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Impressive Elite Special Forces in 2021

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We see them do their thing on the latest Netflix series. We hear about them in the news and sometimes envy them for the big bucks they’re making. But who ever stops to think about who they really are? Elite special forces are military units that are trained to implement special operations.

That’s a rather vague definition, isn’t it? It would be similar to saying that executive protection professionals are people who protect executives. But does it actually encompass the nitty-gritty and all the tasks of the job? Well, hardly.

Good thing you got EP Wired as your personal guide to―in this case― impressive elite special forces in 2021.

How Did It All Start?

However, before looking into the special forces in the 21st century, how about we briefly get into when they first emerged? We’re glad you agree.

At first, special forces members weren’t these big-muscle guys holding a SOF combat assault rifle (SCAR). Initially, they didn’t have the weaponry elite special forces pride themselves in today. No, their primary task was to make rapid long-distance advances, conduct basic scouting and commando missions. The lucky ones had even enough training to gather intelligence and launch raids.

In comparison to today’s elite special forces, those guys were harmless, and their tools very basic.

Still, the Japanese ninjas were probably the toughest among them all. These lads knew how to engage in espionage, surveillance and even served as bodyguards. And here’s a quick ninja quote that will reverberate with any EP industry specialist nowadays:

The first priority to the ninja is to win without fighting. Masaaki Hatsumi, legendary ninjutsu teacher

Since executive protection agents are known for their advance work and assessment strategies, it seems that some values and skillsets overlap between EP and elite special forces. And even with the ninjas, yes.

In the more recent past, like in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the best-known appearances of special units were:

  • Gurkha Scouts, Corps of Guides, and Lovat Scouts, part of the British Indian Army,
  • Luna Sharpshooters, formed under the Philippine Revolutionary Army and known for their fierce fighting,
  • Italian Arditi and German Stormtroopers, elite assault units that received a lot more training than average troops did.

However, all these units only scratched the surface of what was to come.

The Renaissance of Elite Special Forces

During the two World Wars―and especially the second one―a renaissance of elite special units took place. Among the best in their craft were the British Commandos, who General Sir John Dill formed.

It happened after Winston Churchill’s call for specially trained troops of hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down the enemy coast.

However, the first genuinely modern special forces unit was the Special Air Service, or the SAS. These guys mean business. And among their first tasks were hostage rescue, direct action, counter-terrorism, and covert reconnaissance.

elite special forces
Source: Picryl

Another jewel in the history of select units was the Greek Sacred Band, initially consisting of 200 men in 1942. Together with the British SAS, these heroic troops fought against Axis powers forces in the Aegean and the Western Desert.

During the Barbarossa, Fall Gelb, and Fall Weiss campaigns of 1940 and 1941, the German army founded the Brandenburger Regiment. The German Abwehr used it for long-distance reconnaissance and infiltration. Even worse for the Allies, there was a man named Otto Skorzeny, commander of the 502nd SS Jäger Batallion. He expertly sowed disorder by misdirecting convoys away from the front lines.

Less known but equally impressive were the Finish sissi forces. They were only accepting volunteers and operating behind enemy lines in small teams. Generally speaking, they were highly effective, managing to destroy enemy supply depots and other strategic targets.

We know that may have left out some special units who deserve to be mentioned. But hey, this may only be the first EP Wired article on elite special forces, so don’t lose all hope yet.

Impressive Elite Special Forces in 2021

Lastly, we’ve reached the final destination of our short journey on special forces. You should applaud yourself for making it thus far. So, without further ado, let’s explore the most impressive elite special forces in 2021.

1. The Spanish Special Naval Warfare Force

Experts recognize this unit as one of the most respected in Europe. Following SAS’s rules, it grew from the Amphibious Climbing Company in 1952 into one of the fiercest combative units ever. Nowadays, they engage in operations relating to maritime, land, and coastal environments.

When applying for a job in the unit, usually between 70% and 80% get rejected, proving the group’s rigorous policies.

2. Spetsgruppa A or Alpha Group

The Russian FSB’s counter-terrorism task force, Alpha Group, primarily focuses on preventing and responding to violent acts in public buildings and transportation.

The Soviet KGB notably established the unit back in 1974. Since its explicit directives are still shrouded in secrecy, experts think that the group receives its orders from Russia’s top political leadership.

3. The French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group

The 200-strong special unit specializing in hostage situations, the GIGN claims to have saved over 600 people since its establishment in 1973. These guys are so important in France that the national laws prohibit the publishing of their faces.

The unit proved its dedication during the seizure of Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 1979. Back then, three GIGN commandos converted to Islam to help Saudi armed forces plan the facility’s recapture. Non-Muslims weren’t allowed inside, so can you imagine this kind of job commitment?

4. The British Special Air Service

Known as SAS, these are probably the most hardcore special forces in the world. Their insignia holds the famous phrase: Who dares wins. And these guys probably win all the time.

When journalists asked the US General Stanley McChrystal about the SAS’s role in the fighting in the aftermath of the Iraq war, he said:

Essential. Could not have done it without them.

Final Remarks on Elite Special Forces

Elite special forces in 2021 are the nightmare of every terrorist and attacker. They carry a ton of gear and receive top-notch training. In a nutshell, nobody would want to mess around with them. But for some crazy reason that we can’t grasp, people still do.

A less known fact is that many executive protection agents stem from armed forces and even elite special forces. But more on that in a future EP Wired piece.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, then we’re sure you’re going to love what we’ve got in store for you below:

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