Home Guard (Sweden)
The Swedish National Home Guard (Swedish: Hemvärnet - nationella skyddsstyrkorna) is a part of the Swedish Armed Forces. The Home Guard consists of local defence units under the leadership of the armed forces, as well as 23 national auxiliary defence organizations.
The establishment of the Home Guard was passed into law by the Riksdag on May 29, 1940, after the beginning of World War II, however, units had already been formed by the military before this. Home Guard units were groups of usually eight to 15 men that were to serve as defense units in case of war, located in towns and in both private and state-owned factories, throughout all of Sweden. Members of these small units usually consisted of former professional military men who were equipped with rifles, machine guns, ammunition, medicine, uniforms, and had the option of buying additional materials such as skis, sweaters and marching boots. An additional group, called the Lotta corps (Women's Voluntary Defense Service), helped with additional tasks that the Home Unit was unable to perform themselves. The Lotta corps helped provide the home unit with additional items such as socks, scarves and gloves as well as performing all administrative work that the unit could not afford to do themselves. In case of war, and in case the Home Guard was unable to utilize local hospitals, the Swedish Red Cross was prepared to set up first aid stations for its use.
The Home Guard is organised in battalions, covering parts of a county. These battalions are then organised into companies, usually one for every municipality. The main task of the battalions is to guard vital military and civilian installations throughout the country.
Also attached to every battalion is at least one "Rapid Response Company" (Insatskompani). These companies are usually motorized and are ready to be mobilized more often than other Home Guard units. Rapid Response units have more combat tasks compared to the rest of the Home Guard, including escort duties. Some battalions located near the coast also have marine companies equipped with Combat Boat 90.
A few battalions have recently set up 'specialized' companies to evaluate the possibility to add new abilities to the Home Guard. These are at the time of writing eight Reconnaissance/Intelligence companies, four CBRN-platoons, a movcon platoon, an engineer platoon, and a MP-unit.
|Unit (Swedish)||Unit (English)||Training Group||Comments|
|10. Lapplandsjägarbataljonen||10. Lapland Rifle Battalion||Lapplandsjägargruppen||Arctic inc. and air section and a logistics section|
|11. Gränsjägarbataljonen||11. Border Rifle Battalion||Lapplandsjägargruppen||Arctic inc. and an air, a logistics sections and an amphibious platoon|
|12. Norrbottenbataljonen||12. North Bothnia Battalion||Norrbottensgruppen||Arctic inc. an air, two reconnaissance companies and a logistics sections and an amphibious platoon|
|13. Västerbottenbataljonen||13. West Bothnia Battalion||Västerbottensgruppen||Arctic inc. an air, a logistics sections and an amphibious and CBRN platoons|
|14. Fältjägarbataljonen||14. Light Infantry Battalion||Fältjägargruppen||Arctic inc. an air and a logistics sections, an amphibious and a CBRN platoon and a reconnaissance company|
|15. Ångermanlands Hv bataljonen||15. Ångermanland Battalion||Västernorrlandsgruppen||Arctic inc. a logistics section and an amphibious platoon|
|16. Medelpads Hv bataljonen||16. Medelpad Home Guard Battalion||Västernorrlandsgruppen||Arctic inc. an air and logistics sections and an amphibious platoon|
|17. Dalarnas Hv bataljonen||17. Dalarna Home Guard Battalion||Dalregementsgruppen||Arctic inc. an air section|
|18. Gävleborgsbataljonen||18. Gävleborg Battalion||Gävleborgsgruppen||inc. an air section and an amphibious platoon|
|19. Värmlands Hv bataljonen||19. Värmland Home Guard Battalion||Örebro och Värmlandsgruppen||inc. an air section|
|20. Sannaheds Hv bataljonen||20. Sannahed Home Guard Battalion||Örebro och Värmlandsgruppen||inc. an air section|
|21. Upplands Hv bataljonen||21. Uppland Home Guard Battalion||Uppland/Västmanlandsgruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|22. Västmanlands Hv bataljonen||22. Västmanland Home Guard Battalion||Uppland/Västmanlandsgruppen|
|23. Attundaland Hv bataljonen||23. Attundaland Home Guard Battalion||Livgardesgruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|24. Stockholm Hv bataljonen||24. Stockholm Home Guard Battalion||Livgardesgruppen|
|25. Taehlius Hv bataljonen||25. Tæljehus Home Guard Battalion||Livgardesgruppen||inc. an air section|
|26. Järva Hv bataljonen||26. Järva Home Guard Battalion||Livgardesgruppen|
|27. Södermanlands Hv bataljonen||27. Södermanland Home Guard Battalion||Södermanlandsgruppen||inc. an air section and an amphibious platoon|
|28. Roslagens Hv bataljonen||28. Roslagen Home Guard Battalion||Södertörnsgruppen||inc. an air section|
|29. Södertörns Hv bataljonen||29. Södertörn Home Guard Battalion||Södertörnsgruppen||inc. an air section, a CBRN platoon and an amphibious company|
|30. Livgrenadjärbataljonen||30. Life Grenadier Battalion||Livgrenadjärgruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|31. Livgrenadjärbataljonen||31. Life Grenadier Battalion||Livgrenadjärgruppen||inc. 2 amphibious platoons|
|32. Gotlandsbataljonen||32. Gotland Battalion||Gotlandsgruppen||inc. an air section and an amphibious platoon|
|33. Norra Smålandsbataljonen||33. North Småland Battalion||Norra Smålandsgruppen||inc. an air section and an engineer platoon|
|34. Kalmarbataljonen||34. Kalmar Battalion||Kalmar och Kronobergsgruppen|
|35. Kronobergsbataljonen||35. Kronoberg Battalion||Kalmar och Kronobergsgruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|36. Blekingevästra bataljonen||36. West Blekinge Battalion||Blekingegruppen||inc. an air section|
|37. Blekingeöstra bataljonen||37. East Blekinge Battalion||Blekingegruppen||inc. an amphibious|
|38. Kinne Hv bataljonen||38. Kinne Home Guard Battalion||Skaraborgsgruppen||inc. a traffic platoon|
|39. Kåkind Hv bataljonen||39. Kåkind Home Guard Battalion||Skaraborgsgruppen||inc. an air section|
|40. Bohusläns Hv bataljonen||40. Bohusläns Home Guard Battalion||BohusDalgruppen||inc. an air section and an amphibious company|
|41. Göteborg Södra Hv bataljonen||41. South Gothenburg Home Guard Battalion||Elfsborgsgruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|42. Göteborg Norra Hv bataljonen||42. North Gothenburg Home Guard Battalion||Elfsborgsgruppen||inc. a CBRN platoon|
|43. Göteborg skärgård Marina||43. Gothenburg Archipelago Marines||Elfsborgsgruppen||inc. an amphibious company|
|44. Älvsborg Hv bataljonen||44. Älvsborg Home Guard Battalion||Elfsborgsgruppen|
|45. Hallands Hv bataljonen||45. Halland Home Guard Battalion||Hallandsgruppen||inc. an air section|
|46. Södra skånska bataljonen||46. South Scania Battalion||Skånska gruppen||inc. a CBRN platoon|
|47. Malmöhus bataljonen||47. Malmöhus Battalion||Skånska gruppen||inc. a CBRN platoon|
|48. Skånska Dragoon bataljonen||48. Scania Dragoon Battalion||Skånska gruppen||inc. a reconnaissance company|
|49. Norra Skånska bataljonen||49. North Scania Battalion||Skånska gruppen|
The decrease in number of troops comes with an equal increase in quality and modern equipment. In 2001 the Rapid Response units numbered around 5,000 soldiers of the total of 42,000. After 2014 the majority of the force, 17,000 out of 22,000 soldiers will be in Rapid Response units.
Method of operation
The Home Guard units are trained to be local combat units (primarily infantry but also signal troops). Although current doctrine states that Home Guard units can act anywhere within the country, local knowledge is one of the strengths of the organization. Training focuses on guard duties and weapons proficiency.
In peacetime the Home Guards main task is to help with search and rescue operations, and to provide assistance to civil society in cases of severe emergencies such as natural disasters and the like.
Contractually a member of the Home Guard must train 8 days (before 2010 20 hours) per year (4 days for the 5,000 soldiers in the support, non-Rapid Response units) but although the time requirement varies according to role. A prerequisite for joining the Home Guard is to have received at least 85 days of basic military training. The level of training varies widely, from basic military training to Ranger school.
The training is centered around two 4-day-long battalion exercises per year for the Rapid Response units and one 4-day exercise for the support units. These exercises are mandatory for all personnel. Apart from the mandatory training, the companies organize their own exercises, often up to 10 weekend-long exercises a year. Most soldiers do considerably more time per year than the mandatory 8 or 4 days.
The standard armaments are Ak 4B battle rifles, (locally modified Heckler Koch G3), with red dot sights and sometimes with x4 optical sights for squad sharpshooters - or more rarely with a M203 grenade launcher - FN MAG (Ksp 58) machine guns, Carl Gustav recoilless rifles (Grg m/48) and AT4 (Pskott m/86) light anti-tank weapons. The AK4 (H&K G3) was the standard weapon of the Swedish Armed Forces until the formers replacement by the AK5 (FN FNC derivative). Psg 90 sniper rifles are also issued to designated snipers and some personnel are issued with Glock 17 (Pistol 88) pistols. Other equipment include anti-tank mines and manually detonated anti-personnel landmines, explosives and signals equipment. Some first and second generation night vision equipment of Russian manufacture have been issued, but illumination flares are otherwise used. Signals equipment at platoon level include AN/PRC-25 (Ra145), AN/PRC-77 (Ra146) and Ra180 backpack radios.
Dogs are also used as sensor systems, usually two for every platoon. The animals are issued and trained by one of the national auxiliary defence organizations.
Home Guard Cadets
The Home Guard Cadets (hemvärnsungdomar) is a youth section consisting of young girls and boys aged 15–20, typically recruited at age 15-16. The Cadets receive military training that includes base building, L-ABCDE first aid, CPR, communications, physical training, orienteering, defense studies, basic firearms training (with .22 long rifle up to age 16 and AK4 B with red dot sight from age 17) and from age 17 and up also patrolling and leadership training (group and platoon). At 18, a Cadet is allowed to undergo battle training. Despite this they are not officially called soldiers.
Although there is no rank system for Cadets, the training consists of 4 1-year-long blocks named Basic Course, Continuation Course, Leadership Course Level 1 and Leadership Course Level 2 (Grundkurs, GK; Fortsättningskurs, FK; Ledarskapskurs 1, LK1; and Ledarskapskurs 2, LK2. LK1 and LK2 are sometimes called Practical Course, PK, and Instruktörskurs, IK which means Practical Course and Instructor Course). After 4 years as a Cadet, the 19-20 year old has received military training equivalent to 85 days of basic military training, plus basic commander training.
Typically, the Cadets train one day or evening every or every other week, with 10-12 weekends per year spent in the field. The Home Guard Cadets is the "unit" who spend the most time out on the field in the whole Home Guard. During training they wear the same type of uniform and equipment as the regular forces, although it may vary between the sections depending on local budget and resources. From 2008, a Cadet at least 18 years of age who has completed at least the 3 first blocks of training is welcome to take a course to repeat and improve learned skills in order to serve in the regular Home Guard at age 20. This is very valuable to many of them, since many of them won't be needed in the Army, Navy or Air Force but still are eager to do military service.
The Home Guard also includes staff from eight voluntary organizations, so-called contractual organizations:
- Frivilliga Flygkåren (FFK) – Voluntary Air Corps - reconnaissance and transport
- Frivilliga motorcykelklubben (FMCK) – Volunteers Motorcycle Club - aides and reconnaissance
- Frivilliga radioorganisationen (FRO) – Radio Voluntary Organisation - Radio and telephone connection
- Svenska Brukshundsklubben (SBK) – Swedish Working Dog Association - service dogs, and Crawl, searching
- Sveriges Bilkårers Riksförbund (SBR) – Sweden Drivers Association - Transport and drivers
- Riksförbundet Sveriges lottakårer (SLK) – National Association of Sweden lotta corps (SLK) - rope and staff procedures
- Sjövärnskåren (SVK) – Boat Squadron - Water Transport in and defense of the archipelago
- "Rikshemvärnschefens brev till hemvärnspersonalen" [Letter from the Royal Home Guard chief to the Home Guard personnel] (Press release) (in Swedish). Hemvärnet. December 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
- "Hemvärnsförbanden 2012" [The Home Guards Battalions 2012]. Tidningen Hemvärnet (in Swedish) (Stockholm: Home Guard (Sweden)) 71 (5): 14–15. November 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
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