Danish Defence Research Database


Kampbataljonens udvikling fra 1980’ernes mobiliseringsforsvar frem til nutidens totalforsvar

Student thesis: Diploma Thesis

  • Jens Pontus Thage
Afgangsprojekt, (Diploma)
This assignment initially sets out trying to discover how the combat battalion of the 1980’ies cold war defence, partially transformed into the battalion battlegroup of the modern Danish Army as seen during deployments in international conflicts such as Afghanistan, the Balkans and Iraq. The purpose of this paper is also too cast light on the matter, with the help of a model developed at the Royal Danish Defence College called the ‘circuit of warfare’ as explained by Mikkel Storm Jensen. The model seeks to explain how you can analyse military units through a study of the inner and outer circuits and their influence on each other. This paper, however, only seeks to explain society’s influence on the balance between doctrine, organization and technology within the combat battalion. The research method is a comparative analysis, where the model is used as the primer for the analysis which separately investigates the combat battalion of the 1980’ies Danish Army and its modern battalion battlegroup counterpart. This gives us two similar analyses, from two different periods of time. After the analysis, they are compared and discussed; this then gives us the following reasons for the difference between the two models of battalion-sized units. First, the general view on doctrine has changed in Denmark, whereas the cold war defence was fully focused on a defensive style warfare, where the initiator of war would always be The Soviet Union, and the role of The Danish Army in cooperation with NATO, was to make sure to hold back the Soviets until they could be reinforced by, American or British troops who then would counter-attack in the North-Western European theatre. The role of the battalion battlegroup changed because of a more dynamic theatre of operations, where the most important factor for the battlegroup was, and still is, the initiative which is gained through offensive action. Important for the changes, were also the organizational and technological changes that happened in the period between the two analysed eras. But most importantly, a change in the political landscape of Denmark, during the late 1980’ies and in 2004, took place. In this phase, the fundamental use of The Danish Army changed from a territorial defence based on wartime mobilization to a small modern high-technological expeditionary force fighting far away from Danish shores. This transformation was caused mainly by two things, first the collapse of The Soviet Union meant that the threat against Danish territory was gone, at least for a foreseeable future. Secondly, a large part of Danish politicians wanted a more active role in what became known as the liberal world order, which followed the aftermath of the Soviet breakup. The before mentioned happenings helped shape the combat units of The Danish Army into the way they function today. Furthermore, this study demonstrates how the political impact seems to be more decisive and direct, than what similar studies previously have shown. This could prove important with regards to the ongoing discussions in Danish media, about the recently proposed changes, that suggests a return, at least partly, to a territorial defence based on a classic brigade sized unit capable of participating in all-out warfare scenarios against an evenly matched enemy, such as e.g. modern Russia.
Publication date3 Nov 2017
Number of pages57
Publishing institutionHærens Officersskole
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