Die Voraussetzungen

The mental and physical prerequisites for Kampfschwimmer service are the highest within the entire German armed forces. Candidates must be in the highest category (T1) of the physical screening test administered to military recruits. On a case by case basis candidates who fall in the second highest category (T2) of the physical screening test can be accepted; e.g. candidates who failed to make T1 because they are shorter than five feet, eight inches tall. Candidates must also successfully complete (or already have completed) military basic training, qualify for Boatswain training (the decision is made at the recruiting center in Wilhelmshafen), and pass a special physical screening test for diver and naval commando candidates. This day-long physical exam is conducted at the navy’s maritime medicine institute in Kiel/Kronshagen. All relevant health aspects are covered, including an eye exam, ENT, blood and urine tests, etc.  Candidates are also placed in a hyperbaric chamber, and subjected to an oxygen tolerance test (breathing a gas mixture with a higher than normal proportion of oxygen). The latter test is one of the most frequent reasons candidates fail the physical. Diving gear routinely uses a higher than normal oxygen to nitrogen ratio. Either a candidate can tolerate it or he can’t. After the physical exam the applicant is interviewed by a psychologist. Both physical and mental suitability are prerequisites for admission to the training program. If the applicant meets these prerequisites he is transferred from his current unit or directly from basic training to the ship security training center in Neustadt/Holstein for the basic diving course. To qualify for the basic dive course candidates must: * pass the physical and psychological screening described above * run 5 kilometers within 25 minutes * swim 300 meters fully clothed within 8 minutes * perform a minimum of 3 pull-ups * dive to a depth of 5 meters and retrieve two rings weighing 5 kilos each * swim 25 meters underwater without surfacing * qualify for the lifesaving badge (in bronze) * pass the basic physical fitness test Once admitted to the training center at Neustadt the candidate is trained to become a professional-grade utility diver. The curriculum is demanding. Weather, the daily diving regimen, and long hours of strenuous activity require a robust constitution and stress tolerance. After successful conclusion of this 8 week course the candidate progresses to the special operations training company to begin Kampfschwimmer training. There his first challenge is another physical fitness test. Kampfschwimmer Entrance Exam (Physical Fitness) * run 5 kilometers within 22 minutes * swim 1,000 meters within 24 minutes *submerge for a minimum of 60 seconds * swim 30 meters underwater without surfacing (turning around halfway through) * perform a minimum of 8 pull-ups * Benchpress a minimum of 50Kg weight (15 repetitions) * (NOTE: the performance described above is the equivalent of a “D” grade (just barely passing)! A word of advice: all requirements should be exceeded. Given the extreme duress levels candidates will be exposed to throughout training, anyone who squeezes in with marginal qualifications is predestined to fail.) Only through completion of this “package” is the applicant deemed qualified to begin the first 12 month phase of Kampfschwimmer selection and training in Eckernförde.

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