What watch do the Para commands wear

KSK soldiers train in the region

When the Bundeswehr announces an exercise, one could think of tanks rolling over a field or helicopters over a forest. But when 20 soldiers from the Special Forces Command (KSK) set off from their location in Calw from February 5th to 8th, they do so without being recognized, in jeans and sneakers. Some become hunters, others the hunted: the hunters should locate and arrest one or more fleeing people - preferably without causing a stir.

Exactly where the search leads is only roughly outlined: Those looking for can hide in the city and district of Heilbronn, the Enzkreis, Pforzheim and Calw - in Calw there is the Graf Zeppelin barracks, the home base of the KSK soldiers. The Bundeswehr has informed the municipalities and citizens through the Heilbronn District Office.

Equipped with colored ammunition

The commando soldiers are mainly used for the liberation and evacuation of German hostages in crisis areas and operate in secret. During the exercise they are armed and armed with colored ammunition. It is the first exercise of its kind, as the spokesman for the Baden-Württemberg Federal Armed Forces command, Thomas Rullmann, says.

How exactly the distribution of the participants looks like is not yet clear. "But one or more people will run away in a civilian vehicle. The others will then follow suit, also in civilian clothes and in cars." The soldiers have their handguns with them, but they are concealed. Especially when you are out on foot. "The soldiers are on normal roads and have to abide by all traffic rules," says the Bundeswehr spokesman. "Since they do not perform any sovereign tasks, they also have no special rights."

Details are kept secret

If the seekers catch the fugitive, they also have to arrest him. "Exactly how that happens is not specified. It could be that they block his vehicle with the other cars." Both the police and city administrations, district and forest offices have been informed. "It can also be that the search leads through forest paths through a state forest. The fugitive is free to move." Last year there were around 280 exercises by infantrymen of the special forces command in Baden-Württemberg - of various kinds, as the Bundeswehr spokesman explains. "But this is the first time there has been one of this kind."

He could say little about the details and content of the exercise, says a spokesman for the Special Forces Command in Calw when asked by the Heilbronn voice. "We are very reserved about the actions and maneuvers of the Special Forces Command." The Graf Zeppelin barracks in Calw have a high security standard for shielding, even within the Bundeswehr.

The soldiers are not masked during such an exercise and in action. "The masks that you see on television now and then only serve to protect your identity when it comes to official appointments where photos or videos are made," says the press spokesman. It is similar to the special unit of the Federal Police, the GSG 9. "In the case of this exercise, the participating soldiers cannot be assigned to the command."


The Special Forces Command:

The Special Forces Command is a unit of the Bundeswehr that was founded in September 1996 as a reaction to the liberation of German hostages from the then civil war area of ​​Rwanda by Belgian special forces. It has been deployed in the Balkans and Afghanistan for the past 22 years. The unit comprises 1,100 soldiers at the Calw location and belongs to the Rapid Forces division. In contrast to the special unit of the former Federal Border Police (now the Federal Police), the GSG 9, which was founded in the 1970s, the Special Forces Command is equipped and trained for operations under war conditions. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the “war on terror”, the focus has shifted to operations in Afghanistan. The job there is to hunt down leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban.