|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Active||1962 - Present|
|Role||Airborne operations, Unconventional Warfare, Raids, Counter-Terrorism|
|Garrison/HQ||Wiener Neustadt, Austria|
The Jagdkommando (lit. Hunting Command) is the Austrian Armed Forces' Special Operations group. The duties of this elite unit match those of its foreign counterparts, such as the United States Army Special Forces, being amongst others 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. Since then, the officers and soldiers of Jagdkommando continued to evolve 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. The headquarters of the Jagdkommando is located in Wiener Neustadt.
Most of the missions are classified, but the Jagdkommando usually operates in places, 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.
The duties of the Jagdkommando include:
- Special Reconnaissance
- Gathering of higher-level military intelligence
- Command Operations
- High-profile operations such as rescue of hostages or arresting of war criminals
- Personal Security
- (this task was handed over to the Austrian Military Police in 2008)
- Fighting subversive forces such as terrorists
- Evacuation from dangerous areas of conflict
The "Basic Course"
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:
- Alpine training
- Swimming training
- Combat training
- Close-Quarter combat
- Medical training
- Survival training
- Military hand-to-hand combat
- Explosives training
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.
Requirements for entering the Grundkurs:
- Exceptional mental and physical fitness
- Completed "vorbereitende Kaderausbildung" (Cadre Preparation Course) for enlisted soldiers
- No criminal record
- Barrett M95
- Barrett M82
- FN Herstal P90
- Glock 17 / 18 / 21 / 26
- Steyr AUG
- Steyr SSG 69
- SSG04 / SSG04A1
- Glock knife