These are my top picks for the finest military units in the world. Do you agree or disagree? Post your thoughts here. Also, this is my first experiment with HTML, so hopefully I get this right.
Although GSG-9 is not technically a military unit (they are, in fact, considered German federal policemen), they are just as well-trained as most of the other units on this list. Grenzschutzgruppe 9 was drawn from police instead of the military as German law prohibits military personnel from being used against the civilian populace (which makes sense if one considers pre-WWII Germany, with the SS and brown shirts). This unit was formed to ensure that there would never be another Munich Olympics-style terrorist attack on German soil, and so far it seems to be working. GSG-9 also helped train India's premiere counter-terrorism unit.
Russia's Cold War supermen, Spetsnaz was (is) their rough equivalent to our Marine Corps. They are similar to our Marines in the high level of aggression and skill emphasized in training, but differ in that Spetsnaz's aggression is somewhat unbridled, and their rage is well-known to be a potent battlefield force. Spetsnaz troopers are trained to resist even extremely high levels of pain, and it is rumored that some 300 people have died during the training process. Spetsnaz proved its worth during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as they were one of the only units that the Afghans truly feared and respected. They are trained to move in armored vehicles or helicopters such as the HIND, and can attack in waves or as part of deep-penetrating missions.
Royal Marine Corps (3 Commando Brigade)
The Royal Marines are Britain's equivalent to... guess what... our Marines. They are the UK's specialista in arctic, mountain, and amphibious warfare, and are respected the world over. The 3 Commando Brigade is the elite of the Royal Marines, and are the primary reason that everyone here knows the word "commando" for a special forces-type soldier.This unit is somewhat self-contained, with their own transportation and medical facilities. They have served in all of Britain's conflicts from World War II on, and have frequently extended a helping hand to their biggest ally, the USA. It's nice to have good friends, isn't it?
This unit has enjoyed many spectacular successes over the years-- including their famous behind-the-lines airfield raids in WWII-era Libya (using MG-mounted Jeeps and Land Rovers) and the rescue of British Embassy personnel during the 1980 Iranian siege. Their symbol is not, in fact, a winged dagger, as many think, but a flaming sword, which is a reference to an Arthurian legend. Their motto is "Who Dares Wins". Pretty fitting, I think. Again, it's nice to have good friends and allies.
You know the Israeli counter-terrorism troops have got to be badasses. Sayeret Matkal has been steadily tempered by constant Middle Eastern conflict into one of the best fighting units in the world. Their training, on top of regular Army training, lasts a grueling 20 months, but what emerges are fighting machines. I suppose being surrounded by enemies (except for Egypt now, although we mustn't forget that even Egypt attempted to invade Israel at one time) must provide a unique incentive to learn how to fight well. Their motto, copied from the British SAS (who, along with native Bedouin trackers, helped train many of their initial recruits), is "Who Dares Wins".
Don't mess with Jews. That's the message that the Mossad attempts to send worldwide. They are Israel's rough equivalent of our CIA's SOG. Mossad has been implicated in several assassinations and bombings, and although their methods can oftentimes be crude (even illegal), they are very effective. They recently made international news for using stolen foreign passports and identities in checking into a Dubai hotel where they assassinated an Arab leader. Love them or hate them, you have to respect their creativity and determination, although they sometimes drag the United States into diplomatic spats.
And finally, the Americans
What we lack in manpower, we more than make up for in ability. We may not have millions of faceless peons to create a human wave over an enemy's defenses... but we'll just go around, over, under, or through whatever is thrown in our way.
United States Army Rangers
The U.S. Army Rangers are some of the finest combat troops in the world, and are well-known for being America's airborne elite. Everything from their training to their equipment is top-notch, and they are permitted to wear their patch as part of their uniform. Ranger School (i.e. The School of Hard Knocks) is guaranteed to push a man to the limits of physical performance. Rangers even have a colorful history-- from the Normandy invasion of World War II all the way to the modern Middle Eastern battlefield. Many other countries' elite fighting units were trained by Army Rangers.
United States Marine Corps (Force Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations Teams)
The elite of the elite, MSOR and Force Recon are the best of The Corps. Some of the most feared troops in the world, Marines are known for smashing through any obstacle presented to them and for serving the United States of America in some of the most hellish places known to man.. and winning. Force Reconnaissance is primarily concerned with scouting, whereas MSOR (Marine Special Operations Regiment) is primarily concerned with kicking ass. They are both integral to America's striking power abroad, and although the units are small in comparison with their competitors, such as Spetsnaz, they pack enormous firepower and ability per man.
SOG/Special Operations Group
When the CIA needs to get their hands dirty, they call on the Special Operations Group, of the Special Activities Division, to get it done. SOG is perhaps best-known for operating conjointly with and recruiting from the United States Army Special Forces. Very little of what they have done is known (out of their total number of operations), but you can bet that they've had some pretty harrowing encounters and that they continue to influence the world's geopolitical structure to this day.
U.S. Navy SEALS
The Navy's Sea, Air, and Land teams are the best in the world at underwater operations, and they can put up a hell of a fight out of the water too. Silent, deadly, and feared, SEAL Team 6, which originally received extra training from a few Army SF personnel, is America's preferred covert response to incidents of terrorism at sea. You'll never know they're there... until the knife is pressed against your throat.
U.S. Army Special Forces
Many (most) of the CIA's much-feared SAD (Special Activities Division) personnel were former Special Forces personnel. They earned a reputation for themselves in Vietnam, although their predecessors operated in Korea, and while they have sometimes been notorious rather than famous (mainly due to horror stories from Vietnam), nobody can deny that they are among America's finest soldiers. Love them or hate them, fear them or respect them, it's impossible to deny their covert presence and skill level.
What would a unit of operators drawn from Army Special Forces and Rangers look like? Well, while relatively little concrete information is out there about America's premiere counter-terrorism unit, but what is known should be enough to make any of our enemies shake in their boots. Although there are only estimated to be between 800 and 1000 Delta Force operatives, they pack a disproportionate punch, as well as their own integrated air transport and attack helicopters. The ability to silently strike anywhere in the world at a moment's notice with extremely deadly force is not to be taken lightly.
And, without further ado, the military unit I consider to be the best in the world: U.S. Army Rangers.
The Rangers strike a great balance between numbers and specialized training, and they're well-known enough to make themselves feared by our enemies. Of course... I'm a little biased, since one of my uncles is a Ranger.