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Pathfinder selection cadre

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  • Pathfinder selection cadre

    Good video of selection and training. They do the same as Brecon phase 1 SAS selection and training. But dont do phase 2. - video featuring the elite Pathfinder Platoon, part of the British Army's 16 Air Assault Brigade. Watch to the end to find out...

    Not sure what the point of HAHO is ? it hasnt been used by British special forces since the early 70s.

    Also were part of one the British armies longest post WW2 sieges.

    The Siege of Musa Qala

    What was meant to be a six-day operation turned into a 6-week one, with most days spent in contact with the enemy. The platoon had on a previous occasion spent a 5-day stop-off at the town of Musa Qala, staying at a walled compound they shared with local police. In mid June they were tasked with returning in order to relieve US forces and hold the town until relieved by A Company of 3 Para. The trouble was that A Company had been held up by heavy fighting around the town of Sangin to the North and the relief of the Pathfinders would take a lot longer than planned.
    Musa Qaleh, Afghanistan (google earth kmz file)

    The Pathfinders had not been in Musa Qala long before they started coming under enemy fire. On an almost daily basis, the Taliban would attack the Pathfinder's compound and surrounding outposts with small arms, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), mortars and a 105mm recoilless rifle. The Pathfinders traded fire with the Taliban with .50 HMGs mounted on tripods, placed in strategic positions within their compound, GPMGs, sniper rifles and SA80s. When manpower permitted, the Pathfinder Platoon would also put in pro-active 'hearts and minds' patrols out into the town and surrounding areas, hoping to win over the local population.

    During their 6 week stay at Musa Qala, the Pathfinders relied on re supply from flights of RAF Chinooks. These large, lumbering and mostly unarmored helicopters made an appealing target for the Taliban. The Pathfinders were required to use their WMIKs to cordon off landing zones for the Chinook re supply flights - and operation that left their compound dangerously under-defended.

    The Pathfinder Platoon were reinforced eventually by a platoon from 3 Para which allowed them to put in more patrols outside the compound. In early July, attempts were made to bring in further reinforcements by road. The relief convoy was duly attacked by the Taliban and forced to withdraw. The Pathfinders would have to hold on a while longer.

    Not content to sit and wait to be hit, the Pathfinders put in some ambushes of their own, engaging groups of Taliban fighters as they maneuvered around the area.

    After 52 days, and further abortive attempts to reinforce the Musa Qala base, the beleaguered Pathfinders were eventually reinforced by a Danish force and later relieved by Royal Irish Rangers. Despite the fact that holding ground is not the Pathfinder's role - they are trained to stay mobile and hit and run - they had held out against sustained attacks by a fanatical enemy. And they had done so without losing any of their own.