Special Brigade

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Special Brigade
Специјална бригада / Specijalna brigada
Spec brigada.png
Active 2006 – present
Country  Serbia
Branch Serbian Army
Type Special forces
Size 1000[1]
Garrison/HQ Pančevo
Niš
Motto Ко сме тај може, ко не зна за страх тај иде напред! (He who dares can, he who knows no fear, goes forward! )
Anniversaries 29 September[2]
Commanders
Commander Brig. general Jelesije Radivojević

The Special Brigade (Serbian: Специјална бригада / Specijalna brigada) is an elite unit of the Serbian Armed Forces overseeing the various special operations units in the Serbian Army. It consists of special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, commando, airborne, and diving units.

The Special Brigade was formed on 29 September 2006 by combining the elite special forces units of Military of Serbia and Montenegro; 72nd Special Brigade, 63rd Paratroop Brigade, Cobra anti-terrorist squad, and parts of the 82nd Marine Center.[1][3]

Members of the Special brigade are stationed in Nis and Pancevo. 63rd Parachute Battalion is traditionally stationed in Nis, while 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion and Counter-terrorist Battalion "Sokolovi are stationed in Pancevo.[3][4]

Structure[edit]

History[edit]

Serbian army Special Brigade was formed in 2006, but she continues traditions of the much older units.

72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion and Counter-terrorist Battalion "Hawks"

Bouth 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion and Counter-terrorist Battalion "Hawks" were parts of a 72nd Special Brigade which was formed in 1992. Main parts of this brigade were battalion of military police for counter-terroris operations, 1st reconnaissance-commando battalion, sudden strikes battalion, support battalion and logistic units. Later sudden strike battalion became 2nd reconnaissance-commando battalion. In 2006 when Special Brigade was formed, 1st reconnaissance-commando battalion and 2nd reconnaissance-commando battalion become 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion and battalion of military police for counter-terroris operations become Counter-terrorist Battalion "Hawks", keeping the hawk as their symbol (which was previously the symbol of 72 brigade), while 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion kept number 72 in their name to honor the tradition of the 72nd Special Brigade.

63rd Parachute Battalion

By Order No. 200 of the Armed Forces Supreme Command (VKOS) of 5 February 1953, the 63rd Parachute Brigade was formed at Šabac. The Brigade was relocated to Novi Sad in March 1954 thanks to more agreeable circumstances. Considerable errors have been committed in the understanding of this unit's use and combat tasks. The prevailing position was that the Yugoslav People's Army(JNA) did not need larger parachute units, as, presumably, battlefield drops from the air had no chance of success in a nuclear war and with modern anti-aircraft defence and mass armoured vehicles in use. On the order of the JNA General Headquarters, the 63rd Parachute Brigade was dismissed in late 1959, and out of it 3 independent parachute battalions were formed: 159th Parachute Battalion in Skopje; 127th Parachute Battalion at Batajnica; and 148th Parachute Battalion at Cerklje. In 1964, a Parachute Training Centre was formed by combining the 159th and 127th Parachute Battalions in Niš. The 63rd Parachute Brigade was once more formed on 5 December 1967 by combining the Parachute Training Centre and the 148th Parachute Battalion. From 1967 on, the 63rd Parachute Brigade has been stationed in Niš. The Parachute Brigade recruits have participated in numerous parachuting and other domestic and international sports events, where they achieved enviable results.[5]

Military Police Special Operation Battalion "Cobras"

The unit was first established by the order of the Secretary of Defense in 1978. The unit was joined with the 282nd battalion of the JNA in 1988. By the 1999 it became a separate anti-terrorist squad with a recognizable symbol of winged cobra. Parts of this unit joined the Serbian army Special Brigade in 2006.[3]

82nd Marine Center "Shadows"

"Shadows" were Yugoslavia version of US Navy seals. They were trained in reconnaissance on sea and land, demolition, sabotage, counter terrorism, parachuting... According to some they were the best special unit in JNA. From 1977 to 1991 they were stationed in Divulje, but after Croatia declared independence they were moved to Boka Kotorska in Montenegro. After the state union of Serbia and Montenegro effectively came to an end in 2006 this unit was disbanded and parts ended up in Serbian army Special Brigade.[3]

Role and tasks[edit]

Serbian army Special Brigade is capable to fulfil many different roles, and to complete various list of tasks, thanks to the training of many different specialist in brigade antiterrorist, parachute and reconnaissance/commando battalions. All three battalions also have diving units.[3][4]

Some of the tasks are:

  • Counter-terrorism
  • Hostage situations
  • Reconnaissance
  • Demolition and sabotage
  • Operations behind enemy lines
  • Securing army and state officials
  • Securing important buildings
  • Forward observer role for other units
  • Peacekeeping operations

In 2013 a 12 member team from a Special Brigade participated in EU mission Atlanta. Serbian Autonomous Vessel Protection Detachment (AVPD) was operating as part of the European Union Naval Force providing close protection to the World Food Programme (WFP) on the ship MV Caroline Scan of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.[6][7]

Training[edit]

All members of the Special brigade are professional soldiers. To apply for position in the Special Brigade you first need to serve at least two years in some other unit of the Serbian armed forces. Also all candidates need to fulfill a lot of other requirements. For example more than a third of all candidates can't pass the psychophysical tests.[8]

Training in Special brigade is divided in three stages, and lasts for three years.[9]

  • Selective training lasts from 9 weeks for 72. commando battalion to 13 weeks for 63. paratrooper battalion. The focus of the training is aimed at selecting the best mentally and physically capable and highly motivated candidates that can withstand the challenges they may encounter during the service. During selective training candidates need to complete the following courses: physical training, shooting and fire training, tactical training, tactical training for special units, topography and orientation on the ground, parachute training and a final exam.
  • Basic training for special forces lasts for one year, and consists of: physical training, shooting and fire training, tactical training, tactical training for special units, topography and orientation on the land, resources and systems for fire support, resources and procedures for telecommunications traffic and tactical exercises.
  • Advanced training for special forces lasts for two years and includes training through exchange rate revaluation, while attending the following courses: reconnaissance-commando, course for officers and non-commissioned officers, advanced parachute training, course for parachuting instructor, course of English language, sniper course, training of survival in nature, alipinism course, divers course, demolition course, and cours about improvised explosive devices.

Candidate specialization and further training depends on the team, unit and bataillon that he was assigned to and his role in them. Some parts of unit are focusing on parachuting, others on reconnaissance or counter terrorism, and some are trained for search and rescue...[8] Also many members of the unit are having training and courses in training centers abroad, through cooperation with other countries special units.[9]

The best equipped training centers in Serbia are in Nis for parachute training, and in Pancevo for various other roles. Special brigade is also using other training centers, shooting ranges and military polygons of the Serbian armed forces.[8]

Overview

  • 63rd Parachute Battalion

From the forming of the Brigade until today, the paras have participated in 250 major combined tactical maneuvers, carried out with notable success. In the 1947-2014 period, 480,000 parachute dives had been taken, and more than 35000 paratroopers had been trained. From 1990 until now over 10,000 drops have been made each year. All active-duty officers have at least 1,100 parachute jumps.

The 63rd Parachute Battalion is a world-renowned and honoured unit. It also trains foreign armed forces in parachutist skills. The Battalion has been visited by many foreign delegations, which have assured themselves of the abilities and valor of the parachutists - their country's elite soldiers.[5]

  • 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion

It is a fully professional unit consisting of: battalion command, command platoon, parachute company, three reconnaissance-commando companies, fire support company and a company of river commandos. Members of the battalion are trained and well equipped to complete their missions on land, air and water (or underwater) deep behind enemy lines.[10]

In 2010 members of the 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando battalion participated in more than 250 firing drills with different kinds of weapons, more than 30 drills with explosive devices, divers from the company of river commandos had over 500 hours of dive, and paratroopers from the parachute company had over 300 jumps. And that's the regular year in the 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando battalion.[11]

Equipment[edit]

Weapons

Name Origin Type Notes
Pistols
CZ 99  Serbia Semi-automatic pistol [3]
Heckler & Koch USP  Germany Pistol [12][13]
Jericho 941  Israel Pistol [3][14]
Submachine guns
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun Different variants in use.[12][13][15]
Heckler & Koch UMP9  Germany Submachine gun [12][13][15]
Zastava M92  Serbia Submachine gun M92ABX[16]
Zastava M85  Serbia Submachine gun [16]
Assault rifles
Zastava M-70  Yugoslavia Assault rifle M70AB2 and M70ABX[3][16]
Zastava M90  Yugoslavia Assault rifle [3]
Zastava M21  Serbia Assault rifle [13]
Arsenal AR-M1  Bulgaria Assault rifle [3][15][16]
Heckler & Koch G36C & G36KV  Germany Assault rifle G-36KV used by 63rd Parachute Battalion, G-36C used by Counter-terrorist Battalion "Sokolovi"[13][17]
Heckler & Koch HK416  Germany Assault rifle H&K416 used by 72nd Reconnaissance-Commando Battalion.[13][17]
Steyr AUG  Austria Assault rifle [15][18]
Machine guns
Zastava M72  Yugoslavia Light machine gun [3]
Zastava M84  Yugoslavia General-purpose machine gun [3][19]
FN Minimi  Belgium Light machine gun [15]
Zastava M87  Yugoslavia Heavy machine gun [3]
M2 Browning  United States Heavy machine gun M2HB[16]
Sniper rifles
Zastava M76  Yugoslavia Sniper rifle [3]
Zastava M91  Yugoslavia Sniper rifle [3]
Sako TRG  Finland Sniper rifle Sako TRG 21, Sako TRG 22 and Sako TRG 42 in use[3][13][16]
SIG-Sauer SSG 2000  Germany Sniper rifle [3][15]
Anti-materiel rifles
Zastava M93 Black Arrow  Serbia Anti-materiel rifle [3]
Barrett M82  United States Anti-materiel rifle Barrett M82A1[13][15][16]
Shotguns
Benelli M4  Italy Semi-automatic shotgun [15][18]
Mossberg 500  United States Pump-action shotgun Mossberg 590[14][16]
Franchi SPAS-15  Italy Semi-automatic shotgun [14][16]
Underwater firearms
SPP-1 underwater pistol  Soviet Union Underwater firearm [20]
APS underwater rifle  Soviet Union Underwater firearm [20][16]
Automatic grenade launchers
BGA 30mm  Serbia Automatic grenade launcher [19][16]
Anti-tank rocket launcher
M80 Zolja  Yugoslavia Shoulder-fired missile [16]
M79 Osa  Yugoslavia Shoulder-fired missile [16]
Mortars
M57 mortar  Yugoslavia Mortar (weapon) [19][21]

Vehicles

Name Origin Type Notes
Off-road utility vehicles
Mercedes-Benz G-Class  Germany Off-road vehicle [22][23]
Land Rover Defender  United Kingdom Off-road vehicle [22][24]
Pinzgauer  Austria Off-road vehicle [22][25]
Armored vehicles
BOV VP  Yugoslavia Armored personnel carrier [22][25]

Cooperation with other units[edit]

Cooperation with military and police units from Serbia

In Serbia Special Brigade has a well developed cooperation with Serbian police special units (Special Anti-Terrorist Unit (SAJ) and PTJ (Counter-Terrorist Unit) and with Military Police Battalion Cobra.

They often have joint training and exercises which purpose is to integreate system of defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs system into a common security system which is ready to respond to all challenges and threats. This also allows them to share resources and experience and to further develop as a special purpose units.

Good example of this cooperation is exercise "Joint Endeavour" held in 2011. The exercise was attended by more than 450 officers and soldiers of the Serbian Army, while the Interior Ministry deployed around 200 members.

The aim of the exercises was that the Serbian Army and police, particularly those trained in the tasks to confront internal threats to security, help demonstrate the ability to civilian structures in the fight against terrorism, separatism and organized crime and in the event of natural disasters, technical technological and other disasters.[26]

International cooperation

Special brigade also have intensive corporation with many units from Europe and rest of the world. Excellent cooperation is established with units from Greece, Turkey and Italy, but also with units from Spain, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and US. This cooperation provides opportunity to share experience with other units and to further improve as unit through trainings, courses...

In 2013 in Serbia was held international special forces exercise of Balkan countries "Eagle 2013" with participation of members from armed forces of Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. It is annual exercise first time held in 2012 in Macedonia, and host for 2014 is Turkey.[27]

In a deal between Serbia and Croatia it was agreed that Serbian divers will train in Croatia, while Croatian paratroopers will train together with 63rd battalion in Serbia. Joint training predicts counter-terrorism operations, parachute training, training in winter conditions, and the training of combat search and rescue.[28]

63rd parachute battalion also provides training for Montenegro army special units[29] and trains with US army paratroopers.[30][31]

Notable members[edit]

Goran Ostojić

With his brigade he participated in many different actions during the Yugoslav wars. With only 18 paratroopers, Goran Ostojic held the airport Cerkulje, enabling evacuation of planes and equipment. Then he participated in actions in Bihac, Pula, Zemunik near Zadar... His jump was the first parachute jump in the Bosnian war.

He fell in the battle, with a rifle in his hands, as it fits to the leader of his quality, in 1998 near Junik. Posthumously, he was promoted to the rank of second-lieutenant ( not knowing that he was regularly envisaged for that rank, which should be given to him on the day of the unit that year).

A commemorative cup lieutenant-colonel Goran Ostojic traditionally take place in Jagodina, every year, with the aim of fostering memory of legendary chief of command of elite 63rd parachute brigade, who bravely laid his life on 28 July 1998 on Kosovo and Metohija. In the memory of lieutenant-colonel Ostojic, the primary school was founded in Jagodina, which was named after this hero, and on whose day (21 May), every year, this cup is held. [32]

Goran Todorović

Nicknamed Faca is an ex member of the Serbian 63. parachute brigade (today 63. parachute battalion of the Serbian army special brigade). After an accident in 2003 when his parachute failed to open at 1200m, he was severely injured, but still alive and ready to jump some more. Today he is a record holder with his jump from 8350m in 2008. This record jump was performed in Slovenia in Slovenj Gradec airport and is a part of his campaign for raising funds for a medical treatment.[33][34]

Miroljub Janićijević

Sergeant Major Miroljub Janićijević was born in Krusevac, in 1970, where he completed his elementary and high school and became involved in aerial skydiving club "Mihailo Zivic." He practiced karate as a boy, but later, in the teenage years, he was captivated by skydiving. Miroljub performed 70 jumps in the aero club, and then, during his military service, he applied for professional soldier and in 1990 he started working in the 63rd Parachute Brigade.

Miroljub is a skydiving instructor, he has been awarded the golden parachute mark since 2004. Five thousand parachute jumps performed by Janicijevic means that, on average, he was jumping every day, and that he has 40 hours of flying in free fall.

Janićijević was a national champion in various sports disciplines in parachute jumps, his biggest accomplishment is winning 8th place in World Championship in 1997 in the discipline jump on the mark.

He has already trained more than 400 paratroopers through instructional work.[35]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Čuvaće nas hiljadu specijalaca". 
  2. ^ "Marking the Day of the Special Brigade". 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Соко и падобран на истом штиту". 
  4. ^ a b "Special Brigade". 
  5. ^ a b "Niške "vidre" elita Vojske". 
  6. ^ "Serbian AVPD takes over the duty in mission Atalanta". 
  7. ^ "Serbian Forces Maintain High Level of Readiness With Exercise On Board World Food Programme Aid Ship". 
  8. ^ a b c "Padobranci, ronioci, izviđači, diverzanti i Kobre". 
  9. ^ a b "Obuka u Specijalnoj brigadi". 
  10. ^ "Војници тихог корака". 
  11. ^ "Понос Војске Србије". 
  12. ^ a b c "Najsavremeniji "hekleri" za Vojsku Srbije". 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Hekleri i hameri za vojne specijalce". 
  14. ^ a b c "Weapons". 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Special Brigade photgallery 2". 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Specijalne jedinice - Specijalna brigada VS". 
  17. ^ a b "Special Brigade photgallery". 
  18. ^ a b "Members of brigade with Benelli M4". 
  19. ^ a b c "Гађања јединица Специјалне бригаде". 
  20. ^ a b "VS testira podvodni kalašnjikov". 
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nhdZvdkKjs
  22. ^ a b c d "Обележен Дан Специјалне бригаде". 
  23. ^ "Special Brigade Mercedes-Benz G-Class". 
  24. ^ "Special Brigade Land Rover Defender". 
  25. ^ a b "Special Brigade Pinzgauer". 
  26. ^ "Zajednička vežba vojske i policije". 
  27. ^ "International Special Forces Exercise "Eagle 2013" Completed". 
  28. ^ "Hrvatski padobranci vježbat će u Nišu". 
  29. ^ "Zajednička obuka naših i crnogorskih padobranaca". 
  30. ^ "US and Serbian Paratroopers in Joint Mountaineering and Survival Training". 
  31. ^ "Serbian troops train with U.S. Army Europe's 172nd Infantry Brigade". 
  32. ^ "Godišnjica pogibije Gorana Ostojića, Dragana Dušanića, Srđana Stančetića i Radoša Cerovića". 
  33. ^ "Srce jače od sudbine, padobranac Goran Todorović "Faca"". 
  34. ^ "Padobranac invalid oborio Ginisov rekord". 
  35. ^ "Padobranom čak 5.000 puta!". 

External links[edit]