Swedish Army
Coat of arms of the Swedish Army
Founded1521; 503 years ago (1521)
CountrySweden Sweden
Part ofSwedish Armed Forces
March"Svenska arméns paradmarsch"
Anniversaries14 January[2]
EquipmentList of Swedish Army equipment
WebsiteOfficial site
Chief of ArmyMajGen Jonny Lindfors
Deputy Chief of ArmyBGen Anders Svensson [sv]
Chief of the Army StaffCol Stefan Jansson [sv]
Gustavus Adolphus
Charles X Gustav
Charles XI
Charles XII
Charles XIV John
Curt von Stedingk
Johan August Sandels

The Swedish Army (Swedish: svenska armén) is the land force of the Swedish Armed Forces.


Depiction of the Kalmar War. The conflict, lasting from 1611 to 1613, was fought between Denmark–Norway and the Kingdom of Sweden.

Main article: Military history of Sweden

Svea Life Guards dates back to the year 1521, when the men of Dalarna chose 16 young able men as body guards for the insurgent nobleman Gustav Vasa in the Swedish War of Liberation against the Danish-dominated Union of Kalmar, thus making the present-day Life Guards one of the world's oldest regiments still on active duty.

In 1901, Sweden introduced conscription.[3] The conscription system was abolished in 2010 but reinstated in 2017.[4]


The peace-time organisation of the Swedish Army is divided into a number of regiments for the different branches. The number of active regiments has been reduced since the end of the Cold War. However the Swedish Army has begun to expand once again.[5] The regiment forms training organizations that train the various battalions of the army and home guard.

The Swedish Armed Forces recently underwent a transformation from conscription-based recruitment to a professional defence organisation. This is part of a larger goal to abandon the mass army from the Cold War and develop an army better suited to modern maneuver warfare and at the same time retain a higher readiness. Since 2014, the Swedish army has had around 50,000 soldiers in either full-time or part-time duty, with eight mechanized infantry battalions instantly available at any time and the full force of 71 battalions ready to be deployed within one week. The regular army consists of 8 mechanised maneuver battalions, 19 support battalions of different kinds including artillery battalions, anti-aircraft battalions, combat engineer battalions, rangers, logistics battalions and 4 reserve heavy armoured battalions and 40 territorial defence battalions. The battalion is the core unit but all units are completely modular and can be arranged in combat teams from company to brigade level with different units depending on the task. There are a total of 6 permanent staffs under the central command capable of handling large battlegroups, 4 regional staffs and 2 brigade staffs.


Main article: Chief of Army

Until 1937 the King was the formal Head of the Army, and until 1974 of the Armed Forces at large. In 1937, the Chief of the Army position and headquarters staff (Swedish: Chefen för armén, CA) was created to lead the Army in peacetime. Following a larger reorganisation of the Swedish Armed Forces in 1994, CA ceased to exist as an independent agency, and all of the Armed Forces was centralized under the Supreme Commander (ÖB). Instead, the post Chief of Army Staff (Swedish: Chefen för arméledningen) was created at the then newly instituted Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters (HKV).

In 1998, the Swedish Armed Forces was yet again reorganized. Most of the duties of the Chief of Army Staff were transferred to the newly instituted post of "Inspector General of the Army" (Swedish: Generalinspektören för armén). The post is similar to that of the "Inspector General of the Swedish Navy" (Swedish: Generalinspektören för marinen) and the "Inspector General of the Swedish Air Force" (Swedish: Generalinspektören för flygvapnet), later renamed to "Inspector of the Army" (Swedish: Arméinspektören). In 2014, the Chief of Army (Swedish: Arméchefen, AC) position was reinstated.


Swedish soldiers during a training exercise.

Swedish Army regiments are tasked with training conscripts for the operational battalions of the army's rapid reaction organisation. The Gotland Regiment is the only regiment that also trains Home Guard troops. The currently active regiments and their main peacetime subordinate units are:

Operational formations

The Swedish Army distinguishes an administrative from an operational structure. The administrative structure includes the peacetime depot units (depåförband), which are responsible for the training, equipment and combat readiness of the forces. Depot units are the army regiments, the air force flotillas, the naval flotillas or the armed forces centers. The depot units generate wartime units (krigsförband), which are transferred to their respective wartime formations, so normally the Swedish army regiments are composed of administrative and training companies during peacetime and their battalions are only formed for exercises and during wartime. The operational units in their entirety are known as the operational organisation of the armed forces (Försvarsmaktens Insatsorganisation (FM IO or just IO, followed by the year it has been introduced in, as IO 2018 or just IO 18 for example) in Swedish). The operational organisation of the army plans for the training regiments to form two combat brigades (2nd and 3rd) and a number of independent combat battalions within a few days. This plan, however, was considered by the Supreme Commander to be impossible due to the economic situation at the time.[7]

In 2013, the Armed Forces issued a statement saying that the reorganisation would only suffice for a reasonable defence of Swedish territory for one week.[8] The force was to include the following units:[9]

As of 2022 the Army's units of the Operational Organisation are:

The following Armed Forces' establishments provide additional units for the Rapid Reaction Organisation:

Graphic overview of operational formations 2022

Swedish Army combat formations 2022
Swedish Army and Armed Forces combat support and combat service support formations 2022


Main article: List of equipment of the Swedish Army

Home Guard

The Home Guard consists of 40 battalions with a total of 22,000 men. Many of the soldiers have served abroad with regular army units.[10]

Northern Military Region

Main article: Northern Military Region

The Northern Military Region is responsible for supporting Home Guard units in, Jämtland County, Norrbotten County, Västerbotten County, and Västernorrland County with training and administrative resources.[11]

Central Military Region

Main article: Central Military Region

The Central Military Region is responsible for supporting Home Guard units in Dalarna County, Gävleborg County, Södermanland County, Stockholm County, Uppsala County, and Västmanland County with training and administrative resources.[12]

Southern Military Region

Main article: Southern Military Region

The Southern Military Region is responsible for supporting Home Guard units in Blekinge County, Jönköping County, Kalmar County, Kronoberg County, Skåne County, and Östergötland County with training and administrative resources.[13]

Western Military Region

Main article: Western Military Region

The Western Military Region is responsible for supporting Home Guard units in Halland County, Värmland County, Västra Götaland County, and Örebro County with training and administrative resources.[14]

Gotland Military Region

The Home Guard battalion on the island of Gotland falls under the Gotland Regiment, which also commands the active 181st Armored Battalion.[6]


A Combat Vehicle 90

The army on active service during most of the 20th century only consisted of conscript receiving their basic training (at the most one year for privates), and conscripts called up for refreshers (at the most one month for privates) with intervals of at least 4–6 years. During WWII smaller or larger parts of the wartime establishment were also called up for periodical stand-by duty (up to 6 months). The figures for total strength below refer to the total force which could be mobilised. Between the introduction of universal conscription in 1902 until the start of World War II, the army was usually maintained at a consistent strength of 100,000 men, with two-thirds of the force being conscripts for two years. From 1942 onwards, the Swedish government embarked upon a massive and ambitious militarisation program in which conscription was strictly enforced and compulsory service was extended. The basic training for privates was set at 12 months, for future conscript sergeants intended to become platoon leaders (mainly sixth form graduates) 18 months, and for future conscript officers 24 months. These periods were gradually reduced, and the ranks were raised, until it was the same period for all conscripts shortly before conscription was suspended in 2009. This combined with propaganda about conscription being a part of social duty and defending the Swedish principle of folkhemmet, led to an army a size of about 700,000 active duty soldiers that could be mobilised in late 1945. Since the late winter of 1945 the size of the army was slowly decreased as entire reserve battalions and brigades were gradually demobilised, and by late 1947 the size of the army was around 170,000 soldiers who could be mobilised and was planned to stabilise at such a quantity of personnel.

However, due to the rise in tensions between the East and West over the political landscape of Europe, the threat from the Soviet Union in 1949 and 1950, coinciding with the start of the Cold War, led to a return to the militaristic policy by the Swedish government. From 1950 until around 1976 the size of the army was at an average of 250,000 soldiers with a peak of 400,000 mobilisable soldiers during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The rules were badly enforced, but dodging the draft was punishable with imprisonment.

During the 1980s the size of the army was around 180,000 soldiers and was slowly increased as time progressed until around 1988. The end of the Cold War led to a massive restructuring of the Swedish Army. Every year after 1988, the Army discharged around 40,000 conscripts and recruited only 20,000, so that by 1995 the size was down to 80,000 soldiers. Around this time the compulsory service obligation was further reduced to 10 months, reserve service became more flexible, and changes made in enforcement so that forceful enforcement became withdrawn as policy. By 2004 the size of the Swedish Army was down to 60,000 soldiers, and in 2013, three years after the end of conscription, the size was at an all-time low of just 16,000 soldiers, though the army plans to reach a level of 50,000 professional soldiers by 2020, mostly through a large media campaigns. A number of previously disbanded regiments will also be re-raised (Dalarna Regiment, Västernorrland Regiment, Norrland Dragoon Regiment, and Bergslagen Artillery Regiment) with the Jämtland Ranger Regiment re-raised as a battalion of Västernorrland Regiment.[citation needed]


From the 17th century until 1901, Swedish Army recruitment was based upon the allotment system. In 1812, conscription was introduced for all males between age 20 and 25 to serve in the armed forces twelve days a year, increased in 1858 to four weeks per two years. The allotment system was abolished in 1901 and replaced with universal conscription for all males. All personnel were drafted as conscripts for a year of conscription, after which the unit the soldier trained with was put in reserve. Upon completion of conscript service with sufficient service marks, conscripts are eligible to apply for commissioned officer training, NCO/Warrant Officer or from 2007 stay in the Army as a professional private, mainly to be employed in the Nordic Battle Group. The army has employed soldiers for UN service on short time contracts since the 1950s for service abroad.

From July 2010 until 2017, the Swedish Army was an all-professional fighting force. The government announced on 2 March 2017 that conscription was going to be reinstated. Of a pool of around 13,000 men and women born 1999, 4,000 were going to be selected for conscription starting January 2018. The government stated that the number of conscripts may increase in response to foreign events.[15]


Main article: Military ranks of the Swedish Armed Forces

Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Swedish Army[16]
General Generallöjtnant Generalmajor Brigadgeneral Överste Överstelöjtnant Major Kapten Löjtnant Fänrik Kadett
Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Swedish Army[16]
Menig 2 Menig 1 Menig
Regementsförvaltare Förvaltare Fanjunkare Översergeant Sergeant Överfurir Furir Korpral Vicekorpral Menig 4 Menig 3

See also


  1. ^ IISS (2022). The Military Balance 2022. Routledge. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-032-27900-8.
  2. ^ "Idag fyller Livgardet och armén 500 år" (PDF) (Press release) (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. 14 January 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021 – via Mynewsdesk.
  3. ^ "Historia: Det svenska försvaret". Säkerhetspolitik.se. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  4. ^ Nilsson, Christopher (2 March 2017). "Värnplikten har återinförts i Sverige". Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Swedish military expansion – new regiment inaugurated in Arvidsjaur". Sveriges Radio. 2021-09-24. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  6. ^ a b c "Verksamhet på Gotland" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  7. ^ Sondsson, Eva (26 January 2011). "Ofolkligt försvar". Sundsvalls Tidning (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  8. ^ Wallberg, Peter (10 January 2013). "Politiker till attack: Vill ha mer än en veckas skydd". Sydsvenskan (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 3 January 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Försvarsmaktens delårsrapport 2011" (PDF) (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. 2011-08-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Rikshemvärnschefens brev till hemvärnspersonalen, dec 2009" (PDF) (Press release) (in Swedish). Home Guard. December 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Norra Militärregionens Utbildningsgrupper" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Mellersta Militärregionens Utbildningsgrupper" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Sodra Militärregionens Utbildningsgrupper" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Västra Militärregionens Utbildningsgrupper" (in Swedish). Swedish Armed Forces. Retrieved 5 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Sweden brings back military conscription amid Baltic tensions". BBC News. 2 March 2017. Archived from the original on 7 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Nya gradbeteckningar införs". Försvarsmakten. 2019-10-01. Retrieved 2019-10-02.