French Special Operations

Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (EPIGN)

The EPIGN (Escadron Parachutiste d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) is the parachute-trained intervention squadron of the French Gendarmerie. The unit was formed in 1984, and is currently 139-men strong. These are divided between four platoons of 30-35 men each, plus a HALO/HAHO-qualified platoon.

Known Operations

Its missions are generally large-scale operations against terrorism and organized crime. It has also been used

for maintaining public order, for searches for persons in difficult environments, and for reinforcing the security of French diplomatic missions abroad. One of the unit’s platoons specialises in VIP protection.

It is based in Satory, west of Paris. Along with the GIGN it forms the GSIGN (Groupe de Sécurité et d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale, Group of Security and Intervention of the National Gendarmerie).

Past missions included:

  • Assault on the Ouvéa cave.
  • Attempted arrest, and shooting, of terrorist Khaled Kelkal.


The competencies of its personnel are:

  • Mountain Warfare (taught by the high-mountain gendarmerie group of Chamonix)
  • Parachuting
  • Diving
  • First aid
  • Marksmanship
  • Explosive disposal
  • Close security
  • Close combat

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