1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (Greece)

1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (Greece)
1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade
Emblem of the 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade
Active 1946 - Present
Country Greece, Cyprus
Branch Hellenic Army
Type Special Operations in Air,Water,Land at any time
Role Airborne Operations, Unconventional Warfare, Reconnaissance, Amphibious Assault, Guerilla Warfare
Size 3 Regiments
Part of I Infantry Division
Garrison/HQ Rentina, Macedonia
Motto Who Dares Wins
Ο Tολμών Nικά, O Tolmon Nika
Engagements Greek Civil War, Turkish invasion of Cyprus,War in Afghanistan

The 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade, (Greek: 1η ΤΑΞΚΔ-ΑΛ - 1η Ταξιαρχία Kαταδρομών-Αλεξιπτωτιστών), 1 TAXKD-AL - 1 Taxiarhia Katadromon-Alexiptotiston, is a brigade-sized formation of elite Greek light infantry and special operations forces. The formation is more commonly referred to as the Raider Forces (Greek: Δυνάμεις Kαταδρομών - Dynameis Katadromon), and a soldier belonging to the Brigade a Raider (Greek: Kαταδρομέας, Kαταδρομείς - Katadromeas, Katadromeis).



Sacred Company

The nucleus of the Raider units was the Sacred Company (Ieros Lochos), a Free Greek unit of commandos attached to the Allied 1st Special Air Service (1 SAS) Brigade during the Second World War. Its members consisted of mainly officers and NCOs who had fled to North Africa after the fall of Greece to Axis forces. After its formation in 1942, the Sacred Company, also known as the Sacred Band, along with a unit of Free French troops and British commandos, formed the basis of L Detachment, a component of the SAS which specialised in hit-and-run raids on Axis airfields, ports and fuel dumps throughout North Africa.

The Sacred Company was later transferred to the Greek theatre of operations, where they recaptured several eastern Aegean islands from Axis forces. After the liberation of Greece from German occupation, a proposal was made for the reformation of the Hellenic Armed Forces under British guidance. This proposal included the establishment of a small, highly-trained, special warfare unit.


When the Greek Civil War broke out in 1946, the Greek Government decided to form a special warfare unit, primarily to help Greek royalist and British forces capture territory which was still in the hands of communist-inspired guerrillas. The Mountain Raider Companies or LOK (Greek: ΛΟΚ - Λόχοι Ορεινών Καταδρομών, Lochoi Oreinōn Katadromōn), were formed on 20 January 1947 and began operations almost immediately in Greece's mountainous terrain. Beta Raider Squadron was formed at Vouliagmeni, Athens in August 1947 and took part in Civil War operations in Thessaly, Central Greece, Epirus, West Macedonia and Euboea. Delta Raider Squadron was established at the port city of Volos, Thessaly in December 1947 and operated in all regions of Greece during the Civil War. Epsilon Raider Squadron was formed in April 1949 and took part in Civil War operations until December 1949. By 1949, the LOK squadrons were so successful against the communist insurgents that the Raider Forces Command was expanded to two brigades. Gamma Raider Squadron, also formed in 1949, was redesignated as an amphibious-capable unit in 1963, while Alpha Raider Squadron, disbanded at the end of the Civil War, was reactivated in 1968, and later re-formed as an amphibious unit in 1974, after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

A Z' MAK team conducting an urban assault exercise

In the late 1960s, the Greek Central Intelligence Service (KYP), and the CIA became secretly involved with training and arming the Lokatzides. A tool of the KYP and CIA, a LOK detachment played a part in the coup d'état of 1967 by storming and securing the GES, the Army General Staff buildings at Cholargos, Athens.

Raider Forces

After the fall of the Papadopoulos regime, and the establishment of a democratic republic in 1975, the LOK were dismantled and re-formed as the Raider Forces (Greek: Δυνάμεις Kαταδρομών), and placed under the command of the Hellenic Army's Special Forces Command (Greek: Διοίκηση Ειδικών Δυνάμεων).

A further restructuring of the Greek Army in 1996 saw the amalgamation of all Raider Forces regiments into the current Brigade formation.

Uniform and unit insignia

1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade soldiers wear the standard-issue Greek Lizard camouflage BDUs of the Hellenic Army. Members of the Special Paratrooper Unit (ETA) and Z' MAK may occasionally wear non-standard issue BDUs, depending on mission requirements.

All members of the Brigade wear the unit insignia depicting a winged sword, representative of the "deadly, silent and swift" nature of special forces operations. A scroll runs across the sword and wings with the motto Who Dares Wins (Greek: Ο ΤΟΛΜΩΝ ΝΙΚΑ - O Tolmon Nika), a tribute to the Free Greek Special Forces that served with the 1 SAS Brigade during World War II. The unit flash is emblazoned with ΔΥΝΑΜΕΙΣ ΚΑΤΑΔΡΟΜΩΝ (Raider Forces). While on operation, low-visibility patches are worn.

All Raiders wear the green beret with the national emblem on the left.


Structure 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade

1TAXKDL.jpg 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade in Rendina, Macedonia

  • 480th Signal Battalion (480ο ΤΔΒ - 480 Tagma Diavivaseon)
  • 1st Raider Regiment (1ο ΣΚ - 1 Syntagma Katadromon)
    • Beta Raider Squadron (Β΄ ΜΚ - Beta Mira Katadromon)
    • Delta Raider Squadron (Δ΄ ΜΚ - Delta Mira Katadromon)
    • Epsilon Raider Squadron (Ε΄ ΜΚ - Epsilon Mira Katadromon)
    • 14th Signal Company (14 ΛΔΒ - 14 Lochos Diavivaseon)
  • 2nd Paratrooper Regiment (2ο ΣΑΛ - 2 Syntagma Alexiptotiston)
    • 1st Paratrooper Squadron (1η ΜΑΛ - 1 Mira Alexiptotiston)
    • 2nd Paratrooper Squadron (2η ΜΑΛ - 2 Mira Alexiptotiston)
    • 18th Signal Company (18 ΛΔΒ - 18 Lochos Diavivaseon)
  • 13th Special Operations Command "Sacred Company" (13η ΔΕΕ Ιερός Λόχος - 13 Dioikisi Eidikon Epiheiriseon "Ieros Lochos")
    • Alpha Amphibious Raider Squadron (Α΄ ΜΑΚ - Alpha Mira Amfivion Katadromon)
    • Gamma Amphibious Raider Squadron (Γ΄ ΜΑΚ - Gamma Mira Amfivion Katadromon)
    • 13th Signal Company (13ος ΛΔΒ - 13 Lochos Diavivaseon)
  • Special Paratrooper Unit (ETA - Eidiko Tmima Alexiptotiston)
  • Zeta Amphibious Raider Squadron (Ζ΄ ΜΑΚ - Zeta Mira Amfivion Katadromon)

Force Delta

Members of ETA (the HALO/HAHO-qualified Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) unit) and Ζ΄ ΜΑΚ, the Amphibious reconnaissance formation, are all professional NCOs and Officers. They are the Brigade's contribution to the Defence Ministry's DESAA (Diakladiko Epiheirisiako Stratigeio Amesis Antidrasis), the Multi-Branch Operational Rapid Response Command, along with the Hellenic Navy's DYK, and the Hellenic Air Force's 31 MEE. The formation is also known as Force Delta (Dynami Delta).

See also

  • Underwater Demolition Command (OYK)

External links

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