Friday 26 July 2013

What are they good for? Part 3 Fighting SA and SS

This is the third article about what you can do with your WW1 and Interwar Swedes. In part 1 we talked about fighting Russians, Germans and Finns 1918, part 2 was about VBCW and getting an excuse for fighting the English and now in part 3 we are going to fight the SA and SS in Germany 1935! If that doesn't sound fun then you don't know what fun is!

3 Peace keeping in Saar 1935 - Facing Evil!

Background: After World War One France took over Saar (in south-western Germany) and all their coal mines. In January 1935 the people in Saar voted if they wanted to belong to Germany, France or continue being ruled by the League of Nations (LN). Many anti-nazists had fled to Saar, because it was the only part of Germany not rule by Hitler, and they were for continued rule by LN. Hitler on the other hand saw it as a great propaganda opportunity and wanted the people to vote for merging with Germany. The situation before the voting was therefore tense. LN sent peace-keeping soldiers from United Kingdoms, Italy, Nederland and Sweden to help the local police.
At this point Sweden had no troops that were any good, so instead of sending a battalion they were forced to make a new battalion by recruited a lot of NCO, cadets and officers from all the other regiments. The battalion, known as the Saar- or sometimes Zarbattalion, had only 261 men organized in two companies and a battalion staff. 50 of the men were officers.
The battalion arrived in Saar the 22 of December and because of their inexperience they were placed in Merzig and Becking in northern Saar, which was considered to be quite. It was a correct assumption, the Swedish troops didn't need to deal with any unrest; instead they enjoyed their stay by playing a lot of table tennis with the locals. On the day of the voting some of the Swedes were out on patrol, while the others were ready if anything would happen. Nothing happened. They went home on 18 of February.

What-if: There is at least one possible scenario

There were irregular SA and SS troops in Saar, making trouble. What if they wanted to test the inexperienced Swedes? Then there could have been some skirmishing in the towns and hamlets between the soldiers from the NL-force and SA/SS militia. And what about the German police forces, would they just look on or take part in the skirmishing? Would anti-nazist take part in the fighting?
Then there could have been three-way fighting between LN (Sweden, UK, Italy or Nederland), anti-nazist militia and SA/SS militia.

Forces: 1500 from UK, 1300 Italians, 250 Dutch, 261 Swedes and unknown number from SA/SS.

Herman Berglund in front of the building where the Swedish soldiers were stationed


  1. Most interesting post.Good potential scenarios here.
    BTW here are my thoughts for Swedes in the VBCW-

    I intend to field a platoon of Swedish troops who are volunteers for the Anglican League and/or the League of St Andrews. The premise is that they are fellow "High-Church " travellers with the anglo-catholic element within the Cof E. They are a mixture of idealists ( the sort of Swede who volunteered in the SCW and /or the Finnish War) and members of organisations like Societas Sanctæ Birgittæ and S:t Sigfrids Brödraskap who support the theological aims and mores of the Anglican League .
    Michael posted this organisation below-
    A Swedish Infantry platoon by the time was composed of:

    1x Platoon commander (Sabre and Pistol)
    1x 2nd in command (Sabre and Pistol)
    2x Runners (Rifle)
    4x Rifle squads (12 men each, 11 with Rifles and 1 with LMG)

    In total 52 men

    The Swedish infantry squad was composed of:
    1x Gruppchef / Squad leader with rifle
    1x Stf. gruppchef / 2nd in command with rifle
    1x Skytt / LMG gunner with LMG m/21
    9x Skyttar / Riflemen

    In total 12 men.

    I will field 3 Rifle squads- one of lay members of the SSB and /or theological students studying for the Lutheran Priesthood, one of volunteers relying on their National service Training and one of volunteers from diverse backgrounds such as members of the Swedish Sailor's Church and the Ulrika Eleonora Swedish Parish in London.
    As ever your thoughts on my ideas are most welcome..

  2. Greate post Björn !

    I didn´t know we sent troops there, good to learn new parts of the swedish history

    Best regards Michael