British Special Forces & Elite Units
The elite military forces of the United Kingdom are:
Special Forces (UKSF) :
The Special Air Service (SAS)The roles of the British Army's special forces unit, the 22nd Special Air Service, include counter-terrorism and reconnaissance. The SAS is one of the world's most renowned and respected special forces regiments.
more info : SAS
The Special Boat Service (SBS)The SBS is the Royal Navy's special forces unit. Whilst experts in Maritime Counter-Terrorism (MCT) and amphibious warfare, they also operate on dry land. Since its inception during World War 2, the SBS has been a first class naval special operations force.
more info : SBS
The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR)
The SRR was recently formed to gather intelligence & carry out surveillance operations in the war on terrorism. Members of the SRR are recruited from throughout the UK military. The SRR is the only UK special forces unit to recruit women.
more info : SRR
Special Forces Support Group (SFSG)The Special Forces Support Group provides combat support to SAS & SBS operations.
more info : SFSG
18 (UKSF) Signals Regiment18 (UKSF) Regiment provides communications, and SIGINT support for other UKSF regiments.
more info : 18 (UKSF) Signals
Elite UK Forces :
The Parachute RegimentThe Paras are the UK's airborne shock troops, tasked with flying into enemy territory and capturing strategic positions. Many soldiers from the Parachute Regiment go on to join the Special Air Service.
more info : Parachute Regiment
Pathfinder Platoon16 Air Assault Brigade's elite reconnaissance unit, the Pathfinders operate behind enemy lines and are experts in high altitude parachuting.
more info : Pathfinder Platoon
Royal Marines CommandosThe Royal Marines are an elite amphibious raiding force, tasked with attacking from the sea, coming into shore in boats or helicopters. Royal Marines Commandos pride themselves on their fitness and tactical ability.
more info : Royal Marines
RAF / AAC / Fleet Air Arm Special Forces FlightsThe elite of the RAF, Army Air Corps and Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, these specially trained pilots and aircrew insert and extract special forces teams, often operating deep inside enemy territory. Flying Chinook, Wildcat, Merlin and Dauphin helicopters, and C-130 Hercules aircraft, these special forces flights provide UKSF with vital support.
more info : UKSF Air Support
Elite ArtilleryHighly trained spotters tasked with inserting behind enemy lines and calling in accurate artillery fire from artillery batteries.
more info : Elite Artillery
The elite ground troops of the Royal Air Force. RAF Gunners make up part of the Special Forces Support Group.
more info : RAF Regiment
United Kingdom Special Forces
The role of Britain's special forces, such as the Special Air Service, has transformed over the years; from defeating Hitler, to facing down the Soviet Union, to their current preoccupation : fighting the global war against terrorism.
New British special forces regiments have been formed to assist in 'the long war', as it's sometimes called. Governments around the world are putting more stock in the need for special forces : small, well trained and supported units operating on battlefields where the battle lines are poorly defined with enemies mixed amongst friends. The United Kingdom has recently added several new special forces units to its ranks, (the SRR & the SFSG), as well as bolstering the existing units (the SAS & the SBS), a move that signals a willingness to engage in the asymmetric warfare of the 21st century.
Special forces are sometimes referred to as 'force multipliers' - a recognition that these small teams of operators can achieve results comparable with much larger forces; whether by integrated with their own military or by training and operating alongside foreign forces. In Afghanistan, 2001, US special forces worked closely with Northern Alliance troops, coordinating attacks and calling in coalition air strikes. By employing SF in this way, the coalition was able to oust the Taliban with the minimum of ground troops whilst fostering a positive relationship with the indigenous friendly forces.