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Home > Features > Kommando Spezialkräfte ~ German Special Forces Spotlight

Kommando Spezialkräfte ~ German Special Forces Spotlight

Germany's elite KSK Special Forces in action, May 2018 [© Carl Schulze]

The Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) is the primary Special Forces asset of the German Armed Forces, writes Carl Schulze.

 

Usually kept away from public view, during the 2018 Tag der Bundeswehr – the Open Day of the German Armed Forces – on the 9th of June the KSK demonstrated some of their capabilities at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Dresden.

Insignia of the Kommando Spezialkräfte, the Special Forces of the German Army [© CS]

Based in Calw in Baden-Württemberg the Kommando Spezialkräfte was formed in 1996. It numbers 1,400 troops, including enablers, and is structured into an HQ, the Einsatzkräfte (operational forces), the Unterstützungskräfte (service support forces) and the Bereich Weiterentwicklung (trials and development establishment). The Einsatzkräfte are structured into: four Kommando Kompanie or Special Forces Companies; the Spezial kommando kompanie or Special Purpose Special Forces Company; the Spezial aufklärungs kompanie or Special Forces Reconnaissance Company; and the Ausbildungs- und Versuchszentrum or Training Establishment.

The Unterstützungskräfte or Service Support Forces consist of: the Stabs- und Versorgungskompanie or Headquarters and Support Company; a Fernmelde kompanie or Signal Company; a Sanitäts kompanie or Special Forces Medical Company; and an Unterstützungs kompanie or Logistic Support Company.

The smallest operational asset within each Kommando Kompanie is the Kommandotrupp that consists of four operators, among them a weapons and tactics specialist, a communications specialist, a medic and a breaching specialist.

KSK operators abseil onto the roof of the military history museum of the German Armed Forces from an H145M LUH SOF of HSG 64 [© CS]

Among others, the tasks of the KSK include conducting hostage rescue and non-combatant evacuation operations, acquiring information with key strategic importance in crisis and conflict zones, conducting direct action missions in order to neutralise terrorist and irregular forces threats, and conducting combat operations within conventional and asymmetrical conflicts with the aim of neutralising targets with high strategic or operative value.

During this year’s Tag der Bundeswehr the KSK demonstration featured a small-scale hostage rescue operation. As part of this demonstration the KSK operators worked closely with the Hub schrauber geschwader 64 (HSG 64) which is the rotary aviation unit of the Luftwaffe German Air Force responsible for providing aviation support to the KSK.

A second H145M circles around the scene, operators on board providing overwatch with their 5.56mm G36KA4 carbines [© CS]

Dresden, Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr military history museum of the German Armed Forces, 9th June, 2018, 12:30: From an H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter Special Operations Forces) four operators of the KSK abseil onto the roof top of the museum building. A second H145M circles around the scene, operators on board providing overwatch with their 5.56mm G36KA4 carbines fitted with EOTech Holographic Hybrid Sight and EOTech Magnifier (3x).

Seconds after arriving on the roof the operators abseil down the front of the building. In next to no time they reach their designation, a large window, and take up positions left and right of it. Now things happen at double quick time.

KSK operators abseil down the front of the building of the military history museum of the German Armed Forces [© CS]

The breacher of the team places a breaching frame rigged with explosives against the window. A split second later the window disappears in a deafening crash and a bright flash. With the window gone the operators rush into the room, their 9mm P8COMBAT pistols at the ready in order to allow them to counter any threat. Now the first room has been cleared, the operators rush through the building, quickly making their way to the hostage and neutralising any threats on their way.

With the hostage rescued it is now time for the ground element of the KSK to move in to extract the hostage and the rescue force. Fielding two heavily armed Aufklärungs- und Gefechtsfahrzeuge (AGF) Serval reconnaissance and combat vehicles and an Einsatzfahrzeug Spezialisierte Kräfte (ESK) Wolf troop carrier the ground element establishes a security perimeter around the objective before the hostage is brought out and the troops hop onto the vehicles.

It is at this point that the enemy has recovered from the shock action of the KSK and begins to put up stiff resistance. The vehicles of the KSK ground element are engaged from a roof top with machine gun fire. The threat is immediately silenced by fire from the 7.62mm MG3 and 12.7mm M2HB machine guns of the AGF Serval while the ground force continues to extract from the area.

{ images © Carl Schulze }

Gefechtsfahrzeuge (AGF) Serval reconnaissance and combat vehicles fitted with 7.62mm MG3 and 12.7mm M2HB machine guns [© CS]

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