Chinese strategist Jiang Ziya, in his Six Secret Teachings, described recruiting talented and motivated men into specialized elite units with functions such as commanding heights and making rapid long-distance advances. King David of ancient Israel had a special forces platoon known as Gibborim. Hamilcar Barca in Sicily (249 BC) had specialized troops trained to launch several offensives per day.  In the late Roman or early Byzantine period, Roman fleets used small, fast, camouflaged ships crewed by selected men for scouting and commando missions. Muslim forces also had naval special operations units, including one that used camouflaged ships to gather intelligence and launch raids and another of soldiers who could pass for Crusaders who would use ruses to board enemy ships and then capture and destroy them. In Japan, ninjas were used for reconnaissance, espionage and as assassins, bodyguards or fortress guards, or otherwise fought alongside conventional soldiers. During the Napoleonic wars, rifle and sapper units were formed that held specialised roles in reconnaissance and skirmishing and were not committed to the formal battle lines.
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