The Commando: A One Man Army - Blog Feed Letters

The Commando: A One Man Army

by Arjun Khanna

When we think of a commando, we often imagine a highly skilled and fearless individual who can single-handedly take on any challenge. The term “commando” originated from the Portuguese word “comando,” meaning “command,” and it refers to a soldier or operative who is trained to carry out special operations. In this article, we will explore the world of commandos, their training, their roles, and the impact they have on military operations.

The History of Commandos

The concept of commandos can be traced back to the Boer Wars in South Africa during the late 19th century. The Boers, who were fighting against the British, utilized small groups of highly mobile and skilled fighters to disrupt enemy supply lines and conduct surprise attacks. These tactics proved to be highly effective, and the British soon recognized the need to develop their own commando units.

During World War II, commandos played a crucial role in various theaters of war. The British Commandos, for example, were instrumental in carrying out raids on German-occupied Europe. Their missions ranged from gathering intelligence to sabotaging enemy infrastructure. The success of these operations led to the establishment of commando units in other countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The Training of Commandos

Becoming a commando requires rigorous training and a high level of physical and mental fitness. Commando training programs vary between countries, but they generally focus on developing skills such as marksmanship, close-quarters combat, navigation, and survival techniques.

One of the most renowned commando training programs is the United States Navy SEALs’ Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. This six-month program pushes candidates to their limits, both physically and mentally. It includes grueling physical exercises, long-distance swims, and extensive training in various combat techniques.

Similarly, the British Special Air Service (SAS) selection process is known for its demanding nature. Candidates undergo a series of physical and mental tests, including endurance marches, navigation exercises, and interrogation simulations. The selection process can last up to five weeks and has a high attrition rate.

The Roles of Commandos

Commandos are trained to carry out a wide range of missions, often behind enemy lines or in hostile environments. Their roles can include:

  • Gathering intelligence: Commandos are skilled in reconnaissance and surveillance techniques, allowing them to gather critical information about enemy positions, movements, and capabilities.
  • Direct action: Commandos are capable of conducting direct assaults on enemy targets, such as capturing high-value individuals or destroying enemy installations.
  • Counterterrorism: Commandos are often deployed to counter terrorist threats, both domestically and internationally. Their specialized training enables them to respond swiftly and effectively in high-risk situations.
  • Search and rescue: Commandos are trained in search and rescue techniques, making them valuable assets in missions to recover downed pilots or hostages.

The Impact of Commandos

Commandos have had a significant impact on military operations throughout history. Their specialized training and ability to operate independently or in small teams make them highly effective in unconventional warfare scenarios. By carrying out covert operations, commandos can disrupt enemy plans, gather vital intelligence, and create chaos within enemy ranks.

One notable example of the impact of commandos is the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011. A team of United States Navy SEALs, known as SEAL Team Six, successfully executed the mission, resulting in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist. This operation showcased the precision and effectiveness of commando units in high-stakes operations.


1. Are commandos only found in the military?

No, commandos can also be found in law enforcement agencies. Specialized units such as SWAT teams often employ commando-like tactics and training to handle high-risk situations, such as hostage rescues or counterterrorism operations.

2. How do commandos differ from regular soldiers?

Commandos undergo additional training beyond what regular soldiers receive. They are trained to operate in small teams or individually, often behind enemy lines or in hostile environments. Their missions are typically focused on special operations, such as reconnaissance, direct action, or counterterrorism.

3. Can anyone become a commando?

Becoming a commando requires exceptional physical and mental fitness, as well as a strong commitment to the demanding training process. While anyone can apply, the selection process is rigorous, and only a small percentage of candidates successfully complete the training.

4. Are there female commandos?

Yes, there are female commandos in various countries’ military and law enforcement agencies. These women undergo the same training as their male counterparts and are equally capable of carrying out commando operations.

5. What qualities make a successful commando?

Successful commandos possess a combination of physical fitness, mental resilience, adaptability, and strong teamwork skills. They must be able to think quickly on their feet, make sound decisions under pressure, and work effectively in challenging environments.


Commandos are the epitome of a one-man army. Through their specialized training, they become highly skilled operatives capable of carrying out a wide range of missions. From gathering intelligence to conducting direct action, commandos play a crucial role in military and law enforcement operations. Their impact on history is undeniable, as they have successfully executed high-stakes missions that have changed the course of events. The world of commandos is one of bravery, skill, and unwavering dedication to the mission at hand.

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