Polish Special Forces: Wojska Specjalne

Doctrine

Poland unveiled the fourth branch of their armed forces in 2007, known as the Special Troops Command, or Wojska Specjalne in Polish. The STC mirrors the goal of the US’ SOCOM and UK’s Strategic Command. Subsequently this it to consolidate all special operations into one unified command structure. Furthermore, the STC’s mission is to coordinate successful missions and eliminate internal and external threats to Poland. (Source)

Polish Special Forces
Special Troop Command’s Polish military eagle insignia

The STC is the 4th branch of Poland’s armed forces. It is currently the smallest branch, sitting at around 3,300 personnel. (Source) It is headquartered in Krakow, Poland.

The head of the STC is the Polish Chief of Staff, General broni Rajmund Andrzejczak.

Polish Special Forces
Brigadier General Slawomir Drumowicz, Special Forces Component Commander of the STC, and former head of JW AGAT. (source

History

Wojska Specjalne hails heavily from Polish special operation units in the Second World War. In effect, groups like the Grupa Wawelberg, Cichociemni, Zoska, and Parasol are all honored in name and tradition. 

Tactics, Training, and Procedure

Serving as an amalgamation of all of Poland’s special forces, the training that soldiers from each unit have to go through differs from unit to unit. Likewise, Poland recently unveiled a plan to build a Joint Special Forces Training Centre in Lubliniec. Furthermore, it includes a 6 month rigorous basic training/survival program. Furthermore it bolsters IT, foreign language, and personal skills. (Source

Intense Training

JW GROM trainees are placed through a fatigue inducing training gauntlet. Certainly, trainees endure sleep deprived marches, no food for days, and occasional random taserings by instructors. Firstly, they enter the Green phase – marching, orienting, learning their roles. Secondly, they move to Blue, which consists of diving, patrolling, firearms training. Lastly, GROM trainees move onto Black – which is live fire training exercises, CQC tactics, and collaborative training missions. (Source

Poland places a high priority on combat medicine and field medical expertise. Over 75% of GROM operatives are combat medics, and JWK operatives train the US’ SCOM medic course. (Source)

Organisation

GROM – Strength and Honor! For you Fatherland! 

Polish Special Forces

JW GROM or Jednostka Wojskowa GROM (Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego), are Poland’s most famed operators. Formed in 1990 with training by Delta Force and the SAS, they are stationed in Warsaw and Gdansk. GROM subsequently consists of 5 squadrons, with one being a logistics squadron. In effect, these are Poland’s premier, tier-1 operators. 

Polish Special Forces
GROM operator and K9. (Source)
Polish Special Forces
GROM and DEVGRU during training in Poland, 2009. (Source)

Known as “The Surgeons” for their precision in operations, GROM operators have seen deployment to Haiti, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. Above all, GROM’s main mission is to deploy a variety of unconventional warfare tactics across a broad spectrum of special operations. Anti-terror, infiltration, and VIP protection examples of this spectrum. GROM famously formed Task Force 49 in Afghanistan, and was involved in numerous direct action raids and operations. (Source

JW Komandosow – Silent and Effective!

The Jednostka Wojskowa Komandosów, or JWK, are the STC’s main wing of specialized infantry. Currently based out of Lubliniec, JWK had a large role in the war on terror and worked alongside GROM and DEVGRU in Afghanistan. 

Polish Special Forces
JWK operators. (Source)

JWK trained in the United States, and completed the top-rated SOCM (Special Operations Combat Medic) course. Furthermore, JWK trained the famous “Cyborg” unit hailing from Ukraine – the Cyborgs famously defended the Donetsk Airport in 2014. (Source

JW Formoza – Trust the Sea!

Polish Special Forces

The Jednostka Wojskowa Formoza are Poland’s very own “frogmen”. Serving as a naval insertion and amphibious Polish Special Force, Formoza is based in Gdynia, Poland. Furthermore, these frogmen are trained in ship boarding, underwater sabotage, and naval interjection/reconnaissance missions. In effect, Formoza often trains in with the Polish Coast Guard and border services on counter terrorism and border security training and measures as well. (Source)

Polish Special Forces
Formoza frogmen. (Source)

Formoza has worked alongside French Commando Marines in addition to the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. Likewise, JW Formoza saw action in the Persian Gulf War, where they reportedly worked closely with GROM operators. (Source)

JW AGAT – Force and Fire! Only Ashes Left Behind Us! 

Polish Special Forces

Formed in 2011 and based out of Gliwice, AGAT serves as specialized light infantry. Know as “Polish Rangers”, the Polish Special Forces unit has been compared to that of the US 75th Ranger Regiment. However, operators in the unit compare it more to the British Special Forces Support Group. (source) Furthermore, AGAT’s mission focuses on ground reconnaissance and irregular warfare capabilities, supporting GROM, JWK, and Formoza’s operations. 

Polish Special Forces
JW AGAT operators conducting reconnaissance training. (Source

AGAT is the youngest Polish SF unit. It has proven itself in deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan alongside GROM and JWK. The unit saw no combat and only served in a training and advisory role to Iraqi and Afghan forces. AGAT also worked to train the famed Golden Division, the elite Iraqi unit who stormed Mosul in 2015. (Source

JW NIL

JW NIL is the Wojska Specjalne’s military intelligence and logistics arm. NIL’s garrison is in Krakow. Subsequently, the unit mainly performs radio, image, and personal reconnaissance. Furthermore, NIL’s only deployment was to Afghanistan with the Polish military contingent.

NIL is also known for their use of facial image recognition in their support operations. Using technology like FlyEye and ScanEagle, NIL conducts photo and image intelligence (PHOINT/IMINT) to mine relevant data from images and videos. (Source)

Also, NIL’s Combat Control Teams are preparing landing zones, conducting airspace management, and relay communication back to the STC. In effect, NIL’s CCT’s closely resemble that of the USAFSOF Special Tactics Combat Controllers. (Source)

7th Special Operations Aviation Group

Lastly, the 7th Special Operations Aviation Group is the STC’s transportation unit. To conclude, the unit operates four S-70i Black Hawks, the 7th allows GROM, JWK, Formoza and AGAT’s silent and swift drops and exfils. (Source)

Equipment

Firearms 

Certainly, Polish special forces units use a variety of small and heavy arms. In effect, this has left them with quite an arsenal. Furthermore, Poland offers a unique mix of Western and Eastern arms. For example, they employ both the Beryl (phasing out) and the Colt M4A1.

  • Beryl 1996
  • H&K HK416
  • CZ Scorpion EVO 3
  • Colt M4A1
  • H&K G36
  • H&K MP5/MP5SD
  • FN P90
  • FN Minimi LMG
  • Glock 17
  • FN .57
  • H&K USP
  • Carl Gustav recoilless rifle 
  • Pallad grenade launcher
  • M14 EBR
  • Barrett M82 Anti Material Rifle

Vehicles and Aircraft

  • HMMWV MLTP
  • Oshkosh M-ATV MRAP 
  • Land Rover Defender
  • Tarpan Honker 4×4
  • Yamaha XT660 Motorbike 
  • S-70i Blackhawk Helicopter

Notable Operations 

Haiti and Europe

  • During the early 1990s, GROM conducted several anti-corruption raids and VIP protection details of politicians. 
  • GROM was first revealed to the public during Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti 1994. They were sent as part of a peacekeeping contingent. 
  • GROM and JWK operatives were active in the Kosovo conflict in 1996 to 2003, consequently on protection detail. 
  • In 1996, JW GROM launched a raid in Slavonia, Croatia, and arrested war criminal Slavko Dokmanovic. In effect, GROM received high praise from the global community, and effectively bolstered the UN’s mission there at the time.  
GROM arresting Dokmanovic, “The Butcher of Vukohar” in 1996. (Source)

The Middle East

  • GROM, Formosa and JWK were both a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom beginning in 2003 to 2008. Furthermore, JW Formoza was active in the Persian Gulf at this time and conducted naval operations near Umm Qasar in 2003. (Source) GROM operators were directly embedded with the 1st SOG in the retaking of Diwaniyah during Operation Jackal, 2007. 
Polish Special Forces
US 1st SOG and JW GROM operatives advancing into Diwaniyah. (Source
  • Operators from GROM and JWK were present in Afghanistan from 2001-2021. As a result, forming Task Force 49 & 50 via ISOF.
    • Also during this time, the JWK were involved in several direct action raids and hostage rescues. Moreover, JWK operated with the US 5th SFG, conducting numerous direct action operations in Kandahar and other parts of eastern Afghanistan. 
  • In Sharana, 2012, JWK was locked in a seven hour siege against insurgents. (Source)
    • All Polish forces have subsequently now left Afghanistan with the Taliban returning to power in the country. 

Woljska Specjalne Leads the Way

Poland, certainly having a deep rooted history in unconventional warfare understanding and use, continues to maintain a premier special forces contingent. Subsequently consolidated under the Woljska Specjalne command structure, all of these units are ready to defend Poland with deadly efficiency. 

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