Mobile Gendarmerie

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Squadron of Mobile Gendarmerie monitoring a demonstration in Paris. They are equipped with anti-riot shields and blue visor-fitted SPECTRA helmet.

The Mobile Gendarmerie (French: Gendarmerie Mobile) (GM) is a subdivision of the French Gendarmerie. The Mobile Gendarmerie is the inheritor of the traditions of the gendarmerie's historic infantry component. Specific anti-riot units of the Gendarmerie date back to the beginning of the 19th century. The Mobile Gendarmerie was given its modern name in 1921.

The GM's main missions include:

  • riot control and ensuring the return to order
  • monitoring the territory and its dependencies
  • guarding significant points (embassies, stations, etc.)
  • defending the territory, providing reinforcements to the departmental Gendarmerie, and, in the last few years,
  • conducting external operations (Opex).

Mobile gendarmes are frequently used to reinforce Departmental Gendarmerie and National Police units.

It is nicknamed la jaune (the yellow) because, unlike the departmental Gendarmerie, it uses golden rank insignia, which in France traditionally indicates military branches on foot (as opposed to the silver or white insignia of traditionally horse-mounted branches).

The GM has a dedicated training facility, the Centre national d'entraînement des forces de gendarmerie (National Gendarmerie forces training center). Each escadron (squadron) makes an 10 days internship every 2 years, to enhance his crowd-control and riot skills in a false city. These facilities are unrivaled in Europe.[citation needed]


Using tear gas

The territorial organisation of the GM is as follows:

  • 7 Gendarmerie Areas in Metropolitan France.
  • 25 Legions of Mobile Gendarmes including 1 armoured group of Anti-riot police in Versailles Satory
  • 123 squadrons, each one led by a captain.
  • 1 National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN) which gathers the older GIGN, EPIGN and GSPR to form a special operations unit able to deploy a 200 men hostage rescue team to manage a major crisis.
  • 7 special security groups.
  • 17.350 personnel.

GM squadrons[edit]

A mobile squadron of gendarmes (EGM) is composed of:

  • 121 personnel members.
  • Four ranked platoons including one Intervention Platoon and three regular platoons.
    • The Intervention Platoon (Peloton d'Intervention) unit is an organ by itself, independent of the three other groups of a squadron. It takes part in riot control and also reinforces the departmental Gendarmerie. It is formed of 18 soldiers, whose particular missions (arrest, escort…) require specialised training.
    • Some GM squadrons form part of the new Second Generation Intervention Group (Peloton d’intervention de deuxième génération) (PI2G), a structure constituting an intermediate force between the Intervention Group and the GIGN. It must be operational and able to intervene within very short notice. The PI2G intervenes to help resolve particularly serious problems, or to assist the GIGN. The first PI2G was created in Toulouse, other units of this type are to be created soon.
  • One Platoon "Hors rang" (logistics and administration).

There are two types of GM squadrons: motorised squadrons carried in trucks or buses, and armoured squadrons in VBRG (Véhicule Blindé de Reconnaissance de la Gendarmerie). The VBC-90 (light armoured vehicles with 90mm guns) were adapted for this purpose.

Squadron numbers[edit]

Each squadron is differentiated according to a number, e.g.: 15/6 in Nîmes.

  • 1st digit = number of the mobile squad of Gendarmes of membership.
  • 2nd digit = number of the squadron in the grouping.
  • 3rd digit = number of the historic legion it belonged to (now replaced by the GM régional division). It is not planned to renumber these EGM in the immediate future.


VXB VBRG of the Gendarmerie

The reservists of the GM police are gathered in reserve squadrons of anti-riot police (ERGM) whose denomination and organization are based on those of the regular squadrons, for example: ERGM 124/1 at Maisons-Alfort.

  • 1st digit = always "1" for the squadrons of reserve
  • 2nd digit = number of the Mobile Gendarmes group
  • 3rd digit = number of the squadron in the grouping
  • 4th figure = number of the legion of membership.

The reservists of the GM are not authorised to be deployed for riot control, but are rather employed on missions of service and order (presence at the time of large events for example), or in reinforcement of units of the departmental Gendarmerie.

In the past the fact that the reservists could not be involved in riot control limited their usage to providing support to the Gendarmerie Départementale. However in recent times the reservists have been employed under contract to complete full regular squadrons.

Although there are some female officers in the GM, the role of non-commissioned officer is still reserved for men only. In France, it is one of the few trades, along with that of submariner, still prohibited to women.


See also[edit]