Special Air Service Regiment is one of the most famous Units in the
British Army, though it is one of the youngest, dating back to 1941.
The short period since the SAS came into being is packed with action,
first in W.W. II and since in many small "cold war" activities in which
Britain has been involved. The SAS has a history of almost continuous
combat action of one kind or another. By the nature of its activities
since W.W. II, when for operational reasons its work has not been widely
publicised, all sorts of legends have grown up - some of them false-
about what it actually does.
In essence, the
function of the SAS has not changed greatly since it was established.
It is a small, highly mobile, highly trained force able to carry out
surveillance, reconnaissance or attack missions.
The first use of the name "Special Air Sercive
Regiment" goes back to 1940 when it was given to the first troops
selected for parachute training. However the name of this Unit was soon
changed to the Parachute Regiment, forming the backbone of Britain's
It was in the Middle East that Lt.
David Stirling, a Scots Guards Officer serving with No.8 Commando, had
the idea of forming a small "airborne commando", which could strkie at
the enemy from behind, attack supply dumps, airfields, and other
important centres, cause the maximum damage and confusion and then melt
away into the desert. The conception was that the small attack force
would be dropped at night, well clear of the target area, strike, then
make good their escape accross the desert. They would rendezvous with
the Long Range Desert Group and make their way back.
was given for such a force, and Stirling picked volunteers from
Commandos and other Units. The Unit was named "L Detachment SAS,
Brigade", mainly to confuse the enemy, who, knew that this name had been
given to paratroops training in England and might suppose that
parachute battalions had now been sent to the Middle East.
the summer 1941 the SAS unit undertook intensive training, particularly
in parachuting and desert survival, and experimented with types of
demolition explosive. The first raid, in November, 1941 was not a
success due to high winds and poor weather, which dispersed the men
during the parachute drop.
A more precise way of
getting to the target was needed and one obvious way was to use the
L.R.D.G. Trucks as a way of carrying the SAS to a dropping-off point
where they could attack, then rejoin the L.R.D.G. patrol for return to
base. The L.R.D.G. meanwhile carried on their normal task, the SAS men
going as "passengers". A series of very successful operations followed,
and by early in 1942 the SAS had become a force to be reckoned with.
by now Major, designed the Regiment's famous winged dagger badge with
its motto "Who Dares Wins" and this was worn instead of the badges of
the Units from which they had volunteered.
For a series of raids in the spring of 1942 the SAS acquired their own 30 cwt. trucks similar to the L.R.D.G.
the summer of 1942, the Jeep was available and from then the SAS acted
more independently carrying out many sorties with its own armed Jeeps.
Tamiya Kit MM-133 is a replica of one of the Jeeps, and is
characteristic of the type of raiding vehicle, bristling with guns and
packed with sotres and ammunition, that the SAS has used ever since.
end of the campaign in the Western Desert saw the SAS become the 1st
special Air Service Regiment, and it went on to operate in Italy.
Meanwhile, further Regiments had been raised.
men also aided various partisan forces in Eastern Europe, including the
Albanians. Almost every counter insurgent operation since has involved
the SAS. Training is tought, and the conditions of entry are extremely
Up to the early 60's the Jeep remained
the principal vehicle, since then the ubiquitous Land Rover has been
employed. Since 1970 the SAS has used a more refined conversion of the
long wheel base Mk II, as depicted in this kit. This version lacks
windscreen and side doors, but carries mounts for two general purpose
Normal crew is three: driver,
commander (and front gunner), radio operator (and rear gunner).
Sometimes a fourth man is carried.
3 smoke candle
dischargers are mounted at each corner of the vehicle and special
equipment includes a spotlight , pioneer tools, stowage locers, and a
rear tailboard extension which is used to carry stores: sand channels
are another item, but other equipment, such as a radio set, is fitted
depending on operational requirements. With extra fuel tanks the
vehicle has a road range of 1,100 miles and weighs 3 tons fully stored
and equipped. while the Land Rover is the standard patrol vehicle, SAS
Units may employ other vehicles as conditions demand. In desert
operations the SAS Rovers are painted to suit the terrain, a sand-pink,
which has led to the nickname "Pink Panther" being applied on occasion.