I had long heard that Polish Special Forces were making a name for themselves overseas in the War on Terror. Recently, a friend in Poland was nice enough to give me the low-down and provide some pictures. The Polish 1st Special Forces Regiment, in it's modern form, was stood up in 1994 and is currently stationed in Lubliniec. Separated into three combat teams, Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie, with a Delta team being planned for the future, the Regiment specializes in Special Reconnaissance, Direct Action, and Unconventional Warfare.
With the Regiment currently under the command of Colonel Ryszard Pietras, each combat team is further broken down into troops that specialize in amphibious operations/combat divers, mountain warfare, and a Military Free Fall, or MFF, troop.
The picture of the Polish MFF jumper is particularly interesting. Note the HK 416 rifle with under barrel HK M320 grenade launcher, also fitted with a Surefire flashlight and EO Tech holographic reflex sight. The configuration of the jumper's equipment is also indicative of recent trends in Free Fall operations, leaning towards wearing the kit on your person during the jump that you will need on the ground as opposed to stowing it on a rucksack or jump pack of some kind. The rifle is strapped across his chest rather than tucked under his arm pit, underneath is a chest rig, giving him access to extra magazines and equipment immediately after landing. Although HALO is intended as a clandestine infiltration method, you never know what is waiting for you on the ground.
As a former HALO jumper myself, I do wonder about the placement of the rifle however. In order get into a stable body position during free fall it is necessary to arch your back and get your pelvis as low as possible, creating a center of gravity that prevents you from tumbling over. With the rifle strapped diagonally across the chest I wonder if it is still possible to get a good arch. Granted, there are some HALO gods out there who have 5,000 jumps under their belt and can negotiate their way in the air that looks like magic to the rest of us but I know that I'd be in for an interesting ride to the ground if I jumped like this.
That said, I'm sure that the Polish 1st Special Forces Regiment knows what they are doing and is making a significant contribution to the war effort so let's wish them luck!
PS: Who has the make and model on that parachute? It's nothing like our MC-5 chutes.
Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger, Special Forces Soldier and is the author of the new military thriller PROMIS: Rhodesia.