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Scouting units such as the Lovat Scouts, a Scottish Highland regiment made up of exceptional woodsmen outfitted in ghillie suits and well practised in the arts of marksmanship, field craft, and military tactics filled this role.
This unit was formed in 1900 by Lord Lovat and early on reported to an American, Major Frederick Russell Burnham, the Chief of Scouts under Lord Roberts.
After the war, Lovat's Scouts went on to formally become the British Army's first sniper unit.
Modern special forces emerged during the Second World War.
Following extensive training at Kabrit camp, by the River Nile, L Detachment, SAS Brigade undertook its first operations in the Western Desert.
Stirling's vision was eventually vindicated after a series of successful operations. Transported by the LRDG, they caused severe damage to the harbour, petrol tanks and storage facilities.
Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Vaughan, the Commando depot was responsible for training complete units and individual replacements.
Depending on the country, special forces may perform some of the following functions: airborne operations, counter-insurgency, "counter-terrorism", foreign internal defense, covert ops, direct action, hostage rescue, high-value targets/manhunting, intelligence operations, mobility operations, and unconventional warfare.