K-Commando is a special commando unit from Estonia. They are particularly assigned to the Estonian Criminal Police. The tasks and activities of K-Commando are similar to standard American SWAT teams. It follows that mainly deal with hostage situations, counter-terrorism, arrest and escort high-risk criminals, high-risk detention, searches, protection of Very Important Persons (VIP), and important witnesses as witness protection programs. The unit is located in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, and directly under the control of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Estonia.
Assignments of K-Commando unit
As we already mentioned, their assignments are not different than any tasks performed by other country’s special forces of similar use. K-Commando tasks are:
- Rescue of Hostages
- tracking terrorist activities
- security, transport, and disposal of particularly dangerous offenders and criminals
- VIP protection and the protection of important witnesses, witness protection program
The forming of K-Commando
K-Commando was formed shortly after Estonia gained independence. That happened in 1991, as a direct response to crime, and by the example of other countries in the region.
The headquarters of the Estonian Special Forces K-Commando unit is located in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn.
After centuries of being ruled by other countries (Denmark, Sweden, and Germany), Estonia gained independence in 1918, but they remained independent only to 1940 when they were again forcibly annexed by the former Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union (SSSR), Estonia was able to regain his freedom once again. When the last foreign troops left Estonia, they were free to make contact with Western Europe and begin the process of creating their own security forces. In 2004, Estonia became a member of the NATO alliance and the member of the European Union.
After gaining independence, they started the process of creating their security forces from the very beginning. Great support in forming special forces within the hierarchy was their cooperation with foreign powers, including agencies such as the FBI and their HRT (Hostage Rescue Team). Thus, during 1991, Estonia formed a special investigation unit known as the Estonian Criminal Police, later it changed the name to K-Commando. The unit’s name was derived from the name of its first Commander Lembit Kalkutija.
The K-Commando unit operates under the command of Keskkriminaalpolitsei, Central Criminal Police Office, and is directly responsible to the Minister of Interior. The exact number of members serving in K-Commando is around 30 highly trained men.
In history, the unit operated under few different names, but K-Commando emerged as one of the historical names. In this region, such units are referred to as the SOGs (Special Operations Group), but this often leads to confusion, since it is the term generally used for military special units, special forces, and special Estonian army group called SOG.
Their tasks and duties are very close to other similar units of the same or similar purposes in the army and law enforcement, so that means they have the latest equipment mainly used by other special units. The unit arsenal is based on cooperation with other units within Estonia, both military, and law enforcement, and that gave them the ability to take the army armored personnel carriers on wheels, police helicopters and if necessary the border police motor boats and speed boats.
Weaponry and Equipment
Estonia’s political development was also reflexed to the unit and their equipment, so they own various mixture of Soviet and Western weapons including:
- Makarov pistol (9mm)
- Browning HP pistol (9mm)
- H&K MP5K submachine gun (9mm)
- H&K MP5A3 submachine gun (9mm)
- H&K MP5SD3 submachine gun with silencer (9mm)
- Automatic rifle AKS-74U (caliber 5.45 mm)
- H&K G36V rifle (5.56-mm)
- SIG SG551 SWAT-2P (5.56-mm)
- Sniper PSG1 (7.62 mm)
- DSR-1 rifle (7.62 mm)
Selection and Training
K-Commando is known for its high level of professionalism and a great reputation. To become a member of this unit, candidates need to pass a wide range of tests and upon completion of that, its applications are passed to each member of the unit. Only after a consensus is reached, the candidate is admitted to join the unit. Like most other special police units, candidates need to spend a certain period of time on regular police jobs.