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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Landstormen - The Home Guard

In the end of the 19th century Landstormen (the Home Guard) was created as a local defense force. From the beginning all males in the age group 27 to 32 years old was part of it, but in 1914 the upper limit was raised to 42 years of age.

When World War One started the Landstorm was mobilized to guard the borders and coasts. Until this time the uniform was civilian clothes with a tricorn hat (just like the one in the army) and a armband. But now it was obvious that it was not enough so during the war the Landstorm was also equipped with the grey m/10 uniform. The m/10 uniform was used until 1939 when they got the new m/39 uniform.

Later they also got the m/21 helmet and the m/26 hat. The hat was identical to the army's m/23 hat, except that their's was grey.

The Home Guard mostly used the army’s m/96 rifle, but also the older m/67 rifle.

Landstormen was badly organized and trained. Except for five days, training was largely voluntary.

Here is some pictures of the Home Guard in 1914.



 

6 comments:

  1. Interesting post and atmospheric pictures. I really look forward to fielding some Landstormen on the wargames table.Did they train with other heavier weapons such as lmg or hmg at all? Were they organised in 12 men units like the army?

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  2. My information is not so good. They seem to have been very decentralized, so all the different local units decided for themself in most matters. They also seem to be very loosely organized.
    I do think that they wanted to have 12 man squads, but the reality could be very different.
    I don’t think they had any training in using machine guns or mortars, and I think they had very few actual machine guns in the local units.
    From what I understand most didn’t do any training except for the 5 compulsory days. At some point they improved the training for the officers, but not for the normal soldiers.
    The Landstorm was disbanded in 1942 (during the war!), I suppose because they were not good enough.

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  3. From the info I have, Landstormen was dissolved and mostly absorbed into Hemvärnet in 1942. Hemvärnet was intended as a much more modern and organized force and by all accounts was pretty much successful at that during the war.

    Landstormen as a term also often includes skarpskyttekårerna, volonteer rifle clubs with club specific private uniforms who placed themselves at the crowns service in case of war. Private militias in effect. There are some excellent sources of troops for A Moderate Swedish Conflict. :) Especially as soldiers for the White side.

    /Johan

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  4. WOW! Tricorne and early XX century uniform! Like it a lot. Very unique!

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  5. Eskilstuna Skarpskyttekår 1861-1926:

    http://www.evhf.se/EVHF/Skarpskyttekaren.html

    Apparently the longest surviving corps, so they may be a bit early. :)

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  6. Thanks Helst Inte, very interesting!

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