The Jagdkommando is the Austrian Armed Forces’ Special Operations group. The duties of Jagdkommando match those of its foreign counterparts, such as the United States Army Special Forces, being among other Counter-Terrorism and Counter insurgency. Jagdkommando soldiers are highly trained professionals whose thorough and rigorous training enables them to take over when tasks or situations outgrow the capabilities and specialisation of conventional units.
In 1961, a group of Austrian officers participated in the US Army’s Ranger School as part of their training in order to set up a similar course for the eventual establishment of Jagdkommando. The officers and soldiers of Jagdkommando continued to evolve their skills by taking part in similar courses in the United States and all over Europe and by combining the lessons learned with “homegrown” tactics and knowledge. The unit has earned the respect by other nations special forces very quickly.
Most of the missions of the Jagdkommando are classified like most special forces around the world, but the Jagdkommando usually operates in theaters, where regular Austrian troops are also located – like in the Balkans (KFOR, etc.), Afghanistan (ISAF, until 2005) and Chad (EUFOR Tchad/RCA, since 2008). In the east of Chad about 50 Jagdkommando soldiers will protect refugee camps next the border to Darfur from early 2008 on.
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In order to
become a Jagdkommando soldier, a member of the Austrian Armed Forces has to take the Grundkurs (“Basic Course”). The Grundkurs is a 27-week training course, during which potential future Jagdkommando soldiers are pushed to the limits in a variety of disciplines. The essentials of this course include:
Military hand-to-hand combat
Only upon successful completion of the course, the typically small percentage of soldiers who passed are awarded the highly prestigious insignia for wearing on their uniform and become members of the Jagdkommando.