German Combat Divers

Germany’s elite unit in action.

German Combat Divers Are Busy on Land and Underwater


It’s one of the toughest commando units you’ve probably never heard of. The Kommando Spezialkräfte Marine is Germany’s answer to the U.S. Navy SEALs.

The KSM—or Navy Special Forces Commando in English—is a relatively recent designation for a special operations force with decades of experience.

The first West German military frogmen trained in southern France back in 1959. Which means the combat swimmers lay claim to being the longest-serving special forces unit within the post-war German military, on land and at sea.

But in a world of asymmetric warfare and maritime piracy—along with a German government that’s exceedingly wary of sending its regular army abroad—these covert Kampfschwimmer have emerged as an important tool for Berlin’s foreign policy.

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