French special operations unit “GIGN”

The Munich Massacre, which occured during the 1973 summer olympics in Munich, at which resulted with eleven Israeli Olympic members were taken as hostages and killed after a failed rescue mission. It was orchestrated by the terrorist group Black September which demanded the release of the prisoners, held by the red army faction. Shortly after this and few incidents, like prison mutiny and riot the GIGN was founded. Now having over 400 members and one of the most experienced counter-terrorism units in the world.

After it is founded, in 2007 it had reorganization which focused more on the reinforcing command and control functions, better training and stronger support, learning to handle situations where there is a mass hostage taking. Over all the group successfully had taken part in over 1800 operations, rescued more than 600 hostages and 1500 suspects were put into a custody, loosing handful of member during action and in training.


The main missions are the following : counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, arrest of dangerous armed people, resolution and putting down prison riots, surveillance and observation of the terrorists and criminals, special military operations, protection of the government officials, trainings and critical site protections.


Under two headquarters the six forces are established : Intervention force with over 100 men split into 4 platoons and 2 of which is always on constant high alert, Observation and search force with over 40 operators specializing in reconnaissance work in relation with judiciary police work and counter-terrorism, Security and protection force with approximately 65 members specialized in site protection and executive protection, Presidential protection force, Operating support force with specialized cells including long range sniping and assault engineering, Training force tasked with training with both GIGN and foreign forces. By the International Civil Aviation Organization, the French special forces GIGN was selected to teach other special forces units and other forces of the member state in hostage rescuing exercises aboard the planes.

Selection and training

The trainings include: weapons handling, combat shooting and marksmanship, airborne courses, underwater combat, hand to hand combat, undercover surveillance, infiltration and escape, explosive ordnance disposal, survival and warfare, diplomacy and negotiating skills.

The selection process is strict, after one week of pre-selection screening, the accepted undergoes 14 months of training with only 7-8% of the volunteers make it through the training process.