Steve is a former senior military strategist with 28 years service within the US Army, now a writer and speaker with a passion for developing and mentoring the next generation of thinking leaders, he is a founding member of the Military Writers Guild. His writing focuses on issues of foreign policy, national security, strategy and planning, leadership and leader development.
Winter is here. The climactic battle between the living and the dead has come. As the forces of the Night King descend on Winterfell for what is certain to be a battle for the ages, the enigmatic leader of the Army of the Dead is flying overhead astride Viserion, surveying the battle below while ensuring both the initiative and momentum remain with his forces.
If there was ever a time for direct action, it is now. As long as he is aloft, he Night King is separated from his army, leaving him exposed and vulnerable.
This is the type of mission ideally suited for Special Air Services, a mission in which a small, specialized force could end the Battle of Winterfell before it begins, a mission that could change the history of the Seven Kingdoms before it is written.
They key to a successful mission is reliable intelligence. Sound intelligence was a cornerstone of Operation Pebble Island during the Falklands War. Poor intelligence, on the other hand, can lead to missions like Bravo Two Zero, the ill-fated SCUD-hunting mission during the Persian Gulf War.
Regardless of the tactics employed against the Night King, intelligence will ultimately determine success or failure.
With the Night King leading the battle from above, SAS forces would have to force him to ground where they could engage him from a position of relative tactical advantage.
Air support – no doubt in the form of Daenerys’s surviving dragons, Drogon and Rhaegal – would prove decisive during this crucial phase of the operation.
Once forced to ground, assault teams from a mobility Troop – accustomed to the tactics and techniques of rapid attack – could channel the Night King into an ambush position, where a Mountain Troop – specializing in winter operations – could isolate and elimate him with an element as small as a 4-man assault team using dragonglass-tipped ammunition (fortunately, this is a fantasy series).
What could happen and what will actually occur, however, is decided in the minds of the screenwriters.
If the SAS deployed to Westeros, their impact would be noticeable and could irreversibly shift the balance of power in a way that Bran Stark might not even be able to predict. Not even Hodor could hold back the SAS.