The winged dagger, with the motto "Who Dares Wins", was initially worn on a white beret.
This was later changed to a sandy color.
Origins Of The British SAS
The history of the SAS can be traced back to WWII. The idea was developed by a Captain David Stirling. He thought of the concept while recuperating from a parachute accident in Cairo. The British SAS was created as a desert raiding force to weaken Rommel's North African logistics network. It would also be used to hinder aircraft operations. The first successful SAS operation happened December 1941. Two SAS groups destroyed 61 aircraft at two airfields. Another raid destroyed 27 airplanes. In another operation, 144 men were parachuted with jeeps and supplies into an area close to Dijon, France. The SAS inflicted 7,733 German casualties in Europe. 4,784 prisoners were captured. 700 vehicles were destroyed or captured. 164 railways were cut. Seven trains were destroyed, thirty-three were derailed. David Stirling was knighted in 1990.
Colonel Sir David Stirling
David Stirling was educated at Ampleforth College, and Cambridge University. Stirling joined up when WW11 started. Sterling served in Scots Guards, No. 8 Commando, Layforce. The unit was later disbanded. Sterling took up Parachuting, which was rare at this time. In 1941, Stirling was bed ridden in Cario, Egypt, afer being injured in a parachute accident. During this time, he came up with the idea of a small unit to strike the enemy fast. He proposed the idea to senior officers. Stirling called his new unit "L Detachment Special Air Service". The SAS was born working along side of the LRDG (Long Range Desert Group). During WW 11, Stirling was captured in 1943. Stirling escaped four times, but was caught each time. He was placed in Colditz and later released after the war. It has been said by many, that Stirling was the "most under-decorated soldier of the war". David Sterling was knighted in 1990. He died a few months later at his home in Scotland. He was awarded the OBE and DSO for actions during WWII. He was nicknamed the "Phantom Major" by his peers.
British SAS Selection
Brtish SAS selection is specially designed to break people. Selection is the ultimate testing of endurance and mental strength. Selection comes in 3 phases: Special Forces Briefing Course: Three day class to show potential SAS and SBS recruits what is expected. Includes both class room lectures and physical training. Candadates are shown films and given some insight into Selection. The candidate MUST pass this course to be allowed onto Selection. First three weeks of Selection are mostly held in the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains in Wales. If a soldier fails a test more then twice is "Returned To Unit". During the testing, Soldiers face increases in their weight in their bergens (rucks), and distances become greater. One of the most difficult parts is the "Fan Dance", a march over the Brecons which takes about 4 hours. Another is the "Long Drag", which is held on the last day of the three weeks. The Long Drag is about 40 miles over the Brecons carrying a 55 pound bergen. The passing times range from 20 to 24 hours. Jungle Phase: SAS and SBS soldiers will be integrated into patrols. Rain is almost non-stop. The jungle affects people in different ways. Disease is a constant threat. Escape and Evasion: Soldiers are taught how to live off the land. Escaping is taught. Former "Prisoners Of War" talk to the class. Final Exercise: The men are paired up with other students from other branches and units. They are given only old jackets, ripped pants, and falling apart boots. They are let loose in a large wooded area. They must check in with various check points. A "Hunter Force" is always in pursuit. By the end ALL the recruits are captured. Now they face TQ. Applicants must stick to the "Big 4". After completion the remaining class will go it's separate ways. For the SAS men, they receive the beret and famous "Winged Dagger" beret badge.
SAS In Iraq
Gulf War; SAS teams were inserted deep in Iraq. Their main purpose was to search for mobile Scud launchers. The SAS was to locate the launchers, call in air strikes, or destroy the scuds. Within only 9 days, Scud launches within the SAS area of responsibility had stopped. January 22, 1991: 8 man SAS team was dropped behind Iraqi lines. The team was compromised the next day. The team then attempted to escape to Syria. The team became split up. Of the 8 man team, 3 were killed, 4 were captured, one made it across the Syrian border. 4 members stole a car and drove to within 8 miles of the border before encountering a military checkpoint. They left the car and ran for the border. 2 men were killed during fire fights. one was killed trying to steal a car from Iraqi soldiers. One died from hypothermia. This 8 man team killed around 250 Iraqi soldiers.
The SAS In The Iranian Embassy Siege
Iranian embassy, May, 1980.
Iranian activists opposing Kohmeni's rule, seized the embassy and 26 hostages.
An eight man SAS team rappelled from the roof.
A four man SAS team reached a balcony from adjoining buildings.
A SAS team blew a whole in a previously weakened wall.
All but one activist was killed.
He hid within a group of female hostages who protected him.
British SAS In The Falklands War Just some of the operations of the SAS in the Falklands war include:
SAS teams infiltrated various points for reconnaissance missions.
RN Harriers were guided in at Port Stanley.
The SAS raided an airfield at Pebble island, with 11 aircraft being destroyed.
An Argentine submarine was attacked in Cumberland bay.
The SAS used Stinger Missiles to shoot down low flying Argentinean planes.
The SAS did however also suffer casualties, including, a helicopter carrying SAS soldiers ditched, killing 18 SAS men.
SAS: Peterhead Prison
October 1987: SAS were called in to Peterhead Prison in Scotland.
The Prisoners had taken control of the prison.
No guns were allowed to be used.
The SAS team was armed with long batons.
The SAS pumped smoke and tear gas into the building.
An SAS assault team entered the building through a hole in the ceiling.
At the hole the team used a flash-bang to subdue prisoner.
A prison guard was being held by the prisoners.
The team resqued the officer.
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