You may be familiar with special forces like the US Navy SEALs, but have you ever wondered what special forces look like in other countries? From the German KSK to South Korea’s 707th Special Mission Battalion, the pictures below represent some of the coolest special forces units from around the world. It’s interesting to see the similarities and difference in the uniforms, especially when it’s something really different from what we’re used to seeing.
1. French GIGN
The French GIGN, or National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, is a French special forces unit that specializes in hostage rescue missions and counter-terrorism. They were heavily involved in neutralizing the Charlie Hebdo terrorists that attacked France earlier this year.
2. German KSK
Germany’s Kommando Spezialkräfte, or KSK, is one special forces unit that you definitely don’t want to go up against. This elite unit has received countless decorations from both NATO and the U.S, and are often requested to participate in joint-terror operations. There are many trails to go through before even being selected to undergo KSK training, and only 8% will ever make it to that point.
3. Danish Hunter Corps
Probably the creepiest looking special forces on this list, the Danish Huntsmen Corps are an elite group whose history dates all the way back to 1785. The head cloaks you see in the picture above are worn to confuse enemy eyes by changing the appearance of their silhouette.
4. Irish Army Ranger Wing
The ARW of Ireland is said to consists of roughly 150 very skilled operators, based in based in the Curragh Camp of County Kildare. The unit has only existed since 1980, but have been involved in a lot of international conflicts since its inception.
5. Serbian Gendarmery
Serbia’s Gendarmery is a specialized police force that takes command from Serbia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. They specialize in counter-terrorism, special weapons and protection of government officials.
6. United States Navy Seals
One of the most infamous special forces units in the world, the US Navy Seals (Sea, Air, Land) are among the most elite soldiers in the world. These guys can take care of business in virtually any situation, as they are trained to handle any climate or location.
7. Iraqi ISOF
Funded by Iraq’s Ministry of Defence, the Iraqi Special Operations Forces was created by Coalition forces after the 2003 invasion. Their translates to “May you sleep peacefully in your bed tonight for a mighty sword stands ready to strike fear in the hearts of those who would terrorize us!”
8. British SAS
The British Special Air Services has roots that go back to the second World War. They specialize in reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and counter terrorism.
9. Polish GROM
The Polish GROM is only one of five special operation forces in the Polish Armed Forces, but they known to be the most elite when it comes to counter-terrorism. GROM was modelled after other special forces units like the SAS and the SEAL’s Team Six.
10. Australian SASR
The Australian Special Air Service Regiment was another special forces organization based on the British SAS. The two groups share the same motto, “Who Dares Wins.”
11. Israeli Shayetet 13
The Shayetet 13 are a particular special forces unit within the Israeli Navy. The S13 has been apart of nearly every modern conflict in Israel, and are often compared the United States Navy SEALs in terms of effectiveness.
12. Russian Spetsnaz
Although most associate the term “Spetsnaz” with a special forces unit within the Russian army, in Russia the word Spetsnaz is basically the same as saying “special forces” within any sect of the military or police forces.
13. Austrian Jagdkommando
The Special Forces Operation Group of Austria is the Jagdkommando, a term that roughly translates to “manhunt command.” The unit got its start in the early 1960’s when several Austrian Officers trained at the US Army’s Ranger School so they could set up a similar unit back home.
14. United States MARSOC
Created in 2005 and revealed by Donald Rumsfeld that same year, the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is the Marine Corps contribution to the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
15. Canadian JTF2
The Joint Task Force 2 is an elite special forces unit within the Canadian Forces that specializes in counter terrorism operations.
16. Korean 707th Special Mission Battalion
Nicknamed “White Tiger,” the 707th Special Mission Battalion is South Korea’s primary counter-terrorism force, as well as the their Army’s emergency response team.
17. Norwegian MJK
The Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK) is one of two of Norway’s oldest special forces groups. The forces motto is “Prepare for tomorrow’s threats, today.”