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Special Air Service (SAS) - History (1941 to 1979)

The following is a chronological history of the SAS:

SAS History 1941 to 1979

1941 - The SAS is Born
The Special Air Service was created by David Stirling in 1941. Conceived as a desert raiding force, the Regiment inserted behind German lines in Northern Africa, carrying out sabotage missions and wreaking havoc along Rommel's supply lines.
(a detailed history of SAS operations in World War 2 is to follow...)

The SAS was officially disbanded on November 30th.

May 1st - the SAS is revived in the form of 21st Battalion, Army Air Corps SAS, a Territorial Army Unit.

21 SAS deploy to the Korean War.

1950 - 1955 Malaya
21 SAS deploy to Malaya, renamed as the 'Malayan Scouts', in response to the 'Malayan Emergency' insurrection. Much of the Regiment's expertise in jungle warfare are learnt in this period.

The SAS is reorganised into:
22nd Special Air Service Regiment (formed from the Malyan Scouts).
21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists Rifles)

1958 - 1959 Oman
The SAS are deployed to the Gulf state of Oman, battling forces apposed to the Sultan.

The 23rd Special Air Service Regiment, a territorial army unit, is created.

1963 - 1966 - Counter Insurgency
The SAS support guerillas during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation in Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak

1964 - 1967 - Aden
The SAS deploy for counter-insurgency operations in the British protectorate.

1970 - 1977 - Dhofor, Oman
Once again, the SAS are sent to Oman to fight against another insurrection.

1972 - Counter Terrorism
Following the disastrous intervention by German police at the Munich hostage crisis, the SAS create the Counter-Revolutionary War wing. The CRW wing begins developing techniques for both counter-terrorism and body-guarding operations.

1972 - The QE2
When a bomb-threat is issued against the british luxury liner, the QE2, a team comprising of SAS/SBS & Army bomb disposal experts parachute into the sea, board the liner and perform a search. No bomb is found.

1975 - Stansted hijacking
In the SAS's first real test of the techniques developed by the CRW wing, the SAS storm a hijacked airliner at Stansted airport. Using non-lethal force, they arrest the lone hijacker.

1975 - The Balcombe Street Siege
- An IRA operation ends with a family being held hostage in a London flat. As the SAS prepare to intervene, news of their arrival is leaked to the media. Upon hearing this news, the IRA men promptly surrender to police.

1976 - The SAS deploy to Northern Ireland
In response to the worsening crisis in Northern Ireland, the SAS, who had been over the water in small numbers since 1973, mostly in advisory roles, are now deployed directly in strength.
Read more on the SAS in Northern Ireland

1977 - Lufthansa Hijacking
When a German Airliner is hijacked by terrorists, GSG-9, the German counter-terrorist unit, receives assistance from the SAS. 2 troopers accompany the GSG-9 assault team as they pursue the hijacked airliner to Mogadishu, Somalia. As the GSG-9 team stormed the cabin, the 2 SAS men threw stun grenades to distract the hijackers.

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