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Old June 23rd, 2018, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Swedish data on British crews and tanks

Originally Posted by Wdll View Post
First I want to ask something about Swedish tactics and the 103. It says more than once that Swedish tank tactics were of a very aggressive moves, especially to isolate smaller/weaker units, etc. Was that something that they came up with before or after the 103 entered their army?
The Swedish Army expected the armoured brigade(s) to deliver the counterattack against an invasion force that had established a foothold - especially in the south where most of the armour was initially concentrated (more open terrain in Skåne).

In the late 1950s an armoured brigade organisation was established with mixed battalions (with only one tank company per battalion) where basically tanks were reduced to supporting the infantry elements and sort of fighting the battle at infantry pace. The tankers hated it. It was soon replaced with the type 63 tank brigade organisation that lasted for the rest of the cold war.

The Armoured Brigade Type 63 had:

*Armoued Recon Company (Two platoons with APCs, two platoons with soft skins)

*Three Armoured Battalions

*Two Anti-Tank Companies
*Armoured Artillery Battalion (with towed 155mm guns)
*Armoured AA Company
*Armoured Engineer Battalion (mostly un-armoured)
*Armoured Support Battalions

The tank battalions were organised as a sort of standing battlegroup, with:

Three motorised scout platoons
Two tank companies (each 12 tanks, and three APCs for the infantry platoon)
Two armoured infantry companies (each 11 APCs and 3 jeep-like cars in the AT-platoon)
Artillery Company (with 4 towed 105mm guns)
Supply Company (including a motorised pioneer platoon)

Armour in the Swedish Defence, mid-late cold war

The Swedish defence in the south of the country relied heavily on the Air Force to break the invasion cake at sea. The attack air was pooled into a formation known as E1 which was to attack in a ruthless fashion during the initial stages. If successful enough of the WP shipping would be sunk making an invasion impossible or very weak. If unsuccessful it would have meant the end of the Swedish Air Force. The next line of defence would have been the navy in the coastal band, followed by the Coastal Artillery with its fixed and mobile units. If the invasion cake made it through all these barriers a mobilised Swedish defence would have had infantry brigades deployed on the coast along with non-brigade local defence units of battalion and company size (most in fortified positions) around harbours and other important sites. These units were only allowed to place mines between the beach and the road closest to the beach – as to not interfere with the armoured counterattack meant to obliterate a WP beach-head.

There were a number of alternative scenarios in how to use the army formations but one of them envisionaged a major counterattack against an enemy that had made it ashore where the bulk of the armoured resources were given to the division size formation 13. fördelningen. This counterattack was pre-planned in such a way that it was meant to happen basically even if battalions lost contact with the higher HQ levels.

For most of the Cold War the AA company lacked adequate capabilities with its towed 20mm "grasshoppers", until the mid 1980s when it was given APC mounted RBS-70 SAMs. (Lack of funds, note that the Armoued Brigades were meant to operate in areas with a stronger concentration of non-brigade AA assets.)

The artillery likewise was towed and for much of the cold war had the 155mm "French Lady" with less range than the artillery of the infantry brigades. SPA had been better but again, no funds. Most other battalion artillery were 120mm mortars, but the armoured battalions had 105mm guns, towed. There is some question if these would have been able to keep up with the tanks and if there effectiveness was somewhat wasted being given to the battalions.

In the north the story was different. More difficult terrain, less roads, less population. Units there had a more defensive posture and it was thought possible to hold and move tanks north if that was where the invasion came.

(Sweden expected to face a portion of the WP strength – and that their amphibious capabilities in the Baltic were fairly weak).

Some brigades had the Strv 103, some had the Centurion versions. There have been many debates about the abilities of the Strv 103 since it was introduced. It was however meant to fight like a tank.
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