The Norwegian Home Guard ( Norwegian: Heimevernet – "HV" ), is a rapid mobilisation force in the Norwegian military. Founded 6 December 1946, it is the second youngest branch in the Norwegian forces after the Norwegian Cyber Force ( Norwegian: Cyberforsvaret ). It has land, sea and air defense units, and has volunteers and conscript personnel with backgrounds from all branches. Its main focus is local defense and civil support, but it can also detach volunteers for international operations.

Organization

It is divided into districts ("HV-districts"), which again is divided into smaller units, typically covering a single Municipality. In a wartime situation Heimevernet will typically be used to protect the local infrastructure and population, but may also be used as regular troops. As it for the most part comprises locals, it is ideally suited for guerrilla warfare, sabotage, ambushes.

Strength

The Home Guard has a peacetime personnel number of 1,200. On high readiness, there are 3,500 Rapid Reaction Force personnel, 25,000 "Strengthening Force" personnel and 20,000 "Follow-up Force" personnel. The total Home Guard Force is approximately 45,000. [7]

Troop exchange

The Home Guard does a troop exchange with the Minnesota National Guard every year. [2] The exchange grew from Norwegian American soldiers sent to Norway to assist resistance fighters in World War II. As part of the exchange, American Guard members are flown to Værnes Air Force Base and Norwegians are sent to Camp Ripley. Troops complete each other's training, and tour the area.

The Rapid Reaction Forces

From 2005, the Home Guard has recruited for a high readiness force with better trained and equipped personnel. It is called the "Rapid Reaction Force" (Norwegian: Innsatsstyrke ) This force represents approximately 10 percent of the total force. It consist solely of volunteers.

There is one Rapid Reaction Force per district, in total 3,500 men and women. The Rapid Reaction Force is the speartip of the Norwegian Home Guard, and contains flexible and mobile units. It has top priority when concerning weapons, material and training resources. The force is ready to respond within hours to acts of terrorism, bomb threats, and or other emergencies. In peace time, the RRFs can support the police and civilian community with a variety of tasks, including providing security for the public and enforcing police regulations.

The RRFs are named after operations executed during WW2 by the Norwegian Independent Company 1 (a.k.a. Linge Company ):

  • Oslofjord HV-district 01: RRF Polar Bear VI
  • Oslo and Akershus HV-district 02: RRF Derby
  • Telemark and Buskerud HV-district 03: RRF Gunnerside
  • Opplandske HV-district 05: RRF Grebe
  • Agder and Rogaland HV-district 08: RRF Osprey and Varg
  • Bergenhus HV-district 09: RRF Bjørn West
  • Møre and Fjordane HV-district 11: RRF Archery
  • Trøndelag HV-district 12: RRF Rype
  • Sør-Hålogaland HV-district 14: RRF Heron
  • Nord-Hålogaland HV-district 16: RRF Claymore
  • Finnmark HV-district 17: RRF Ida & Lyra and Delfin

The Naval branch of the Home Guard has four RRFs:

  • South: RRF Bundle
  • West: RRF Salamander
  • North: RRFs Waxwing and Anklet

The Rapid Reaction Forces consists of several different platoons within each district. In this way, each district will be able to respond to any kind of incident that could occur, without having to rely on outside help. Each district (with some variations) will have trained operators in these different types of units:

  • Jegertropp (Reconnaissance platoon)
  • Skarpskyttertropp (Sharpshooter platoon)
  • MP-tjeneste (Military Police platoon)
  • Hundetjenesten (K9 unit)
  • ABC-tropp (NBC platoon)
  • Stabstropp (Staff platoon – Communications, intelligence, transport & logistics)
  • Dykkerlag (Diving team – Underwater reconnaissance, explosives-detection)
  • Sanitetstropp (Medical platoon)
  • Sambandstropp (Communications platoon)
  • Innsatstropper (RRF platoons)
  • Kystmeldepost (Coastal observation posts)
  • Bordingslag (Boarding team – Observation, control, inspection and takeover of ships/boats)

Equipment

Until the end of the 1960s, the Home Guard used second-hand weapons from the Norwegian Army. At the end of the period, the Home Guard was equipped with increasingly modern and heavier weapons.

The Home Guard today uses small arms like the MP-5 and MP-7 submachine guns, AG-3 and HK416 automatic rifles, and MG-3 and FN Minimi machine guns. As well as M82 and Glock 17.

The vehicle fleet consists mainly of Mercedes-Benz G-Class utility vehicles, ambulances and Scania lorries.

Home Guard districts

Region 1

  • Oslofjord Heimevernsdistrikt 01 – HV-01 – Rygge
  • Oslo og Akershus Heimevernsdistrikt 02 – HV-02 – Lutvann
  • Telemark og Buskerud Heimevernsdistrikt 03 – HV-03 – Heistadmoen
  • Opplandske Heimevernsdistrikt 05 – HV-05 – Terningmoen

Region 2

  • Rogaland Heimevernsdistrikt 08 – HV-08 – Vatneleiren
  • Bergenhus Heimevernsdistrikt 09 – HV-09 – Bergenhus

Region 3

  • Møre og Romsdal Heimevernsdistrikt 11 – HV-11 – Setnesmoen
  • Trøndelag Heimevernsdistrikt 12 – HV-12 – Værnes
  • Sør-Hålogaland Heimevernsdistrikt 14 – HV-14 – Drevjamoen

Region 4

  • Nord-Hålogaland Heimevernsdistrikt 16 – HV-16 – Elvegårdsmoen
  • Finnmark Heimevernsdistrikt 17 – HV-17 – Porsangermoen

See also