JW GROM

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This article is about a special forces unit. For other uses, see Grom (disambiguation).
Jednostka Wojskowa GROM
Odznaka Grom.JPG
Official JW GROM emblem
Active July 13, 1990 – present
Country Poland
Allegiance Polish Armed Forces
Branch Polish Special Forces
Type Special Forces
Role Counter Terrorism, Direct Action, Unconventional Warfare
Size Said to be 448 men organised in squads of 4.[citation needed]
Part of Before October 1, 1999: Ministry of Interior
October 1, 1999 – present: Polish Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Warsaw HQ, Gdańsk; Poland
Patron Cichociemni
Motto Tobie Ojczyzno! (eng. For you, Fatherland!)
Beret color Grey
Engagements 1994: Operation Uphold Democracy
2001: 2001 Afghan War
2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom
Website http://www.jwgrom.pl/ (Polish)
Commanders
Current
commander
płk Piotr Gąstał
Notable
commanders
Sławomir Petelicki, Marian Sowiński, Roman Polko
Insignia
Identification
symbol
GROM-plakietka.jpg

JW GROM[1] (full name: Jednostka Wojskowa GROM im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej,[2] English: "Military Unit GROM named in honour of the Silent Unseen of the Home Army") is Poland's elite counter-terrorism unit. GROM, which stands for Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego[3] (English: Operational Maneuver Response Group), but also means "thunder", is one of the five special operation forces units of the Polish Armed Forces. It was officially activated on July 13, 1990.[4][5] It is deployed in a variety of special operations and unconventional warfare roles, including anti-terrorist operations and projection of force behind enemy lines.

The unit was named after the Silent Unseen (Polish: Cichociemni Spadochroniarze Armii Krajowej) - Poland's elite World War II special-operations unit.[6]

The unit's other name is Jednostka Wojskowa 2305 (Military Unit 2305).

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

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 a group of four Polish emigrants calling themselves 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 People's Army of Poland.

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 Interior, 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 June 13, 1990,[4][5] GROM was formally established as JW 2305.

Commanders[edit]

  • Brigadier General Sławomir Petelicki (June 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– August 6, 2010)
  • Colonel Jerzy Gut (August 6, 2010– July 28, 2011)
  • Colonel Piotr Gąstał (July 28, 2011–)

Organization[edit]

Sławomir Petelicki was chosen as the first commander of the newly formed unit. As a Polish intelligence officer from Służba Bezpieczeństwa specializing in sabotage and subversion, he seemed perfectly suited to oversee the unit's initial formation. He gathered around himself a group of like-minded and professional soldiers, functionaries 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 from professional service. The first batch of recruits all came from a variety of already-existing special units within the Polish Armed Forces. Among these were:

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

During its formative first few years, JW 2305 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, JW 2305 was subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, after which time command was transferred to the Minister of National Defence, until 2007. Since 2007 JW GROM is under the command of Dowódca Wojsk Specjalnych (Commander of Polish Special Forces).

Training[edit]

US Navy SEALs and GROM naval warfare team practicing boarding skills near Gdansk, Poland, 2009

Candidates applying to serve in JW 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.

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 frogman, sniping, and parachuting. In four-man teams, each soldier must be prepared to assume the respective responsibilities of his colleagues, should it become necessary. JW GROM receives basic special operations training from 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 a lot of JW GROM operatives are proficient in at least two foreign languages. GROM soldiers are trained in the capture or kill methods.

Known operations[edit]

Most of unit's operations remain classified, the known ones are listed below.

  • 1990 - 1992 Operacja Most
  • 1992 – "Antoni Macierewicz briefcases" affair (Close protection 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).
  • 1994 – Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.
  • 1996 – UNTAES mission in eastern Slavonia, Croatia 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.
  • 2001 – Hunt for war criminals in Kosovo.
  • 2001 – Recon mission in Afghanistan before the arrival of Polish troops.
  • 2002–2004 – Mission in Afghanistan (VIP bodyguarding, base protecting duties and other).
  • 2002–2003 – Mission in Persian Gulf. Maritime Interdiction Operations.
  • 2003–2004, 2007–2008 – GROM soldiers took part in the Operation Iraqi Freedom. Also operated in Iraq after May, 2003.
  • 2007–present – GROM is a part of Special Forces in Afghanistan, as Task Force 49, operating in Ghazni Province.
  • 2012 - Protection of Polish and International civilians during the Euro 2012 football tournament.

Equipment[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ pronounced [ˌjɔd ˌvu ˈɡrɔm]
  2. ^ pronounced [jɛdˈnɔstka vɔjˈskɔva ˈɡrɔm iˈmjɛɲa t͡ɕixɔˈt͡ɕɛmnɨx spadɔxrɔˈɲaʐɨ armi kraˈjɔvɛj]
  3. ^ pronounced [ˈgrupa rɛ.agɔˈvaɲa ɔpɛraˈt͡sɨjnɔ manɛvrɔˈvɛɡɔ]
  4. ^ a b Jarosław Rybak (2009). GROM2.pl (in Polish). Warsaw: Jeden Świat. ISBN 978-83-89632-50-0. 
  5. ^ a b Komar (2010). GROM: Siła i honor (in Polish). Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie. ISBN 978-83-08-04538-1. 
  6. ^ http://www.grom.wp.mil.pl/pl/7.html
  7. ^ "Irish Army Ranger Wing". 15 December 2013. Special Ops. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Meter, Sebastian. "GROM Utility and Equipment" (in Polish). Gdansk House Publishing. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  9. ^ Sebastian Miernik. "Strona poświęcona Wojskowej Formacji Specjalnej GROM" (in Polish). Grom.mil.pl. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ a b c d e f Wilk (REMOV), Remigiusz. "Nowe gromy GROM". 
  12. ^ Domisiewicz, Rafał (July 2007). "Czarne Diabły ruszyły na wojnę" (in Polish). Raport Magazine Online. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  13. ^ Dorschner, Jim (12 May 2008). "Shifting Trends: Special Forces Equipment". Jane's Defence Weekly (ISSN: 02653818).

External links[edit]