French commando frogmen
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France has a large commando frogman tradition. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a naval officer in World War II and helped to set up France's commando frogmen. France further developed the role of commando frogmen in the First Indochina War.
Since the 1950s, the combat swimmer unit of the French Navy have been formed as Commando Hubert, the only Commandos Marine unit having combat swimmers. The tip of the spear of the overall Commandos Marine organization, their military capacities are broader than combat swimming operations. They are publicly known to be a Special Mission Unit supporting counter terrorism along with GIGN (see Ouvea cave, Pascal Paoli).
The French intelligence service DGSE also has combat-swimmers brought together in the Centre Parachutiste d'Entraînement aux Opérations Maritimes (CPEOM, "maritime operations training parachutist center") at Roscanvel.
While these are the only French combat-diver units, other French units have divers, including:
- the military engineer units of the French Army have two types of divers:
- the spécialistes d'aide au franchissement (SAF, "specialists for help in clearing"): swimmers trained to recon and clear banks and bridges to permit their use by military vehicles.
- the nageurs d'intervention offensive (NIO, swimmers ""for offensive actions"): they accomplish missions similar to combat swimmers but in rivers and estuaries, to destroy bridges inside enemy territory for example and belong to an engineer-regiment.
- some commando units like the commando group of the 2nd foreign parachutist regiment and the special unit forces of the Army and the Air Force have offensive divers.
- the GIGN and RAID counter-terrorist groups have divers trained to assault a hijacked ship in support of Commando Hubert.
List of operations
- 1982-1984: Lebanon
- 1985 July 10: Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbor in New Zealand with limpet mines. A civilian aboard the Rainbow Warrior died.
- 1987: Actions in the Persian Gulf.
- 1988 May 5: a hostage rescue in New Caledonia: see Ouvéa cave hostage taking.
- 1991: Embargo in the Persian Gulf.
- 1992 December - 1993: Somalia: Operation Restore Hope.
- 1994: Rwanda: evacuating foreign nationals caught up in a civil war.
- 1997 March - 2000: Mission Alba in Albania.
- 1999: Operation Allied Force in FR Yugoslavia.
- 2001 July: Security at the G8 meeting in Genoa in Italy.
- 2001 October: Afghanistan and/or Philippines: Operation Enduring Freedom.
- 2008 September: French naval commandos freed two hostages (Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne) held by Somali pirates aboard their yacht off the coast of Somalia, killing one gunman and capturing six.
- SEAL Team Six
- US Navy SEALs
- CIA Special Activities Division
- Marine Force Recon
- Special Boat Service from UK Special Forces
- COMSUBIN from Italian special forces