Special Forces Untold Stories: German GSG-9 (2002)
The Learning Channel
The GSG 9 der Bundespolizei (originally the German abbreviation of "Grenzschutzgruppe 9" or Border Guard Group 9) is the elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police and is considered to be among the best of its kind in the world. Many nations have modelled their counter-terrorism units after the GSG 9. In 1972, the Palestinian terrorist movement Black September used the Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany to kidnap 11 Israeli athletes, killing two in the Olympic Village in the initial assault on the athletes' rooms. The incident tragically culminated when German police, neither trained nor equipped for counter-terrorism operations, attempted to rescue the athletes. They failed miserably and the operation led to the deaths of one policeman, five of the eight kidnappers and the remaining nine hostages (subsequently called the Munich massacre). As a consequence of the incident's mismanagement, German officials created the GSG 9 under the leadership of then "Oberstleutnant" Ulrich Wegener so that similar situations in the future could be responded to adequately and professionally. The unit was officially established on April 17, 1973 as a part of Germany's federal police agency, the "Bundesgrenzschutz" (federal border guard service, renamed "Bundespolizei" or federal police in 2005). The name GSG 9 stood for "Grenzschutzgruppe 9" (border guard group 9) and was chosen simply because the BGS had eight regular border guard groups at the time. After the 2005 renaming, the abbreviation "GSG 9" was kept due to the fame of the unit and is now the official way to refer to the unit. Its formation was based on the expertise of the British SAS (who also offered great support in the forming of GSG 9) and the Israeli "Sayeret Matkal".
GSG 9 is deployed in cases of hostage taking, kidnapping, terrorism and extortion. The group may also be used to secure locations, neutralize targets, track down fugitives and sometimes conduct sniper operations. Furthermore, the group is very active in developing and testing methods and tactics for these missions. Finally, the group may provide advice to the different "Länder", ministries and international allies. The group assists the "Bundespolizei" and other federal and local agencies on request.
From 1972 to 2003 they reportedly completed over 1,500 missions, with shots being fired on only 5 occasions. At the SWAT World Challenge in 2005, GSG 9 won an impressive seven out of seven events, beating 17 other teams. GSG 9 defended its championship the following year. Team GSG-9, the Federal Border Police of Germany, swept the competition and won all seven events, but placed fifth in 2007.