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PostSubject: SBS (Special Boat Service)   SBS (Special Boat Service) Empty1st February 2009, 12:29 pm

SBS (Special Boat Service) ThSBS_badge

Special Boat Service
The SBS is the special forces unit of the British Naval Service. Their motto is "By Strength and Guile". It forms part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) group.
The SBS is an independent unit of the Royal Marines based at Royal Marines Poole, in Poole, Dorset, co-located with 1 Assault Group Royal Marines and 148 Commando Forward Observation Battery, Royal Artillery

The Special Boat Service was the brain-child of an East African big-game hunter called Roger Courtney who had spent much of the 1930s canoeing from Lake Victoria down the Nile and into Egypt. He came to England at the outbreak of World War II determined to persuade the Royal Navy to use the flimsy, wood framed canoes. Although the Royal Navy dismissed his idea, he was determined to prove that using the canoe can allow a small force to infiltrate silently and plant explosives on ships.
The challenge they set was for him to paddle out to HMS Glengyle and plant a limpet mine on its hull. Courtney was able to infiltrate the ship without being seen in his canoe and plant the limpet mine. This demonstration impressed the Royal Navy and heralded the beginning of the Special Boat Service.
Initially the SBS was called the SSRF - Small Special Raiding Force which ws a commando unit raised by the British Army during the Second World War. Initiated by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations, in February/March 1942 to be a permanent "amphibious sabotage force" of fifty men directly under his command, the force was actually a reclassification of the Maid Honor Force already formed by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The title coming from the Brixham trawler named Maid Honor which the SOE requisitioned and substantially armed and converted.
Mountbatten negotiated control of the SSRF which remained within SOE based on Station 62 Anderson Manor near Blandford. while being under operational control of Combined Operations Headquarters and with the cover name of "No.62 Commando" which was formed in 1941. Major Gus March-Phillips continued to lead the force and be its main inspiration, as Major Geoffrey Appleyard remained its second in command. Both men formed the original "Maid Honor Force" when specially chosen for that duty by Brigadier Colin Gubbins the military head of SOE, from B Troop of No. 7 Commando.Captain Graham Hayes MC, became the third member of the force, having sailed from Australia on the Windjamer "Pommern".
In 1943 George Jellicoe, (2nd Earl Jellico) was named Commander of the Special Boat Regiment Middle East and he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. For the remainder of the war his SBS command conducted secretive and dangerous operations along the coast of Italy and Yugoslavia. In 1944 he won the MC for one of these actions. At the end of the war Jellico was among the first Allied soldiers to enter German-occupied Athens, beating the communist-controlled guerrillas ELAS to create a pro-Allied presence in the capital. He was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards before joining No. 8 (Guards) Commando with whom he sailed to the Middle East with Colonel Bob Lacock's Lay force, whose Commando officers included Evelyn Waugh, Randolph Churchill, Philip Dunne, Carol Mather, David Stirling and many distinguished others. Served with L Detachment which was the nucleus of the SAS
The SSRF used HM MTB 344 ,a Motor Torpedo Boat colloquially nicknamed The Little Pisser from its outstanding turn of speed, and conducted a number of raids by sea from Britain including Operation Aquatint in September 1942 on the Normandy coast, where most of the 11 men on the raid were killed or captured
Despite No.62 Commando being made a larger force thereafter, the SSRF was absorbed into the Special Boat Squadron. And after Operation Pussyfoot in April 1943, the Chiefs of Staff curtailed their raiding operations following "clashes of interests" objections from the SOE and the Secret Intelligence Service ("MI6"). Appleyard and Lassen went to the Mediterranean, where Appleyard helped to shape the new 2 Special Air Service which was commanded by William Stirling the brother of David Sterling and founder of the SAS whilst Paddy Main David Stirlings 21/c took charge of 1 SAS later to be redesignated as the Special Raiding Force. which evolved from a Detachment of No. 62 Commando under the command of Bill Stirling the elder brother of David Stirling founder of the SAS,
The Special Boat Section was formed from a Troop of HQ Lay force in the Middle East and was sometimes known as '1 SBS'. In 1942, the personnel were subsumed within 1 Special Air Service Regiment and formed part of 'D' Squadron, subsequently retiled the "Special Boat Squadron"; as such they adopted the cap badge and tan beret of the SAS. A second Special Boat Section was raised in 1943 in the United Kingdom for service with the Special Service Brigade (subsequently re-titled Commando Brigade) as '2 SBS'. As a British Commando formation, personnel of 2 SBS wore the Commando Green beret. The Special Boat Squadron of 1 SAS became an independently operating squadron and was subsequently expanded to regimental status as the Special Boat Service continuing to wear their parent regiment cap badge and beret.
In 1946, the SAS parentage of the SBS was disbanded. The functional title SBS was adopted by the Royal Marines. It became part of the School of Combined Operations under the command of "Blondie" Hasler. Their first missions were in Palestine (ordnance removal) and in Haifa (limpet mine removal from ships). In 1977, the SBS changed its name to Special Boat Squadron and in 1987, renamed Special Boat Service, it became part of the British Special Forces group alongside the Special Air Service and 14 Intelligence Company.

Special Boat Service (SBS) - UK Special Forces
The Royal Navy's Special Boat Service (SBS) is the lesser-known sister unit of the British Army's Special Air Service (SAS) regiment.
Based in Poole, Dorset, the SBS is a special forces unit which specializes in special operations at sea, along coastlines and on river networks. The SBS also have a team on standby for maritime counter-terrorism (MCT) operations.
Whilst the unit specializes in water-borne activities, they are also highly skilled on dry land. Recent operations have taken place in the mountains of land-locked Afghanistan and deep in the deserts of Iraq. Previously known as the Special Boat Squadron and exclusively drawn from The Royal Marines, the SBS is now open to members of other regiments and services from throughout the UK military.
The Special Boat Service is organized into 4 regular squadrons : C, X, M & Z.
C & X Squadron - the 2 'green' SBS squadrons are specialized in amphibious techniques but can carry out a range of operations on dry land
M Squadron - specializing in maritime counter-terrorism (MCT)
Z Squadron - experts in the use of mini-subs and surface boats
For reasons of security, the exact number of regular, active SBS ranks is not made public, however the number is speculated to be between 200 & 250.
Other elements within the SBS include:

Training Wing.
Carries out all training not covered by an SBS recruit's initial continuation training with the SAS.

Operational Research & Development
Like the SAS Operations Research Cell, this special sub-unit of the SBS is responsible for developing and evaluating equipment and procedures that to pertain to the SBS's role. This may include things like the development of waterproof flash bangs for the MCT role or testing a new SDV.
A reserves element, SBS(R) augments the regular SBS, with individual SBS(R) members working integrated into regular SBS formations..
SBS Command Structure
The Special Boat Service is usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel.
Whilst technically part of the Naval Service (Royal Marines and Navy) order of battle (ORBAT), the SBS comes under the umbrella of United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF), commanded by the Director Special Forces (DSF). UKSF is a directorate that combines several units under one command structure. The SBS, along with the British Army's 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) are the so-called 'tier one' special forces. Tier one special forces are supported by 21 and 23 SAS (reserves), the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), 18(UKSF) signals and the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing (JSFAW).
Each SBS squadron is commanded by an Officer, usually a Royal Marines Major or Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander. Recent reports have stated that a lack of Officers from the Naval Service wishing to command SBS units has led to a number of SAS Officers being drafted in.
Squadrons are organized into 16-man Troops, each usually commanded by a Captain. Troops are often broken down into 4-man patrols, 2-man canoe teams or 8-man teams

Roles Of The SBS
The end of the cold war and the beginning of the global war on terror, have redefined the roles of special forces, including both the SAS and SBS. A new special unit, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) has been created to perform covert surveillance operations, freeing the SAS & the SBS up for more direct combat actions. This, along with the formation of the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG), consisting of Paratroopers, Royal Marine Commandos & RAF Regiment Troops specially trained to support the SAS/SBS, indicates the emphasis the UK armed forces is now putting on special operations. The so-called 'asymmetric warfare' of the 21st century means that UK special forces are busier than ever

Beach & Shore Reconnaissance
One of the main roles of the SBS is to survey and recon the beaches and shoreline prior to amphibious landings by main forces (usually Royal Marines). Not only must they report on the numbers and disposition of any nearby enemy, they must also survey the approaches to the beaches to ensure they are suitable for a landing. Special devices are used to measure the gradient of the beaches. The consistancy of the sand is examined to ensure it can support the weight of the various landing craft and vehicles that will transverse the beach.

Covert Operations
Perhaps more so than the higher profile SAS, the shadowy SBS are well suited for so called 'black ops' : deniable operations that would be too controversial for official recognition. Britain's Secret Intelligence Services (SIS), such as MI6, may occasionally have a use for men with the qualities of an SBS operator. Such men might temporarily 'leave' the military to work for a front company of the SIS. Whilst precise details of the activities that an SBS man 'on holiday' may perform are unknown, one can speculate that they include:
Inciting unrest and revolution amongst the populations of hostile countries
Assisting foreign 'freedom fighters'
Terminating 'undesirables' or 'dangerous' individuals (anyone from national leaders, to nuclear scientists, to enemy agents)
Secretly training foreign militaries
Ferrying secret agents or sensitive materials in and out of countries
For some time now there has been speculation that the SIS draws, on demand, the cream of UK Special Forces operators away from their regiments to form a unit known as 'The Increment'. This ultra-secret unit is supposedly specially trained for black operations and acts as the SIS's secret army. Naturally, no official recognition of such a unit has been given.

Special Boat Service commandos are trained to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines and carry out sabotage missions against vital enemy installations such as ammo dumps, bridges and communications installations.
Movement into the target area could be by boat, submarine, Klepper canoe, helicopter or by HALO/HAHO parachute drop. Their expertise with waterborne infiltration makes the SBS well suited for attacking coastal installations such as enemy ports and radar stations.
SBS operators have carried out sabotage missions right from the start of their inception during World War 2 and as recently as the 1st Gulf War.

Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT)
As the UK's naval special operations unit, The Special Boat Service has the responsibility of responding to the threat of terrorism against any of the UK's maritime interests. Over the years, the specialised SBS MCT unit, M Squadron, has developed methods of rescuing hostages on oil rigs, cruise ships and cross-channel ferries. When one considers the prospect of mounting a rescue operation against a North Sea oil rig from the freezing cold seas below, one can speculate that the SBS sometimes has a more challenging task on their hands than their SAS colleagues!
The SBS regularly practice assaults on all kinds of vessels and installations. MCT operations usually involve simultaneous assaults from the air and sea. Chinooks from RAF Special Forces flights and/or Seakings/Lynx helicopters from the Commando Helicopter force are used to deliver SBS MCT teams onto target. SBS snipers aboard Lynx helicopters will often be used to cover maritime assaults. A selection of rigid inflatable boats are used to assault ships and oil rigs from the water.
The SBS also practices with the SAS for large-scale operations for which the one SAS squadron on anti-terrorist alert would not be sufficient. Such scenarios include a terrorist takeover of a Nuclear Power station or the simultaneous takeover of multiple sites.

Anti-Shipping Tasks
A specialty of the SBS involves sabotaging ships and harbor installations. Canoeists, swimmers or divers infiltrate the target areas, sometimes with the assistance of mini-subs and swimmer delivery vehicles. Once on target, the operators attach magnetic limpet mines to the ship's hulls. The fuses on the mines are time delayed to enable the SBS saboteurs to withdraw to a safe distance.
One such mission was planned against a merchant ship docked in a foreign port during the Falklands war (1982). It was believed that the ship was carrying French-made Exocet anti-ship missiles, bound for Argentina. The mission was scrubbed at the very last minute.
The SBS can also be used to attack ships at sea, boarding hostile ships either from fast rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) or 'fast-roping' down from helicopters.
Such attacks are less likely in these days of the global war on terror although the various clandestine methods of infiltrating harbours may still be used to plant tracking devices to suspect vessels.

Drug Interdiction
The capabilities and methods they have developed for the MCT role make the SBS uniquely suited to boarding potentially hostile drug-running cargo ships on the high seas. On such missions they have worked side by side with HMS customs officials and, on at least one occasion, assisted S019, the Met Police firearms team.
The SBS employ the same techniques and wear the same gear as they do for the Maritime Counter-terrorism role when intercepting drug-runners. To date, wisely, apon finding their vessels swarming with heavily-armed, black-clad SBS operators, smugglers have all given up without resistance.
Towards the end of the 20th century, the role of the SBS was expanded to include anti-drug smuggling operations. The unit had spent years developing the dangerous art of storming hostile ships at sea for the Maritime Counter-Terrorist role. The increasing likelihood of armed smugglers being prepared to protect their cargos with force meant that Customs & Excise needed suitably trained armed support on interception missions.
The following are accounts of some known SBS drug busts.

23rd November 1992
In its first known operation of this kind, the SBS assisted the Met's firearms team, S019, in making the bust. 'Fox Trot Five' a 300 tonne utility vessel suspected of carrying drugs from Columbia, had traveled up the Thames and moored by a London warehouse. Both the ship and the warehouse had been under police surveillance. Eventually, several suspects were observed handling suspicious cargo in the warehouse.
It was then that the police decided to move in. As a JCB rammed through the front gates of the warehouse yard, followed by armed police and Customs officials, 2 RIBs carrying SBS and S019 officers accelerated across the Thames. Using caving ladders. the SBS & S019 boarded Fox Trot Five. Whilst the SBS secured the bridge, S019 officers searched the rest of the ship. Fox Trot Five was empty - no crew or illicit materials were on board. Their colleagues on dry land had better luck, however. 1.1 tonnes of Cocaine worth £200 million was found in the warehouse.
The success of the operation formed strong bonds between the SBS, Police and Customs & Excise; a partnership that would result in a number of further operations.

5th May 1997
This was a difficult operation for the SBS, as several of the suspected smugglers were serving and ex Royal Marines, including at least one coxswain that had been attached to the SBS. These men knew Royal Navy tracking and SBS ship boarding procedures well and the fear was that would be able, willing and prepared to repel boarders. In addition, it was believed that vital information on SBS movements were being leaked from within the organization and any anti-drug operation would have to be disguised as an exercise.
UK customs had several suspected members of the smuggling ring under surveillance. They were believed to be using a 277 tonne, Maltese-registered ship, the Simon de Danser, to smuggle cannabis from Morocco to the UK. A contingent of SBS was put aboard the Royal Navy Type 42 destroyer, HMS York, which shadowed the suspect vessel for 5 weeks.
With the ship off the coast of Portugal, Customs made the controversial decision to intercept it. HMS York launched the SBS raiding party on several RIBs. SBS commandos, followed by Customs Officers stormed the Simon de Danser. Leaping from their RIBs onto the deck of the ship, the SBS took the bridge and then cleared the crew compartments, using flash-bang stun grenades. The crew, including the Marines, were taken by complete surprise and were arrested without putting up any resistance. Cannabis with an estimated street value of 14.5 million pounds was found on board.
Despite the success of the operation itself, all those arrested were later set free following their trial when the defense successfully argued that there was no proof that the drug-laden ship was on course for British shores.


From the Telegraph, published: 12:01AM GMT 22 Nov 2002

“SBS in Caribbean drug raids
Nearly five tons of cocaine, much of it destined for Britain, has been intercepted on boats in the Caribbean during armed operations led by British investigators.
At least six seizures have taken place in recent months, most involving Navy vessels thought to have been carrying members of the Special Boat Service. They are part of a drive against Jamaican gangs who control the flow of cocaine to the US, Britain and Europe.
It was also revealed yesterday that the Metropolitan Police has increased patrols involving Armed Response Vehicles in Haringey, north London, following violence involving Turkish criminals. Turkish gangs are heavily involved in the heroin trade.”

Operations the SBS have or are involved in.

The first true SBS engagement took place in Palestine with ordnance removal in Haifa (limpet mine removal from ships).

During the Korean War (1950-1953), the SBS were in action along the North Korean coast. They gathered intelligence and destroyed railways and installations. The SBS operated first from submarines, and later from islands off Wonsan, behind enemy lines. They used two-man canoes and motorised inflatable boats.

Duriing 1952, SBS teams were held at combat readiness in Egypt in case Gamal Abdel Nasser's coup turned more violent than it did. The SBS were also alerted during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and coup against king Idris I of Libya (1959), but in both cases they did not see action.

During 1961, SBS teams carried out reconnaissance missions during the Indonesian Confrontation and gathered intelligence and trained other special forces during the Vietnam War.[citation needed]. In the same year, Iraq threatened to invade Kuwait for the first time, and the SBS put a detachment at Bahrain.

1972: The SAS and SBS came into the spotlight for a moment during their involvement with a bomb threat (which later proved to be a hoax) onboard the Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth II, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

1979: 5 SBS became part of the Comacchio Company, which protected North Sea oil rigs.

1982 March-June: In the Falklands War, 2 SBS took part in the liberation of South Georgia and 6 SBS reconnoitered in East Falkland. Their only losses were to friendly fire from the SAS.

1991: During the Gulf War, the SBS made raids on the Kuwaiti coast to draw Iraqi troops away from the land attack. The liberation of the British embassy in Kuwait was one of their most high-profile operations.

September 1999: The SBS were involved in operations in East Timor. A small SBS team landed and drove out the back of a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft in Land Rover Defenders with mounted machine guns at Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport in Dili.

2001, November: The SBS had an extensive role in the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. After the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan became the primary area of responsibility of the SBS and the SAS concentrated on Iraq. The SBS were used in vital phases of the invasion of Afghanistan. A small SBS contingent secured Bagram Airbase prior to the deployment of larger forces that would become the main staging area for allied forces during Operation Enduring Freedom. Members of the Special Boat Service helped quell an Afghan prison revolt during the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi near Mazar-i-Sharif, in November 2001. During the revolt, a CIA officer, Mike Spann, from the secretive Special Activities Division, was the first American killed in the Global War on Terror and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Late 2001: After British Intelligence services became concerned over a cargo ship approaching the English coast. A tip off was received that the ship, the MV Nisha, may have be carrying 'terrorist material' along with its stated cargo of sugar. This, combined with the fact that the freighter's route from Mauritius was preceded by a stop at Djibouti, close to suspected Al-Qaeda havens of Somalia and Yemen, caused an unprecedented security operation to be launched. Members of the SBS boarded the intercepted vessel. After being boarded, the vessel was searched but nothing suspicious was found.

2003: The SBS took part in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This may have included securing the various dams and oil platforms to prevent sabotage by Iraqi forces. Corporal Ian Plank was killed when his patrol was engaged by Iraqi insurgent during a house to house search for a wanted high ranking militia leader.
2006, 27 June: Captain David Patten PARA and Sergeant Paul Bartlett, Royal Marines, were killed and another serviceman seriously injured in a Taliban ambush in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.[16] It was reported by some sources that the ambushed vehicle was part of an SBS patrol and further sources reported that it was a special forces patrol.

2007, 12 May: A joint British Special Boat Service (SBS) and Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) team killed Taliban leader Mullah Dadullah in Helmand province after a raid on a compound where his associates were meeting.

2008 - British SBS were involved in the rescue and recovery in Afghanistan of two Italians thought to be members of the SISMI (Italian Military Intelligence and Security Service). However, one hostage was killed (Corporal Lorenzo D'Auria) and the other two injured although not seriously during the operation[citation needed].
2009 - The Special Boat Service were part of an assault element that was tasked in destroying an IED bomb factory located in an old hill fort in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Around 500 of the home-made devices and killed 21 insurgents in an attack on a Taliban bomb factory in an old hill fort.
9 September 2009 A Joint UK Special Forces element were tasked to extricate former New York Times news journalist Stephen Farrell and his interpreter Sultan Munadi who had been taken hostage by Taliban Militia and being held in a house in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan. Farrell was successfully rescued but his interpreter Sultan Munadi and a member from the Special Forces Support Group Corporal John Harrison were killed during the operation

In recent Afghanistan operations, the SBS has reportedly been operating in larger teams, sometimes at full Squadron strength.
The SBS has been very active in Afghanistan in 2007. With the Special Air Service assigned to Task Force Black in Iraq, the SBS has been focused on special operations in Afghanistan, mostly in the South. In May of 2007, C Squadron, assisted by the US's secretive 'Task Force Orange', struck a blow against the Taliban Leadership

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