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"They were Swedes; in terms of individual intelligence, integrity and single-mindedness I was to find them among the most impressive soldiers I had ever encountered."
Anthony Loyd

The Swedish Armed Forces is responsible for protecting Sweden, and are composed of the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy, which includes the Amphibious Force or Marines. Swedens answer to Elites Are More Glamorous is SOG or "Särskilda Operationsgruppen" note 


Until recently, Sweden relied on conscription of men, due to the need to be able to put together an Army that could hold its own against the USSR, should the Cold War go hot. Women have been able to volunteer since 1980. In 2010, conscription was abolished, due to changes in international politics, and an increasing focus on peacekeeping operations, as opposed to homeland defence. Then in 2017 it was reintroduced, with the first conscripts recruited in 2018, amid fears about Russia. This time, both men and women can be called on to serve.

Sweden avoided both World Wars, mainly due to subservience and sheer dumb luck. (Although being one of Germany's largest suppliers of iron ore certainly didn't hurt.) Considering the crappy state of the Swedish military at the time, this was probably not a bad idea. To give you some idea of the state of Swedish preparations for World War II, men who owned hunting rifles were advised to bring them and ammunition, since they were guaranteed to be better than the standard Army issue rifles.


The Swedes make their own military equipment, and Saab AB (not to be confused with SAAB Automobile that was sold to GM then sold to Spyker in 2009 and now in bankrupcy since 2011) makes veritably cool planes, like the Draken (Dragon), Viggen (Thunderbolt), and Gripen (Gryphon) fighters, all delta-wing, and according to them, will shame the Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-22 Raptor of the United States. There is some tradition behind this, with Sweden having managed to do odd things like being the first country outside the Soviet Union, Germany and the USA to develop and mass-produce swept-wing jet-fighters in the wake of WW2, with the aptly named J 29 Flygande Tunnan (Flying Barrel). In the beginning of the 1950's, Sweden was estimated to have the world's fourth largest air force. "Flygande Tunnan" was given it's swansong in the Congo Crisis of the 1960's, when Swedish fighter pilots engaged in dogfights for the first time since the Winter War. The Swedes used the AIM-4 Falcon missile much longer than the United States did, only phasing it out in the 1980s.


Because the Swedes make their own military equipment they have also been able to design equipment to fit their special needs and tactics. The S-Tank (Stridsvagn 103) with the Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon have been designed to use a type of hit and run tactic. The tanks would dig into the ground (or snow), wait for the Soviet tanks, shoot, sprint backwards and then rinse and repeat as needed. The lack of turret limited their ability to aim (though with an advanced hydropneumatic suspension not nearly as limited as one might think; the main limitation was the inability to aim at a target unless the tank is stationary), but also made them rather small targets that were hard to aim at. A more recent example is the stealthy Gotland-class submarines, designed for anti-ship/anti-submarine warfare and intelligence. In a recent NATO exercise, one of them infiltrated a US Navy Carrier Battle Group and photographed the fleet carrier USS Ronald Reagan from torpedo range, then withdrew, completely undetected. In another exercise, a Gotland 'sank' a US ballistic missile submarine, also undetected.

Swedish hand-held weapons of various kinds have a reputation for being durable and reliable, and are used by many armies around the world. Swedish Carl Gustav m/45 SMGs were used by the U.S. Navy SEALs in Vietnamnote , Swedish recoilless rifles were used by the British in the Falklands, and are currently used by SOCOM and the U.S Army Rangers, among others, and the AT4 anti-tank weapon currently used by many national armies, including the U.S. Armed Forces, is a Swedish design.

Speaking of SMG's, the infamous TEC-9 is also Swedish, originally designed by the Stockholm based company Interdynamic AB (as a cheaper version of the above-mentioned m/45), but produced by its American branch. The American version was actually semi-auto rather than an SMG, but the initial version proved entirely too easy for criminals to illegally alter for full-auto fire and thus attain an unregistered SMG.

Sweden also had a nuclear weapons program in the 1950s through the 1970s, primarily to maintain an independent deterrent in the Cold War—neutrality did not mean that Sweden had any guarantees it would be kept out of the crossfire should World War III break out (unlike their fellow neutrals in Switzerland, Swedish borders are a lot longer and less mountainous), and the Swedes wanted something to back it up. It was scrapped in favor of the aforementioned Viggen, but Sweden's active civilian nuclear power program is widely considered to give it breakout capacity (the capability to construct a nuclear weapon at relatively short notice).

And we can't forget the ARCHER artillery system. Its rate of fire is 8-9 rounds per minute and deployment time is 30 seconds. It is capable of firing 155 mm rounds and supports M982 Excalibur, a GPS guided shell. Using Excalibur ARCHER can with a accurately hit targets up to 60 km away.

Interestingly Sweden was once one of the greatest military powers in Europe and it had armies led by Warrior Princes like Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII. Its domination of the iron cannon industry in the 17th century arguably helped. Also note that in spite of a 200-year old policy of neutrality (now arguably abolished in practice through the Lisbon Treaty, among other things) Sweden has been very active in peacekeeping operations throughout the latter part of the 20th century. Notable contributions include The Congo Crisis in the 60's, Kosovo 90's to present, Sudan/Chad in the early 00's and Afghanistan and anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden today. note 

Unlike Norway and Denmark, but in company with Finland, Sweden is not a member of NATO. She does however have a Memorandum of Understanding with NATO, which in practice means that Sweden allows NATO to use her territory for military exercises, mobilization and even the use of Swedish military personnel in various hotspots around the world. (See the note under the blurb about peacekeeping, above.) Whether or not Sweden should join NATO properly, is currently undergoing heated debate. Many people see it as inevitable, while others stress the need to avoid pissing off Russia too badly.

In fiction:

  • In the Tom Clancy novel The Cardinal of the Kremlin, the USS Dallas is discovered and hailed by a Swedish patrol craft when entering the Baltic Sea, the whole incident is resolved within half a page. Oh, and the Swedish captain speaks in a Funetik Aksent.

  • Wargame: European Escalation: The sequel to this real-time tactics game, Wargame: AirLand Battle features combat within Sweden amidst World War III. Story-wise, the Soviets were fighting against Norwegian troops, then after Sweden decided to mobilize its forces, the Pact preemptively invades.

  • The Arma series has several fan made mods, most notably the Swedish Armed Forces mod, that add the Swedish military to the list of factions.

  • The Anthropomorphic Personification of a Gripen fighter-jet serve as the main heroine in the light novel-series Girly Air Force, alongside the actual jet-fighter as its "main body".

  • The loading screens for the European missions of World in Conflict show that the Soviets launched an invasion of Sweden with amphibious landings in the south and an attack from occupied Finland in the north. Stockholm has fallen to the Soviets but most of the country remains free with the Swedes fighting back.

  • In 2016, World of Tanks introduced a Swedish tech tree to the game, comprised of both real tanks and blueprint only tanks, including the famous Strv 103. The branch uses Shoot and Scoot tactics as it main playstyle with good speed, guns and gun depression at the cost of armor.

  • The Svenska Marinen are the first neutral navy that were featured in Kantai Collection, they are represented by the Anthropomorphic Personification of HSwMS Gotland, a seaplane cruiser known for her sighting of German battleship Bismarck which plays a significant role in the British chase on the great battleship.


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