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Särskilda Operationsgruppen (English: Special Operations Task Group, abbreviated SOG, literal translation: Special Operations Group.)[1] is a special mission unit within the Swedish Armed Forces which has been active since 2011. The unit is headquartered at Karlsborg Fortress in Karlsborg, Västra Götaland County.

Särskilda operationsgruppen (SOG)
Special Operations Task Group
Försvarsmaktens specialförband.svg
Active2011–present
CountrySweden Sweden
BranchCoat of Arms of the Swedish Armed Forces Swedish Armed Forces
TypeSpecial Forces
Special Mission Unit
RoleSpecial operations
Direct Action
Special Reconnaissance
Military Assistance
Personnel recovery
Hostage rescue
HVT Raids
SizeClassified
Part ofUnder the direct command of the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces
Garrison/HQKarlsborg
Motto(s)Framåt i natten ("Forward in the night")
Swedish SOG operators practicing CQB.

HistoryEdit

Särskilda operationsgruppen was formed in 2011 by merging the Special Protection Group (SSG) and the Special Reconnaissance Group (SIG).[2]

OrganisationEdit

The Special Operations Task Group (SOG) answers directly to the Supreme Commander and the Director Special Forces. The unit, combined with the Special Forces Command, comprises the Swedish Armed Forces Special Forces (FM SF). In addition to this, there are several special forces support units (FM SOF). The personnel are specially selected, trained and equipped units for air, sea and land infiltration, technical, logistical and medical support. For example: The Special Helicopter Group (SHG), Special Maritime Transportation unit (STE), Special Signals Group (SSE) and the Section for Special Operative Technology (SOT).

SOG consists of two so-called response units (IE). IE1 is focused on combat tasks (Direct Action) and IE2 is focused on intelligence gathering (Special Reconnaissance). IE2 is known to utilize female intelligence personnel to conduct certain HUMINT tasks.

Each SOG response unit (IE) is organized in squadrons, troops and patrols. Three 4 man patrols make up a troop, and an unknown number of troops make up a squadron. Besides the operational elements of the unit there's also a Training Wing, responsible for selection and training of future and current operators. Each operator has a broader skill base than a regular soldier and one or two patrol skills at which he is exceptionally skilled. A typical SOG team consists of four operators: a team leader, a demolitions expert/breacher, a communicator and a combat medic. Each patrol can be augmented with EOD technicians, JTAC-specialists or snipers.

Furthermore, every soldier has an infiltration specialty in either military free fall (HALO/HAHO) or combat diving.

RoleEdit

The most frequent usage of the SOG is during multi-national special operations such as ISAF in Afghanistan or Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq.

SOG combat operations are of great strategic importance that cannot be accomplished by conventional forces or weapon systems. Combat missions can be to eliminate high-value targets or objects of great importance to the enemy, to conduct complex rescue operations of Swedish personnel held captive or hostage, or to gather time-critical intelligence through action.

Special reconnaissance and intelligence gathering is intended to gather information of great tactical importance about the enemy´s activities, enemy personnel or other bits of information of operational significance.

Special Forces can also be tasked with advising and training foreign military units as part of an international peace-keeping military operation.

The unit maintains a high degree of readiness and can be deployed on short notice within a 6000 km radius of Stockholm and can operate in any environment, for example jungle, desert, mountain/alpine, sub-arctic and urban. The unit is deployed on request by the UN, EU or NATO but must then be sanctioned on a political level.

Due to operational security, the unit's capabilities, equipment, operational methods, previous or on-going operations and the identities of their personnel are classified.

The SOG's predecessors, the SSG and SIG, participated in operations in the Balkans, Congo, Tchad and the Central African Republic. Swedish special forces has also been continuously deployed in Afghanistan from the beginning of the conflict up until the withdrawal of ISAF forces in 2014. From 2015 a contingent of around 30 operators from the SOG along with support elements has been participating in Operation Inherent Resolve, acting as advisors for Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Selection & TrainingEdit

Selection is open for Armed Forces members of both sexes who are at least eligible for specialist officer's training.

The candidates are advised to prepare themselves at least six months prior to the selection course and are invited to attend a pre-selection weekend where they will be tested and advised on their likelihood of success or failure and also where they need to improve.

The selection process takes 2–3 weeks and is held once a year. Historically, candidates for SOG´s predecessors, the SSG and SIG, were sought out by the unit and invited to attempt selection. Selection for SOG however, is advertised on the Armed Forces website and on unit garrisons and is open for anyone who meets the basic requirements.

Selection consists of an extremely grueling field exercise, stretching over more than a week, where the candidates are tested on their fitness, field craft and land navigation and the tests are conducted during great stress. The second week consists of psychological tests, similar to those undertaken by fighter pilots. They are also tested for their predisposition for phobias, such as heights and confined spaces. If the candidate is successful, he/she will begin the basic operator course which lasts for 12 months and is divided into three blocks:

  • Basic combat skills
  • Patrol skills
  • Specialist skills

Once completed, the operator will be put in an operational team and can be deployed with the unit.

Personnel applying to join the unit as EOD or JTAC operators undergo the same selection process as the normal operators, but do a shorter 8 month basic operator course, after which they continue with specialist training in the EOD or JTAC function.

Operators train at their own compound at a secret location near Karlsborg, which, among shooting ranges, also features a large multi-story CQB-building, with bullet-absorbing lining in its walls. The building also facilitates helicopter insertions on its roof. Much of their training is also conducted internationally, often alongside the special forces units of Sweden's NATO partners.

Equipment and armamentEdit

The SOG differs greatly from the rest of the Swedish Armed Forces in its equipment and armament. The most noticeable difference is the usage Multicam rather than M90. Operators wear combat uniforms from Crye Precision or Arcteryx, a wide variety of different plate carriers and Ops Core FAST ballistic helmets.[3]

Besides the differences in equipment, the SOG also issues different firearms than the conventional military as well. Most prominently LWRC rifles in both 5.56 and 7.62.[4] Support weapons such as machine guns and anti armour weapons also differ from those usually employed by the conventional military. The standard issue handgun of the unit is the Glock 17.[5]

HeraldryEdit

The SOG coat of arms is blazoned thus: Upon a black shield is a six-pointed star in silver in the upper left corner. The field is crowned with the royal crown and laid upon a towering sword of gold. [6]

The coat of arms was developed by the Armed Forces Board of Traditions and symbolizes the unit´s ability of un-conventional problem solving, effectiveness of duty and clandestine operations, and the asymmetrically positioned star symbolises asymmetric warfare.

The unit insignia, worn by each operator on the combat uniform consists of a winged Norse dagger (Seax) with an asymmetrically positioned six-pointed star.

Personnel within the Swedish Special Operations Forces, SOG and its support units also wear an olive green beret with a black, embroidered cap badge, the only non-metal cap badge within the Swedish Armed Forces.

Similar unitsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Special forces - Försvarsmakten.se". Försvarsmakten. Archived from the original on 26 August 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Under ytan på specialförbanden". Försvarsmakten. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  3. ^ Enander, Dag. "Omedelbart operativa". Försvarsmakten (in Swedish). Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  4. ^ "BREAKING: Swedish SOG and Special Police units to get LWRCI Rifles -". The Firearm Blog. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  5. ^ Enander, Dag. "Omedelbart operativa". Försvarsmakten (in Swedish). Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20111106094333/http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/sv/Forband-och-formagor/Specialforband/Nyheter/Nytt-heraldiskt-vapen/

External linksEdit