At the MILIPOL 2023 homeland security expo in Paris both RAID and GIGN Special Forces displayed their prowess to exhibitors and visitors, reports Bob Morrison.
According to MILIPOL Organisers: “Special Forces, by their very nature, operate in the shadows, far from prying eyes. However, these demonstrations offer you [i.e. expo attendees] a unique opportunity to observe at close quarters the extraordinary skills and exploits of these elite men and women, dedicated to protecting national security and preserving the peace.”
Display attendees were able to “appreciate the rigour and commitment required to carry out missions that are often vitally important, while maintaining the confidentiality and discretion that characterise them.” On Wednesday 15th attendees were invited to “explore a field that is rarely accessible to the general public, where operational excellence, discretion and meticulous preparation are the cornerstones of every mission. An immersive exploration, during which attendees discovered the excellence of the Special Forces.”
Two elite units from the French National Police and the Gendarmerie, RAID* and GIGN** respectively, mounted the dynamic displays. Naturally JOINT-FORCES was inside the mesh fencing to photograph the outdoors action by the RAID team, who used INEOS Grenadiers as transport for their scenario, and later on I had a front row aisle seat for the climax of the GIGN action inside the packed auditorium. Unfortunately there was no option but to shoot into the bright low sun for the first display and as the indoor action of the second display, the climax to a multimedia presentation, took place in very subdued lighting (I was unable to determine beforehand if the operators would be using night vision devices so decided not to use flash) the resultant photos were not particularly brilliant. However hopefully these few images will give a brief idea of what occurred.
I will review all my images once back in the office, where I have a couple of image processing programmes on my desktop computers to help recover dodgy snapshots, and if I can rescue a few more I’ll come back to this topic. In the meantime, take a look at the two linked archive pages below to find out a little more about RAID and GIGN.
¤ RAID Intervention
AMBARISK Scenario ~ Attack on a VIP Convoy.
- Scenario inspired by the missions to protect high-ranking personalities under particular threat, as carried out by RAID operators for ambassadors working in crisis-prone countries.
- Preparatory work including securing the area with precursors, the use of a drone and a dog team.
- Attack on the convoy with the setting up of the personal security system by the close protection operators.
¤ GIGN Intervention
- 150 people are taken hostage by terrorists inside an amphitheatre.
- The GIGN is quickly involved in the hostage rescue mission, setting up the crisis centre and mobilising the Group’s capabilities and resources to implement an immediate assault plan.
- The GIGN launches the assault, and the soldiers enter the amphitheatre through the various entrances, making progress and neutralising the terrorists.
- To ensure that the terrorists are not carrying explosives or that the auditorium was not booby-trapped, the GIGN deploys its specific capabilities ~ special resources (indoor drone), traps, dogs (explosive/assault).
- The doctor and nurse mobilised for the operation will provide first aid to the injured.
- The hostages will be released at the same time.
Both RAID and GIGN will be on the alert before and during the 2024 Olympic Games in France, but hopefully their proven Counter-Terrorist skills will not need to be unleashed again.
* from Recherche, Assistance, Intervention, Dissuasion (or Search, Assistance, Intervention, Deterrence in English).
** from Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (or National Gendarmerie Intervention Group in English).
[images © Bob Morrison]
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