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Unidad de Operaciones Especiales
Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori
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 assualt/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
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.
Stoic looking COM.SUB.IN operator deployed to East Timor in late 1999. He is armed with an MP-5 9mm SMG, and wearing the COM.SUB.IN beret.
Prospective unit members undertake an intensive 10 month basic training program which is followed by an addtional 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 addtional 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.
conducting urban combat training in 1991. Both are outfitted with customized assault vests and armed with HK MP-5A3s 9mm sub-machine guns.
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 centers, ammunition or fuel depots,
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
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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
COM.SUB.IN "Incurisori" conducting direct
action training exercise. Both are armed with HK MP-5 9mm SMGs, and outfitted with assault vests, Pro-Tec helmets, and goggles.
Heavily armed COM.SUB.IN
UN.I.S operators outfitted for counter-terrorism training exercise.