Top 5 Super Secret Special Forces Facts

Written by Matt Wende SAS, Delta Force, the A-Team. You’ve heard their names, but what do you really know about these secretive and elite soldiers? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In this instalment, we’re counting down the five most interesting things you probably didn’t know about Special Forces. Special thanks to our users Amilcar Napoleon Quintanilla for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Written by Matt Wende

Top 5 Facts About Special Forces

SAS, Delta Force, the A-Team. You’ve heard their names, but what do you really know about these secretive and elite soldiers? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts, and in this instalment, we’re counting down the five most interesting things you probably didn’t know about Special Forces.

#5: Special Forces was Formally Developed in World War One and Two

As long as there’s been warfare, there have been soldiers with varying ranks and abilities on the battlefield. Soldiers with specialized abilities and tasks for work behind enemy lines date as far back as ancient China, but Special Forces as we know it is a concept of the 20th century. In World War One, specialized German troops were given extra training and equipment for close quarters combat, in order to make them more effective in clearing out trenches. They were called Sturmann, or roughly translated: Storm Troopers. In world War II, while the Nazi’s had specialized units within the SS, other countries would develop their own units, such as the United Kingdom whose units would later go on to become the SAS. Meanwhile, The United States and Canada worked together to create a sabotage unit, which would be known as the devil’s brigade.

#4: Acronyms, So Many Acronyms

It’s no secret that that Special forces units love them some acronyms. Thing is, there’s a lot of them, and some of them aren’t even that good. Arguably the most famous, and probably most pleasing to the ear is SEAL which stands for sea, air, and land. Then there’s DEVGRU, the official name for Seal Team 6– which also has a nice ring to it. But then there’s 1st-SFOD-Delta, USASOC, MARSOC, 24th STS, and that’s just in the U.S. Elsewhere you’ve JTF-2, GSG-9, GIGN, GROM, SAS etcetera etcetera, and most of those sound like garbage. Most are technically not even acronyms, but initialisms. Come on, military, names matter, get it right. If you’re having a hard time keeping all these abbreviations straight, well, so was the US Government, that’s why in the mid 80s they developed SOCOM, or Special Operations Command, and their job is to oversee and coordinate all the American Special Forces units. Yes, an acronym to manage acronyms.

#3: Some Forces are More Special Than Others

The words special forces are somewhat of an umbrella term, and while many assume that it’s just another term meaning badass, there are different levels of badassery. The extraordinarily demanding training of Navy SEALS is legendary, but going through it doesn’t even mean you’re at the highest level, or Tier One. For SEALs to be assigned to the super-elite Team Six, they must go through additional applications and training. Other US Tier One Groups include the Army’s 1st-SFOD-Delta, or Delta Force, while other countries’ Tier One groups include the UK’s SAS, Australia’s ASAS, and Canada’s JTF-2. That’s right, Canada’s got a Tier One unit.

#2: Canada’s Special Forces Were a Secret Until the War in Afghanistan

Okay, okay, go ahead and make your jokes about Canada’s armed forces.  But check this out. Developed in the early nineties, Canada’s Tier One Group, Joint Task Force 2, was a largely unknown entity to the world and most Canadians. That is until the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002, when a national newspaper published a picture of several of JTF2 members conducting a prisoner transfer to American Forces. At this point in time, the Canadian public had not been informed of any Canadian Forces being sent to Afghanistan, and for the first few months of their operation, reportedly neither had the Prime Minister. The unit proved its worth though, as in 2004, forty of its members were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation by the United States. What they did specifically to earn the honor is classified. A US Navy Admiral who was in charge of the International Task Force K-Bar in the invasion of Afghanistan, said that when it came to direct action against the enemy, JTF2 was his first choice.

#1: Secrets Are a Vital Part of Special Forces

Members who have come forward publicly in the past have been severely reprimanded: In 2014, the author of “No Easy Day” a firsthand account of the mission in which Osama Bin Laden was killed, lost his security clearance and had to pay a massive settlement for not submitting the book to Review by the Department of defense. Seven other SEALs were served letters of reprimand, effectively ending their career, for consulting on the video game “Medal of Honor: Warfighter.” Lots of countries will tell you that their Special Forces units are the best in the world. While it’s fun for civilians to compare, it’s not like these guys have exhibition fights against one another. Besides, the most common feature among them is secrecy: over their training, their deployments, their rosters... We can say this though, from what we know about units like the SEALs, Delta Force, JTF2, and the SAS, we’re glad we’re all on the same side.
So what do you think? Did you learn something about your country’s elite fighting force? For more highly trained Top 10s, and heavily reprimanded Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to


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