Italian Agencies


On the basis of experience alone GIS is one of the worlds premier Counter-terrorist teams. Since their inception in 1978 they have been in action against groups such as the Red Brigade and the Sicilian Mafia on a regular basis. Operators in the 100 man GIS force are drawn from the Carabinieri; but only if they have an outstanding military record, have passed an exhaustive security check as well as a board of psychiatrists, physicians, and senior GIS officers. This alone accounts for 40% of the attrition rate of potential candidates for GIS. After this first phase candidates attend a two week selection process. If they pass there is an additional ten months of training before aspiring operators are qualified to be members of GIS. Courses in that ten months range from terrorist ideology to combat shooting and combat driving (reportedly held at Ferrari's famed factory and speed roadway). Operators in GIS are not lacking for weapons in their fight against terrorists. The MP-5 sub-machine gun family (mainly the MP5 A3 and MP5 SD3) is a new addition to the GIS arsenal. The Beretta SC70/90 5.56 assault rifle is carried for more conventional deployments. Another Beretta carried by GIS is the model 92 SB 9mm automatic pistol. Revolvers such as Smith & Wesson's .38 calibre and .357 magnum are also favoured by operators. GIS also utilizes heavier weapons such as shotguns and sniper rifles; snipers are equipped with either the HK PSG-1 or the Mauser SP86 7.62 rifle. In addition, the Barret M82 .50 calibre sniper rifle is now being made available to GIS operators. Shotguns issued include the Franchi SPAS 12 and 15 12-gauge and PA3 riot shotgun.

9th Para-Assault Regiment

The "Incursori" (intruders) of the Folgore Parachute Brigade's 9th Para-Raider Regiment are considered the special forces of the Italian Army. The Regiment is a battalion sized force that is tasked with executing missions similar to those conducted by the US Army's Special Forces and 75th Ranger Regiment, or the British SAS. The unit conducts seven specific types of missions: Direct action missions that require unconventional warfare skills; Raids against high value targets; Interdiction of Enemy lines of communications; LRRP operations; Strategic Reconnaissance; Counter-terrorist and hostage recovery missions abroad; High risk missions in support of conventional forces.

The unit was originally raised in 1963 as the 9th Para Sabateur Battalion, but was redesignated as the 9th Para-Raider Bn (Incursore) in 1980. From 1982 to 1984 the unit was deployed to Lebanon as part of a multinational peace keeping force trying to maintain order in the country. Over the last decade the unit has increasingly found itself being deployed in support of United Nations (UN) peace keeping/making efforts. In 1991 they found themselves deployed to Kurdistan in Northern Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort. In 1991 they were deployed to the former Italian colonies of Somalia, and Ethiopia. In June of 1991 they evacuated 250 from the Ethiopian capital of Addis-Abeda in response to the country's civil war. While the majority of the world was focused on developments in Gulf, Col. Moschin Incursori conducted a Non Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) of Western civilians from the Somali capital in a mission dubbed "Operation Ippocampo". In 1992 the Incursori were once again deployed to the war and famine ravaged nation of Somalia. The country's former communist backed government had completely collapsed, and the tribal clans who make up the country's population were battling for control of the resources that remained. The Italians were part of a multinational peacekeeping force. The force was supposed to help stabilize the country, and allow it to start moving toward recovery. The mission ended in failure and with the humiliating withdrawal of all UN forces in 1994. In 1994 the African nation of Rwanda began a bloody civil war. Thousands of innocent civilians were slaughtered by the various factions seeking to exterminate their rival tribes. Several Western European governments, with citizens residing in Rwanda, formed a joint evacuation force. The force would secure a safe passage for refugees, and evacuate any Western nationals. The Italian contingent was composed of Col. Incursori. The Italians, along with a company of US marines, were tasked with securing the area around the international airport at Kigali. In 1995 war erupted in the Middle Eastern nation of Yemen, and the Incursori were deployed to the area after a cease fire agreement was reached.

The unit has also been heavily committed to supporting Italian operations in Bosnia. They have maintained a constant presence there since 1992. The Incursori act as the Italian Brigade's reconnaissance and Quick Reaction Force. On March 31, 1996, while stationed in Sarajevo, the unit was redesignated as the 9th Reggimento D'Assalto "Col. Moschin". The Regiment is based at the Vannucci barracks in Livorno. It is currently composed of a Regimental HQ, a support company , the 101st training company, and the 1st "Incursori" Para- Raider Battalion. The Para-Raider Bn. is composed of three operational companies. The 110th and 120th "Incursori" companies are the battalion's two professional special operations units and are composed of seasoned officers and NCO's. The 111th "Guastatori" Company is composed of log service volunteers, who have agreed to extend the length of their draft in order to serve in the unit. The 111th is assigned to ACE (Allied Command Europe) Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC), and acts in a LRRP role. Training for the Regiment varies depending on which company the prospective Incursori will be assigned to. Trainees for the Guastatori Co. undertake a 32-week training course within the 101st Training Co. During the course trainees receive instruction on land navigation, demolition, reconnaissance, marksmanship, field craft, and patrolling. Physical fitness is stressed throughout the course, with multiple timed speed and endurance marches being the norm. Officers and NCO's wishing to join the Regiment undergo an additional 52 weeks (A full year) of training. Their course includes a month of instruction on tactical free fall parachuting. A 12 week block of instruction provided by the Navy's COM SUB IN, at their Varigano base. During the 12 week course students receive instruction on the use of SCUBA equipment, underwater demolition, small boat handling, and navigation. During the boat handling phase students are taught how to use Zodiac inflatable boats, Plasteco RIB's, and two-man Klepper Kayaks. They also undergo 10 weeks of training at the Alpine Warfare School in Aosta. The students receive instruction in basic mountain warfare techniques and skiing. The last portion of their training is conducted in the field, under simulated combat conditions. SERE training is also included in this portion of their training.

Once assigned to an operational Co., the new Incursori has the opportunity to undertake a number of specialized training courses including: HAHO/HALO, sniping, artillery and forward air control, combat medicine, long-range communications, advanced mountain warfare and rock climbing, explosive ordnance disposal,. They are also eligible to take the various classes offered by the International Long Range Reconnaissance School in Germany. The Regiment has a wide variety of weapons and equipment at its disposal. In addition to the standard Army issue rifles their armoury includes Steyr AUG assault rifles, HK MP-5 series SMGs, Beretta M-12 9mm SMGs, Franchi SPAS 12 and SPAS 15 shotguns, Barret M-82A1 50. cal sniper rifles, HK G-3/S G-1 sniper rifles, HK MSG-90, and Mauser SP-66 sniper rifles. Pistols include the Beretta 92 9mm, and Colt Python .357 Magnum. Machine guns include the FN Herstal Minimi, and Beretta MG 42. Fire support is provided by HKs 40mm Granatpistole, and the Instalaza C90 light antitank rocket. Unit transportation is provided by Iveco VM-90 light Trucks. The trucks are capable of mounting Browning M-2 .50 cal HMGs. Aviation support is provided by Italian Air Force HH-3's of the 15th Stormo (squadron), and Bell UH-1N Twin Hueys.


The Italian Navy's COM.SUB.IN is an elite, all-volunteer force of approximately 600 men, operating under the direct command of the Navy Chief of Staff. The unit is composed of of volunteers, who are primarily drawn from the Navy's "San Marco" Marine Regiment. The unit's history dates back to WW II. During the war the Italians formed several different naval assault/combat swimmer units to conduct commando operations against naval targets. One of the most famous of these units was carried out by the Xa Flottiglia 'MAS' which carried out several famous raids, during the war, including the sinking of two British battleships in Alexandria harbour. After the September 1943 Italian armistice, the 'Regia Marina's various assault units of the were divided into two parts, with the units in the southern part of the country ('MARIASSALTO') fighting alongside the Allies, and the units in the northern part of the country continuing to fight alongside the Germans. The 1945 Peace Treaty did not allow Italy to possess naval assault units, and as a result, the various assault units were were regrouped in a new organization called MARICENTROSUB after the end of the war. The new unit was mainly used for harbour mine-clearing duties. The Italians had to wait for the abolition of that Treaty and their formal entry in NATO in order to reform a dedicated naval special operations unit. The new unit was given the designation "Gruppo Arditi Incursori" ('GRUPPARDIN'), and was based at the Varignano Naval Base, near La Spezia. Prospective unit members undertake an intensive 10 month basic training program which is followed by an additional 42-weeks of Airborne, Ranger, and other specialized training. The course is divided into for phases: Phase 1: Land warfare training, Phase 2: Naval warfare training, Phase 3: Ranger, parachute, climbing training, Phase 4: Amphibious warfare training.

Training also includes additional instruction in hand-to-hand, silent killing, small arms, heavy weapons, counter-terrorism, demolition, mine-clearance, communications, intelligence gathering, survival, through the duration of the course. Upon completion of the basic selection/training course some of the "Incursori", are selected to attended additional 6-month long specialization courses. The final obstacle is a 14-month long probationary period, during which the the new recruits are assigned to operate with seasoned assault teams, in order to complete their training. After a period of approximately 3 years specialized training, they are declared "full-combat-ready" and fully integrated in the 'G.O.I.' (Gruppo Operativo Incursori), receiving their 'Incursori' green beret. COMSUBINs primary mission is to conduct commando and sabotage type operations against naval targets. This includes targets "at sea" (military/civilian ships or oil rigs), and "coastal" targets such as harbours, coastal radar stations, intelligence and communications centres, ammunition or fuel depots, etc.

Secondary missions include: Beach reconnaissance; Mine clearing duties; Deep reconnaissance/intelligence raids; Hostage rescue/counter-terrorism operations; Difficult non-combatants evacuation (NEO) operations; Protection of official personalities and buildings in very high-risk situations; High-risk merchant/military ship's inspections.

GOI- Gruppo Operativo Incursori:
The "Incursori" of the GOI are COM.SUB.IN's offensive arm and is composed of the units diver teams. It is composed of 150-200 operators and cunducts operations near the coastline. GOI is divided into three specialized sections: UN.I.S-Unita Interveni Speciali (Special Intervention Unit-maritime counter-terrorism); Weapons unit (which handles the units heavy weapons); Special equipment unit.

GOS-Gruppo Operativo Subacquei (Underwater Operations Group):
GOS is COMSUBIN's diver unit. They are tasked with protecting Italian naval vessels, and facilities from attack by hostile forces, ensuring that the" Incursori" teams are properly trained to conduct undersea operations, providing support for divers onboard fleet ships, carrying out various undersea duties, conducting maritime search and rescue operations, experimenting with new equipment and develop new diving techniques.

GNS -Gruppo Navale Speciale (Special Naval Group): is intended to support COMSUBINoperations; it operates two naval support vessels that are used to transport COM.SUB.IN personnel and equipment.

Ufficio Studi (Study & Reseach Center) : a 'research/studies group' that is tasked with continuously searching for new equipment and weapons, evaluating equipment currently available on the market, to buy new equipment, modifing equipment already in service after receiving requests from operators in the field, studying new weapons, and communications systems for possible use by COM.SUB.IN.

COMSUBIN commandos use a wide range of weapons, both in their original and modified versions to help them accomplish their assigned missions. These weapons are known to include the following: Beretta 92FS 9mm pistols, Berretta 92CB 9mm pistols (COMSUBIN's specially modified version), High Standard Military Bell Silenced .22 pistol, HK USP. 45 cal. pistol, HK P11 pistols, HK MP-5, MP-5 SD, and MP-5K SMGs, Beretta PM12S 9 mm SMGs, UZI 9mm SMGs, Beretta AR 70/90 5.56mm rifles, Beretta SCS 70 .223 rem rifles, HK G41 rifles, Colt M-4 5.56mm carbines, M-16 rifles, HK G3/SG1, HK PSG-1, Mauser SP66 .308 cal., Mauser 86 SR, BARRET M82A1 "Light Fifty" .50 cal., McMillan M88.50 cal., Accuracy International AWS, Sako TRG-21, Sako SS SR MK-2, FNH Minimi 5.56mm LMG, Browning MG-42/59 7.62mm machine guns, Benelli M3 Super 90 shotguns, SPAS 15 Mod B 12 gauge shotguns, HK MPZ-1 40mm grenade launchers, and Instalaza C-90 "fire and forget" rockets


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