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Top 10 Elite Fighting Units 6-10


The Varangians:
The Varangians, thought to be the descendants of early Viking voyagers, hailed from settlements dotting the river basins of present-day Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Their fierce prowess in battle led Varangian mercenaries to end up in some of the most powerful armies of the Mediterranean world. By the start of the 11th century A.D., the reigning Byzantine Emperor, Basil II, assembled a personal bodyguard of Varangians rather than local Greeks because he feared�Constantinople's treacherous intrigues and duplicitous nobles. For the next two centuries, the Varangians would rank among the empire's greatest shock troops, clad in heavy armor and often wielding large axes. Records and inscriptions from the time chart scores of Scandinavians leaving their homes and communities to fight — and die — among "the Greeks." Eventually, the guard, much like the elite Praetorian Guard of the earlier Roman empire, faded out with the decline of the Byzantines.

The Hashishin:
In the 12th and 13th centuries, the breakaway Shi'ite Ismaili sect found political and martial voice in the form of the Hashishin. As the Middle East convulsed during the Crusades, with invasions of Turkic conquerors from further east, the Hashishin — whose name allegedly comes from the order's penchant of indulging in hashish during certain ecstatic rituals — sought to resist both the Christian invaders landing on the shores of the Levant and the Turkic dynasties that lorded over much of the Arab world. Hassan-i-Sabah, pictured above, founded the order of the Hashishin at some point in the 11th century and raised its most famous castle of Alamut in what is now Iran. In what's now northwestern Syria, the Hashishin for a time even ran its own kingdom in the mountains, replete with a number of doggedly defended castles. A Hashishin's skill with a scimitar was, in legend at least, unmatched. The order was also skilled in the art of stealth and made a habit of murdering political opponents through the decades. After all, the English language has the Hashishin to thank for the word assassin.

Israel's Special Forces:
Israel's special forces, which were formed in 1948 as the Special Reconnaissance Platoon, now consist of elite commando, counterterrorist, antiterrorist and recon units. They form the pre-emptive first line of defense for the Jewish state and have unit names like Batmen, Winged Snakes and Flying Tigers. The covert forces have participated in daring, clandestine operations both in Israel and in enemy territory, including the famed 1976 Raid on Entebbe: the rescue of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian guerrillas who had hijacked an Air France plane that had taken off from Tel Aviv and redirected it to Uganda.

In one of their most recent actions, undertaken in May 2010, special forces intercepted the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. During the operation, nine activists, most of them Turkish nationals, were killed. An international uproar ensued in which members of the special forces were accused of using deadly force on people who, some say, had not initiated violence. An Israeli inquiry into the incident found that the troops acted in self-defense and therefore did not break international law.

The Jaguar Warriors:
In Aztec culture, the Jaguar Warriors were society's knights. Sure, they didn't have horses or shiny suits of armor, but they did often wear the sable skin of the sleek and beguiling predator, their heads poking out of jaguars' gaping maws. Instead of swords and lances, these fighters often used axes or clubs studded with shards of black obsidian (jagged volcanic rock). The historical record seems to indicate that Jaguar Warriors commanded a high place in the Aztecs' political hierarchy and fought ferociously against the invading Spanish conquistadores. But their spiky clubs were no match for the firepower of the Spanish.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2069886_2069891_2069944,00.html #ixzz1MAvIUlk5
5/12/2011, 4:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to Falconn   Send PM to Falconn
 
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Re: Top 10 Elite Fighting Units 6-10



I found these articles very interesting. Perhaps TIME is correct that these are the "greatest" elite teams ever. However, possibly to be politically correct, or simply because our modern culture has forgetten, TIME has left out the Most Elite of the Elite who have ever been.

I believe the most elite ever was the God ordanined, God trained, God supported, God sent Mighty Men from the Old Testament found in 2 Samuel 23:8-39. David’s Mighty Men were to protect the young kingdom of Israel, King David assembled some super-elite soldiers known as the Mighty Men. There were The Three, who seemed to be David’s personal secret service. Then there was The Thirty, the main body of David’s elite corps. And then there were a couple of super warriors: Abishai was said to kill 300 men with one spear, while Benaiah was credited for killing two of Moab’s elite, a lion, and an Egyptian with his own weapon. Clearly, the message here was Don’t Mess With The One TRUE GOD!.

-Falcon


5/13/2011, 9:51 am Link to this post Send Email to Falconn   Send PM to Falconn
 


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