Special Air Service. A Most Interesting And Historic Special Forces.

by Daniel Russ on May 8, 2017

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The origins of today’s corps sized Special Air Service was really an attitude. It was the attitude that no matter the size of the enemy. No matter the odds. No matter the circumstance, there is a path to victory. Resourcefulness was a virtue in the British military lexicon, and here it meant small groups of men, highly trained to create chaos and death, all grimly determined to visit violence on an enemy can make all the difference in the world. In 1941, the British wanted the Germans to think the SAS was a regimental sized combat unit, and an airborne one at that. The fact is the original unit had a highly flying name but consisted of a handful of officers and 60 men.

As time and combat and victories wore on, SAS was transformed and augmented  into a fairly large fighting group. The first group in 1941 even created a special munition called the Lewes Bomb, an incendiary comprised of plastic and oil, and thermite. It gave a single operative the ability to make large holes in buildings or bring down girders and supporting architecture in remote airfield and garrisons.

After the defeat at El Alamein, the Allies began a long pursuit of Rommel’s Africa Korps Westward across the northern Mediterranean borders of Egypt and Lybia. The SAS harassed the retreating forces by disrupting their supply lines. Using the Willie Jeep provided by the Americans, the SAS put Vickers machine guns on the backs and drove them around Luftwaffe airfields and ventilated them with .30. Over a period of the first three months, the SAS destroyed 400 German aircraft, cut the railways and blew ammunition and petrol depots.

Today the SAS is a large multi faceted organization that is deadlier than ever. In an age of special forces, the SAS is at home. Their most famous raid was the rescue of all but one of the hostages of the Iranian Embassy siege in 1980.



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