Tag Archives: Polish special forces

Poland to get new Special Operations unit

As reported by thenews.pl:

“Poland’s forces are to gain a special operations unit much like the elite Ranger Regiment found in the US Army.

The unit is to be stationed at the special services base of the Polish Military Gendarmes in the Silesian city of Gliwice.”

Furthermore:

” …although it is known that by 2014 Poland’s Special Forces Command should be ready to take charge of other special units found in NATO’s member armies, with one general saying that the commanding force must be able to undertake missions across the globe.

The enlisted soldiers will take part in special operations, such as hostage rescue, as well as play an assisting role to Poland’s elite fighting unit, GROM.”

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Polish special forces live the legacy of their WWII predecessors

In 1941, the Polish Government-in-exile in London authorized the creation of a top-secret special operations unit which existed for the sole purpose of parachuting into Nazi-occupied Poland to aid the fight for freedom. These highly-trained paratroopers were to assist with the planned uprising of the Polish underground resistance movement. They were called the Cichociemni –  which literally translates to “silent and unseen”. Their emblem was an eagle holding a wreath encircling the symbol of the Polish resistance movement, a combination of the letters PW (“Polska Walcząca” – “Poland Fights”):

Many Cichociemni did parachute into Poland in the final years of the war – but it was not enough. You can read more here.

In 1995, the newly created special forces unit GROM (which means thunder in Polish) – adopted the insignia and traditions of their WWII predecessors:

I love seeing the symbols, old and new, side by side.

Poland’s Special Forces Here To Save the Day

I recently came across an article published in the early stages of the Iraq war,  which provided one of the most candid and colorful looks at Poland’s Special Forces GROM unit I have yet seen. Victorino Matus, writing at The Weekly Standard, interviewed General Slawomir Petelicki – the founding father of GROM, about how it all began:

“The need did arise in 1990, following Operation Bridge, in which Poland helped Soviet Jews enter Israel. Intelligence reports indicated that Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were planning reprisals inside the Polish border. Then-Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki recognized the threat and approved of Petelicki’s plan for a new counter-terror force.”

Details on training tactics:

“GROM operators practice “killing house” entries (with commanders often serving as hostages), storm hijacked commercial airliners complete with mannequin terrorists and bullet traps, and lead raids onto ships and offshore platforms. All of this is done with live ammunition. The commandos are trained in paramedics and demolitions and many are SCUBA experts.

GROM operators are said to be martial arts experts and capable of “cold killing.” “We created our own style of martial arts,” says Petelicki. “I have an old friend who is a master of karate and jujitsu and is a sixth degree black belt. He created the style with other specialists–it is most similar to what the Israelis do.”

And what about “cold killing”? Asked if the ominous term refers to garrotes or piano wire, Petelicki replies “Yes.” Pausing to choose his words carefully, he explains, “Many things. For instance, we can create a weapon from . . . well . . . many things.”

Live ammunition? Piano Wire?  Their own form of martial arts? Brutal.

Interestingly, toward the end the article cites Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski expressing his hopes that this cooperation be the beginning of a new chapter in U.S.-Polish relations:

“Sikorski thinks this could be the beginning of a special relationship with the United States, akin to the one shared by Great Britain, but warns “it is still in the very early stages and much will also depend on America’s staying power in the region, its willingness to remain interested in Central Europe.”

This article was written in 2003 and clearly the jury is still out on the success of the special relationship.

Read the rest of the article here.

Polish Special Forces Fight Taliban Over Major Explosives Cache in Ghazni

The website of the Polish military contingent in Afghanistan reported that last week Polish special forces fought the Taliban at the scene of the largest weapons cache ever found in Ghazni province, and succesfully captured and disposed of over 3,000 lbs of explosives with the help of an American EOD unit.

Their English translation of the news story is here, but for some reason it leaves out the most important part: that the cache, which included 70 barrels of ready-mixed high explosives, was so valuable that the Taliban tried to fend off the Poles with machine guns and hand grenades at the scene.

The materials were intended for the production of roadside bombs, the leading cause of causalities in Afghanistan. Congratulations to the Poles on their most significant counter-IED operation since the start of their involvement in the war in Afghanistan.