G.R.O.M (Poland)

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GROM

GROM

GROM (Operational Mobile Reaction Group) is the primary special forces unit of the Polish Land Forces. It was officially activated on July 8, 1990. It can be and is deployed in a variety of special operations and unconventional warfare roles, including anti-terrorist actions and projection of power behind enemy lines.

The unit’s full name, in Polish, is Wojskowa Formacja Specjalna GROM im. Cichociemnych Spadochroniarzy Armii Krajowej (Special Military Formation GROM of the Cichociemni parachutists of Armia Krajowa), although this title is purely formal and is rarely used. The acronym GROM is also related to the name of General Gromosław Czempiński, who, among other actions, managed to rescue a number of American CIA agents and personnel from Iraq prior to the onset of Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In Polish Army nomenclature, it is called JW 2305 (JW stands for Jednostka Wojskowa—Military Unit).

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.

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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 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.