Gendarmerie Nationale

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In France, the National Gendarmerie is one of the divisions of the French Armed Forces, the military police. They are responsible for the public safety. They act like police for the citizens of France. It also contains a military police force and a special forces component, the GIGN. In 2011 more than 98,155 people were working for the National Gendarmerie in France.

What do they do?[change | change source]

The Gendarmerie works together with the other national law enforcement agency, the Police Nationale. And since 2009, even though this force is a part of the armed forces establishment, it belonged to the Ministry of the Interior as its military component and it is part of its operations and the budget. They fulfill national security duties and duties in support of their ministry.

They are also responsible for road patrols. The police can stop drivers. When they do so, it is called a contrôle. They can ask for a driver's identification papers and car papers at any time.

Their weapon quote is Gendarmerie, une force humaine. This literally means "Gendarmerie, a human armed force."

Uniforms and armor[change | change source]

A Gendarme in armor protecting his limbs & body and carrying an Anti-Riot SPECTRA helmet with visor.

The name "Gendarmerie" comes from "gens d’arme," which means "armed people." This military corp has an exploding grenade as its logo. Instead of metal medals, Gendarmes wear ribbons. These are called bâtons. They get ribbons, inter alia, for service abroad.

Since a few years ago, the Gendarmes' flat hat, called a képi, has only been used for special occasions.

The French did not have a uniform until the late 17th century, though some companies had recognizable coat colors. Light grey was common, but red and blue were also worn. It was said that the French in the 17th century had an addiction to bows, ribbons, and plumes, which was suitable to the future leaders of European fashion. Guard Gendarmes probably had red coats. Many guard troops wore the royal badge on their back and their breast. In the 16th century, national signs were that they wore a white cross on their back and on their breast. In the 17th century this became a white sash.

Nowadays the Gendarmerie uses bulletproof and tactical vests and body armour. A anti-riot shield is used during a heavier riot. They also make use of the spectra helmet. This spectra helmet is fitted with a visor for extra protection of the face. If a tear gas is used, the operators use a special gas mask, which protects them from the dangerous gasses. They also have apparatus for throwing tear gas canisters and FAMAS riffles. This is a sort of weapon. This equipment helps protect Gendarmes while they are doing their jobs.

Departments[change | change source]

Departmental Gendarmerie[change | change source]

This is the territorial police branch of the Gendarmerie. It is the branch that is most similar to France’s common police. It has regular contact with France’s population and does jobs similar to the Police of France. The Departmental Gendarmerie is divided into Brigades consisting of 6 to 40 operators. A brigade performs observation and may give assistance to citizens in regulated periods, during both daytime and nighttime.

Mobile Gendarmerie[change | change source]

The Mobile Gendarmerie has several tasks, which include riot control, security of significant places (like embassies), conducting OPEX (External Operations), and providing support to the Departmental Gendarmerie. It is divided into 25 legions, including one advanced armoured anti-riot police group. The Mobile Gendarmerie has control over the GIGN, the counter-terrorism part of the Gendarmerie Nationale.

GIGN (National Gendarmerie Intervention Group)[change | change source]

The GIGN members are well trained to conduct special operations such as hostage rescue.[1] They are also trained in maritime anti-terrorism operations.[2] They are trained to conduct operations with no risk to the public and the hostages.

A Republican Guard during the Bastille Parade in 2011.

Republican Guard[change | change source]

A ceremonial unit that takes part in parades and secures important locations in a formal way.

Maritime Gendarmerie[change | change source]

Supervised by the Gendarmerie and the French Navy, the Maritime Gendarmerie conducts maritime surveillance, assistance and rescue at sea; police security at naval bases; and police at sea. They do these jobs not only in France, but also in other countries like French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and others.

Air transport Gendarmerie[change | change source]

The air transport gendarmerie is similar to the Gendarmerie de L’air. The Gendarmerie de L’air conducts safety operations in air force bases and goes to accidents involving military aircraft. Its missions include securing civilian airports, surveillance of technical things in the airport (like control towers), traffic control on the roads near airports, and making sure that important visitors are safe and well protected at airports.

Transport[change | change source]

Departmental gendarmerie[change | change source]

-Subaru Impreza WRX STI (In use until 2011) -Renault Megane RS (In use since 2011 and on) -BMW R1100RT Motorcycle -IVECO Daily van -Renault Trafic van -Many other cars, like the Ford Focus and Transit.

Mobile Gendarmerie[change | change source]

-VXB VBRG Armored Personnel Carrier -VBC-90 Armoured Combat Vehicle

Gendarmerie de l’Air & Air transport gendarmerie[change | change source]

-Eurocopter EC145 Helicopter

Maritime Gendarmerie[change | change source]

-1 Trident class Patrol boat -2 Géranium class Patrol Boats -2 Jonquille class Patrol Boats -24 Vedette class Small Patrol boats -2 Pétulante class Small Patrol Crafts -8 Pavois Class Small Patrol Craft

GIGN[change | change source]

The HARAS, used for anti-terror operations like boarding a hijacked plane.

-Height Adjustible Rescue Assault System (HARAS): Based on a Chevrolet Suburban. The GIGN makes use of the helicopters belonging to the French Air Force. - 5 Aérospatiale AS532 Cougar Helicopter - 2 Sud-Aviation SA330 Puma Helicopter - 9 Eurocopter EC725 Caracal - 1 Eurocopter EC665 Tigre

Republican Guard[change | change source]

-Horses

Weapons[change | change source]

Departmental Gendarmerie[change | change source]

-SIG Sauer P226 Pistol

The FAMAS F1 is the primary rifle of the Gendarmerie Nationale and the French Armed Forces.

Mobile Gendarmerie[change | change source]

-FAMAS Bullpup Assault Rifle -Sig-Sauer P226 -Tear gas launcher -T-Style Baton

GIGN [change | change source]

Pistols: -Manurhin MR 73 -Glock 19 -S&W 686 -Sig-Sauer P228 -FN Five-Seven -Giat PAMAS G1 -Sig-Sauer Pro SP 2022 -X26 Taser

Shotguns: -Remington 870 -Benelli M3 Super 90 -Franchi SPAS 12

Sub-machine Guns: -HK MP5 -FN P90

Assault Rifles: -HK G3 TGS -SIG-550 -SIG-551 -HK33 -FAMAS F1 -HK G36 -HK 416

Marksman weapons: -MR-73 -AW .338 -PGM Hecate II

Republican Guard [change | change source]

-FAMAS F1 -Swords

References[change | change source]

  1. Azam Gill, Winds of Change: Geopolitics and the World Order (Lincoln: Writers club press, 2001), p. 235
  2. Martin C. Arostegui, Twilight Warriors: Inside the World's Special Forces (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997), p. 102