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Four Man Patrol image

The SAS four-man patrol is one of the most effective special forces units in the world. It has evolved since World War II to become a self-contained, flexible formation that is filled with multi-skilled individuals capable of undertaking a wide variety of tasks.

The four-man patrol team has been the fundamental operational Unit of the Regiment since 22 SAS was re-formed in the early 1950s.

A small, completely self-contained unit, it forms the linchpin of the modern SAS. The four-man patrol, like the SAS itself owes its existence to the vision of one man: David Stirling. The Founder of the SAS.


Although the size of the SAS operational groups varied according to their individual mission, the concept of the four-man team gradually evolved within them. Four men came to be considered the optimum number for a variety of reasons.

A patrol of less than four men was considered too vulnerable. It would be limited in its carrying capacity and firepower, would have difficulty in defending itself if attacked, and would almost certainly be rendered unoperational should one of its number be killed or wounded. Conversely, a patrol of more than four men might become unwieldy, and would certainly be harder to conceal from the enemy.

Four Man Patrol image

Four Man Patrol image

There were, in addition extremely good psychological reasons for four-man patrolling. Soldiers are taught the `buddy-buddy` principle from the earliest training, and will almost instinctively pair up to perform the majority of domestic tasks. Not only will a soldier instinctively offer mutual support to his 'oppo', but he will happily share the more mundane duties of cooking meals. erecting a basha (as the sas call their shelters), and camouflaging it thereafter.

The Patrol is usually made up of a medic, demolitions expert, linguist and navigational expert. Each member covers his own 90 degree 'arch', normally split into one man (on point) covering the front, the next two covering the sides and the 'trailer' covers the rear.

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Source & courtesy SAS Soldier X

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