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Old March 12th, 2009   #1
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Default Whats the difference between all the special forces?

So i was reading about a US ranger in a book, so not familiar with the term it seemed like a sort of special forces .... from the wiki page i couldnt make out alot more cause their job sounds the same as any other special forces, difference is, USA has so many of them. Ive got a feeling its like the army marines thing, same job , different name?

Here is a list of SF groups for you guys in the know to explain the differences.

- Navy Seals
- Green berets
- Rangers
- Delta force
- army special forces
- SOCOM
- and many more

I would be very thankful
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Old March 12th, 2009   #2
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

The main difference lies in the job description. It is more expedient to have units that are specialized within a certain area of responsibility.

With each service having its' own special units, they can be put to task without having to cross chains of command.

It depends on the nation but Israel for example, has many specialized units that reflect the conscript basis of their armed forces. Since service is mandatory, they can fashion small groups that are effective at one or two main taskings. The specialized training, while still extensive, is limited in scope to reflect the shorter service time that most soldiers have to give.

Most professional, volunteer armies resort incentives and higher pay to ensure the many years spent training new recruits is not lost too quickly.

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Old March 13th, 2009   #3
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

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Originally Posted by Stefan F View Post
So i was reading about a US ranger in a book, so not familiar with the term it seemed like a sort of special forces .... from the wiki page i couldnt make out alot more cause their job sounds the same as any other special forces, difference is, USA has so many of them. Ive got a feeling its like the army marines thing, same job , different name?
Here is a list of SF groups for you guys in the know to explain the differences.

- Navy Seals - Stand for "SEa Air Land. They can deploy from any of the areas. . SEAL's are a decendent of the US Navy Underwater Demolition teams who used to swim in before a invasion and map out the beaches, any underwater obstacles, set charges to destroy obstacles set up to deny access to the beaches, etc. They specialize in scouting and target spotting and covert ops beind enemy lines.

- Green berets - The Green Berets are the US Army Special Forces and used to be the only US Military force allowed to wear a Beret by order of President Kennedy in 1961. They specialize in operating behind enemy lines and training local indigenous forces into a combat force with heavy weapons, medical, demolitions, etc as part of the training. IIRC they were formed in 1952.

- Rangers - The US Army Rangers were formed in WW2 as a elite fast moving hard hitting light infantry force similar to the British Royal Commandos and were trained in Scotland by the Commandos. The Modern Rangers are the 75th Ranger regiment.

- Delta force- Delta Force is primarily a counter terrorism and counter insurgency group that can be used anywhere. It was modeled off the British SAS who are also instrumental in setting up the Delta Force training

- army special forces - See Green Berets.

- SOCOM - Special Operations Command. Someone got the idea to have all of the US special forces units operate and coordinate under one command.

-SAD-SOG- Special Activities Division/Special Operations Group. This is considered the special Operations group of the special operations group. Most members are recruited from the other Special Operations units. These are the guys who dont wear anything or use any equipment that can be traced directly back to the USA. The operators also operate with the knowledge that if caught the US will deny any knowledge of their mission. They are also some of the only ones eligible for the Distinguished Intelligence Cross or the Intelligence Star. Most received their award posthumously and make up most of the 89 names on the CIA's memorial wall for members who died in the line of duty.

- and many more- USMC has Force Recon, the USAF has their 24th Special Tactics Squadron

Last edited by Anlushac11; March 13th, 2009 at 01:26 AM.
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Old March 13th, 2009   #4
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

Did the Germans have a "special force" like the British SAS or the American Navy SEALs during WW2?

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Old March 13th, 2009   #5
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

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Did the Germans have a "special force" like the British SAS or the American Navy SEALs during WW2?
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branden...Spezialeinheit) something close i guess
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Old March 13th, 2009   #6
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

Yes, that seems to be correct.

English wiki link: Brandenburgers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old March 13th, 2009   #7
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

It depends on the specialization of each SF

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Old March 13th, 2009   #8
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

USSOCOM is US Special Operations Command, the joint inter-service command that governs special operations. This was created to prevent another joint service screw-up of the type that led to the disaster of Operation Eagle Claw in 1980.

US Naval Special Warfare Command is the Navy's portion of USSOCOM.

SEALs are part of the Navy and are primarily tasked with maritime SF operations, reconnaissance, sabotage, boarding, riverine warfare, etc. However they are extremely versatile, as we see them being used in Afghanistan and Iraq for example in long range recon, raids, etc.

There are currently 10 SEAL teams. Each team has 5 platoons. They used to be organized with each team focusing on a specific region, but that's been thrown out the window and each one deploys to anywhere.

A special unit of the SEALs, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (formerly SEAL Team 6) is tasked with maritime counter-terrorism. They tend to work closely with Delta Force, and have similar training and equipment. DEVGRU is organized separately from the other SEAL teams, under Joint Special Operations Command (more on this later).

Special Warfare Combat Craft Crewmen are also part of NSWC. These are the guys that drive the boats the SEALs ride in.

US Army Special Operations Command is the Army's component of SOCOM.

Green Berets are properly referred to as US Army Special Forces. They deploy in A-teams of 12 men, and are trained in all sorts of reconaissance, direct action, liason with friendly forces, training foreign troops, guerilla warfare etc.

Special Forces are organized into Special Forces Groups. Each SFG has a regional focus and its members receive intensive training in foreign languages and culture for that region.

1st SFG - Pacific Region.
3rd SFG - Africa
5th SFG - Middle East, Persian Gulf, Horn of Africa, Central Asia
7th SFG - Latin America, Carribbean
10th SFG - Europe, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon
19th SFG - National Guard unit, SE Asia/Pacific
20th SFG - National Guard unit, Latin America/Carribbean

The 75th Ranger Regiment is a rapidly deployable, flexible airborne light infantry force. Their missions include air assault, raids, airfield seizure and anything else where special operations units need extra firepower to back them up. The 75th Ranger Regiment consists of 3 battalions.

The 160th Special Operations Air Regiment, also called the "Night Stalkers" is a special helicopter unit whose mission is to provide aviation support for other SF units.

The 4th Psychological Operations Group deals with propaganda and other such operations.

The 95th Civil Affairs Brigade is an airborne qualified civil affairs unit, focusing on hearts and minds stuff.

US Air Force Special Operations Command

Pararescuemen
or PJs are tasked with rescuing downed aircrew.

Special Operations Weather Teams are units of combat weathermen who conduct covert reconnaissance in order to provide weather information for airstrikes and other such operations.

Combat Controller Teams are Air Forces personnel who conduct reconnaissance and direct air strikes and airborne landings. They are often attached to other units such as Special Forces.

The Air Force also maintains the 1st and 27th Special Operations Wings with the mission of air support (such as the AC-130 gunship) and Combat Search and Rescue.

US Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command is a relatively new division, created in 2005. Before this, the USMC was not represented in Special Operations Command.

Force Reconnaissance companies (commonly called Force Recon) are tasked with long range covert reconnaissance in all environments (including maritime). They are also tasked with direct action, CQB, and seizing ships and oil rigs.

Marine Special Operations Adviser Group is tasked with training foreign troops.

The 1st and 2nd Marine Special Operaitons Battalions are new units created in the last few years, tasked with reconnaissance and direct action missions.

Joint Special Operations Command is a command within USSOCOM, which contains the "elite of the elite" units.

1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (commonly called Delta Force) is primarily a counter-terrorist unit, however Delta operators have the capability to conduct a diverse scope of missions, including reconnaissance and direct action missions.

Hard information on Delta is hard to come by as the US government only recently aknowledged the unit's existence, much less comment on its organization. It is believed to be divided into 3 squadrons, with a total of 250 combat operators and 750 support staff (intelligence, communications, mechanics, etc).

The US Navy Special Warfare Development Group, formerly known as SEAL Team 6, is another counter terrorist, reconnaissance and direct action unit, with a maritime focus. In practice, their role and operations are almost identical to Delta, and some have called for the two units to be merged into one.

24th Special Tactics Squadron is a unit of the Air Force. It is an elite unit of combat controllers, often attached to Delta or DEVGRU.

The Intelligence Support Activity is a highly classified intelligence-gathering unit designed to gather human and signals intelligence for Special Forces units. The unit has been known under a series of code names such as Field Operations Group, Grantor Shadow, Yellow Fruit, Centra Spike, Torn Victor, Gray Fox and Cemetery Wind.

Non-SOCOM Special Operations Capable Units - these units are not officially part of USSOCOM, but they have a special operations capability.

Maritime Security Response Team - The MSRT is a special operations capable unit of the US Coast Guard. Created in 2002, It specializes in maritime boarding of ships and oil rigs for counter-terrorist operations.

The Special Activities Division is a division of the CIA dealing in covert action. The SAD is capable of conducting all sorts of covert intelligence gathering missions, as well as liasoning with foreign forces, training troops, direct action, sabotage, assassination, and guerilla warfare.

The Hostage Rescue Team is the primary counter-terrorist unit of the FBI, and the primary counter-terrorist unit for any incident inside the United States. the HRT have also been deployed to Pakistan in order to circumvent Pakistani prohibitions of US military forces operating inside the country.

The Special Operations Group is the primary SWAT team of the US Marshall's Service. Their primary mission is security and SWAT/Hostage rescue operations inside the federal prison system, but they have also been deployed to Iraq to secure the Iraqi judicial system as it tries former regime leaders.

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Old March 13th, 2009   #9
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

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Did the Germans have a "special force" like the British SAS or the American Navy SEALs during WW2?
Yes they had some special units when needed but mostly tests. Rescue of Mussolini can be seen as special forces operation. Greif commando's are an example too.

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Old March 13th, 2009   #10
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Default Re: Whats the difference between all the special forces?

An added note: If it seems like there's a lot of overlap between the missions of various US Special Forces units, it's because there is. The reason we have so many is partly because each branch wants its own ubercool SF operators.

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