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Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale: Wikis


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Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale
Insigne GIGN.png
Official GIGN insignia
Active 1973 - Present
Country France
Branch French Gendarmerie
Type Special Forces
Role Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size about 380 gendarmes
Garrison/HQ Satory, France
Nickname GIGN
Motto Servitas Vitae (To Save Lives, Unofficial)
Engagements Air France Flight 8969 hijacking
Kosovo Crisis
Various anti-FLNC operations
Arrest of Bob Denard
Christian Prouteau, Paul Barril, Philippe Legorjus

The National Gendarmerie Intervention Group, commonly abbreviated GIGN (French: Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), is the French Gendarmerie's elite Special Operations counter-terrorism and hostage rescue unit; it is part of the military force called the Gendarmerie. Even if its members belong to the military, they are now charged with police duties outside urbanised areas. As such GIGN units are closer to enhanced SWAT teams than to pure military units such as the British Army SAS. Its operators are trained to follow police regulations and include negotiation and investigation specialists.

It is composed of 380 men, including 11 commissioned officers.[citation needed]

It is a counterpart to the RAID unit of the National Police, with enhanced resources and expanded areas of responsibility. In contrast to RAID, GIGN is also responsible for conducting operations outside of France (such as hostage rescue for example). Its missions include the arrest of armed criminals, in particular those taking hostages, counter-terrorism and dealing with aircraft hijacking, and prevention of mutiny in prisons.



After the Munich massacre during the Olympic Games in 1972, and a prison mutiny in Clairvaux Prison the next year, France started to study the possible solutions to extremely violent attacks, under the assumptions that these would be difficult to predict and deflect.[1]

In 1973, the GIGN became a permanent force of men trained and equipped to respond to these kind of threats while minimizing risks to the public and hostages, for the members of the unit, and for the attackers themselves. The GIGN became operational on the first of March, 1974, under the command of Lieutenant Christian Prouteau.

Ten days later, a deranged person was successfully stopped in Ecquevilly, validating the techniques of the unit and proving its necessity. GIGN initially had 15 members, which increased to 48 by 1984, 57 by 1988, and 87 by 2000.[1]


The GIGN is divided into a command cell, an administrative group, four operational troops of twenty operators, an operational support troop including negotiation, breaching, intelligence, communications, marksmanship, dogs and special equipment cells.[2] The special equipment group equips the unit with modified and high-tech equipment, by either selecting or designing it. GIGN is called about 60 times each year.[3]

All members go through training which includes shooting, long-range marksmanship, an airborne course and hand-to-hand combat techniques (Krav Maga). Members of the GIGN are widely regarded as having some of the best firearms training in the world.[1] It is for this reason that many of the world's special operations and counterterrorist units conduct exchange programs with the GIGN.[1] Mental ability and self-control are important in addition to physical strength. Like most special forces, the training is stressful with a high washout rate of only 7-8% of volunteers making it to the training process. GIGN members must be prepared to disarm suspects with their bare hands.[3]

There are two tactical specialties in the group : HALO/HAHO and divers. Members learn several technical specialties among police dogs, breaching, long-range sniping, negotiation, etc.[1]



In the future, the newly recruited police officers will be trained for intervention, then will have the opportunity to be trained in protection and/or research/observation (GSPR old missions and the EPIGN). The total will increase to about 420 soldiers in 2010, compared to 380 today. It will then be possible to hire up to 200 men, trained and accustomed to working together in large-scale interventions (mass hostage-taking for example, as in Beslan). The acronym GSIGN has become moot and the acronym "GIGN" refers no longer the same small unit. The collaboration of GIGN and RAID is more and more practiced in large hostage-rescue exercises.


Boarding of the Pascal Paoli by the GIGN, on 28 September 2005. The ship had been occupied by the Corsican trade union STC.

Since its creation, the group has taken part in over 1000 operations, liberated over 500 hostages, arrested over 1000 suspects, and killed a dozen terrorists. The unit has seen two members killed in action, and seven in training, since its foundation, and two of its dogs in action and one in training.[4]

Past actions include:

The GIGN was selected by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to teach the special forces of the other member states in hostage-rescue exercises in planes.


  • Combat shooting and marksmanship training
  • Airborne courses, such as HALO or HAHO jumps, paragliding, and heliborne insertions.
  • Combat/Underwater swimming, diving and underwater combat.
  • Hand to hand or unarmed combat (e.g., Knife fighting and martial arts)
  • Psychological warfare, such as prisoner interrogation
  • Police and detective work (investigating cases)
  • Infiltration and escape techniques
  • Sabotage and demolition.
  • Weapon handling, such as knives, firearms, etc.
  • Survival and warfare in tropical, arctic, mountain and desert environments.
  • Language and culture: GIGN operatives are trained to know basic language and culture skills of several countries.
  • Diplomacy skills, such as negotiating.


GIGN leaders

  • Lieutenant Christian Prouteau : 1973-1982
  • Capitaine Paul Barril : 1982-1983 (Interim)
  • Capitaine Philippe Masselin : 1983-1985
  • Capitaine Philippe Legorjus : 1985-1989
  • Major (Commandant or Chef d'Escadron in Cavalry) Lionel Chesneau : 1989-1992
  • Capitaine Denis Favier : 1992-1997
  • Major (Commandant or Chef d'Escadron in Cavalry) Eric Gerard : 1997–2002
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Frédéric Gallois : 2002-2007
  • Brigade General Denis Favier : 2007-present

In fiction

GIGN members are present in several video games such as SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike,Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Lockdown, Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, and Hitman: Contracts. GIGN uniforms are available in the games Counter-Strike and SWAT 4.

See also

Comparable Special Forces

  • KosovoKosovo:SHPK Sherbimi Policor i Kosoves
  • Albania Albania: RENEA, Reparti i Neutralizimit te Elementit te Armatosur
  • Australia Australia: APS, Australian SAS
  • Austria Austria: EKO Cobra, Einsatzkommando Cobra
  • Brazil Brazil: COT, Comando de Ações Táticas
  • Bulgaria Bulgaria: Специален отряд за борба с тероризма, Специален отряд за борба с тероризма
  • Canada Canada: JTF2, Joint Task Force 2
  • Croatia Croatia: ATJ, Anti Teroristička Jedinica
  • Cyprus Cyprus: EAO ,Ειδικός Αντιτρομοκρατικός Ουλαμός
  • Czech Republic Czech Republic : Urna - Utvar Rychleho NAsazeni
  • Denmark Denmark: AKS, Politiets Aktionsstyrke
  • Egypt Egypt: HRF, Hostage Rescue Force
  • Finland Finland: Karhu-ryhmä
  • Germany Germany: GSG 9, Grenzschutzgruppe 9 der Bundespolizei
  • Greece Greece: EKAM, Ειδική Κατασταλτική Αντιτρομοκρατική Μονάδα
  • Iceland Iceland: Víkingasveitin
  • India India: NSG, National Security Guards
  • Indonesia Indonesia: DK88, Detasemen Khusus 88
  • Republic of Ireland Ireland: ERU, Emergency Response Unit ARW army ranger wing
  • Israel Israel: Yamam, Yeḥidat Mishtara Meyuḥedet
  • Italy Italy: GIS, Gruppo Intervento Speciale,NOCS nucleo operativo centrale di sicurezza
  • Japan Japan: SAT, Special Assault Team
  • Malaysia Malaysia: PGK, Pasukan Gerakan Khas
  • Mexico Mexico: GAFE, Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales
  • Netherlands Netherlands: UIM, Unit Interventie Mariniers
  • New Zealand New Zealand: STG, Special Tactics Group
  • Norway Norway: Beredskapstroppen
  • Philippines Philippines: SAF, Special Action Force
  • Portugal Portugal: GOE, Grupo de Operações Especiais
  • Pakistan Pakistan: SSG, Special Services Group
  • Romania Romania: GSPI Acvila, Grupul Special de Protecţie şi Intervenţie
  • Russia Russia: Vympel
  • Serbia Serbia: SAJ, Special Anti-Terrorist Unit
  • Slovakia Slovakia: UOU, Útvar Osobitného Určenia
  • South Korea South Korea: 707th Special Mission Unit
  • Spain Spain: GEO, Grupo Especial de Operaciones, UEI (Unidad Especial de Intervención), GEI (Grup Epecial d'Intervenció - Catalunya)
  • Republic of China Taiwan (Republic of China): Thunder Squad
  • United Kingdom UK: SAS
  • United States USA: Delta Force, SEAL Team Six FBI HRT



  1. ^ a b c d e SOC - France - GIGN Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b Group Intervention of the National Gendarmerie (French) Retrieved 15 April 2007.
  4. ^ [2]

External links


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