The Polish Special Forces unit GROM (Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego), which translates to Group for Operational Maneuvering Response, is Poland’s premier special operations unit. 

GROM, which also means “thunder” in Polish, traces its lineage to the exiled Polish paratroopers of World War II known as the Silent Unseen (Cichociemni Spadochroniarze Armii Krajowej). The Silent Unseen was a special operations unit of 315 men — and one woman — trained in Great Britain before inserting into occupied Poland to oppose the Germans. 


The Polish Tier 1 Unit

GROM is modeled after the Tier 1 units of NATO, such as the U.S. Army’s 1st SFOD-D (Delta Force), the US Navy’s SEAL Team Six (DEVGRU), and the British Army’s SAS.

During the transition from Communism to democracy in 1989, the Soviet Union allowed many Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel. Poland was one of the few countries that provided aid, in the form of logistics for the operation, later dubbed Operation Bridge (Operacja Most).

However, because of this, Poland earned the ire of many countries in the Middle East. In Lebanon, two Polish diplomats were shot by the terrorist group Hezbollah. The Polish government dispatched the larger-than-life soldier Lieutenant Colonel Sławomir Petelicki to Lebanon to secure the safe passage of civilians and Polish diplomats.

Upon returning to Poland, Petelicki presented a plan for the creation of a special operations unit that was to be assigned to the Ministry of Interior. Petelicki’s concept was approved and on June 13, 1990, GROM was formally established as JW 2305.

GROM logo and patch
GROM logo and patch. (Polish Ministry of National Defense)

LTC Petelicki was chosen as the first commander of GROM. A professional holdover from the Communist regime, Petelicki set about establishing a professional, highly-trained organization. The first candidates for GROM all came from already-existing special units within the Polish Armed Forces.