Swiss Airmed Forces

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Swiss Airmed Forces
German: Schweizer Armee
French: Armée suisse
Italian: Esercito svizzero
Romanisch: Armada svizra
Armee CH logo.svg
Current furmAirmy XXI
Service branchesAirmy
Air Force
Leadership
Commander-in-chiefVacant in peacetime
DDPS MeenisterViola Amherd
Chief o the Airmed ForcesLt Gen Philippe Rebord
Manpower
Militar age19 years o age for male compulsory militar service; 18 years o age for voluntary male an female militar service;
Conscription19–34 years o age (males anelie)
36 for subaltern offeecers, 52 for staff offeecers and heicher
Available for
militar service
1,852,580 males, age 16–49 (2009 est.),
1,807,667 females, age 16–49 (2009 est.)
Fit for
militar service
1,510,259 males, age 16–49 (2009 est.),
1,475,993 females, age 16–49 (2009 est.)
Reachin militar
age annually
48,076 males (2009 est.),
44,049 females (2009 est.)
Active personnelc. 160,000 (2017)[1] (ranked 47th)
Expenditures
BudgetCHF4.53 billion (~US$4.83 billion FY12)[2]
Percent o GDP0.76% (2012)[3]
Relatit airticles
RanksMilitar ranks o the Swiss Airmed Forces

The Swiss Airmed Forces (German: Schweizer Armee, French: Armée suisse, Italian: Esercito svizzero, Romanisch: Armada svizra) operates on laund and in the air. Unner the kintra's militia seestem, professional sodgers constitute a smaw pairt of the militar and the rest are conscripts or volunteers aged 19 tae 34 (in some cases up tae 50). Acause of Swisserland's lang history of neutrality, the Swiss Airmed Forces do nae take pairt in conflicts in ither kintras, but do pairticipate in internaitional peacekeeping missions. Swisserland is pairt of the NATO Pairtnership for Peace programme.[4]

The regulaition of the Swiss militia seestem stipulate that the sodgers keep thair ain personal equipment, including aw personally assigned wappens, at home (until 2007 this an aw includit ammunition[5]), or in an airmourt. Compulsory militar service applies tae aw male Swiss citizens, wi weemen serving voluntarily. Males uisually receive initial orders at the age of 18 for militar conscription eligibility screening. Aboot twa-thirds of young Swiss men are foond suitable for service, while alternative service exists for those foond unsuitable.[6] Annually, approximately 20,000 persons are trained in basic training for 18 weeks (23 weeks for special forces).

The reform "Airmy XXI" replaced the previous model "Airmy 95" and wis adoptit bi popular vote in 2003, reducin manpouer frae 400,000 tae aboot 200,000 personnel, with 120,000 receiving periodic militar training an 80,000 reservists who haeve completit thair tot militar training requirements.[7] A further reform effective in 2018 began the reduction of forces to 100,000 members.

History[eedit | eedit soorce]

Swiss sodgers wi war pigeon in Warld War I

The laund component of the Swiss Airmed Forces originatit frae the cantonal truips o the Auld Swiss Confederacy, cried upon in cases o external threats bi the Tagsatzung or bi the canton in distress. In the federal treaty of 1815, the Tagsatzung prescribed cantonal troops tae put a contingent of 2% of the population of each canton at the federation's disposeetion, amoontin tae a force of some 33,000 men. The cantonal airmies were convertit intae the federal airmy (Bundesheer) wi the consteetution o 1848. Frae this time, it wis illegal for the individual cantons tae declare war or tae sign capitulations or peace agreements. Paragraph 13 explicitly prohibitit the federation frae sustaining a staundin airmy, and the cantons were alloued a maximum staunding force of 300 each (nae including the Landjäger corps, a kind of polis force). Paragraph 18 declarit the "obligation" of every Swiss citizen tae serve in the federal airmy if conscriptit (Wehrpflicht), setting its size at 3% o the population plus a reserve o ain an one hauf that nummer, amoontin tae a total force of some 80,000..

A Swiss Airmy exercise in 1896, as depictit bi Joseph Clemens Kaufmann

The first complete mobilization, unner the command of Hans Herzog, wis triggerit bi the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In 1875, the airmy wis called in tae crush a strike of wirkers at the Gotthard tunnel. Fower wirkers wur killed an 13 wur seiverely wounded.

Paragraph 19 of the revised consteetution of 1874 extendit the defineetion of the federal airmy tae every able-bodied male citizen, swelling the size of the airmy (at least in theory) frae under 150,000 tae mair than 700,000, with population growth during the 20th century rising further tae some 1.5 million, the seicont lairgest airmed force per capita efter the Israel Defense Forces.

A major manoeuvre commandit in 1912 by Ulrich Wille, a reputit Germanophile, convincit visiting European heids of state, in particular Kaiser Wilhelm II, of the efficacy and determeemation of Swiss defences.[8] Wille was subsequently put in command of the seicont complete mobilization in 1914, and Switzerland escapit invasion in the coorse of Warld War I. Wille an aw orderit the suppression of the 1918 general strike (Landesstreik) wi militar force. Three wirkers wur killed, and a rather lairger number of sodgers deed of the Spanish flu during mobilization. In 1932, the airmy wis called tae suppress an anti-fascist demonstration in Geneva. The truips shot deed 13 demonstrators, wounding another 65. This incident lang damaged the airmy's reputation, leading tae persistent calls for its aboleetion amang left-weeng poleeticicans. In baith the 1918 and the 1932 incidents, the troops deployed were consciously selectit frae rural regions sic as the Berner Oberland, fanning the enmity atween the tradeetionaly conservative rural population and the urban wirking class. The third complete mobilization of the airmy tuik place during Warld War II unner the command of Henri Guisan (see an aw Swisserland during the World Wars). The Patrouille des Glaciers race, creautit tae test the abileeties of sodgers, wis creautit durin the war.

Veterans' dragoons squadron in 2006, presenting the uniform of 1972

In the 1960s an 1970s, the airmed forces were organised accordin tae the "Armee 61" structure. Horse moontit cavalry (specifeecaly dragoons) wur retained for combat roles until 1973, and were the last non-ceremonial horse cavalry in Europe, as were bicycle infantry battalions until 2001.[9]

Syne 1989, thare haeve been several attempts tae curb militar activity or even abolish the airmed forces awthegither. A notable referendum on the subject wis heild on 26 November 1989 and, awtho defeatit, did see a significant percentage of the voters in favour of such an initiative.[10] Houaniver, a similar referendum, called for afore, but heild shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001 in the US, wis defeatit bi over 77% of voters.[11]

In 1989, the status of the airmy as a naitional icon wis shaken by a popular initiative aiming at its complete dissolution (see: Group for a Swisserland without an Airmy) receiving 35.6% support. This triggerit a series of reforms and, in 1995, the number of troops wis reduced tae 400,000 ("Armee 95"). Airticle 58.1 of the 1999 consteetution repeats that the airmy is "in principle" organised as a militia, implicitly allouin a smaw number of professional sodgers. A seicont initiative aimed at the airmy's dissolution in late 2001 received a mere 21.9% support.[11] Nevertheless, the airmy wis shrunk again in 2004, tae 220,000 men ("Armee XXI"), including the reserves.

In 2016, the Swiss Federal Assembly votit tae further reduce the army frae 140,000 men tae 100,000 men, reducing the time of basic training frae 21 weeks tae 18, but an aw tae increase the militar budget bi 2.4 billion Swiss francs.[12]

Notes an references[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. DDPS Statistics[deid airtin] Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (French)
  2. Sipri: Data by Country Archived 4 Januar 2015 at the Wayback Machine Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Retrieved 29 March 2014
  3. The World Factbook - Switzerland Archived 29 Mey 2010 at the Wayback Machine Central Intelligence Agency, Retrieved 29 March 2014
  4. Frontières entre police et armée Archived 18 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Cahier du GIPRI, n° 2, 2004
  5. SwissInfo Sodgers can keep guns at hame but not ammo Archived 2 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Swissinfo
  6. "Zwei Drittel der Rekruten diensttauglich". NZZ Online (in German). 11 March 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  7. Armeezahlen www.vbs.admin.ch Archived 9 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine (German)
  8. World War I–Preparation in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  9. Doole, Claire (11 Mey 2001). "End of road for Swiss army cyclists". BBC News. Archived frae the oreeginal on 31 August 2017. Retrieved 5 Februar 2008.
  10. "L'évolution de la politique de sécurité de la Suisse" (in French). NATO. Archived frae the oreeginal on 13 Mey 2009. Retrieved 12 Julie 2009.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Volksabstimmung vom 2. Dezember 2001" (in German). Federal Chancellery. Archived frae the oreeginal on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 12 Julie 2009.
  12. "Army Reforms Given Green Light by Parliament". Swissinfo. 7 Mairch 2016. Archived frae the oreeginal on 11 Apryle 2016. Retrieved 31 Mairch 2016.

Bibliografie[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • John McPhee, La Place de la Concorde Suisse, New York: Noonday Press (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), 1984.
  • Field Army Corps 1, Sécurité au seuil du XXIe siècle: Histoire et vie du Corps d'Armee de Campagne 1, c.2000. ISBN 2-9700264-0-6.
  • MILVOC, German-English Dictionary of military terms from the Swiss Armed Forces

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]