Latvian National Guard

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National Guard of the Republic of Latvia
Latvijas Republikas Zemessardze
Latvian National Guard emblem.svg
Latvian National Guard emblem
FoundedAugust 23, 1991; 27 years ago (1991-08-23)
Country Latvia
AllegianceCoat of Arms of the Latvian National Armed Forces Latvian National Armed Forces
TypeLight Infantry volunteer force
Sizemore than 8,000
Part ofLatvian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQCoat of Arms of Riga Rīga
AnniversariesAugust 23, 1991
Brigade General Ainārs Ozoliņš

The Latvian National Guard or NG (Latvian: Latvijas Republikas Zemessardze or ZS) is a part of the Latvian National Armed Forces. The National Guard is a basic land component, consisting of volunteers who perform traditional national guard duties such as crisis response and support for military operations. It consists of the Staff Headquarters and 4 brigades (formally - regions or novadi), which are divided into 18 battalions. The National Guard continued its development also after Latvia joined NATO.


National Guard troops firing artillery

The National Guard was established in August 23, 1991 by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia as a voluntary public military self-defense organization.[1] Its roots can be traced to the pre-World War II Aizsargi organization. It is the largest NAF structure in terms of numbers. The National Guard has always played an essential role in the national defense system by allowing the public to be involved in national defense. A number of National Guard battalions have been transformed into high-readiness reserve forces, which can be deployed immediately on international military operations.

The youth organization of the National Guard, the Youth Guard (Latvian: Latvijas Republikas Jaunsardze, JS), was established in 1992. It is the largest youth movement in Latvia, bringing together young people from the age of 10 to 21.[2]

An aviation component of the National Guard was introduced in 1993, with a fleet of ex-Soviet DOSAAF light aircraft and gliders. In 2000 the aviation component became part of the Air Force.


The main task of the National Guard is to support the regular Land Force units by defending the national territory during military threat and to perform NAF combat support and combat logistics functions. At the same time, the National Guard will continue providing assistance to the public regarding crisis control, as well as to the Latvian State Police regarding provision of public law and order, and continue the safeguarding of sites of national security importance.[3]


National Guards during the 2017 May 4 parade
Members of the Latvian Zemessardze 45th Logistics Battalion remove a volunteer patient from a military ambulance in a field at Kuldīga Hospital during a training exercise.
Soldiers from the Latvian National Guard having a conversation with an American soldier from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade during a training exercise on August 21, 2017.

(as of September 2, 2018:)[4]

National Guard (NG) Headquarters (Rīga)

  • NG Cyber Defense Unit (Rīga)
  • NG special task force
  • NG Special PSYOPS Support Platoon (Valmiera)
  • NG Veterans' Union (Rīga)
  • Central Band of the National Guard (Rīga)

National Guard 1st Brigade (Rīga HQ):

  • NG Student Infantry Battalion (Rīga)
  • NG 13th Infantry Battalion (Rīga)
  • NG 17th Support Battalion (Rīga)
  • NG 19th Logistic Battalion (Rīga)
  • NG 53rd Infantry Battalion (Bauska)
  • NG CBRN Defense company (Rīga)

National Guard 2nd Brigade (Valmiera HQ):

  • NG 22nd Infantry Battalion (Valmiera)
  • NG 25th Infantry Battalion (Gulbene)
  • NG 27th Infantry Battalion (Cēsis)
  • NG 31st Infantry Battalion (Alūksne)
  • NG 54th Engineer Battalion (Ogre)

National Guard 3rd Brigade (Rēzekne HQ):

National Guard 4th Brigade (Liepāja HQ):


Military vehicles[edit]

Name Image Origin Type Variants Quantity Notes
Scania Scania 93M Norwegian military.jpg  Sweden Truck
Mercedes-Benz Uroczystość przekazania WP pierwszej partii niemieckich czołgów Leopard 2 A6.jpg  Germany Truck
Unimog Latvian Army Unimog.jpg  Germany Truck
Volvo FMB.001821 (01).jpg  Sweden Truck
VOLVO Viking 939
Phasing out
Light vehicles
Mercedes-Benz Puch G Bundesheer.jpg  Germany SUV
MB G-Class 240GD
HMMWV Ministru prezidents Valdis Dombrovskis vēro Nacionālo bruņoto spēku vienību militāro parādi 11.novembra krastmalā (6357918105).jpg  United States SUV
CUCV Ministru prezidents Valdis Dombrovskis vēro Nacionālo bruņoto spēku vienību militāro parādi 11.novembra krastmalā (8195453677).jpg  United States SUV
Jeep Jeep Rubicon Green.JPG  United States SUV
Volvo Tgb20.jpg  Sweden SUV
Special vehicles
Bv 206 Hagglunds Bv206 25th US Marines 2.jpg  Sweden Amphibious tracked vehicle
Bv 206A
Bv 206F


Name Image Origin Type Variants Quantity Notes
vsor 53 Škoda A20 100808 ZS lielgabali 06.jpg  Czechoslovakia Field gun
100mm caliber
Can be used as anti-tank or light field gun.
2B11 120 mm mortar 2B11.jpg  Soviet Union Mortar
120 mm caliber
NM 95 81mmMORT L16.png  United Kingdom
81 mm caliber
Anti-tank weapons
Pvpj 1110 LT PV1110.jpg  Sweden Recoilless rifle
90 mm caliber
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.jpg  Sweden
84 mm caliber
Anti-aircraft gun
Bofors 40mm gun Ministru prezidents Valdis Dombrovskis vēro Nacionālo bruņoto spēku vienību militāro parādi 11.novembra krastmalā (8196546880).jpg  Sweden
Bofors 40mm L/70
Submachine guns
Carl Gustav Carl Gustav M45-b.jpg  Sweden
Used mostly for secondary tasks such as training and guard duty.[citation needed]
Assault rifles
Heckler & Koch G36 Latvian G36KV.JPG  Germany
Heckler & Koch G36KV
Expected to replace the Ak 4 in the future, contract signed in February 2018.[5]
Heckler & Koch G3 Latvian home guard.jpg  Sweden
Ak 4
Standard issue rifle; will be replaced by the H&K G36, contract signed in February 2018.[5]
Machine guns
FN MAG Ksp58.jpg  Belgium


Ksp 58B
M2 Browning M2 Browning, Musée de l'Armée.jpg  United States
Heckler & Koch HK21 HK21.JPG  Germany
HK 21
RPK Soviet RPK.JPEG  Soviet Union
Being phased out
Sniper rifles
PGM Hécate II PGM Hecate.jpg  France


The National Guard has established close co-operation with similar organizations abroad – the US Michigan Army National Guard, the Australian Army Reserve, the UK Territorial Army, and the Home Guard organizations of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and Estonia.[6]


  1. ^ Baltiņa, Sarmīte (2014). "Dawn of the Restored Latvian National Armed Forces". Eesti Sõjaajaloo Aastaraamat / Estonian Yearbook of Military History. 4 (0): 62–79. ISSN 2228-0669.
  2. ^ "Jaunsardzes un informācijas centrs". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  3. ^ Pike, John. "Latvian National Guard - Zemessardze". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  4. ^ "ZS vienības" (in Latvian). LR Zemessardze. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Jones, Bruce (6 February 2018). "Latvia orders infantry small arms". IHS Jane's 360. London. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Michigan Guard and Latvia celebrate 25-year partnership". Retrieved 2018-09-17.

External links[edit]