by Andreas Güldner 2007

What does it take to be a german mine clearence diver
Andy Guldner is holding his breath in "Kampschwimmer bootcamp" or shall we call it Blackout camp.
We are five students left from the initial sixteen. Clock rings at 5.45 and we run to breakfast. The breakfast has to be very “light” and easy to digest. The reason for this is that many of the upcoming practices are doing by freediving. Our Instructors checking if every student is okay and ready for diving. Then 50 push ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 knee bands and 50 times “lay down,stay up” also called one “Serie” to get the day started. Then 20 minutes to change into speedo and bring all diving gear to the diver training pool. Everything has to lay perfect in a line - every mistake brings us a new “Serie” so we are trying to be very correct.
We start with 200m swimming and two times 30m dynamic to get the “water feeling”. Our instructors enter the pool area and tell us to go in line. Time for a bit static freediving. Today the goal is to do 2 minutes in 6 meter depth and while that 15m dynamic over the bottom. The next is 50m dynamic over the bottom (6m) but all students with the same speed. After each dive the student has to breath for 10 sec and then show the OK-Sign.
One specialty during the training is the “noise-disciplin” this means that all students movements has to be “tactical” and very quiet. One of my buddies was a bit loud during the turn and after the dive this is punished imediatly - 50 push-ups (with all gear)

8:15 - We are getting ready for diving with gear...well at least in the beginning. After a few rounds in the pool with our Rebreather witch is pretty heavy we are getting the signal to go on your positions. Time for the “gas-station-game”. All students swimming in rounds going to every rebreather, breathing two-times and then swim further. Every second round one rebreather get stolen by our instructor. In the end we swimming a round from about 20m in dynamic and then waiting in line for breathing...remember 1 rebreather and 5 students for a few students its pretty tuff to fight against the urge to breath.

15 min break

9:45 - We are standing in line in front of the jump tower for the next practice. Goal is to jump from 5m height then swim to the rebreather, open the O2-bottle dress on and then finaly breathing. Every student who fail get only one more chance to finish the practice otherwise he can get kicked.

10:05 - Next practice is also with the up to 5m dressed in camouflage uniform and 10kg weight on the hips....on signal we jump...then on the bottom we have to dress out the uniform witch takes some time and then “walk” a few meters to the ladder and the finaly surfacing. One of the students got a Blackout...very fast he got out of the water and got oxygen from the diving doctor. 10 minutes later he has to try again and finaly he finished the practice.

10:35 - We keep on going to train our apnea skills by doing the “underwater-march”. The goal today is to walk 45m with uniform and weight on the hips - all students finished without BO.

11:00 - This is the last freediving practice this morning. We are standing on the shallow part of the 25m long pool. In the middle of the pool our fins and masks prepared and on the end our scubatanks. Goal is to dive dynamic to the fins and mask, put them on dive futher, open the scubatanks, put them on, close the belt and breath.....what acutally happend are 3 BOs in a row. The students who BO get to try in the evening again.

11:30 Time for a exhausting game....KDF with translated means “strengh trough happiness”. But nobody of us is happy about that. We all standing in line dressed in camouflage, waterfilled uniform.
SIGNAL: One line diving GO We are jumping and diving as fast as possible to the other side. Out of the water with not even 1 sec of break the next
SIGNAL: 20 push-ups.GO.this is pretty tuff with the wet dress, after that the
SIGNAL: One line diving- backward GO...The heartbeat shoud now be between 150 and 180/min.. Out of the water,no break and
SIGNAL: 20 sit-ups..GO

This game is going until 12:00 then we have again 15min the change clothes and bring our gear to the filling station.

12:15 - Time for lunch...we call it “action messing” because we have 15min to eat and 15min to run back to our class rooms.

12:45 - Again our instructors checking of everybody is okay. Then it is time for theory...this afternoons subjects are “Diving Medicine” and “Equipment”. During the breaks we do two “Series" which are open on our “account”

15:00 - Now we have to go to the sport field - Time for a 5000m-Time run. We are getting a few minutes to prepare ourself with streching. Everytime we do this each student should be better than the last time he was running but always under 23 minutes. The times of our class is from 18:30 to 22:30.

16:00 - Time to relax for a few hours because today we have “nightdiving”. A few are going direct to sleep for a few hours - others watching TV, checking emails or eating.

19:00 - Again we are standing in line, waiting for new orders. The program for this evening is like that in the morning PLUS some Extras

The extras are a 1000m-Time-Swim WITH UNIFORM, climbing on a robe from water up to the 7m jumptower, hang-ups (atleast 10) with uniform in 7m height over the surface and some different jumps like backwart salto and other jumps from the 7m tower.

23:45 - Everything is over time to go to bed....but before that our instructors remember us about the saying of the mine clearance divers: Nec aspera terrent - Frightend by no difficultis.

Pretty fucked...I mean “tired” we are going to bed and waiting for the next day. Every day we are fighting to get “The Fish”....the logo of the Mineclearance Divers: a Saw-Ray with a mine in the background.

Later in the training we have to dive in the open water searching for practice mines, doing deepdives inside mountains, running 10km with 16kg in the back, swimming 15km in the open water and jumping out of helicopters into the sea.........still many weeks to go for this.

The German Mine Clearance Diver Training one of the hardest training in the german army. In almost every class 75 % of the students fail during the training. Their main responsebility as trained Mine Clearance Divers is EOD (Explosive Ordance Disposal) on land and underwater. They are also trained for rescue missions (SAR), habour opening in foreign countrys where german ships laying and other specilized missions. Every trained Mine clearance diver has the possibility to make a parachout-course, sniper-course and a combat-survivial course.