The S.A.S. or Special Air Service, is a Special Operations Organisation of the British Army. It was founded in 1941 to attack behind the German line of defence in North Africa, in World War II. They are one of the best schooled units in the world, that makes them very valuable. There are about 500 active SAS soldiers.
The SAS is a secret organisation. Its members often do not tell anyone except close family that they are in it. The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) rarely speaks of the SAS and mission details are never released until much later.
The badge of the organisation is a knife with wings. It shows the motto: Who Dares Wins.
Current SAS roles include:
- Gathering intelligence behind enemy lines.
- Destroying targets far behind enemy lines.
- Protecting The Royal Family, and important government members.
- Training special forces of other nations.
- Performing counter-terrorism operations.
The SAS is thought of all over the world as one of the best, if not the best Special Operations organisations. This is mainly because of the intense training they are put through. The hardest part of this is intense interrogation (questioning while under torture) which the trainees must go through.
The SAS is respected worldwide and used to train many other Special Forces Units. Several special operations units are modeled after the SAS. For example, the U.S. Army's Delta Force was founded due in large part to Charles Beckwith, a U.S. Army special operations officer, serving as an exchange officer with the SAS. He felt that the U.S. Army was vulnerable in not having a unit comparable to the SAS.
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- On 31 July 1947, the 21st Battalion, SAS Regiment, (Artists Rifles) (Territorial Army) was formed. This was followed on 16 July 1952, when the 22 SAS Regiment was formed and the 23 Special Air Service Regiment (Territorial Army) was formed in February 1958.
- Ryan, p.216
- Moreton, Cole (11 November 2007). "Lord Guthrie: 'Tony's General' turns defence into an attack". The Independent. London. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
- Ryan, Chris 2009. Fight to Win. Century. ISBN 978-1-84605-666-6