The Swedish Home Guard is a branch of the Swedish Armed Forces. It is comprised of local defence units and 23 national auxiliary defence organisations.
Although units of the Home Guard had been formed before the World War II, it was after the beginning of this war that officially the Riksday established it in May 1940.
Originally Home Guard units consisted of 8 to 15 men located in towns within factories and throughout Sweden;serving as defence in case of invasion or attack.
Members of these units were usually former military men, that had ammunition, rifles, machine guns and other war required materials such as medicine and protective gear. There was also the Women’s Voluntary Defence Service called the Lotta Corps, which did additional tasks that the Home Units was unable to do. Among the functions of the Lotta Corps, was administrative work and providing clothing such as socks and gloves.
The Home Guard has evolved to an organisation that is divided into battalions that cover a section of a county. Each battalion is then made up of companies and generally each municipality in the country of Sweden has one company. The task of all this is to guard all of Sweden by utilization of military and civilian installations.
Battalions in coastal regions also have marine companies and marine combat vessels. At least one Rapid Response Company is linked to each battalion. The Rapid Response Companies are more mobile and more trained for combative operations. It is expected that from 2014, most members of the Home Guard will be incorporated into the Rapid Response units.
From 2001 to 2012 there has been a significant decrease in the number of members in the Swedish Home Guard. However there has been a significant increase in the amount of quality equipment. The training of all Home Guards focuses on the competent use of weapons and guard duties.
The one asset of this branch of the Swedish Armed Forces is their local knowledge of any area, yet a Home Guard member may act anywhere within the country. A Home Guard is a trained and competent local combat fighter or defender.
Before being contracted as a Home Guard member, the person is to have experienced at least 85 days of basic military training. A contracted member of the Home Guards is generally obligated to train about 8 days a year and only 4 days a year if in support or non-Rapid Response Units. For Rapid Response units the training involves 2 sets of 4 day battalion training and for the other Home Guards it is one of the 4 day battalion training courses. It is customarily however for many of the members, also called soldiers, to spend far more time in military exercise.
Among the armoury of this branch are types of AK 4B rifles, machine guns and other rifles or pistols. To enhance the sensor system, trained sniffer dogs are also relied on. The Home Guard incorporates staff from 8 voluntary organisations, to support them in their functions or tasks.