Latvian National Guard
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|National Guard of the Republic of Latvia|
|Latvijas Republikas Zemessardze|
Latvian National Guard emblem
|Founded||August 23, 1991|
|Type||Light Infantry volunteer force|
|Part of||Latvian National Armed Forces|
|Garrison/HQ||Maiznīcas iela 5, Rīga, LV-1001|
|Anniversaries||August 23, 1991|
|Colonel Egils Leščinskis|
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.
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. 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.
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.
(as of December 22, 2018:)
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 Combat Support Battalion (Mārupe)
- NG 19th Combat Service Support Battalion (Stopiņi)
- NG 53rd Infantry Battalion (Iecava)
- 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):
- NG 32nd Infantry Battalion (Rēzekne)
- NG 34th Infantry Battalion (Daugavpils)
- NG 35th Infantry Battalion (Preiļi)
- NG 36th Combat Support Battalion (Rēzekne)
- NG 55th Infantry Battalion (Aizkraukle)
- NG 56th Combat Service Support Battalion (Jēkabpils)
National Guard 4th Brigade (Liepāja HQ):
- NG 44th Infantry Battalion (Liepāja)
- NG 45th Combat Service Support Battalion (Kuldīga)
- NG 46th Infantry Battalion (Ventspils)
- NG 51st Infantry Battalion (Dobele)
- NG 52nd Combat Support Battalion (Jelgava)
|Bv 206||Sweden||Amphibious tracked vehicle||
|vsor 53 Škoda A20||Czechoslovakia||Field gun||Can be used as anti-tank or light field gun.|
|NM 95|| United Kingdom
|Pvpj 1110||Sweden||Recoilless rifle||A number were donated by Sweden after restoration of independence.|
|Carl Gustav recoilless rifle||Sweden||Recoilless rifle||Some are Swedish donation from 1990's, some were bought later by the Latvian military as official state purchases.|
|Bofors 40mm gun||Sweden|
|Carl Gustav||Sweden||Donations by Sweden. Used mostly for secondary tasks such as training and guard duty.|
|Heckler & Koch G36||Germany||Expected to replace the Ak 4 in the future, contract signed in February 2018.|
|Heckler & Koch G3||Sweden||Large number of rifles were donated by Sweden along with other military aid after restoration of independence. Replaced Soviet block service rifles in front line service. Currently standard issue rifle for most of national guard units; will be replaced by the H&K G36, contract signed in February 2018.|
|FN MAG||Belgium||Standard general purpose machine gun in 7.62mm NATO caliber. Some are Swedish donation from 1990's, some were bought later by the Latvian military as official state purchases.|
|FN Minimi||Belgium||Light machine gun in 5.56mm caliber. Has been seen in use by certain national guard units during the military exercises. Not widespread usage.|
|M2 Browning||United States||Heavy machine gun in .50 BMG caliber.|
|Heckler & Koch HK21||Germany||General purpose machine gun in 7.62mm NATO caliber.|
|RPK||Soviet Union||Light machine gun in 7.62×39mm Soviet caliber. Being phased out.|
|PGM Hécate II||France||.50 BMG caliber heavy sniper rifle.|
|Accuracy International Arctic Warfare||United Kingdom||Used both by the Latvian land forces, as well as national guard sniper teams.|
|M14||United States||Semi-automatic rifle in 7.62mm NATO caliber. Large number of unmodified rifles were donated by USA after restoration of independence . They were first used as standard infantry service rifles with iron sights, however they were soon replaced in that role by the Swedish Ak4 and put into storage. A small number of modified M14 rifles with optical sights have been seen used as sniper rifles by the national guard units.|
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.
- "Par Zemessardzi". www.zs.mil.lv.
- 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.
- "Par iestādi". Jaunsardzes un informācijas centrs (in Latvian). Retrieved 2019-06-06.
- Pike, John. "Latvian National Guard - Zemessardze". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
- "ZS vienības" (in Latvian). LR Zemessardze. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- 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.
- Emerson, Lee. "M14 Rifle History and Development" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2019-05-09.
- "Michigan Guard and Latvia celebrate 25-year partnership". www.army.mil. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zemessardze.|
- Latvian National Guard Official Website (in Latvian)