The first intelligence units of the Hungarian armed forces were established in 1919, shortly after the end of the First World War. They were subordinated to the military intelligence of Hungary, which in the same period began to act as an independent structure. The first reconnaissance battalions in the defense forces of the Hungarian Kingdom were formed in 1938.
In 1938, a small experimental unit Ejtoernyos was formed as part of the Hungarian Air Force. For the first jumps, parachutes were purchased in the USA, Germany and Italy. Jumps were made from biplanes during the First World War. Realizing the prospects opening up before the new branch of the military, the military command opened a military school for paratroopers at the Pope airfield. And on October 1, the 1939 of the year was formed by the Major Bartalan parachute battalion, named after one of the founders of the unit who died in a car accident.
During the Second World War, Hungary fought on the side of fascist Germany.
The battalion participated in only one parachute operation in 1941. After that, the Hungarian paratroopers fought as an infantry unit. They took part in battles on the Eastern Front in the spring of 1943, reinforcing the retreating Hungarian units and formations. Subsequently, in April - August 1944, the battalion fought desperately in the Carpathians. The remnants of the paratroopers became the basis for the battalion "Saint Laszlo", formed by Major Jougi in September 1944. The battalion fought on the side of the fascists until the last day of the war, after which the survivors surrendered to the British, but were transferred to the command of the Red Army.
After the end of the Second World War, the construction of the armed forces of the Hungarian People’s Republic (Hungary) began. In 1948, the creation of an reconnaissance airborne battalion, which was stationed in Szekesfehervar, was agreed with the Soviet side. However, after the events of 1956, the battalion, as well as units of the airborne division, which began its formation in 1950, was disbanded due to suspicion of supporting the rebels.
After the end of World War II, the reconnaissance units of the ground forces became the elite of the Hungarian army. They were recruited by selective and ideologically resilient personnel, who in addition to general military training and underwent special training. Intelligence groups learned to conduct enemy reconnaissance both in tactical and operational depth. They practiced reconnaissance activities in various climatic conditions, including mountainous regions and areas with a cold climate. They were trained to overcome water obstacles with the use of both standard and improvised boats. The scout training program included classes in survival as well as the avoidance of captivity. Among the issues studied by intelligence officers from the detachment commander and above, was planning and carrying out active actions (“direct actions” - in accordance with modern NATO terminology) against the enemy’s intended targets and capturing his servicemen to obtain the necessary intelligence information. Depth reconnaissance units also practiced the use of light diving equipment for coastal operations.
In order to emphasize the elitism of the units and mark the difference in the assignment of troops, in 1980-ies of the last century, reconnaissance units received special insignia. Depth intelligence units, in contrast to general arms intelligence and radio intelligence, received the right to wear a green beret. But after the 1991 exercises of the year, which took place on the southern border of the Hungarian People's Republic, the right to wear the green beret was granted to intelligence officers of the combined-arms units.
Deep Intelligence Battalion
In 1959, the reconnaissance-landing battalion was re-formed and began to prepare according to a program that was linked to a new concept of application within the framework of allied commitments. The views of the Soviet military and their followers in the ranks of the Hungarian armed forces had a decisive influence on the development of the unit and the concept of its use. The battalion was named the 34 Reconnaissance Battalion. Since then, it forms the basis of the Hungarian paratroopers. In 1963, the battalion was relocated to Szolnok, where it remains to date. In 1990, the battalion was renamed in honor of the famous Hungarian military, Count Bercsényi László (1689 – 1778). As a reconnaissance battalion, the unit existed until the 2004 year.
The exceptional quality of the training of the personnel of the intelligence units and the high degree of their combat readiness allowed them to become a reliable tool for the general staff of the Hungarian Defense Forces to solve tasks at the stage of the origin of the conflict, when there is no need to deploy units and formations of the Hungarian troops, as well as during international missions, of which the Hungarian military contingents began to participate not so long ago.
The personnel of the reconnaissance battalions distinguished themselves in international peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, the Sinai Peninsula, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Kosovo, as well as during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reorganization of intelligence units
In the middle of 2000's, the Hungarian defense forces underwent a reorganization and were reduced several times. The organization of military intelligence has also undergone significant changes. There are only two reconnaissance battalions left in the army: the 34 reconnaissance battalion Bercsényi László and the 25 reconnaissance battalion Bornemissza Gergely. But their structure and tasks were modified. For example, the 34 th reconnaissance battalion Bercsényi László was reorganized into the 34 th special operations battalion with the honorary title Bercsényi László.
And the Bornemissza Gergely 25 reconnaissance battalion was transformed into an intelligence unit with advanced tasks, technical and professional capabilities. Now, in addition to conducting tactical reconnaissance using armored reconnaissance vehicles and the ability to conduct in-depth reconnaissance, this military unit is able to organize and conduct agent and species reconnaissance, as well as perform the functions of the reconnaissance and EW support team, while performing all kinds of analysis of the initial capabilities of the Hungarian defense forces .
34 Special Operations Battalion
New appointment and old submission
In 2005, the Minister of Defense signed a document titled “Formation and Tasks of the 34 Battalion of Special Operations named after Laszlo Bersetsen”, governing the formation of the 34 Battalion of Special Operations. This document assigned the status of a regiment to a separate battalion, determined the new name and purpose of the unit and kept the honorary name. However, Lieutenant Colonel Laszlo Forray in his Ph.D. thesis points out the misinterpretation of the name and believes that it should be changed to the “Specialized 34 Battalion”, because its Hungarian definition is “Különleges Erok”, which means “special purpose”.
The military unit is under the direct command of the head of the operational management of the joint command of the Hungarian Defense Forces and is supplied through the 86 th avibazu helicopters in Szolnok. Such a relationship is not quite convenient. Despite the fact that the 86 Air Base assumes the solution of many administrative issues, the battalion still belongs to the air force, which complicates the application of this elite unit.
Tasks and mission
The new battalion was formed as a military unit capable of fully solving tasks in the course of asymmetric wars of the 21st century, relying on high professionalism and modern equipment and weapons. According to the Ministry of Defense, the actions of the new division should be characterized by an economical use of resources, a high degree of readiness for use and rapid deployment in a given area, the ability to operate by small modular teams, the ability to conduct the full range of special operations.
Thus, taking into account these characteristics, the battalion should perform the following tasks:
- response to sudden incidents requiring the use of military force;
- conducting special operations on its own or within the framework of the use of coalition forces;
- implementation of military tasks in the fight against terrorism;
- participation in peacekeeping operations carried out by the Hungarian defense forces;
- participation in rescue operations in peacetime and wartime.
Information about the organization of the battalion was provided to the public by its commander, Major Gabor Santana, at an official briefing.
The battalion headquarters has the same organization as the headquarters of the separate infantry battalion of the Hungarian Defense Forces, with the only difference being that it has structures responsible for organizing the withdrawal to the area of forthcoming actions by parachute or using light diving equipment.
The battalion consists of two special operations companies whose activities are supported by combat support services and supply and support units. Modularity and flexibility are two aspects that determine the staff structure of the battalion. These two aspects are achieved through the small number of teams of special operations.
Each company consists of the management and staff of a company, as well as eight special operations teams.
Two teams in each company are designed for air output, so their personnel undergo a training program for making jumps using the HAHO technology (high altitude-high open) - parachuting from a great height and opening the dome at a high altitude for subsequent planning of the landing point. Four teams specialize in penetrating the area using ground vehicles. And two more teams are intended for the maritime method of withdrawing commands to the area of the special operation. The personnel of these groups train both in making descents under water using light diving equipment and in parachuting.
Teams of second-class combat swimmers and their penetration capabilities are transferred to the battalion headquarters and support company.
The structure of the special operations team resembles the structure of the team "A" of the American "green berets". It consists of twelve military personnel having various military specialties and qualifications. The team leader is the captain. Deputy Commander - Warrant Officer. Operational Sergeant also has the title of Warrant Officer. Intelligence Sergeant - Class Sergeant 1. In addition, there are specialists in the unit (two in a team). These are two radio operators, two medics, two weapons specialists and two mine-explosive specialists.
Selection and preparation
The structure of the training is similar to the training course adopted by the Hungarian armed forces. Group training also consists of blocks that are defined by the training program. The whole program is divided into cycles consisting of several learning blocks.
Further training of the battalion is carried out with the help and support of the 55-th American mobile team, which conducts a large number of training sessions and training with the personnel of the battalion units. Training is conducted in the interests of performing both national and international tasks. National training activities include primarily the selection phase, basic training, regional training and compulsory additional training.
The international part of training includes training in various military schools and courses in the United States, as well as training in various interrelated special operations courses and participation in various seminars. Some training events take place in parallel at the national and international levels, for example, such as training courses for parachute jumping using HAHO / HALO technologists or training in advanced tactical aviation controllers (JTAC) training program.
The battalion training program consists of five separate units. The first block is the selection combined with the preparation. Candidates are tested for physical and psychological readiness, knowledge of tactics of action.
Basic training is reduced to tactical training, where special attention is paid to the methods and methods of special forces operations.
The third block is a training for action in the team. Education begins with working out the tactics of small groups. During her special attention is paid to the ability to perform tasks in urban environments. The next stage is devoted to various methods of infiltration and evacuation of teams. The last lesson is dedicated to special team training. At the same time, some candidates may study in Hungary, and others - in the framework of the relevant course of the US Army in the center and school of special combat operations of John F. Kennedy.
The fourth main unit consists of training for survival and topographical orientation. The survival unit consists of a number of activities in which, besides survival itself, the ability to evade captivity, methods of resistance in captivity and escaping from captivity are practiced. Classes on topography are held on the ground, where the deployment of units is planned.
The battalion soldiers who graduated from the 4 block program are fully prepared for service in the battalion and can be sent to perform special tasks.
In the course of training in the framework of the fifth block, the focus is on maintaining sustainable skills, as well as the acquisition of additional specialized knowledge.
The units of the 34 Battalion have been deployed several times in recent years. Until 2006, its units operated in Afghanistan, mainly as a light infantry company with a base in Kabul. In addition, the battalion teams were deployed in Iraq, where they were engaged in training the Iraqi security forces. Also, the battalion servicemen, together with other Hungarian special forces, formed the 4 of the Hungarian contingent in Afghanistan in 2008. At the same time, one of the teams was deployed in Kabul, where it provided security for the ISAF commanders who worked at the international airport. Since 2009, together with colleagues from the 25 / 88 battalion, the 34 battalion fighters formed the first replacement team for the Hungarian operational mentoring and communications team in Afghanistan. In the same year, the unit deployed its teams in the country to conduct special operations under the command of ISAF.
5 / 24 Bornemissza Gergely reconnaissance battalion
The predecessor of this unit was the 2-th separate infantry battalion, which was reorganized into the reconnaissance battalion and renamed the 1-th armored reconnaissance battalion. The battalion initially moved from one garrison to another, and was later renamed the 83 th reconnaissance battalion. After further changes in location in 1963, the unit occupied the barracks in the city of Eger and was named the 24 reconnaissance battalion.
His main task for a long time remained unchanged - the maintenance of military intelligence on military equipment. In addition, the battalion units could conduct in-depth reconnaissance. In 2007, the battalion was again redeployed to the city of Debrecen, where it was subordinated to the 5 Infantry Brigade, in connection with which it was renamed again to the 5 / 24 reconnaissance battalion of the Bornemissza Gergely.
This unit is the only reconnaissance unit of the Hungarian Defense Forces, therefore its main task is to conduct reconnaissance in the interests of the national or coalition forces. As an element of the intelligence module, the battalion is able to create a working group of analysts, select intelligence units, as well as undercover and technical intelligence groups.
The organization of the battalion’s management and staff is generally similar to the organization of the headquarters of other battalions that are part of the Hungarian national defense forces.
But there are two differences. First, the battalion commander has two deputies, one of whom is a technical deputy, whose main task is to monitor the activities of the EW company.
The second feature is the presence of the intelligence analysis center, which is responsible for the initial processing of the information collected. The battalion staff includes two reconnaissance companies, an intelligence support company and an EW company. Intelligence companies primarily lead military intelligence and are equipped with armored personnel carriers, but at the same time they include deep reconnaissance platoons.
Selection and preparation
Battalion recruits receive comprehensive basic training at a special training center. At the same time, the personnel of the battalion must undergo specialized training. Specialized training mainly consists of intelligence tactics and small group tactics. The officer’s course lasts six weeks, while recruits undergo a twelve-week training. After passing the exam, candidates are considered ready for service in the battalion. Specialized training also includes the necessary additional skills, such as various methods of withdrawing teams to the area of intelligence. The most important is the airborne method, and therefore the scouts are parachute training.
After a short period of expulsion from the state of the airborne platoon deep reconnaissance, the battalion again received them back. In 2008, the basic training of paratroopers was organized with the help of the 34 battalion. The course lasts three weeks and includes only jumping on uncontrolled domes. Also within the framework of specialized training, the 5 / 24 th reconnaissance battalion together with the 88 and 34 battalions conducts training for scuba divers.
The participation of the battalion in the international military operations of the Hungarian Defense Forces is quite noticeable. From 1997 to 2005, the battalion sent its units to the Balkans, where they participated in various international missions (IFOR, SFOR, KFOR and MFOR).
In 2002, the battalion sent a separate reconnaissance platoon to Macedonia as part of the FYROM mission, and in 2003, the battalion deployed one of the reconnaissance companies in Iraq as a security unit for the Hungarian contingent.
In 2004, another company as a unit of light infantry was sent to Afghanistan. In 2006, the battalion was deployed in Sarajevo.
In parallel with these missions, the battalion was responsible for the deployment of agent intelligence teams both in Afghanistan as part of the Hungarian contingent and in the Balkans as part of the KFOR Hungarian contingent.
Training centers and special programs
Peace Training Center
A peacekeeping training center was established in 2000 in the structure of the 1-nd light mixed regiment, and in 2004 it became separate. The main task of the center is to train Hungarian and international officials to carry out UN peacekeeping operations and manage the international course of military observers.
Since 2007, the center is responsible for organizing and managing the basic course of special operations. The training center is located in the same city as the 34, 25 / 88 and 86 battalions.
The center is located in the building of the former military school of the Ministry of Defense, so its training infrastructure is rather well developed. To conduct tactical exercises and trainings, the training center must coordinate with both the 86 base of helicopters and the 34 and 25 / 88 battalions. Since the center does not have its own subdivisions, for training purposes operating for the enemy, and also due to the lack of a sufficient number of special trainers and administrative personnel, specialized weapons and equipment, the main training activities are conducted jointly with the 34 and 25 / 88 battalions.
International qualification course for special purposes
The first special qualification course was held in 2008 year exclusively for Hungarian candidates, and the second, which began in February 2010, already had international status. Currently cadets are military personnel from Estonia, Slovakia and Hungary, while American and Hungarian instructors can serve as trainers.
The course program is divided into five stages. The first stage, which lasts 18 weeks, is the individual special training. The next stage lasts five weeks, during which the basic tactics and types of actions are worked out. Then, during the whole month, the cadets are trained to conduct special operations. The last stage lasts two months, during which collective actions are worked out. Graduates who have successfully passed the exams may be appointed to the post of team commander, engineer, communications attendant or weapon expert. The course language is English, and the established course standards correspond to the relevant parameters adopted in the NATO training structures.
The course includes a variety of programs and training sessions, necessary for the personnel of the team of special operations, which are worked out on special training fields and campuses. However, medical training is not part of the curriculum. In the course of teaching the course curriculum, a technique similar to that used in the special branding of the special forces of the United States Army at Fort Bragg is used.
The first group of candidates consists of commanders and deputy commanders of a group of special operations. The training focuses on tactical planning and various methods of command. In addition, they all must have certain knowledge and skills of any specialist who is part of his team. The second group consists of weapons specialists. They learn to use every kind of infantry weaponsin service with the Hungarian Defense Forces. The third group consists of engineers, and the last - of radio operators.
In special areas, classes are held separately, and in the course of conducting tactical field exercises or lessons on the tactics of small groups, the personnel are again reduced to complete special operations teams. The total number of students on the course is small. For example, in 2010, the course began with just 36 candidates.
Combined Forces Special Operations Task Force
The purpose of creating an ad hoc working group is to coordinate the efforts of the various headquarters sections and units to support and develop the capabilities of special operations of the Hungarian defense forces.
The working group is an independent structure within the command of the combined forces and is directly subordinate to the commander of the land forces of the combined defense forces of Hungary.
The tasks of the working group are distributed in four main areas.
The first is cooperation with NATO and the European Union. The working group is responsible for organizing the preparation of special operations and integrating it into the NATO training system, as well as preparing for participation in NATO and the European Union operations.
The second large group of tasks is personal records and personnel management of the 34 5th Special Operations Battalion. The working group is responsible for developing a suitable career model for each operator so that military service in the battalion is attractive and allows you to keep a staff of trained soldiers. The third group of tasks relates to operational planning. As part of it, the working group should develop a medium-term plan to improve the possibilities for conducting special operations, and constantly coordinate the conduct of special operations. The next group of tasks is the organization and planning of logistics and logistics. Here we are talking about the material and technical aspects of the deployment, employment and technical development of units of special operations forces. The last group of tasks associated with learning. The working group is responsible for developing the doctrine, curriculum, topics and content of the training sessions, as well as coordinating the activities of foreign and Hungarian mobile training groups involved in the preparation and training for special operations.