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Discussion on Indian Special Forces

The Military Issues & History Forum is a venue to discuss issues relating to the military aspects of the Indian Armed Forces, whether the past, present or future. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Bharat-Rakshak.com Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 14 Apr 2016 15:28

If you have seen "Western" Combat Body Armour it is designed to protect your Vital Areas on the Chest and sits high on the Mid-riff. Plenty of room for a Bullet to hit the Stomach.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Shameek » 17 Aug 2016 02:09

Discovery Programme on Special Forces
On Independence Day, the television channel Discovery India has launched a new show on how India’s paratroopers are made. The trailer of India’s Paratroopers – Earning the Badge is meant to inspire awe about the prowess of the men who go through an intense six months of gruelling probation to make the cut.

There’s just one problem with the video: the men shown in it are not paratroopers. They belong to the Special Forces units who, although a part of the Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment, were never paratroopers to begin with. At the heart of this grand obfuscation lies a tragic tale of a forcible marriage and the abuse of a much-cherished nomenclature that has haunted India’s military capabilities for decades. Discovery India’s inability to distinguish the Special Forces from the routine paratroopers furthers that deliberate attempt to obliterate identities, which are detrimental to the rich legacy and history of India’s Special Forces.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Mollick.R » 18 Aug 2016 20:36

I missed the episode, was travelling.
Can any member provide a download link ?
Thanks in Advance.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Rahul M » 18 Aug 2016 21:39

I keep on dreaming that Meghdoot Force will be resurrected one day; and SF will be moved under it from paras.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby pkudva » 19 Aug 2016 17:03

Can some one share the link of Discovery channel documentary on Indian Special Forces. I missed it.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Lalmohan » 19 Aug 2016 18:04

slightly OT but the book "battle at sangshak" recounts the formation of the indian para brigade and their first blooding at sangshak - a side battle to kohima/imphal which basically held up the japanese for several days and prevented their concentrating on schedule for the main battle

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby pattnayak » 20 Aug 2016 10:55

Hi everyone
so glad BRF is back. Felt lost for a while. Thank you to everyone who worked hard to get it up and running again. Thankfully my id was not lost.

For those who missed the Discovery special on Indian Special Forces, here are the links

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Part 4:


Part 5:


Credits to the original youtube poster for recording and posting it online. Don't know how long the links will stay up though.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 20 Aug 2016 11:05

Thanks pattnayak for finding the links. As a reference point the Documentary follows 23 "Probies" for Selection into their first 3 month Probation. Post This probation they earn the SF tab - next round of Probation earns them the Balidan.

Interestingly even in the first Probation these boys are going through Level I Language Training alongside Assault Courses, Demolition, Navigation. All this whiles in excruciating physical discomfort. The 3x 1.8km Circuts left me quiet uneasy lol. IMO that seemd worse than the 100km Fast Tab

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Rahul M » 20 Aug 2016 17:29

thanks a lot pattnayak !

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Mollick.R » 20 Aug 2016 18:08

Thanks a lot pattnayak Saar
Jingo Khush Huaa.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby vikassh » 20 Aug 2016 19:47

After watching the videos, there was one face that was coming to my mind again and again as if I've seen that face earlier. A google search lead me to this pic. I think it has been posted on BRF as well some where.

http://s55.photobucket.com/user/sniperz11/media/Jawanops.jpg.html

And thanks a TON for posting the videos.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby pkudva » 21 Aug 2016 19:14

Thanks.I was literally struggling to get the Links from last week.
The way I could see them Train ( Only which were shown on Discovery) except the confidential ones showed how strong mentally and physically they become.

Secondly, I loved when one of the Training Officers say" when enemies come to know that SF are there then literally see God.That is the terror in their Mind about SF"

Felt Pride in them while they spoke to live a Life for the Country. Thanks ones again.

Jai Hind!!!

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Kashi » 22 Aug 2016 19:13

Some unconfirmed and conflicting reports on a Para-SF strike inside Myanmar

#Nagaland: Indian Army Para troopers hit an NSCN-K camp located inside #Myanmar, near Throilu village of Mon district.

Kunal Biswas at DFI has some interesting details on this "operation"

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Karthik S » 22 Aug 2016 19:21

Seems to be the operation that happened few days back. No news of it in the public. Some in DFI claiming we lost 4 5 para troopers.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Kashi » 22 Aug 2016 19:24

Karthik S wrote:Seems to be the operation that happened few days back. No news of it in the public. Some in DFI claiming we lost 4 5 para troopers.


Actually it was NSCN-K that claimed that we had lost 4-5 Paras (they made similar claims after last year's raid as well). Army and Assam rifles have denied it.

Kunal Biswas on DFI too says that no troops were lost, but the operation had to be aborted since the local and some in national media media (tipped off by Khaplang group) jumped the gun on a possible raid into Myanmar.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Vatsal » 22 Aug 2016 23:21

I am new to the forums. After seeing the videos on Para (Special Forces), I realised that in the firing range, a large cutout of a pakistani ranger commando was used as target

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... oldier.jpg

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Raja Bose » 24 Aug 2016 18:08

Did the ones passing the probation eat the glass they were drinking out of?! :shock:

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 24 Aug 2016 19:06

Raja Bose wrote:Did the ones passing the probation eat the glass they were drinking out of?! :shock:


Yes! I also had to take a re-look what I thought I saw... :P

Seemed unnecessary to me after all they'd been through.

On a side note, how many know that probation in the early days when we had only 03 Para Commando battalions was SIX months?

Not taking anything away from the folks who graduated in the video after 3 months of such tough probation, some would not have lasted the balance 3 months.

Remember my father's Commanding Officer, a doctor, who had done the 6 month probation and served as Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) with 10 Para Cdo. Even had a Urologist who at one time was RMO of one of the Para Cdo battalions. Not to forget few crack-head doctors who served with Para Cdo, SFF and SG!

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby manjgu » 24 Aug 2016 20:10

i think they have to break the glass not eat it

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 25 Aug 2016 12:34

Not taking anything away from the folks who graduated in the video after 3 months of such tough probation, some would not have lasted the balance 3 months.

Remember my father's Commanding Officer, a doctor, who had done the 6 month probation and served as Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) with 10 Para Cdo. Even had a Urologist who at one time was RMO of one of the Para Cdo battalions. Not to forget few crack-head doctors who served with Para Cdo, SFF and SG!


IMO Things havnt changed actually. AFAIK the Process is Selection > Probation 1 (SF Tab) > "Probation" 2 (Balidan). You still have RTU's between Prob 1 and Prob 2

"Prob 2" while not officially called as such, should Last 9 months if no combat deployment - 3 months if deployed in a combat Zone. Given Kashmir and NE most Probation is usually 3 months. Total time in probabtion (to earn Balidan ) is 6 months and 12 months depending on operational status.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby JE Menon » 25 Aug 2016 22:53

They ate it. Not all, but broken off pieces.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Sid » 25 Aug 2016 23:02

I think I saw similar glass eating ceremony by Spetsnaz GRU graduates. Cannot trace the video of course.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 26 Aug 2016 00:56

rkhanna wrote: IMO Things havnt changed actually. AFAIK the Process is Selection > Probation 1 (SF Tab) > "Probation" 2 (Balidan). You still have RTU's between Prob 1 and Prob 2

"Prob 2" while not officially called as such, should Last 9 months if no combat deployment - 3 months if deployed in a combat Zone. Given Kashmir and NE most Probation is usually 3 months. Total time in probabtion (to earn Balidan ) is 6 months and 12 months depending on operational status.


Nope.

The original probation to test whether you made the cut as SF operative was 6 months. The peace and operational deployment thing to earn the Balidan badge came later. The training continued even much further.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Surya » 26 Aug 2016 01:46

the original SF guys scoff at the 3 months

3 months is where you really start falling apart and then its that extra which gets you through next 2.5 months

ohhh but the great para jernails thought that was too much :P

to rohit point even the unit pujari had to run the ragda

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Singha » 26 Aug 2016 08:47

this is like old IITs vs new IITs/NITs and the "brand dilution" debate. crusty old timers decrying how bad the mess food was and how they had to solve the entire Loney trigonometry book end to end and write code on 8 bit machines while newbies have it easy with CCday, food courts on campus , even a GF for some , internet in rooms :wink:

need of the hour is large airmobile brigades(US ranger)/101st airborne and one cannot be too particular about who is delta class and who is not.
mass is what we need urgently. turkey & south korea have more airmobile units and assets than us probably.

kidnapping lashkar emir type critters is best done by black ops units best kept out of the natgeo/discovery circuit .... what we saw is enough to scare most people off :)

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rohitvats » 26 Aug 2016 13:56

Singha wrote:this is like old IITs vs new IITs/NITs and the "brand dilution" debate. crusty old timers decrying how bad the mess food was and how they had to solve the entire Loney trigonometry book end to end and write code on 8 bit machines while newbies have it easy with CCday, food courts on campus , even a GF for some , internet in rooms :wink:

need of the hour is large airmobile brigades(US ranger)/101st airborne and one cannot be too particular about who is delta class and who is not.
mass is what we need urgently. turkey & south korea have more airmobile units and assets than us probably.

kidnapping lashkar emir type critters is best done by black ops units best kept out of the natgeo/discovery circuit .... what we saw is enough to scare most people off :)


Singha, absolutely valid point.

And it is a back-handed complement to what Surya said. Every SF officer is saying the same thing - SF is not about quantity but quality. What is happening in our case is that we're mass converting Para battalions into Para SF.

Better way is to convert the whole Para Regiment into Ranger style formation which serves as intermediary between line infantry and SF. Today, SF is being used to do tasks which better trained line infantry or para battalions can do. And it is exactly because of this wrong usage, Para generals felt that all Para battalions are up to task for conversion to SF.

In our case, what is required is a regiment on Ranger style. Guys who can undertake small team and large unit actions. One option is to train the whole Para Regiment to this level. Other is to create a new regiment and get every Infantry Regiment to contribute one battalion worth of troops to this regiment.

Give each Corps HQ one Ranger battalion for action within its AOR (13 odd battalions) and create a reserve of 3-4 units under JSOC kind of structure. SF should be separated from Para Regt and placed under JSOC. Given our geography and threat matrix, we need about 10-12 Para SF battalions. BTW, I like the old name - Para Commando. Call them Parachute Commando Regiment.

Ranger Regiment feeds men to SF as well as its parent regiment. And it becomes support element for SF. UK created a Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) comprising of one para battalion, The RAF regiment and The Royal Marines. These guys provide the muscle and additional troops to support SAS.

My ideal SF structure for India is:

Joint Special Operations Command

1. Tier 1 (this forms the core which is tasked for national/international tasks)

a. Special Group - draws men from army (higher percentage from Para SF, Ranger, Para and then infantry)
b. MARCOS Detachment
c. Garud Detachment
d. NSG

Support infra:
a. C-130J squadron
b. Detachment of long range jets for NSG
c. 4 x Helicopter Units (for west, east, north & south - with each unit training for its terrain type. Southern unit can come from IN)

2. Tier 2

a. 1 x Para SF battalion on rotation basis to JSOC
b. 2 x Ranger Battalions on rotation basis to JSOC
These two battalions are tasked to support Tier 1 unit and handle any other exigency on their own. They don't have geography specific role
c. Para Cdo Regiment
d. Garud Regiment
e. MARCOS

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 26 Aug 2016 15:44

@rohitvats

I like your structure. Few of suggestions.

1. Infra Support needs to have to certain level of ISR infrastructure (long range drones) | An Attack Helo Formation (can be WSI Dhruvs) that trains / lives and breathes with Special Ops Aviators and Men that get deployed on the ground -

2. ISA equivalent - Intelligence Support Activity. The Humint/Sigint arm of Special Operations (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellige ... t_Activity)
- Will primarily deploy alongside Tier I - Should have female members as well.

3. Tier I- has to have a very very specific tasking - CT / Covert Direct Action / Etc
- Build up SG (drawn only from Para SF / Rangers)
- a dedicated component of Marcos - Dedicated Maritime based Covert/CT Unit
- a dedicated component of NSG - Covert Unit that should exploit their "Civilian" nature - specially domestically in Urban Senarios (Metros etc)

4. Tier II - "Conventional" SOF - Para SF / Marcos / Garud - To take care of Wartime duties during "Conventional War", UN Duties, etc

5. SOF Support
- An Airborne US Army ranger type SOF Capable Unit that can deploy enmass as well as have Small Unit Capability
- Special Operations Marine Capable Unit - i.e a MARSOC / Royal Marine Unit
- SFF - can be reorganized into SOF support - specially for Mountain Warfare

6. Tier III - Specialized Paramilitary Units - NSG / Cobra / GreyHounds
- Operate Domestically
- (Not sure at all how to treat the Cobra's / Greyhounds of the world. do they belong here at all)

7. Intelligence Support / Liason - Has to be a dedicated Plug into the national intelligence/Cyber Warefare setup
- I am not saying having the resources in house but dedicated teams serving this command

8. Any form of JSOC will need a dedicated NEST Capability within its shooters and intelligence arm.

In a wartime senario (like Kargil) resources and tasking get desperate and first come first serve. it is important that "JSOC" serve the Overall Strategic Picture not the Localized tactical one at the beck and call of the ground commander. Hence IMO having dedicated assets is critical. (Aviation, Intelligence, ISR, etc)

A Parachute Regiment has enough validity to serve within the conventional military on its own and outside the perview of a JSOC

Our Paramilitary Set up - BSF, ITBP, SSB, CRPF, etc etc needs to be rehauled and more centralized. - Seperate task ofcourse. Essentially these guys form our "National Guard" requirements. Having them standardized would do wonders as a secondary force to the Army in times of war.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 26 Aug 2016 15:55

PS. We did have a unit equivalent to the ISA - which undertook both Humint, Sigint, Propoganda etc. It was called the TSD. Sadly it died a very painful death.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby malushahi » 26 Aug 2016 23:42

reading resident experts pooh-pooh the duration of probation reminds me of the disdain with which two of my siblings (and their respective spouses), all graduates (and post-grads) of afmc, talk about the so-called "general purchase (gp)" officers in amc; gp: graduates of civilian med schools who enter fauj after internship. arguably afmc is one of the most selective schools in india, but does that make its graduates gods? and i am not even getting into the wretched politics such elitism breeds in amc.

how does the intake process for those whose probation was 6 months make them any more suited than those with a 3-month probation? how many of the gama-pehalwans that were products of a 6-month probation would still be standing after say 7 months? 8? 9? and what would our armchair jernails posit if probation had been made 9 months instead of 3? would that make said gama-pehalwans with 6-month probation any less of pehalwans?

apples to oranges comparison - that was then, this is now. methods and processes, both in measurement and training, have moved on a long, long way since 21mli became sf. the people who made the informed and much-deliberated decision on who should wear the balidaan badge know what they are doing. the rest of us are merely attacking their keyboards trying to look knowledgeable and relevant by making protestations like "x months is where they begin falling apart" etc etc.

comparing d!cks has been fauj's favorite pastime - nda vs ima, afmc vs gp, infantry vs armoured. here too. lage raho!

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby darshhan » 27 Aug 2016 12:46

While the probation period has been shortened, I doubt if the intensity has been lessened. Looks like the toughest tasks of the old probation period have been continued to the new period. I mean 100 kms run cum march, stress phase(36 hrs without sleep), breakfast while soaked in sewage and shit, breath restriction till your brain cells start dying etc. It does not get better than this. This is truly some Hard ass training. And I am not saying because I am a proud Indian(which I am) but because I am objective. This is after seeing training regimens of other special forces units around the world (Thanks to Youtube).

So rest be assured, standards are still the same or maybe even better, while the period itself has been shortened.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby sum » 29 Aug 2016 05:43

^^ Is a 100 km march really doable by a really determined human if he applies his mind?

Am asking since in the video, all the trainees make it through the 100 km march without even 1 dropping out!! :eek: :eek:

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby chandrasekaran » 29 Aug 2016 07:05

sum wrote:^^ Is a 100 km march really doable by a really determined human if he applies his mind?

Am asking since in the video, all the trainees make it through the 100 km march without even 1 dropping out!! :eek: :eek:


These are no ordinary humans :) Remember these guys finished a 36 hour non-stop stress course, which btw started, after a week+ of extreme physical and mental workouts with just around 2 hours of sleep each day! And that 36 hour stress course, the weight lifting alone is enough to break anyones endurance (jerrycans, truck tyre and logs :eek: that too after miles and miles of marches).

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby rkhanna » 29 Aug 2016 11:40

Just to draw parallels with how we deploy and employ our SF units and the perils of it

Waves of money have sluiced through SEAL Team 6 since 2001, allowing it to significantly expand its ranks — reaching roughly 300 assault troops, called operators, and 1,500 support personnel — to meet new demands. But some team members question whether the relentless pace of operations has eroded the unit’s elite culture and worn down Team 6 on combat missions of little importance. The group was sent to Afghanistan to hunt Qaeda leaders, but instead spent years conducting close-in battle against mid- to low-level Taliban and other enemy fighters. Team 6 members, one former operator said, served as “utility infielders with guns.


Former Senator Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat and a member of the SEALs during the Vietnam War, cautioned that Team 6 and other Special Operations forces had been overused. “They have become sort of a 1-800 number anytime somebody wants something done,”


The cost was high: More members of the unit have died over the past 14 years than in all its previous history. Repeated assaults, parachute jumps, rugged climbs and blasts from explosives have left many battered, physically and mentally.


http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/07/world/asia/the-secret-history-of-seal-team-6.html


You can pretty much take the bolden parts and the article could have been written about Army SF/ MARCOS in Kashmir / NE etc.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Raja Bose » 31 Aug 2016 04:36

sum wrote:^^ Is a 100 km march really doable by a really determined human if he applies his mind?

Am asking since in the video, all the trainees make it through the 100 km march without even 1 dropping out!! :eek: :eek:


The answer is yes. The key is planning nutrition and pace well. Our coach once did a 100k 2 weeks after hernia surgery (he was in his late 50s then) becoz the doctor told him he was banned from running. He had meekly asked the unsuspecting hakim if it was OK to walk and he was given the green light. Little did the hakim know what his patient had in mind. :lol: Still finished within 24 hours walking the whole way. Running a 100k (barring any really bad weather or injury) takes about ~15-22 hours for a middle-back of the pack runner. For us ITvity munnas, a 100k is the easiest way to get a belt buckle without having to slog thru a 100 mile ultra. :oops: :oops:

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Tejas.P » 08 Sep 2016 19:43

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/vc5nVprN5J6tJhF5U6UinL/Living-and-dying-in-the-Special-Forces.html

Apologies if this is a repost but quite an interesting read into the lives of men in 9 Para (SF). The author interviewed Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami quite extensively before he was martyred.

Also another thing that caught my eye is that these SF men are used often to recover bodies of people who have drowned in Kashmir's rivers because of accidents. Seems like this is an awful waste of their time and could be managed by NDRF dive teams. Again calls into the need for a Joint Special Forces Command structure which establishes a proper mandate of such valuable assets.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 02 Oct 2016 13:21

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1161001/j ... _C5f_mAOko

The special tip of the spear

- The story behind India's Special Forces, little known beyond maroon beret and naughty ditty
SUJAN DUTTA

Capt. Pawan Kumar, who was killed in February
New Delhi, Sept. 30: By the time the bullets and shrapnel tore through him, Capt. Jaideep Sengupta's men had already outflanked the militants. The bullets and metal pierced the 26-year-old troop commander's stomach, thigh and chest.

Despite being ambushed and bleeding profusely, he kept firing while also manoeuvring another team behind him.

The commander of No. 3 assault troop was leading all of five men on a search-and-destroy mission on the Tunnukkai-Mankulem Road in the Jaffna Peninsula.

It was February 5, 1988. Operation Pawan was in full swing. The Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) was fully committed to Sri Lanka in a tragic chapter in the history of India's armed forces. But that was not known then.

Today, Col. Jaideep Sengupta, 54 years and now retired, is heading to the New Delhi railway station to catch a train to Calcutta. It is Mahalaya and the pujas can be smelt. His unit, the battalion he served in and for which he was awarded the Vir Chakra gallantry medal, is in Jammu and Kashmir.

The 9 Para SF (Special Forces) crossed the Line of Control two nights ago, striking "terrorist launch pads" in hostile territory and giving the Narendra Modi government political relief and a few more inches of chest.

The cross-border action by the 9 Para SF and the 4 Para SF has brought the nature of these units into sharp relief.

In just one year, the use of the army Para SF units has increased so much that the government, defence sources say, is planning to increase the number of such battalions. This a decision that many who have served in the Special Forces find questionable.

In June 2015, the 21st Para SF conducted operations along the Myanmar border after 18 soldiers were ambushed in Manipur by suspected NSCN(K) militants. In November 2015, Col. Santosh Mahadik, formerly of the 21st Para SF was killed battling militants in Kupwara, north Kashmir. At the time he was with the 41 Rashtriya Rifles. In February this year, 22-year-old Capt. Pawan Kumar was killed when militants captured a building at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute in Pampore near Srinagar.

The army currently has eight Special Forces battalions with about 650 troops each, much smaller than regular infantry battalions (900-1,100 troops each).

This is because the nature of SF operations are vastly different. Unlike regular battalions that operate with sections, platoons and companies of troops, the SF units operate in small squads with five to six men in each.

The fundamental difference between infantry battalions and Para SF battalions is that the Para SFs are not tasked to hold ground. They are mobile forces that have to strike multiple targets and move on -- the "tip of the spear".

The military establishment now views SFs as a necessary component of what it calls "hybrid" warfare. They are allocated to commands - especially the northern and eastern commands - "as per terrain and operational requirements", said a defence source.

Unlike the regular battalions of the army, they are unpublicised till a government chooses to announce a Special Forces operation. The Modi government has done so probably for the first time in a theatre of non-conventional war.

So secretive is the culture of the SF that even episodes from conventional wars fought decades ago are still hushed-up. Little is known beyond key identifier of a Special Forces soldier - the maroon beret - and their naughty ditty: " Jab bura hai waqt, tab commando hai f****d". :mrgreen:

Each of the three armed forces have their own special troops - the navy has the Marcos (Marine Commandos), the air force, the Garud -- and counter-terror outfits like the National Security Guard are also recognised as a special force. But it is the army Special Forces that are forever in operations.

SF troops are so secretive that even years after retirement, they hate to talk of operations of the past. Col. Subin Balakrishnan, formerly of the 21st Para SF and now retired and settled in Mumbai, said that Operation Khukri was too recent for him to talk about.

Operation Khukri was in the embattled African country of Sierra Leone in the year 2000. Two companies (223 soldiers) of the Indian Army's 5/8 Gorkha Rifles on deployment in a UN peacekeeping mission were besieged for nearly two months by a militant outfit called the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone (RUFSL).

From the sketchy information available, it is understood that negotiations had failed and the RUFSL had run over a Kenyan battalion on the road to the Indian post. A desperate Indian Army despatched 90 soldiers of the 2 Para SF. The unit landed there with almost no weapons and no transport to call its own.

But the British SAS (Special Air Services) with whom some Indian SF soldiers had trained was there. For a week, a team of Indian SF soldiers in civvies surveyed the region and then, early one morning, teams of the 2 Paras in two borrowed US-made Chinook helicopters were inserted into the villages of the rebels.

With phosphorous grenades borrowed from the SAS, they blinded the neighbourhood. The Gorkhas broke out in the clouds of grey gas and the dust raised by whirring rotors.

The publicising of SF operations and government measures to increase the number of SF units makes veterans like Sengupta and Balakrishnan squirm. Sengupta wonders if the SF troops in this week's cross-LoC operations were used in the manner they should have been.

"It looks like a superior infantry task. If you have good infantry capability, you can do this. SFs are meant to do more strategically, go to depths of 7 to 50km inside (hostile territory). But we probably don't have the wherewithal and the bollocks to provide them with the right extrication facilities - I mean, if you are sending a soldier in, you must give him at least a 50 per cent chance of survival," Sengupta said.

Special forces are expensive to raise and maintain. The Indian Army does not list the equipment that are at the disposal of the SFs. But they were the first to be issued the Israeli-origin Tavor guns, for example. "We ensure they have multi-incursion capability," says a defence source.

But the organisation and re-organisation of the army's special forces have still found them wanting in logistics.

First raised in 1966 by a superseded officer, Major Megh Singh, of the Brigade of the Guards, the 9 Para is the oldest of the SF units. In 1965 Megh Singh went to his then Western Army commander, Lt Gen. Harbaksh Singh, and told him he had ideas about operating behind enemy lines. Harbaksh Singh told him if he was as good as his word, be would be made a battalion commander.

With a just a company of soldiers, Megh Singh operated behind Pakistani lines in the war that year and blew up bridges. The following year the Army Headquarters decided it needed an SF unit for Rajasthan and the 10th Para SF was raised.

The troops were originally from the Parachute Regiment raised by the British in the Second World War. But the operational philosophy was different. In 1995, the defence ministry was considering creation of a special operations command. But it 1996, the idea was dropped and the special force units went back to the Parachute Regiment.

Since then, the size of the SF has expanded.

"There are questions of quantity over quality, I think," said Col. Balakrishnan. "While we have the tactical acumen and the technical skills, the institutional bandwidth that is required is of an entirely different order."

Saikat Datta, who has co-authored a book with Lt Gen. Prakash Katoch (retired), a former SF officer who was injured during Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple in 1984, said: "The biggest damage that has been done to India's special forces is the forcible coupling with the parachute regiment. Unless the SFs are given their own identity under a dedicated special operations command, they will never be able to achieve the potential that they have."

Such potential, explained Balakrishnan, lies in the idea of using SFs to back up, for example, India's support to forces inimical to Pakistan on its north-west and west. He means Afghanistan and Balochistan.

"As a professional who has foot-slogged for long and done a thing or two to earn a living in these environments, I know for a fact that the LoC offers more than adequate opportunities for response not just by the Special Forces, but also by highly motivated and skilled infantry units, straddling both the tactical and operational levels. Make no mistake -- each of these actions are much more than just 'ego massages."

Balakrishnan added: "The technical and tactical skills of our Special Forces and the will and wherewithal to effect short, sharp action across the LoC is tested and proven. What we have lacked is the political spine and the institutional bandwidth to effect such responses in suitable windows of time and space to amplify their impact on the one hand and the resilience to shape consequence management within reasonable proportions on the other.

"That is when we will be able to create strategic outcomes for ourselves. By showing the ability to influence outcomes in those regions, like the classic Green Berets (US Rangers), we should be in a position to organise the resistance there instead of just giving lip service." lip service."

Aditya G
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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 02 Oct 2016 13:35

Each Battalion of IA's SFs deserve a book on their own. 9SF alone has had multiple public operations this year.

Instead of raising more units, GOI should ensure better utilisation. This may be achieved by:

1. Raising Tri-services SOF Command. The unified command will ensure resources of 3 arms are equally or suitably employed where and when required.

2. Deploy NSG to Srinagar. Keeping them in detts in all corners of the country waiting for action is a waste. NSG should be the QRT for all contingencies in Srinagar and the outskirts. The attack on EDI in Pampore could perhaps be handled better by NSG. NSG is Army for practical purposes, but has lower/differentiated talent requirements which are suited for several CT tasks.

3. Special Group be brought under SOF command. This will bring another SF battalion to the 'mainstream'. I would relook at whether ARC and Est 22 should be even under RAW at all.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Lisa » 02 Oct 2016 14:35

sum wrote:^^ Is a 100 km march really doable by a really determined human if he applies his mind?

Am asking since in the video, all the trainees make it through the 100 km march without even 1 dropping out!! :eek: :eek:


I think yes. I know of friends who have, ie,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yomp

The most famous yomp of recent times was during the 1982 Falklands War. After disembarking from ships at San Carlos on East Falkland, on 21 May 1982, Royal Marines and members of the Parachute Regiment yomped (and tabbed) with their equipment across the islands, covering 56 miles (90 km)[3] in three days carrying 80-pound (36 kg)[4] loads

P.S. Royal Marines and the Parachute Regiment are not really SF's.

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby Aditya G » 02 Oct 2016 15:56

IN Marcos on alert following recent terror alert in Uran, near Mumbai

Image

This is what they were protecting:

Image

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Re: Discussion on Indian Special Forces

Postby wig » 07 Oct 2016 19:04

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/surg ... 81369.html

Crossing a red line - There was nothing on their minds except the success of their mission. Not the 19 soldiers who had been killed in Uri on September 18, nor their fate if they were captured alive.
On the night of September 28, close to 100 specially trained operators exhaled gently as they lay in wait at multiple locations across the Line of Control. The moon had waned to a thin, near-invisible crescent. Until H-hour, the cutting edge of the Indian army's Parachute regiment Special Forces, Para-SF for short, did not exist. They blended into the rugged topography because they had reduced their four S-es-shape, shine, silhouette and smell. Their combat fatigues blended into the forest, their faces were streaked with camouflage paint. Their skin was covered in a thin film of mud to suppress body odour. Their weapons had been blackened. They had lain in ambush for over 48 hours.
There was nothing on their minds except the success of their mission. Not the 19 soldiers who had been killed in Uri on September 18, nor their fate if they were captured alive.

The operators were the decisive tip of a very long spear that began in the army's Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO) on the first floor of South Block. Here, India's military leadership sat with their political bosses, the prime minister and the defence minister. It passed through the Northern Army Command's bunker in Udhampur that planned the operation, and, finally, led across the border.
For days now, the SF teams had stalked their targets-launchpads used to infiltrate militants into India.
At H-hour, a coded signal went out to the teams. The operators opened up with the portable artillery they had backpacked across the LoC-Carl Gustaf rocket launchers, thermobaric rockets, under barrel grenade launchers clipped on rifles and 'Milkor' multiple grenade launchers that spat out six 40 mm grenades in one pull of the trigger.

Six launchpads at Kel, Lipa, Athmuqam, Tattapani and Bhimber, located within five kilometres of the LoC, were hit near-simultaneously. The explosions were captured on hand-held cameras and by Indian Army drones floating above, relaying the images back to base. At each location, the operation was terminated in minutes.
"It was a destruction mission, they did not engage their targets with small arms fire nor wait to count casualties," one official says. The weapons were chosen to inflict the maximum structural damage. The Russian Shmel, for instance, is called a flame-thrower by its manufacturer as it ignites a fuel-air mix that collapses structures and has the impact of one 155 mm Bofors shell.
The commandos had accomplished a textbook 'raid' after infiltrating enemy-held territory. The US Special Forces Operational Techniques' field manual FM 31-20, one of the few such documents that is publicly accesible, hails overland infiltration "as the most secure way of getting the Special Forces team into place, especially if time is not crucial. Distance is not necessarily a problem for well-equipped Special Forces personnel, trained to use their skills, wits and resources".
This is precisely why Indian SF operators eschew helicopters. They lack mission-specific helicopters like the stealthy Ghost Hawks Navy Seals used in the 2011 raid on Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.

Indian SF operators who do 30-km cross-country speed marches with 40 kg backpacks are comfortable with stealthy landborne insertion. They know the swathe of dense virgin temperate forest on the LoC like the back of their hand. They navigate around the 'nars' or dry river channels leading into the Kishenganga and know which ridges to take to evade detection.
They are at home in the 2 km no man's land belt where vision drops to less than a metre in broad daylight and the crackle of twigs could well be a wild bear, a marauding panther, a militant or a Pakistani SSG operator.
The commandos maintained their composure throughout the mission. At one camp which they staked out, terrorist sentries randomly hosed the trees around with assault weapon fire. Shredded leaves showered the waiting commandos, making them wonder if the mission had been compromised.
Army officials in the know say the number of casualties on the terrorist side are only guesstimates based on how many terrorists and their supporters are within each camp. There were no casualties on the Indian side. One operator sustained foot injuries when he walked across a mine on the way back. He did not cry even once. A commando attributes it to the adrenaline surge during these missions and say the build-up causes post-action nausea and vomiting.
In what is believed to be a first for such missions, the operators took visual evidence of the strike. One team waited until daybreak, past 6 am, to capture a camp being blown up on video. The infrared bloom in one of the launchpads led the brass to wonder whether the operators had hit a weapons dump. The footage was carefully analysed by army and intelligence sources and shown to the leadership before India went public with the strike.
At noon on September 29, while the launchpads were still smouldering, DGMO Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh addressed a press conference in New Delhi announcing that India had carried out 'surgical strikes' 'along' the border after receiving specific and credible input on terrorists planning to infiltrate into India to carry out attacks.
"During these counter-terrorist operations, significant casualties were caused to terrorists and those providing support to them," Lt Gen Singh said, the restrained statement coming 11 days after he had vowed to respond to the Uri attacks at "a time and place of the army's choosing".
The signal to move in had already been given days after the Uri attack as the government seethed in its aftermath and the mounting public pressure for retaliation. An 'Eyes Only' file one officer calls the 'book of targets' kept in a secure location within the DGMO, was opened. The targets were identified in consultation with the Northern Army Command. Updated image feeds of the camps were taken from intelligence agencies.
The first teams of SF operators were infiltrated across the LoC to conduct Close Target Reconnaissance (CTR), a crucial element in the planning process. It identifies targets, verifies they are operational and reverts to the planners who then wargame the operation.
The CTR teams staked out and identified the targets, the infiltration routes and the approximate times for infiltration and exfiltration. They took pains to evade thermal imagers on the Pakistani side. One infiltration route ran through a counter-infiltration minefield laid by the Indian side, littered with buried anti-personnel mines. The team chose to mark a safe route through this lethal obstacle as an alternative route would take time.
The planners kept the operation secret and anonymous. Unlike previous cross-LoC missions, it was not given a name, nor were written orders issued. The infiltration teams were believed to have been sent into the Indian posts on the LoC in disguise before their launch, to keep their arrival secret.
Predictably, Pakistan disputed the Indian army's version. "The notion of a surgical strike linked to alleged terrorists' bases is an illusion being deliberately generated by India to create false effects," the Pakistan army said in a statement.
Indian military commanders have chafed at their inability to strike at militant sanctuaries just across the border. At the height of the Kargil war in 1999, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee issued orders to his military commanders that the LoC was sacrosanct. This, when military advice indicated that the war could have been terminated even sooner had India struck Pakistan's supply routes and bases across the LoC. Vajpayee, however, wanted India to retake the Kargil Heights from a moral high ground.
War apart, cross-border operations across the LoC have been commonplace for decades, part of establishing 'moral ascendancy' over the adversary and conducted at the battalion level. The November 2003 ceasefire between India and Pakistan drastically reduced such operations, but they began a decade ago when both armies began targeting each other in a cycle of violence and counter-violence.
Army officials privately admit to at least two cross-border SF raids in 2008 and 2011. But these were authorised by the Northern Command in retaliation to specific action by Pakistan army Border Action Teams (BATs).
Surgical strikes against Pakistan-based terrorists, including specific operations to target their leadership, were discussed by the Manmohan Singh-led cabinet committee on security in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. These were abandoned for lack of precise targeting information and, more importantly, what one participant in the meeting calls, a clear lack of political will.
To that extent, the September 29 raid authorised by the topmost political leadership and later broadcast to the world, marks a radical departure in policy. The September 29 operations covered a frontage of over 200 km, both north and south of the Pir Panjal range. In that sense, it was also a step-up from the June 6 raid by Indian SF on NSCN(K)-PLA camp after its guerrillas ambushed and killed 18 Army men in Chandel, Manipur. The raid was carried out with the knowledge of the Myanmar government.
Whether the September 29 strikes mark a permanent change in the government policy of restraint remains to be seen. Army brass believe this operation is a one-off. "There is no change in policy at the formation level," a senior army official says.
The army is quick to underline that this surgical strike calls for a Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to undertake a range of future clandestine and covert operations. This command was first proposed by the army in 2002 but shelved. The proposal was resurrected by the Naresh Chandra committee in 2011. The SOCOM, reporting to the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff, would have integrated training facilities, a common pool of equipment and dedicated transport aircraft (the army and navy rely on the IAF to fly them for long-range missions). That the proposal has languished before the CCS since 2013 is inexplicable given that the leadership believes in the changed nature of future wars. This, even as the prime minister told the Combined Commanders' Conference last December that "full-scale wars may become rare, but force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behaviour". The next surgery, clearly, has to be on India's moribund defence reforms.


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