Military Review

Indonesian special forces: "red berets", "amphibians" and others

About the special forces of foreign countries they write a lot and often. The American Delta, the British SAS, the German GSG-9 - who does not know these sensational names? However, not only the developed countries of the West have effective special forces units. Many states of the “third world” in their time were forced to acquire their own special forces, since the specificity of the political situation in most Asian, African, Latin American countries implied, firstly, constant readiness for all sorts of insurrections and upheavals, and secondly, the need to suppress separatist and revolutionary rebel movements, most often operating in forest or mountain ranges.

Southeast Asia for a long time after the end of World War II remained one of the most famous “hot spots” of the planet. In all countries of Indochina, as well as in the Philippines, in Malaysia, Indonesia, partisan wars were fought. Communist rebels, or fighters for independence from among minority groups, fought first against European colonialists, then against local governments. The situation was aggravated by the presence in most countries of the region of excellent conditions for guerrilla warfare - here both mountain ranges and impenetrable forests are found very often. Therefore, already at the beginning of 1950's. Many young states of Southeast Asia felt the need to create their own anti-terrorism and counter-partisan units that could effectively solve their tasks in the areas of intelligence, counter-terrorism, and rebel groups. At the same time, their creation implied the possibility of using both the advanced experience of Western special services and special forces, whose instructors were invited to train local special forces, and national experience — the same anti-colonial and anti-Japanese insurgent movements.

Origins - in the struggle for independence

History Indonesian Special Forces are also rooted in the fight against the rebels of the South Molluks Islands. As you know, the proclamation of political sovereignty by Indonesia, her former metropolis - the Netherlands - received without much enthusiasm. For a long time, the Dutch supported centrifugal trends in the Indonesian state. 27 December 1949 The former Dutch East Indies became a sovereign state, initially called the "United States of Indonesia". However, the founder of the Indonesian statehood, Ahmed Sukarno, did not want to preserve the federal structure of Indonesia and saw it as a strong unitary state, deprived of such a “time bomb” as an administrative division based on nationality. Therefore, almost immediately after the proclamation of sovereignty, the Indonesian leadership began work on turning the "United States" into a unitary state.

Naturally, this did not appeal to all Indonesian regions. First of all, the South Molluks Islands were alarmed. After all, the majority of the population of Indonesia are Muslims and only in the South Molluksky islands due to the specificity of historical development a significant number of Christians live. In the Dutch East Indies, people from the Molluk Islands enjoyed the trust and sympathy of the colonial authorities because of their confessional affiliation. For the most part, it was they who made up the bulk of the colonial troops and the police. Therefore, the decision to create a unitary Indonesia was taken hostile by the residents of the South Molluk Islands. 25 April 1950 was proclaimed the Republic of the South Molluk Islands - Maluku-Selatan. 17 August 1950 The city of Sukarno declared Indonesia a unitary republic, and on 28 September 1950, the invasion of the Indonesian government forces into the South Mallouk Islands began. Naturally, the forces of the parties were unequal and after a month and a little, 5 in November 1950, supporters of the independence of the South Molluksky islands were driven out of the city of Ambon.

On the island of Seram, retreating rebels launched a guerilla war against Indonesian government forces. Against the partisans, the brutal power superiority of the Indonesian ground forces proved to be ineffective, and therefore the question of creating commando units adapted for counter-guerrilla actions was discussed among the officers of the Indonesian army. The author of the idea of ​​creating an Indonesian special forces was Lieutenant Colonel Slamet Riyadi, but he died in battle before his idea was brought to life. However, 16 on April 1952 was part of the Indonesian army as a Kesko TT subunit, the Kesatuan Komando Tentara Territorium (Third Territorial Command).

Colonel Kavilarang

The founding father of the Indonesian special forces was Colonel Alexander Evert Kavilarang (1920-2000). By origin Minahas (minahassians inhabit the northeast of the island of Sulawesi and practice Christianity), Kavilarang, as its name implies, was also a Christian. His father served in the colonial forces of the Dutch East Indies as a major — the Christian faith favored a military career — and was engaged in training local recruits. Alexander Kavilarang also chose a military career and entered the service in the colonial troops, having received appropriate training and officer rank. During the Second World War, when the territory of Indonesia was occupied by Japan, he participated in the anti-Japanese movement, several times came to the attention of the Japanese secret services and was subjected to cruel torture. It was during the war years that he became a supporter of Indonesia’s political independence, although he served as a liaison officer with the headquarters of British troops who liberated the Malay archipelago from Japanese invaders.

After the proclamation of independence of Indonesia, Kavilarang, who had special education and experience of military service in the colonial troops, became one of the founders of the Indonesian national army. He participated in the suppression of the uprising in South Sulawesi, and then in hostilities against the rebels of the South Molluksky Islands. The latter was a particularly difficult task, since many rebels in the past themselves served in the Dutch colonial forces and had good combat training. Moreover, the rebels were trained by Dutch instructors who were in the South Molluk Islands to destabilize the political situation in Indonesia.

When it was decided to create Kesko, Kavilarang personally selected an experienced instructor for the new unit. They became a certain Mohamad Ijon Junbi - a resident of West Java. In the “past life”, Mohamad was called Rauk Bernardus Visser, and he was a major in the Netherlands army who served in the special forces, and after his resignation he settled in Java and converted to Islam. Major Raucus Visser became the first commander of Kesko. Influenced by the traditions of the Netherlands army, a similar element of the uniform was introduced in the Indonesian special forces - the red beret. The training was also based on the training of Dutch commandos. The training of Indonesian special forces was originally decided to carry out in Bandung. 24 May 1952 began training the first group of recruits, and on 1 June 1952, the training center and headquarters units moved to Batu Jahar in the west of Java. One commando company was formed, which already in early December 1952 received its first combat experience in an operation to pacify the rebels in West Java.

Subsequently, the Indonesian special forces more than once had to fight in the country against rebel organizations. In this case, the special forces participated not only in counter-partisan operations, but also in the destruction of the Communists and their supporters, following the advent of General Suharto. Commandos subunits wiped out a whole village in Bali, then fought on Kalimantan - in 1965, Indonesia tried to seize the provinces of Sabah and Sarawak, which became part of Malaysia. Over the decades of its existence, the Indonesian army special forces experienced several renames. In 1953, it was named Korps Komando Ad, in 1954 - Resimen Pasukan Komando Ad (RPKAD), in 1959 - Resimen Para Komando Ad, in 1960 - Pusat Pasukan Khusus As, in 1971 - “Korps Pasukan Sandhi Yudha”. Only 23 in May 1986, the division received its modern name - "Komando Pasukan Khusus" (KOPASSUS) - "Commando Special Forces".

Indonesian special forces: "red berets", "amphibians" and others

It is noteworthy that Colonel Alexander Kavilarang, who directly created the Indonesian special forces, later became one of the leaders of the anti-government movement. In 1956-1958 He was a US military attache, but resigned from a prestigious post and led the Permesta insurgent movement in the north of Sulawesi. The reason for this act was a change in the political convictions of Kavilaranga - after analyzing the current situation in Indonesia, he became a supporter of the federal type of political structure of the country. Recall that in those years Indonesia, headed by Sukarno, developed relations with the Soviet Union and was considered by the USA as one of the strongholds of communist expansion in Southeast Asia. It is not surprising that Colonel Kavilarang became the leader of the anti-government movement after a trip to the United States as a military attache.

At least, it was the United States that was beneficial at that moment to destabilize the political situation in Indonesia, while supporting separatist groups. Permesta, which was led by Kavilarang, acted with the direct support of American intelligence. CIA agents supplied the rebels weapons and conducted their training. Also on the side of the rebels were American, Taiwanese and Filipino mercenaries. So the colonel had to face his brainchild, only as an opponent. However, by 1961, the Indonesian army was able to suppress the pro-American rebels. Kavilarang was arrested, but later released from prison. After his release, he focused on the organization of the veterans of the Indonesian army and the Dutch colonial troops.

Red beret KOPASSUS

Perhaps the most famous commander of the Indonesian special forces is Lieutenant General Prabovo Subianto. He is now long retired and engaged in business and social and political activities, and once he served in the Indonesian special forces for a long time and participated in most of his operations. Moreover, Prabovo is considered the only Indonesian officer to have undergone combat training of the German special forces unit GSG-9. Prabovo was born in 1951 and in 1974 he graduated from the Military Academy in Magelang. In 1976, a young officer began serving in Indonesian special forces and became the commander of the 1 group of the Sandhi Yudha team. In this capacity, he participated in the fighting in the territory of East Timor.

At 1985, Mr. Prabowo studied in the USA at Fort Benning. In 1995-1998 He served as general commandant of KOPASSUS, and in 1998 he was appointed commander of the Army Strategic Command Reserve.

The number of Indonesian special forces for 1992 was 2 500 military personnel, and in 1996, the personnel already had 6 000 military personnel. The increase in the number of subdivisions analysts associate with the growing risks of local wars, the activation of Islamic fundamentalists and national liberation movements in several regions of Indonesia. As for the structure of the Indonesian special forces, it looks like this. KOPASSUS is part of the ground forces of the armed forces of Indonesia. At the head of the command is the general commandant with the rank of major general. Commanders of five groups are subordinate to him. Positions of the group commander correspond to the military rank of colonel.

The three groups are paratroopers - commandos, who undergo airborne training, while the third group is training. The fourth group Sandhy Yudha, deployed in Jakarta, is recruited from among the best fighters of the first three groups and is focused on performing reconnaissance and sabotage tasks in the rear of the enemy. The group is subdivided into teams of five fighters who conduct territorial reconnaissance, studying the territory of a potential enemy and identifying those categories of its population that in the event of war can become voluntary or self-serving helpers of Indonesian special forces. The fighters of the group also work in Indonesian cities - especially in politically unstable regions such as Irian Jaya or Aceh. Fighters oriented to fighting in the city undergo a special course of combat training under the program “Fighting a War in Urban Conditions”.

The fifth group KOPASSUS is called Pasukan Khusus-angkatan Darat and is a counter-terrorism unit. It selects the best of the best - most reputable fighters of the 4 th reconnaissance and sabotage group. The functional responsibilities of the fifth group, in addition to the fight against terror, also includes accompanying the President of Indonesia on trips abroad. The size of the group is 200 military personnel, divided into teams of 20-30 fighters. Each team consists of assault and sniper units. Training of fighters carried out by the methods of the German special forces GSG-9.

Not every young Indonesian who has expressed a desire to enter the service in the commando will be able to pass a rigorous selection. Currently, the population of Indonesia has about 254 million people. Naturally, with such a population, most of which is young people, the Indonesian army has a lot of people who want to enlist in the military service and, accordingly, have a choice. The selection of recruits is to check the health, which should be perfect, as well as the level of physical fitness and moral-psychological state. Those who have undergone medical examinations, psychological testing and testing through special services have been undergoing physical readiness tests for nine months, including a commando training course.

Recruits are taught combat operations in forest and mountainous areas, survival in the natural environment, they undergo airborne training, diving and mountaineering training, learn the basics of electronic warfare. In the airborne training of special forces included as a special point training landing in the jungle. There are requirements for language proficiency - a fighter must speak at least two Indonesian languages, and the officer must also speak a foreign language. In addition to training Indonesian instructors, the unit constantly adopts the combat experience of the American, British and German special forces. Since 2003, Indonesian special forces conduct annual joint exercises with Australian commandos from SAS Australia, and with 2011, joint exercises with special units of the PRC.

The most famous anti-terrorist operation KOPASSUS was the release of hostages at Don Muang airport in 1981. Then, in May 1996, Indonesian special forces released researchers from the World Wildlife Fund of UNESCO, captured by rebels from the Free Papua Movement. Then the Papuans rebels were taken hostage by a 24 man, including 17 Indonesians, 4 Britons, Dutch 2 and German 1. For several months, the hostages were in the jungle of the province of Irian Jaya, along with their captors. Finally, 15 in May 1996, Indonesian special forces found the place of the hostages and stormed him. By this time, the rebels were holding 11 people hostage, the rest were released earlier, in the process of negotiations. Eight hostages were freed, but two wounded hostages died from blood loss. As for the rebels, eight people from their squad were killed and two were arrested. For Indonesian special forces operation was without loss.

At present, the command of KOPASSUS is carried out by Major General Doni Monardo. He was born in 1963 in West Java and received a military education in 1985 in the Military Academy. Over the years of service, Doni Monardo participated in the fighting against the rebel groups in East Timor, Aceh and some other regions. Prior to his appointment to the post of general commander of KOPASSUS, Monardo commanded the presidential guard of Indonesia, until in September 2014 he replaced Major General Agus Sutomo in command of Indonesian special forces.

Fighting swimmers

It should be noted that KOPASSUS is not the only special unit of the armed forces of Indonesia. The Indonesian naval forces also have their own special forces. This is KOPASKA - Komando Pasukan Katak - the Indonesian combat swimmers fleet. The history of the creation of this special unit also goes back to the period of struggle for independence. As you know, agreeing with the political sovereignty of Indonesia, proclaimed in 1949, the Dutch authorities for a long time retained control of the western part of the island of New Guinea and did not intend to transfer it to Indonesia.

By the beginning of the 1960's. Indonesian President Sukarno found it possible to join Western New Guinea to Indonesia by force. Since the fighting to free Western New Guinea from the Dutch implied the participation of naval forces, 31 March 1962 was created by the order of Sukarno naval special operations forces. Initially, the Navy had to "rent" 21 special forces from the commando of the KOPASSUS ground forces, then called "Pusat Pasukan Khusus As". After carrying out the planned operations 18 from 21, the army special forces wanted to continue service in the fleet, but the command of the ground forces, who did not want to lose the best military personnel, opposed this. Therefore, the Indonesian Navy had to attend to the issues of recruitment and training of a detachment of marine special forces.

The task of combat swimmers was to destroy the enemy’s underwater structures, including ships and fleet bases, conduct naval reconnaissance, prepare the coast for the landing of marines, and fight terrorism in water transport. In peacetime, seven crew members are involved in ensuring the security of the president and vice-president of Indonesia. Indonesian combat swimmers borrowed a lot from similar units in the US Navy. In particular, the training of trainers for the Indonesia swim swimmer unit is still being carried out in Coronado, California, and Norfolk, Virginia.

At present, training of combat swimmers is carried out at the KOPASKA school at the Training Center for Special Training, as well as at the Training Center for Sea War. Selection in the "underwater special forces" is carried out on very strict criteria.

First of all, men aged under the age of 30 who have experience in the Navy for at least two years are selected. The recruitment of candidates takes place annually at all naval bases in Indonesia. Applicants who meet the requirements are sent to the KOPASKA Training Center. As a result of the selection and training of candidates from 300 - 1500, only 20-36 people pass the initial selection process. With regard to full-fledged units in the unit, the group may have no reinforcement at all during the year, since many candidates are eliminated even in the later stages of training. Usually, only a few people out of a few hundred who enter the training center at the initial stage of preparation reach their dreams. Currently, the squad has 300 military personnel, divided into two groups. The first group is subordinate to the command of the Western Fleet, based in Jakarta, and the second to the command of the Eastern Fleet, based in Surabaya. In peacetime, combat swimmers participate in peacekeeping operations outside the country, and also serve as rescuers during emergency situations.

Amphibians and ocean killers

Also, the command of the Navy obey Taifib, the famous "amphibians". These are the reconnaissance battalions of the Indonesian Marines, considered elite units of the Marine Corps and staffed by the selection of the best Marines. 13 March 1961 was created by the Marine Command, on the basis of which the reconnaissance battalion "amphibians" was created in 1971. The main functions of "amphibians" is to conduct naval and ground reconnaissance, ensuring the landing of troops from amphibious ships. Marines selected for service in the battalion undergo lengthy special training. The headdress of the unit is purple berets. To get into the unit, the marine must be no older than 26 years, have at least two years experience in the marine corps and meet the physical and psychological characteristics of the requirements for special forces soldiers. The preparation of amphibians lasts almost nine months in East Java. Currently, the Indonesian Navy Marine Corps includes two amphibian battalions.

In 1984, another elite unit was created as part of the Indonesian Navy - Detasemen Jala Mangkara / Denjaka, which translates as "Deadly Ocean Detachment". Its tasks include the fight against terrorism at sea, but in fact it is capable of performing the functions of a reconnaissance-sabotage unit, including fighting in the enemy's rear. The best cadres from the KOPASKA combat swimmers detachment and from the reconnaissance battalion of the marines are selected in the unit. The Denjaka squad is part of the Indonesian Navy Marine Corps, so the commander of the armed forces of the strategic special services is responsible for his general training and support. Currently, Denjaka consists of one unit, which includes its headquarters, combat and engineering teams. With 2013, the detachment is commanded by Marine Colonel Nur Alamsiyah.

Air strike

Indonesia’s Air Force has its own special forces. In fact, the Indonesian Air Force special forces are the country's airborne troops. Their official name is Paskhas, or Special Forces Corps. His troops wear an orange head beret, which is what distinguishes them from the "red berets" of the special forces of the ground forces. The main tasks of the Air Force special forces include: capturing and protecting airfields from enemy forces, preparing airfields for landing aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force or aviation allies. In addition to airborne training, the Air Force special forces also receive training for air traffic controllers.

The history of the Air Force Special Forces began on October 17 1947, even before the official recognition of the country's independence. Three assault regiments were created in 1966, and a special-purpose center in 1985. The number of special forces of the Air Force reaches 7300 military. Each soldier has airborne training, as well as being trained for combat operations on water and land. Currently, the Indonesian command plans to expand the special forces of the Air Force to the 10 or 11 battalions, that is, to double the number of this special unit. Practically at every airfield of the Air Force a special forces battalion is based, performing the functions of guarding and air defense of airfields.

In 1999 on the basis of Paskhas, it was decided to create another special unit - Satgas Atbara. The tasks of this detachment include countering terrorism in air transport, first of all, the release of hostages from captured aircraft. The initial squad included 34 man - commander, three group commanders and thirty fighters. The selection of servicemen in the unit is carried out in the special forces of the Air Force - they invite the most trained soldiers and officers. At present, from five to ten recruits from among the best special forces of the Air Force come to the unit annually. After enrolling in the squad they undergo special training.

Presidential Security

Another elite special unit of Indonesia - Paspampres, or the President’s Security Forces. They were created during the reign of Sukarno, who survived several assassinations and was concerned with ensuring his personal safety. 6 June 1962 was created a special regiment "Chakrabirava", the duties of the soldiers and officers of which included personal protection of the president and his family members. The unit recruited the most trained soldiers and officers from the army, navy, air force and police. In 1966, the regiment was disbanded, and the duties of guarding the President were assigned to a special group of military police. However, ten years later, on January 13, 1966, a new presidential security service was created - Paswalpres, that is, the presidential guard, subordinate to the Minister of Defense and Security.

In 1990-s. The Presidential Guard was renamed the President’s Security Forces (Paspampres). The structure of this unit consists of three groups - A, B and C. Groups A and B ensure the safety of the president and vice-president of Indonesia, while group C protects the heads of foreign states visiting Indonesia. The total number of Paspampres currently reaches 2500 employees, commanded by a superior with the rank of major general. Each group has its own commander in the rank of colonel. In 2014, the fourth group was created - D. The selection of military personnel for service in the protection of the president is carried out in all branches of the armed forces, first of all in the elite special units KOPASSUS, KOPASKA and some others, as well as in the marines. Each candidate undergoes a rigorous selection and effective training, and the emphasis is on accuracy of shooting and on mastering the martial arts of close combat, above all - the traditional Indonesian martial art "Penchak Silat".

In addition to the listed special forces, there are also police special forces in Indonesia. This is the Mobile Brigade (Brigade Mobil) - the oldest unit with about 12 thousands of employees and is used as a counterpart to the Russian riot police; Gegana - special forces, created in 1976, to combat air terrorism and hostage-taking; The anti-terrorist detachment 88 squadron that exists from 2003 and performs the tasks of combating terrorism and insurgency. Mobile Brigade units have been involved in almost all internal conflicts in Indonesia since the 1940s. - from the dispersal of demonstrations and the suppression of riots to fight insurgent movements in certain regions of the country. Moreover, the police special forces had experience of fighting with the forces of an external enemy. The mobile team took part in the liberation of Western New Guinea from the Dutch colonialists in 1962, in an armed conflict with Malaysia over the provinces of North Kalimantan Sabah and Sarawak. Naturally, this unit was also one of the main strike forces of the Indonesian government in the fight against the internal opposition.

Indonesian special forces trained by American instructors are considered among the strongest in Southeast Asia. However, several other countries in the region, which will be discussed another time, have no less effective commando squads.
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  1. Same lech
    Same lech 9 February 2015 07: 58 New
    Very interesting ... perhaps the first time this topic was opened on HBO.
    The author is a big plus +++++

    traditional Indonesian martial art "penchak silat" ...

    first found out about it.
  2. jjj
    jjj 9 February 2015 11: 27 New
    We now also have red berets in Russia - the military police. By color, it will be between crap and orange (Emchees)
  3. 31rus
    31rus 9 February 2015 19: 51 New
    Dear, very interesting topic, thank you to the author! In the world of specialists, the level of participation in real combat and covert operations is considered, I think the Indonesians have a wealth of experience in combat operations, given the location of the country and the terrain, then this is the whole set, air, sea, mountains, jungle, islands) and the number is increasing for a reason, they really know how and with whom the task will be accomplished, it would be nice to exchange experiences with our specialists
  4. Volga Cossack
    Volga Cossack 9 February 2015 22: 50 New
    thank. the article is really interesting - the topic is completely untouched!
  5. bekjan
    bekjan 10 February 2015 01: 53 New
    Very informative article!
  6. SlavaP
    SlavaP 4 March 2015 00: 23 New
    Thanks to the author. Hopefully there will be sequels.
  7. ShKAS
    ShKAS 25 May 2015 02: 10 New
    Orange hat is strong))