posted on May, 9 2006 @ 02:03 PM
Special Forces have seen action all over the world - some of which is outside the public domain so is just speculation. Everyone is quick to cite
successes as a measure of "the best", but there seems to be little or no reconciliation of failure in this “the best” equation.
I have summarised SUCCESSES and DISASTERS from the book "Essential Militaria" by Hobbs. Anyone care to develop these lists with an assessment of
TACTICS, TRAINING, EQUIPMENT and LEADERSHIP – as all these elements clearly contribute to success or failure.
1)Cyprus Tragedy 1978: Egypt's TF777 rescued 30 hostages from Arab terrorists. After completing the mission, 15 of their number were shot dead by
Cypriot National Guardsmen who mistook them for more terrorists.
2)Operation Eagle Claw 1980: Iranians took 53 US embassy staff hostage and Delta Force was tasked to land outside the capital in helicopters, make
their way to the embassy, rescue the hostages and fight their way to Tehran airport where they would fly out. The mission was aborted when one
helicopter broke and two collided in a dust storm, killing 8 servicemen. One hostage later remarked, 'Thank God they never got here'.
3)Malta Fiasco 1985: Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Egypt Boeing 737, forcing it to land in Malta. Lacking a plan of the internal layout of the
aircraft, Egyptian SF blew a hole in the roof, killing 20 passengers. They then burst into the cabin, firing wildly and hurling grenades. Passengers
who managed to escape from the melee were mistaken for terrorists by TF777 troopers waiting outside and were shot down as they ran to safety. A total
of 57 hostages died.
4)Afghanistan 2001: A US SF soldier protecting the Afghan leader Hamid Karzai gave his own GPS co-ordinates to a US air-strike rather than those of a
Taliban position. Karzai received only light wounds, but 23 Afghans and 3 Americans died.
5)Moscow Theatre Siege 2002: When c. 800 people were taken hostage by Chechen rebels in a Moscow theatre, Russian SF pumped an unnamed gas into the
building to incapacitate the terrorists and 116 hostages died from the effects.
1)Raid on Entebbe Airport 1976: Palestinian and Baader-Meinhof terroristsland in Uganda with a hijacked airliner. Israeli SF flew 2,000 miles to the
airport in Hercules transports and rescued 103 hostages in 53 minutes. The Israelis lost one soldier, shot in the back by a Ugandan sniper. 3 hostages
died in the assault, with a fourth later murdered by the Ugandans. 7 hijackers, along with 20 Ugandan soldiers were killed.
2)Mogadishu 1977: German SF GSG 9 and two British SAS assaulted a hijacked Lufthansa airliner. Within 6 minutes, all 87 hostages had been rescued in
the 'cleanest' special op ever.
3)Moluccan Train Incident 1977: South Moluccan terrorists took 49 people hostage in a Dutch and their comrades took 110 children hostage in a school.
The school hostages were rescued when Royal Dutch Marines burst through the wall of the building, catching three of their captors asleep. The train
was assaulted by a second Marine team in a 20-minute attack while low-flying jets distracted the terrorists. Two hostages were killed, with two
marines and seven hostages wounded.
4)Iranian Embassy Siege 1980: Six Iranians took control of the London embassy in protest at Ayatollah Khomeini's rule. 26 hostages were rescued in 11
minutes by a team of 12 SAS troopers, killing 5 terrorists and capturing the sixth.
5)Operation Acid Gambit 1989: Robert Muse, an anti-Noriega agitator, was held hostage by the Panamanian regime in a military jail with armed guards. A
Delta Force team entered through the roof, killed or bound the guards (depending on whether they resisted), and rescued Muse with no losses except two
6)Sierra Leone 2000: SAS and British paras rescued 7 hostages from the armed militia called the West Side Boys. One of the rescuers was killed and
one seriously wounded, while 25 militia were killed and 18 captured