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The Top 5 Most Elite Special Forces in the World

Jul 12

The Top 5 Most Elite Special Forces in the World

Elite special forces are some of the best-trained and most formidable units a country can boast.

They go where other troops fear to tread, scoping out potential threats, taking out strategic targets, and conducting daring rescue missions.

The following list looks at 5 of the top special-forces currently deployed in the world. Although there are many that should be on this list, unfortunately it can only have 5. Some of the big names are all here and a few may surprise you.

However, don’t let popularity in the media fool you. Just because you haven’t heard of them or recognize them from movies or video games, doesn’t mean the forces listed below are not elite and deserving of a place on this list. In any event, we guarantee you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong end of any of these groups.

Top 5 Elite Special Forces

Unit: SAS - Britain (created 1941) Elite Special Forces List

1. SAS - Britain

What’s this, a group rated higher than the SEALs? Indeed. The British Special Air Service was created in 1941 as a force which could operate behind German and Italian lines and support resistance movements against the occupation forces.

Understandably, the force is made up of British military personnel with the most coming from the airborne forces.

Their insignia bears the phrase "Who dares wins." Asked about the importance of the SAS's role in the fighting that followed the Iraq War, US Gen. Stanley McChrystal said: "Essential. Could not have done it without them.

Top 5 Elite Special Forces

Unit: Navy Seal (created 1962) Elite Special Forces List

2. Navy SEALs - US

The SEALs are an American special-forces group created in 1962 which have achieved near mythical status. This in part is thanks to Operation Neptune Spear – the mission in which SEALs flew into Abbottabad, Pakistan in May, 2011 and killed Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda.

The SEALs are elite and the physical and mental strength required to make it in this force is ridiculously high. Training takes over a year and most applicants can’t even get past the physical qualification test which involves a lot of swimming, push-ups, sit-ups and running, all accomplished in a very strict time limit.

Get past that and you enter general training. Pass that and you move on to SEAL qualification training which then opens the door to specialized training. All of this ensures that SEAL members are physically and mentally as tough as nails and capable of undertaking the most difficult operations in the world, wherever that may be.

3. Shayetet 13 – Israel

Another Israeli special-forces group, Shayetet 13 is associated with the Israeli navy. Created in 1948, this force has taken part in every major Israeli operation and war conducting everything from hostage rescue and counter-terrorism to intelligence gathering and boarding.

Training is 20 months long and pushes candidates under the most stressful psychological and physical testing before specialized training even begins. You name the specialized type of training and odds are the members of Shayetet 13 have done it – whether it be parachute training, demolitions, underwater warfare or cold/dark training.

Operationally, Shayetet 13 members have recently been involved in a number of high profile operations involving boarding ships and seizing weaponry bound for Gaza. Their most notable operation was after the 1972 Munich Olympics when they were used to hunt down and eliminate those responsible for the attack on the Israeli athletes.

4. Alpha Group – Russia

Russia's Alpha Group is one of the best-known special forces units in the world. This elite antiterrorism unit was created by the KGB in 1974 and remains in service under its modern-day counterpart, the FSB. Within the Russian special-forces, Alpha Group is as bad as they come.

This force came to fame during the invasion of Afghanistan during which members of Alpha stormed the Presidential Palace in Kabul, killing everyone in the building. In 1985, a group was dispatched to Beirut to try and rescue four Soviet diplomats. When the diplomats were killed, Alpha Group allegedly hunted down relatives of the hostage takers and returned them to their families in much smaller pieces to send a message to would-be terrorists.

It apparently worked for over 20 years. Domestically, Alpha has been involved in most of the major anti-terrorist/hostage operations in Russia such as the Moscow theatre siege of 2002 and the Beslan school siege in 2004. Both events demonstrated the rather heavy handed nature of the Russian special-forces as hundreds of hostages were killed during operations.

5. JTF2 – Canada

Created in 1993 and expanded to several hundred members following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, Canada’s Joint Task Force 2 is an elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit. Composed of military personnel from the Canadian Forces, JTF2 undertakes a range of operations.

They have been known to escort VIPs and provide site security at events like the 2010 Winter Olympics. More covertly, they have operated in many world hotspots, whether it be rescuing hostages in Iraq or hunting down Serbian snipers in Bosnia.

The force’s time in Afghanistan is largely guarded but it is known they were involved before most ground forces arrived and worked beside other special forces, like the US Navy SEALs. Their operations were so secret that even the Canadian Prime Minister was unaware the force was involved in Afghanistan during the early days.

Sources: 1and 2


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