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Wojskowa Formacja Specjalna GROM im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej
Odznaka Grom.JPG
Official GROM emblem
Active July 8, 1990 - Present
Country Poland
Branch Polish Army
Type Special Forces
Role Counter Terrorism, Direct Action, Unconventional Warfare
Size Said to be 270 to 300 men organised in squads of 4.
Part of Before October 1, 1999: Polish Ministry of Interior
October 1, 1999 - Current: Polish Army
Garrison/HQ Warsaw, Gdańsk, Poland
Nickname GROM - Polish Operational Mobile Reaction Group "Thunderbolt" of the Cichociemni parachutists of Armia Krajowa (English version of Wojskowa Formacja Specjalna GROM im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej, rarely used)
GROM
Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego
Motto Tobie Ojczyzno! (eng. For you Homeland !)
Engagements 2001 Afghan War
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Commanders
Current
commander
Jerzy Gut
Notable
commanders
Sławomir Petelicki, Marian Sowiński, Roman Polko
GROM in sea ops. training
GROM in sea operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom

GROM (In Polish: Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego "Operational Mobile Reaction Group"; the acronym itself means "thunder") is the primary special forces unit of the Polish Land Forces. It was officially activated on July 8, 1990. It can be and is deployed in a variety of special operations and unconventional warfare roles, including anti-terrorist actions and projection of power behind enemy lines.

The unit's full name, in Polish, is Wojskowa Formacja Specjalna GROM im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej (Special Military Formation GROM of the Cichociemni parachutists of Armia Krajowa), although this title is purely formal and is rarely used. The acronym GROM is also related to the name of General Gromosław Czempiński. In Polish Army nomenclature, it is called JW 2305 (JW stands for Jednostka Wojskowa—Military Unit).

Contents

History

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Early history

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were several formations of special forces units within Poland, but these were either trained in purely military tasks (sabotage, disruption of communications and such) or in purely counter-terrorist roles. After the Polish embassy in Bern was taken over by militants of the Polish Revolutionary Home Army in 1982, General Edwin Rozłubirski proposed that a clandestine military unit be established to counter the threat from terrorism and other unconventional threats. This proposal, however, was initially rejected by the Polish People's Army.

In 1989, many Jews were allowed to emigrate from the Soviet Union to Israel. Poland was one of the handful of countries that provided aid in the form of organization for the operation, later dubbed Operation Bridge (Operacja Most). After two Polish diplomats were shot in Beirut, Lt. Col. Sławomir Petelicki was sent to Lebanon to secure the transfer of civilians and the Polish diplomatic outposts.

Upon his return to Poland, he presented his plan for the creation of a special military unit to the Ministry of Defense, a force that would be trained in special operations to be deployed in the defense of Polish citizens in situations similar to the one in Lebanon. Petelicki's ideas were well-received and on July 8, 1990, GROM was formally established as JW 2305.

Commanders

  • Brigadier General Sławomir Petelicki (July 13, 1990–December 19, 1995)
  • Brigadier General Marian Sowiński (December 19, 1995–December 6, 1997)
  • Brigadier General Sławomir Petelicki (December 7, 1997–September 17, 1999)
  • Colonel Zdzisław Żurawski (September 17, 1999–May 26, 2000)
  • Colonel Roman Polko (May 26, 2000–February 11, 2004)
  • Colonel Tadeusz Sapierzyński (February 11, 2004–February 23, 2006)
  • Brigadier General Roman Polko (February 23, 2006–November 8, 2006)
  • Colonel Piotr Patalong (November 8, 2006–March 25, 2008)
  • Colonel Jerzy Gut (March 25, 2008–July 24, 2008)
  • Colonel Dariusz Zawadka (July 24, 2008–)
  • Lt. Colonel Michal Kaszubowski (1993-1996)

Organization

Sławomir Petelicki was chosen as the first commander of the newly formed unit. As an officer specializing in reconnaissance, sabotage, and diversion, he seemed perfectly suited to oversee the unit's initial formation. He gathered around himself a group of like-minded and professional officers and set about choosing soldiers that would be fit for special operations. Due to the high risks involved in special service, it was decided that all men should be professional soldiers. The first batch of recruits all came from a variety of already-existing special units with the Polish armed forces. Among these were:

Out of the possible recruits, only a small group passed the training based on SAS' experiences and the psychological tests. Many of these initial instructors were trained by the Special Forces of the United Kingdom and the United States. Currently, GROM is co-operating with similar units of other NATO countries:

During its formative first few years, GROM remained completely secret and hidden from the public. It was first reported to the press in 1992 and became known to the public in 1994, after their first major military operation in Haiti.

Before October 1, 1999, GROM was subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Home Affairs, after which time command was transferred to the military.

Training

Candidates applying to serve in GROM have to pass psychological and durability tests, along with the so-called truth test, a physically and psychologically exhausting field test designed to filter out the weaker applicants. GROM soldiers train with the best special forces units in the world. As special forces soldiers, they are ranked with the likes of SAS, JTF2, Recces, SBS, Delta Force, United States Navy SEALs, Indian navy's MARCOS, Israeli Sayeret Matkal (The Unit), 707th Special Mission Battalion, and Israeli naval commando Shayetet 13.

The training of GROM soldiers includes a variety of disciplines. All of them undergo the same specialized training in anti-terrorism and special operations, as well as scuba diving, sniping, and parachuting. In four-man teams, each soldier must be prepared to assume the respective responsibilities of his colleagues, should it become necessary. GROM has their basic Spec. Ops training provided by the Swedish Navy's Special Command for Tactical Operations based in Karlskrona. Sweden's primary Naval Base. Approximately 75% of GROM personnel are trained as medics or paramedics. In addition, each group is supported by several professional physicians. It is also assumed that all GROM operatives are proficient in at least two foreign languages.

Unlike special-purpose units subordinate to the police, GROM operatives are trained primarily in the elimination of terrorists rather than capture.

At least two women have served in GROM during the War in Afghanistan.

Known operations

1991 - GROM operators extract six CIA-agents from Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

1992 - "Macierewicz briefcases" affair (escorting duty during political problems in Poland).

1992 - Assault on residence and arrest of one of the bosses of Art B (a political and economic scandal in Poland).

1993 - Operation Bosnia and Eastern Europe Protection.

1994 - Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

1996 - UNTAES mission in Eastern Slavonia (East Croatia region) to arrest Slavko Dokmanović - they have since managed to arrest at least six more Yugoslavian war-criminals) .

1996 - Bodyguard duties during US ambassador W.G Walker's mission in Kosovo and Macedonia.

1999 - Bodyguard duties during US ambassador W.G Walker's mission in Kosovo and Macedonia. Also they were (unofficially) reported to operate behind Yugoslavian lines to identify artillery fire targets etc.

2001 - Hunt for war criminals in Kosovo.

2001 - Recon mission in Afghanistan before the arrival of Polish troops.

2002 - Mission in Afghanistan (VIP bodyguarding and base protecting duties).

2002 - Mission in Persian Gulf. At the beginning of September, some GROM members were seen training on US ships near Bahrain coast.

2003 - GROM soldiers took part in the Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Equipment

  • Manroy M2 QCB
  • Saab Bofors Dynamics Carl Gustav M3 MAAWS
  • Saab Bofors Dynamics AT4
  • Rafael Spike

Alliances

References

  1. ^ a b Meter, Sebastian. "GROM Utility and Equipment" (in Polish). Gdansk House Publishing. http://grom.mil.pl/uzbrojenie_pliki/UZBROJENIE.HTM. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  2. ^ Domisiewicz, Rafał (July 2007). "Czarne Diabły ruszyły na wojnę" (in Polish). Raport Magazine Online. http://www.altair.com.pl/czasopisma-artykuly-439. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  3. ^ Wilk (REMOV), Remigiusz (April 2008). "Nowe gromy GROM" (in Polish). Raport Magazine Online. http://www.altair.com.pl/cz-art-1660. 
  4. ^ Dorschner, Jim (12 May 2008). "Shifting Trends: Special Forces Equipment". Jane's Defence Weekly (ISSN: 02653818).
  5. ^ Beckwith, Charles (2000. (Mass Marchket paperback; original work published 1983.)). Delta Force: The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit. Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-80939-7. 

External links


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