Bork! Bork! Swedes apparently like their personal space in war just as much as they do in person, because in Wargame: Red Dragon, they come as one of the most firepower-centric factions, perfect for keeping enemy infantry, tanks, and vehicles at a good and comfortable reach with cluster bombers, artillery, and rapid firing cheese wedge tanks! Sweden generally gets played as the centerpiece of Scandinavia in Wargame: Red Dragon, but what happens if you go the extra mile and embrace them on their own? Just how good is Sweden as a national deck, and how does it stand up against other nations? The answer is complicated, since Sweden has a mix of some of some phenomenal strengths and yet also some major capability gaps, so get some Swedish meatballs, some vodka, and hold on for the ride through the arsenal of Sweden in Wargame: Red Dragon!
Sweden in WG: RD is a minor nation, and the only European BLUFOR nation which gets an availability boost of 30% - all others get either 20% or 40%. 30% is both a nice benefit for numbers on the ground - and in the air, where it effectively means a 50% boost in aircraft numbers for many categories - but signals that the nation with the 30% boost should generally be able to put a reasonably well rounded army into the field, but with some gaps and weaknesses that larger factions wouldn't have. This isn't always true - Australia for example, despite probably being the worst faction in WG: RD, gets a 30% boost instead of a 40% one, but it is more a rule of thumb rather than always true.
So what about Sweden? Sweden has a surprisingly good armored tab, with an excellent range of tanks across the spectrum - some very unique ones in the middle particularly. It has an outstanding artillery arm, thanks entirely to its Bkan autoreloaded artillery. Its air tab is generally competent, although it lacks some key units. And its infantry has some good forces, although it lacks others. Sweden misses more units than other 30% factions such as Korea or Czechoslovakia, but it makes up for it with some incredibly good special units and strengths. It is a faction focused overwhelmingly on firepower and which is very strong defensively, which makes up for its clumsiness with destructive power.
Command and Logistics
Sweden's command and logistics branch is reasonably effective, albeit with some limitations. It has an excellent vehicle CV, the Stripbv 90 which only costs 130 points and yet provides at least 2 armor all around, making it much more resistant against artillery shells. It also has the normal range of infantry CVs, in a decent range of transports, and naturally the FOB. It does however, lack for 30 point trucks, leaving one reliant on 20 point vehicles at best.
Swedish infantry is an odd bunch. Along among the Scandinavian nations (at least the Blufor ones, Finland is on Redfor), it gets ATGM infantry, and it has commando infantry, line infantry, shock infantry, flamethrowers, militia, manpads, and light infantry - but no 10-man shock infantry designed for anti-infantry combat. Worse, its transport options do not include a 5-point vehicle, a grave problem for providing cheap, sustained infantry presence on the ground. All of Sweden's transports are either wheeled, or come in the IFV format, which makes them very expensive. The autocannon IFVs are reasonably decent - the Pbv 302A has very good armor for 15 points, although its autocannon is mediocre, and the Strf 9040 is an excellent heavy IFV with very good capabilities against enemy light and medium vehicles and good armor. Unfortunately these are much less useful in city fighting and drive up costs. Wheeled units are even more mediocre, without any good wheeled 2 armored transports, only the decidedly average Patgb XA-180 which at least has good speed, is amphibious, possesses a heavy machine gun - but whose lack of armor protection means that it will quickly die and take many of its passengers with it under enemy fire. The Tgb m/42 s roughly equivalent, but only comes for a limited selection of infantry, with the line infantry, ATGM, reservists, and such options. The Amfibiebil is even worse, since it has no armor, but it will be a necessary choice for some units since it is the only option around for a ground transport. The final option is the Tgb 13 which is the best truck in the game - still only costing 5 points, but which actually has a high off-road speed. It still has the same problems of all other trucks - completely unarmored and only 5 HP, meaning that it is instantly incinerated by almost anything and normally with all of its passengers as well. Still, the fact that it is so cheap and fast means that for some infantry it is a good choice.
The infantry carried in these transports are decisively slanted towards AT, rather than anti-infantry, firepower - with the Pansarskytte and Pansarskytte '90 both costing 15 points, based upon having more powerful AT weaponry. The Pansarskytte '90 is the normal choice, with a 19 AP, 700 meter range, 20 round per minute, 50% accuracy AT weapon - quite good. Unfortunately the battle rifle and machine guns are just average. They get all of the 10 point wheeled vehicle transport options, and the IFVs, plus helicopters- although only strictly for transport purposes and very low HP. Other than the militia, which are not worth taking sicne they cost 10 points and come in a 10 point transport, carry bad weapons, and so aren't cost effective at either fighting or dying, the only other option is the Kunstjagere and Kunstjagere '90 - both 35 points. Carrying one of the best 700 meter range AP weapon in the game, with 25 AP, and 20 rounds per minute, although only passable 45% accuracy (this is much helped by their elite status), they have the problem of an only average rifle and a sub-par machine gun, which makes them less effective against infantry by special forces standards - although still quite good, and their 15 HP makes them survivable. However, their transports are atrocious, with only a 10 point truck or helicopters. Unless if one prefers building up a large number of helicopters to spam into combat at a later point, they are probably best deployed in these trucks. While these two units thus give good AT capacity against enemy vehicles, their high cost and limited transport options makes them not very combat effective.
Thankfully, Sweden's saving grace is the Norrlandsjägare, recoilless rifle armed shock infantry. Although their battle rifles make them of dubious effectiveness in a pure anti-infantry role, their combination of large size giving them high HP, good stand-off range on their recoilless rifle, and access to a decent wheeled transport makes them very useful for seizing positions at the beginning of the game and denying a range around them to the enemy, and difficult to dislodge due to their high HP. They get access to both the 5 point truck - making them much more cost effective than most Swedish infantry when deployed in it - and the 10 point APC, which is the best that Sweden has for opening motorized movements.
The ATGM unit, the Pvrgp RBS 56 is one of the oddest in the game, with a 5 man size - making it much more durable than most ATGM teams, capable of taking a hit from tanks - very high 26 AP, good 50% accuracy, and lots of rounds, 8 of them. Their drawback? Only good stealth which makes them much more likely to be spotted, and worst, only 2,250 meter range - the same as most tanks they fight. Not only do this mean that they can be shot back at, but they deny a much smaller degree of territory than most ATGMs. While they're still an essential pick, other ATGMs are better.
In an unspec deck, it generally is not worth it to take MANPADs, but Sweden's RBS 90 is one of the best - with decent 55% accuracy, the longest range in the game at 2,800 meter, and 5 man health which gives them greater HP and survivability. Their problem is that like the ATGM team, they have less stealth, and if one wants to use them against planes, only 4 HE - making them substantially less effective, since they either need to finish off a plane which had already been damaged to 6 or less HE, or shoot and hit with 3 missiles, very difficult. But with only 5 infantry slots, and 1 most often taken up by an ATGM, the RBS 90 simply can't fit.
The final option is the flamethrower squad, which is good in forests against infantry or in city fights, but its lack of any AT potential and excessive specialization means that it is generally not worth it, especially as it lacks any particularly good transports with only the IFVs and 10 point vehicles. If one finds success in a mix of it and other infantry to fight in a forest, good, but overall too specialized.
What verdict about Sweden's infantry? Generally, it performs its roles adequately - but it is not at all cost effective, meaning that it has to rely upon substantial usage of fire support and fire power to defeat the enemy. My lineup consists of Pansarskytte '90 in a STRF 90 40, two Norrlandsjagare in a 5 point and 10 point wheeled vehicle respectively (the first for the closest thing one can get to grinding shock infantry, the second for motorized openers), an RBS 56 in a 10 point APC, and a Kustjagare '90 in a 10 point wheeled truck for commando infantry.
If there is one uniquely hated and unique Swedish unit, it is the Bkan, the autoloaded, machine-gun like Swedish 155mm artillery piece, whose incredible rate of fire rains down death on the enemy and drains your supply trucks and FOB of shells at an even faster rate. With an ammunition magazine of 14 rounds, which it fires around once every 3 seconds, it can lay down a withering hail of fire. Unfortunately, it uses up a massive amount of supplies doing so. Sweden could if it wanted start with 2 FOBs, since its trucks are not efficient enough to support this fire, but this is dreadfully expensive at the start of the game and requires another valuable slot in its tab. Generally not worth it.
It is a valid option to consider taking the Bkan 1A instead of the Bkan 1C - because it consumes roughly half as much in the way of supplies as the Bkan 1C, at the price of less accuracy, and above all else lacking a 10 second aim-time fire control system, requiring instead 30 seconds to fire. But once it does aim it still fires at the same rate and can still be useful for carpeting an area with shells. My solution has been to use the Bkan 1A to provide area bombardment and destroying enemy FOBs - where its long aim time and more limited accuracy is less important - and for the AMOS to provide fire support closer to the front.
The AMOS? What's that? Like the Bkan, the AMOS has the highest rate of fire of any mortar of its class in the game - firing 2 shells when other mortars fire 1, with excellent precision, good range at 7,700 meters, on a surprisingly well armored chassis - and paying a commensurate price, at 65 points. This still means that compared to most 120mm, 5 HE mortar equivalents it is more competitive purely for laying down HE shells, although the West German HS.30 mortar which only costs 30 points is more cost effective than even it. True, many of these mortars are less accurate - but often for a mortar one actually wants less accuracy, since that means that the smoke clouds, which a mortar is most often tasked with producing, spread out over a wider area. Furthermore the AMOS only carries 42 rounds, which it runs through with shocking speed, requiring supply trucks to constantly be deployed to support it. Still, for actual killing power, it is an excellent option - thus why I use it to provide frontline support artillery, while the Bkan 1A deals with general bombardment and rear area shots.
Sweden's air defense is not the best, but thankfully it is reasonably good. The cornerstone of its anti-helicopter defense for me is the Rover RBS-90, which has 2,800 meter range, 4 HE, 55% accuracy, infrared missiles, on a highly mobile chassis, for just 35 points. Excellent for the initial rush to engagement zones, it gives some air detection at least. However, it lacks heavily for anti-plane range and radar AA really is necessary for sufficient air detection.
This role is fulfilled by the RBS 67 HAWK, a base, un-upgraded, HAWK missile - with the advantage of at least being cheap at just 40 points, a 9 HE missile, and offering very good air detection, but whose 3,800 meter range is short by the standards of heavy AA and which has very poor accuracy at 40%. Even when upgraded, it normally takes 2 or even 3 HAWKs together to reliably kill a plane. Still, it is decent enough and with 8 of them when upgraded, one is not going to run out of them.
The final options to take are Sweden's SPAAGs. The cheapest one, at just 10 points, is thoroughly useless - awful damage and range which means one will be lucky to kill anything with it, and one of the shortest autonomies in the game which means one will be hard pressed to even get it into position. Thankfully the 40 and 50 point SPAAGs are decent enough, radar-directed, 2,800 meter anti-helicopter, range, 2,625 meter anti-aircraft range, with the top one even being stabilized in motion, and giving 3 AP at up to 1,925 meter range on a 5 armor chassis - not an Otomatic, but still a useful ground fire support vehicle. Generally, I take this one, the LVKV 90.
Other than artillery support, probably the best element of Sweden's armory is its tank forces, as it has a good collection of vehicles for fire support, medium tanks, and a heavy-superheavy tank that can be purchased in impressive quantities. The large number of armored forces that can be deployed provides for a surprisingly large and effective tank arm. It is both unique, and quite special for a Blufor 30% availability bonus minor nation.
To start with, Sweden does get somehing of a superheavy, although it really borders the zone where a superheavy and heavy tank cross over, as the Strv 121 has a superheavy tank's gun, with 23 AP, 65% accuracy, and 60% stabilizer - all very good - but on a chassis which "only" has 19 armor frontally, making it far more vulnerable than most superheavies which have 21 to 22 armor, or even 23 in the case of the Challenger 2. This means that it cannot fight effectively in a 1v1 battle against enemy superheavies, and requires either greater numbers or more effective tactics. Its advantage is that it is osmewhat cheaper, at 155 points, and that one can either get 4 of it are hardened or 3 of it at trained, with 2 cards! Theoretically, one can get up to 8 of them. But in a 1v1, it is very unlikely that one will even deploy more than 3, much less 8 - thus why I personally go for 3 at trained.
Moving downwards along the price tree is the Strv 103 line, one of the most unique in the game. When the Swedes were building a new tank in the 1950s and 1960s to deal with the threat of Soviet armor, they built a thoroughly original tank which looked more like an assault gun or tank. It was however, designed and intended to be used as a real tank. Arguably, its combination of low profile, low weight, protection, high mobility, autoloader, and effective armament made it into one of the best tanks in the world when it was introduced, but the eventual introduction of stabilizers onto tanks permitting real on the move firing capacity made it obsolete. In Wargame, this lack means that they are much less effective offensively.
On the defense however, the Strv 103 makes for a great tank destroyer - particularly its top evolution, the Strv 103D, which has 17 AP, 65% accuracy, 15 frontal armor, and a small size which reduces the probability of hitting it - and 15 rounds per minute! This is nearly twice the level of most tanks, and is autoloaded so it keeps up this rate of fire constantly. High acceleration is paired to this, so it is rather maneuverable. Fighting defensively, I would rank it very well against comparable medium tanks like the K1, Mexas, M1Wilk, and M-84A. Unfortunately, it runs into problems offensively as said before.
The Strv 103C is marginally, but definitely worse, losing AP, armor, and vision, although it is amphibious. It probably is still worth taking for this since there are a lack of other viable options once all of the good untis have been selected, to deal with the activation points left over. Strv 103A has only 2,100 meter range, only 12 AP, and only 10 armor. Although it still has the impressive 15 rounds per minute, there are other units which cumulatively put out about as much HE for the same price, and collectively better survivability and flexibility, so i wouldn't recommend it.
Sweden's turreted tank line are models of the Centurion. The most expensive, 55 point one, is surprisingly good - it has to be deployed with supporting units since it only has poor optics, but it has a quite good 16 AP, 2,250 meter range, very accurate at 70% gun, much improved speed compared to other Centurions, and while the 10 armor won't break any records, it will generally protect it against most Redfor ATGMs for one shot and many tanks will not one shot it at least. The cheapest Centurion is the only other interesting model - for only 30 points one gets 9 armor, 3 HE, 10 AP, and 45% accuracy. Although the speed is dreadful, it makes for a useful infantry support tank.
Although only average, Sweden's reconnaissance tab is workable. It gets shock recon infantry with decent transports, a poor but acceptable tracked reconnaissance fighting vehicle, an exceptional optics vehicle, and a recon helicopter. While it may lack for fighting helicopter reconnaissance, commando reconnaissance, and it could use a better reconnaissance fighting vehicle, as a whole it can get reconnaissance done acceptably.
The Swedish reconnaissance infantry, the Fallskarnsjagere, gets a Carl Gustav M3, whose high 60% accuracy is married to good 18 AP, making it far better at killing enemy tanks than some reconnaissance infantry. Its SMG and machine gun armament are acceptable, if unspectacular, at killing enemy infantry. It gets both reasonable transport helicopters and access to the acceptable Swedish 10 point wheeled APC. Overall, an excellent shock recon option.
Its tracked reconnaissance vehicle however, is rather mediocre - since it has one of the worst autocannons in the game, the Akan m/470. But thankfully it is cheap at 20 points, and while the autocannon has limited accuracy, damage, and ammunition, at least it is surprisingly well armored. It makes for an effective vehicle for flank defense and skirmishing, even if it shouldn't be relied upon against direct enemy action.
Exceptional optics vehicles are certainly not mandatory and are mostly unnecessary, only being useful sometimes in forests or niche circumstances, but Sweden does have one. Furthermore it has a reconnaissance helicopter which is decent - 40 points and fast enough, making it useful to cover openers.
While nothing is really exceptional in Sweden's reconnaissance tab, it covers them all sufficiently that it does its job effectively.
Sweden's vehicle tab is largely mediocre, with some exceptions. It lacks the brutally effective fire support options that the United States or the Soviet Union has, such as the M163 CS for gunning down infantry, the BMPT for a heavily armored forest fighting vehicle, its ATGM armed vehicles lack for either range or AP firepower (these are generally not very useful anyway, but at least 2,625 meter range missiles can hope to deny a large area and get a shot or two in before a tank kills them: the 2,250 meter range Swedish tank destroyer enjoys no such advantage as it has the same range as a tank, and is easily spotted and destroyed). However, there are thankfully two effective vehicles: the IKV 103 and IKV 105. The IKV 103 is an extremely cheap infantry support gun - with a HEAT-firing 1,925 meter range, 3 HE, 7 AP, 20% accuracy, weapon, on a 2 armor chassis with poor speed and autonomy. It isn't very good - but it is cheap, and so can be surprisingly useful in giving numerous fire support to infantry. Not nearly as good as the best fire support vehicle in the game, the South Korean M36 which costs the same but has an AP gun with 8 AP and the same range, but 40% accuracy - but workable. The IKV 105 meanwhile, for only 35 points, offers a vehicle with 3 armor, 2,100 meter range, 16 AP, and medium optics. This is a very useful little tank destroyer.
One of Sweden's unfortunate omissions is that it has no real, viable, helicopters. Its only non-transport helicopter is the Pvhkp 9A, an I-Tow armed tank destroyer helicopter. Unfortunately the I-Tow only has 20 AP which makes it ineffective against enemy heavy tanks, except when it can be used for flanking. Other tank destroyer helicopters tend to have either more AP, or more range, and the combination of 20 AP and 2,625 meter range makes it much less useful, and the helicopter chassis is not terribly fast either. The Pvhkp 9a might still be worth taking to provide at least some mobile AT firepower, but it is certainly a mediocre unit.
Sweden's air tab is fairly unique, as it has an exceptional cluster bomber plane, a very good workhorse fighter, a not-quite elite but still very good 150 point fighter, an ATGM plane (albeit a mediocre one), a 30% availability bonus granting large numbers - but no real bomber, and no SEAD.
To start with fighters, Sweden gets the choice of both the JA 37 Viggen and the Jas-39 Gripen. The JA 37 Viggen is a particularly impressive airplane, only costing 105 points but armed with excellent (for their price) 50% accuracy, 6 HE, 7,700 meter range SA (meaning that the missile has to conclusively hit or miss before another one can be fired) missiles - which synergize very well with the 4 HE secondary missiles it carries, and the 4 HE anti-aircraft missiles on Swedish MANPADs and the RBS-90. While its secondary infrared missiles are relatively low in accuracy, at just 40%, the cheap cost of the plane means that they can be deployed in large numbers - and you get up to 3 of them on elite! Elite status is extremely important for fighter accuracy, since each additional veterancy level adds 10% accuracy. Combined with 30% ECM, and they are extremely effective air defense fighters - or more interceptors, since their mediocre cannon, limited 400 meter turning circle, and 900 kilometer top speed makes them ill suited to close range engagement. A pair of them however, can be extremely useful in sweeping the sky.
The more expensive alternative is the JAS-39 Gripen, armed with 4 excellent long range fire and forget AMRAAMs, excellent maneuverability, an improved 40% ECM, improved infrared secondary missiles, and a 1,000 kilometer per hour top speed. Overall, it is a very good fighter, even if its cannon is worse than equivalent fighters (but generally this doesn't matter too much) but costs 150 points - making it substantially more expensive, and instead of 3 at elite, 3 of it at hardened exist, which are substantially less accurate. Generally, I would choose the Viggen - but if one is in a team game it is possible to get both or to choose the more expensive Gripen.
The other exceptional unit in Sweden's air line up is the AJS 37 Viggen, which has the highest AP of any cluster bomber in a game - 10, and 4 bombs. This means that unlike most cluster bombers, it can hope to kill a superheavy tank in one pass, and it has a somewhat reasonable chance of doing so with 30% ECM. Its negative aspect is that it carries fewer bombs than most cluster bombers, limited its area of effect against many targets, and the same problem as other ones - that the bombs fall slowly and so can be easily dodged. Still, in forest fights or other situations where tanks have limited maneuverability, it is an excellent option.
For the rest of Sweden's air force, the situation is less rosy. One of Wargame's most important units is the fire and forget anti-tank missile plane - which Sweden has with the AJ 37 Viggen, somewhat the Swedish equivalent to the West German Peace Rhine as it carries 2 fire and forget 26 AP missiles. The Peace Rhine is widely viewed as an excellent anti-tank plane, since while it lacks the capacity to reliably kill enemy superheavy tanks from the front, it is cheap, versatile, the missiles are reasonably accurate, and survivable since the missiles fires and it evacs immediately - plus it has an excellent cannon and surprisingly good short range infrared missiles, making it useful for point defense. The Swedish AJS 37 receives few of these benefits, since while it is cheap as well due to having the exact same cost, it has much less accuracy on the missiles at only 40%, making them unreliable against enemy tanks, they are shorter ranged which means it has to approach somewhat closer to the enemy AA network, and it lacks a cannon and has atrocious secondary missiles. Its only real bonus is having a 30% ECM as compared to 20% ECM - but this is not worth all of the trade offs, particularly since it has to get closer to fire its missiles anyway. Thankfully, one gets 3 of them instead of 2 like the Peace Rhine, but they are only hardened instead of trained unless if one gets only 1 elite, making them even less accurate. They' workable, but mediocre.
There is also a rocket plane, with the J35F Draken, offering a usable air-to-ground rocket salvo and a surprisingly effective air-to-air rocket salvo, useful against helicopters. It is cheap, fast, and maneuverable, although it lacks ECM. But its drawback is that it doesn't automatically evac when it fires its ground rockets, requiring either the air-to-air rockets to be manually disabled, or for it to be manually evacuated - easy to forget and which can result in heightened casualties. Still, it is a useful plane and offers the only anti-infantry plane in Sweden's air force.
For, other than a napalm plane - which is decent but unspectacular - there is no bomber in Sweden's air force. This means that Sweden must depend entirely on its artillery to provide ground support for its units. While this is normally fine - Sweden's artillery is excellent - this can be a painful lack of flexibility at times.
The most serious missing element is a SEAD plane. Without SEAD, offensively using Swedish planes is very difficult. While artillery can kill enemy AA, this means waiting until they have fired and exposed themselves, and hopefully hitting them before they have moved - a chancy and not always guaranteed business. This means that the Swedish air potential is much more limited and defense than it could be otherwise. Which perhaps sums it up as a whole - very good at fighter and air defense and stopping enemy massed tank attacks, but thoroughly mediocre at offensive strikes.
None of Sweden's specializations are really worth it, as it loses even more of its precious few infantry when mechanized, its motorized option loses it its vital fire support options, armored struggles to fill up a tank tab, and only support caters to Sweden's strengths of lots of artillery - but makes it even less capable of fighting on the front line.
Sweden is notably less flexible than some other 30% nations, such as Czechoslovakia, and its forces are definitely slanted to heavy armor, heavy artillery, and heavy IFVs. It lacks significantly for a an offensive air force, for motorized firepower, helicopters, and grinding infantry to provide numbers and anti-infantry performance. This makes it good at reasonably open maps or mid-range engagement maps, with rolling patterns of forest and small buildings, terrible at city fighting, and generally poor at forest fights.
If possible, an initial forward position should be seized with motorized units of Norrlandsjägare, preferably a building. They are protected by RBS 90 missile trucks, and with shock reconnaissance to spot for them. Following up afterwards come the tanks to support them against the enemy attack. With a combined force of tanks, and the dug-in firepower of the Norrlandsjägare, plus supporting fire against enemy troop clusters from the AMOS, the enemy main attack is defeated. Once this is done, the map can be picketed with reconnaissance fighting vehicles and ATGMs emplaced, and enemy units picked off with artillery, and likely concentration zones bombarded. Reconnaissance behind the lines with shock recon infantry will reveal enemy FOBs and CVs to be shot. Attempts at tank attacks are met by AJ 37 Viggens firing ATGMs, or AJS 37 Viggens dropping cluster bombs on enemy tank clusters.
Examples of this strategy being optimally suited include Mud Fight, most of Highway to Seoul, parts of Punchbowl, and areas of Paddy Field. Unfortunately, it tends to run into problems with other maps. Nuclear Winter is Approaching for example, revolves around significant city fighting. If the city is not taken early on - and the relatively open nature of terrain in front of the city, and the typical motorized battle which happens here, means this is far from inevitable - fighting into it is very difficult. Generally, in places where there are lots of cities, Sweden has to depend on lots of fire support around the exterior, and heavy artillery bombardments.
Sweden's lack of flexibility makes it a difficult nation to play 1v1, but it is fun and rewarding when you win. Certainly, Scandinavia, which corrects Sweden's deficiencies in infantry, its lack of bombers, gives further reconnaissance options, additional anti-aircraft potential, SEAD, and generally helps to balance out Sweden's focus on overwhelming artillery firepower at the expense of everything else, is much better. But Sweden on its own still can stand for itself, and presents a challenge and set of problems in of itself that are unique and interesting to overcome.