zondag 31 juli 2011

Unconventional Warfare - Special Operations Forces (SOF) - PSYOPS (1984)

 

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Special forces, or Special Operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform. Special Forces soldiers need to be physically and mentally robust and have the confidence, courage and skill to operate individually or in small teams, often in isolation and in a hostile environment. They are high value assets, commanded at the strategic level that deliver effects disproportionately to their size.

Special forces have played an important role throughout the history of warfare whenever the aim has been to achieve disruption by "hit and run" and sabotage, rather than more traditional conventional army combat using large formations of troops and motorized armor groups. Other significant roles lay in reconnaissance, providing essential intelligence from close to or among the enemy, and increasingly in combating terrorists, their infrastructure and activities.

In antiquity, Hamilcar Barca in Sicily had specialized troops trained to launch several offensives per day. Later, during the Crusade wars, small, highly trained units of Knights Templar attacked individual Muslim units attempting to forage or seize booty. Muslim armies had several naval special operations units, including one which used camouflaged ships to gather intelligence and launch raids, and another which consisted of soldiers who could pass for Crusaders who would use ruses to board enemy ships and then capture and destroy them.

In Tang Dynasty ancient China and later feudal Japan, members of various clans or organizations of mercenary Special Forces operators, called Ninja, were highly trained in the various forms of combat martial arts (e.g., Ninjutsu) and tactics for special reconnaissance, direct action, unconventional warfare and guerilla warfare utilizing the most technologically advanced weapons (e.g., firearms & explosives, poisons, snow shoes, climbing and door breaching tools, water floatation devices etc.) and special tactics (e.g., camouflage, stealth, meteorology, geography, psychological warfare) available at the time. They were usually hired by rival leaders for covert operations and black operations such as reconnaissance, espionage, assassination, sabotage, security details, and destabilizing the political, social, economic and military infrastructure of a rival country or territory.

The United States formed the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII under the Medal of Honor recipient William J. Donovan. This organization was the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was responsible for both intelligence and Special Forces missions. The CIA's elite Special Activities Division is the direct descendant of the OSS. In mid-1942, the United States formed the Rangers.

Throughout the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century, special forces have come to higher prominence, as governments have found objectives can sometimes be better achieved by a small team of anonymous specialists than a larger and much more politically controversial conventional deployment. In both Kosovo and Afghanistan, special forces were used to co-ordinate activities between local guerrilla fighters and air power. Typically, guerrilla fighters would engage enemy soldiers and tanks causing them to move, where they could be seen and attacked from the air.

The US-led invasion of Afghanistan involved coalition special forces from several nations, who played a major role in removing the Taliban from power in 2001-2002. Coalition special forces have continued to play a role in combating the Taliban in subsequent operations. Special forces involved in these operations, occasionally working together, included US Special Operations Forces, UK Special Forces, the Australian Special Air Service Regiment, the French Commandement des Opérations Spéciales, the Canadian Joint Task Force 2, the Danish Jægerkorpset, the Polish GROM, the German KSK, the New Zealand Special Air Service, the Netherlands Korps Commandotroepen and the Norwegian Forsvarets Spesialkommando and Marinejegerkommandoen. Special forces from other nations have supported the parallel NATO mission in Afghanistan.

Special Forces have been used in both wartime and peacetime military operations such as the 1971 Indo-Pak War,Vietnam War, Portuguese Colonial War, Falklands War, The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the first and second Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, first Chechen War and second Chechen War, the Iranian Embassy siege (London), the Air France Flight 8969 (Marseille), Operation Defensive Shield,Operation Khukri, Moscow theater hostage crisis, Operation Orchard, 2006 Lebanon War, Japanese Embassy hostage crisis (Lima) and in Sri Lanka against the LTTE.

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