Enota za Specialno Delovanje: A Slovenian prime SOF unit

Enota za Specialno Delovanje (ESD) from Slovenia
Enota za Specialno Delovanje (ESD) from Slovenia (Photo: Slovenian Armed Forces)

Even the Slovenian Armed Forces have their own special unit, called the Enota za Specialno Delovanje (ESD) which is the successor of special brigade MORiS from which they retained the character patch of lynx in the lime leaf.

The unit is a professional, highly qualified special unit, which is organized and trained to perform special operations and to unveil unconventional combat actions.

Introduction

Enota za specialno delovanje (eng. Special Operations Unit) is a special unit of the Slovenian Armed Forces, which operates within the Command of the Slovenian Armed Forces; the unit headquarters are located in the military base of the Slovenian Army in the town of Skrilj in the Kocevje region.

Slovenian Armed Forces: Enota za specialno delovanje (ESD)
Slovenian Armed Forces: Enota za specialno delovanje (ESD) (Photo: ESD)

Professionalism, military professionalism, motivation, and the ability to command and control in the most difficult situations are the fundamental virtues of the ESD operators. They are known for their skill, forcefulness, effectiveness, and sincere loyalty to his unit, the Slovenian Armed Forces, and the Republic of Slovenia. Due to extremely high standards in the unit, candidates must-have in the selection process show a high degree of physical and mental readiness, motivation, ability to work in extreme conditions, and a desire to become elite members of the Slovenian Armed Forces.

History

The first Slovenian Special Operations Forces and ESD forerunner was established on June 22, 1998, as the Special Operations Detachment from the former Rapid Intervention Detachment, part of the reorganized 1st Special Brigade MORiS. On December 17, 2001, the detachment was transformed into a battalion.

In 2004, the Battalion was reorganized internally and renamed. The new name was Enota za Specijalno Delovanje – ESD. Today, the unit is under the direct command of the Slovenian Ministry of Defense.

Organization

The Enota za specialno delovanje (ESD) is organized similarly to the US Army Special Forces (SF) and is generally divided into four sections.

  • command section
  • communications department
  • battle sections
  • logistics section

Mission

The Slovenian ESD is intended to carry out special operations independently or alongside the special forces of allied countries in order to support the accomplishment of goals of strategic importance for the Republic of Slovenia or the NATO Alliance.

  • Special reconnaissance and observation
  • Direct actions
  • Military assistance and cooperation

Training and selection

Selection

The candidates Enota za specialno delovanje are coming directly from the Slovenian Armed Forces, which means that the civilians are not allowed to enlist for the selection in the ESD. Candidates, who must not be over 30 years of age, must go through a selection process.

The selection phase lasts for 12 days, 24 hours per day. During the selection process, candidates are tested for their physical abilities, small unit tactics on the battlefield, classic and orienteering long marches, infantry and water obstacles, and weapon handling.

During the selection, candidates are exposed to physical and mental effort, difficult combat and stressful situations are simulated, as candidates are selected for work that takes place in dangerous, demanding, and stressful circumstances that do not allow mistakes.

Training

To fully become an Enota za specialno delovanje (ESD) operator, training lasts more than a year. Like all other members of the Slovenian Armed Forces, a member of the Special Operations Unit must first become a soldier. Here is the full path from a civilian to the ESD operator in the timeline:

  • 14-week basic military-professional training (TVSU) – acquire basic military skills that enable them to work and live in accordance with military values and to accept and fulfill work tasks
  • 6-week basic military-professional training (OVSU) – acquire knowledge for military record duty
  • Successfully completed selection for Enota za specialno delovanje (ESD).
  • Basic training for an ESD member – 6 months
  • Specialist training – engineering, communications, armaments and tactics, and medical care
Enota za specialno delovanje operators conducting training at the shooting range
Enota za specialno delovanje operators conducting training at the shooting range (Photo: Slovenian Armed Forces)

Operations

This unit had its operations in the following: ISAF, UNIFIL, EUFOR, Tchad/RCA.

Weaponry and gear

Slovenia is making efforts to equip its units on the model of other world units with similar purposes. The unit follows NATO standards in the form of training and equipment. It belongs to the category of quick reaction forces with a high level of readiness. The organization and equipment of the unit enable the use of air transport, ensure multi-day self-sufficiency, and the ability to survive on a modern battlefield, as well as to conduct operations in extreme terrain and climatic conditions.

Here is a list of some weapons used by ESD:

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