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Brigada Speciala a Jandarmeriei "Vlad Tepes"
- Jandarmery Special Brigade -


Romania, just like any other modern country, has a paramilitary structure, beside a police force and a military force.

In some countries, it is called "National Guard". Such would be the case of the United States. In others, "los federales" (Mexico). In latin countries, as well as in some other European countries that are not latin, but copied the model of this structure, that paramilitary force is called "Jandarmery".
The Jandarmery is the structure that really keeps the order in a country, as the Police is meant only to investigate crime, while the military is meant only to defend the country from outside threats.
France was the latin country that came up with the name of this structure. Here are some examples of the Jandarmeries around Europe, with their original names:
Gendarmerie Francaises - France, G'li Carabinieri - Italy, Jandarmeria Romana - Romania, Royal Constabulary - The Netherlands, Turkiye Jandarma - Turkey, Carabinierii - Moldova, etc.
During peace time, the Jandarmery ensures public order and safety on the streets, while in times of war it can be used for actual combat missions, relief missions or support and diversion operations.
Jandarmeria Romana, the Romanian Jandarmery, is currently under the command of Division-General Tudor Cearapin.

The Special Brigade of the Jandarmery has the mission to intervene in the most dangerous and violent street crimes, involving gang fighting, usage of deadly white and fire weapons, as well as to maintain public safety and fight organized crime.
This Brigade is named after the legendary Romanian leader, Vlad Tepes, the son of Vlad Dracul, in who's time there were absolutely no crimes in Romania, due to the strong hand with which he ruled the country. Legend says that during Vlad Tepes' time, a golden bucket was placed at a fountain in central Romania. People used it to bring water out of the fountain, but nobody ever stole it. One morning, a few women which came to the fountain discovered that the bucket was missing. Then, they knew that Vlad Tepes had been killed.

US Equivalent: National Guard
Lex et Ordo - Law and Order, the latin motto of the Romanian Jandarmery
History
Characteristics
Admission
Training
Weapons
Order of Battle
Exercises
Operations
Stories




History

The Romanian Jandarmery was founded on April 3rd, 1850, by an order of the Romanian ruler Grigore Alexandru Ghica.

Little over a decade later, the structure suffered various modifications and improvements, during the rule of Alexandru Ioan Cuza. About 15 years after that, the Jandarmery has fully participated in the Independence War of 1877-1878.


The Jandarmery also fully participated to combat operations during the second Balkan war of 1912-1913, which ended with the signing of the Bucharest Peace Treaty.

During the First World War of 1916-1918, the Jandarmery was against used in combat, as Romania recovered a part of its natural and historic territories. After 1918, Romania was a country of 295,049 square km and comprised roughly two thirds of its natural territory, being the largest national Romanian state in existence of the past 800 years or so.

Two decades later, World War Two came up and the Jandarmery was called upon again for war time operations. While the bulk of the Romanian military was abroad during most of the war, almost half of the country was occupied by the neighboring countries of The Soviet Union, Hungary and Bulgaria. During the war, the Jandarmery was responsible with securing national infrastructure, search and rescue, protection of sensitive areas and counter-insurgency, as well as capturing enemy pilots which have catapulted themselves on national soil.

Besides that, while the Jandarmery forces which were deployed abroad performed combat operations together with the military, the forces which remained on national soil also had the task of capturing enemy forces which would try to infiltrate the country by airborne insertion. The Jandarmery also participated further on during the process of freeing Hungary and Czechoslovakia, however they did not purceed further on to Austria and finally Berlin, as the armed forces did.

After World War Two, the international powers signed the Yalta agreement in which the territory between the nowadays Romanian-Hungarian border were recognized yet again, thus Western Transylvania (between today's border and 20-50 km W of the Tisa river) was forever recognized as Hungarian territory. Romania lost Southern Dobrogea as well, which is now incorporated into Bulgaria. However the biggest losses were due to the forceful and illegal annexation of Northern, Eastern and Southern Moldova by the Soviet Union. A huge area, parts of which have never belonged to Russia/USSR before, was annexed and roughly 2 million Romanians were sent to concentration camps. Thus, Romania was shrinked to its current borders, with an area of 238,391 square km, having lost a third of its territory and population.

By order 10052 on the 23rd of january 1949, the Jandarmery is disbanded as a structure by the new Communist regime and incorporated into the Security forces, an oversized structure with various responsibilities, ranging from interior tasks, public safety and intelligence.

Half a century later, the 1989 Romanian Revolution saw the end of the communist regime, and on the 5th of june 1990, by Government Order no. 0749, the Romanian Jandarmery was re-instated as the country's paramilitary structure.

It is unclear when the special brigade was created, however by the early 1990s we can already track the existance of a structure called the Special Intervention Brigade. By the late 90s, the unit was officially named Vlad Tepes, after the 14th century Romanian ruler.

In 2005, the unit was renamed simply The Special Brigade "Vlad Tepes", thus extracting the "intervention" designation, which remained only for its top battalion, used to be called the CT battalion.

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Characteristics

The Intervention Brigade is composed of combatants with different specialities and capabilities, all of which are trained climers, parachutists, divers and rappel experts.
The fighters of the Special Brigade are trained in martial arts, hand-to-hand combat and are taught how to defend themselves when attacked with knives, swords and other types of so-called "white weapons", which are sometimes used by thugs.
The Brigade is called upon for hostage rescuing, counter-terrorist operations, search and rescue, pipeline protection, sensitive objectives protection and other such missions during peace time.

When the brigade is not required to participate with large numbers of combatants at such operations, the fighters are patrolling the streets of Bucharest, in reggular equipment.

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Admission

A harsh and punishing physical testing session, which includes a high number of push-ups, pull-ups, the Cooper test and other specific tests are the entry point to the Special Brigade.

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Training

The Special Brigade fighters are required to perform in various environments, ranging from urban to mountainous, from lowlands to lakes, rivers, etc.

As such, it takes many years to train a special intervention jandarm. The first lessons to be learned regard hand-to-hand combat. For this, most of the Jandarms are specialists in two distinctive martial arts styles: Kyokushin street-fighting and Tangsongdo, the latter being specialized in fighting with sharp objects (knives, swords, etc).
Members of the special brigade train with their collegues from the reggular mobile battalions, to ensure they keep the pace with everything that is going on in the streets. New fighting methods used by thugs, new robbing techniques, specific jargon and new weapons used by the criminals must all be known by the fighters.
Most of the fighters are qualified divers, while all of them are also mountain warfare specialists.

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Weapons

Members of the Special Brigade use a large variety of weapons, starting from rubber baths (sticks) and fiber-glass defense-shields to 9mm Glock pistols, AKM automatics, Uzzi short-barrel weapons and AK-74's.

Other weapons employed by the fighters range from tear gas and water cannons to highly professional sniper rifles.

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Order of Battle

The Romanian Jandarmery has two brigades, the 11th Mobile Brigade "Baneasa" and the Special Brigade "Vlad Tepes".

Apparently, the Special Brigade comprises of two special battalions and one special intervention battalion, the latter being renamed so from its old designation as the CT battalion. That unit still performs the same missions as described here.

Besides that, the Brigade also has small detachments, numbering roughly around 25 to 40 men, in large cities, such as Constanta, Timisoara, Iasi and so on.

Other than the special battalions, the Brigade also incorporates smaller unit- and subunit- sized structures with special missions. The Romanian Jandarmery's order of battle states the existance of 6 "special designation" detachments, however it is not specified where these units have their HQ, nor if they are incorporated into this Special Brigade or not.

Also, the existance of at least one mountain warfare battalion is well known, although it is highly probable that the unit belongs to the 11th mobile brigade.

Wether or not the few special detachments in the largest cities represent the 6 special designation detachments can be a matter of speculation.

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Exercises

Every summer, the members of the Special Brigade are going to the port-city of Constanta, at the shores of the Black Sea, to undertake sea and diving training sessions, in order to obtain or maintain a diving license. And every winter, they go to the mountainous areas near Brasov, which is located in central Romania, to finish the mountain warfare training course together with their collegues from the Mountain battalions.
The Special Intervention Brigade also take part in various demonstrations, during the Jandarmery's Day, the National Day, and sometimes during visits of NATO or PfP VIP's in Romania.
Besides those, members of the Vlad Tepes Special Intervention Brigade also hold common exercises and training sessions with members of elite units from friendly countries' Jandarmery units. As such, common demonstrations and exercises have been held with the Italian Carabinieri, the Dutch Jandarmery, the French Jandarmery, the Turkish Jandarmery, and others.

In the picture to the left, you can see the demonstration organized during the visit of the commander of the Dutch Jandarmery in Romania in 2003.

This is the interception of a mobile group of criminals in a mountainous region.
Two Jandarmery jeeps are performing a high speed chase of the suspect vehicle, while an intense exchange of fire takes place between the offenders and the jandarms. In the ambush location, a team of jandarms which previously laid camouflaged in the area, are opening fire at the offenders from their front, while the purchasing jeeps are continuing their line of fire from behind.
Surrounded by all sides, the suspects are overwhelmed with firepower and eventually neutralized.

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Operations

In a typical year, the Jandarmery Special Intervention Brigade has around 1,500 special operations missions, which is an incredibly high number. This is yet another proof of the dedication and commitment of the members of this unit to ensure that public order and safety will remain at the same standards in Romania, a country which has the lowest crime rate on the entire European continent.

In a warm summer afternoon, in the year 2003, the silence of a sunny street just near downtown Bucharest was disturbed by the desperate screams of a young child. Four teams from the Special Brigade, totalling 8 men, that were performing their daily patrol, rushed away to the scene from four different directions. They were astonished to find a 7 year old boy that fell in an open sewage entry. The child was eventually rescued.

Since 1998, attacks of Romania's oil and gas pipelines have become more and more frequent. The purpetrators have constantly improved their techniques and have organized into efficient thug gangs. As the Romanian national oil company, PETROM, provides no less than 20 percent of the country's GDP (meaning about 10 billion US$), such acts of ilegal penetration of the oil pipelines can result in up to 2 billion US$ in yearly losses for the state and the company. As such, the Special Brigade was called upon to protect and guard the pipelines throughout their length between the cities of Bucharest, Ploiesti and Pitesti.

In one summer, in the dead of night, a group of masked men, armed with firearms, were discovered by a patrol from the Brigade. As attacks with firearms in Romania are unheard of, unlike in other parts of Europe or North America, the Jandarms were especially surprized to find an organized team guarding the other thieves while they were installing an illegal extracting line into the main pipeline. The suspects opened fire on the Jandarms, and the teams returned fire with their Romanian-made AKM automatics, with Glock 9mm pistols and Steyrhaus shotguns.

A Romanian Special Police Unit (SPU) numbering 115 men is performing special police missions in the troubled province of Kosovo since february 2002.

The unit is composed mostly of members from the Special Brigade.

They were often called upon by the allied forces, and have performed various tasks by themselves, as well as in cooperation with similar structures from Italy, Poland, Bulgaria, The Netherlands and other countries.

In all, the unit performed roughly 2,000 missions so far.

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Stories

Not all of the combatants in the Special Brigade are men. At least one example of a female fighter is known.

Mirela is in her 30s and started her career in the Brigade in august 1999. Her two brothers, both working in the Jandarmery, told her the unit is hiring medical specialists. Being a former nurse, Mirela decided to show up at the selection process, which she passed successfully. She is now a medical specialist within the unit, however she's training together with everybody else for all the operations the unit is expected to perform. Mirela is a trained climber, and she also has a parachutist and a diving license, same as most members of the unit.

Mirela loves her work and she is not planning to change her career anytime soon. "You are never bored, because you perform different tasks in each operation", she says.


Other members of the unit call her "sister" or "daughter" and she has integrated herself perfectly within the group.

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Sorin Romanian Special Forces Web Site is
Copyright © 2003-2006 by Sorin A. Crasmarelu and Robert Jaroma
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