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The Swedish coastal artillery has its origin in the Archipelago Artillery that was raised in 1866. The Coastal Artillery was formed from the Archipelago Artillery, the Marine Regiment and parts of the Artillery in 1902. Kustartilleriet, abbreviated KA, was an independent branch within the Swedish Navy until July 1, 2000, when the Swedish Coastal Artillery was disbanded and reorganised as the Amfibiekåren (Swedish Amphibious Corps). The changed name and new structure were to reflect the new tasks that the old Coastal Artillery had moved to after the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Warsaw Pact.

Contents

History

The early years

KA or Kustartilleriet can trace its traditions as far back as the old coastal fortresses that were in use around Sweden since the 15th century. In the old days these would have been under the command structure of the fortress artillery department. The real first move to an independent branch was the creation of the Vaxholms Artillerikår in 1889. Before this all artillery units that were stationed on coastal defence fortresses or city fortresses were under the command of the fortress artillery department which in turn was a branch of the Artillery. Since the establishment of the fixed mine defence units during the 19th century, the question of an independent branch of the Swedish armed forces was again raised, This resulted in the creation of the modern Coastal Artillery in 1902 as an independent branch within the Royal Swedish Navy.

The modern Swedish coastal artillery is born

The units created out of the Fortress artillery corps from the army at Vaxholm and Karlskrona fortresses were merged with the Navy’s fixed mine companies and elements of the disbanded Marine Regiment. This resulted in the creation of the first two regiments, in Vaxholm (KA1) and in Karlskrona (KA2).

Detachments from these two regiments were also responsible for keeping units at Fårösund coastal fortress on the northern tip of Gotland and at Älvsborg costal fortresses, located near the main shipping channel into Gothenburg. During the First World War, it was also decided that the area of responsibility should also include the stationing of units at Hemsö and at Luleå (until 1953 a detachment from Älvsborg which, finally, in 1975, was made into a separate regiment, the Härnösand Coastal Artillery Regiment).

World War I

Interwar years

The detachment at Fårösund was reorganised as a separate unit in 1937 and renamed Gotland Coastal Artillery Regiment in 1937.

World War II

After a reduction in units after the 1925 defence proposition there was a significant expansion of all the branches of the Swedish armed forces. In particular, the artillery in the Coastal Artillery was modernised and new materiel made in Sweden and imported from eg Czechoslovakia were introduced. The defense line built on the coast of Skåne during the 2:nd WW is called the Per Albin Line. The detachment in Göteborg was reorganised and expanded into the Älvsborg Coastal Artillery regiment in 1942.

Cold War

With the advent of Marinplan 60 there was a move towards standardization of equipment and an increase in mobile units, one of the most significant additions to the Swedish Coastal Artillery during the 1950s was the creation of the Coastal Ranger companies (Kustjägare) as a mobile reconnaissance and attack component.

The Swedish Coastal Artillery was up to the mid 1990s mostly a collection of fixed and mobile units located in the different Swedish archipelagos. The main purpose of the Swedish Coastal Artillery was to defend and maintain a visible presence in the Swedish archipelago, and even in peacetime maintain a high level of readiness. Units that where stationed around the more important shipping lanes and other naval installations around Sweden were fully manned, even in peacetime.

During the 1980s there was a general move towards modernization in the Swedish defense forces and the Coastal Artillery received several new weapon systems in the 1980s and 1990s, like the new 12/70 TAP fixed artillery system, the mobile artillery system 12/80 KARIN, the Stridsbåt 90 combat craft and missile systems like the RBS-15 and RBS-17 (anti-shipping version of AGM-114 Hellfire). The Coastal Artillery also modernized its ASW or anti-submarine capabilities in a response to the submarine incursions that plagued Sweden during the 1980s and early 1990s. Also, this was a step towards an increased ability to monitor and maintain high level of surveillance of Sweden’s harbours and shipping lanes against any foreign undersea aggression or incursion into Swedish territorial waters.

The Swedish Coastal Artillery was in a constant level of development during the last century as the threat levels changed around the world, the main threat to Sweden after the Second World War was the threat of a war in Europe. Even if Sweden had not been directly involved, there was always a risk of an incursion into Sweden of a foreign power during a major war in Europe.

Swedish Amphibious Corps

In 2000, following the decision to decommission the artillery units, the name was changed to the Amphibious Corps.

Swedish coastal artillery Regiments 1902-2000

  • KA1, Vaxholm Coastal Artillery Regiment based at Rindö in the Stockholm archipelago, still active as Amf1, First Amphibious Regiment, based at Berga naval base, Stockholm
  • KA2, Karlskrona Coastal Artillery Regiment, based in Karlskrona, disbanded in 2000
  • KA3, Fårösund Coastal Artillery Regiment, based at Fårösund,Gotland, disbanded in 2000
  • KA4, Älvsborg Coastal Artillery Regiment, based at Kärringberget, Gothenburg, renamed Amf4 Älvsborg Amphibious Regiment in 2000 and finally disbanded in 2005
  • KA5, Härnösands Coastal Artillery Regiment, based at Härnösand, disbanded in 1997

Notes and references

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