21 / 23 SAS

Big_Shep

4 PARA
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
76
Reaction score
194
I normally steer well clear of topics like this as they have a habit of snowballing but as this is reasonably sensible I’ll offer some personal and very limited insights. During my time with 4 PARA it was clear that a strong relationship existed between us & 21/23. I personally know 4 from A Coy (3 NCOs, 1 private) that badged and made the hop into 23 D Sqn. It’s not an unreasonable aspiration for any Para to have but it’s best researched via their official channels. We had occasional visits/presentations from their PSAO and recruiter, who was normally a badged NCO dicked to deliver PowerPoint presentations to potential fresh victims.

But as @Snows rightfully points out-that’s what their recruiters are for. So make contact and ask. Once you apply and have completed some initial checks, you will be invited in for a face to face interview and a brief about selection and service with SF (R).
21/23 share their patch with respected AR infantry units that are based across their AO and as a DCE you will be required to attest and complete your basic & CIC with one. It is your right to join who ever you wish and you shouldn’t try and play capbadge politics. So long as you have CIC boxed off you can load onto an SF (R) briefing course..

Selection is a big commitment and it’s important you head into it with your eyes open. You will need to commit to approximately - a training evening per week, approximately two weekends a month, and two three-week training/test packages in that first year. Unsurprisingly attendance at all their training nights and weekends is mandatory. You cannot afford to miss any. Its a big ask.
Upon completion of selection and your mandatory training you won’t be sat on your bergan twiddling your thumbs. They are an operational unit and they can operate at very short notice. They are often conducting tasks above and beyond that expected of their rank, particularly at the junior level. It seems that at times the work is arduous and at times fairly routine – but in all cases, professionally satisfying. If you are serious then give them a call.
 

Chelonian

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
125
Reaction score
360
If you are serious then give them a call.
Definitely. Disclosure restrictions prevent UKSF (R) from spoon-feeding information online. The only way a serious DCE candidate will learn more is by clutching his or her reproductive organs and making an expression of interest via the contact details on the SAS (R) website.
 

Periphery

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2020
Messages
6
Reaction score
7
Does 21/23 SAS do HALO/HAHO Parachuting, like their full time counterparts? Seems like the only units outside SF that do Freefall Parachuting are the Pathfinders and Navy Divers.
 

Mackers

Para Reg
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
116
Reaction score
245
Some will know better. But not routinely is my understanding but I suppose it’s not out of the realms of possibility that they can get a space on a MFF course. They will all do the SF jumps course though
 

Collieryboy

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
64
Reaction score
128
Some will know better. But not routinely is my understanding but I suppose it’s not out of the realms of possibility that they can get a space on a MFF course. They will all do the SF jumps course though
What's the difference between the SF jumps and MFF?
 

Tony_m

Para Reg
Joined
Nov 22, 2020
Messages
136
Reaction score
272
A big ask for a reservist to be able to commit not only to the course but also continuous training requirements. Like the majority of SF ranks the SF jumps course seems to do the trick
 

Mackers

Para Reg
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
116
Reaction score
245
Finders literally specialise in High Altitude insertion (HALO/HAHO), as well as long range reconnaissance patrols and mobility operations. They jump a lot. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think any reservists would have the time to specialise in insertion skills like this? No idea though as never worked with them
 

Collieryboy

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
64
Reaction score
128
Thanks gents. I read on another well known site that 21/23 are trained to about the same level as a regular army recce platoon, is this that about right? After hearing that it's "a part time role, full time" such is the commitment required that just seems a bit underwhelming. Obviously they can't match the capabilities of 22 but if they are on par with regs recce platoons then that seems slight less "special" as there are a fair few of those. Or am I being stupid?
 

Mackers

Para Reg
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
116
Reaction score
245
Thanks gents. I read on another well known site that 21/23 are trained to about the same level as a regular army recce platoon, is this that about right? After hearing that it's "a part time role, full time" such is the commitment required that just seems a bit underwhelming. Obviously they can't match the capabilities of 22 but if they are on par with regs recce platoons then that seems slight less "special" as there are a fair few of those. Or am I being stupid?
Post #17 by @Snows nails it I think. It’s easy to read stuff from the Herrick era that’s over 10 years out of date. My thinking is the threats are evolving and so are our SF. The reserve units continue to exist so clearly there is a role for them.
What matters though is the Reg continues to feed into SF(y)
 

Big_Shep

4 PARA
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
76
Reaction score
194
Who cares how “special” they seem. That rarely is the motivation. Fact is they work within the sphere of UK Specialist Military Units. When not on operations or training like any other UKSF element they are involved in a plethora of other activities.

On the topic of free falling I’ll shoehorn in this ; A load of 4 PARA blokes (Including a good friend of mine) managed to get on an Accelerated Freefall parachuting course in lake Elsinore, sunny California in 2019. Ah 2019, happier times...
Something like 15 of them gained their A Licence. In typical American fashion they all completed a 10 minute jolly in a vertical wind tunnel in preparation for their first skydive. But granted this is a poncey adventure training and not man stuff like the PF.
 

Snows

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
Messages
93
Reaction score
314
Thanks gents. I read on another well known site that 21/23 are trained to about the same level as a regular army recce platoon, is this that about right? After hearing that it's "a part time role, full time" such is the commitment required that just seems a bit underwhelming. Obviously they can't match the capabilities of 22 but if they are on par with regs recce platoons then that seems slight less "special" as there are a fair few of those. Or am I being stupid?
I've quoted you but this is directed at everyone with an interest in this subject.

Comparison in bold is being made by someone who doesn't really understand how the military works, of whom there are a lot, even those who have served on military sites. Any recce soldier is trained to about the same level as a regular army recce platoon. They do the same courses, same drills, same instructors, in the same places. If I were selecting the best possible team for the hardest possible recce task, I would take a current soldier from a patrol recce unit (like the RA units, RM BRF or PF) any day over a blade. Similarly, I would take a RM ML any day over mountain troop or SB if I had a mountain or arctic task. The reason is simple: the former (recce, ML) do that job each and every day, and only that job. They are specialists.

SF are 'special' not 'specialist'. The nature of the SF role is generalist. They are good at taking a new problem and working out how to solve it. So while at any given time the units may focus on a particular form of operation, as I wrote previously, in a few years they will have moved on to something else. I guarantee you that on any day during the past 15 years there were many blades who had shocking competence in their "specialisms", and even in some of their core soldiering skills, because all their resources were focused on the task at hand. The difference with SF is they have a wide range of training and skills within the same unit. But precisely how this operates, and the utility of this for any given task is often overstated, again by people who don't understand the subject. Mostly SF are used because they come with resources, chain of command, risk appetite and mentality that are substantially different to the regular Army, as well as political influence and advantages. All those things matter more than which soldier is "best". Pound-for-pound an infantry recce soldier is far more likely to be a competent specialist in his role. SF, like any generalist, suffer from the fact they have the same amount of time to train for a much wider range of skills. They also suffer (and/or benefit, depending on your point of view) from the mythology that has been built up around them. If you want to be a superhero, you want to be in acting school, not SF.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in the SF route to jettison everything you think you know. Most of it is wrong, has been driven by what sells books or looks good on film - this is why everyone is fascinated by insertion methods, which is like applying for a job based on the train you use to commute. It will not help you achieve the goal, and may actively send you down the wrong road. It's not because it's so super secret: those adversaries who want to understand it do pretty well on their own, you knowing a bit about it doesn't hurt anyone. It's that trying to understand the nuances of the SF world at this stage is a waste of time, destined to fail or mislead, and more likely to irritate than impress anyone you meet along the way, because you have no context to place it in. I notice that nobody, for example, starts threads about strategic planning cycles, logistics orders, medical plans or ISR matrices. These are about the same professional level as understanding SF operations, but if you are honest with yourselves, they are not shiny, while pictures of blokes jumping out of planes with a dog strapped to them are. This is natural, but if you cannot discipline yourself to not stare at the shiny thing, you just go blind.

I also know young blokes think of these interests as "motivation", but you are wrong: it is too shallow to be real motivation, and will abandon you when you need it most, so best to get rid now. Real motivation comes, often, from your own personal demons, but also from simply having put in too much sheer work and commitment to easily let it go. Your average conquistador or American frontiersman wasn't motivated by the gold or land they might find, they were motivated by the knowledge it had taken a long time to get where they were, and was a long way back. That kind of motivation keeps you going until you drop, as the corpses on Everest show.

The best approach to badging is to be the best possible soldier you can be at everything you do up until attempting Selection, and then be single-minded in your determination to pass. As it happens, this is also the best approach to passing P-Coy, depot, or any other serious challenge in life. The person on here who eventually badges is not the one reading this thread, but the one using that extra time to practice basic skills, work on fitness, read field manuals, learn a language, or understand geopolitics. It's not the one who fantasizes about all the ally kit he might one day have, it's the one who spends hours getting the kit that he does have perfect. Focus on what is in front of you first, and take the rest of it as and when it comes.
 
Top