||World War II Armed Forces – Orders of Battle and Organizations||Last Updated 31.12.01|
Royal Swedish Armed Forces
An Introduction to The Royal Swedish Army in WWII
Like the Swiss, the Swedish military system, rests on the militia
system. And like the Swiss, Swedens neutrality is well over a century
old. The last war fought by the Swedish Army was in 1814 although
volunteers from its ranks has on number of occasions fought at the side
of fellow Scandinavians against much stronger and powerfull
neightbours. This happened in Finland 1939-40 and also in Danmark 1848
After the first world war Swedens armed forces were allowed to sink to a very low period of preperdness. In 1924 conscription was reduced to four months and only raised again in 1936 following growing international tension.
In April 1940 Swedens entire force of 400.000 men was put on full alert. A newly formed national goverment was formed, conscription was increased to 450 days and the armed forces streinght was incresed to 600.000 men, not including civilians who were formed into home guard, aircraft observer and various auxilary units.
In 1940 the Swedish Army was organized into five Military Areas (MILO); Sodra (South) Vestra (Western) Norra (Northern) Ovre Nordland (Upper Nordland) Ostra (Eastern). The streinght of each MILO in early 1940 was as follows:
MILO Div HQ Reg HQ InfBat CavBat ArtDiv * Sodra - 2 8 1 3 Vestra 2 6 18 2 3 Norra - 1 2 - - Ovra Norrl. - 1 5 - - Ostra - 1 2 1 -* Note: Artilleri Divison is a three battery unit of between 20 and 30 guns.
Order of Battle 1940I6 stands for 6 Infantry Regiments and A3 for 3 Artillery Regiments. Two Corps HQ
I. Div. (Fordeling) I6, I11, I16, A3
II. Div. I5, I13, I21, A4
III. Div. I9, I15, I17, A2
IV. Div. I3, I8, I10, A5
V. Div I4, I12, I20, A5
One Cavalry Brigade
Corps units. I1, I2, I7, I14
Various special units
Order of Battle 1941Three Corps HQ
I. Div. I6, I11, I12, A3
II. Div. I5, I21, I35. A4
III. Div. I15, I16, I17, A2
IV. Div. I4, I8, I31, A5
XI. Div. I37, I41, I42, A23
XII. Div.I14, I44, I51, A24
XIII. Div. I45, I46, I47, A22
XIV. Div. I33, I34, I38, A21
XV.Div. I19, I20, I50, A5
XVII. Div. I2, I3, I13, A25
8. Motorized Brigade (3 Motorized Bat.)
Corps Units I1, I7, I9, I10, I43
Various special units.
Further listed as raised in 1941 are two more motor brigades, three armoured brigades, three bicycle brigades and four jager brigades.
The Infantry DivisionThe Swedish Regiments were organized into Divisions that seems mostly to have been an administrativ formation. Howerver the formation excisted and would have fought as an unit if needed. The few offensive operations planned by the Swedes called for Divisions under a Corps HQ.
Example of a Division organization:
VIII. Division 1.10.1940 (renumbered on 2.7.1941 XIV.Div.) VIII. Divisional staff I31 Infantry Regiment Reg.HQ with 13. and 14. Company I.Bat. II.Bat. III.Bat. I35 Infantry Regiment Reg.HQ with 13. and 14. Company I.Bat. II.Bat. III.Bat. I36 Infantry Regiment Reg.HQ with 13. and 14. Company I.Bat. II.Bat. III.Bat.=20 A13 Artillery Regiment Reg.HQ=20 I.Div. II.Div. III.Div. =20Example of a Corps organization:
2. Army Corps in Northern Sweden 12.12.1939 Corps HQ Corps units II.and VI.Cavalry battalions K4 Norrlands Dragonregiment I.20 Vasterbottens Regiment I.19 Norrbottens Regiment VI.Div. I5 Jamtlands Faltjagerregiment I13 Dalregimentet I21 Vasternorrland regiment V.Div.(in reserve) I4 Livgrenadjagerregimente I12 Jonkopings-Kalmar RegimentAn artillery Battalion was attached to each Infantry Regiment.
Note that the VI.Division is called the II.Division in 1940.
The Infantry RegimentThe regiment was the building block of the Swedish Army. They were sometimes organized into Divisions but more often they seem to have served under the control of Defance Areas (Forsvarsomrade) several of these controled by Military Areas (Militaromrade or MILO) numbered I - VII.
At the start of WWII regiments of the Royal Swedish Army was undergoing a number of changes. That means that different organizations existed at the same time making things a little complex. The regiments were updated one after another in no special order. Basicly there were three different organizations of regiments named after the year they were suposed to have taken effect; 1937, 1940 and 1943. It seems thats the 1937 org. was ordered in 1925 to be completed in '37 and the 1940 org ordered in 1937 to be competed in 1940. In reality the 1937 org. seems not to have been completed until 1940 when some regiments had allready started ot convert to the 1940 org.
In 1940 a new modified organization was ordered for the army, the 43M org. calling for more modern weapons in an effort to increase units firepower. The idea was that all units would have completed this reorganization in 1943. This propably didn't start to take effect until 1942.
All officers were mounted (Company and above). Some regiments were issued with bicycles. In winter carts and wagons were supposed to be replaced with sleds and all men issued with skis.
Some infantry weapons issued:6.5mm Mauser m/96 Rifles, 6.5mm AG m/42 selfloading rifle (10 round mag.), Model 1931 verion of the Finnish Suomi SMG, 6.5 m/37 Swedish verion of the American Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Husqvarna Vapenfabriks AB produced the m/40 verion of the Finnish 9mm Lahti pistol and the m/07 Browning pistol. Hand grenades were of German (stick) design.
MGs were watercooled 6.5mm m/14 and m/38. A 8mm version of the m/38 was also in use. The m/42 was aircooled.
The m/42 ATR issued to infantry platoons in 1943 was a Recoiless Rifle firing solid AP rounds.
Note that there was no regimentals guns as was common in other armies of the period. The high numbers of mortars in the regiment was a way to get more firepower to the units. The regimental mortar platoon was of good quality and had well trained forward observers.
The ArtilleryThe Artillery Regiments had three Artilleri Div of three batteries each. Number of Artilleri Div. is listed below:
75mm 75mm 75mm 105mm How. 105mm How. 105mm How. 150mm How. 70mm 105mm How. 105mm How. Total guns m/02 m/02-33 m/40 m/10 m/39 m/40 m/06 m/02-10 m/39 m/40 and How. Div. 1937 5 5 - 6 - - 4 1 - - 21 1941 7 8 3 8 - 2 2 1 - - 31 1943M 1 6 3 6 3 14 - - 4 2 39Karsartilleri Divisjon was an independent unit. Number of Karsartilleri Div. is listed below:
105mm 105mm 105mm 150mm 150mm Stormartilleri Total Div. m/17 m/34 m/39 m/38 m/39 (Assault gun) 1937 1 2 - 1 - - 4 1941 - 4 1 1 2 - 8 1943M - 4 1 1 6 1 12 + 1 Assault gun*m/02 =3D Model 1902, m/02-33 Model 1902 modified 1933.
*CDK m/41 modified to take a 105mm gun
Swedish artillery guns and how.
Piece Calibre Barrel Proj.wt. Muz.vel. max elev. max range weight cm calibres kg m/s degree km kg Light guns 8,4 cm kanon m/1881 8,4 24,6 6,72 470 21 6,0 997 7,5 cm kanon m/1902 7,5 27 6,5 500 16 5,5 970 7,5 cm kanon m/1902/33 7,5 27 6,6 496 43 10,0 1400 50 deg. sideways aim. Light howitzers 10,5 cm haubits m/1910 10,5 14,1 14,6 293 43 5,8 1100 10,5 cm haubits m/1940 10,5 18,4 15,5 449 45 10,5 1760 Heavy guns 12 cm kanon m/1885 11,7 28,5 16,8 475 35 8,6 2485 10,5 cm kanon m/1917 10,5 32,3 18,2 590 45 11,2 2755 10,5 cm kanon m/1939 10,5 39,9 15,5 785 65 17,2 4000 Heavy Howitzers 16 cm haubits m/1885 15,5 10,8 32,2 276 35 5,5 2670 15 cm haubits m/1906 14,91 12,1 41 300 43 6,7 2150 15 cm haubits m/1939 14,91 23 41,5 580 65 14,6 5630 21 cm haubits m/1917 21,0? ? 120 ? ? 10,0 a lot Replaced by the m/39.
Air DefenceMost of the AA units were static. In 1939 Swedens Air Defence could field 76 75mm AA guns (24 of old design) 154 40mm Bofors AA guns and 78 searchlights. There were four mobile AA Batteries, each of 4 40mm Bofors guns and four Autocannon troops of 2 40mm guns.
In 1942 the Army took over its air defence, raising seven AA regiments from Lv1 to Lv7, 4 batt. of 7,5mm AA guns and one Company of Autocannons, 40mm Bofors or 20mm guns.
At the same time each Division got one Autocannon Company with 40mm and 20mm guns and each Infantry Battalion a platoon of 4 20mm Bofors Lv/Pv m/40 AA/AT guns. The Regiment also got one such platoon issued to its 14.Kompanie. They were issued with tripods for AA role.
In 1944 the army could field 9 75mm AA guns, 273 40mm Bofors guns and 361 20mm guns.
The CavalryThe Cavalry Brigade in 1940 was made up from a Brigade HQ and three motorized Battalions, one from each of the southern cavalry regiments, K1 from Stocholm, K2 from Helsingborg and K3 from Skovde. Each Battalion had 1 Squadron of armoured cars and two Squadrons of truck motorized cavalry.
The Armoured Car Squadron had only one troop of three Panserbil m/31 in 1940. Some were fitted with 37mm guns. This was later replaced with the Panserbil m/40 Lynx.
1940 Cavalry Battalion
HQ (Motorized) 1 Armoured Car Squadron, Panserbil m/31, later m/40 1 Cavalry Squadron (Mounted) 1 Bicycle Squadron (in winter converted to regular cavalry)
The Armoured formations
1942 Armoured Brigade
Brigade HQ Armoured signal company I. Tank Bat. 3 light tank companies* 1 heavy tank company 1 repare company II. Tank Bat. same III. Tank Bat. same 1 Motorcycle company Artillery Div. (105mm How.) Automatic AA company (20mm AA) Engeneer company Supply Company*In 1941 a light tank company had three platoons of four Stridsvagn m/37 and one Stridsvagn m/40
Strength: 6500 men 105 light tanks: Stridsvagn m/21-29, 9,5 ton max speed 18kmh, 2mgs, crew 4 men or Sridsvagn m/40 9,5 ton, max speed 45kmh, 37mm gun and 2 mgs, crew 3 men. 76 heavy tanks: Stidsvagn m/42, 22,5 ton, max speed 45kmh, 75mm gun 4mgs, crew 4 men. 6 75mm AT guns 6 37mm AT guns 12 20mm AA guns c. 1000 other motor vehicles, trucks etc. In 1941 a light tank company had three platoons of four Stridsvagn m/37 and one Stridsvagn m/40
Notes on Armoured units:Tanks in Swedish service: (numbers are tanks issued)
CDK m/37 Landsverk m/38 Landsverk m/39 Landsverk m/40 CDK m/41* Landsverk m/42 1939 48 16 - - - - 1940 - - 20 - - - 1941 - - - - - - 1942 - - - 100 - - 1943 - - - - - - 1944 - - - 80 220** 282 1945 - - - - - - Total 48 16 20 180 220 282In 1945 Tank streinght is reported 766 tanks of all types.
**18 convertet to assault guns with 105mm guns. See Karsartilleri units above.
Tanks producted by Landsverk, Volvo, Scania Vabis and Karlstad Factory.
CDK =3D Ceskomaravska-Kolben-Danek in Prag.
Notes on uniforms:As most Europian armies at the start of the century Sweden adopted drab-coulered service uniforms. The 1906 uniform was of light blue-grey coulor with dark blue collar, sleeve chevrons and trouser stripes. A light and dark blue tricon hat in the style of the 18th century was a distinctive feature of thes uniform. In 1910 it was modified with dark blue shoulder straps with regimental number in arms-of-service colours; Yellow for infantry, red for artillery and white for cavalry. This uniform was still being used in 1940 by members of the home guard.
A new service uniform was ordered in 1923. It took a long time for it to replace the 1910 uniform for general use. The cloth in this uniform was a mixture of brown, grey and green, the brown being predominating. In 1937 it was modified with a stand and fall collar, replacing the orginal uppright collar. These two versions were in use uring the first years of the Second World War. Rolled up trouser bottoms was a common feature of these uniforms.
In 1938 a modern type uniform (with anklets) was introducted. It was of grey-green cloth similar to German uniforms of the time. In 1945 the army had changed to the 1939 uniform.
The Swedish steel helmet was from 1918. There were also m/27 and m/37 helmets of more modern design. It was painted gray brown and often had the blue and yellow national emblem on the side.
Brown leather belts and ammunition pouches were in use trough out the period.
Sources:1) Svergies Militara Bedredskap 1939-1945, Militarhistoriska forlaget, Militarhogskolan 1982. ISBN 91-85266-20-5
2) Nar-Var-hur, Aktuell Uppslagsbok 1945, Ahlen & Akerlund 1944.
3) Svensk Upplsagsbok, Forlagshuset Nordens Boktryckeri, Malmo 1960.
4) Fran Brunkeberg till Nordanvind, 500 ar med svenskt infanteri. ISBN 91-87184-23-0
5) The Swedish Army, Ronald Kidd, Military Modeling Vol.15 No.11, November 1985.
6) Svensk arm=E9materiel under 350 ar, B Holmquist, 1980, ISBN: 91-38-05559-7.
7) Det svenska kavalleriet, H. Leche, Stockholm 1979, ISBN 91-1-793452-4.
8) Svenska artilleriet förr och nu, Stockholm 1944.
Corespondance with Robert Mackenzie, Olle Petersson and Sigvaldi Eggertsson.
This page appeared previously on the now-defunct SOTCW site.
Reproduced here with permission of the author Ingólfur Björgvinsson