for Egyptian shelling.[3]

Operation Barak was an Israeli naval mission to fly the flag in the Suez Canal carried out in July 1967, following Egyptian artillery attacks and firing on Israeli ships in the Suez Canal. S'13 participated in the operation. The operation was carried out in daylight, and the Egyptians opened fire from their positions, sinking a boat.[3]
Operation Bulmus 6

In 1969 during the War of Attrition, the unit successfully carried out the Green Island raid in cooperation with Sayeret Matkal. Three of the six Israeli soldiers killed during the operation were S'13 operatives. The Egyptians lost about 80 killed.
War of Attrition

On September 7, 1969, Shayetet 13 carried out Operation Escort, raiding the Egyptian anchorage at Ras Sadat and destroying a pair of Egyptian P-183 torpedo-boats. Three operators were killed on the way back from the mission when one of their charges detonated. Escort, nevertheless, allowed the IDF to carry out Operation Raviv, a highly successful 10-hour raid on Egypt's Red Sea coast.[5][6]

During the 1970s the unit underwent a rebuild with more emphasis placed on sea-to-land incursions and on effective training. More issues rose with other IDF SF units, which at the time suggested that that S'13 should only provide the transportation to the target and assistance in crossing water obstacles, while leaving the surface warfare to the other IDF SF units.[4]

Operation Bardas 20 took place on January 14, 1971, to neutralize a guerilla base in Lebanon, near Sidon, where about two dozen militants were training as frogmen. During the operation, a number of buildings at the base were destroyed, and a number of guerillas were wounded, including commander Abu Youssef. During the course of the raid, the commandos discovered a house with several women in it, and decided not to blow it up.[3]

S'13, Unit 707, and Sayeret Tzanhanim commandos jointly raided guerilla bases in Nahr al-Bared and Beddawi on February 19, 1973 in Operation Bardas 54-55. During the operation, about 40 guerillas were killed and 60 wounded, and a Turkish military trainer was taken prisoner.[3]
Operation Wrath of God

S'13 took part in Operation Spring of Youth in 1973, in which Israeli special forces raided Beirut and killed several members of Black September, the group which had carried out the Munich Massacre of Israeli athletes in the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics.[7]
Yom Kippur War

During the Yom Kippur War, S'13 commandos infiltrated Egyptian ports numerous times, sinking five Egyptian naval vessels and heavily damaging another. Two commandos went missing during one of the raids.[3]

Following the Yom Kippur War, the S'13 carried out various missions against guerilla boats and those who assisted them, with mediocre success. During Operation Litani in 1978, S'13 carried out ambushes, killing a senior enemy commander in one of them. From 1979 to 1981, the unit carried out 22 successful raids against guerilla targets in Lebanon. The successes resulted in a unit decoration.[3]

Following intelligence reports that a guerilla unit based south of the mouth of the Zaharani river in Ras a-Shaq, Lebanon, was preparing to carry out a kidnapping and "bargaining" operation on a community in northern Israel, S'13 commandos raided the base on April 19, 1980. During the raid, about 15 guerillas were killed, including the commander of the would-be infiltration unit and two of its members, and two structures were destroyed. Several commandos were wounded.[3]

During the 1982 Lebanon War, Shayetet 13 commandos participated in creating a beach head at the mouth of the Awali river, enabling armor and infantry to land. The unit also carried out three raids on PLO targets in Beirut, and carried out several other raids and ambushes during the war.[3]

From the early 1980s the unit became increasingly involved in the Lebanon conflict, demonstrating an excellent track record of dozens of successful operations each year, inflicting massive losses on Hezbollah, both in life and equipment. Typical missions at the time were interdiction of guerilla vessels, blowing up enemy headquarters and key facilities, conducting ambushes and planting explosives in guerilla routes.[4] On November 25, 1988, the unit, along with other forces, conducted a raid on the base of PFLP-GC commander Ahmed Jibril. The IDF estimated that 20 guerillas were killed in the raid. However, several commandos were killed, and Jibril managed to escape.[3]
Ansariya Ambush

On September 5, 1997, the unit suffered a major blow during a raid in Lebanon. A number of Shayetet 13 commandos landed on Lebanon's coast, south of Sidon between the towns of Loubieh and Ansariya. Speculataion about their mission was that they were trying to assassinate a senior Shia Muslim cleric of the Hezbollah movement. They landed in the dark early hours of that Friday and started moving inland. The army said the force had been "on its way to its mission" when it was struck by a powerful explosive device and came under fire from Hezbollah.[8] The clash took place outside a 15-km deep security zone which Israel occupied in south Lebanon. The force's commander, Joseph Korakin, was killed in the first burst of fire. Israel immediately dispatched a rescue team in a giant CH-53 helicopter. A rescue force of helicopters and naval ships arrived, joining in a battle that lasted until dawn as the rescuers evacuated the dead. Mortar shells exploded nearby and shrapnel hit the CH-53, but it was able to take-off. In total 12 Israeli soldiers of Shayetet 13 were killed including their commander and an unknown number of injured. The unfound remains of the Israeli soldiers were returned to Israel on June 25, 1998 in a prisoner exchange deal. After 14 years the hezbollah organization revealed that they knew the position of the commandos in advance thanks to the interception of video footage broadcast by Israeli spy UAVs that were hovering over the area in the days before the mission. The soldiers were killed as a result of entering an orchard booby-trapped with bombs, that exploded when they entered.[9]
Operation Moses

During the mid-1980s, Shayetet 13 played an active part in Operation Moses, which brought thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. After the Mossad had established a diving resort on the Sudanese coast to serve a conduit for Jews fleeing Ethiopia, Shayetet 13 operatives would arrive on dinghies at night to ferry the refugees to an Israel Navy boat waiting offshore.[10]
Second Intifada

During the Second Intifada, S'13 soldiers took part in ground counter terror operations deep within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. S'13 performed hundreds of operations, including the arrest and killing of members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. The unit also participated in the Battle of Jenin. It earned high acclaim due to the successful capture of three Palestinian vessels which attempted to smuggle in weapons: Karine A, Santorini and Abu-Yusuf. The Karine A incident, in particular was considered a highly difficult operation. In 2004, their operations were temporarily suspended following a complaint from B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, that operatives had shot an unarmed Palestinian fighter for no reason. An investigation found that the commandos had good reason to assume the guerilla was concealing a grenade, and the unit was put back into action.[3]

In 2002 and in 2003, S'13 won the Chief-of-Staff citation for successful counter terrorism operations.
2006 Lebanon War
Shayetet 13 commandos filmed during the Tyre raid

On August 5, 2006, during the 2006 Lebanon War, S'13 commandos raided an apartment block in Tyre, claiming to have killed "a number of militants" and to have destroyed "several rocket-launchers", while suffering eight wounded. The Lebanese government claimed that one Lebanese soldier and "at least four civilians" were also killed in the operation.[11]
Syria 2008

According to the Sunday Times, Shayetet 13 snipers on a yacht were responsible for the assassination of Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman.[12] A cable released by Wikileaks revealed that France told the U.S. that Suleiman was probably killed as a result of rivalry within the Syrian regime. Maher al-Assad, brother of the Syrian president, was likely to have ordered the killing.[citation needed]
Operation Cast Lead

During Operation Cast Lead, which lasted from December 2008 to January 2009, Shayetet 13 commandos landed on the Gaza Strip coastline to strike Hamas targets on land.[13] S'13 commandos were also reportedly involved in two Israeli airstrikes in Sudan against Iranian-supplied arms being smuggled into the Gaza Strip. The strikes hit a 17-truck convoy carrying arms, and an Iranian arms ship docking in Sudan.[14]
Francop Affair
Further information: Francop Affair

On 4 November 2009, the Antiguan-flagged vessel MV Francop, which had been carrying arms and munitions from Iran to Hezbollah, was successfully boarded and taken over by Shayetet 13 commandos. The commandos subsequently found the well-hidden weapons.[15][16]
Gaza Flotilla Operation
Further information: Gaza flotilla raid

On May 31, 2010, Shayetet 13 took part in Operation Sea Breeze or Operation Sky Winds against a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza. The commandos, armed with non-lethal weaponry and 9mm pistols as sidearms, abseiled from helicopters and boarded from speedboats, and apprehended five ships with mostly passive resistance. Aboard the MV Mavi Marmara, the commandos were attacked by dozens of activists armed with knives, iron bars, slingshots and improvised weapons, and allegedly with firearms, including those seized from commandos. Three soldiers were captured, carried below deck, and were temporarily held in a passenger hall. The commandos initially used non-lethal force, but after this proved ineffective, they opened fire with live ammunition and seized control of the ship. Nine activists were killed,[17] and several dozen were wounded. Seven commandos were also wounded, two of them seriously.[18][19] International condemnation of the action followed.[20] Subsequently, S'13 commandos boarded and seized the aid ship MV Rachel Corrie with no resistance.
Victoria Affair
Further information: Victoria Affair

On March 15, 2011, Shayetet 13 took part in "Operation Iron Law," conducted on the high seas against the Liberian-flagged, German-owned Victoria, a cargo vessel found to be carrying 50 tons of weapons which intelligence reports indicated had been consigned to Hamas.[21] The Victoria was interdicted approximately 200 nautical miles from the Israeli coast, as it traveled from Turkey to El-Arish port in Egypt (other sources give the destination as Alexandria, Egypt).[21] According to the Israel Defense Forces, Victoria loaded the cargo in the port of Latakia in Syria and sailed to Mersin, Turkey.[22] The ship was intercepted by Israeli Navy Sa'ar 5-class corvettes and boarded by commandos from Shayetet 13, without resistance.[21] The IDF has stated that the ship's crew was unaware it was carrying weapons, as they were concealed in 39 of the 100 containers on deck beneath bags of Syrian lentils and cotton.[21] When seized by Shayetet 13, Victoria was redirected to the Port of Ashdod. There, further inspections were conducted and the contraband was unloaded. Israel then announced it would release the ship and allow Victoria to continue to the Egyptian port of Alexandria.

Shayetet 13 history

Special unit Shayetet 13, also known as Flotilla 13 or S13 simply enters the narrow circle of two or three best Israeli special forces. At the top of the pyramids, on the basis of claims that its members must fill out, weight training, the range of their abilities belong Sayeret Matkal (Unit 262) – special unit under the direct authority of the IDF General Staff Yamam managed security services and Shabach Sayeret Shaldag – special Israeli troops RZ.

Special unit Shayetet 13 has its roots in the period immediately after the Second. World War II. World victorious powers divided among themselves as embattled German and established themselves in their spheres of interest. In accordance with that policy, the master of neo-colonial Middle East still remains the United Kingdom. During the war, the area of Palestine was of great strategic importance to Britain in the Suez Canal and the preservation of his last defense in Egypt.

Since the beginning of the 1933rd and the Nazis came to power in Germany, part of the German Jews (who had the luck) managed to emigrate to America, other European countries and in Palestine. Fearing a large influx of refugees into the area (due insertion of German spies and saboteurs) British military authorities tried to limit and even cut off the people. Palestinian Jews as a response to this situation began to "cheat" their British compatriots near checkpoints. In this they were quite successful.

Discharge II. World War II British SOE has recognized the importance of the far side of the Mediterranean basin to the existence of the British Empire. Recognize the skills that were Palestinian Jews used in the smuggling of their countrymen, and concluded that it would be wise to use these skills to their goals. The British Army began to recruit and train former "smugglers and traffickers," and include them in their military and paramilitary formations. In this way he formed the first group of 40 divers-Jewish commandos who were acting under British command.

It was actually the nucleus from which it was created Hagana – Jewish secret military organization which fought to create an independent state. Within these organizations were created during May 1941. first called. Pal'Mach or "percussive lines." Successfully conducted operations against the Italian forces have imposed a need oformljavanja major forces that will include restricted aviation capacity. Were established Pal'yam or "maritime company" that were part of British forces acted to end the war.

Since 1943. the tide of war in the North African theater was turned into Allied and British favor. Allied landings in North Africa, resulting in the total collapse of the Italian army and defeat Rommelovog African expeditionary corps. When the war in Africa was over, suddenly caved in British interest in units made up of Jewish commandos. But Hagan has continued to live and work half-legal. After the war was again a large number of Jewish refugees moved to Palestine where they had been promised by the state. Occupied primarily by preserving and consolidating its decaying empire after the war, the British government, after some time again banned the arrival of Jewish settlers in Palestine.

Again he revived smuggling. The British government tried at all costs to stop the flow of people, so that their naval forces intercepted at sea on ships and found them "human cargo" deported in specially created camps in Cyprus. At one point in the deportation camp in Cyprus, there were almost 30 000 Jews. Hagan has decided that it is time for armed action against British troops.

Have been reactivated Pal'yam troops who first fought for national interests. In the first raid still informal Israeli forces (which are trained and organized British) who is scheduled to Yitzak Sadeh, two naval commandos was blown up in the port of Jaffa two British patrol boat. This was only the first in a series of successes that are members of the Hagane and Pal'yama achieved against British interests. Early 1945. within Pal'yama established a special commando group named Haoulia, targeted exclusively marine with demolition activities. It was the beginning of units that we now know as Shayetet 13th After ripping derivative action in June 1946., In just one night of the Jewish naval commandos destroyed 13 bridges, which caused great problems the British military authorities. Hagane actions were not limited to the territory of Palestine. Attacked British military installations in Cyprus, in Italian ports and elsewhere until the founding of the state of Israel in May 1948.
History unit Shayetet 13 – second period

Following the declaration of the Jewish state of Israel is no longer any need for the existence of secret incursions, and the Hagana and other Jewish resistance movements along with their military units incorporated into the newly formed Defense Forces. Thus, the unit Haoulia handed to the organizational framework and the Israeli Navy (IRM). Under that name was active for another year, when he changed the official name of the Shayetet 13 (Flotilla 13). Since 1950. to the present day headquarters and units in IRM Atlit naval base near Haifa. Since 1951. Unit has commenced the implementation of the program of training and exchange of experiences with other naval units of the same type: first with the French Commando Hubert and British Special Boat Service (SAS). At the same time, IRM is still founded a special unit, called. Diving defensive unit (Unit 707).
In spite of intensive training by its members passed and fighting in the Six-Day War, a unit Shayetet 13 was not celebrated. Indeed, there were many more disappointments and failures than successful action. Operation that has been taking troops ended in big losses. Causes were many: from the military indiscipline, the desire for self-promotion, non-compliance with agreed plans and orders, professional arrogance and disregard for other people's experiences – especially those who have acquired other special units within the IDF. Troops reputation was already tarnished beyond repair so that members of other special forces compress coarse jokes at their expense. Despite the reactions from the peaks of the IDF, the best rivalry between Israeli special forces Sayeret Matkal (Unit 262) and Shayetet 13 and is further deteriorating, as reflected in the failure of certain operations. In addition, the negative tendencies were tensions between the Marine Special Forces Troops Shayetet 13 and 707th Such a bad atmosphere was the culprit for certain failures during the Yom Kippurskog War of 1973. The General Staff of the IDF, he was forced to bail out the situation.As a first step occurred in 1975. to unite two Marine special forces, where the unit 707 is fully involved in the S13.

A new chapter in the history of the unit occurred in 1979. when he became commander of Shayetet 13 Amy Ayalon.Ayalon had previously served several years in other units and staffs within the IRM and was not involved in clan conflicts. General Staff sent him simply to "clean house and bring things in order." Since he received his new position, he spent Ayalon have complete reorganization of the naval special forces in all aspects of her being and acting: candidate selection, entry procedures, the procedures for practice, combat use, equipment and armament, internal order and discipline.
Particular attention is devoted Ayalon increasing cooperation and joint exercises with other IDF special forces in this, one of which could also have a lot to learn. Was rebuilt and strengthened military and international cooperation in this field.

From the process of reorganizing the troops out organizational and numerically stronger than, with clear goals and plans for training of highly motivated and proud of their members. She became just stronger, better trained and combat-ready. The reorganization process unit Shayetet 13 was neither quick nor easy. After years of hard work and dedication of troops in several years of dedicated exercised by the strictest criteria retake its place on top of what she admits top IDF and the Israeli government.
The best proof of such a claim are combat actions and successes achieved by the unit in the last 25 years participating in almost all armed conflicts that Israel has had with its Arab neighbors. A large number of covert actions that are carried out by its members in areas under Muslim control and Lebanon. Success has been achieved with a minimal number of victims of their own (or even without them) contributed to wide popularity and high reputation Shayetet 13 are among Israeli citizens.

Shayetet 13 organisation

According to today's organization structure has Shayetet 13 independent battalions, divided into three assault company that the Israeli military jargon called PALGI. Each PALGI has specialized in specific tasks according to the following scheme:
- Assault PALGI (Haposhtim)
The composition of the Company are the best soldiers-specialists from the composition Shayetet 13th They are organized in a sniper, Ranger and counterterrorism lines. Like the best Israeli special unit Sayeret Matkal and Shayetet 13 in their organic composition has AT platoon officially called T4, which is actually a blade assault PALGI impact, particularly in dealing with maritime hostage situations.
- Diving PALGI (Hat'zolelim)
Tasks and company are performing underwater action like hydrographic monitoring (surveillance and inspection of beaches and coasts elected for unloading forces) and underwater offensive action against enemy ports, ships, submarines, submersibles, saboteurs and other installations. The diving company was often acts as a suport jurišnoj Easy Company by providing landing area and surrounding waters.
- Surface PALGI
Specializes in sudden surface combat and attacks on vessels and coastal targets with the use of its fast attack boats type Zaharon, Snunit, Moulit and Moreno and for cooperation and joint combat operations with surface ships and submarines IRM. You could still call and transport because it is often the task of the other company quickly and secretly transferred to the area of operations.
By numerical composition of the largest company of assault. Immediately followed by a dive, and the lowest is superficial Company. All three work together very closely, supporting one another while performing a common mission.

Shayetet 13 training

Upon entering the unit soldiers are joining the IDF infantry units where for them to begin the process of specially designed training program known as Masul. This is certainly the most rigorous physical and mental vocational program that is being implemented in the IDF. Only when they pass all its stages, novices in the unit are entitled to their official uniforms prominent character units (bat wings, sword and shield). Only then given permission to participate in combat operations. Dvadesetjednomjesečno training period was divided in phases:
- Four months of basic infantry training at a military base where Adam Mitkan special IDF units have their own facilities for practice.
- Two and a half months of advanced infantry training conducted within the IDF's officer school (Bislash) in southern Israel in the Negev Desert.
- Three weeks advanced parachute training in which the members are trained to perform the HALO (high alitude – low open) and HAHO (high alitude – high open) parachute jumps. This training is conducted in a parachute school (aka Mara), located near the Tel Nof air base.
These three stages are relatively easy level of training and it is usual ga successfully pass almost all the candidates.The contents of these phases in the regular armed IDF is actually a high level in the maintenance and upgrading of basic skills and new infantry brigade combat skills. Upon completion of the parachute course, recruits return to S13 at the home base – Atlit naval base. There, for the first time borrowing kit personal weapons, from the American M16 assault rifle to a Russian AK-47 Kalashnikov. From this moment begins the second part of the training that they must meet the most rigorous standards.

The second stage of training includes the following phases:
- Preparatory phase or Hamachin
It lasts seven months, and at that time the biggest waste of novices. Statistics show that the highest number of candidates who can not meet the set criteria, which represents less than two months from the beginning of this phase.Includes courses in scuba diving and underwater combat methods. Rehearse the fundamental elements of warfare on the water, training for the use of all types of boats, swimming training on long runs, walking march and commando skills.
In this phase is also included AT Å¡esterotjedni course – three weeks in school AT IDF and another three weeks in the field with the parent units.
- The basic combat diving course
This phase lasts for a month. During her soldiers learn the elements of combat diving, how to survive in the cold water, diving and underwater orientation in the dark or in full zamućenoj water, methods of survival in the circumstances of sudden underwater hazards such as landslides, underwater massive, uncontrolled ascent or increase pressure. All dives at this stage are performed in pairs (two operatives) for safety and better resistance to set goals.
- Advanced combat diving course
During this course the soldiers learn advanced diving techniques (use of diving apparatus with a closed cycle breathing), underwater destructive technique, and spend long training in the adaptation of the assets used for the transport of naval commandos on a hostile territory (the sea – shore operations). In this part of the program's disembark from their submersibles, submarines, boats, surface warships and insertion into hostile waters using HALO / HAHO day and night parachute jumps from helicopters and airplanes. Stage-specific and what is in it combine all three major groups of acquired knowledge and skills (earth-air-water) in the implementation of combined BP operations on surface ships, oil rigs and coastal installations.
In the middle of this phase of the command structure Shayeteta 13 per hitherto achieved results steer recruits into one of three specialized PALGI: assault, diving or surfacing. Several top recruits are included in the assault PALGI. Those with secondary qualifications (of course by S13 standards) are a part of diving PALGI. Most of those ranked lowest included in PALGI surface. In doing so it must be stressed that this is a young, highly motivated people of approximately the same age of 18-21 years, with the same or very similar military "background". Therefore, the results achieved are not dramatically different, but they are measurable. The Israeli experience shows increasing motivation for novices who are aware that the small differences decide on their rank within the unit. The evaluation criteria are sharp so the differences are minimal. In the case of lower-ranking recruits is still a highly trained specialists.

After dividing by the success in overcoming the previous training, recruits continue training and focus on specialization in their Company. Specificity of training methods in the Israeli Shayetet 13 is that all the fellows who are in the final few months could pass a basic combat diving course with a grade average, which at one time wished to give up because of a "lack of morals", during advanced combat diving course not exclude from the unit. Israelis have come to the conclusion that it would be foolish and uneconomic solution, because these people have spent more than a year and a half in training. They can, if they choose (and there are 99.99%), automatically sent to dive and surface troop. How is this is a superb soldiers who for some reason can not master advanced combat diver training, it would be shame to lose them. Often, in the further course of training such individuals themselves forced to acquire and that last hurdle.After successfully completing a cycle of 21 months of intensive training, recruits Shayetet 13 receive their hard-earned character units – bats.

Shayetet 13 conclusion

How difficult and challenging but also extremely dangerous training through which they are passing members of naval commandos from Shayetet 13 can conceive of one of his rare interviews that Israeli journalists 2004th gave the commander of the unit, known only by the code name of Danny. He confirmed the fact that in the period since 1989. by 2004. 9 units had killed in combat action, and as many as 20 deaths during combat training procedures and training.

In most of the other members of the Israeli special forces remain in office for three years, and then point to less demanding duties in the regular armed IDF. A small number of these specials shifts in the composition of the IDF reserve forces, but the best of them serve in Reserve LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) and reconnaissance patrols for deep reconnaissance courts at the reserve infantry brigades. The best by two Israeli Special Forces Sayeret Matkal and Shayetet 13 did not practice.
Apart from their obligation to serve in their units longer than others (for 6 months in Sayeret Matkal, and as much as 18 months in Shayetet 13), their members can after the first "normal" period of service in the unit sign and other "professional" contract. Opportunity for it gets only a small number of top members, and others who wish to remain in the reserve force units.

One of the specifics that nurtures this unit is a collective briefing and analysis after each exercise and combat action. At such sessions, each of the collective members regardless of rank and position in the military hierarchy openly talks about his view of the task performed, on her good side and omissions, both foreign and their own.

What Shayetet 13 represents the IDF and the Israeli government, which has contributed to the reputation of one of the best special forces in the world, perhaps best reflected in one sentence commander Danniya the aforementioned interview: "Why is Shayetet 13 probably one of the best units of its kind? Simply because we can do all the things the other units – but the vast majority of others can not do what we can!

Shayetet 13 video

IDF Commandos in Tyre - YouTube

The Israeli Navy SEALs - YouTube

Deadliest Warrior: Season 3- Shayetet 13 Vs. Delta Force - Video

Shayetet 13 photos

Last edited:


Regular Member
May 2, 2012
Country flag
@ghost, thanks a lot for this thread man, I was looking for a thread that discussed foreign SF units.
Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
@ghost, thanks a lot for this thread man, I was looking for a thread that discussed foreign SF units.
You are welcome boris next post for you .I would try to update it regularly and sydsnyper would try to post spetnaz after some time.

All other members are most welcome to contribute to this thread just keep two things in mind "elite" and "detail":namaste:
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Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
Polish GROM


special forces units of the Polish Armed Forces

The Polish GROM is one of five special forces units of the Polish Armed Forces. It was officially activated on July 8, 1990. It can be and is deployed in a variety of special operations and unconventional warfare roles, including anti-terrorist actions and projection of power behind enemy lines.(In Polish, GROM is sometimes translated Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego (Operational Mobile Reaction Group); the acronym itself means "thunder.")
GROM (Military Unit JW2305), can trace its roots all the way back to World War Two's "Silent and Dark Ones" – Polish Paratroopers or Cichocemni. These men conducted many successful clandestine missions on behalf of the Allies.

With the Iron Curtain falling over their homeland, the Soviets ensured that Poland possessed no Special Forces, in part due to fears of their ability to raise and train insurgents to resist the Communist occupation.

After the Soviets left, a more receptive audience greeted the man who offered a proposal to create an elite unit by using the British S.A.S as a model. His name was Lieutenant Colonel Slawmir Petelicki, a former intelligence officer, and he became the unit's first commander from 1990 to 1995. During this period, it was only in '94 that its existence was acknowledged.

Selection (or selekcja) phase is available for both men and women, and the training regimen includes some of the following: psychological 'truth test', physical tests, several days of survival skills in the mountains, 3,000 meter dash, martial arts, relay dash and ability to perform at high altitudes, in addition to shooting and the rigorous standard exercises (pushups, sit-ups, timed runs, etc.).

Those who make it head to the qualifying round which consists of three main tactics, black, green and blue.

Black involves counter-terrorist training against structures of all kinds, as well VIP protection and hostage rescues.
Green involves training for clandestine reconnaissance, sabotage, assassination and prisoner snatching behind enemy lines, plus evacuating civilians.
Blue involves waterborne operations, such as seizing vessels, beach ops and securing offshore platforms.

Candidates who make it to the end will find themselves a deadly operator capable of speaking at least two languages and cross trained in a variety of roles. 75% are trained medics. They will be part of the 300-man GROM team, often operating in 4 man units.

Polish GROM Special Forces Weapons

Barrett M107
The Barrett M107 began life as the Barrett M95 bolt-action operated sniper rifle (under the US Army designation of "XM107")

Carl Gustav 84mm
The global reach of the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle emphasizes the popularity of the weapon

CheyTac Intervention
The CheyTac Intervention is a sniper weapons system developed by the American firm of CheyTac Associates based out of Arco

Colt M4 Carbine
The M4/M4A Carbine is a 5.56mm compact, lightweight, gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine-fed weapon system with selective fire

Fabrique Nationale Five-seveN
The Fabrique Nationale FN Five-seveN is a self-cocking, semi-automatic pistol that has seen service in military, security

Fabrique Nationale FN F2000
Introduced in 2001, the FN F2000 was billed as a next-generation weapons system with modularity of design being the key

Fabrique Nationale FN Minimi
The Fabrique National FN Minimi has quickly evolved into the light-support gun of choice by several key nations

Fabrique Nationale FN P90
The FN P90 is billed as a 'personal defense weapon' and is thusly classified as a submachine gun and not an assault rifle.

Glock 17
The Glock 17 has gone on to see extensive service in both military and police roles with a plethora of nations

Heckler & Koch HK 416
Heckler & Koch unveiled the HK416 automatic rifle family in 2005 as a potential replacement for the M4 family

Heckler & Koch HK G36
The Heckler & Koch HK G36 series assault rifle was designed and developed to an exacting German Army requirement of the 1990s

Heckler & Koch HK MP5
One of the most popular submachine guns ever produced, the Heckler & Koch HK MP5 ("Maschinenpistole 5") became a common sight

Heckler & Koch HK PSG-1
The Heckler & Koch PSG-1 semi-automatic sniper rifle was introduced in 1972

Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 (SOCOM Pistol)
The Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 was a specially formulated semi-automatic pistol developed for the United States Special Force

Heckler & Koch USP (Universal Self-Loading Pistol)
The Heckler & Koch USP (Universal Self-Loading Pistol) was an amalgam design by the German concern

Kbk wz/88 (wz. 1988) (Tantal)
Though appearing as nothing more than a Polish copy of the Russian-made Kalashnikov AK-74S rifle

M136 AT4 Light Anti-Armor Weapon
The M136 AT4 is billed as the United States Army's primary light anti-tank weapon system available to infantry squads

PGM Hecate II
The PGM Hecate II is a French Army anti-material rifle designed to engage light armored vehicles.

Sako TRG

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GROM missions

Most GROM missions remain classified. The few available to the public are as follows:

1992 – "Antoni Macierewicz briefcases" affair (Close protection duty during political problems in Poland).
1992 – Assault on residence and arrest of one of the bosses of ART B (a political and economic scandal in Poland).
1994 – Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti
1996 – UNTAES mission in eastern Slavonia, Croatia to arrest Slavko Dokmanovic – they have since managed to arrest at least six more Yugoslavian war-criminals.
1996 – Bodyguard duties during US ambassador W.G Walker's mission in Kosovo and Macedonia.
1999 – Bodyguard duties during US ambassador W.G Walker's mission in Kosovo and Macedonia.
2001 – Hunt for war criminals in Kosovo.
2001 – Recon mission in Afghanistan before the arrival of Polish troops.
2002-2004 – Mission in Afghanistan (VIP bodyguarding, base protecting duties and other).
2002-2003 – Mission in Persian Gulf. Maritime Interdiction Operations.
2003-2004, 2007-2008 – GROM soldiers took part in the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Also operated in Iraq after May, 2003.
2007-present – GROM is a part of Special Forces in Afghanistan, as Task Force 49, operating in Ghanzi Province
2012 – Protection of Polish and International civilians during the Euro 2012 soccer tournament.


They were officially inaugurated on July 8, 1990 upon the recommendations of Lt. Colonel Slawomir Petelicki. After two Polish diplomats had been shot in Beirut three months earlier it was imperative to create a special military unit that could quickly be deployed in defense of Polish citizens under terrorist threat.

Lt. Colonel Slawomir Petelicki.
First Commander 1990-1995
Petelicki was appointed the first commander of GROM at it's very inception. He was the ideal choice because of his specialization in reconnaissance, sabotage, and diversion. Under his direction GROM was made into a world class elite force comprised of the best officers and soldiers of the Polish military. Petelicki was once referred to as Poland's "James Bond and Rambo wrapped neatly into one daunting package"

grom organisation

Just like the Cichociemni, each GROM team is comprised small groups of men, usually four. The GROM force is estimated to number between 270 and 300 soldiers. And each soldier
must be ready at a moment's notice to take over the responsibilities of his team colleague. About 75% of GROM operatives have received training as medics or paramedics and each group is backed up by a team of professional physicians. It is mandatory that each member speaks at least two foreign languages.


New recruits undergo the same training in special operations and anti-terrorism and must be physically strong and fit. The Selekcja process is the initial stage in which candidates are subjected to a series of the most gruelling psychological and physical tests, and must be able to demonstrate survival skills in the mountains - that lasts for several days. The fitness tests are even more intense. Candidates must be able to scale ropes, dive from towers, complete a 3000 meter dash, do pull-ups, push-ups on rails, martial arts, 10 x 10 meter relay dash, and be able to perform well at very high altitudes. And much more. Those who do not pass the test are disqualified. Though many have tried very few have succeeded. Those who do succeed go on to the Qualification round and must pass another battery of psychological tests, fitness tests, and a rugged terrain test in the mountains for a week that will push each man and each woman past the limits of human endurance. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. Training of new recruits is intense, to say the least, and covers three main sectors, as follows:


This sector deals with counter-terrorist land operations which include rescue operations of hostages from a variety of structures, houses, high-rise buildings, cars, planes, and trains; VIP detail duty, perimeter protection, and supporting operations of other military and non-military units.


This sector deals with special operations which include reconnaissance, sabotage deep into enemy territory, eliminating potential human and structural threats from the enemy's infrastructure, and providing assistance in the evacuation of civilians.


This sector deals with sea-borne counter-terrorist operations which include combat against terrorists in coastal zones,on vessels, as well as off-shore platforms.

Additional training is provided for parachuting, combat diving training, high altitude training, explosives training, paramedical training as well as the martial arts and sniping. GROM units have trained with the British SAS, the United States Delta Force and Navy Seals, and special task forces from Germany, Belgium, Norway, Israel and Canada.

GROM Recruitments

Those wishing to join must pass muster in a basic military training course. If completed successfully, men and women proceed to a three-month "Junior Specialist" training course. At this stage, new recruits are trained in land navigation, basic survival skills, close hand-to-hand combat, the use of specialized weapons, parachuting and many other military skills. If they succeed they go onto the third phase called 1 Pulk, where they are assigned to 6-man team and then the real training begins. Mountain and cold weather training, mountain climbing, sniping, Casevac, amphibious operations and much more.
Formoza candidates are put through an intense series of tests. In order to make it, one has to be able to swim 50 meters freestyle in 45 seconds, swim underwater at a depth of 25 meters, and swim 400 meters freestyle in 9 minutes. On land, the test is much tougher: each man must be able to race 3000 meters in 12 minutes and 30 seconds, which is followed by progressively more demanding tests. Needless to say the drop out rate is incredibly high.

GROM actively recruits new candidates for its combat groups from active duty soldiers, reservists, and the law enforcement community. Just one thing, though, you must be a Polish citizen, possess a clean record, and pass security clearance - and pass all the tests with flying colors.


GROM became known around the world for the first time in 1994 after their major operation in Haiti. Previously the unit was completely secret and unknown to the public. As a matter of fact, GROM is a direct descendant of the famous Cichocemni of WW2 - Polish paratroopers who earned the nickname, "the Silent and Dark Ones" because of their many successful clandestine missions. The men of GROM, like their predecessors, are professional Polish militarymen who have had to pass a gruelling series of psychological and physical durability tests, as well as the so-called "truth test". And like the Cichociemni, GROM consists of men (and women) who are trained to be experts in combat, espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance.


Regular Member
May 2, 2012
Country flag

Give me a day or 2 man, I'll be adding a few units from my side too for eg for Poland, GROM is one unit but they have 3 other SOF units. Good work from your side.
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Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
Anyone on the Spetznaz Alpha group... ????
:thumb: even though it does not belong to military it is called elitest of elite and is one of the most fearsome unit in russia which indulge in using chemical weapons also.


Senior Member
Dec 16, 2013
Spetsgruppa A


Alfa was set up by the KGB's Seventh Directorate in 1974 and appears to have been inspired by the British SAS and US 1SFOD-D (Delta) as a c ounter-terrorist and hostage-rescue group.Gruppa Alfa (also called the Alpha Group, Alfa Group, or Spetsgruppa A) is an elite, stand-alone component of Russia's special forces and the dedicated counter-terrorism task-force of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). While emphasis is placed on hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations, the role of Spetsnaz is much broader than most special operations units, including assassination and sabotage. Their training and experience make them comparable to other foreign special operations units such as the British SAS, US Navy SEALs and SFOD-D.oday "Alfa" is a highly professional unit, which consists of roughly 700 servicemen. The majority of the unit is stationed at Moscow, the rest of the unit is located in three other cities - Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, and Khabarovsk. All the "Alfa" operatives undergo special airborne and firearms training.Today it is difficult to determine in which operations Alpha will have to participate in the near future, but it is already clear that together with carrying out its fundamental mission, it will have to participate in guaranteeing the safety of the coming political maneuvers, linked in particular with the presidential elections. What kind of participation this will be depends not on Alpha's members, but on the country's political leaders, who have now put Alpha back under their own direct control for a reason, subordinating it directly to the Federal Security Service. But to this day, Alpha remains the Russian special services' most effective anti-terrorist unit, and has substantial capabilities to carry out the missions with which it is entrusted.

Spetsgruppa A SELCTION

Spetsnaz recruits are sometimes hand-picked from the conventional military, usually those showing signs of the toughness of character and ability to use initiative. Officers and ensigns are primarily selected for work in the special forces units of the Special Purpose Center, alongside cadets at military schools who are seen as having officer potential. Ninety seven per cent of Spetsnaz positions are at officer rank, and only three per cent at ensign rank. The officers clearly need to have higher educations, while an ensign needs to at least have finished middle-school. Ensigns are usually appointed as drivers and instructors.

Special section candidates need to be recommended by those already serving with the force, or who have served with Alfa or Vympel. Cadets at military schools under the Ministry of Defense, and those studying at border schools are also selected. The preference is given to border institutes, the Ryazan and Novosibirsk training schools: serving officers visit the Center for the primary selection rounds. The candidates are vetted and then invited to interview. That replaces required reccommendations from serving officers. There are very strict physical limitations applied: they must be at least 175 centimeters tall. This limit is borne from the fact that while on operations the officers need to carry heavy shields.

However exceptions are made for candidates whose other qualities overcome their shortfall in height. The upper age limit is 28. True, exeptions may be made for those with combat experience who come to the unit from the security forces.

All new recruits, independent of their rank and experience, undergo the «young collegue» training course. This training cycle takes them en-masse through the legal, medical, weaponry, military-technical, mountain, air-borne and special-tactical training necessary. Incidentally everyone serving with directorates A, V and Special Operations have to do parachute jumps.

On completing this stage of the course the new recruits again return to their sections and units, where training continues for three years. After one year's service they are sent on various training courses such as outdoor surveillance (field supervision) or strategic technology. They also undergo training courses in the FSB and SVR academies, as well as in a series of other establishments. A distinction is already made within these sections between staff and adjunct positions.This unit has no contract system; everyone passes through real military service in the military ranks from lieutenant to colonel.

Spetsgruppa A Weapons

The unit utilizes a wide range of modern Russian and foreign weapons and equipment, some modified from the original versions to fit the unique needs of the unit.n contrast to regular soldiers, the members of Alpha use weapons with a lot of Western accessories, such as EoTechs, magnifiers, lights, lasers, forward grips, and AR-15 stocks. Supposedly they also use the Texas Weapon Systems Dog Leg rail dust cover.They are equipped with the best weapon and gear.

Spetsgruppa A Operation

Alpha Group's most notable missions have taken place during the counter-insurgency conflicts by the Soviet Union and then the Russian Federation in Afghanistan and in Chechnya. Alpha Group launched a surprise attack on the home of the President of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and other government buildings on the eve of the Soviet-Afghan war seizing them with few losses against superior Afghan forces, staying on for the remainder of the conflict as interdictionary special forces attempting to stop convoys of Mujihadeen infiltrating over the Pakistani border. Alpha Group carried on performing its special operations role after the fall of the Soviet Union, despite defense cut backs. Alpha Group participated in both the Moscow Theatre Siege in 2002, then later at the infamous Beslan School Siege in 2004.

For all the time that this special operations unit exists more than 600 operations have been conducted. Among Alpha's most prominent special operations are the storm of Amin's palace in 1979 in Afghanistan, the 2002 Nord-Ost siege, and the operation of rescuing school children taken as hostages in Beslan in 2004. As one of the Alpha's officers say: "A successful operation is the one conducted without a single shot".

Spetsgruppa A History

Antiterrorist subunit: "Group 'A' was specifically what this subunit was called until 1991--it was formed on 29 July 1974 at the initiative of Yuriy Andropov, the chairman of the KGB of the USSR, and General Aleksey Beschastnyy, the chief of the Seventh Directorate of the KGB of the USSR. The tragic events of 1972 when Israeli athletes died at the Olympics in Munich at the hands of extremists from the Palestinian organization Black September led the Soviet leadership to this decision. Until 1985 the top secret subunit "A" was under the personal subordination of the general secretary of the CPSU Central Committee and the KGB leadership, and its associates did not number more than 40 people. Group "A" was so secret that by no means did everyone in the KGB even know about its existence. It was manned largely by associates who had gone through special training and were fit, in terms of health, to serve in the VDV [Airborne Troops], as well as top-level athletes (no lower than a candidate for master of sports). Later the leaders of the subunit changed the selection criteria and began to operate on the principle: the most important thing is that their health permits them to serve--we will teach them everything else ourselves. This principle has been in operation to this day.
By the time of the dissolution of the USSR, Alfa numbered about 500 officers and had squads in Kiev, Minsk, Krasnodar, Sverdlovsk, and Alma-Ata. At this point, there are 250 people serving in Moscow, not counting three regional subunits in Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, and Khabarovsk. The fighters of the special subunit can do anything: free hostages, plunge into the depths with an aqualung, parachute jump, and shoot at moving targets"

Spetsgruppa A Training

Alpha has universally-trained fighters who have made it through a rigorous selection process, physical, psychological, and special training, who are able to master any kind of weapon and any form of land transportation. To these men are added specialists in narrower professions, including snipers and the best shots with various weapons, specially trained frogmen, alpinists, rock climbers, psychologists, and, in recent times, hostage-negotiation specialists. All new recruits, independent of their rank and experience, undergo the «young collegue» training course. This training cycle takes them en-masse through the legal, medical, weaponry, military-technical, mountain, air-borne and special-tactical training necessary. Incidentally everyone serving with directorates A, V and Special Operations have to do parachute jumps.

On completing this stage of the course the new recruits again return to their sections and units, where training continues for three years. After one year's service they are sent on various training courses such as outdoor surveillance (field supervision) or strategic technology. They also undergo training courses in the FSB and SVR academies, as well as in a series of other establishments. A distinction is already made within these sections between staff and adjunct positions.

On average training a soldier in the anti terror forces takes five years.All the "Alfa" operatives undergo special airborne and firearms training. Roughly one third of them have special mountain training; another third have special counter-sabotage diving training.According to analysts, Spetsnaz tactics are far more improvisational than those of Western special forces, with more emphasis placed on sheer physical strength.

Spetsgruppa A conclusion

Today it is difficult to determine in which operations Alpha will have to participate in the near future, but it is already clear that together with carrying out its fundamental mission, it will have to participate in guaranteeing the safety of the coming political maneuvers, linked in particular with the presidential elections. What kind of participation this will be depends not on Alpha's members, but on the country's political leaders, who have now put Alpha back under their own direct control for a reason, subordinating it directly to the Federal Security Service. But to this day, Alpha remains the Russian special services' most effective anti-terrorist unit, and has substantial capabilities to carry out the missions with which it is entrusted.Alpha is most prominent of all Russian special operations forces because of its team spirit. Good traditions and the sense of being a part of the team this is the recipe of one of the world's best special operations units.

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