I just finished reading William McRaven’s Spec Ops, Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice.  I thought McRaven ,now an Admiral (SEAL) and in charge of US SOCOM (he was formerly in charge of JSOC), did a great job with this book. I will admit to struggling through some tough areas that were clearly an academic style of literature and difficult to read.  However, it’s one of the most practical and thorough breakdowns of Special Operations missions and theory that I’ve read.  It covers some key Special Operations missions throughout history ending with Operation Jonathan: The Israeli Raid on Entebbe in July 1976.

I would definitely dive right into Chapter 1 before skipping ahead. McRaven covers the”Theory of Special Operations” and this provides further grounding for how he assesses each mission covered and how they utilize the six principles of Special Operations. Two of these which I find ironic in today’s SOCOM and they are simplicity (limiting # of objectives, good intel, and innovation) and purpose (understanding the prime objective). Both things Spec Ops leadership could use a refresher course on in my opinion.

Here’s I’ve linked my favorites:

Chapter1-Theory of Special Operations

Chapter 2-The German Attack on Eben Emael May 1940

Chapter 3-The Italian Manned Torpedo Attack at Alexandria December 1941

Chapter 4-Operation Chariot: The  British Raid on Saint-Nazaire March 1942

Chapter 5-Operation Oak: The Rescue of Benito Mussolini September 1943

Chapter 6-Operation Source: Midget Submarine Attack on the Tirpitz September 1943

Chapter 7-The U.S. Ranger Raid on Cabanatuan, January 1945

Chapter 8-Operation Kingpin: The U.S. Army Raid on Son Tay November 1970

Chapter 9-Operation Jonathan: The Israeli Raid on Entebbe in July 1976

Chapter 10-Conclusions

Relative Superiority Graph

X-axis is time

Lessons from the Bin Laden Raid: Don’t Forget the Tape Measure

Read Next: Lessons from the Bin Laden Raid: Don’t Forget the Tape Measure

Y-axis in probability of mission completion


To purchase the book click here.