At the beginning of the 60-s, the command of the American "green berets" concluded an agreement with the British CAC on the mutual exchange of people. In accordance with it, each of the parties was to send one officer and one sergeant for an internship during the year. The first American to go to England was the commander of the 7 group of Green Berets, Colonel Edwards, the next year Captain Charles Beckquit went there. In July, 1962, he arrived at the 22-th regiment of the SAS, where he experienced the entire complex system of personnel selection and training, developed by the British 21 a year ago and improved in the subsequent period.
The first discovery he made was this: the right to carry bears with the CAC emblem must be earned, the passage of a lot of sweat and blood. It is enough to say that the verification tests are divided into five stages and take half a year. Beckquit was appreciated by the CAC rule - never to let go weapon. The gun belt was canceled here in 1948 year, in order to eliminate the temptation to hang the machine on the shoulder ...
Returning to 1963 from England, Beckquit began to convince his leadership of the need to create a special unit similar to CAC. His initiative was supported by the head of the instructor department at Fort Benning, an American of Georgian origin, George Shalikashvili.
Beckwith's proposal was a twofold development. First, from among the former rangers and "green berets" a small squadron was created (40 man), which received the code name "Blue Light". Its sole purpose was the fight against terrorists in the United States. Secondly, an insistent captain was sent in June 1965 of the year to the war in Vietnam. There he was allowed to form a detachment on the basis of the SAS on the basis of the 5 group of special forces.
The goal is to conduct deep reconnaissance and raids in the territory controlled by partisans, to verify the results of bombing attacks aviation, search for the corpses of dead American pilots, the release of prisoners.
Bekkvit led detachment B-52, which had the code designation "Delta". But when he announced his personnel requirements, only seven of the 30 allotted to him fighters decided to stay. Then he sent his ad to the 90 divisions of the US Special Forces: "Volunteers are required in the Delta squadron, a medal or a coffin is guaranteed, perhaps both at the same time." As a result, he managed to recruit 40 people, whom he divided into four units each. However, he did not have to fight for a long time. In May 1966, he was wounded in the stomach.
After recovering, Beckquit trained Rangers at Fort Benning. Then he went to Vietnam again. There he fell three times in the wrecked helicopters, but survived. 21 November 1970 of the year participated in a large-scale operation to release captured Americans from the Son Tai Camp near Hanoi 350. Having landed from five helicopters, 60 "green berets" destroyed 27 Vietnamese over 60 minutes in 1973 minutes, but there were no prisoners in the camp. In 1974, Beckquit was sent to Thailand to the so-called Loss Analysis Center. There, he led special forces groups that set off to liberate Americans who were captured by partisans or who were in camps in the territory of the DRV and Laos. In XNUMX, Beckquit becomes a colonel and heads the instructor department at Fort Bragg. However, it took another three years before the leadership of the Pentagon decided to implement the "project" Delta.
In this regard, Colonel Charles Bekkvit had to defend in a sharp polemic with the higher army ranks several fundamental theses. First, he argued, not recruits, but professional volunteers who have been in contractual service for a long time should fight terrorists. Secondly, they must be ready for action around the world, since the US’s strategic interests are threatened not so much by internal as by external factors. Therefore, thirdly, they should be able to act on the territory controlled by hostile forces, in the same way as army reconnaissance and sabotage units operating in the enemy’s deep rear are operating. Actually, the training of such professionals should be carried out according to a universal principle. Hence the fourth thesis: the experience of the organization and actions of the English CAC should be taken as a basis, and not our own rangers or “green berets”.
2 June 1977, the Pentagon held a meeting of the top military leadership of the United States on the Delta project, which approved the organization and staff schedule of the special squadron, approved the sheet of equipment and weapons, given the name: "The first operational unit of the US special forces", and the code designation - Delta Force. However, the squad’s birthday is another date - November 19 of the year 1977. By this day, we managed to finish the formation of the first group of fighters in the number of 30 people.
It turned out that it was difficult to select the right people, although there were a lot of volunteers - 150 volunteers in the first list of candidates. Almost all of them went through Vietnam as part of the special forces; nevertheless, only 20% were able to satisfy Beckquit’s requirements. The second qualifying course took place in January 1978. This time, out of 60 applicants, only 5 people have successfully passed all the tests. Bekkvitu and two other officers who fought with him in Vietnam had to go around the whole of America in search of the right guys. They also visited Europe, the special purpose group 10, commanded by Bekkvit’s supporter, American George George Shalikashvili. At first, Beckquit believed that it would take about a year and a half to recruit a detachment with people and their initial training. It really took almost three years.
At the beginning of 1980, the group’s “baptism of fire” took place - an operation codenamed “Eagle Claw” (“Eagle Claw”). Religious fanatics came to power in Iran and seized the American embassy in Tehran and held 50 man. The group was assigned the task of freeing the hostages because of the extreme difficulty of the task and the unfortunate set of circumstances (helicopter crash, discovery of the detachment by local residents) Beckquit decided to stop the operation. It was a failure, however, at least . S avoid losses of personnel in the future, "Delta" could be rehabilitated, not just to prove their fighting qualities Unfortunately, most of this chance Bekkvitu not provided -. Because of an international scandal, he was prematurely sent to retirement.
Candidate selection and combat training
The basis of the system of selection, evaluation and training of personnel "Delta" was the CAC program. However, over the years of the 18 squad, it has undergone a number of changes. Now this system looks like this.
- Firstly, each candidate must meet certain formal requirements.
- Secondly, he needs to pass a special preliminary qualifying course.
- Thirdly, it is necessary to receive “good” from psychologists and experienced commanders-practitioners.
- Fourth, you need to successfully master the 19-week course of basic training.
The formal requirements are as follows: in the Delta squad only take volunteers who have US citizenship no less than 22 years and no older than 35, with experience in the US armed forces no less than 4 years and the rank of sergeant, who have excellent health and normal mentality, are not gaining less than 110 points on the general ability test. Officers must have the rank of captain or major, college education (i.e. a bachelor’s degree in arts or sciences) and at least one year of successful command of a military unit. In addition, all volunteers are secretly tested for reliability and for admission to secret work. Do not take in the American special forces those who had in the military service disciplinary action. Moreover, the road is closed there to those who broke the law. And two more important requirements: volunteers must have experience of skydiving, and also have high qualifications in two military specialties.
The preliminary qualifying course consists of a test of general physical training and a forced march over rough terrain with a map and compass orientation.
The OFP test includes six tests:
push-ups on the hands lying down - forty times in one minute;
squats - forty times in one minute;
a two mile cross running (3,2 km) in no more than 16 minutes;
crawling on the back of 20 meters with feet first, then 20 meters headfirst, while keeping within 25 seconds;
running 48 feet (14,6 meters) in 24 seconds, but not in a straight line, but breaking through the wooden gate zigzagged and jumping over ditches wide in 5 feet (1,52 meters);
swimming in clothes and army boots on 100 meters without time.
Candidates march is made with backpacks weighing from 40 to 50 pounds (18 — 22,7 kg) and a rifle in their hands. Their path lies through hills, forests and rivers, and the distance of this path varies between 18 and 40 miles (29 — 64 km). On the way through every 8 —- 12 km there are control points, where they must go and where the observers sit. To successfully overcome this test, it is necessary to withstand an average speed of at least 4 km per hour and be well oriented in unfamiliar terrain. Far from everyone is able to do both, the dropout reaches 50% of the total number going to the start.
A huge number of psychological tests and an interview help to determine whether the candidate will be able to combine the opposite qualities. Candidates fall asleep with a barrage of various questions, then carefully study his answers and reactions, and determine the properties of his personality. It is necessary that he possessed iron restraint and ... aggressive impertinence; could act in strict accordance with the order and ... independently made responsible decisions; implicitly obeyed the commanders and ... confidently led others along with him; he was not devoid of compassion and ... was able to kill without the slightest hesitation; constantly expanding the boundaries of their physical and mental capabilities and ... did not consider himself a superman. Experience has shown that people with a certain type of character — passive-aggressive — are more satisfied with such complex requirements. But only if they are guided by some idea of a higher plan - the idea of serving the Fatherland, law, justice, God, etc.
After testing and interviewing, the candidate is awarded a three-year contract. After this period, the contract can be extended if the service was successful. However, otherwise it has to say goodbye to her long before the end of the three-year period.
To successfully accomplish the tasks, Delta fighters must be snipers and demolition parachutists and climbers, radio operators and drivers, trackers and translators, scuba divers and doctors. They must act equally vigorously day and night, in the mountains and on the seashore, in city quarters and in the forest, be able to penetrate buildings and airplanes, feel free in civilian clothes and in the uniform of a foreign army or police force.
Therefore, immediately after enrollment of recruits in the detachment, their training begins, which consists of two parts: a semi-annual elementary course, the purpose of which is to improve individual combat skills and the main course, during which the development of actions within the unit takes place. During his recruits, they learn techniques for combating terrorists and partisans, the tactics of assault, airmobile and airborne operations. The program also includes fire training, mine-blasting, hand-to-hand combat, the study of modern surveillance and communication devices, high-speed driving of vehicles (including Tanks, helicopters and light aircraft), rock climbing, medical training.
Both during the course of this course, and after it, the closest attention is paid to fire training. It takes five days a week. Shooting standards are very tough. For example, when shooting with a rifle, you need to hit a bull's eye (center of target) with one shot from a distance of 100 yards (91,4 meters) and no more than three shots from a distance of 600 yards (548,6 meters). With a Remington sniper rifle with an 12-multiple optical sight when performing an exercise on a growth target at a distance of 1000 yards (914,4 meter), a maximum of one miss is allowed.
Throughout the whole further service, the staff of “Delta” continues to improve their professional skills. Combat training activities include parachuting, operations to free hostages in buildings, airplanes, cars, shooting in the so-called “house of horrors” (a special training complex equipped with original simulators), field-oriented marches, parachuting from helicopters, rock climbing and more. Regularly, the fighters of the group are sent for training in the anti-terrorism units of friendly US states - Germany, Great Britain, Israel. Often they participate in competitions of special forces at home and abroad.
All this allows to expand the experience and maintain a high willingness to act in a real combat situation.
Delta collaborates with foreign military organizations such as the Australian SAS, the British SAS, the Canadian JTF-2, the French GIGN, the German GSG9, the Israeli SM, often combine their training with other American counter-terrorist formations, such as the FBI HRT and DEVGRU, known as Navy SEAL Team Six (the team is disbanded and at the moment SEAL Team Six employees are at USSOCOM’s disposal).
Delta operatives pay great attention to fire training and spend 8 hours a day at specially equipped shooting ranges. Delta soldiers hone shooting skills from any position to perfection.
Here is what the former Delta operator said: “We have reached perfection. Every time we shot, we tried to hit the black mark directly, but then the shooting progress began to decline, then we needed to learn the subtleties of mechanics and the ballistics of shooting. Soon we would be able to hit the hair. " Members of the Delta division first learn to shoot at short distances, bringing it to perfection, then increase the distance and continue to work at the same pace. Over time, they learn to shoot while walking exactly in the head, and perfection comes when the operators shoot right in the head of a moving target with a full run.
Detachment structure and functions
The main location of the Delta is Fort Bragg (North Carolina). There are headquarters, training center, living quarters for personnel, warehouses, technical park. The total area is approximately 4 hectares. The pride of the group is the alley of roses, which is cared for with the care inherent in the rare professional gardener. For a number of special training, other training centers can be used, for example, Fort Grills in Alaska (in the conditions of the Far North), Fort Gulik in Panama (in the conditions of the jungle).
The fighters of "Delta", directly conducting special operations, are called operators. The command tries to hide the squad personnel, as well as the belonging of one or another soldier to the squad. In the service, they may even wear civilian clothes, a beard, long hair, and so on. On the military uniform there are no signs that identify the fighter belonging to the Delta squad.
Detachment "Delta" consists of the following parts:
D - headquarters;
E - intelligence, communications and administrative support. In particular, these include:
- Special medical unit;
- operational intelligence (the so-called "Funny platoon");
- Aviation Squadron (12 helicopters);
- research department;
- training department.
F– direct operators.
Thus, the staff of the "Delta" is divided into combat and support. The requirements for the auxiliary composition are not as stringent as for the operational one. The main thing here is to meet formal requirements (especially in terms of admission to secret cases and discipline) and to have high qualifications in their field. Combat personnel are three companies, each of which has 6 operational units of 16 each. Operational detachments are the main combat units of the Delta group. Depending on the problem being solved, such a detachment can be divided into eights, fours, and pairs. The total combat strength of about 300 people.
According to official documents, the Delta group is intended for covert combat operations outside the United States, on the territory of other countries. The tasks to be solved by her include the following:
the release of hostages and US troops captured;
the fight against terrorists and partisans both in the city and in the countryside;
the seizure or destruction of military and political leaders hostile to the United States;
the seizure of secret documents, models of weapons, military and other secret equipment of interest to the American military and industrial leadership.
Unofficially, the commander of the special forces of the United States, General Karl Steener, says: “Ethnic conflicts, Islamic fundamentalism, the proliferation of atomic weapons, drug trafficking, coups, terrorism - these guys with their capabilities are the best suited for eliminating these and other threats. In general, they operate where there is no war, but no longer peace. ” He is echoed by Neid Livingston, an expert at Georgetown University: "Special forces have always been the best way to avoid large-scale inter-state conflicts."
Fighters "Delta" have a variety of rifles, machine guns, machine guns, grenade launchers, pistols, rocket projectiles, mines and land mines of American and foreign production. Among them are experimental samples made in the amount of only a few copies.
The main armament of the squad are 5,56-mm automatic rifle M 110, 5,56-mm carbine HK 416, gun Glock 17-18. However, when planning and conducting specific operations, the squad personnel are practically unlimited in choosing the necessary weapons and special equipment produced both in the United States and in other countries.
Arsenal of hand-to-hand combat is small - about three dozen of the most effective techniques. But although the Delta fighters are able to kill several people with their bare hands in a matter of seconds, the ability to shoot accurately and quickly is much more valuable than any kind of martial arts.
As part of the special forces of the United States, Delta carries out its combat operations around the globe. Many of them are classified. However, some are reported in open sources.
In 1983, Delta participated in the invasion of Grenada, an island in the Caribbean where the anti-American regime of President Bishop was in power. The fighters of the special group landed there, two days before the landing of the main forces. They captured all key facilities, thus ensuring a successful landing from the air and sea. However, due to a malfunction, communications came under fire from the guns of their ships and lost several people killed and wounded.
In 1989, the “pleasure” of getting to know her fighters was the Panamanian dictator and the owner of the drug business, Manuel Noriega. It was the Delta fighters who captured him in the residence of the papal nuncio, where he was hiding, preparing his escape from the country.
In El Salvador, they taught local commandos how to fight the anti-partisan war.
In Colombia, the drug mafia bases, hidden in the mountain jungle, are searched for and found.
In 1991, they participated in Operation Desert Storm, where they were hunting Iraqi missiles Scud.
In 1993, in Somalia, as part of Operation Gothic Snakes, they were hunting field commander Aidid. Ultimately, this led to the bloody battle of October 3, known as “Ranger Day”. Delta has lost five operators, which is quite a lot for such a unit.
In 2001, her fighters hunted down Taliban leaders as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
In 2003-2004, we participated in Operation Freedom to Iraq. They were engaged in preparing the invasion by reconnaissance and sabotage on the territory of Iraq, participated in the destruction of the sons of Saddam Hussein Uday and Kusay in Mosul, and also managed to catch Saddam himself.
This list is far from complete. Even if we recall the failures of the Delta, it is unlikely that anyone will doubt that today it is a team of top-class professionals and an effective weapon of American foreign policy.