Polish GROM

Early history

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 militants of the 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 Polish People's Army.

In 1989, many Jews were allowed to emigrate from the Soviet Union to Israel. For fear of Islamic extremists opposed to any increased immigration to Israel, many western European countries opted not to assist in the transportation of the civilians to Israel.[citation needed] Poland, however, was one of the handful of countries that did indeed provide 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 Defense, 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 July 8, 1990, GROM was formally established as JW 2305.

Organization

Sławomir Petelicki was chosen as the first commander of the newly formed unit. As an officer specializing in reconnaissance, sabotage, and diversion, he seemed perfectly suited to oversee the unit's initial formation. He gathered around himself a group of like-minded and professional officers 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 professional soldiers. The first batch of recruits all came from a variety of already-existing special units with the Polish armed forces. Among these were:
1st Independent Special Battalion from Lubliniec (1 Samodzielny Battalion Specjalny)

Special units of various divisions

  • 6th Aeromobile Brigade (6. Brygada Desantowo-Szturmowa)
  • Polish Navy divers
  • Anti-terrorist units of the police
  • Mechanized Warfare School in Wrocław
  • Reconnaissance units of various divisions
  • Out of the possible recruits, only a small group passed the training based on SAS' experiences and the psychological tests.
  • Many of these initial instructors were trained by the Special Forces of the United Kingdom and the United States. Currently,

    GROM is co-operating with similar units of other NATO countries:
  • British Special Air Service
  • British Special Boat Service
  • United States Army Special Forces
  • United States Army Delta Force
  • Italian 9°Th Special Force "Col Moschin" Parachute Assault Regiment
  • German GSG 9
  • German KSK
  • United States Navy SEALs
  • Dutch BBE
  • Canadian JTF2
  • Norwegian KJK
  • Norwegian HJK
  • Czech Urna

    During its formative first few years, GROM 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 1 October 1999, GROM was subordinate to the Polish Ministry of Interior, after which time command was transferred to the military.

    Training
    Candidates applying to serve in 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. As special forces soldiers, they are ranked with the likes of SAS, SBS, Pakistan Army Special Service Group, Delta Force, United States Navy SEALs, Swedish SSG, Israeli Sayeret Matkal (The Unit) and Israeli naval commando Shayetet 13.

    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 scuba diving, sniping, and parachuting. In four-man teams, each soldier must be prepared to assume the respective responsibilities of his colleagues, should it become necessary. GROM has their basic Spec. Ops training provided by the Swedish Navy's Special Command for Tactical Operations based in Karlskrona. Swedens 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 all GROM operatives are proficient in at least two foreign languages.
    Unlike special-purpose units subordinate to the police, GROM operatives are trained primarily in the elimination of terrorists rather than capture.

    At least two women have served in GROM during War in Afghanistan