Coastal Rangers (Kustjägarna): Courage, Power, Vitality

Sweden military, Swedish Coastal Rangers - Kustjägarna (KJ)
Sweden’s Coastal Rangers (Kustjägarna, KJ) (Photo: Swedish MoD)

The 202nd Coastal Ranger Company (or just Coastal Rangers) is an elite special force from Sweden, and they are part of the Amphibious platoon in the Swedish Navy. In the event of war, their main role would be to retake islands and parts of the Swedish coast from the enemy. The Coastal Rangers, in Sweden known as Kustjägarna (KJ), undergo a rigorous training and selection process, and they are one of the most highly trained units in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF).

Introduction

Sweden’s Coastal Rangers are equipped and trained for insertions from the sea, mostly using a fast assault craft called Stridsbåt 90 H (Combat Boat 90 Half – CB90H). The special-made boat is 15 meters long and capable of speeds over 35 knots. It can stop very quickly indeed – from 35 to 0 knots within 10 meters! The Coastal Rangers are also trained for silent insertion with special-made canoes.

Stridsbåt 90 H (Combat Boat 90 Half - CB90H) is a class of fast military assault craft originally developed for the Swedish Navy by Dockstavarvet
Stridsbåt 90 H (Combat Boat 90 Half – CB90H) is a class of fast military assault craft originally developed for the Swedish Navy by Dockstavarvet (Photo: Swedish Navy)

Role

As a special operations-capable reconnaissance unit, the Coastal Ranger’s main tasks are to gather intelligence, conduct raids, and commit sabotage. They are experts in what is known internationally as “brown water” or “green water operations” that can be generally described as operations in areas where the ocean meets land. Archipelagos, river deltas, large rivers, and large lakes are examples of such areas.

The Coastal Ranger is trained at the 1st Marine Regiment, headquartered at Berga Naval Base located in east-central Sweden.

The Coastal Rangers (Kustjägarna) motto is Mod, Kraft, Spänst (“Courage, Power, Vitality”).

History

The Coastal Rangers was created on September 15, 1956, and modeled after the British post-World War II marine commando forces such as the Special Boat Service (SBS) and U.S. Underwater Demolition Teams to create a highly mobile force that had the flexibility to operate behind enemy lines and conduct raids against an invading force in the littoral areas of Sweden. The Coastal Rangers was during the late parts of the cold war used mainly as a very highly trained light infantry/commando unit whose main tasks were amphibious landings and assaults.

Sweden's Coastal rangers jumps off a Piasecki H-21 helicopter in late 1950s
Sweden’s Coastal rangers jump off a Piasecki H-21 helicopter in the late 1950s (Photo: XY)

Like the United States Navy SEALs, Sweden’s Coastal Rangers / Kustjägarna also have the trident as their insignia. During their training, the Kustjägarna are also awarded a green beret just like in the US Special Forces and the Ranger tab, just like in the United States Army Ranger School.

Training and selection

The Commando selection to become a Coastal Rangers member includes a forced march (6.5 kilometers with 20 kg backpack to be completed in 42 minutes) and a steeplechase course over water and land across 65 kilometers backpack. The Ranger course includes an endurance march with a full pack and canoeing 200 kilometers in 48 hours.

Coastal Ranger with the trident and green beret
Coastal Ranger with the trident and green beret (Photo: XY)

The Attack Divers course at the Coastal Ranger/Commando School (Kustjaegarskolan) lasts nine months. It includes diving using the Aga-Oxydive close-circuit systems. One of the last major tests the divers have to pass before graduation is a two-kilometer swim between different islands, which must have an accuracy of 10 meters from start to the endpoint.

Organizational chart

The Coastal Ranger Company is responsible for providing intelligence to the rest of the 1st Marine Regiment. The company is divided into two elements, the Assault/Commando element and the frogmen reconnaissance element (attackdykarna). While both elements are experts in deep reconnaissance and direct action, the Commando element is more oriented on direct action than the Reconnaissance element. Still, the ability to conduct underwater insertions and the high stealth capability of the Reconnaissance element make them the favorite choice for certain reconnaissance missions.

After the first two months of Coastal Ranger training, each individual belonging to the Commando and the Reconnaissance elements gets specialized training depending on their assigned tasks in the teams. There are 4–8 operators in every team, and the team is organized by different specializations:

  • Team Leader
  • Communications specialist
  • Medic
  • Demolitions expert

Each company also has support assets, and these are:

  • Sniper/Spotter
  • Fire Support

Weapons and equipment

The Coastal Rangers are equipped with a wide range of modern weapons, very similar to the world’s most elite forces of similar purpose. Most common is the Swedish AK 5 (a highly modified FN FNC) with an underslung Colt M203 grenade launcher. They also use the AK 4 (Heckler & Koch G3) and the KSP90 (FN Minimi LMG). Officers can also use the Glock 17/19 semi-auto pistol. They also have available a range of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

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