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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 one of Poland's premier special forces unit.

Jednostka Wojskowa GROM
Operational-Maneuver Response Group
Odznaka Grom.JPG
Official JW GROM emblem
ActiveJuly 13, 1990 – present
CountryPoland
BranchSpecial Troops Command
TypeSpecial Forces
RoleCounter Terrorism
Direct Action
Unconventional Warfare
Sizeclassified
Part ofBefore October 1, 1999: Ministry of Interior
October 1, 1999 – present: Polish Armed Forces
Garrison/HQWarsaw HQ, Gdańsk; Poland
Nickname(s)The unseen & silent; The Surgeons
PatronCichociemni
Motto(s)Siła i Honor Tobie Ojczyzno! (Strength and Honor For you, Fatherland!)
Beret colorGrey
Engagements
Websitehttp://www.jwgrom.pl/ (in Polish)
Commanders
Current
commander
płk Mariusz Pawluk
Notable
commanders
Sławomir Petelicki, Marian Sowiński, Roman Polko
Insignia
Identification
symbol
GROM-plakietka.jpg

The unit's other name is Jednostka Wojskowa 2305 (Military Unit 2305). GROM operators gained the nickname of "The Surgeons" due to their extensive medical training and knowledge and their surgical ability to coordinate and execute special operations. GROM was originally modeled on NATO's tier one special operations units such as the US Army's 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force), the US Navy's SEAL Team Six (DEVGRU) and the British Army's SAS.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

GROM, which stands for Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego (English: Group (for) Operational Maneuvering Response), which 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

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,[3][4] GROM was formally established as JW 2305.

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).

War on TerrorEdit

 
Polish GROM forces in sea operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A 40-man GROM element deployed to Afghanistan in early 2002.[6]

For the 2003 invasion of Iraq, GROM formed the part of the core of the Naval Special Operations Task Group, along with US Navy SEALs, British Royal Marines and attached US Psy Ops and civil affairs teams.[7] On March 20, 2003, GROM operators assaulted the KAAOT Oil Terminals, whilst US Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 8 and 10 seized the MABOT oil terminal, both terminals were seized with no casualties and explosives which were found on the terminals were made safe by GROM operators.[8] A mixed team of 35 GROM operators and 20 US Navy SEALs from SEAL Team 5 seized the Mukatayin hydroelectric dam, 57 miles northeast of Baghdad. Iraqi troops guarding the dam surrendered without a fight, there were no casualties to the team (with the exception of one GROM soldier, who broke an ankle during the insertion from a US Air Force MH-53J Pave Low helicopter.[9][10] SEAL and GROM units continued to cooperate throughout the rest of the invasion phase, with raids and anti-sniper missions in Baghdad.[11]

Following the invasion, GROM operators formed the core of Task Unit Thunder, as an element of CJSOTF-AP (Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula), providing a Tier-1 counterterrorism unit for the task force. Along with Task Unit Raider (consisting of Det One operators), both units became the task force's primary direct action assets, operating in conjunction on multiple occasions.[12]

A GROM sniper aided Det One's in its first "real" mission - a close target reconnaissance operation - in which the sniper apprehended the target, (a suspected insurgent sniper). GROM's early success in Iraq made it a valuable contributor to CJSOTF-AP. In September 2004, US Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was temporarily assigned to GROM's Combat Team B in Baghdad for a week. The CIA reportedly found GROM snipers useful due to their low rules of engagement threshold.[13] In 2007, US Army Special Forces Polish GROM conducted Operation Jackal against insurgents in Diwaniyah.[14]

In 2007, GROM and JW Komandosów were deployed to Kandahar (after earlier successful tours of Iraq operating alongside US Navy SEALs) under direct US Command. They weren't restricted by any national caveats-the only restriction placed on them was regarding cross-border operations into Pakistan. Along with Direct Action successes, they were considered very effective in training and mentoring Afghan National Police units.[15]

TrainingEdit

 
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 operation 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. GROM soldiers are trained in capture or kill methods.

OrganizationEdit

Command and support staff in Warsaw

  • A Squadron (ZBA) – Land Element located in Warsaw
  • B Squadron (ZBB) – Maritime Element located in Gdansk
  • C Squadron (ZBC) – Specialty unknown located in Warsaw
  • Logistic and security unit located in Warsaw

Known operationsEdit

Most of unit's operations remain classified, the known ones are listed below. [16]

  • 1990 – 1992 Operacja Most[17]
  • 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 Serbian 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.[16]
  • 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.[18]
  • 2012 – Protection of Polish and International civilians during the Euro 2012 football tournament.[19]

EquipmentEdit

CommandersEdit

  • 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– September 7, 2016)
  • Colonel Robert Kopacki (September 8, 2016– March 14, 2017)
  • Colonel Mariusz Pawluk (March 14, 2017–)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ pronounced [ˌjɔd ˌvu ˈɡrɔm]
  2. ^ pronounced [jɛdˈnɔstka vɔjˈskɔva ˈɡrɔm iˈmjɛɲa t͡ɕixɔˈt͡ɕɛmnɨx spadɔxrɔˈɲaʐɨ armi kraˈjɔvɛj]
  3. ^ a b Jarosław Rybak (2009). GROM2.pl (in Polish). Warsaw: Jeden Świat. ISBN 978-83-89632-50-0.
  4. ^ a b Komar (2010). GROM: Siła i honor (in Polish). Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie. ISBN 978-83-08-04538-1.
  5. ^ http://www.grom.wp.mil.pl/pl/7.html
  6. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.144
  7. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.96
  8. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.123
  9. ^ Owen, Mark (2012). No Easy Day: The Autobiography of a Navy Seal: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden. New York: Dutton Books. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-52595-372-2.
  10. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.127
  11. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8
  12. ^ Martin, Chris, Modern American Snipers: From The Legend to The Reaper---on the Battlefield with Special Operations Snipers, St. Martin's Press, 2014 ISBN 1250076455 ISBN 978-1250067173
  13. ^ Martin, Chris, Modern American Snipers: From The Legend to The Reaper---on the Battlefield with Special Operations Snipers, St. Martin's Press, 2014 ISBN 1250076455 ISBN 978-1250067173
  14. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.177
  15. ^ Neville, Leigh, Special Forces in the War on Terror (General Military), Osprey Publishing, 2015 ISBN 978-1-4728-0790-8, p.144-145
  16. ^ a b Specwar. "Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego (GROM)". specwar.info. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  17. ^ Fedorowicz, Andrzej. "Most. Tajna operacja Mossadu w Polsce" (in Polish). historia.focus.pl. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  18. ^ Murphy, Jack. "Polish Commandos getting it done in Afghanistan". Kitup.military.com. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  19. ^ "Euro 2012: Specjalsi są gotowi na akcję przeciw terrorystom" (in Polish). wiadomosci.gazeta.pl. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  20. ^ Sebastian Miernik. "Strona poświęcona Wojskowej Formacji Specjalnej GROM" (in Polish). Grom.mil.pl. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
  21. ^ [1] Archived July 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Meter, Sebastian. "GROM Utility and Equipment" (in Polish). Gdansk House Publishing. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Wilk (REMOV), Remigiusz. "Nowe gromy GROM". Archived from the original on 2010-03-26.
  24. ^ Domisiewicz, Rafał (July 2007). "Czarne Diabły ruszyły na wojnę" (in Polish). Raport Magazine Online. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  25. ^ Dorschner, Jim (12 May 2008). "Shifting Trends: Special Forces Equipment". Jane's Defence Weekly (ISSN 0265-3818).
  26. ^ "Termobaryczny GROM" (in Polish). Altair news agency. 24 December 2010.
  27. ^ "60 mm Ultralight Commando Mortar ANTOS" (PDF). VOP CZ.

External linksEdit