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List of military special forces units

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This is a list of active military units, known as special forces or special operations forces (SOF), that are specially organised, trained and equipped to conduct special operations.

These are distinct from special-purpose infantry units such as the Royal Marine Commandos.

DefinitionEdit

NATO currently defines "special operation" as;

special operations military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained, and equipped forces, manned with selected personnel, using unconventional tactics, techniques, and modes of employment.[1][2]

In 2001, NATO agreed to definitions with Russia defining special operations and special operations forces:-[3]

special operations military activities conducted by specially designated, organized, trained and equipped forces using operational techniques and modes of employment not standard to conventional forces. These activities are conducted across the full range of military operations independently or in coordination with operations of conventional forces to achieve political, military, psychological and economic objectives. Politico-military considerations may require clandestine, covert or discreet techniques and the acceptance of a degree of physical and political risk not associated with conventional operations.[4]

special-operations forces strategic formations and units of the armed forces, whose role is to conduct sabotage, reconnaissance, subversive and other special operations on the territory of foreign countries. In wartime they may also be assigned tasks such as intelligence-gathering, the seizure or destruction of key installations, the conduct of psychological operations or the organization of insurgencies in the enemy's rear area. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have separate special-operations forces brigades, battalions and companies which are integrated with the intelligence assets of military districts, fronts, fleets, armies or corps.[4]

The United States definition of special operations is:-

special operations operations requiring unique modes of employment, tactical techniques, equipment and training often conducted in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and characterized by one or more of the following: time sensitive, clandestine, low visibility, conducted with and/or through indigenous forces, requiring regional expertise, and/or a high degree of risk.[5]

The Canadian definition of special operations forces is:-

special operation forces organizations containing specially trained personnel that are organized, equipped and trained to conduct high-risk, high value, special operations to achieve military, political, economic, or international objectives by using special and unique operational methodologies in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive area to achieve desired tactical operational, and/or strategic effects in times of peace, conflict, or war.[6][7]

AfghanistanEdit

AlbaniaEdit

AlgeriaEdit

AngolaEdit

ArgentinaEdit

ArmeniaEdit

Armenian Army

AustraliaEdit

AustriaEdit

Austrian Army
  • Jagdkommando[26][27]
    • 1st Special Operations Task Group
    • 2nd Special Operations Task Group
    • 3rd Special Operations Task Group (Reserve)

AzerbaijanEdit

BangladeshEdit

BelarusEdit

Special Operations Forces Command (Russian: командование сил специальных операций)[28][29]

BelgiumEdit

Belgian Land Component

BotswanaEdit

BrazilEdit

Brazilian Army
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Navy

BruneiEdit

BulgariaEdit

CambodiaEdit

CanadaEdit

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command[45]

ChileEdit

ChinaEdit

Congo, Democratic Republic ofEdit

  • 391st Commando battalion URR[56]

CroatiaEdit

Czech RepublicEdit

DenmarkEdit

Special Operations Command (Danish
Specialoperationskommandoen) (SOKOM)
Danish Home Guard

Two other Danish units have some claim to special forces status. The Danish Home Guard's Special Support and Reconnaissance Company is capable of behind-the-lines stay-behind reconnaissance, similar to the Cold War role of the British 21 and 23 SAS Regiments.[60] The Royal Danish Navy also maintains a unique ski patrol unit that conducts dog patrols of Greenland throughout the year. This unit, the Sirius Patrol, maintains a combat capability.

EgyptEdit

EstoniaEdit

Estonian Special Operations Force (ESTSOF)
  • Special Operations Task Group

EthiopiaEdit

  • Agazi Commando Division[61]
    • 205th/206th Commando Brigade
      • Anti-Terrorism Battalion
        • ESOF(400 men detachment)

FinlandEdit

Finnish Army
Finnish Navy
  • Special Action Detachment (Finnish: Erikoistoimintaosasto) of Coastal Brigade[62]

FranceEdit

Special Operations Command
Directorate-General for External Security
  • Action Division
    • Paratrooper Specialised Training Centre in Cercottes for clandestine operations
    • Paratrooper Specialised Instruction Centre in Perpignan for commandos
    • Paratrooper Training Centre for Maritime Operations in Quelern for combat divers

GabonEdit

GeorgiaEdit

GermanyEdit

GreeceEdit

Hellenic Army
Hellenic Navy
  • Underwater Demolition Command (DYK) - is organized into sections called Underwater Demolition Teams (OYK)
    • Underwater Demolition Team 1
    • Underwater Demolition Team 2
    • Underwater Demolition Team 3
    • Underwater Demolition Team 4
    • Underwater Demolition Team 5

HungaryEdit

IndiaEdit

Indian Army
  • Para Commandos[74]
    • 1 PARA (SF) (raised 1961, converted to para role in 1945, became part of para regt in 1952, converted to commando in 1978)
    • 2 PARA (SF) (ex-3 Maratha LI, converted to special forces in 1999.)
    • 3 PARA (SF) (ex-1st Kumaon, converted to special forces in 2000)
    • 4 PARA (SF) (raised 1961, converted to special forces in 2001)
    • 9 PARA (SF) (the first dedicated special forces unit of the Indian Army)
    • 10 PARA (SF)
    • 11 PARA (SF)
    • 12 PARA (SF)
    • 21 PARA (SF)[75]
Indian Navy
Indian Air Force

IndonesiaEdit

Indonesian Army
Indonesian Navy
Indonesian Air Force

IranEdit

65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade (Persian: تیپ ۶۵ نیروهای ویژه هوابرد‎) (or the 65th NOHED Brigade (تیپ ۶۵ نوهد))

IraqEdit

Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Bureau (CTB)[88]
  • Iraqi Counter Terrorism Command

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Bureau reports to the Prime Minister directly. The Iraqi CTB oversees the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Command, a formation that includes all Iraqi Special Operations Forces (two brigades, according to the IISS 2013). As of 30 June 2009, there had been legislation in progress for a year to make the Iraqi CTB a separate ministry.[88]

IrelandEdit

IsraelEdit

Military Intelligence Directorate
  • Sayeret Matkal - (Hebrew: סיירת מטכ"ל) (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit 269)
Israeli Army
  • 89th "Oz" Brigade
    • Unit 212 - Maglan – a commando unit which specializes in operating behind enemy lines[90]
    • Unit 217 - Duvdevan – undercover operations unit operating in the West Bank
    • Unit 621 - Egoz – counter-guerrilla unit, originally for operating in southern Lebanon
Israeli Navy
Israeli Air Force

ItalyEdit

JapanEdit

JordanEdit

KenyaEdit

Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (North Korea)Edit

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)Edit

Republic of Korea Army
  • Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command[101]
    • 1st Special Forces Brigade (Eagle)
    • 3rd Special Forces Brigade (Flying Tiger)
    • Oversea Deployment Group (Whole World) (Formerly 5th Special Mission Group 'Black Dragon')
    • 7th Special Forces Brigade (Pegasus)
    • 9th Special Forces Brigade (Ghost)
    • 11th Special Forces Brigade (Golden Bat)
    • 13th Special Mission Brigade 'Black Panther' - reorganized as the "decapitation unit" as of 2017
    • 707th Special Mission Battalion (White Tiger)
Republic of Korea Navy[102]
Republic of Korea Air Force[103]
  • Combat Control Team (CCT)
  • 6th Search and Rescue Group
    • 233rd Rescue Battalion
    • 235th Rescue Battalion

KuwaitEdit

LatviaEdit

LebanonEdit

LithuaniaEdit

MalaysiaEdit

MaldivesEdit

MexicoEdit

MoroccoEdit

NamibiaEdit

NetherlandsEdit

New ZealandEdit

NigeriaEdit

Nigerian Navy
  • Special Boat Service[119]

North MacedoniaEdit

NorwayEdit

Norwegian Special Operation Forces (NORSOF) (Norwegian
Forsvarets Spesialstyrker)[121]

OmanEdit

PakistanEdit

Inter-Services Intelligence
Pakistan Army
  • Special Service Group (SSG)
    • 1st Commando Battalion "Yaldram" in Attock District
    • 2nd Commando Battalion "Rahber" in Attock District
    • 3rd Commando Battlaion "Powindahs" in Tarbela
    • 4th Commando Battalion "Yalghar"
    • 5th Commando Battalion "Zilzaal"
    • 6th Commando Battalion "al-Samsaam"
    • 7th Commando Battalion "Babrum"
    • 8th Commando Battalion "al-Azb"
Pakistan Navy
Pakistan Air Force

ParaguayEdit

Paraguayan Armed Force
  • Special Forces Battalion - (Batallón Conjunto de Fuerzas Especiales)[citation needed]
    • Special Troops of Army - (Tropas Especiales del Ejército)
    • Amphibious Commandos of Navy - (Comandos Anfibios de la Armada)
    • Commando Company of Air Force - (Comandos de la Fuerza Aérea)

PhilippinesEdit

PolandEdit

PortugalEdit

RomaniaEdit

RussiaEdit

Special Operations Forces Command (Russian: командование сил специальных операций, (KCCO), tr. Komandovanie sil spetsial’nalnykh operatsii, (KSSO))[143]
  • Special Operations Forces (Russian: Силы специальных операций, (ССО), tr. Sily spetsial’nykh operatsii, (SSO))[143][144]
    • Special Purpose Center "Senezh"
    • Special Purpose Center "Kubinka-2"
    • Mountain Warfare Center "Terskol"
    • 561st Emergency Rescue Squadron
  • Special Aviation Brigade
Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU)
National Guard of Russia[148]

SerbiaEdit

Serbian Army
Military Police Directorate (Serbian
Управа војне полиције)[151][152]

SingaporeEdit

SlovakiaEdit

South AfricaEdit

SpainEdit

Defence Staff (Joint Operations Command)
Spanish Army
Spanish Navy
Spanish Air Force
  • Airborne Combat Parachute Engineers Squadron (Escuadrón de Zapadores Paracaidistas (EZAPAC))[158]

Sri LankaEdit

SwedenEdit

SwitzerlandEdit

Swiss Army

Kommando Spezialkräfte KSK (Special Forces Command)

Professional units

Militia units

  • Grenadier Battalion 20
  • Grenadier Battalion 30
  • Grenadier Battalion 40 (Reserve)
  • Fallschirmaufklärer Kompanie 17 (Parachute Reconnaissance Company 17)

SyriaEdit

Taiwan (Republic of China)Edit

Republic of China Army

  • 101st Reconnaissance Battalion
  • Special Forces Command (特戰指揮部) In charge of 3 training centers
    • Army Airborne Training Center (大武營「陸軍空降訓練中心」)
    • Army Special Forces Training Center (谷關「陸軍特戰訓練中心」)
    • Army Winter and Mountain Training Center (武嶺寒訓中心)
  • Special Operation Command

Republic of China Marine Corps

  • Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit (ARP)

Republic of China Military Police

ThailandEdit

Royal Thai Army
  • Royal Thai Army Special Warfare Command also known as Royal Thai Army Special force - (Thai: หน่วยบัญชาการสงครามพิเศษ)[168]
    • 1st Special Forces Division - (Thai: กองพลรบพิเศษที่1)
      • 1st Special Forces Regiment. (Airborne) - (Thai: กรมรบพิเศษที่1)
      • 2nd Special Forces Regiment. (Airborne) - (Thai: กรมรบพิเศษที่2)
      • 3rd Special Forces Regiment, King's Guard. (Airborne) - (Thai: กรมรบพิเศษที่3 รักษาพระองค์)[169]
        • Ranger Battalion, King's Guard. also known as Royal Thai Army Ranger - (Thai: กองพันจู่โจม รักษาพระองค์)
        • Special Operation Battalion, King's Guard. also known as 90th Task Force - (Thai: ฉก.90 กองปฏิบัติการพิเศษ รักษาพระองค์).[170]
        • Special Forces Battalion. - (Thai: กองพันรบพิเศษ)
      • 4th Special Forces Regiment. (Airborne) - (Thai: กรมรบพิเศษที่4)
      • 5th Special Forces Regiment. (Airborne) - (Thai: กรมรบพิเศษที่5)
      • Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols Company. (LRRP) - (Thai: กองร้อยลาดตระเวนระยะไกล)
Royal Thai Navy
Royal Thai Air Force
  • Royal Thai Air Force Security Force Regiment - (Thai: หน่วยบัญชาการอากาศโยธิน กองทัพอากาศ)
    • Special Operations Regiment also known as Air Force Commando - (Thai: กรมปฏิบัติการพิเศษ หน่วยบัญชาการอากาศโยธิน กองทัพอากาศ)[172]
      • Command Center
        • 1st Special Operation Battalion (Commando) - (Thai: กองพันปฏิบัติการพิเศษที่1)
        • 2nd Special Operation Battalion (Commando) - (Thai: กองพันปฏิบัติการพิเศษที่2)
        • 3rd Special Operation Battalion (Commando) - (Thai: กองพันปฏิบัติการพิเศษที่3)
      • Aerial Support Company - (Thai: ฝ่ายสนับสนุนส่งทางอากาศ)
      • Combat Search and Rescue Center (CSAR) (Pararescuemen) - (Thai: กองค้นหาและช่วงเหลือ)

TurkeyEdit

UkraineEdit

Ministry of Defense Units

The Special Operations Forces are one of the five branches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with headquarters in Kyiv.

Security Service of Ukraine

United KingdomEdit

United StatesEdit

Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)
Army Special Operations Command (USASOC)[198]
Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC)[198]
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC)[198]
Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC)[198]

VenezuelaEdit

Venezuelan Air Force
  • Special Operations Air Group 10[201]
  • Special Operations Air Group 15[201]
  • Special Operations Air Group 17[201]

VietnamEdit

Under the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army (Bộ Tổng Tham mưu Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam)

  • Commando (Binh chủng Đặc công),[202] including:
    • Land commando (Đặc công bộ)[203]
    • Naval commando (Đặc công nước or Đặc nhiệm Hải quân)[204]
    • Airborne commando (Đặc công dù)[205]
  • Special reconnaissance (Trinh sát Đặc nhiệm): the reconnaissance force is not a separate branch, every armed branch has a reconnaissance team.[206]

ZimbabweEdit

See alsoEdit

Non-combat special unitsEdit

While the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group is a relatively overt unit, references to the JSOC units below are rare. Possibly the only authoritative source is Ambinder, Marc, and D. B. Grady The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army, John Wiley & Sons, 2012.

Lists of similar military unitsEdit

NotesEdit

Miscellaneous Notes
  1. ^ The Japanese Special Forces Group is the current name of the former Japanese Special Operations Group, following a name change.

ReferencesEdit

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