Commando

Commando

Overview
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

, parachuting
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and effect attacks. Originally "a commando" was a type of combat unit, as opposed to an individual in that unit. In other languages, commando and kommando denote a "command
Command (military formation)
A command in military terminology is an organisational unit that the individual in Military command has responsibility for. A Commander will normally be specifically appointed into the role in order to provide a legal framework for the authority bestowed...

", including the sense of a military unit.

In the militaries of most countries, commandos are distinctive in that they specialize in assault on conventional military targets.
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Quotations

[Fighting Cooke] I eat green berets for breakfast and right now, I'm very hungry!

All that matters to me now is Jenny.

[Before fighting Bennett] C'mon, Bennett, let's party!

[After throwing a pipe through him with steam coming out of it] Let off some steam, Bennett.

[Cooke says, "Fuck you, asshole", but discovers his gun is empty] Fuck you, asshole.

You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last.

[Dangling Sully over the cliff] Listen, your loyalty is very touching but it isn't the most important thing right in your life now. But what is important is GRAVITY!

[Dangling Sully over the cliff] And I got to remind you, Sully: This is my weak arm!

[Dangling Sully over the cliff] Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied. [drops Sully]

[After breaking the man's neck on the plane] ...And please do me a favour - don't disturb my friend. He is dead tired.

Encyclopedia
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

, parachuting
Parachuting
Parachuting, also known as skydiving, is the action of exiting an aircraft and returning to earth with the aid of a parachute. It may or may not involve a certain amount of free-fall, a time during which the parachute has not been deployed and the body gradually accelerates to terminal...

, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and effect attacks. Originally "a commando" was a type of combat unit, as opposed to an individual in that unit. In other languages, commando and kommando denote a "command
Command (military formation)
A command in military terminology is an organisational unit that the individual in Military command has responsibility for. A Commander will normally be specifically appointed into the role in order to provide a legal framework for the authority bestowed...

", including the sense of a military unit.

In the militaries of most countries, commandos are distinctive in that they specialize in assault on conventional military targets. This is in contrast to other special forces units, which specialize in counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

, reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

, and sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

. However, the term commando is sometimes used in relation to units carrying out the latter tasks (including some civilian police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 units).

In English, occasionally to distinguish between an individual commando and the unit Commando, the unit is capitalized.

Etymology


The word stems from the Afrikaans
Afrikaans
Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch .Afrikaans is a daughter language of Dutch; see , , , , , .Afrikaans was historically called Cape...

 word Kommando which translates roughly to "mobile (originally by horse) infantry regiment" and is notably similar to the word command in English which is where the word commando derives from in those languages. The Dutch word has had the meaning of "a military order" since at least 1652 and likely came into the language through Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 influence. It is also possible the word was adopted into Afrikaans from interactions with Portuguese colonies. Less likely, it is a High German loan word, which was borrowed from Italian in the 17th century, from the sizable minority of German settlers in the initial European colonization of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

The officer commanding of an Afrikaans "kommando" is called a "kommandant", which is a regimental commander like a lieutenant-colonel or a colonel.

In Afrikaans and Dutch the word "kommando" can also mean a command given to a computer, e.g. "de MKDIR MSDOS-kommando". (= "create a directory")

History


After the Dutch Cape Colony
Cape Colony
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take...

 was established in 1652, the word was used to describe bands of militia. The first "Commando Law" was instated by the original Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 chartered settlements and similar laws were maintained through the independent Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

 Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

 and South African Republic
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

. The law compelled Burghers to equip themselves with a horse and a firearm when required in defense. The implementation of these laws was called the "Commando System". A group of mounted militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

men were organized in a unit known as a commando and headed by a Commandant
Commandant
Commandant is a senior title often given to the officer in charge of a large training establishment or academy. This usage is common in anglophone nations...

, who was normally elected from inside the unit. Men called up to serve were said to be "on commando". British experience with this system lead to the widespread adoption of the word "commandeer" into English in the 1880s.

During the Great Trek
Great Trek
The Great Trek was an eastward and north-eastward migration away from British control in the Cape Colony during the 1830s and 1840s by Boers . The migrants were descended from settlers from western mainland Europe, most notably from the Netherlands, northwest Germany and French Huguenots...

, conflicts with Southern Africa
Southern Africa
Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent, variably defined by geography or geopolitics. Within the region are numerous territories, including the Republic of South Africa ; nowadays, the simpler term South Africa is generally reserved for the country in English.-UN...

n peoples such as the Xhosa and the Zulu caused the Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

s to retain the commando system despite being free of colonial laws. Also, the word became used to describe any armed raid. During this period, the Boers also developed guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 techniques for use against numerically superior but less mobile bands of natives such as the Zulu who fought in large complex formations.

In the First Boer War
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

, Boer commandos were able to use superior marksmanship, fieldcraft, camouflage and mobility to expel an occupying British force (poorly trained in marksmanship, wearing red uniforms and unmounted) from the Transvaal
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

. These tactics were continued throughout the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

. In the final phase of the war, 75,000 Boers carried out asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly....

 against the 450,000-strong British Imperial forces
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 for two years after the British had captured the capital cities of the two Boer republics. During these conflicts the word entered English, retaining its general Afrikaans meaning of a "militia unit" or a "raid". Robert Baden-Powell
Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell
Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, Bt, OM, GCMG, GCVO, KCB , also known as B-P or Lord Baden-Powell, was a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and founder of the Scout Movement....

 recognised the importance of fieldcraft and was inspired to form the scouting
Scouting
Scouting, also known as the Scout Movement, is a worldwide youth movement with the stated aim of supporting young people in their physical, mental and spiritual development, that they may play constructive roles in society....

 movement.

In 1941, Lieutenant-Colonel D. W. Clarke of the British Imperial General Staff, suggested the name Commando for specialized raiding units of the British Army Special Service in evocation of the effectiveness and tactics of the Boer commandos. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, American and British publications confused over the use of the plural "commandos" for that type of British military units gave rise to the modern common habit of using "a commando" to mean one member of such a unit, or one man engaged on a raiding-type operation.

Germany


In World War 1, raiding troops called "Sturmtruppen" or Storm Troopers carrying submachine guns mostly the MP-18 were sent by the Germans to try and disrupt or even break in No Mans Land and into the trenches of British and French lines. In December 1939, following the success of German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 infiltration and sabotage operations in the Polish campaign, the German Office for Foreign and Counter-Intelligence
Abwehr
The Abwehr was a German military intelligence organisation from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr was used as a concession to Allied demands that Germany's post-World War I intelligence activities be for "defensive" purposes only...

 (OKW Amt Ausland/Abwehr) formed the Brandenburger Regiment (known officially as the 800th Special Purpose Training and Construction Company). The Brandenburgers conducted a mixture of covert and conventional operations but became increasingly involved in ordinary infantry actions and were eventually converted to a Panzer-Grenadier Division, suffering heavy losses in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny was an SS-Obersturmbannführer in the German Waffen-SS during World War II. After fighting on the Eastern Front, he was chosen as the field commander to carry out the rescue mission that freed the deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity...

 (most famed for his rescue of Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

) conducted many special operations for Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

. Skorzeny commanded Sonderlehrgang z.b.V. Oranienburg
Sonder Lehrgang Oranienburg
Sonderlehrgang Oranienburg was a special forces unit of Nazi Germany's Schutzstaffel. It was activated in early 1942 on the order of SS-Obergruppenführer Hans Jüttner as an obvious rival to the Wehrmacht's Brandenburg regiment....

, Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal, and SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502
SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502
SS-Jäger-Bataillon 502 was a special forces unit from Nazi Germany from 1943-1944.Formed in June 1943, the unit was commanded by Otto Skorzeny and was based at Friedenthal just north of Berlin, consisting originally of the three hundred members of the former Sonderlehrgang zbv Friedenthal...

, all SS commando units.

A report written by Major-General Robert Laycock
Robert Laycock
Major General Sir Robert Edward Laycock KCMG, CB, DSO, KStJ was a British soldier, most famous for his service with the commandos during the Second World War...

 in 1947 said there was a German raid on a radar station on the Isle of Wight in 1941.

There were commandos dedicated to protecting the Führer
Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

: SS-Begleitkommando des Führers
SS-Begleitkommando des Führers
SS-Begleitkommando des Führers was originally an eight-man SS squad assigned with protecting the life of Adolf Hitler during the early 1930s.-Formation:...

 and the SS-Begleitkommando.

Japan


In 1944-45, Japanese Teishin Shudan
Teishin Shudan
was a Japanese special forces/airborne unit during World War II. The unit was a division-level force, and was part of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force...

("Raiding Group") and Giretsu
Giretsu
was an airborne special forces unit of the Imperial Japanese Army formed from Army paratroopers, in November 1944 as a last-ditch attempt to reduce and delay Allied bombing raids on the Japanese home islands...

("heroic") detachments made airborne assaults on Allied airfields in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Marianas and Okinawa. The attacking forces varied in size from a few paratroopers to operations involving several companies. Due to the balance of forces concerned, these raids achieved little in the way of damage or casualties, and resulted in the destruction of the Japanese units concerned. Considering that there were no plans to extract these forces, and the reluctance to surrender by Japanese personnel during that era, they are often seen in the same light as kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

pilots of 1944-45.

Nakano School
Nakano School
The was the primary training center for military intelligence operations by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.-History:The Imperial Japanese Army had always placed a high priority on the use of unconventional military tactics...

 trained intelligence and commando officers and organized commando teams for sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

 and guerrilla warfare.

The navy had commando units "S-toku" (Submarine special attack units, see :ja:呉鎮守府第101特別陸戦隊 (in Japanese)) for infiltrating enemy areas by submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

. It was called the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces
Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces
The Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces , were the marine troops of the Imperial Japanese Navy and were a part of the IJN Land Forces...

 of Kure
Kure Naval District
was the second of four main administrative districts of the pre-war Imperial Japanese Navy. Its territory included the Inland Sea of Japan and the Pacific coasts of southern Honshū from Wakayama to Yamaguchi prefectures, eastern and northern Kyūshū and Shikoku....

 101st, Sasebo
Sasebo Naval District
was the third of five main administrative districts of the pre-war Imperial Japanese Navy. Its territory included the western and southern coastline of Kyūshū, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and Korea, as well as patrols in the East China Sea and the Pacific...

 101st and 102nd.

Italy


Italy employed specialist trench raiding teams to break the stalemate of static fighting against Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, in the Alpine battles
Italian Campaign (World War I)
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente against the Central Powers it would gain Cisalpine Tyrol , the...

 of World War I.

These teams were called "Arditi
Arditi
Arditi was the name adopted by Italian Army elite storm troops of World War I. The name derives from the Italian verb Ardire and translates as "The Daring Ones"....

" (meaning "daring, brave ones"); they were almost always men under 25 in top physical condition and, possibly at first, bachelors (due to the fear of very high casualty rates). Actually the Arditi (who were led to the lines just a few hours prior to the assault, having been familiarised with the terrain via photo-reconnaissance and trained on trench systems re-created ad hoc for them) suffered"fewer casualties than regular line infantry and were highly successful in their tasks. Many of them volunteered for extreme right formations in the turbulent years after the war (the Fascist Party
National Fascist Party
The National Fascist Party was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism...

 took pride in this and adopted the style and the mannerism of Arditi), but some of different political persuasions created the "Arditi del Popolo" (People's Arditi) and for some years held the fascist raids in check, defending Socialist and Communist Party sections, buildings, rallies and meeting points.

During the Liberation of Rome in 1944, US troops broke into the Italian Ministry of Defence building in Rome and seized all World War I materials and documents pertaining to Arditi units in the archives.

Italy's most renowned commando unit of World War II was Decima Flottiglia MAS
Decima Flottiglia MAS
The Decima Flottiglia MAS was an Italian commando frogman unit of the Regia Marina created during the Fascist regime.The acronym MAS also refers to various light torpedo boats used by the Regia Marina during World...

("10th Assault Vehicle Flotilla") which, from mid-1940, was responsible for the sinking and damage of a considerable tonnage of Allied ships in the Mediterranean.

After Italy surrendered in 1943, some of the Decima Flottiglia MAS were on the Allied side of the battle line and fought with the Allies, renaming themselves the Mariassalto. The others fought on the German side and kept their original name but did not operate at sea after 1943, being mostly employed against Italian partisans
Partisan (military)
A partisan is a member of an irregular military force formed to oppose control of an area by a foreign power or by an army of occupation by some kind of insurgent activity...

; some of its men were involved in atrocities against civilians.

In post-war years the Italian marine commandos were re-organised as the "Comsubin
Italian commando frogmen
COMSUBIN is the elite combat frogman force and one of the Italian special forces....

" (an abbreviation of 'Comando Subacqueo Incursori', or Underwater Raiders Command).

United Kingdom


In 1940, the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 also formed "independent companies
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

", later reformed as battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

 sized "commandos", thereby reviving the word. It was intended that the British Army Commandos
British Commandos
The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

 would be small, highly mobile surprise raiding and reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 forces. They were not intended to remain in field operations for more than 36 hours and carried all they needed. Army Commandos were all volunteers selected from existing soldiers still in Britain.

During the war the British Army Commandos spawned several other famous British units such as the Special Air Service
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

, the Special Boat Service
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

 and the Parachute Regiment. The British Army Commandos themselves were never regimented and were disbanded at the end of the war.

The British Special Operations Executive
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

 (SOE) also formed commando units from British and displaced European personnel (e.g. Cichociemni
Cichociemni
Cichociemni were elite special-operations paratroops of the Polish Home Army of the Polish Army in exile, created in Great Britain during World War II to operate in occupied Poland.-The name:...

) for the purpose of conducting raiding operations in occupied Europe. They also did small teams such as the SAS which was composed of 10 or fewer "Commandos" because it was better to do Special Operations. One example is Norwegian Independent Company 1
Norwegian Independent Company 1
Norwegian Independent Company 1 was a British SOE group formed in March 1941 originally for the purpose of performing commando raids during the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. It was organized under the leadership of Captain Martin Linge...

, which was responsible for the destruction of heavy water facilities
Norwegian heavy water sabotage
The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions undertaken by Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the German nuclear energy project from acquiring heavy water , which could be used to produce nuclear weapons...

 in Norway during 1941.

The Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 also controlled Royal Navy Beach Parties
Royal Naval Commandos
The Royal Naval Commandos were a commando formation of the Royal Navy which served during the Second World War. The first units were raised in 1942 and by the end of the war, 22 company-sized units had been raised to carry out various tasks associated with establishing, maintaining and controlling...

, based on teams formed to control the evacuation of Dunkirk
Battle of Dunkirk
The Battle of Dunkirk was a battle in the Second World War between the Allies and Germany. A part of the Battle of France on the Western Front, the Battle of Dunkirk was the defence and evacuation of British and allied forces in Europe from 26 May–4 June 1940.After the Phoney War, the Battle of...

 in 1940. These were later known simply as RN Commandos, and they did not see action until they successfully fought for control of the landing beaches (as in the disastrous Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

 of 19 August 1942). The RN Commandos, including Commando "W" from the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, saw action on D-Day.

In 1942, the Royal Navy's nine Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 infantry battalions were reorganized as Commandos, numbered from 40 to 48, joining the British Army Commandos in combined Commando Brigades. After the war the Army Commandos were disbanded. The Royal Marines form an enduring Brigade-strength capability as 3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade
3 Commando Brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, The Rifles, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando...

.

The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 also formed 15 commando units in 1942, each of which was 150 strong. These units consisted of trained technicians, armourers and maintainers who had volunteered to undertake the commando course. These RAF commandos accompanied the Allied invasion forces in all theatres; their main role was to allow the forward operation of friendly fighters by servicing and arming them from captured air fields. However due to the forward position of these airfields, the Royal Air Force Commandos
Royal Air Force Commandos
Royal Air Force Commandos were formed from units of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. They were formed in 1942 and served in the European and Far Eastern theatres of war before being disbanded in 1946.-Background:...

 were also trained to secure and make safe these airfields and to help defend them from enemy counter attack.

Australia


Following the British example, the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

 formed commando units, known as Australian independent companies in the early stages of World War II. They first saw action in early 1942 during the Japanese assault on New Ireland, and in the Battle of Timor. Part of the 2/1st Independent Company was wiped out on New Ireland
New Ireland (island)
New Ireland is a large island in Papua New Guinea, approximately 7,404 km² in area. It is the largest island of the New Ireland Province, lying northeast of the island of New Britain. Both islands are part of the Bismarck Archipelago, named after Otto von Bismarck, and they are separated by...

, but on Timor
Timor
Timor is an island at the southern end of Maritime Southeast Asia, north of the Timor Sea. It is divided between the independent state of East Timor, and West Timor, belonging to the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara. The island's surface is 30,777 square kilometres...

, the 2/2nd Independent Company formed the heart of an Allied force which engaged Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 forces in a guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 campaign. The Japanese commander on the island drew parallels with the Boer War, and decided that it would take a numerical advantage of 10:1 in order to defeat the Allies. The campaign occupied the attention of an entire Japanese division for almost a year. The independent companies were later renamed commando squadrons, and they saw widespread action in the South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific theatres of World War II, during 1942–45...

, especially in New Guinea
New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

 and Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. In 1943, all the commando squadrons except the 2/2nd and 2/8th were grouped into the 2/6th, 2/7th and 2/9th Cavalry Commando Regiments.

Later in the war the Royal Australian Navy also formed commando units along the lines of the Royal Naval Commandos to go ashore with the first waves of major amphibious assaults, to signpost the beaches and carry out other naval tasks. These were known as RAN Commandos
Royal Australian Navy Beach Commandos
During World War II the Royal Australian Navy formed beach commando units to go ashore with the first wave of amphibious assaults. They would conduct local reconnaissance, signpost the beaches, control boat traffic, and communicate with the maritime forces. These were known as Royal Australian...

. Four were formed—lettered A, B, C and D like their British counterparts—and they took part in the Borneo campaign
Borneo campaign (1945)
The Borneo Campaign of 1945 was the last major Allied campaign in the South West Pacific Area, during World War II. In a series of amphibious assaults between 1 May and 21 July, the Australian I Corps, under General Leslie Morshead, attacked Japanese forces occupying the island. Allied naval and...

.

Z Force
Z Special Unit
Z Special Unit was a joint Allied special forces unit formed during the Second World War to operate behind Japanese lines in South East Asia...

, an Australian-British-New Zealand military intelligence
Military intelligence
Military intelligence is a military discipline that exploits a number of information collection and analysis approaches to provide guidance and direction to commanders in support of their decisions....

 commando unit, formed by the Australian Services Reconnaissance Department
Services Reconnaissance Department
The Services Reconnaissance Department , also known as Inter-Allied Services Department , Special Operations Australia and Section A, Allied Intelligence Bureau was an Australian military intelligence and special reconnaissance unit, during World War II.Authorised by General Thomas Blamey in March...

, also carried out many raiding and reconnaissance operations in the South West Pacific theatre, most notably Operation Jaywick
Operation Jaywick
Operation Jaywick was a special operation undertaken in World War II. In September 1943, 14 commandos and sailors from the Z Special Unit raided Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour, sinking seven ships.- Background :...

, in which they destroyed tonnes of Japanese shipping at Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 Harbour. An attempt to replicate this success, with Operation Rimau
Operation Rimau
Operation Rimau was an attack on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour, carried out by an Allied commando unit Z Special Unit, during World War II using Australian built MKIII folboats. It was a follow-up to the successful Operation Jaywick, which had taken place in 1943, and Rimau, a shortened...

, resulted in the death of almost all those involved. However, Z Force and other SRD units continued operations until the war's end.

New Zealand


New Zealand formed the Southern Independent Commando in Fiji 1942. Its primary function was to wage a guerrilla war on any Japanese forces should they attempt to capture the strategically important Fiji islands. 200 native Fijians were recruited and organised by 44 New Zealanders. Training focused intensely on jungle warfare, and many successful 'mock' raids were made on American garrisons who awoke to find dummy time bombs placed on their ammunition dumps, or chalk crosses drawn on the equipment of their guards.

When it became apparent that a Japanese invasion of Fiji was no longer likely, the commando was deployed to undertake scouting tasks for US forces around Guadalcanal and New Georgia. Recruiting was further expanded to include men from other pacific islands such as the Solomons and Tonga, and occasionally British or American personal would take part in training or accompany the Commandos on missions. After many successful operations and engagements, the harsh conditions of extended jungle living took their toll, and many men began to suffer from ill-health. As a result, the commando was reduced in strength until it was declared unfit for further service, and was disbanded in May 1944.

The commando's contribution to the Solomon Island campaign was significant, with senior American officers referring to the unit as "most capable", "invaluable" and "unquestionably ... of great aid in the campaign".

See nzetc.org for more information.

New Zealanders were also a notable component of the Long Range Desert Group. The LRDG undertook reconnaissance and occasional strike missions deep behind enemy lines in North Africa.

Canada


A joint Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

-American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Commando unit, the 1st Special Service Force, nicknamed the Devil's Brigade
Devil's Brigade
The Devil's Brigade , was a joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States...

, was formed in 1942 under the command of Colonel Robert Frederick. The unit initially saw service in the Pacific, in August 1943 at Kiska
Kiska
Kiska is an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska located at . It is about long and varies in width from - Discovery :...

 in the Aleutians campaign
Battle of the Aleutian Islands
The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a struggle over the Aleutian Islands, part of Alaska, in the Pacific campaign of World War II starting on 3 June 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, but the remoteness of the islands and the difficulties of weather and terrain meant...

. However most of its operations occurred during the Italian campaign
Italian Campaign (World War II)
The Italian Campaign of World War II was the name of Allied operations in and around Italy, from 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. Joint Allied Forces Headquarters AFHQ was operationally responsible for all Allied land forces in the Mediterranean theatre, and it planned and commanded the...

 and in southern France. Its most famous raid, which was documented in the film Devil's Brigade, was the battle of Monte la Difensa
Monte la Difensa
The battle for Monte La Defensa, which took place between 3 December and 9 December 1943, occurred during Operation Raincoat, part of the Battle for the Bernhardt Line during the Italian Campaign in World War II....

. In 1945, the unit was disbanded; the Canadian members were sent to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion as replacements, and the American members were sent to either the 101st Airborne Division
101st Airborne Division
The 101st Airborne Division—the "Screaming Eagles"—is a U.S. Army modular light infantry division trained for air assault operations. During World War II, it was renowned for its role in Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944, in Normandy, France, Operation Market Garden, the...

 or the 82nd Airborne Division as replacements.

Greece


The Sacred band was a Greek
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 special forces
Special forces
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...

 unit formed in 1942 in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, composed entirely of Greek officers and officer cadets under the command of Col. Christodoulos Tsigantes. It fought alongside the SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

 in the Libyan Desert
Libyan Desert
The Libyan Desert covers an area of approximately 1,100,000 km2, it extends approximately 1100 km from east to west, and 1,000 km from north to south, in about the shape of a rectangle...

 and with the SBS
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

 in the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, as well as with General Leclerc
Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque
Philippe François Marie, comte de Hauteclocque, then Leclerc de Hauteclocque, by a 1945 decree that incorporated his French Resistance alias Jacques-Philippe Leclerc to his name, , was a French general during World War II...

's Free French Forces
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

. It was disbanded in August 1945.

United States


During 1941, the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 formed commando battalions. The USMC commandos were known collectively as Marine Raiders
Marine Raiders
The Marine Raiders were elite units established by the United States Marine Corps during World War II to conduct amphibious light infantry warfare, particularly in landing in rubber boats and operating behind the lines...

. On orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt through a proposal from OSS Director Colonel William J. Donovan and the former Commander of the United States Marine Detachment Major Evans F Carlson, directed the formation of what would become The Marine Raiders. Initially this unit was to be called Marine Commandos and they were to be the counterpart to the British Commandos. The name Marine Commandos met with much controversy within the Marine Corps leading Commandant Thomas J. Holcomb to state, "the term 'Marine' is sufficient to indicate a man ready for duty at any time, and the injection of a special name, such as 'Commando', would be undesirable and superfluous". President Roosevelt's son James Roosevelt served with The Marine Raiders. The Raiders initially saw action at the Battle of Tulagi and the Battle of Makin
Battle of Makin
The Battle of Makin was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought from 20 November to 24 November 1943, on Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.-Japanese invasion and fortification:...

, as well as the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
Battle of Empress Augusta Bay
The Battle of Empress Augusta Bay, on 1–2 November 1943—also known as the Battle of Gazelle Bay, Operation Cherry Blossom, and in Japanese sources as the Sea Battle of Bougainville Bay Shore —was a naval battle fought near the island of Bougainville...

, and other parts of the Pacific Ocean Areas
Pacific Ocean Areas
Pacific Ocean Areas was a major Allied military command in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands during the Pacific War, and one of two United States commands in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the U.S...

. In February 1944 the four Raider battalions were converted to regular marine units.

In mid-1942, the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 formed its Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers
United States Army Rangers are elite members of the United States Army. Rangers have served in recognized U.S. Army Ranger units or have graduated from the U.S. Army's Ranger School...

 in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 under William O. (Bill) Darby
William Orlando Darby
William Orlando Darby was an officer in the United States Army during World War II. Darby led the famous Darby's Rangers which evolved into the US Army Rangers and was also made famous as a major motion picture starring the American actor James Garner in the role of Darby.-Early life:Darby was...

. The Rangers were designed along the similar lines to Roger's Rangers of the French-Indian Wars. The first sizable Ranger action took place in August 1942 at the Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

, where 50 Rangers were dispersed among the British Commandos. The first full Ranger action took place during the invasion of Northwest Africa in (Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

) in November 1942.

After 1945


After World War II there was much publicity about the deeds of "the commandos"; many civilians reading these accounts, guessing a meaning from the context, thought in error that the singular "a commando" meant one man, and that usage became general.

Australia


In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the Army's commando squadrons were disbanded at the end of the war. However, in 1954, two Citizens Military Force
Australian Army Reserve
The Australian Army Reserve is a collective name given to the reserve units of the Australian Army. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, the reserve military force has been known by many names, including the Citizens Forces, the Citizen Military Forces, the Militia and, unofficially, the...

 (reserve) units, 1 and 2 Commando Companies, were raised.

1st Commando Regiment (1 Cdo Regt), a regimental structure for the reserve commando companies—and 126 Signal Squadron (Special Forces)—was formed during the 1980s. It adopted the green berets worn by its World War II predecessors.

In 1997, the Australian government ordered the conversion of 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was an Australian Army infantry battalion and part of the Royal Australian Regiment. The battalion was formed on 1 February 1964 and was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009....

 (4RAR) into a permanent, non-reserve commando battalion, with instructors from 1st Commando Regiment and Australian Special Air Service Regiment
Australian Special Air Service Regiment
The Special Air Service Regiment, officially abbreviated SASR but commonly known as the SAS, is a special forces unit of the Australian Army...

 (SASR). 126 Signal Squadron was reassigned to 4RAR and 301 Signal Squadron re-raised to join 1 Cdo Regt. In 2009, 4RAR was renamed 2nd Commando Regiment
2nd Commando Regiment (Australia)
The 2nd Commando Regiment is an Australian Army Special Forces unit, it is one of three combat-capable units within the Australian Special Operations Command. The regiment was established on 19 June 2009 when it was renamed from the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment...

 (2 Cdo Regt).

1 Cdo and 2 Cdo utilise identical selection and training courses. One company of 2 Cdo is responsible for counter-terrorism operations and response in eastern Australia and is officially known as Tactical Assault Group-East (TAG-E). This company mirrors its sister unit (the original Tactical Assault Group) in the West (TAG-W), which is part of the SASR.

Commandos from 1CDO and 2CDO have been deployed on peacekeeping and combat missions in several countries, including East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

.

Rhodesia


During the Rhodesian Bush War
Rhodesian Bush War
The Rhodesian Bush War – also known as the Second Chimurenga or the Zimbabwe War of Liberation – was a civil war which took place between July 1964 and December 1979 in the unrecognised country of Rhodesia...

 of 1965-1980, the Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

n military increased its usage of commando type of operations in fighting against insurgents until the formation of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

. In the Rhodesian Light Infantry a Commando was also the name given to its company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

 sized units.
  • Rhodesian Light Infantry
    Rhodesian Light Infantry
    The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, commonly the Rhodesian Light Infantry , was a regiment formed in 1961 at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia as a light infantry unit within the army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland...

  • Rhodesian Special Air Service
  • Selous Scouts
    Selous Scouts
    The Selous Scouts was a special forces regiment of the Rhodesian Army, which operated from 1973 until the introduction of majority rule in 1980. It was named after British explorer Frederick Courteney Selous , and their motto was pamwe chete, which, in the Shona language, roughly means "all...


United Kingdom


3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 is under the command of the Royal Navy's Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet
Commander-in-Chief Fleet is the admiral responsible for the operation, resourcing and training of the ships, submarines and aircraft, and personnel, of the British Royal Navy...

. All Royal Marines (other than the Royal Marines Band Service
Royal Marines Band Service
The Royal Marines Band Service is the musical wing of the Royal Navy. It currently consists of five Bands and its headquarters is the Royal Marines School of Music at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth dockyard.-History:...

) are commando trained on entry to the Corps, with supporting units and individuals from the other services undertaking the All Arms Commando Course
All Arms Commando Course
The All Arms Commando Course lasts for 9 weeks and is run by the Royal Marines at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines , Lympstone. Members from any of the United Kingdom's Regular Armed Forces and overseas exchange personnel can attend in order to serve with 3 Commando Brigade...

 as required.

The Brigade is made up of 30 (IX) Commando , 40 Commando (home base: Taunton
Taunton
Taunton is the county town of Somerset, England. The town, including its suburbs, had an estimated population of 61,400 in 2001. It is the largest town in the shire county of Somerset....

), 42 Commando (Bickleigh, South Hams
Bickleigh, South Hams
Bickleigh is a small village on the southern edge of Dartmoor in Devon, England. It has a population of about 50 people. It is in the South Hams district, and is about seven miles north of Plymouth city centre...

, Plymouth) and 45 Commando (Arbroath
Arbroath
Arbroath or Aberbrothock is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the council area of Angus in Scotland, and has a population of 22,785...

, Scotland), the Commando Logistic Regiment
Commando Logistic Regiment
The role of the Commando Logistic Regiment , Royal Marines is to provide second line Combat Service Support to Headquarters 3 Commando Brigade and Royal Marines Commandos in peace, war and operations other than war....

, 539 Assault Squadron
1 Assault Group Royal Marines
1 Assault Group Royal Marines provides the Royal Marines expertise and training in small boat operations both amphibious and riverine. In addition it trains and parents the Assault Squadrons of the Royal Marines and their Landing Craft detachments...

 Royal Marines, 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery
29 Commando Regiment is the Commando-trained unit of the British Army's Royal Artillery. The regiment is under the operational control of 3 Commando Brigade providing artillery support and gunnery observation.- History :...

, 24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers
24 Commando Regiment Royal Engineers
24 Commando Engineer Regiment is a unit of the British Army's Royal Engineers which supports 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. It was formed in April 2008...

 and 1st battalion, The Rifles
The Rifles
The Rifles is the largest regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five regular and two territorial battalions, plus a number of companies in other TA battalions, Each battalion of the Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light...

.
The Royal Marines are the largest force of its type in Europe and the Second largest in NATO.

Canada


Canadian commando forces were disbanded and recreated at various times in the post-war years, and in 1968 the Canadian Airborne Regiment was formed. It was divided into three Airborne Commandos each of company strength. This resulted in a ceiling of about 750 members in all ranks, organized into three smaller company-sized commandos. The three airborne commandos took shape around the three regimental affiliations: 1 Commando with the Royal 22e Régiment
Royal 22e Régiment
The Royal 22nd Regiment is an infantry regiment and the most famous francophone organization of the Canadian Forces. The regiment comprises three Regular Force battalions, two Primary Reserve battalions, and a band, making it the largest regiment in the Canadian Army...

, 2 Commando with Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry is one of the three regular force infantry regiments of the Canadian Army. The regiment is composed of four battalions including a primary reserve battalion, for a total of 2,000 soldiers...

, and 3 Commando with The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Royal Canadian Regiment
The Royal Canadian Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces. The regiment consists of four battalions, three in the Regular Force and one in the Primary Reserve...

. The Canadian Airborne Regiment was disbanded after the torture and murder of Shidane Arone, a Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 civilian, in 1993, and other allegations of wrongdoing within the Regiment. Later, parliamentary investigations would question why such an elite commando unit was sent on a peacekeeping mission. The Canadian Special Operations Regiment
Canadian Special Operations Regiment
The Canadian Special Operations Regiment is a battalion-sized, high-readiness special operations unit part of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command...

 (CSOR) is known as a commando unit and Canadian Joint Task Force Two
Joint Task Force 2
Joint Task Force 2 is an elite Special Operations Force of the Canadian Armed Forces primarily tasked with counter-terrorism operations...

, or JTF2, is also sometimes referred to as a "commando" unit, but it is technically a specialist counter-terrorism unit.)

Brazil


Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 created its special operations forces in the 1950s. There are commando units in the Brazilian Army
Brazilian Army
The Brazilian Army is the land arm of the Brazilian Military. The Brazilian Army has fought in several international conflicts, mostly in South America and during the 19th century, such as the Brazilian War of Independence , Argentina-Brazil War , War of the Farrapos , Platine War , Uruguayan War ...

 and in the navy. In Brazilian Army
Brazilian Army
The Brazilian Army is the land arm of the Brazilian Military. The Brazilian Army has fought in several international conflicts, mostly in South America and during the 19th century, such as the Brazilian War of Independence , Argentina-Brazil War , War of the Farrapos , Platine War , Uruguayan War ...

 the main unit is the Brazilian Special Operations Brigade
Brazilian Special Operations Brigade
The Brazilian Special Operations Brigade is one of Brazilian Army brigades...

. Brazilian Navy
Brazilian Navy
The Brazilian Navy is a branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces responsible for conducting naval operations. It is the largest navy in Latin America...

 have the COMANF
COMANF
COMANF, acronym for Comandos Anfíbios , is the Brazilian Marine Corps commandos.The Comanf member has to training in several regions of Brazil aiming at improving their combat skills and training to operate in different environments and climates...

 Amphibious Commandos of Brazilian Marine Corps
Brazilian Marine Corps
The Brazilian Marine Corps is the land combat branch of the Brazilian Navy.- Mission :...


Chile



Army Special Forces, Navy and Air Force use black beret and Chile are characterized by using a special type of knife called a Corvo
Corvo (knife)
The Corvo is a bladed weapon typically used in Chile. It is a double-edged knife with a curved blade of approximately 12 inches. Initially a tool similar to a grape hook, it was widely used in combat during the War of the Pacific...

. The Chilean commandos are known for their military bearing and discipline, met with through preparation and a historic tradition. The Army motto recited: "ever victorious never defeated. "

Germany


The German Army
German Army
The German Army is the land component of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Following the disbanding of the Wehrmacht after World War II, it was re-established in 1955 as the Bundesheer, part of the newly formed West German Bundeswehr along with the Navy and the Air Force...

 currently operates the Fernspähkompanie (Germany's elite long range reconnaissance company), and the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK)
Kommando Spezialkräfte
The KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte is an elite military unit composed of Special Operations soldiers from the ranks of Germany’s Bundeswehr and organized as such under the Division Spezielle Operationen . The unit has received many decorations and awards from both NATO and its affiliates...

.

The KSK is stationed in Calw
Calw
Calw is a municipality in the middle of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany, capital of the district Calw. It is located in the northern Black Forest.-History:...

, in the Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

 area in southern Germany. It consists of about 1,100 soldiers, but only a nucleus of these are in fighting units. Exact numbers are not available, as this information is considered to be secret. The KSK is a part of the Special Operations Division (Div. Spezielle Operationen or DSO).

The fighting units are divided into four commando companies of about 100 men each and the special commando company with veteran members, taking supporting tasks. Each of the four commando companies has five specialised platoons:
  • 1st platoon: land insertions
  • 2nd platoon: airborne operations
  • 3rd platoon: amphibious operations
  • 4th platoon: operations in special geographic or meteorologic surroundings (e.g. mountains or polar-regions)
  • 5th platoon: reconnaissance, sniper
    Sniper
    A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

     and counter-sniper
    Counter-sniper tactics
    Counter-sniper tactics involves tactics used by a sniper against another sniper.The occurrence of sniper warfare has led to the evolution of many counter-sniper tactics in modern military strategies...

     operations
  • Command Platoon


There are four commando squads in every platoon. Each of these groups consists of about four equally skilled soldiers. One of each group is specially trained as weapons expert, medic
Medic
Medic is a general term for a person involved in medicine, especially emergency or first-response medicine, such as an emergency medical technician, paramedic, or a military member trained in battlefield medicine. Also the term is used toward a Nurse in pre-hospital care and/or emergency...

, combat engineer or communications expert respectively. Additionally a group can contain other specialists, e.g. heavy weapons or language experts.

Another special unit, the Kampfschwimmer
German commando frogmen
This article is about Germany's commando frogmen. See also Minentaucher.For other nations' commando frogmen, and information about frogmen in general, see Frogman....

 (comparable to the U.S.N. SEALs
United States Navy SEALs
The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

) are operated by the German Navy
German Navy
The German Navy is the navy of Germany and is part of the unified Bundeswehr .The German Navy traces its roots back to the Imperial Fleet of the revolutionary era of 1848 – 52 and more directly to the Prussian Navy, which later evolved into the Northern German Federal Navy...

.

India


In India, the term commando is used liberally for almost any unit that has more training than their peers. This is especially true in the police forces. However, there are certain units that are trained to internationally acceptable standards.

The Para Commandos are a special forces unit of the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

. Formed in 1966, the Para Commandos are the largest and most important part of the Special Forces of India. They are highly-trained units of the Indian Army, meant to operate behind enemy lines.

The Garud Commando Force
Garud Commando Force
The Garud Commando Force is the Special Forces unit of the Indian Air Force. It was formed in September 2004 and has a strength of approximately 2000 personnel...

 is the Special Forces
Special Forces of India
The Special Forces of India are Indian Military units that have a training specializing in special operations.-Mumbai Police Force One:the Special Commando force created after 26/11 Mumbai attacks-Rajasthan Police SOG:...

 unit of the Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

. The unit derives its name from Garuda
Garuda
The Garuda is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology.From an Indian perspective, Garuda is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila and...

, a divine bird-like creature of Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, but more commonly the word for eagle
Eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

 in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

. Garud is tasked with acting as quick response teams during attacks on critical Air Force bases and installations, search and rescue of downed pilots, forward air control and carrying out strikes against enemy air defences and radar installations.

MARCOS
MARCOS (India)
MARCOS is an elite special operations unit of the Indian Navy. "MARCOS" is short for "Marine Commandos"....

 (marine commandos) is a commando unit of the Indian Navy
Indian Navy
The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff , usually a four-star officer in the rank of Admiral, commands the Navy...

 designed to carry out operation on air, sea and land.

National Security Guards
National Security Guards
The National Security Guard is a Special Response Unit in India that has primarily been utilized for counter-terrorism activities and was created by the Cabinet Secretariat under the National Security Guard Act of the Indian Parliament in 1986...

 (NSG) personnel are popularly known as Black Cat Commandos. Their task is twofold. The Special Protection Group
Special Protection Group
The Special Protection Group is the executive protection agency of the Government of India. It is responsible for the protection of the Prime Minister of India, other top officials, and their immediate families. The force was established in 1985 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi. It is one...

 provides protection to the political elite of the nation. The NSG carries out hostage rescue and anti-terrorist operations.

Ghatak Force
Ghatak Force
Ghatak Units, or Ghatak Commandos, are elite infantry platoons attached to each infantry battalion of the Indian Army. There is one platoon of these soldiers in every battalion. Ghatak literally means "Killer" or "Lethal" in Hindi.-Role:...

 is a battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

-level special unit in the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

, with one in each battalion. They are used as elite infantry to spearhead attacks, carry out reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 and further the objectives on the battalion in the battlefield.

The Force One
Force One
The Force One is an elite commando force, which is a specialised counter terrorism unit to guard the Mumbai metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, formed by Government of Maharashtra on the lines of National Security Guards...

 is an elite commando force, which is a specialised counter terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 unit to guard the Mumbai metropolitan area
Mumbai metropolitan area
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region /Mumbai Metropolitan Area is the metropolitan area consisting of the metropolis of Mumbai and its satellite towns. Developing over a period of about 20 years, it consists of seven municipal corporations and fifteen smaller municipal councils...

, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, formed by Government of Maharashtra
Government of Maharashtra
Government of Maharashtra is the government for the state of Maharashtra in Western India.It is an elected government with 288 MLAs elected to the legislative assembly for a 5 year term.-Ministers:...

 on the lines of National Security Guards (NSG).

Israel


The primary commando units of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 include Shayetet 13
Shayetet 13
Shayetet 13 is the elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Navy. The unit is considered one of the primary Special Forces units of the Israel Defense Forces . S'13 specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and...

, Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal
Sayeret Matkal is a special forces unit of the Israel Defence Forces , which is subordinated to the intelligence directorate Aman. First and foremost a field intelligence-gathering unit, conducting deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines to obtain strategic intelligence, Sayeret Matkal is also...

 and the Shaldag Unit
Shaldag Unit
Shaldag , also known as Special Air-Ground Designating Team and Unit 5101, is an elite Israeli Air Force commando unit.- History :...

.

Shayetet 13 is the elite naval commando unit of the Israeli Navy. S'13 specializes in sea-to-land incursions, counter-terrorism, sabotage, maritime intelligence gathering, maritime hostage rescue, and boarding.The unit is respected as among the best of the world’s special forces

Indonesia


Kopassus (a portmanteau of "Komando Pasukan Khusus" or "Special Force Command") is an Indonesian Army
Indonesian Army
The Indonesian Army , the land component of the Indonesian Armed Forces, has an estimated strength of 328,517 regular personnel. The force's history began in 1945 when the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat "Civil Security Forces" served as paramilitary and police.Since the nation's independence struggle,...

 special forces
Special forces
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...

 group that conducts special operations
Special operations
Special operations are military operations that are considered "special" .Special operations are typically performed independently or in conjunction with conventional military operations. The primary goal is to achieve a political or military objective where a conventional force requirement does...

 missions for the Indonesian government, such as direct action
Direct action (military)
In the context of military special operations, direct action consists of: "Short-duration strikes and other small-scale offensive actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments and which employ specialized military capabilities to seize, destroy,...

, unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare
Unconventional warfare is the opposite of conventional warfare. Where conventional warfare is used to reduce an opponent's military capability, unconventional warfare is an attempt to achieve military victory through acquiescence, capitulation, or clandestine support for one side of an existing...

, sabotage
Sabotage
Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening another entity through subversion, obstruction, disruption, or destruction. In a workplace setting, sabotage is the conscious withdrawal of efficiency generally directed at causing some change in workplace conditions. One who engages in sabotage is...

, counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

, counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

, and intelligence gathering
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

.

Kopassus was founded on April 16, 1952.

The Special Forces quickly made their mark by spearheading some of the government's military campaigns: putting down regional rebellions in the late 1950s, the Western New Guinea campaign
Western New Guinea campaign
The Western New Guinea campaign was a series of actions in the New Guinea campaign of World War II. United States and Australian forces assaulted Japanese bases and positions in the northwest coastal areas of Netherlands New Guinea and adjoining parts of the Australian Territory of New Guinea...

 in 1960, the confrontation with Malaysia from 1962–1966, the massacres of alleged communists in 1965, the East Timor invasion in 1975, and the subsequent campaigns against separatists throughout Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

.

Kopassus is alleged by external media and human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

-affiliated NGOs to have committed violations of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 in East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

, Aceh
Aceh
Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

, Papua and the capital Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

. Notably in the Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 press, published articles even in mainstream media
Mainstream media
Mainstream media are those media disseminated via the largest distribution channels, which therefore represent what the majority of media consumers are likely to encounter...

 may include epithets such as "the notorious Kopassus" .

On April 15, 1952, Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Alexander Evert Kawilarang
Alexander Evert Kawilarang
Alex Kawilarang is an Indonesian national hero, a freedom fighter and founder of the military unit 'Kesko TT' in 1952. This was the earliest name of the now famous Indonesian special forces unit called Kopassus...

 laid the foundation for Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium III/Siliwangi (Kesko TT), the early name of Kopassus.

The impetus for building this special force was provided from an experience of frustration when fighting against the troops of the RMS (Republik Maluku Selatan or Republic of the South Moluccas) forces, who were supported by two companies of Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Korps Speciale Troepen
Korps Speciale Troepen
Korps Speciale Troepen was a Dutch special forces unit involved in the Indonesian National Revolution. Two KST companies fought together with the RMS forces ....

 (KST). The Indonesians were amazed and hampered by KST's sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 ability and skills- which the Indonesian armed forces at the time did not possess. They were then inspired to build a similar force for Indonesia. However, at that time, there were no Indonesian commanders with necessary experience nor skills in special operations. However, Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Riyadi would not see his dream realized due to his death in a battle against the troops of the separatist RMS.

Not long after, Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 Kawilarang
Alexander Evert Kawilarang
Alex Kawilarang is an Indonesian national hero, a freedom fighter and founder of the military unit 'Kesko TT' in 1952. This was the earliest name of the now famous Indonesian special forces unit called Kopassus...

 with the use of military intelligence located and met with Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Rokus Bernardus Visser - a former member of the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 Special Forces who had remained a peaceful and law-abiding citizen in newly independent Indonesia, settled in West Java
West Java
West Java , with a population of over 43 million, is the most populous and most densely populated province of Indonesia. Located on the island of Java, it is slightly smaller in area than densely populated Taiwan, but with nearly double the population...

, married an Indonesian woman, and was known locally as Mohamad Idjon Djanbi. He was the first recruit for the Indonesian special forces, as well as its first commander. Due to him, the unit later to become Kopassus adopted the distinctive Red Beret
Red beret
The red beret is a military beret worn by many military police, paramilitary, commando and police forces around the world. The maroon beret has become a symbol of airborne forces, though this is often known as a "red beret", particularly when referring to the British Parachute...

 similar to that of the Dutch Special Forces.

At that time, Indonesia's special force name was Third Territorial Command: Komando Teritorium Tiga (KTT). Kopassus was the final result of five name changes: KTT, KKAD, RPKAD, and Kopasandha. The first generation of Indonesian Forces was only around a hundred soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

s or one company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

, headquartered in Bandung
Bandung
Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's third largest city, and 2nd largest metropolitan area in Indonesia, with a population of 7.4 million in 2007. Located 768 metres above sea level, approximately 140 km southeast of Jakarta, Bandung has cooler...

.

Kopassus has been accused by numerous NGO's and Western politicians of human rights violations. Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 and KOMNASHAM (Indonesian human rights groups) have cited alleged abuses by purported members of Kopassus.

Four members of Kopassus were convicted of the strangulation killing of Theys Eluay
Theys Eluay
Theys Eluay was born in Sere Village in Sentani, in what was then Dutch New Guinea. He went to the “Jongensvervolgschool” in Yoka, a boarding school, led by the Dutch missionary Izaak Samuel Kijne. After the JVS he followed a course in meteorology and worked then as a meteorological assistant...

, the former chairman of the Papuan Presidium Council. After admitting the killing after ambushing him and his driver, two received prison sentences of 31/2 years and two others received three years.

As TNI members, the Kopassus are/were legally exempt from civil law jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 trial and a military inquiry found them innocent of all charges. The principal members of the alleged "murder" were all of Group V (Jakarta) and not based in Jayapura nor West Papua, and the "supposed ring-leader Let-Col Hatono got three and a half years jail and two other officers were not even discharged. The ruling Jakarta perspective on the "murder" was affirmed by army Chief Ryamizard Ryacudu: "accepted the men had to face sentence because Indonesia is a State based on law. However he said the men are heroes to [sic: if they did] kill a rebel leader. Defense lawyers who [sic: are] appealing the verdicts, have also described the alleged "killers" as heroes"

Kopassus also has been speculated by eyewitness accounts to have been involved in carrying or supervising the Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 May 1998 riot, including the mass gang-rape of Chinese Indonesian
Chinese Indonesian
Chinese Indonesians, also called the Indonesian Chinese, are an overseas Chinese group whose ancestors emigrated from China to Indonesia, formerly a colony of the Netherlands known as the Dutch East Indies...

 women.

Pakistan


Special Service Group (SSG) is an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. It is an elite special operations force. Official numbers are put at 2,100 men, in 3 Battalions; however the actual strength is classified. Based out of Cherat and Attock, the SSG was created in 1956 with active support from U.S. Special Operations Forces. That year the 19th Battalion of the Baloch Regiment (19 Baloch) was selected for conversion to a Special Operation Force.

The SSG also has a unit in the Pakistan Navy
Pakistan Navy
The Pakistan Navy is the naval warfare/service branch of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Pakistan's Navy is responsible for Pakistan's coastline along the Arabian Sea and the defense of important civilian harbors and military bases...

 known as Special Service Group Navy
Special Service Group Navy
The Special Service Group Navy, codename SSG, are the Pakistan Navy's elite principal special operations naval force component. Together with the PAF 312th SS Wing, Special Service Group, Pakistan Marines, and Rangers, they form Pakistan Special Operations Command under the joint administrative...

 (SSGN). The SSGN currently maintains headquarters in Karachi headed by Pakistan Navy Commander. The SSG in 2001 created a special forces unit for the Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

 called the Special Service Wing
Special Service Wing
The Special Service Wing, codename the SS Wing, or previously known as 312th Special Service Wing or Maroon berets, is an special operations aerospace unit of the Pakistan Air Force . The SS Wing or Maroon Berets are an elite special operations force based upon United States Air Force's Special...

 (SSW). This new component to the Special Forces
Special forces
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...

 of Pakistan is still being trained and built up.
In 2006 SSGN created two new groups, the Pak Seals and VBSS. The Pak Seals will operate at sea, air, and land.

Portugal


The Portuguese Army
Portuguese Army
The Portuguese Army is the ground branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in co-operation with other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the defence of Portugal...

 created the Comandos
Comandos
For the denomination of "commando" see commando; for the Argentine special operations unit see Amphibious Commandos Group; for other special forces with "Commando" in their names see list of special forces units....

, during the Portuguese Colonial War
Portuguese Colonial War
The Portuguese Colonial War , also known in Portugal as the Overseas War or in the former colonies as the War of liberation , was fought between Portugal's military and the emerging nationalist movements in Portugal's African colonies between 1961 and 1974, when the Portuguese regime was...

 to conduct special actions in Portuguese territory or abroad, to fight as assault infantry / shock troops and to provide the high political and military commands with a force able to conduct irregular operations. The first units were created in Northern Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 in 1962.

Beyond the Comandos, the Portuguese Armed
Portuguese Armed Forces
The armed forces of Portugal, commonly known as the Portuguese Armed Forces encompasses a Navy , an Army and an Air Force...

 and Security Forces used several other commando type forces in the Colonial War in Angola, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

 and Guinea
Portuguese Guinea
Portuguese Guinea was the name for what is today Guinea-Bissau from 1446 to September 10, 1974.-History:...

, like the Caçadores Especiais (Special Hunters) of the Portuguese Army, the Caçadores Paraquedistas
Parachute Troops School
The ETP - Escola de Tropas Páraquedistas , based in Tancos, Portugal, is a unit of the Portuguese Army and serves as the instruction center for recruitment and training of the Portuguese paratroopers...

 (Parachute Hunters) of the Portuguese Air Force
Portuguese Air Force
The Portuguese Air Force is the air force of Portugal. Formed on July 1, 1952, with the Aeronáutica Militar and Aviação Naval united in a single independent Air Force, it is one of the three branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces and its origins dates back to 1912, when the military aviation...

, the Fuzileiros Especiais
Portuguese Marine Corps
The Portuguese Marine Corps are a special operations force unit in the Portuguese Navy. The corps is specialised in amphibious warfare, coastal reconnaissance, maritime interdiction and boarding operations...

 (Special Marines) of the Portuguese Navy
Portuguese Navy
The Portuguese Navy is the naval branch of the Portuguese Armed Forces which, in cooperation and integrated with the other branches of the Portuguese military, is charged with the military defence of Portugal....

, the Flechas
Flechas
Flechas were a Portuguese special forces unit created during the Portuguese Colonial War. Flechas were platoon-sized units consisting of local tribesmen and rebel defectors who specialised in tracking, reconnaissance and pseudo-terrorist operations...

(Arrows) of the International and State Defense Police
PIDE
In 1969, Marcello Caetano changed the name PIDE to DGS . The death of Salazar and the subsequent ascension of Caetano brought some attempts at democratization, in order to avoid popular insurgency against censorship, the ongoing colonial war and the general restriction of civil rights...

 and the Grupos Especiais
Special Groups (Portugal)
The Special Groups were small military units, set up from 1966 to 1974 by the Portuguese Armed Forces in Angola and in Mozambique. Later Paratrooper Special Groups were formed, units able to conduct airborne operations...

 (Special Groups) of the Government of Mozambique.

Presently, the Portuguese Armed Forces have the following commando type forces: the Special Operation Troops, the Comando Troops, the Parachute Troops
Portuguese Rapid Reaction Brigade
The Brigada de Reacção Rápida , is a unit of the Portuguese Army which was known as BAI - Brigada Aerotransportada Independente until 2006...

, the Marines Special Actions Detachment and the Force Protection Unit of the Air Force.

Vietnam


The North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

ese produced some of the most effective commando units of the post World War II era. Called sapper
Sapper
A sapper, pioneer or combat engineer is a combatant soldier who performs a wide variety of combat engineering duties, typically including, but not limited to, bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences, general construction and building, as well as road and airfield...

s, these units represented a force economy measure for the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and the Viet Cong. With large scale conventional attacks increasingly untenable, small commando operations came into their own, particularly after the Tet Offensive, and at times inflicted severe damage to US and ARVN troops and bases.


Sappers were originally supporting adjuncts to regular formations prior to 1967, but in time, independent formations were created throughout the Vietnam arena. Sappers could operate in support of a larger regular infantry formation, or as the main spearhead themselves, with regulars as backup. In the spearhead mode, they represented their most potent threat. A typical raiding operation was divided into 4 elements: Assault, Fire-Support, Security and Reserves. Assault teams were generally broken down into three-five man cells. Fire-support was critical, as it forced defenders to keep their heads down, while infiltrating assault elements made their final penetrations. One of the most devastating attacks was against the US Firebase, FSB Mary Ann
Battle of FSB Mary Ann
The Battle of FSB Mary Ann was fought when Viet Cong sappers attacked the U.S. firebase located in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.Fire support base Mary Ann was set up with the purpose of providing a shield for Chu Lai and the surrounding hamlets, the base was also designed as an interception...

 in 1971. See chart for detailed breakdown of a typical sapper raiding party.

While small in terms of total men deployed throughout the Vietnam theater, sapper attacks had a significant impact for the NLF/PAVN effort. As one US Army history puts it:

See also

  • List of commando forces
  • Commando Order
    Commando Order
    The Commando Order was issued by Adolf Hitler on 18 October 1942 stating that all Allied commandos encountered by German forces in Europe and Africa should be killed immediately, even if in uniform or if they attempted to surrender...

  • Commando Ridge
  • Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife
    Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife
    The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife is a double-edged fighting knife resembling a dagger or poignard with a foil grip developed by William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes in Shanghai based on concepts which the two men initiated before World War II while serving on the Shanghai Municipal...

  • Philippe Kieffer
    Philippe Kieffer
    Philippe Kieffer , capitaine de frégate in the French Navy, was a French officer and political personality, and a hero of the Free French Forces.- Life and career :...

  • Power Geyser
    Power Geyser
    Power Geyser is a purported clandestine United States counterterrorism program to operate a group of commandos with state-of-the-art weaponry created to protect the physical safety of the President, Congress, and other high-value government targets.-Sources:...


External links