Denmark’s Fromandskorpset (Frogman Corps), is an amphibious Special Operations unit modeled after the British Special Boat Squadron (S.B.S.). It became active on June 17th, 1957, a brainchild of Danish officers who trained in a U.S. military diving school. This brought about the country’s first Special Forces , where it became part of the Danish Navy.
However, since 1970, it has been an independent unit operating first with the submarine squadron, and now as part of the navy’s operational command. They serve as both combat swimmers and an assault unit, capable of conducting long range reconnaissance, direct action and other tasks similar in scope to the U.S Navy SEAL Teams. Fromandskorpset may also conduct counterterrorist task,s as well as aiding Danish police during crime investigation involving specialized diving.
Some 500 to 600 applicants apply yearly to become a member of the unit. Of these, less than a dozen survive the nine-month course. At one point, one of those graduating was Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.
Though mostly coming from the Navy, Army recruits can apply provided they obtain a recommendation.
Those who wish to try out for the Corps must meet the following requirements:
- Must be between nineteen and thirty years of age. (Officers can be thirty five), and have security clearance.
- Undergo a recruit exam that lasts two days, most of the time in August.
- Some of the physical exercises that must be completed during this exam are:
- Muscle endurance/Bronze Circle exercise properly performed 3 times at a maximum of 12 minutes.
- Cooper running test. It must be run at least 2800 meters in 12 minutes.
- Tests must be performed within an hour with approximately 15 minutes pause between samples. Additionally, there will be written tests to uncover skills in arithmetic / mathematics, English / Danish and technical understanding. There will be further tests of logical sense, sense of direction, and in performing work under pressure.
- A mental evaluation with a psychologist review the applicant’s experience and considerations in relation to the choice of their particular education, collaboration and independent work, stress management and reactions under pressure and handling of unpredictability, overview and structure. The interview takes ½ – 1 hour.
If they pass recruits move on to the entrance exam that lasts 92 hours, divided into two modules, land and aquatic.
The land portion involves 70 hours and includes:
- Muscle endurance/Bronze circle performed 3 times as fast as possible.
- Diving medical examination
- March with a 10 kg pack (about 70 km)
- Sailing in black rubber dinghy
- Dive Cooperation Exercises
- Cross Country (15 km race)
- Inflatable Exercises
The aquatic portion is 12 hours and includes:
- 300 meter swim test(crawl or breaststroke) in 8 minutes or less
- 25 meters underwater swim
- Water acclimatization
- Extended underwater exercises
- Confidence exercise
Completion of these invites the recruit to attend a one day specialist study class in Copenhagen.
After this, if selected, candidates sign a contract in December and begin intense instruction, involving:
- January: naval basic training (5 weeks)
- February: Frogman Corps basic training (18 weeks)
- June: Frogman Corps basic training (16 weeks)
- October: Status as a frogman, to serve at least two years.
After graduation, the frogman may find himself deployed anywhere in the world, from freeing hostages held by pirates off Somalia, to trudging through the mountains of Afghanistan or cities of Iraq working alongside allied Special Forces.