|GREEK SPECIAL FORCES OUTLOOK|
Dioikisy Ypovrixion Kastrofon (meaning Underwater Demolition Command) is the Greek Navy's special warfare unit. DYK is divided into four detachments, or OYKs (Omada Ypovrihion Katastophon).
DYK has four main missions:
C) Maritime Counter-Terrorism
OYK1- unconventional warfare/ intelligence missions
OYK3- beach recon and hydrographic survey
OYK4- conducts EOD operations
There is also a reserve OYK called OYK5 that would be activated during wartime.
The DYK training course lasts approximately seven months in the SYK (Scholeio Ypovrichion Katastrofon) which translates as “Underwater demolition school.”
During the Gulf War I, two OYKs tasked with enforcing the UN embargo against Iraq managed to board and search an astounding 217 ships. They are armed with M-16A2 and MP-11 assault rifles, the MP-5 submachine gun, and the MG-3 7.62 light machine gun.
Moreover in 1997 during the Albanian revolt, the OYK were assigned along with the Greek Navy to assist in the repatriation of Greek citizens and the safe exit of hundreds of foreign ones. Throughout the turbulent period in Albania the Navy Seals performed missions to secure domestic Waters from pirate action and attacks from heavy armed contraband vessels.
Lastly in the period of the Lebanese war, August 2006, Greek OYK was assigned to accompany the Greek frigates and support the safe departure of foreign citizens from Beirut via Cyprus.
The Greek Army maintains a number of elite units within its ranks. One of the most highly trained, and secretive, of these units is the Army's Eidiko Tmima Alexiptotiston, or E.T.A. The E.T.A. (Special Parachute/Airborne Unit) was formed in 1959, as a Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP) type unit, and is tasked with conducting operations similar to US Special Forces or British SAS units. Some of these missions include: strategic reconnaissance, direct action raids, and sabotage missions.
The Eidikes Katastaltikes Antitromokratikes Monades or EKAM is the Special Forces unit force of the Greek Police.
The EKAM was formed in 1978 when the first two antiterrorist units within the two Police Divisions were created at that time (The Hellenic Gendarmerie and the Hellenic Urban Police). In 1984 both divisions were united into a single body, the Hellenic Police. Thus a single antiterrorist squad was officially activated.
Originally the unit compromised of 150 men but when Greece became the host country of the Olympic Games of 2004 their number was increased to 200 after reassessing the needs for the magnitude of the event. The training for the Olympic Games included cooperation with the French, American, British, German, Spanish, Australian, Russian, Italian and Israeli police Special Forces.
4) 31st Special Operations Squad
The 31 Moira Eidikon Epihiriseon or 31st S.O.S is the SOF unit if the Greek Air force and it is based in the Elefsina airport in Southern Attica. Their responsibilities include mainly the Search & Rescue Missions for missing airmen, as well as, various activities that include the safety of air force installations and cooperation with the other SOF in the Greek military system.
Their main activities are:
Search and Rescue missions
The past two decades the Klimakia Eidikon Apostolon (Special Operations Units) of the Hellenic Coast Guard has operated in the Greek Archipelagos. They were especially occupied with counter-terrorist security preparations and presence during the Athens 2004 Olympics, along with the increasing frequency of gun battles with organized crime along Greek borders. The above have resulted in raising their profile in the wider public. In the 1980s the emergence of terrorism, especially the cruise ship Achille Lauro hijacking (1985), the City of Poros terrorist incident (1988) and the better-armed organized crime, led the Hellenic Coast Guard leadership to recognize the need for special units who would be trained and equipped to meet the new challenges. In the late 80’s the first units were formed 1987 with mostly antiterrorist activities.
They will normally be assigned to numerous Special Operational Detachments (SOD), which are scattered around Greece’s many entrance points and their total strength is calculated at some 300 men. During the past few years a modernization scheme of their armaments and equipment came to effect.
Standard team equipment includes MP-5 or sonic suppressed MP-5SD 9 mm submachine guns, M16 and M203 5.56mm rifles with 40 mm grenade launchers, Glock 17-18 and USP Compact 9 mm pistols, Benelli short stock rifles, and Belgian 5.56 mm light and 7.62 mm medium machine guns. Special Operations Team RHIB (rigid hulled inflatable boat) boats are fast, well-equipped with bright white and infrared lights, surface radar, a variety of communications gear and bristling with machine guns up to .50 calibers Browning. For fighting against high-speed infiltrations (50 knots), the team’s use their Swedish-built Combat Boat 90H –Dragon type- which can carry up to 21 armed personnel and up to 4.5 tons of cargo while cruising at 45+ knots.
Teams in the in the Corfu Channel principally combat narcotics and arms trafficking against a highly organized opponent. All team members who have worked this area consider it a constant combat zone with high-volume firepower exchanges possible at any time. The SMU’s only acknowledged loss, 25 year-old Marinos Zambatis, was killed in action during one of these battles.
Patrolling their western borders further south brings them into contact with the classic contraband smugglers (mostly cigarettes and small arms) and of course, illegal aliens of all types. Over the past decade there is considerable tension because of the illegal immigration smuggling in the island area of Dodecanese in South Eastern Greece.
Greece is traditionally a maritime state. Even today, nearly 25 percent of international maritime fleet is Greek-owned. Moreover Greece’s numerous islands and long stretches of rugged coastline have long encouraged small boat trade and commerce. Today, Greece itself is a maritime crossroad between Eastern Mediterranean –Adriatic Sea and the main entrance to the Balkan Peninsula. Therefore the strategic role of such Special Units can be easily understood in relation to the combating of worldwide criminal networks
Since the early 1950’s the structure and organization of Greek Special Forces have gone through many stages to end up in their present form:
In 1955 the Parachute School was established in Aspropyrgos area-South of Attica- where it is operating today.
In 1956 the Special Units Training Center was moved from Vouliagmeni to Nea Peramo (Megalo Pefko) and renamed Special Forces Training Center (ÊÅÅÄ).
In 1957 Commando Forces Directorate in HQ and Commando Directorate in Army Corps were scraped and Commando Directorate in Army HQ was formed with responsibility to construct Commando Forces Tactical HQ in Thessalonica. The Experimental Commando Units Center in Aspropyrgos was formed.
In 1959 the Special Parachute Unit was form in Parachute School.
In 1961 the Mountain Warfare & Alpine Training Center was form in Mt Olympus in place of Alpine Training Center in Mt Bermio.
In 1962 Commando Forces Tactical HQ was renamed in 1st Commando Forces Tactical HQ 1ç ÔÄ/ÄÊ
In 1963 the Parachute School was reorganized in Parachute Detachment with combat responsibilities. The Commando Training Center of Ã’ Army Corps was disbanded and Unconventional Warfare Training Center (ÊÅÁÐ). The Ã’ Commando Unit regrouped into Ã’ Amphibious Commando Unit (Ã’ ÌÁÊ).
In 1965 1st and 2nd Parachute Units were formed and the 2nd Commando Forces Tactical HQ (2ç ÔÄ/ÄÊ) was placed in charge. The 480 Signals Battalion was reorganized and Parachute Detachment was named again Parachute School.
In 1967 1st Commando Forces Tactical HQ was renamed to 1st Commando Regiment with Â’, Ã’ and Å’ Commando Units and 2nd Commando Forces Tactical HQ into 2nd Parachute Regiment with 1st and 2nd Parachute Units
In 1968 Á’ Amphibious Commando Unit was formed under Commando Directorate in Army HQ
In 1976 32nd Marines Regiment was place under Commando Directorate in Army HQ
In 1978 Commando Directorate in Army HQ was split in Special Forces Directorate in Army HQ and 3rd Special Forces Special Division with renaming all units Special Forces
In 1988 3rd Special Forces Special Division was scraped and 32nd Marines Brigade and 13th Amphibious Commando Regiment formed with the later including Á’ Amphibious Commando Unit and Ã’ Amphibious Commando Unit.
In 1997 Z’ Amphibious Commando Unit was formed as a rapid response unit and the Special Parachute Unit was placed under 13th Amphibious Commando Regiment
In 1998 the total of Greek Special Forces was placed under 2nd Army Corps as part of Rapid Response Force.
In 1998 the 31st Special Operation Squad of the Air force became operational
In 2001 13th Amphibious Commando Regiment regrouped into Special Forces Brigade and renamed 13th Special Operations Directorate.
During 2001-2004 full-time preparations began in all Greek SOF for the Olympic Games. The result was the upgrade of their combat capabilities and their ever closer cooperation with other allied SOF. . The MYK force also became subject under the authority of the Fleet Naval Command.
In 2006 the new training scheme was initiated in MYK units.
Since 1942 and the first official Greek Special Operations Force , the “Ieros Lochos” –Sacred Squad- The Greek SOF have been deployed in action officially in the areas below:
Since their formation Greek SOF’s have participated in exercises, training, humanitarian missions, and miscellaneous non active or combat missions in numerous worldwide regions.i.e.
USA, Turkey, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Albania, Portugal, Egypt, Oman, Kuwait, Ukraine, Georgia, FYROM, Serbia, Austria, Sudan, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia.
Countries with which Greek Special Forces have cooperated or signed defense agreements include:
USA, UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Cyprus, Armenia, Bulgaria, Rumania, Serbia, Albania, Georgia, France, Israel , Australia, New Zealand
1) www.mod.gr Greek ministry of Defense
2) www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenic_Army Greek Army history
3) http://rocchio.syr.edu/data/ORION/counterterr-orgs.Greece.myk.html Source on the Navy Special Forces
4) http://www.specwarnet.net/europe/myk.htm Source on the Navy Special Forces
5) http://www.hellenicnavy.gr/department0_en.asp Presentation of the DYK Command
7) http://twin.customer.netspace.net.au/raid02.html Source on the ETA Special Corps
8) http://www.ladlass.com/intel/archives/010962.html Source on the ETA Special Corps
9) http://specencyclopaedia.com/forum/showthread.php?p=217&posted=1 Source on the Police EKAM Force
10) http://www.ydt.gr/main/Section.jsp?SectionID=938 Presentation of the Police EKAM Force
11) http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=100343 Source on the Police EKAM Force
12) http://leav-www.army.mil/fmso/sof/issues/summer01.htm Police Special Forces
13) http://www.yen.gr/yen.chtm?prnbr=28435 Presentation of the Coast Guard Special Forces
14) http://www.special-operations-technology.com/article.cfm?DocID=1177 Coast Guard Special Forces
15) http://www.haf.gr/el/structure/units/day/units/31mee.asp Presentation of Air Force Special Unit
16) http://herbertholeman.com/para/units/greece.php General information on Greek Special Forces
17) http://forcesspeciales.free.fr/WORLDSPECIALFORCES.htm General information on Greek Special Forces
18) http://www.sfahq.com/International/Europe/Southern/Greece/index.html General information on Greek Special Forces
19) http://www.photius.com/countries/greece/national_security/greece_national_security_special_security_for~228.html General information on Greek Special Forces
20) http://www.photius.com/countries/greece/national_security/index.html General information on Greek Security system
21) www.fas.org/irp/crs/RS21833.pdf Olympic Games and Greek Special Forces
22) www.fletcher.tufts.edu/jebsencenter/topics-archive.shtml Olympic Games and Greek Special Forces
23) www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5490540 Olympic Games and Greek Special Forces
24) www.ydt.gr/main/Section.jsp?SectionID=12757&LanguageID=2 Olympic Games and Special operations security
25) www.afsouth.nato.int/JFCN_Images/2004/Destined_Glory04/DG04p5.htm Greek Special Forces international training
26) www.nato.int/multi/photos/2005/m050520a.htm Greek Special Forces international training
27) www.rpfrance-otan.org/article.php3?id_article=431 Greek Special Forces international training
28) www.greekembassy.org/Embassy/content/en/Article.aspx?office=1&folder=867&article=15396 Greek Special Forces operations
29) www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/06/24/1056449247835.html Greek Special Forces operations
30) www.homelandsecurityus.net/ports%20and%20maritime%20terrorism/nato_says_hunting_20.htm Greek Special Forces operations
31) www.news24.com/News24/Gallery/Home/0,,galleries-1-154,00.html Greek Special Forces operations
32) www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/aug/26/yehey/world/20060826wor1.html Greek Special Forces operations