Home Guard (Denmark)

Home Guard (Denmark)
Danish Home Guard
Logo of "Hjemmeværnet"
Founded April 1st 1949
Country  Denmark
Size 56,000 volunteers and 800 employees[citation needed]
Part of Military of Denmark
Chief of the Home Guard Major General Finn Winkler
Ceremonial chief Jens Hald Madsen (Venstre)
Danish naval home guard vessel MHV906 Fænø

The Danish Home Guard (Danish: Hjemmeværnet) (HJV) is the fourth service of the Danish military, formerly concerned only with the defence of Danish territory, but since 2008, it has also participated in forward operating base guard duties in Afghanistan. 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. The unarmed Women's Army Corps (Lottekorpset) was merged in 1989 with the then all-male Home Guard to form 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 Finn Winkler (since May 2010) and usually a member of the Danish Parliament. October 27, 2009 the former MP and until the 2007 merger mayor of the now disbanded old Lejre municipality Jens Hald Madsen from the centre-right party Venstre became the political leader.[1]



Police Home Guard

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

Army Home Guard

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.

Police Home Guard

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. In peacetime 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.

Air Force 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.

Naval Home Guard

The Naval Home Guard (Marinehjemmeværnet) MHV deals with securing naval installations, patrolling of 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).

Infrastructure Home Guard

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 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.
  • Until 2008 the Danish Post also had a Home Guard detachment, but this was closed in preparation for the merge between the Danish and Swedish postal services. Members of the postal service was offered transfer to the railway home guard, and can still (with greater limitations) get time off from their job, when performing home guard duties.


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 that 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 the people's 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. It shou;d 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, thereby rebalancing the expenses many had thought of as unnecessary. All this was 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 that mean some 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 SSR, scoutplatoons, Combat Medicine and Motorized Infantry. Others exist but notable contrary as previously claimed Protection Teams are not Homeguard units at all but ad-hoc units from all ranges of the military that have individually applied and passed the PT training. These are put together for each months long mission.

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.

The Home Guard in civil society

The Home Guard often gives socalled ordinary help to other authorities, especially the police. It's especially police companies that aid in directing traffic, but also help for searching for missing persons and objects, and guarding crime scenes and such.

During COP15 in 2009, 1200 soldiers from the Home Guard aided the police in Copenhagen. Most of these with guarding and patrolling, but also with driving around VIPs.

Members of a police company are also trained to give so called special help to the police, which means tasks that are likely to involve the use of force against civilians (all kinds of police work). This help is to be negotiated between the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Justice.

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 be used only in the history of these specialized units, to be replaced entirely by the term Long Range Surveillance Units (LRSU) and Long Range Surveillance Companies (LRSC).

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) that is the successor to the SEP units. PTLCOY AOC is called SSR since 2007 - see below.

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 structure, 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.


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). PTLCOY changed its name in 2007 and isnow called "Hjemmeværnets Særlig Støtte- og Rekognosceringskompagni", meaning "Homeguard Special Support and Reconnaissance Company", shortened to SSR. They are now available to all Danish Defence Commands and is closely linked with the Jager and Frogmen SF elements including getting some of the same exclusive gear like combat-vests and XL-military rub-sacks Special Support and Reconnaissance Company[1]

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

SSR is a unique Long-Range Surveillance Company is well trained and carries sophisticated equipment. The SSR patrols are the equivalent of the U.S. Army Divisional Long-Range Surveillance Companies. SSR-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 SSR are all-out volunteers recruited from all over the Danish Home Guard. The men rank from Private to Captain.

Although the SSR is of Home Guard origin, it is a unit specialized 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. SSR are currently meant to relief SF's of some reconnaissance pressure etc. just like the Jagerkorps VIP Protection Team course is meant to relief SF operators of some of the military VIP protection duties in places like Iraq.

The Scoutpatrols, "Patrulje Indsats", of the Army Home guard Battalions are organized into platoon-sized scout-units with limited range and capabilities and is the sharpest edge of the reaction Home guard "Indsats" since SSR isn't technically a normal Home guard unit but is even more closely linked to full time SF operations and the MOTINF units are not as physically demanding as scout patrols and is not required to move behind enemy lines etc. Scout patrols can basic conduct scout-patrols in enemy area for 48 hours, and have no LRS capabilities. Some of the scout platoons carry the name of "Patruljekompagni" (PTLCOY) for historical reasons, but has no patrolling capability beyond platoon-level. Only the official SSR can be labelled 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 Patrol company to the Army Operational Command, and there will be established patrol-platoons at all Home Guard Districts." [2]

The scout patrols are capable of performing patrolling but also should be able to function as the district level multi-functional tool that can step into any role required reasonably without wide SF training or resources of SSR or full time SF operators. Many scout platoon members are former full time military personal from scout units or former SSR etc. that needed to step down time usage due to civilian jobs or personal reasons. There are also individuals moving often between scout platoons and SSR, and from both its often seen members seeking normal recruitment for full time SF service after some time in this environment. Scout platoons are able, as one of few army units in the world, to get the same combat diving education by the Frogmen as all SSR operators - given they live up to the physical requirements before applying. Scout platoon regularly receive training from SSR and SF elements in their skills, most publicly seen before international patrolling exercises like Erna Raid. Also like all military personal the Jagerkorps VIP Protection Team course is available and some scout platoon members have had several tours as such. However some of the scout platoons seems to be "training" missions well outside their area of operations as can be seen and read on private web pages made by these scout platoons themselves.

The methods of recruiting, screening and training individual troops, vary widely even to a level below MOTINF units or way above full time units in a few instances. This is some cases due to problems with recruitment and retainment in the all volunteer scout platoons, since the basic patrolling-missions at Home guard battalion-level, has been widely ignored for years. Also many scout platoons have few fully operational units so while they ideally can be used as an expert enemy element with local know-how for on the Danish annually SF training operations like NightHawk they often lack numbers. This is often due to the disability of getting enough dedicated personnel at the high weekly requirement of hours used for maintaining or training up to the readiness standard.

However recently some scout platoons have been involved with VIP protection at COP15. Also limited numbers have been getting military speedboat licenses, VIP protection training by MP's and other training from Navy MP's and Navel Home Guard personal due to special relations formed when a number of experienced scout platoon operators and other material experts were recruited for training Navel Home Guard in land/Urban warfare. Most of these members migrated back to scout platoons since higher commands was to slow or negligent at routing specialized material needed for such a high activity unit since Navel Home Guard had problems just filling MOTBON Indsats (Motorized infantry in reaction force in Navel Home Guard) with required gear. Ironically m4 versions called M96 was one of the biggest issues for the Navy but also one of the most usefully since these could be very useful at harbours, in vans used and on ships for both MOTBON and this abandoned instructor/high training unit - the army has tons of these since they are standard scout platoon equipment just like red-dot sights, m203 grenade launchers, AT4's and military explosives. On the gear side scout platoons generally tends to have to buy gear like combat-vests, ranger compasses and GPS equipment suited for even their basic patrol needs since theses are not provided or only in too small quantities like 2-4 compasses for an entire scout platoon. This goes in tradition of the Danish military where only the men on international missions are given state of the art a few months or weeks in advance - even the Frogmen in the old days had problem just getting outdated sharp shooting rifles for many years (they do use MSG-90 today) and recycles and repairs equipment where SEAL's and other training peers just replace as Frogmen noted in interviews about their history.

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

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 [3]

Capabilities at the SSR (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 [4]

See also

  • Home Guard (disambiguation)
  • National Guard (disambiguation)
  • Militia


External links

HJV international operations

LRSU/LRSC related links

HomeGuard Scoutplatoon related links

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