In 1991, Coalition forces were active deep inside Iraq, hunting down SCUD missiles and their launchers before they could be fired. In 2011, special forces were responsible for the assassination of the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. In the intervening 20 years, elite military formations played an increasingly important role in the policing of the modern world.
Special Forces in Action is a detailed account of the operations of the world’s special forces from 1991 to the present day. From the Gulf War to the invasion of Iraq, via the war in Afghanistan, the search for war criminals in the Balkans, drug baron hunting in South America, hostage rescues in Africa, and the counter-terrorist initiatives since 9/11, the book brings the reader full details of the often clandestine and varied roles of the world’s elite soldiers.
A brief history of special forces from World War II, leading up to the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 by Iraqi forces.
2. The First Gulf War
The coalition’s special forces wreak havoc behind Iraqi lines, and eliminate the scud threat to Israel.
US forces become involved in Somalia, trying to trace Mohammed Aideed. The rescue of US rangers depicted in Black Hawk Down is led by US special forces.
4. The Balkans
After the end of the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, NATO’s special forces are responsible for tracking down war criminals and bringing them to trial.
5. South America
The war against the drug barons of South America continues, and special forces are involved in tracing the movement of shipments of drugs and gathering evidence.
6. Sierra Leone
With the country on the brink of civil war, American and British special forces are used to preserve peace and safeguard what remains of an elected government. The rescue of British soldiers held hostage makes the headlines worldwide.
After 9/11, the US led invasion of Afghanistan sees special forces used to provide guidance and training to the anti-Taliban warlords. Resistance quickly collapses as a result, and the ‘victory’ is relatively bloodless.
The invasion of Iraq in 2003 sees American, British and Australian special forces to the fore again, operating deep behind the front lines and hunting down the key members of the Iraqi government.
Particularly since 9/11, the fight against terrorism has become of paramount importance to many of the developed world’s governments. Most special forces units have increased in size – some dramatically so – as warfare becomes increasingly specialized.