A high-profile military-political scandal erupted in Germany. A scandal that has been long awaited and feared by the Germans themselves, who have learned well the lessons of World War II. The Bundeswehr, according to official reports from the German Ministry of Defense, was partially under the influence of right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis. This applies to the most elite units of the German army. In particular, the secret part, which is known under the name Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK).
Frau, the Minister of Defense, clearly got excited
Unlike other armies on the continent, the Bundeswehr in its present form is a parliamentary army. Simply put, the order to start hostilities or use the army in some kind of conflicts outside Germany is given not by the chancellor, but by the parliament. The German soldier is territorially limited in his actions by the territory of the countries that are members of the NATO bloc.
Accordingly, most military issues, including the appointment of the Minister of Defense, are coordinated by the Defense Ministry leadership with the parliament. And he is accountable for his actions in parliament too. Hence the actions of Frau Minister. At a press conference in parliament on July 1 this year, she told reporters about the beginning of the reform of the special forces, in particular, Kommando Spezialkräfte.
Moreover, the statement of Minister Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer sounded quite radical. One of the units will be disbanded immediately, and the fate of the rest will be decided by the ministry following an investigation by the German military counterintelligence (MAD).
What is the reason for such a harsh statement by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer? If we discard unnecessary words, it turns out that the main fault of the German special forces is “a kind of elitism, isolation from other parts of the Bundeswehr,” which contributes to the spread of radical sentiments among the soldiers! At the same time, probably understanding how the specialists would react to such a statement, Frau the minister said that most of the special forces were “loyal to the constitutional order of the FRG.”
Что такое Special Forces Command (KSK)
To understand what the KSK is, it is enough to quote one document of the Bundeswehr. it
“Part of an army unit for conducting military operations within the framework of crisis prevention and crisis confrontation, as well as within the framework of the defense of the country and the defense of the allied NATO states.”
Hence the tasks of this unit. Reconnaissance, sabotage in the deep rear, destruction of political and military leadership, targeting missiles at targets behind enemy lines, work against enemy sabotage groups, freeing prisoners and other tasks that “cannot be performed by conventional army units due to their specificity or insufficient training.” …
The KSK is part of and subordinate to the Division of Special Operations (Div. Spezielle Operationen). The headquarters are located in southern Germany, in Calw. The unit is top secret. Moreover, the secrecy is so high that even family members have no right to know about the officer’s service.
According to media leaks, the total number of KSK fighters is between 1,000 and 1,100. Experts estimate it as 200-300 directly acting fighters. The divisions are divided into 4 companies. The division is rather arbitrary: according to the method of penetrating into the enemy’s territory. Accordingly, 1st company – by land, 2nd – by air, 3rd – from water, 4th – in difficult climatic or geographical conditions.
In addition to combat units, there is a support company. An interesting unit, the task of which includes reconnaissance, countering enemy snipers, distracting actions, etc. Consists of veterans of the division and specialists of the highest level. And the last division is management. There is no real structure in the public domain.
They usually work as part of a group of 4 people, approximately equal in training: a signalman, a sapper, a medic and a weapons specialist. Other specialists from the support company are brought in as needed.
The training of a fighter usually lasts from 2 to 3 years and takes place in the real conditions for which the group is intended. There are currently 17 known “schools” around the world. In particular, in Norway they train specialists for the Arctic, in Austria – mining specialists, in Israel and the USA (Texas) – for work in the desert, in San Diego – at sea, in Belize – in the jungle.
Why it will be difficult for German counterintelligence to work with KSK
It is difficult to imagine a situation that was somehow mentioned in their materials by the German media. The information then passed quietly and imperceptibly. In April 2017, counterintelligence received materials about the wires to the resignation of one of the officers (according to other sources, commanders) of the 2nd KSK company. The soldiers listened to the music of the radical right-wing rock bands (sic in the MAD report), raised their hands in a Nazi salute, and amused themselves by throwing pig heads at each other! Here is what Der Spiegel reports on this:
“45-year-old chief staff sergeant major [высшее унтер-офицерское звание в армии Германии] Philip S. participated in a party with other soldiers. The celebration was accompanied by neo-Nazi music and a regular demonstration of greetings from the times of the Third Reich. In addition, during the party, the guests were offered contests, in particular, throwing pigs’ heads.
During a search in the house (three years after the incident), a Kalashnikov assault rifle, cartridges and plastids were found in the house of the specialist! Moreover, the fighter himself claims that he received weapons and ammunition in the Bundeswehr. Agree that for a specialist who has served in a special unit of this level for at least 20 years, given the age restrictions for admission, who practically began service at the very beginning of the formation of the KSK (officially formed in 1996), all this looks quite funny.
In the same way, MAD’s statement about the suspicion of 20 special forces in the right-wing radical views looks funny. Either the counterintelligence officers are joking so badly, or their boss Christoph Gramm deceived the German parliamentarians at a hearing on June 29, when he announced a “wall of silence” in the KSK, or both, in agreement with the FRG Ministry of Defense.
“While investigating these reports, the staff stumbled upon a wall of silence, but were still able to breach it.”
Shout out loud to quietly hush up the problem
The same head of the German military counterintelligence Christoph Gramm said at the parliamentary hearings that his department is currently investigating about 600 cases of possible links between Bundeswehr military personnel and right-wing radicals and the informal neo-Nazi association “Citizens of the Reich”. This, of course, includes 20 special forces from Kommando Spezialkräfte.
Moreover, Gram’s Office is now investigating another disturbing fact. From the arsenals of the German army, 82 thousand live ammunition and 62 kilograms of explosives disappeared without a trace! This is what MAD already knows.
From a political point of view, a loud scandal is needed today. Special forces are perfect for this. Can you imagine what a report on the conduct of training sessions in a secret unit for any civilian government body might look like? “In the period from … to … subdivision N conducted a planned lesson on the topic …, in the area … The following military equipment and weapons were used in the lessons: 1 …, 2 …, 3 …, 27 …. In the course of practicing live firing, the following were used: 1 … – … pieces, 2 … – … pieces, 3 … – … units, 45 … – … sets … “And so on.
Reform of the German army
The fact that the United States has changed its attitude towards the Bundeswehr is already obvious. If earlier the German military were convinced that it was the German army that was the basis of the NATO bloc and the main ally of the United States, today the Americans show the Germans in every possible way that they “love” the Eastern European armies more. In particular, the Poles. They talk openly about the withdrawal of part of the units from the FRG, as well as about the transfer of nuclear weapons to Poland.
It is also no secret that numerous NATO exercises showed the weakness of the German army. Her inability to complete combat missions without the help of her allies. And this is with a fairly decent investment in the army. It turns out a paradoxical situation: Germany contributes huge funds to the budget of the alliance, but at the same time its own army as the basis of the bloc in Europe leaves much to be desired.
And the emergence of ideas of revenge after the defeat in World War II among the new generation of Germans is understandable. Germany has no territorial claims to its neighbors … Germany may not, but specific Germans do. History does not invent anything new; it simply repeats events in new historical conditions. In history, as in classical literature, the plots are similar, but the surroundings are different.
I get the impression that Germany is indeed embarking on a serious reform of the Bundeswehr. Look what the Minister of Defense says in between the angry exclamations about the right-wing radicals. And Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer says not about the destruction of the German special forces or unit. Not even about eradicating radicalism in the army. Although outwardly everything looks exactly like this.
Frau Minister talks about the unification of elite units and the bulk of the Bundeswehr. Simply put, about increasing the combat readiness of the Bundeswehr! On changing the selection system for the Armed Forces elite. The fact that the first stage of training specialists now needs to be carried out in the troops, and not at special training grounds. Even the fact that it is the airborne unit that is proposed to be disbanded fits well into this scheme.
Germany does not want to be on the sidelines.