GEK "Cobra"

Austria's Gendarmerieeinsatzkommando Cobra has a history that dates back to 1973, when the unit Gendarmeriekommando Bad Voslau was formed in response to Palestinian terrorists opposed to the Jewish immigrants who were using that country as a staging area for the trip to Israel. This unit had a couple of near calls, when in two separate cases terrorists seized hostages but were allowed to leave, in one case the imfamous Carlos was paid a multi-million dollar ransome in exchange for various ministers of OPEC countries that had been taken hostage.

These events were the beginning of a violent wave of terrorism that shocked the international community. Banks and official printing plants (where thousands of blank birth certificates and driver's licenses were stolen) were raided. Business men were kidnapped and either ransomed or executed. But then Israel's raid on Entebbe and GSG-9's Mogadishu airliner assault demonstrated that a properly trained and equiped team could deal with such events.

As a result, in 1978 Gendarmeriekommando Bad Voslau was overhauled and Gendarmerieeinsatzkommando (GEK) Cobra was formed. Its first commandant, Oberst Johannes Pechter, made sure the unit had close ties to the best units at the time, Germany'y GSG-9 and Israel's Sayeret Mat'Kal.GEK has continued to cross train with different groups, and is now one of the best in the world, if not the best.

GEK operators are excellent at ropework. They can scale almost every building, and those they can't they can fly into by helicopter. Weapons of choice are the MR 73 .357 magnum revolver or Glock 17 and Steyr 5.56 AUG. Steyr 7.62 police rifles are used for sniping work.