Special Operations Battalion (Albania)

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Special Operations Battalion
Active 1998 – Present
Country Albania Albania
Branch Albanian Land Forces
Type Special Forces
Role Reconnaissance
Direct Action, Raids
Hostage rescue
Counter-Terrorism
Size 1 battalion (4 companies)
Garrison/HQ Zall Herr/Farkë
Nickname The Unit
Colors Maroon
Commanders
Current
commander
Col. Qazim Hoxha Commanders of note: Colonel Dritan Demiraj ...

The Special Operations Battalion (Albanian: Batalioni i Operacioneve Speciale) or commonly known as BOS is the main special forces unit of the Albanian Armed Forces. Today is the most elite unit of the Albanian Army, as well as being one of the best trained and most professional special operations unit in the region. The unit is tasked with special operations in wartime, and primarily counter-terrorism in peacetime. The battalion is part of the Commando Regiment and its HQ, training facilities and barracks are located a few kilometers north-east of Tirana. The BOS members can be recognized by their maroon berets, and the unit insignia which is carried on the right sleeve of their uniforms.

History[edit]

The Special Operations Battalion was created in 1999 as a direct answer to the region's geopolitical situation. Shortly after their creation, teams of BOS operators were deployed along the Albanian-Yugoslav border during the Kosovo War in 1999 and later along the Albanian-Macedonian border during that country's war in 2001. During these two conflicts, BOS' main tasks were reconnaissance and long-range patrol. In 2002, BOS operators were deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. In Afghanistan, the first contingents operated under Turkish command and their tasks mainly dealt with patrolling the areas around Kabul. In 2004, Albania sent a unit from the Special Operations Battalion to Mosul as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The unit together with other units from the Commando Regiment were responsible for base security and perimeter defense. In July 2010, a detachment of 44 men (codenamed EAGLE 1) from the BOS was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan. Differently from the rest of previous Albanian contingents, this unit was directly involved in combat operations. It is believed that the unit worked closely with US military intelligence and was responsible for deep reconnaissance behind Taliban lines as well as intelligence collection on High-value targets. Commanders of note: Colonel Dritan Demiraj

Recruitment, selection and training[edit]

All members of the Albanian land forces can be considered for special forces training. After applying, the candidates go through a 2 week selection process. During these 2 weeks, the candidates are forced to march cross country against the clock, increasing the distances covered each day, culminating with a 27 km march on mountainous terrain.[1] In addition, the candidates have to go through marksmanship, navigation and physical endurance tests. During the last week of the selection process, the tests and marches go on for more than 24 hours without stopping. The candidates that are able to pass the selection process, then go through another 14 week-long training process where they have to learn survival skills and sharpen their shooting techniques. For the final test, the candidates are left without food for 72 hours in a remote area of the country. Their objective is to evade any possible follower and get back to base undetected.

Equipment[edit]

Albanian special operations forces soldier provides security as Afghan Border Police break ground on a checkpoint near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in the Spin Boldak district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan, March 25, 2013.
Albanian special operations forces provide security for coalition forces at an Afghan Border Police checkpoint.


Weapons

Vehicles

Aircraft

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Revista MAPO". Retrieved 29 July 2012. 

2. http://www.albmilitary.com/index.php?topic=218.0