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The Swedish National Home Guard

The National Home Guard is a part of the Army and as such an important unit of the national defence forces. Personnel are recruited on a voluntary basis and so are the "members" belonging to the voluntary defence organisations that play a significant roll in the units because of their special skills and training.


Some units of the National Home Guard, equipped with boats, have naval tasks that they perform in the archipelagos and along the coasts.


The main tasks of the Home Guard are as follows:
  • Guards/protects the infrastructure that is most vital for Sweden's total defence that is power supplies, command and communication systems, communications and other installations against sabotage.
  • Guards/protects important installations at airfields and naval bases against sabotage.
  • Guards/protects ammunition and mobilization depots and sensitive entry points against sabotage.
  • Assists in incident preparedness, surveillance of our territory and in civilian disaster/rescue readiness.

Organization of the units

The platoon is the normal combat unit. The companies are formed by the platoons, as are the battalions by the companies. The units are spread all over the country and today there are approximately 70 battalions consisting of approx 300 companies. Every battalion has or will have at least one emergency/alert platoon with very high readiness, good training and efficient equipment. These units are mobile whereas the regular units are only "moveable".


A company ought to be at least 100 women and men. A battalion should be of strength of at least 325. Twelve regiment commanders throughout Sweden command the Home guard units and their 22 training centres.


Requirements for acceptance and service

The Home Guard soldier must:
  • Be a Swedish citizen.
  • Have done at least three months(85 days) of basic military training
  • Be available for duty in the Home Guard.
  • Be approved in a personal appraisal(check with the Military Intelligence and Security, the police and the municipal authorities) and otherwise be suitable for service.
Soldiers who are accepted pass an introductory course of 20-40 hours, and then at least 20 hours training a year. Commanders are obliged to fulfil 40 - 100 hours of annual service. Commanding a modern and demanding company or battalion requires hundreds of idealistic hours of work, commitment and good management. And you don't get rich by joining the Home Guard.


NHG commanders are usually trained in the Armed Forces: conscripts, Reserve Officers or former regular/career officers. Many are recruited and trained within the Home Guard organization and for that purpose we depend on our National Home Guard Combat School situated close to the capital.


Home Guard Bands

Military traditions are strongly connected with military bands and marches etc. From the age of 15 you can become a Home Guard musician. Throughout the country there are today 32 Home Guard bands which total more than 1 500 members, of which 25% are women.


Our bands fulfil an important task in replacing professional military bands (there is only one band left) and as complement to our existing conscript bands.


Of our bands 17 are qualified for performing at state ceremonies, royal visits and festivity.


The Ystad International Military Tattoo is organized by one of our bands. In August 2005 this successful tattoo was held in Ystad for the fourth time since 1999.


Development

The Commander of the National Home Guard is responsible for the development of the Home Guard. He directs the training and other activities.


The Commander represents all "his" personnel in common matters. The Commander also has the right and obligation to inspect the Home Guard - which he frequently does.


Being the head of the Home Guard, representing 40 000 soldiers/members, he reports to the Supreme Commander.


The National Home Guard Department

This part of the Armed Forces HQ supports the Cammander and is a part of the Command of Training and Management in the Armed Forces HQ. This staff of 12 officers and civilians carry out all tasks and responsibilities that is the duty of the general. For example inspections, analyses and reports, studies, Field Manuals, traditions, Home Guard music, tests, training, management, Public Relations, press information and recruiting.


The department manage/command twelwe regiments and The National Home Guard Combat School concerning plans and budgets etc. for the Home Guard activities.


The Commander of the National Home Guard, his department and the editor of Hemvärnet are deployed in the main building of the Armed Forces HQ in Stockholm.


"The Home Guard - a democratic movement"

The Home Guard as a "democratic movement" founded by the people has a long tradition of participation. The units have their elected "councils" and there is an annual meeting, at which certain questions are handled and representatives are being elected. The general is bound to be the chairman on the national level, in the national council as well as at the national assembly that takes place every other year.


The National Home Guard Council is the owner of the magazine "Hemvärnet", which is, free of charge, distributed to all staff. The council employs the Editor-in-Chief.


History in short

The home Guard has its roots in the local militia groups of former times. Our present Home Guard was organized following a decision by the Riksdag (our parliament) in May 1940.


World War 2 had started a huge rearmament of the Armed Forces and almost all able men were for long times away from home for training and guarding of our boarders. Thus the people strongly demanded forces for the protection of their homes and families.. Till this point, in modern times, voluntary armed units had not been allowed in Sweden. In December 1940 the Home Guard comprised 90 000 young and old men and other men not being drafted.


Skapad: 2005-05-21 13:27:36 av Per Ola O
Uppdaterad: 2007-03-29 av Per Ola O