Latvian Land Forces

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The Latvian Land Forces (Latvian: Sauszemes Spēki, SzS) together with the Latvian National Guard form the land warfare branch of the Latvian National Armed Forces. Since 2007, land forces are organized as a fully professional standing army.

Latvian Land Forces
Sauszemes spēki
Latvian Land Forces logo.png
Latvian Land Forces emblem
Active1918 - 1940
1991 - present
Country Latvia
RoleLand force
Size~6,500 professionals, 8,000 National Guard, and 3,000 reserve personnel (Military of Latvia)
Part ofLatvian National Armed Forces
Motto(s)Vienotībā spēks (Power in unity)[1]
AnniversariesApril 30, Land Forces Day
May 4, Independence Restoration and Armed Forces Day
EngagementsWar of Independence
Iraq War (2003)
War in Afghanistan (2001)
Commanders
CommanderColonel Sandris Gaugers[2]

MissionEdit

The main missions of the national Land Forces are to:

  • Provide for the defense of all national territories;
  • Ensure combat readiness and the mobilization of units;
  • Dispose of explosive ordnance;
  • Provide public assistance.

StructureEdit

Latvian military units and bases[3]
Note: "Special Tasks Unit" is a special forces unit of battalion size.
 
Structure of the Latvian Armed Forces, 2019
  •   Mechanized Infantry Brigade[4]
    •   Headquarters
    •   Headquarters and Signal Company
    •   1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion
      • Headquarters and Support Company
      • 1st Mechanized Infantry Company
      • 2nd Mechanized Infantry Company
      • 3rd Mechanized Infantry Company
      • Combat Service Support Company
    •   2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion
      • Headquarters and Support Company
      • 1st Mechanized Infantry Company
      • 2nd Mechanized Infantry Company
      • 3rd Mechanized Infantry Company
      • Combat Service Support Company
    •   3rd Infantry Battalion (trains active service soldiers, national guardsmen and reserve soldiers)
      • Headquarters and Support Company
      • 1st Infantry Company
      • 2nd Infantry Company
      • 3rd Infantry Company
      • Combat Service Support Company
    •   Artillery Unit (M109A5Ö howitzers)
    •   Combat Support Battalion
      • Staff and Signal Company
      • Anti-tank Company (Spike-LR missiles)
      • Fire Support Company
      • Engineer Company
      • Military Intelligence Company
      • Forward Air Control Unit
    •   Combat Service Support Battalion
      • Staff and Signal Company
      • Supply and Transport Company
      • Technical Support and Maintenance Company
      • Medical Company

CooperationEdit

 
Latvian, US, and Afghan soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan

Since 1996 till today the National Armed Forces' soldiers have been deployed on nine international peace-keeping missions in Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Central African Republic, Georgia, Iraq, Kosovo, Macedonia and Somalia.[5] Starting from January 1, 2015, Latvian Armed Forces are taking part in EU's Nordic Battle Group.[6][7] On March 29, 2004, Latvia became a fully fledged member of the NATO.[8]

EquipmentEdit

Personal equipmentEdit

 
A Latvian Army soldier uses hand signals to communicate with his comrades during exercise Saber Junction 15. Note the LATPAT camouflage pattern and BEAR-II vest

The equipment of the Latvian Land Forces troops includes:

  • LatPat , Multi-LatPat and WoodLatPat (Latvian digital camouflage uniform).
  • Norwegian BEAR-II load bearing armor system
  • Kevlar helmet
  • Night vision device

Infantry weaponsEdit

Model Image Origin Variant Caliber Details
Pistols
Glock pistol     Austria Glock 17
Glock 19
Glock 21
Glock 26
9×19mm Parabellum Standard issue pistol.[9][10][11]
Shotguns and submachine guns
Remington 870     United States 12 gauge [11]
Heckler & Koch MP7     Germany MP7A1 HK 4.6×30mm [11]
Heckler & Koch MP5     Germany MP5A3 9×19mm Parabellum [11]
Heckler & Koch UMP     Germany UMP9 9×19mm Parabellum Standard issue submachine gun.[9][11]
Assault rifles
M16 rifle     United States M16A1 Used only as ceremonial weapon by the Guard of Honor of the Staff Battalion.
Heckler & Koch G36C     Germany G36KV 5.56×45mm NATO Standard issue assault rifle.[9][10][11]
Sniper rifles
Heckler & Koch HK417     Germany 7.62×51mm NATO [11]
Accuracy International Arctic Warfare     United Kingdom AW
AXMC
AX50
7.62×51mm NATO
12.7×99mm NATO
AW variant used to be the standard issue sniper rifle.[9][11]
PGM Hecate II     France 12.7×99mm NATO Standard issue heavy sniper rifle.[9][10][11]
Barrett M107     United States 12.7×99mm NATO [11]
Machine guns
FN Minimi     Belgium 5.56×45mm NATO Standard issue light machine gun.[9][10][11]
FN MAG     Sweden Kulspruta 58 B 7.62×51mm NATO [10][11]
M2 Browning machine gun     United States M2HB-QCB 12.7×99mm NATO [12][11]
Grenade launchers
Heckler & Koch AG36     Germany 40x46mm [9][11]
Heckler & Koch GMG     Germany 40x53mm [9][10][11]
Anti-tank weapons
AT4     Sweden 84 mm [10]
Carl Gustav recoilless rifle     Sweden 84 mm [10][11] M2 variant used by the National Guard.[13]
SPIKE     Israel SR
LR I
LR II
ER II
[10][11][14]
UAVs
AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma     United States RQ-20A 3 systems, each having 3 UAVs[15]
UAV Factory Penguin C   Latvia Penguin C long-endurance UAVs[16]

Military vehiclesEdit

Name Image Origin Type Variants Quantity Notes
Armoured reconnaissance vehicles
CVR(T)     United Kingdom Armoured reconnaissance vehicle
Scimitar
Sultan
Spartan
Samson
Samaritan
123[17] All vehicles will be upgraded and overhauled. Some of them will be equipped with SPIKE anti-tank guided missiles.[18]
Armoured cars
HMMWV     United States Armoured car M1043A2
M1113
30
8
Ten vehicles donated by USA in 2005.[19] Possibly 28 more purchased later.[20] Some equipped with HK GMG, M2 Browning and SPIKE ATGM
Mercedes-Benz G-Class     Germany Armoured car 290GD 50 [21][22]
Snatch Land Rover     United Kingdom Armoured car 9 [23]
Trucks
Scania     Sweden Truck
P93
NM154
184
8
134 P93 trucks and 8 NM154 recovery vehicles donated by Norway in 2013. 50 more trucks purchased in 2014.[21]
Mercedes-Benz Unimog     Germany Truck 120[24]
Light vehicles
Mercedes-Benz G-Class     Germany SUV
240GD
300GDN
[21][25]
Land Rover Defender     United Kingdom SUV
D110
2 D110 variant used by military police.[26]
Polaris RZR     United States FAV
MRZR-2
MRZR-4
MV850
62[27] Option for up to 130 vehicles.[28]
Can-Am Outlander     Finland ATV
Outlander MAX 650XT
582[29] [30]
Special vehicles
Bv 206     Sweden Amphibious tracked vehicle
Bv 206A
Bv 206F
Donated by Sweden in 2002 and 2003.[31]

ArtilleryEdit

Model Image Origin Caliber Quantity Details
Mortars
L16 81mm mortar     United Kingdom
  Norway
81 mm
GrW 86     Austria 120 mm Purchased from Austria in 2017.[32]
Self-propelled artillery
M109A5Ö
Rechenstellenpanzer M109
    United States
  Austria
155 mm 35
10
35 howitzers, 10 command and control vehicles and 2 driver training vehicles purchased from Austria in 2017.[33]

Rank structure[34]Edit

The rank structure of the Latvian army is adjusted to the rank structure of the NATO countries in Europe. Rank insignia are worn historically on the collars and today also on shoulder marks. Starting 2016, only the Staff Battalion wears the collar insignia.

Officers of the Latvian Army
Generals Officers
Rank insignia                  
Rank Lieutenant General
Ģenerālleitnants
Major General
Ģenerālmajors
Brigadier General
Brigādes Ģenerālis
Colonel
Pulkvedis
Lieutenant Colonel
Pulkvežleitnants
Major
Majors
Captain
Kapteinis
First Lieutenant
Virsleitnants
Second Lieutenant
Leitnants
NATO Rank Grade OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Non-Commissioned Officers of the Latvian army
Sergeants Privates
Rank insignia                
Rank Senior Warrant Officer
Augstākais virsseržants
Warrant Officer
Galvenais virsseržants
Senior Sergeant
Štāba virsseržants
Sergeant First Class
Virsseržants
Sergeant
Seržants
Corporal
Kaprālis
Private First Class
Dižkareivis
Private
Kareivis
NATO Rank Grade OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Simbolika". Nacionālie bruņotie spēki. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Nacionālie bruņotie spēki". Retrieved 8 June 2019.
  3. ^ Jane's World Armies Issue 23 - 2008
  4. ^ "Mechanized Infantry Brigade". Latvian Army. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Nacionālie bruņotie spēki". Archived from the original on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2015-02-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-23. Retrieved 2015-02-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Member countries". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Par ieroču modeļu noteikšanu un iepirkumu Nacionālo bruņoto spēku vajadzībām". likumi.lv (in Latvian). 28 July 2005.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Faktu lapa "Nacionālie bruņotie spēki" (2008)". www.mod.gov.lv (in Latvian). Archived from the original on 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "AM sagatavojusi jaunus armijas ieroču standartus". www.tvnet.lv (in Latvian). LETA. 12 July 2018.
  12. ^ "NBS par 1,8 miljoniem eiro iegādāsies 'Browning M2' ložmetējus". www.delfi.lv (in Latvian). BNS. 21 December 2014.
  13. ^ Tupp, Enn (2018). "Zemessardze - KASP-i ja Kaitseliidu vääriline partner". Kaitse Kodu! (in Estonian). Kaitseliit. 1: 34. ISSN 1406-3387.
  14. ^ "Latvia takes delivery of new Spike missile variants". janes.com. 7 March 2020.
  15. ^ "Latvian army with US support to receive EUR 2.4 million worth of drones". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Latvia acquires Penguin C long-endurance UAVs". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Latvian army purchases UK armoured combat vehicles". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Latvia to continue purchases of Spike anti-tank missiles". Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Latviešu karavīru draugs «Hummer»". tvnet.lv. 1 June 2005.
  20. ^ "Par ASV naudu pirks «Hummer»". apollo.lv (in Latvian). 10 July 2005.
  21. ^ a b c "Bruņotie spēki saņem Norvēģijā pirktās automašīnas un ieročus" (in Latvian). Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  22. ^ "UNROCA original report - Latvia 2015". www.unroca.org.
  23. ^ "Latvian soldiers leave for the operation in Central African Republic". Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  24. ^ "2019. gadā turpinājās NBS un Zemessardzes vienību bruņojuma modernizācija". sargs.lv. 13 January 2020.
  25. ^ ""Latvijas Avīze" atmasko: Kad galvā lido šķīvīši…" (in Latvian). 20 June 2017.
  26. ^ "MLR PT.21 ~ LATVIAN MILITARY POLICE D110 SW". joint-forces.com. 28 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Latvijas armija saņems ar ASV atbalstu sagādātus 62 taktiskos transportlīdzekļus" (in Latvian). delfi.lv. Retrieved 6 Feb 2018.
  28. ^ "All 47 howitzers bought from Austria are now in Latvia". eng.lsm.lv. 18 October 2018.
  29. ^ "2019. gadā turpinājās NBS un Zemessardzes vienību bruņojuma modernizācija". sargs.lv. 13 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Bruņotie spēki no Somijas iegādājušies 6x6 bezceļa transportlīdzekļus" (in Latvian). 15 June 2018.
  31. ^ Kristovskis, Gatis (12 June 2018). "Latvia to buy parts of used all-terrain carriers from Sweden for EUR 5.7 million". LETA.
  32. ^ "Latvia gets from Austria second-hand 120 mm mortars". leta.lv. 4 October 2017.
  33. ^ "ARMOUR FOCUS – NEW LATVIAN M109 SPH". joint-forces.com. 4 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Latvia Latvian Army ranks military combat field uniforms dress grades uniformes combat armee lettone - Army Recognition - Army Recognition". Retrieved 24 December 2014.