We all hold the men and women of the armed forces in the highest esteem, but there is another group that consistently outperforms them in dangerous situations. They eliminate the danger and enter a field only the boldest would dare to approach. The Special Forces are here. Numerous international heroes are willing to lay down their lives for their countries and people.
So here goes the list of the top 15 greatest and most lethal special forces in the world.
These Are The Most Dangerous Special Forces In The World
1. Special Naval Warfare Force, Spain
Spain’s Special Naval Warfare Force was established in 2009 when the country combined various Spanish Navy units into a single combative body. The force is made up of the Special Explosive Diffusers Unit, Special Combat Divers Unit, and the Special Operations Unit, which was its primary tactical precursor.
The Special Operations Outfit was in charge of combat search and rescue, ship boarding, combat diving, and air and amphibious insertion. This elite unit is still fighting today.
They have a long history of using those strategies to battle pirates and rescue hostages. When they stormed a North Korean ship carrying SCUD missiles to Yemen in 2002, the men of Rana helped Operation Enduring Freedom in the Indian Ocean. They then freed a French hostage held by Somali pirates in 2011.
|Headquarters||La Algameca Naval Station, Cartagena, Murcia, Spain|
|Motto(s)||“Serenity and boldness”|
2. EKO Cobra, Austria
The 1978-formed EKO Cobra, also known as the Einsatzkommando Cobra, is a semi-autonomous organization within the jurisdiction of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior.
The EKO Cobra was the only special forces unit to conduct a hijacked airplane rescue while it was in the air in 1996, and it participated in other hostage rescue operations. With the ability to work in very tiny teams of five or six commandos, EKO Cobra battalions are organized entirely differently and are mostly employed for Special Missions and Clandestine Operations in enemy territory.
|Type||Police tactical unit & special forces|
|Role||Counter-terrorism, Law enforcement|
|Headquarters||Wiener Neustadt, Austria|
|Common name||EKO Cobra|
3. Polish GROM, Poland
The abbreviation GROM stands for the Group for Operational Maneuvering Response. Grom, however, means “thunder” in Polish, which is more poignant. It is a group that can be linked to the “Silent Unseen,” a group of Polish paratroopers who were forced into exile during World War II.
The GROM team was established in 1990 as a result of Operation Bridge, a campaign to assist people in entering Israel. In 1994, they deployed to Haiti as part of Operation Restore Democracy, it was kept a secret from the general public.
GROM conducts counter-insurgency operations as well as rescue operations, including hostage recovery. They are highly skilled in weapons and medicine and are proficient in a range of military specialties, including diving, pyrotechnics, amphibious insertion, parachuting, and vehicle management. GROM lives up to its name when it comes to combating war criminals.
|Motto(s)||“Strength and Honor! For you, Fatherland!”|
4. Spetsnaz, Russia
Spetsnaz are the special forces of Russia, which are trained to conduct a wide range of military and intelligence operations. These units are among the best special forces in the world because of their advanced training and skill levels. The Spetsnaz have played an important role in many of Russia’s conflicts and military operations, including in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. They are also active in providing security at major events and providing security and protection of Russian interests abroad.
Some of the key capabilities of Spetsnaz include reconnaissance and direct action. They are also trained in infiltration, sabotage, and psychological warfare. They can operate independently, in small units, or in conjunction with other branches of the military to accomplish their mission objectives. They have a wide range of equipment, including advanced small arms, specialized vehicles and boats, and sophisticated communications systems.
The most well-known Spetsnaz units include the GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) Spetsnaz and the VDV (Airborne Troops) Spetsnaz. Additionally, many Military district has their own designated Spetsnaz, like the FSB Spetsnaz, for example.
|Role||Special operations, Direct action, Special reconnaissance|
|Headquarters||Kubinka-2, Moscow region|
|Motto(s)||“Only stars are above us!”|
5. Snow Leopard Commando Unit, China
This is a special ops unit of the People’s Republic of China, formerly known as the Snow Wolf Commando Unit, named for the perseverance and toughness of arctic wolves and their capacity to live in hostile environments. In order to prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, they spent five years in secret training to handle riot control, anti-hijacking, and bomb disposal.
During cooperative exercises, they have trained alongside Russian special task force troops with the sole goal of preserving peace and stability. The unit takes great satisfaction in its members’ quickness and precision with a gun, strength and endurance, and attitude of self-sacrifice.
Before undertaking physical and psychological examinations, each candidate must serve in the People’s Armed Police for a period of one to two years. They may be best in close-quarters combat and martial arts, but their sniper squadron shouldn’t be underrated.
|Type||Police tactical unit & special forces|
|Role||Air Assault, Bomb disposal, CBRN defense, Clandestine operation, Counterinsurgency, Executive protection, High-value target, Hostage rescue, HUMINT, Medical evacuation, Mountain warfare, Reconnaissance, Special Operations, Special reconnaissance|
|Motto(s)||“Dare to Win”|
6. Special Air Service (SAS), British
They serve as the foundation for Special Forces around the globe. After the founder spent some time with SAS, even the USA’s Delta Force was established. They are among the best combat forces in the world, and they have received the necessary training to excel in any other endeavor. A SAS squadron is made up of 65 soldiers under the supervision of a major-level commissioned officer.
Their emblem features the well-known saying, “Who dares wins.” US General Stanley McChrystal declared, “Essential” while discussing their part in battling the conflict that followed the war in Iraq.
|Headquarters||Stirling Lines, Herefordshire, England|
|Motto(s)||“Who Dares Wins”|
7. Gruppo di intervento special (GIS), Italy
The Italian Carabinieri’s special forces division is known as the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale (GIS), or Special Intervention Group. GIS was established in 1978 as a police tactical unit by the Carabinieri, a division of the armed forces in charge of both military and civilian law enforcement.
In addition to its job as a police tactical unit, GIS took on a special operations mission in 2004 and developed into a special forces unit, joining the Comando interfere for le Operazioni delle Forze Speciali (COFS)(In English: Joint Special Forces Operational Headquarters).
The group has participated in multiple operations and provided VIP, executive, and dignitary protection security. Since its inception, GIS has earned a reputation for effectiveness and thorough planning. It has also operated and continues to operate in a number of war zones, including the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa, as well as in all nations where Italian diplomatic missions are in danger.
GIS is one of three tactical police groups in Italy, the other two being the Guardia di Finanza’s Antiterrorismo Pronto Impiego (ATPI) and the Polizia di Stato’s Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza (NOCS).
|Motto(s)||“Faithful through the centuries” & “As silent as the night, as fast as the lightning.”|
8. Alpha Group, Russia
The Alpha group is the most ruthless in their group and is an arm of the well-known and dreaded Spetsnaz. It belongs to the Russian Federal Security Service and is an elite standalone subunit of the country’s special forces (FSB). It is assumed that the unit has been given permission to function directly under the supervision and approval of Russia’s highest political leadership.
The Alpha Group was first established in 1974 and has since been involved in a number of high-profile operations, including the storming of a hijacked Aeroflot flight in 1983, the Moscow theater hostage crisis in 2002, and the Beslan school siege in 2004. The Group also played a prominent role in the conflicts of Chechen Wars. They are renowned for their ruthless defeat of the opposition and brutal vengeance.
The unit is additionally referred to as Spetsgruppa “A” because of its distinctive operational tactics. When this group deployed toxic gas to subdue militants during the 2002 Moscow theatre hostage crisis, 129 hostages died. As a result, drawing harsh criticism to the force.
|Country||Soviet Union(1974–1991) & Russia(1991–present)|
|Role||Special operations, Hostage rescue, Law enforcement, Special reconnaissance, Sabotage, Military Intelligence|
|Motto(s)||“To win and return.”|
9. Joint Force Task 2 (JTF2), Canada
This task force, which has only been around for 23 years, has quickly expanded to include several hundred people. They have participated in a number of global flashpoints, including the rescue of captives in Iraq and the pursuit of Serbian snipers in Bosnia.
The military was also in Afghanistan, but they were very careful about what they did there. JTF 2 is a nameless, enigmatic counter-terrorism organization that describes itself as “a scalpel, not a hammer.” This top-tier elite unit makes very little information about its incredibly private operations public.
|Type||Special operations force|
|Headquarters||Ottawa, Ontario (Dwyer Hill)|
|Motto(s)||‘Deeds not words’ & ‘Everywhere.’|
10. The Special Services Group (SSG), Pakistan
Imagine running five miles in just fifty minutes while wearing full gear and marching 36 kilometers in twelve hours. The Special Forces of Pakistan are trained to perform a variety of duties, including those listed above.
SSG training includes demanding physical conditioning, airborne school, a 25-week commando course, and hand-to-hand combat instruction. Only 5% of applicants reportedly make it through the demanding training.
The organization came to light when they stormed a structure and freed more than 35 hostages who were held captive at the army headquarters. The SSG travels where the action is, from flashpoints along the India-Pakistan border to hotspots in Afghanistan to Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
|Role||Special operations, Unconventional warfare, Foreign internal defense, Special reconnaissance, Direct action|
|Headquarters||Ghazi Base, Tarbela, Attock-Punjab|
|Motto(s)||“I am valiant.”|
11. National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, France
One of the most combat-proven groups in the world is Group D’ Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale. The French GIGN responds to terrorist threats or home invasions in a manner resembling that of a SWAT team or Delta Force.
Both the enemy and the GIGN have changed over time. Their goal is to arrive at the scene of an assault as soon as possible and then apprehend or eliminate the perpetrators before they can do more destruction.
When it comes to recruitment, their training program, which is renowned for being harsh, lasts fourteen months. One documentary team watched as a group of 120 potential recruits was reduced to 18 in just two weeks.
One of the top shooting schools in the world, handling weapons, HALO jumps, hand-to-hand combat, diving, survival instruction, and explosive ordnance disposal are all included. Despite being deadly, these guys emphasize fire discipline. They reportedly just received a 6-round, .357 revolver as their official sidearm, so you can know they’ll make the most of each round.
|Type||Police tactical unit & Special Forces|
|Role||Hostage rescue, Protection of VIPs and important sites|
|Headquarters||Satory, Yvelines, France|
|Motto(s)||“Commitment for life”|
12. The Sayeret Matkal, Israel
Israel’s Sayeret Matkal, sometimes known as “Unit 269,” is a highly classified special operations unit with a nearly legendary reputation. Sayeret Matkal has developed a reputation for its in-depth reconnaissance abilities and hostage rescue missions since its founding in 1957. They rely on stealth, striking inconspicuously and in tiny numbers, then dissipating before the enemy notices what has happened.
Perhaps one of its most famous operations was the Entebbe rescue in 1976 when an Air France plane was hijacked carrying 250 passengers from Tel Aviv to Paris. One hundred six hostages remained after the release of the non-Israeli passengers. The rescue operation was planned for a week and carried out in a little more than an hour.
A Mercedes-Benz and a Land Rover were airlifted in with the camouflaged task group. The attackers were eliminated, the local army was infiltrated, and all but four captives were freed. In the assault, one Israeli soldier was the only casualty.
|Role||Special operations, Special reconnaissance, Direct action, Hostage rescue, Military intelligence, Sabotage, Counterintelligence|
|Motto(s)||“Who Dares Wins”|
13. MARCOS, India
The abbreviation MARCOS stands for Marine Commandos. Indian MARCOS is one of the most lethal Special Forces in the world. They are trained in HALO and HAHO and are armed with the greatest assault guns, sniper rifles, and real-time battle equipment.
They get training that is mostly modeled after that of the US Navy SEALs, with additional instruction from the British SAS and required training at the CIJW (Guerrilla warfare) facility in Vairangte. One of the best aspects of their training program is the participants’ high level of enthusiasm and the fact that they receive emotional training in addition to physical training.
Exercise Balance Iroquois 03-1/Vajrstormehar, the Kargil War, Operation Leech, Operation Swan, and many more noteworthy missions have all been completed by MARCOS while operating in complete secrecy. MARCOS, also known as the “Dadhiwalee fauj” (bearded army), are the only Special Forces after US Navy SEALs that are equipped with full-fledged weapons to engage in combat in bodies of water.
|Type||Special Operations Forces|
|Role||Air assault, Airborne force, Amphibious reconnaissance, Amphibious warfare, Close protection, Close-quarters combat, Direct action, Hostage rescue, special operation, Special reconnaissance, Unconventional warfare, Underwater demolition|
|Headquarters||INS Karna, Vishakapatnam, India|
|Motto(s)||“The Few, The Fearless”|
14. Special Forces, USA
The Special Forces of the United States are brutal, as you can imagine. Their symbol is an arrowhead with a saber and three lightning bolts; their motto is “De oppresso liber” (To Liberate the Oppressed); and they are commonly referred to as “the Green Berets” because of their distinctive service headwear, which President Kennedy in the 1960s authorized.
Their snipers are the deadliest assassins, despite the unit being composed of rough and ready troops. This subset of Green Berets spends seven weeks training alongside the United States’ elite military personnel. They are in charge of initiatives such as coalition support, humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, and counterdrug operations.
|Type||Special operations force|
|Role||Unconventional Warfare, Foreign Internal Defense, Direct Action, Counter-Insurgency, Special Reconnaissance, Information Operations, Counterproliferation, Security Force Assistance|
|Headquarters||Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Motto(s)||“To Liberate the Oppressed”|
15. Navy Seals, USA
At last, we have Navy SEALs. The United States Navy SEALs are among the best special operations units available in the world. Those who can’t swim 500 yards in 10 minutes and 30 seconds, do 79 push-ups, 79 sit-ups, 11 pull-ups, and run 1.5 miles in 10 minutes and 20 seconds won’t even be considered for BUD/S training. That’s the cover charge.
SEAL candidates undergo 18 months of pre-deployment training after completing the “brutal” Basic Underwater Demolition, Parachute Jump school, and SEAL Qualification Training.
Direct action combat, special reconnaissance, and the defense of foreign internal territories are just some of the tactics that the Navy SEALs are known to employ.
Navy SEALs have left their mark on every major conflict since the Korean and Vietnam Wars, including in Somalia, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Operation Inherent Resolve, and, of course, with the elimination of Osama bin Laden.
|Type||Special operations force|
|Role||Special operations, Direct action, Special reconnaissance, Amphibious reconnaissance, Unconventional warfare, Hostage rescue, Foreign internal defense, Counter-proliferation, Counter narcotic operations.|
|Headquarters||Naval Amphibious Base Coronado Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek|
|Motto(s)||“The only easy day was yesterday,” “Never out of the fight.” & “It pays to be a winner,”|
Special forces might mean something very different depending on where you go. They are considered the finest fighting force in some countries. Conversely, other nations view them as forces that carry out designated missions. Whatever the exact definition may be, it is certain that the best warriors in the country are seeking recruitment into these forces.
These are the world’s most well-trained, mission-capable, and powerful units. Their selection and training processes are more stringent than those of regular military soldiers since they are tasked with performing tasks linked to unconventional warfare.
The truth is that these teams may never fully reveal their accomplishments to the world, yet their public records are sufficient to command respect on a worldwide scale. Almost every country in the world has at least one special force in its armed forces that takes the most dangerous missions to protect their lands.
The maroon berets have won the international special forces competition five years in a row.