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SAS regiment is also called the 22nd regiment.
The SAS is a special forces regiment. The SAS was founded during WWII. The SAS serve all over the world. The SAS carry out anti-terrorist operation. The SAS are considered the elite of the British army. Very few soldiers pass selection into the SAS.
The Special Air Service or SAS is a special forces regiment of the British Army that has served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world. The Special Air Service together with the Special Boat Service (SBS), Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), and the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) form the United Kingdom Special Forces under the command of the Director Special Forces.
While the Special Air Service traces its origins to 1941 and the Second World War, it gained fame and recognition worldwide after successfully assaulting the Iranian Embassy in London and rescuing hostages during the 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege, lifting the regiment from obscurity outside the military establishment.
The Special Air Service comprises 22 Special Air Service Regiment of the Regular Army, 21 Special Air Service Regiment and 23 Special Air Service Regiment provided by the Territorial Army. It is tasked with special operations in wartime, and primarily counter-terrorism in peacetime.
British SAS History
The Special Air Service was a unit of the British Army during the Second World War, formed in July 1941 by David Stirling and originally called "L" Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade — the "L" designation and Air Service name being a tie-in to a British disinformation campaign, trying to deceive the Axis into thinking there was a paratrooper regiment with numerous units operating in the area (the real SAS would 'prove' to the Axis that the fake one existed). It was conceived as a commando force to operate behind enemy lines in the North African Campaign and initially consisted of five officers and 60 other ranks. Its first mission, in November 1941, was a parachute drop in support of the Operation Crusader offensive. Due to enemy resistance and adverse weather conditions, the mission was a disaster: 22 men, a third of the unit, were killed or captured. Its second mission was a success: transported by the Long Range Desert Group, it attacked three airfields in Libya, destroying 60 aircraft without loss. In September 1942 it was renamed 1st SAS, consisting at that time of four British squadrons, one Free French, one Greek, and the Folboat Section.
In January 1943, Stirling was captured in Tunisia and Paddy Mayne replaced him as commander. In April 1943, the 1st SAS was reorganised into the Special Raiding Squadron under Mayne's command and the Special Boat Squadron was placed under the command of George Jellicoe. The Special Raiding Squadron fought in Sicily and Italy along with the 2nd SAS, which had been formed in North Africa in 1943 in part by the re-naming of the Small Scale Raiding Force. The Special Boat Squadron fought in the Aegean Islands and Dodecanese until the end of the war. In 1944 the SAS Brigade was formed from the British 1st and 2nd SAS, the French 3rd and 4th SAS and the Belgian 5th SAS. It was tasked with parachute operations behind the German lines in France and carried out operations supporting the Allied advance through Belgium, the Netherlands, and eventually into Germany.
Post war SAS
At the end of the war the British Government saw no further need for the force and disbanded it on 8 October 1945. However, the following year it was decided there was a need for a long-term deep-penetration commando unit, and a new SAS regiment was to be raised as part of the Territorial Army. Ultimately, the Artists Rifles, raised in 1860 and headquartered at Dukes Road, Euston, took on the SAS mantle as 21st SAS Regiment (V) on 1 January 1947.
22 SAS Regiment
Since serving in Malaya, men from the regular army 22 SAS Regiment have taken part in covert reconnaissance and surveillance by patrols and some larger scale raiding missions in Borneo. An operation against communist guerillas included the Battle of Mirbat in the Oman. They have also taken part in operations in the Aden Emergency, Northern Ireland, and Gambia. Their Special projects team assisted the West German counter-terrorism group GSG 9 at Mogadishu. During the Falklands War D and G squadrons were deployed and participated in the raid on Pebble Island. Operation Flavius was an anti–terrorist operation in Gibraltar against the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA). The SAS counter terrorist wing famously took part in a hostage rescue operation during the Iranian Embassy Siege in London. It directed NATO aircraft onto Serb positions and hunted war criminals in Bosnia.
The Gulf War, in which A, B and D squadrons deployed, was the largest SAS mobilisation since the Second World War, also notable for the failure of the Bravo Two Zero mission. In Sierra Leone it took part in Operation Barras, a hostage rescue operation, to extract members of the Royal Irish Regiment. In the Iraq War, it formed part of Task Force Black and Task Force Knight, with A Squadron 22 SAS being singled out for exceptional service by General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander of NATO forces: during a six month tour it carried out 175 combat missions. In 2006 members of the SAS were involved in the rescue of peace activists Norman Kember, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden. The three men had been held hostage in Iraq for 118 days during the Christian Peacemaker hostage crisis. Operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan involved soldiers from 21 and 23 SAS Regiments.
SAS Influence on other special forces
Following the post-war reconstitution of the Special Air Service, other countries in the Commonwealth recognised their needs for Special Forces-type units. Australia formed the 1st SAS Company in July 1957, which became a full regiment of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) in August 1964. The New Zealand Special Air Service squadron was formed in 1954 to serve with the British SAS in Malaya. On its return from Malaya, the C (Rhodesian) Squadron formed the basis for creation of the Rhodesian Special Air Service in 1961.
Non-commonwealth countries have also formed units based on the SAS. Impressed by the Australian SASR methods in Vietnam, American General William Westmoreland ordered the formation of a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) unit in each infantry brigade, modelled on the SASR. Another American unit, Delta Force, was formed by Charles Alvin Beckwith, who served with 22 SAS as an exchange officer, and recognized the need for a similar type of unit in the United States Army. It is claimed the Israeli Sayeret Matkal was also modelled on the SAS and even shares the same "who dares wins" motto. The French 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment can trace its origins to the Second World War 3rd and 4th SAS, also adopting its "who dares wins"
Organisation of the SAS
Little publicly verifiable information exists on the SAS, as the United Kingdom Government does not usually comment on special forces matters. The Special Air Service comprises three units: one Regular and two reserve Territorial Army (TA) units. The regular army unit is 22 SAS Regiment and territorial army units are 21 SAS Regiment (Artists) and 23 SAS Regiment.
22 SAS Regiment has four operational squadrons: A, B, D and G. Each squadron consists of approximately 60 men commanded by a major, divided into four troops and a small headquarters section. SAS Troops usually consist of 16 men, and each patrol within a troop consists of four men, with each man possessing a particular skill: signals, demolition, medic or linguist in addition to basic skills learned during the course of his training. The four troops specialise in four different areas:
In 1980 R Squadron was formed which has since been renamed L Detachment; its members are all ex-regular SAS regiment soldiers who have a commitment to reserve service.
SAS Special projects team.
The special projects team is the official name for the Special Air Service anti–hijacking counter–terrorism team. It is trained in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) and sniper techniques and specializes in hostage rescue in buildings or on public transport. The team was formed in 1975 after Prime Minister Edward Heath asked the Ministry of Defence to prepare for any possible terrorist attack similar to the massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics and ordered that the SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare (CRW) wing be raised.
Once the wing had been established, each squadron rotated on a continual basis through counter–terrorist training including hostage rescue, siege breaking, and live firing exercises — it has been reported that during CRW training each soldier expends as many as 100,000 pistol rounds. Squadrons refresh their training every 16 months, on average. The CRW wing's first deployment was during the Balcombe Street Siege. The Metropolitan Police had trapped a PIRA unit; it surrendered when it heard on the BBC that the SAS were being sent in.
The first documented action abroad by the CRW wing was assisting the West German counter-terrorism group GSG 9 at Mogadishu. In 1980 the SAS were involved in a hostage rescue during the Iranian Embassy Siege.
SAS United Kingdom Special Forces.
The Special Air Service is under the operational command of the Director Special Forces (DSF), a major-general grade post. Previously ranked as a brigadier, the DSF was promoted from brigadier to major-general in recognition of the significant expansion of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF). The UKSF originally consisted of the regular and the reserve units of the SAS and the Special Boat Service, then joined by two new units: the Special Forces Support Group and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment. They are supported by the 18 (UKSF) Signal Regiment and the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing, part of which (8 Flight Army Air Corps) is based in Hereford with the SAS.
SAS Recruitment, selection and training.
All members of the United Kingdom armed forces can be considered for special forces selection, but historically the majority of candidates have an airborne forces background. All instructors are full members of the Special Air Service Regiment. Selections are held twice yearly, in summer and winter, in Sennybridge in the Brecon Beacons. Selection lasts for five weeks and normally starts with about 200 potential candidates. On arrival candidates first complete a Personal Fitness Test (PFT) and a Combat Fitness Test (CFT). They then march cross country against the clock, increasing the distances covered each day, culminating in what is known as the Fan dance: a 14 miles (23 km) march with full equipment scaling and descending Pen y Fan in four hours. By the end of the hill phase candidates must be able to run 4 miles in 30 minutes and swim two miles in 90 minutes.
Following the hill phase is the jungle phase, taking place in Belize, Brunei, or Malaysia. Candidates are taught navigation, patrol formation and movement, and jungle survival skills. Candidates returning to Hereford finish training in battle plans and foreign weapons and take part in combat survival exercises, the final one being the week-long escape and evasion. Candidates are formed into patrols and, carrying nothing more than a tin can filled with survival equipment, are dressed in old Second World War uniforms and told to head for a point by first light. The final selection test is arguably the most gruelling: resistance to interrogation (RTI), lasting for 36 hours.
Typically, 15–20% of candidates make it through the hill phase selection process. From the approximately 200 candidates, most will drop out within the first few days, and by the end about 30 will remain. Those who complete all phases of selection are rewarded with a transfer to an operational squadron
SAS Reserve selection
The Territorial Army Special Air Service (reserve) Regiments undergo the same selection process, but as a part-time programme over a longer period:
This is followed by Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) Training, comprising:
On successful completion of this training, ranks are badged as SAS(R) and deemed fit for appointment. They enter a probationary period during which they complete final training:
SAS uniform distinctions.
The SAS (Special Air Service), like every British regiment, has its own uniform distinctions. Its normal barracks headdress is the sand-coloured beret, its cap badge is a downward pointing flaming sword (often wrongly referred to as a winged dagger) worked in cloth of a Crusader shield with the motto Who Dares Wins. SAS pattern parachute wings, designed by Lieutenant Jock Lewes and based on the stylised sacred Ibis wings of Isis of Egyptian iconography depicted in the décor of Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo, are worn on the right shoulder. Its ceremonial No 1 Dress Uniform is distinguished by a light blue stripe on the trousers; the Commanding Officer and officer of the day wear a black leather pouch belt mounted with a silver whistle chain and the Mars and Minerva badge of the Artists Rifles. Its Stable belt is a shade of blue similar to the blue stripe on the No 1 dress uniform.
SAS battle honours.
In the British Army, battle honours are awarded to regiments that have seen active service in a significant engagement or campaign, generally with a victorious outcome. The Special Air Service Regiment has been awarded the following battle honours:
North-West Europe 1944-45 · Tobruk 1941 · Benghazi Raid · North Africa 1940-43 · Landing in Sicily · Sicily 1943 · Termoli · Valli di Comacchio · Italy 1943-45 · Greece 1944-45 · Adriatic · Middle East 1943-44 · Falkland Islands 1982 · Western Iraq · Gulf 1991
The names of those members of the SAS who have died on duty are inscribed on the regimental clock tower at Sterling lines. Inscribed on the base of the clock is a verse from the The Golden Road to Samarkand by James Elroy Flecker.
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
The other main memorial is the SAS and Airborne Forces memorial in the Cloisters at Westminster Abbey. There is also the SAS Brigade Memorial at Sennecey-le-Grand in France commemorates the wartime dead of the Belgian, British and French SAS and recently a memorial plaque was added to the David Stirling Memorial in Scotland. There are other smaller memorials "scattered throughout Europe and in the Far East".
In recent years SAS officers have risen to the highest ranks in the British Army. General Peter de la Billière was the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the 1990 Gulf War. General Michael Rose became commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994. In 1997 General Charles Guthrie became Chief of the Defence Staff the head of the British Armed Forces. Lieutenant-General Cedric Delves was appointed Commander of the Field Army and Deputy Commander in Chief NATO Regional Headquarters Allied Forces North in 2002–2003.
In 1950, a 21 SAS squadron was raised to fight in the Korean War. After three months of training in England, it was informed that the squadron would no longer be required in Korea and so it instead volunteered to fight in the Malayan Emergency. Upon arrival in Malaya, it came under the command of Mike Calvert who was forming a new unit called the Malayan Scouts (SAS). Calvert had already formed one squadron from 100 volunteers in the Far East, which became A Squadron — the 21 SAS squadron then became B Squadron; and after a recruitment visit to Rhodesia by Calvert, C Squadron was formed from 1,000 Rhodesian volunteers. The Rhodesians returned home after three years service and were replaced by a New Zealand squadron. By this time, the need for a regular army SAS regiment had been recognised; 22 SAS Regiment was formally added to the army list in 1952 and has been based at Hereford since 1960. In 1959 the third regiment, 23 SAS Regiment, was formed by renaming the Reserve Reconnaissance Unit, which had succeeded MI9 and were experts in escape and evasion
SAS other descriptions of The Regiment.
The origins of modern-day Commandos can be traced back to the Boer War. Also known as the South African War, 1899 - 1902. An expensive and brutal colonial war. It pitted almost 500,000 imperial troops against 87,000 republican burghers, Cape 'rebels', and foreign volunteers."
The name Commando was given by the British to the Boer irregular troops in recognition of their exceptional marksmanship and guerrilla-style warfare.
SAS: Storm Troopers.
In World War One, the opposing armies had reached a stalemate. Victory was possible but at great cost to both sides, and the current tactics had to be improved on. Storm troopers, deployed by the German Army, were sent before the first wave of an attack, to seize essential sites. Lightly armed and equipped, but possessing better weaponry than the average infantryman, they had the edge in trench warfare. Relying on speed rather than brute force to take targets, the Storm troopers were normally exposed to artillery and machine-gun fire for short periods at a time.
The first paratroops were not British, German or even American. It was the Russians - after picking up the original idea from Italy - who showed the world the potential of airborne strikes. They could achieve much more with a lot less equipment, and could be deployed into trouble spots quicker. This was demonstrated by a training exercise held in the 1930s, in the Ukraine, when Russian troops parachuted onto an 'enemy-held' airport, secured it, and then waited to be further reinforced by air and then by armoured forces.
Unfortunately for the British, the idea went over their heads. It was not until 22 June, 1940, that British war-time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, called for the formation of a corps of 'at least five thousand parachute troops, suitably organised and equipped'. This was the foundation of Britain's Parachute Regiment. The Americans did take notice but had other things on their mind - in 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. It fell to the Germans to be the first to utilise airborne troops to their fullest extent. The effectiveness of this new form of waging war was demonstrated when, in 1941, the Germans invaded Crete, and then Norway, with airborne troops.
SAS: Marine Commandos.
By the time Britain's parachute regiments were up and combat-effective, most of mainland Europe and the off-shore Channel Islands were under the control of the Axis countries. Britain and her British Commonwealth allies simply did not possess enough resources to attempt to liberate this occupied territory. The war in North Africa was raging. The idea of small Commando raids arose as an acceptable solution to appease public discontent. Here was a way Britain could co-ordinate attacks on mainland Europe without openly engaging the Germans in battle. Marine Commandos (now known as the Royal Marine Commandos) struck at St Nazaire, the 'largest dry dock in the world'. Not only was it the only dock capable of servicing the giant battleships Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, it was an important U-Boat base. Dieppe was raided by the Marine Commandos and Walcheren was seized by them.
SAS: North African Campaign - WW2.
This campaign was fought mainly because of two things. The first was the Suez Canal, which was vital to control the Middle East. The second was Middle East oil resources. Should the Axis powers attempted seizure of the oil fields in Russia fail (which it did), then the Axis coalition would need to find a supply of oil elsewhere. The only thing that stood in its way was, at first, a small British Commonwealth Army under the over-all command of General Wavell. The Italians they faced outnumbered them 10-1, and promptly, due to far inferior equipment, low morale and poor logistics, found themselves with the military equivalent of a bloody nose, broken ribs and two shattered knee caps. Hitler could only do one thing. He sent in one of his best units, the Afrika Korps, with General 'Desert Fox' Rommel at the helm. The two armies grew in size and since neither could quite finish the other off, found themselves in virtual stalemate, coming and going across the desert areas surrounding Egypt and Libya.
SAS: Special Air Service.
At about this time David Stirling, the founder of the SAS, was lying in a hospital bed, injured in a parachute jump mishap. A subaltern in the Brigade of Guards, he had noted the inefficiency of commando raids. Realising the same results, or better, could be achieved with much smaller groups of men, on his return to active duty he bluffed his way into the 8th Army headquarters and put his idea to General Ritchie. At the time, the Allied forces were on the run from Rommel's army. Because it would not require much in logistics, Stirling's idea appealed to Ritchie, who named the new unit, the Special Air Service Brigade. The idea behind the name was to give the Germans the impression that the Allies had a large airborne force in North Africa.
Harsh selection and training was implemented straight from the regiment's first day. Recruiting and training took less than a week. The initial SAS force consisted of six officers and 60 enlisted men. The two officers that Stirling most wanted, Paddy Mayne and Jock Lewes, would write themselves into SAS folklore.
SAS: Shaky Beginnings.
The SAS's first operation went badly. Stirling had perceived the best method of getting behind enemy lines was by parachute. Alas, the weather was so bad that the ground was impossible to see by the pilots. The parachutists landed way off target. They had to leg it across to Allied lines, which was no mean feat. Less than half the force eventually made it back to base. Fortunately, Allied High Command was more concerned about German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and his new offensive.
Stirling was not put off, and co-ordinated with the successful reconnaissance group, the Long Range Desert Group. The plan was that the LRDG would provide the transport, and the SAS, the destruction. They went after anything in range, such as airstrips and even Rommel's headquarters. Eventually the Germans lost hundreds of aircraft and scores of supply posts to SAS raids.
In Tunisia, in 1943, Stirling paid the price for leading from the front. Captured, he escaped four times before he was transferred to Colditz Castle prison camp for the remainder of the war.
Many 'Private Armies', as the General Staff called them, relied on the 'charisma and drive of one man', but perhaps the true sign of SAS skill and bravery, was, even without Stirling's charismatic leadership, they continued to inflict heavy damage on the Axis war machine.
SAS: Spectacular Statistics.
The SAS caused havoc in Italy and in Operation Wallace (post D-Day landings). After a battle in Dijon, it was estimated that they had killed 7,731 Germans, captured 4,784 prisoners and destroyed, or took control of, 700 vehicles. 164 railway lines were cut, seven trains were destroyed and 33 were derailed. Perhaps, the most dubious recognition of the SAS's success was the Fuhrer Directive, calling for all captured Commandos to be shot.
These men are highly dangerous... they must be ruthlessly exterminated.
This meant Axis forces were supposed to shoot anybody who was not a downed airman. The order was in breach of the Geneva Convention The order had fateful consequences for the 'Cockle Shell Heroes' Marine Commandos sent to destroy Axis shipping in the Loire. Eight were captured and shot, while two escaped. The mission was successful. Some people who obeyed this order would eventually be prosecuted for war crimes.
After WW2 the scaling down of the armed forces looked likely to foreshadow the end of the Commandos. All were scrapped, save the Marine Commandos, who were merged into the Royal Marines, leaving only a territorial unit of the SAS (21 SAS).
SAS: Fighting Communists.
Somewhat fortuitously, the Malaysian Emergency in the 1960s resurrected the SAS. In the form of the Malaysian Scouts they would perform counter-insurgency operations against the communist insurgents. One of the reasons Malaysia, in its present form, is here today is through the success of the SAS.
The SAS were then given a regular regiment, the 22nd and another territorial unit, the 23rd. The 22nd would see action over the ensuing forty years in numerous theatres of war, establishing themselves once again as one of the worlds 'premier' special forces.
In Oman, communist insurgents were battling against the pro-British Sultan. The SAS was sent in twice in the guise of British Army Training Teams (BATT) to help train up the Sultan's troops and fight themselves. One of the most notable battles was in Jebel Akhdar, where troopers assaulted a rebel stronghold ensconced in a previously unassailable place. Another was the Battle of Mirbat, where insurgents or 'adoo' were attempting to raise flagging support by assaulting a garrison town. Only the SAS and gratefully-accepted air support from the Oman Air Force prevented this occurring.
SAS: On Home Ground.
Undoubtedly, one of the more famous missions the SAS has undertaken was the siege at Princess Gate, London, home of the Iranian Embassy. Terrorists, financed by Iraq's Saddam Hussein, attempted to force Britain to use its (almost nil) influence on Iran to restore the deposed Shah to his throne. The British government sent in the SAS, resulting in defeat for the terrorists. Two innocent people died; a hostage was shot before the SAS went in, and in the ensuring assault, the assistant press attaché was killed. All bar one of the terrorists died.
SAS: The Falklands Conflict.
In 1982, the ruling Argentine military junta took the world by surprise when they invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Resistance by the Royal Marines was spirited, until ordered to surrender by the island's Governor. In Britain, a Task Force featuring 2 and 3 PARA, a Commando Bridge (40, 42, 45 Commando) and light tanks of the Blues and Royals was assembled. The SAS was also mobilised. Along with mounting reconnaissance missions into the occupied islands, the SAS staged diversionary raids when the sea-based British Taskforce mounted their successful action to reclaim the islands. Perhaps the most daring raid of this war was the attack on an airfield in Pebble Island. Ten Pucara ground-based aircraft had to be eliminated before the task force could commence landing. The SAS destroyed all the aircraft and eliminated the garrison.
Allegedly, as a countermeasure to cover for Britain's lack of airborne-early-warning aircraft to detect the Argentine Super Etendards and their Exocets, two groups of SAS were dropped into mainland Argentina. They took up positions where they could see the aircraft land and take off, and hence give warning to the British Fleet. The book Soldier K which is part fiction, part fact, is based on this premise. What is not in doubt is that a Royal Navy Sea King did crash-land in mainland Chile.
SAS: Combating Saddam Hussein.
Perhaps the SAS's worst disaster was Bravo 2-0 (Northern Road). In 1990 Iraq dictator, Saddam Hussein, invaded and annexed the tiny oil-rich state of Kuwait. He then had to face a coalition of the mightiest military powers ever assembled. His only possible way of winning such a war was to provoke Israel into the war by attacking her with SCUD missiles. He hoped this would break up the fragile coalition, as the Arab nations would now refuse to fight. From 1949 to 1996, Israel was in a state of war with most Arab countries.
To combat the SCUD threat, and cause general mayhem, three SAS sections were deployed by helicopter into the flat, desolate, Iraqi desert. Two of the sections got straight back into their helicopters and flew back to base. The one that didn't was Bravo 2-0. Hampered by inaccurate radio frequencies and a position dangerously close to an Iraqi outpost, they were compromised and had to make a fighting retreat across the Iraqi desert to Syria. Only one made it, Corporal 'Chris Ryan'. The rest were either captured - Sergeant 'Andy McNab' - or died. What happened in Iraq was a shambles, to put it mildly. What Bravo 2-0 did to get themselves out of their position was hugely creditable. They left 200 Iraqi soldiers dead. They pushed their minds and bodies to the limit - either from self-torture, or sheer bloody mindedness - to get home.
After this debacle, SAS squadrons operated in armed Landrovers, and achieved remarkable success. By enforcing a no-go zone, where no SCUD Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) would venture across. The SCUD missiles no longer had the range to strike Israel.
SAS: The Balkans.
More recently, in Bosnia, SAS teams were detailed to provide laser spotting on the artillery pieces bombarding the city of Sarajevo. SAS personal have also provided reconnaissance of possible landing zones in Kosovo for the Air Mobile elements of the British Army and to observe Serbs withdrawing from previously-held positions in the province. An on-going SAS operation is the seizure of suspected war criminals in the former Yugoslavia.
SAS: Northern Ireland.
Over many years, Britain's SAS has operated in Northern Ireland. Their on-going efforts to help build a lasting-peace between the warring Catholic and Protestant militia is outside the scope of this article.
SAS: Liaison And Training.
In the SAS's Counter Terrorist (CT) and Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) roles, the SAS liaise with, and train, many of the premier HRT teams based in other countries. These include Germany's GSG 9 and France's GIGN, among others.
SAS Handguns and Pistols.
Browning High Power
Country of Origin: Belgium
The Browning is the SAS's main battle side arm, it's big, heavy and reliable in the field, however I believe when in Close Quarters (hostage rescues etc) this isn't the weapon of choice, it is a little to big and heavy to be snapped around quickly.
Country of Origin: Switzerland
When it comes to Close Quarters Battle the SAS use the Sig P228, it is lighter and slightly shorter than the Browning meaning that it can be manoeuvred more easily and aiming is that little bit quicker and steadier.
It's worth noting that you don't want a really powerful gun when in close quarters, the weight of the gun means you can't snap around as quickly, which means you take longer to aim and the weight of the gun makes your aim less steady, and there is also a much greater recoil which messes up your aim.
You also have to face the possibility that when you shoot a bad guy your bullet needs to stay in them and doesn't go through them and harm any hostages behind, or bounce of the wall, the SAS actually use special rounds when storming (planes particularly) that explode on impact, so that stray fire doesn't bounce off and hit a hostage (loaded in the Heckler and Koch's as well as handguns.)
The trooper will use the double tap method, firing twice very quickly before moving onto the next target. He will aim for the mouth, doing so cuts the spinal cord and blows out part of the brain (messy!) which prevents the brain sending the 'pull the trigger' signal to the gunman's finger.
Heckler & Koch P11 Underwater Pistol
Calibre: 7.62mm x 36
Very little is known about the HK P11. It is a special pistol that fires underwater. What is known is that it will fire five shots, but after the five shots are fired, there is a significant delay in reloading, even slower than a revolutionary war muzzleloader. You must send the upper unit back to the factory for reloading!
HKPRO recently acquired more detailed information about the P11. It was designed in the 1970s, and entered service in 1976. It has never been officially acknowledged by HK. It fires darts of 7.62 x 36 calibre either above or underwater. The effective range of the P11 is reported at 30 meters above water, with a report barely louder than an MP5SD. Underwater, the effective range is 10-15 meters.
The P11 is reportedly in service with German combat divers, the British SAS, and 100 units to U.S. spec-ops forces. It is also used by Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Israeli combat divers.
Information kindly provided by www.hkpro.com
The SAS use the Walther PPK as their secondary weapon, hidden in an ankle pouch during CRW duties and body guarding, however the PPK is an old gun so it makes sense that the SAS would use the newer P99.
The design of the P99 was initiated in 1994, and a handgun was presented in 1996. The main goal was to develop a new modern style police and self-defence handgun that incorporates all the latest developments but costs less than its predecessor the Walther P88.
Walther P99 is a recoil operated, locked breech gun, that used modified Browning style locking via extraction port in the slide. It is striker fired, and has no manual safeties and three automatic safeties: Striker safety, Trigger safety and Out of battery safety. Also, it has manual de-cocking button in the rear upper part of the slide. Also Walther developed QA action, which has partially pre-charged stricer that must be manually charged to full stroke via each trigger pull.
P99 has polymer frame with removable backtrap of the handle, to provide to shooters better fit in the hands (3 sizes are standard). Also P99 incorporates recoil compensator.
The SAS - Assault Guns
Diemaco C7FT (M16 A2)
Calibre: 5.56mm NATO round
The M16A2 5.56mm rifle is a lightweight, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed, shoulder- or hip-fired weapon designed for either automatic fire (3-round bursts) or semiautomatic fire (single shot) through the use of a selector lever. The weapon has a fully adjustable rear sight. The bottom of the trigger guard opens to provide access to the trigger while wearing winter mittens. The upper receiver/barrel assembly has a fully adjustable rear sight and a compensator which helps keep the muzzle down during firing. The steel bolt group and barrel extension are designed with locking lugs which lock the bolt group to the barrel extension allowing the rifle to have a lightweight aluminium receiver.
The M16A2 rifle is a product improvement of the M16A1 rifle. The improvements are:
Heckler & Koch G36K
Calibre: 5.56 x 45mm NATO (.223 Remington).
G36 features include:
Option 1-the "Export" sight. This single sight system uses a 1.5x optical sight integrated into the detachable carrying handle Backup iron sights are located on the top of the sight and carrying handle..
The pictures are mostly of the G36, the SAS are likely to be using the newer G36K, which is quite similar, the most obvious difference being the introduction of a folding stock.
The SA 80 Individual Weapon is the British Army's Standard combat rifle, made by Enfield/Royal Ordinance and fires NATO standard 5.56 x 45mm ammunition; and has been in service since 1989.
Weight: 4.98kg complete with loaded magazine and optical sight.
Not really used by the SAS, because of problems with the rifles' reliability in adverse conditions. However they do use it when troopers are having to pose as regular British army troops.
SA80 is the designation for a revolutionary family of assault weapons. The British Army uses the L85 Individual Weapon that replaced the rifle and sub-machine gun, and the L86 Light Support Weapon (LSW) that produces higher volumes of fire and is effective at longer ranges. A standard army infantry section consists of two four-man fire teams armed with SA80s: three IWs and one LSW.
Both weapons have been modified in light of operational experience, and had a major mid-life update in 2002, which resulted in the SA80A2 series - (however despite army claims the 'new' SA80 still has reliability issues.)
One new Under slung Grenade Launcher (UGL), designed to be mounted beneath the barrel of the IW, will be issued to each fire team, replacing the Rifle Grenade General Service (RGGS) and 51mm mortar – significantly reducing the ammunition load the infantry section carries, while enhancing its capabilities. The UGL will be able to fire 40mm High Explosive (HE), smoke and illuminating rounds out to a range of 350 m to destroy, obscure or indicate enemy positions.
The rifle is fitted with a high-performance optical sight (SUSAT - Sight Unit Small Arms Trilux) of x 4 magnification, which enables the weapon to be used operationally under poor light conditions and is also useful for surveillance. The sight is mounted on a bracket that incorporates range adjustment and zeroing.
The rifle can also be fitted with image-intensifying sights.
With thanks to 'Defiiant' for corrections to this page
Diemaco C8 Carbine
Calibre: 5.56mm NATO round
The Colt made M4 Carbine was last year replaced by the Canadian firm Diemaco's, C8 Carbine, it is however ostensibly the same weapon.
Known to have been used by the SAS in all recent operations including Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan, the C8 (or the M4 before then) is normally used when a lighter more flexible weapon than the M16 (C7) is required. For example, when there is an increased likelihood of close quarters fighting, such as in Afghanistan where Taliban ambushes were expected, the M4 can be moved around more quickly by the trooper.
There are four versions of the C8, standard, C8FT (flat top) which allows the addition of a range of different sights, and the C8FTHB (flat top heavy barrel) which means the barrel has an increased thermal mass, allowing it to be used in more intense tactical situations.
There is also a C8 Special Forces Weapon (SF), this is a high accuracy, high modular weapon system designed to meet the needs of special forces , it is highly customisable, and highly reliable. This includes a heat dissipation feature in the barrel, 3 position buttstock, modular handguard system with rails to attach lasers, illuminators, bipod attachments, sling swivels, and other equipment. It is available in arctic white, desert tan, olive drab or the traditional black and there's a cleaning kit in the handle grip.
As such it's a safe bet that this is what the SAS are using.
The C8 can be fitted with converted Heckler and Koch AG36 grenade launcher.
Heckler & Koch 33
From what I can gather the SAS only use this rifle when on body guarding duty; they carry it in the back of their own vehicles and use the version with a retractable stock (the A3) and have it fitted with a laser red dot sight.
For more information on the H&K 33 visit - http://www.hkpro.com/HK33.htm
H&K AG36 40mm Grenade Launcher
The Heckler and Koch Grenade Launcher is a lightweight single shot breech loaded 40mm weapon that is converted by Diemaco for attachment to the C7 and C8. It can also be fitted to the H&K G36 (as seen
SAS books both fact and fiction.
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