The regiment got its name in honor of the mountain peak Kol Moshin in the Alps, where in 1918, during the First World War, a battle broke out between the Italian and Austrian troops. In this battle, the Italians' 9 Assault Battalion was distinguished by the special courage and determination of its fighters.
The 9 th regiment "Kol Moshin" became the successor of the glorious traditions of previous generations of Italian soldiers. Creation of the regiment had to 1960-s, when Italy periodically shook terrorist acts, and especially in the mountainous region of Alto Adige. The terrorists didn’t resemble rural brigands; on the contrary, they were very well prepared and armed. That is why the government of the country decided to create special units, which should include highly professional employees who would be able to adequately counteract the terrorist threat, be able to work in small groups in mountainous areas in order to stop those who are trying to cross the border .
In 1966, due to the acute shortage of special units in the Italian law enforcement forces, a separate unit consisting of 40 people was assigned from the army battalion of paratroopers and saboteurs, who were assigned special tasks to the officer of the Italian carabineers.
September 26 As part of the structural changes of the Italian army, the 1976 th Parachute Assault Regiment Kol Moshin was formed, which became the direct successor to the paratrooper-saboteurs battalion formed in 9 and in the 1961, which became part of the Airborne Brigade "Folter Freedom Brigade" Folgo Golfer "GOLUMH" Volgo Brigade. . At that time, the regiment was the only military unit in which a significant number of personnel (and officers and non-commissioned officers - in full force) served on a professional basis, or, as they would say now, under contract. Recruits were used only for security tasks and for other, less important activities.
During the Cold War, the regiment was tasked with penetrating deep into the enemy’s territory and attacking with the help of “wing” type parachutes, in addition, naval forces could be sent to the enemy’s territory “Kol Moshin” fleet both surface and underwater using special equipment. The territory of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and Albania, as well as Austria, was considered the most likely area of action. Until 1982, the 9th regiment was supposed to be used only in the European theater of operations. The regiment's missions were very extensive and ranged from unconventional methods of warfare in the country in the event of an enemy invasion to operations against enemy bases, depots and communication lines.
All the Kol Moshin military personnel repeatedly trained together with the allies - contacts with the Americans were especially close. Suffice it to say that for some time the fighters of the 9 regiment lived on the territory of the Bad Rose military base in Bavaria, which was considered the patrimony of the American “green berets” - the 10 special forces group. They were at that time in Germany for operations in Europe and performing the most difficult tasks, some of which were associated with penetration into the rear of the enemy, including in those conditions when the aircraft could not overcome enemy air defense. To do this, the “green berets” and Italian special forces worked out actions to penetrate the border or front line using guided “wing” parachutes using the HALO / HAHO methods.
At the end of the 1970s, a real terrorist war unfolded in Italy, which was unleashed by the largest brigade of the Marxist orientation, the Red Brigades. The Minister of the Interior was forced to turn to the armed forces so that they would assist the police, whose forces were clearly not enough in the fight against this terrorist organization. In order, so to speak, to “improve the skills”, Italian special forces have adopted the experience of their British colleagues from the CAC regiment, who have long fought against the organization of the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland.
Since 24 June 1995, the 9 th Parachute Assault Regiment "Kol Moshin" in accordance with the doctrine of NATO is the only special forces unit in the Italian army.
He is able to perform any special tasks, including such operations as direct action, observation and special reconnaissance, military assistance (training of other units, both domestic and ally), non-traditional methods of warfare and the fight against terrorism. It was the 9 regiment that played the key role in the reorganization of the Italian units destined for unconventional warfare. For this, it has a RAFOS center, which is the main structure for training other units of the Italian armed forces involved in special operations.
The excellent results brought about by the cooperation between the Kol Moshin regiment and other Italian special forces, such as GOI, COMSUBIN, GIS, RIAM, etc., convinced the top political leadership to create in Italy a single command of special operations forces (as well as it was made in other countries, in particular in the USA, Great Britain, France), which will be able to more effectively coordinate the activities and use of various special forces, will contribute to their closer integration.
Command Special Operations, or COF. S. (Comando Forze Speciali Interarma), was formed on December 1 2004 of the year and became part of the structure of the COI - Comando Operativo Interforze (unified operational command). 9 regiment and CO. FS maintained close cooperation with CO. FOS - Comando Forze Operazioni Speciali dell'Esercito (command of special operations for ground forces).
Today, the headquarters of the regiment are the Vanucci barracks in Livorno. Its structure consists of a command, a company headquarters and logistics, a communications company and two battalions - one operational and one training, which, as we have already mentioned above, is called RAFOS - Reparto Addestramento Forze Operazioni Speciali.
The 1 Battalion includes a command, three ranger companies (Incursori) and a company of paratroopers. RAFOS is the second component of the battalion level regiment and consists of the cadets 101 company and ranger operational base (BAI - Base Addestramento Incursori).
Selection and training
Training of future paratroopers, saboteurs lasts about 2 years. Candidates for admission to the 9 regiment "Kol Moshin" can be recruited from the officers, non-commissioned officers and professional soldiers (contract soldiers) of the Italian armed forces.
The pre-selection is to test the abilities of recruits who must pass a physical strength test (minimum 10 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, 40 squats for 1 minutes with a ten-minute break between two exercises) and endurance (running 1500 m for 6 minutes). At the second stage of selection, which lasts 2 week, the emphasis is on a full assessment of the candidate's psychophysical characteristics. During this period, his physical and mental abilities, character traits, his ability to keep his cool in difficult situations are carefully studied, special attention is paid to the motivation of further learning to serve in special forces.
Tests include an 10-kilometer march across flat terrain with an 20-kilogram backpack, but without weapons, 15-kilometer march across areas with elevation changes in 300 meters, 21-kilometer marches across areas with elevation differences into 900 meters, 30-kilometer endurance marches and 12-kilometer night marches through difficult terrain. Testing the moral qualities of the candidates are carried out in the Listrissimi complex near Livorno, where they must pass a special obstacle course. The second stage of the selection of amphibious dough, swimming and rowing.
Only those who have successfully completed the first two stages can attend the course of the commando commando, who is divided into 3 stages. The first is a parachute training; the second is the training of parachutists and the third is the training of parachutist rangers. Those candidates who have overcome the two stages of selection, but do not have the title of paratrooper, must first undergo a course of parachute training at the specialized center CEAPAR in Pisa. After that, they return to the training company, where the learning process begins. This training is carried out by RAFOS instructors with extensive experience. As a rule, 5 – 6 instructors are assigned for every 25 candidates.
Special course 80 / B for saboteurs paratroopers lasts 44 week. As a rule, there are about 25 candidates who were the best among 70 – 100 of their fellows. During the training course, they study terrain, military topography and terrain orientation, mine-blasting, shooting, first aid techniques. In addition, they practice the skills of individual and group actions in various conditions of the situation. Thoroughly study tactical movement methods in pairs and larger teams, gain additional knowledge of combat training, and learn to act both day and night. They will also learn how to use different types of weapons, master the skills of the so-called instinctive and high-precision shooting.
Much attention is paid to military topography and the ability to navigate the terrain. Although there are enough GPS systems in the regiment, instructors require beginners to be thoroughly aware of and be able to use traditional methods of orientation - using maps, a compass, stars, local objects, etc.
Soldiers who enter Kol Moshin for service under the terms of the so-called “short contract” undergo an abbreviated training for sappers-paratroopers, called 80 / A, and last for 5 months. During this time they receive the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct a non-traditional war.
The qualification course of the rangers-parachutists is designed for those who have successfully completed basic training in advanced form, and lasts 53 week. At this stage, the preparation of candidates is completed, which ultimately should provide the regiment with qualified specialists who are able to perform any special tasks facing special forces.
The qualification course requires the completion of the previous series of training courses organized by RAFOS or other training schools abroad.
Among such specialized subcourses are the following.
1. The course of survival and avoidance of being captured, psychological stability during interrogations. It lasts 3 week.
2. Amphibious course designed for 7 weeks. During it, tactics of amphibious operations, day and night navigation, operational swimming, jumping into the sea, withdrawal of groups using high-speed boats and special marine equipment are studied. Upon completion of the course, candidates receive marine licenses for the use of small vessels in the 12-mile zone.
3. The course on the study of weapons and equipment of foreign armies. This course has now been reduced from 5 to 3 weeks and is mainly intended to study the arsenal of the countries of the former Warsaw Pact.
4. Course on operations in enclosed spaces. His passage can significantly improve his melee technique, which is extremely important when freeing hostages held by terrorists in buildings. Near Livorno is the so-called Killing House (Killing House), a training facility where Italian Rangers work out a method of action in closed premises for several weeks.
5. The course for the radio special forces, which lasts 4 week.
6. Course driving various vehicles.
7. Basic English course.
8. Parachute training course designed for 5 – 6 weeks at the CEAPAR specialized center in Pisa. In the course of it, candidates must make 20 jumps from a maximum height of 10000 feet (3 km) with the predominant use of wing-type parachutes.
9. Climbing course. It is held at the Mountaineering Training Center in Aosta and lasts 4 week. During this time, candidates receive the skills of mountaineering training, learn to move in the highlands. In Aosta, they all take only a basic course, while further training takes place in the future in the regiment itself.
10. The ski course is also organized at the Mountaineering Center in Aosta. During 4 weeks, candidates gain skills in skiing and mountain climbing in winter, learn to prevent the formation of avalanches and survive in low temperatures.
After the completion of this lengthy learning process, the remaining candidates finally acquire the status of a parachutist ranger and are entitled to wear the dark red beret - the symbol of the 9 regiment. After that, newcomers are included in the operational companies, where they continue their further training with the help of senior colleagues.
Practice shows that after selection only 15 – 20 percent of the initial number of candidates complete the training.
However, the improvement of the special forces does not end there. In the course of their further service, they participate in various special courses both at home and abroad.
Here are some of the special courses organized in Italy:
- training course on the use of ARO-ARA underwater breathing apparatus (with closed and half-closed cycles). It takes 14 weeks, during which the special forces are engaged in the training center for underwater saboteurs COMSUBIN in Varignano;
- an advanced course of mountaineering and ski training at the CEALP mountain training center in Aosta;
- a course of parachute jumps from great heights using oxygen breathing apparatus according to the HALO / HAHO method. It is organized directly in the regiment and lasts for 3 – 4 weeks;
- on the sniper course, which is also held in the regiment, the Rangers are learning to use traditional sniper rifles, as well as NATO 7,62 mm caliber rifles and more powerful —.338 Lapua Magnum (12,7 mm);
- A course of security VIP-persons. 5 weeks are assigned to it, 3 of which takes the study of personal protection techniques and the so-called instinctive pistol shooting and 2 weeks are designed to study the methods of high-speed extreme driving. This course is held by both rangers and sappers.
Other courses are organized abroad and are conducted, as a rule, in the International Center for Long-Range Patrol Pfulendorf (Germany), which is the NATO Special Forces School. In this center, the rangers of the 9 regiment Kol Moshin take the following courses:
- patrol course;
- A CQB (melee) course in which they learn an instinctive reaction to opening fire in case of unexpected contact with an enemy. Special Forces officers will learn how to react to enemy fire in a timely manner, how to avoid such fire, how to conduct accurate shooting, avoiding unnecessary waste of ammunition. In addition, in this course, they study the weapons of the armies of those countries that are not members of NATO;
- shooting course, during which students develop various methods of firing, as well as masking methods;
- a course of identification, after which they are able to recognize the weapons and equipment, equipment of foreign armies on the battlefield;
- combat course of survival. On it, the Rangers receive basic lessons on survival techniques, as well as methods of avoiding the chase, the ability to behave in the event of capture in prison, to maintain psychological stability during interrogation;
- course planning operations. It includes lessons on procedures for planning special operations, developing tactics for their conduct, providing transportation, communications, etc. This course is mainly intended for the commanders of the regiment;
- medical course. On it, the special forces teach basic medical knowledge, teach to provide first aid to the wounded and injured. At the same time, some of the rangers are sent to the United States to undergo a course of a US medical specialty sergeant or a special combat medical course that lasts 24 weeks and ends with 4 weeks practice in various hospitals and in the crisis center in New York.
Thus, it can be argued that the individual training of fighters of the 9 regiment of Kol Moshin is being improved throughout their service in this elite military formation of the Italian armed forces.