Definitions

Danish_Home_Guard

Danish Home Guard

The Danish Home Guard (Hjemmeværnet) HJV is the fourth service of the Danish military, concerned exclusively with the defence of Danish territory. Service is voluntary and unpaid, except that the most basic expenses are covered. Albeit workshop and depot staff plus clerks and senior officers are all paid. As a result of women's lib, the unarmed Women's Army Corps (Lottekorpset) was merged in 1989 with the then all-male Home Guard to the present, armed unisex Home Guard.

Its top authority is the Home Guard Command HJK, which, unlike Army Operational Command HOK, Admiral Danish Fleet SOK and Tactical Air Command FTK, is managed directly by the Danish Ministry of Defence FMN. Only in times of tension and war will the Danish Defence Command FKO assume command over the Home Guard.

The Danish Home Guard is jointly headed by Major General Jan S. Norgaard (since 2004) and MP Ulrik Kragh from the centre-right party Venstre (since 2005).

Organization

As of 2004, it consists of 58,640 active members, of which 9,152 are women. It is divided into four branches:

  • The Army Home Guard (Hærhjemmeværnet) HHV is numerically the largest part of the Home Guard, and works closely with the regular army.
    • Denmark is divided into five Total Defence Regions TFR, led by professional full-service colonels, and subdivided into 15 Army Home Guard Districts HHD, led by professional full-service majors.
    • Every municipality has at least one "army home guard company" - HVK, led by an unpaid captain.
    • The Police Home Guard (Politihjemmeværnet) PO-HJV consists of 47 Police Home Guard companies, led by professional police officers. The volunteers have slightly more legal authority than other citizens. Used for traffic control at festivals, searches for victims and guarding community installations. They are never used where there are risks of direct confrontation with civilians (riot control or planned arrests). The companies are part of the Army Home Guard.
  • The Air Force Home Guard (Flyverhjemmeværnet) FHV, deals with securing airports, aerial environmental patrols of national waters (oil spill observation) and reporting enemy air activity.
    • Denmark is divided into Western and Eastern Air Force Home Guard Districts, led by professional full-service Squadron Leaders, plus a department on Bornholm.
    • Municipalities with airfields or in the vicinity of airports have "air force home guard squadrons" - HVE (100-150 riflemen), led by unpaid Flight Lieutenants.
    • As a trial, Flyverhjemmeværnet is leasing four civilian general aviation aircraft, flown by members possessing Private Pilot's License.
  • The Naval Home Guard (Marinehjemmeværnet) MHV patrols the Danish territorial waters, and aids in Search and Rescue missions.
    • Denmark is divided into Western and Eastern Naval Home Guard Districts, led by professional full-service Lieutenant Commanders.
    • 39 coastal municipalities have "naval home guard flotillas" - HVF (100-150 riflemen or a small vessel), led by unpaid kaptajnløjtnanter (naval lieutenants).
  • The Infrastructure Home Guard (Virksomhedshjemmeværnet) VHV ensures that civilian companies and authorities continue operating during times of crisis or catastrophe.
    • Employees at power plants, water works and purification plants can participate in the four Energihjemmeværnet HJVK VE-companies.
    • Employees at railway companies can participate in the six Jernbanehjemmeværnet HJVK VJ-companies. Predecessor founded in 1913.
    • Employees in postal services can participate in the eight Posthjemmeværnet HJVK VP-companies.
    • Employees at telecommunications companies can participate in the eight Telehjemmeværnet HJVK VT-companies. Predecessor founded in 1914.
    • They assist in keeping their places of work intact and prevent sabotage with use of lethal force.

History

Created after World War II, the Danish Home Guard was inspired by the Danish Resistance Movement during the war. It was always implied (though never explicitly stated) that the primary objective was defence and guerrilla activity against a Soviet invasion.

When founded on June 11 1945 in the city of Odense, the 250 representatives of resistance movements and those of the government, both had demands to the new Home Guard. The resistance movements were not interested in a people's army run by the government and the government was not interested in a people's army being independent and run solely by a military figure without parliament representation. Because of these bi-lateral demands, a simple solution to the problem was made. The Home Guard would have two chief executives: A Major General and a representative chosen by parliament.

Naturally, the organization would be funded by parliament, but organized directly under the Ministry of Defence, so that both sides had an overview of what the Home Guard was doing.

For some very simple reasons, the Danish Home Guard would ultimately owe its loyalty to the will of the people, and not the government. The reason for this was, that if a situation like that of World War II was ever to occur again, whether in peace or wartime, the Home Guard would be a guarantee brought by the people, for the people, that the organization do all in its power to protect the individual citizen from crimes against humanity. Among these would be persecution due to political and religious stands, direct oppression and genocide. It would above all ensure that democracy, or people's rule, would be enforced. The Home Guard was well respected among the public as many members were former resistance fighters; people who fought for and had an interest in the individual person, their families, friends and loved ones.

With the creation of the Home Guard the founding members swore to protect the Danish people against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, this referring to the then led Danish government who supported the Nazi party of Germany by handing over Danish citizens to the Gestapo. Despite this, members who had a seat in the government during the occupation, claim in their defense that such actions were performed to protect the rest of the people from further war crimes.

The Home Guard would be a military wing aiding the defense of Denmark from foreign aggressors, and also a constant reminder for politicians who would be tempted by their political powers and influence, that they cannot do whatever they please.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the Home Guard, with its costly training and equipment, was by many Danes perceived as a useless expense, and an organization obsolete, referring to people's attention that for the past four decades had been drawn outside of Denmark to an enemy that constantly swayed at the back of everyone's mind. Very little attention had therefore been accredited the Home Guard as an organization providing a stabilizing factor between peoples-will and government power.

In response to the people's view on the Home Guard, the Danish government entrusted the organization with additional responsibilities in 2004. Not only should the members be trained for defense of Danish territory in wartimes, but also be able to take on tasks to help civilians during disasters of most kinds, and thereby rebalancing the expenses many had thought of as unnecessary. All this against the values of the Home Guard.

In recent years, changes within the Danish political system, which owes some of its structure to Montesquieu's separation of powers, has brought new times for the Home Guard. On its English webpage, the organization states that: "The overall mission for the Home Guard is to reinforce and to support the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force in fulfilling their missions".

With the Home Guard being included in the government's Defence Act along with the Home Guard's own public commercials drawing emphasis on emergency relief, as opposed to being an armed counter-weight ensuring that any Danish government, now or in the future, stays in place, a debate can be initiated of whether or not this organization now voluntarily owes its loyalty to the government rather than the people.

Recently, the Home Guard has made certain changes which to some means a departure from the popular roots of yesteryear. The Home Guard is still an all-volunteer force, and will continue to be, but developments have made it necessary to split the force into two basic parts (The active force and the reserve). To be eligible for active status, one must serve at least 24 documented hours in a calendar year. In addition, other criteria need to be met in order to retain your weapon. The reserve force are still a part of total strength, but do not have weapons or equipment issued.

Additionally, a force element called Hjemmeværnets Indsatsstyrke - HIS (loosely: Home Guard Readiness Force) has been created. In order to be eligible for this force, the volunteer needs to achieve or maintain a high level of skill in his or her chosen speciality AND be available at short notice, currently a three-tier system of 1, 3 or 5 hours notice, respectvely. Current HIS specialities include Protection Teams, Combat Medicine and Motorized Infantry. Others exist.

As a direct effect of force shortages in connection with Denmark's international commitments since 2001, an increasing number of qualified Home Guard personnel are being sent overseas on an equal basis with the Army, Navy and Air Force, most notably as Protection Teams under the auspices of Jægerkorpset. Plans also exist to send Home Guard combat medics overseas.

Hjemmeværnets Patruljer

Hjemmeværnets Patruljer are patrols of the Danish Home Guard.

Since the mid 1950s, Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) and Long Range Surveillance Units (LRSU) of western militaries have become the intermediate between elite commando units (Special Forces) and ordinary infantry. Long-Range Reconnaissance and Long-Range Surveillance refers to the type of military operations whose primary aim is to gather Human Intelligence (HUMINT) or real time physical information on enemy forces. As the operational requirements for these type of missions lie beyond the capability of ordinary infantry units, specialized personnel is selected amongst volunteer army, navy, air force and para-military personnel. The necessity for such an intermediate unit is big as elite commando units usually do not number heavily among the armed forces in general. Commando units and LRRP/LRSU have both undergone the same training, in terms of performing reconnaissance operations. The difference between the two is where Special Forces units have extra training and extra equipment at their disposal, making them capable of performing a greater variety of specialized tasks, such as Counter-Terrorism, kidnappings, VIP protection and more.

In this article, the term Long Range Reconnaissance will exist only in the history of these specialized units, only to be replaced entirely by the term Long Range Surveillance Units (LRSU) and Long Range Surveillance Companies (LRSC).

History of the LRSU/LRSC

In 1959, during the Cold War, the Danish Armed Forces saw a need for creating Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRP) equivalent to those of the U.S. Army National Guard. The outcome of this need was the formation of Specielle Efterretningspatruljer/Østre Landskommando and Specielle Efterretningspatruljer/Vestre Landskommando". Translated into English these names mean: Special Intelligence Patrols/Eastern Command and Special Intelligence Patrols/Western Command.

These units and their later successor were and are to this very day in the Danish military more commonly known as "the Patrols".

Using the Americans as a template, the Danes chose to not only structure, but to recruit and train their personnel almost entirely the same way as the Americans. When the Vietnam War ended in the early 1970s, the LRRP's of the U.S. Army was closed almost entirely. During the 1980s, the U.S. Army once again found a need to have the capability to receive battle field information on enemy forces. As some military commanders felt that the name LRRP was too closely linked with the Vietnam war, these new units received a modified name and therefore became known as the Long Range Surveillance units and companies.

Today

As the situation is today, the Patrols are organized at two levels:

1. At Divisional/Corps-Level, with one PTLCOY: the "Patruljekompagniet" - a company size Long-Range Surveillance Company (LRSC) for national operations, assigned to the Danish Army Operational Command (AOC).

2. At Home Guard Battalion-Level, with Platoon size local scout/patrol platoons assigned to some of the local 23 HG Battalions.

The "Patruljekompagniet" (the Patrol Company) is a Special Operations Capable, LRS-unit to the Danish Home Guard who can trace their origin back to "Specielle Efterretningspatruljer ved Østre Landskommando - SEP/ELK" and "Specielle Efterretningspatruljer ved Hærens Operative Kommando - SEP/HOK" or "Special Intelligence Patrols". This unit was operative from 1959 to late 1994.

The Home Guard closed the SEP units in 1994 and in 1995, the Home Guard founded The "Patruljekompagniet / HOK" or "the Patrol Company Army Operational Command" (PTL COY AOC)which is the successor to the SEP units.

This unique Long-Range Surveillance Company is well trained and carries sophisticated equipment. The PTL COY AOC patrols are the equivalent of the U.S. Army Divisional Long-Range Surveillance Companies. PTLCOY-troopers are capable of performing a variety of missions, such as surveillance, direct action etc. with insertions from the sea, air or land.

Training is conducted with Danish and foreign Special Operations units and Long-Range Surveillance-units, in Denmark and abroad.

Members of the PTLCOY AOC are all-out volunteers recruited from all over the Danish Home Guard. The men rank from Private to Captain.

Although the PTLCOY AOC are of Home Guard origin, it is a unit specialised in recognition and tactical intelligence. The doctrine, in terms of recruiting, training and organizing its troops, are based on that of the U.S. Army's Long-Range Surveillance Units.

The Scoutpatrols of the Army Homeguard Battalions are organized into platoon-sized scout-units with limited range and capabilities. They can conduct basic scout-patrols in enemy area for 48 hours, and have no LRS capabilities. Some of the scoutplatoons carry the name of "Patruljekompagni" (PTLCOY) for historical reasons, but has no patrolling capability beyond platoon-level. Only the official PTLCOY to the AOC can be labeled LRSC in military terms. This was also stated by the Danish Minister of Defence in an answer to the Danish Parliament: "(The Home Guard) establishes one Patrolcompany to the Army Operational Command, and there will be established patrol-platoons at all Home Guard Districts."

As can be seen and read on private webpages made by these scoutplatoons themselves, the methods of recruiting, screening and training individual troops, vary widely! The scoutpatrols should only be capable of performing basic patrolling, however some of the scoutplatoons seems to be training missions well outside their area of operations. This is probably due to problems with recruitment and retainment in the all volunteer scoutplatoons, since the basic patrolling-missions at Homeguard battalion-level, has been widely ignored for years.

General missions tasked to scout/patrol-platoons in the Homeguard:

Reconnaissance, Stationary Surveillance, Limited Direct Action,

Extracurricular (un-official) training at some Scout/patrol-platoons:

Sabotage, Counter-Terrorism, Urban Warfare, Close protection. Extracurricular private SWAT-training received from instructors from Homestead P.D. SWAT, see

Capabilities at the PTLCOY AOC (LRSC) the "Patruljekompagniet" LRSC-mission planning and execution, recognition, Sea, air and land infiltrations, e.g. Combatswimming-training at Danish Navy SEAL's "Frømandskorpset". see

Conclusion

The Homeguard patrols cannot be generalized and should not be underestimated in either endurance, creativity or adaptability making for a total lack of capability predictability.

The Patruljekompagniet is the only PTLCOY in military terms, and is cable of conducting LRS-missions, limited Direct Action, and Combat/scoutswimming-infiltration.

References

External links

LRSU/LRSC related links

  • Danish Minister of Defence: There is only HOK Patruljekompagniet (PTLCOY AOC).
  • Special Support and Reconnaissance Coy (SSR) website.
  • Patruljekompagniet / Haerens Operative Kommando's main site
  • Danish Special Forces and Patrol-units, capabilities.
  • Specielle Efterretningspatruljer (in Danish but with photos)
  • Long-Range Surveillance Unit Operations (FM 7-93)

HomeGuard Scoutplatoon related links

  • The Scout/Patrol platoon at Army Homeguard Company Sjætte
  • The Scout/Patrol platoon at Homeguard District Køge

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