15 Most Powerful Special Forces In The World
In times when terror attacks happen left and right, people need the high-quality security and protection that can only be provided by an elite group of individuals who have devoted their lives to protecting their respective nation and countrymen. We aren’t talking about the Justice League or the Avengers. We are talking about the highly-trained special forces units who are more than capable of taking care of any threats.
In the past century, a lot of governing bodies have established their own special forces unit. This was an answer to the rising terror threats that plague the many nations. High-risk threats call for more than just the local police or the army and that’s where the special forces come in.
Most special forces work under secrecy and many are still shrouded in mystery. What we do know for now is that these units comprised of men and women are prepared both physically and psychologically for whatever it is they are tasked to do. Among these elite groups, there are a few standouts as well; the best of the best as they say. Here are the 15 most powerful special forces in the world.
15. Taiwanese Special Forces
Back in 2013, the Taiwanese government revealed a uniform set for their elite group of personnel that handles high-level threats. The uniforms are all black ballistic suits that literally cover a person from top to bottom. That’s not all the uniform boasts though as aside from completely scaring the living life out of potential terrorists, their uniforms are functional as well.
The Kevlar ballistics masks that the Taiwanese Special Forces don is rated a Threat Level 11. This means that the mask is capable of stopping almost anything including a .357 Magnum Slug. The masks are 11.2-inches long and 7.2 inches wide so it covers almost the entire face of the wearer and if any attackers are looking to get a shot at the head, their best bet is at a very small opening in the eyes of the mask. With special forces looking like this, it’s very likely that Taiwan is in good hands.
14. Scout Ranger Regiment
When it comes to Guerrilla warfare, no other special force in the world does it better than the Scout Ranger Regiment in the Philippines. Members of this elite group specialize in jungle warfare, raids, ambushes, and sabotage. Any terrorist or criminal unlucky enough to be stranded in a jungle with a Scout Ranger is sure to have a horrible time.
The Scout Ranger Regiment’s selection process is regarded as one of the toughest ones in the world. Candidates are put through several tests that push them to their psychological and physical limits. But of course, this is to be expected from the elite group. One of the training courses that candidates have to go through include a gruelling stay in deep waters while another officer is trying to drown them.
The ace up the sleeves of Scout Rangers is their tracking and navigation skills. Even at the selection process, Scout Rangers are already filtered to see who has the top navigation skills in the group. This is a very deadly skill to have for jungle warfare.
13. Joint Task Force 2
Joint Task Force 2 is Canada’s own line of special forces. Out of all the special forces in the world, Joint Task Force 2 is one of the youngest in terms of how long it has been operating. The group was established back in 1993 and it started out with a relatively small company comprising of 100 members, all of whom were drawn from the Canadian Airborne Regiment and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry who are made up of exceptional operatives already.
The operations of Joint Task Force 2 are hidden behind closed doors. The government rarely discloses the operations that the special forces group was part of and that’s why Joint Task Force 2 is one of the lesser known groups in the world. The Canadian government isn’t keen on commenting about the special forces group but many regard Joint Task Force 2 as a force to be reckoned with.
12. Sayeret Matkal
The Israeli Defense Forces have within it a special forces unit called as the Sayeret Matkal. The elite group’s main task is to gather field intelligence and to complete deep reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines for strategic Intel. All in all, this Israeli special forces group is tasked with counter-terrorism in their homeland.
The members of the Sayeret Matkal are regarded not only for their amazing physical capabilities but also for their intellectual capabilities as well. This should be a must for a group that’s focused on combating terrorism within and beyond their borders.
Individuals who are recruited have to partake in an 18-19 month training course. The training is as follows; 4-months of basic infantry training, 2-months of advanced infantry training, 3-weeks of a parachuting course, 5-weeks of a counter-terrorism course and the rest of the training is focused on readying themselves for reconnaissance missions.
11. Groupe D’Intervention De La Gendarmerie Nationale
The police tactical unit of France is known as the Groupe d’intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale or GIGN. This elite special forces group is considered as one of the deadliest ones out there. With a motto like “to save lives without regard for one’s own” speaks for itself. The GIGN will go through any means to save their nation and those who reside in it.
The group was established back in 1974 as a response to the 1972 Munich Massacre in which the Black September terrorist group took 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team as a hostage. The athletes, along with a German police officer were killed eventually.
Those who want to join will have to undergo a week long pre-selection screening. Once chosen, candidates are going to have to go under a 14-month training course in which they’ll be conditioned in many forms of combat. As usual, not all who start the training make it through the end. For the GIGN, only 7-8% of the candidates pass.
10. Special Services Group
While the name itself is straight to the point and simple as compared to other special forces, the Special Services Group of the Pakistan army is not one to fail even the toughest of missions. This group is one of the largest special forces in the world. Headed by a major-general, the Special Services Group is made up of 8 battalions, each comprising of 700 personnel.
To get into this elite group, a candidate must have at least 2 years of experience in the military. After that, candidates will have to undergo a rigorous 9-month training course made for the Special Services Group. One of the many exercises during the 9-month training course is a 36-mile march in full gear with a time limit of 12 hours. During this march, the candidates will run for about 5 miles in 50 minutes. The training course is so tough, only 5% of the candidates make it through to become a member of the group.
9. Frogman Corps
Established in 1957, the Frogman Corps serves as the elite special forces of Denmark. This group of highly trained individuals is more capable on water than they are on land, hence the name Frogman. They are still dangerous on the ground but when it comes to hijacking ships and other maritime vehicles, the Frogman Corps are the ones to get the job done.
The Frogman Corps only pick the best of the best. Since its establishment in 1957, there has only been over 300 who have completed the training to become a part of the Frogman Corps. During a 9-month training process, candidates have to undergo several training courses that will fully test their skills on the water. This includes a combat swimmer course. After the 9-month training process, less than a dozen complete the course.
8. Gruppo di Intervento Speciale
In 1977, an elite airborne special operations unit focused on counter-terrorism was formed inside the Italian Carabinieri military police. The group was called the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (or GIS) and has since served as one of the elite forces in Italy. Despite its long history, it was only in 2004 that the GIS was turned into a special forces unit for Italy.
The GIS was formed to answer a rise in terrorism back in the 70s. The group is tasked with the toughest counter terrorism missions in and out of Italy. Initially, they were a unit inside the police force of Italy, the GIS also saw action in a few notable events including The Gulf Wars and the Nato operations in Libya.
The GIS has 150 members, a few of whom are elite snipers. Aside from being excellent marksmen, the GIS also focus on hand-to-hand combat forms including Wushu and Muay Thai. This basically means that the GIS is a force to be reckoned with both near and far.
7. US Navy SEALs
The United States Sea Air and Land teams are formidable in all terrain and personnel under this team are capable of tasks that aren’t for regular soldiers alone. This elite group of highly trained forces is the best the US has to offer and not only are they well-trained, they are well equipped as well.
The SEALs have had a ton of accomplishments in history but their biggest claim to fame yet is the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in 2011. The intricate mission was accomplished with the aid of SEAL Team 6 which is comprised of 40 soldiers.
Getting in this elite group is hard of course. Just to get admitted into Navy SEAL training, candidates will have to pass the SEAL Physical Screening Test. The tests include a 500-yard swim in over 12 minutes, 50 push-ups and sit-ups and 10 consecutive pull-ups in 2 minutes each and a 1.5 mile run in 10 minutes and 30 seconds.
MARCOS, formerly known as Marine Commando Force is India’s special forces group that is formed with the country’s most elite combatants. The group is responsible for a few operations that include but is not limited to amphibious warfare, close quarter combat counter-terrorism, unconventional rescue, personnel recovery, and hostage rescue.
The training MARCOS personnel go through is patterned after the training of the US Navy SEAL. Their standard training is supplemented further with training from the British SAS and Guerrilla Warfare training at Vairangte. Aside from the physical training, MARCOS personnel are also trained emotionally. This is to ensure that the MARCOS are prepared for any situation that comes to them.
One of the latest exploits of the group was an anti-piracy operation back in 2013. A group of 9 MARCOS personnel hijacked an Iranian cargo ship. The ship was used to smuggle weapons and other illegal items.
5. 707th Special Mission Battalion
After the Munich Massacre, a few countries decided to build their own special forces. One of the countries that did so was South Korea. The government was somewhat forced to create their own elite group of soldiers because the 1988 Olympics was to be held on their soil. From this terror threat came the 707th Special Mission Battalion, known to many as the White Tiger.
The group comprises of about 200 men and women. The White Tiger is split up into 2 assault groups, 1 support group and 1 all-female group who are used for low-visibility missions. Members of the White Tiger are either applicants who applied or outstanding personnel who are handpicked by their officers.
These men and women are trained in the harshest conditions. They are even tasked with swimming in freezing temperatures without any thermal gear.
4. Green Beret
Aside from the Navy SEALs, the other elite group in the United States is simply called as the Special Forces. However, the group is more commonly known as Green Beret thanks to their standout service headgear. The Green Beret personnel is tasked with 5 primary missions; foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism.
The group was formed back in 1952 under the guidance of Col. Aaron Bank. Even before the actual formation of the group, a few other people already began formulating the doctrine which would serve as the foundation of the Special Forces. During the Korean War, a few individuals began to formulate the doctrine based on their own wartime experiences.
Getting a chance to try out for the group is as hard as the actual training itself. Individuals will need to pass a few qualifications first. This includes being able to swim 50m wearing boots and other equipment, and having an overall minimum score of 240 on the Army Physical Fitness Test.
3. Special Air Service
The British Special Air Service, better known as the SAS is one of the most popular special forces in the world. Many special force organizations base their structure and training on the SAS for good reason. The SAS is one of the most effective and efficient special forces out there and their exploits are known around the globe. As with other special forces, the SAS pick their members meticulously.
The SAS selection process is very rigorous. It pushes the candidates to their physical limits and not many become part of the group. The endurance of SAS operatives is something to be amazed at. By the end of their training phase, SAS operatives can run 4 miles in 30 minutes and swim 2 miles in 90 minutes of less.
The SAS rose to fame back in 1980 during the Iranian Embassy siege in South Kensington, London. SAS operatives saved 25 of the 26 hostages and killed 5 of the 6 hostage-takers after a 17-minute raid.
2. JW GROM
JW GROM stands for Group (for) Operational Maneuvering Response but it also means thunder. The monicker is just appropriate for Poland’s elite forces as the JW GROM are fast and efficient workers. They are the top-tier special forces group in Poland’s 5 operational special forces units. Like most special forces, the JW GROM is trained to defend the nation and the citizens during terrorist attacks.
During the selection process, applicants have to undergo a series of gruelling physical and psychological tests that will really separate the elite of the elite from the candidates. Perhaps the most rigorous of the tests is something they call as the “truth test.” This physical and psychological field test was designed to filter out the weaker applicants from the group. When already part of the group, members are then trained in various disciplines to make them efficient for all situations.
1. Alpha Group
Created in the Soviet back in 1974, the Alpha Group serves as Russia’s elite force that is tasked with terrorist attacks in public transportation and buildings. The KGB is an intimidating security figure alone and the fact that the Alpha Group is a notch above the KGB just proves how formidable this special forces unit is.
The Alpha Group is feared for their ruthless methods and unique tactical operations. Things aren’t all good with the Alpha Group though as their harsh methods led to the death of countless civilians. During the 2002 Moscow Theatre hostage crisis, the Alpha Group used an unknown chemical agent to take down the militants who were causing the terror attack. This chemical gas also took the lives of 129 innocent civilians. And in 2004, the Alpha Group along with another Russian unit was responsible for the death of 330 hostages during the Beslan siege.