- 1 History
- 2 Structure of Fernspählehrkompanie 200
- 3 Missions
- 4 Weaponry
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Until the activation of the German Army's Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command) in late 1996, the land arm of the Bundeswehr had three Fernspäher Companies (100, 200 and 300) with one being assigned to each Corps. The first unit of this kind was trained and commanded by Major Konrad Rittmeyer. Former German armies did not know the concept of long range reconnaissance. Rittmeyer studied the Finnish Army's WWII long-range patrol teams that conducted reconnaissance, sabotage, and prisoner capture missions as far as 300 km deep into Soviet territory, surviving for days on carried supplies or weeks on parachute dropped resupplies; furthermore he drew on the special skills of German Gebirgsjäger (mountain infantry), Fallschirmjäger (parachute infantry), and foreign special forces the Germans had faced during the war.
Rittmeyer's initial Fernspäh company, back in the day simply designated as Lehrgruppe R (Training Group R), quickly reflagged as Fernspählehrkompanie 200. His concept proved prolific enough to allow the creation of a Fernspäher school in Weingarten, South Germany. This institution would eventually reflag as the International Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol School](ILRRPS) and later move to Pfullendorf. From May 2001 it is called the International Special Training Center(ISTC). ILRRPS provided training for comparable units from Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the USA. Initially the British Special Air Service provided the Commanding Officer and some instructors for ILRRPS however they later withdrew from participation. When the Special Forces Command was activated in 1996, many of the ranks were filled with personnel from Fernspähkompanie 100 and Fernspähkompanie 300 which disbanded at last.
The -lehr within Fernspäh-lehr-kompanie 200 designates a very special task of this unit: It is the Lehrtruppenteil (roughly translated: Training and demonstration unit) for the German special forces, and as such the company does training for other troops as well as field evaluation and demonstration of new tactics and equipment. It still has a clearly offensive role though, which attracted further interest again after the September 11, 2001 attacks and the following operations against international terrorism.
Fernspählehrkompanie 200 answers directly to the Special Operations Division (Division Spezielle Operationen) of the German Army and is also a part of the recently created Army Reconnaissance Troops (Heeresaufklärungstruppe). Prior to 2007, the Fernspähtruppe was an independent formation within the German Army. Their beret insignia displayed an eagle (as the common symbol of all airborne troops of the German Army) with a set of lightning bolts in its claws, dropping down in front of crossed lances (which are the traditional insignia of German cavalry forces).
 Structure of Fernspählehrkompanie 200
The FSLK 200 consists of four SR-platoons, an additional special applications SR-platoon (covering the technical aspects of intelligence gathering as well as analysis of gathered data), a special applications maintenance group, a special applications support group, two specialized medical squads and a specialized military intelligence platoon. The overall-strength amounts to more than 220 troops.
- Fernspählehrkompanie 200
- Kompanieführung (Company headquarters)
- 1. Fernspähzug (1st SR platoon)
- 2. Fernspähzug (2nd SR platoon)
- 3. Fernspähzug (3rd SR platoon)
- 4. Fernspähzug (4th SR platoon)
- Fernspähspezialzug (Special applications SR platoon)
- Feldnachrichtenzug (Military intelligence platoon)
- Versorgungsgruppe Fernspäh (Special applications support group)
- Instandsetzungsgruppe Fernspäh (Special applications maintenance group)
- 2x Sanitätstrupp Fernspäh (Specialized medical squad)
As with all German armed forces, FSLK200 needs the approval of the German Bundestag to participate in foreign deployments. This permission can however be obtained subsequently if the situation requires immediate action. Details about operations of the FSLK 200 are kept secret. Nonetheless it is known that Fernspäher carried out missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, during the Kosovo War and later during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Additionally, Fernspäher soldiers were deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2006 as a part of the European Union mission EUFOR RD Congo.