The Danish Brigade in Sweden

The Danish Brigade in Sweden (Danish: Den Danske Brigade i Sverige) or in short, the Danish Brigade (Den Danske Brigade/DDB) (also referred to as Danforce) was a military unit made up of Danish refugees during World War 2. Trained and supplied by Sweden, the brigade was created to help liberate Denmark. Ultimately it was only deployed on the day of the German surrender in the country and was involved in very little fighting.


On 9 April 1940 Denmark was invaded by Nazi Germany and quickly surrendered. Most of the Danish Army followed the order to capitulate. Colonel Helge Bennike, the commander of the 4th Regiment based at Roskilde believed that the order to surrender had been forced on the government by the Germans and that Sweden had also been attacked. Instead of surrendering, Bennike and his unit boarded the ferry in Elsinore to Sweden and went into exile. After the misunderstanding was later cleared up, most Danish soldiers stayed in Sweden while others returned to Denmark.

Following the transit of German troops through Sweden, Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson pushed for the training and equipping of 7,500 Danish “police troops.” This was met with opposition in his cabinet, but a plan was eventually agreed upon in December 1943.


The Swedish government loaned 25 million kroner to the Danish legation to fund the training and arming of the Brigade. Enrollment was on a voluntary basis. The Danish soldiers from Roskilde formed the nucleus of the new force. Around 750 Jews who had escape occupied Denmark enlisted. The Danish soldiers were among other weapons equipped with the Swedish Mauser M/96 long rifles and bayonets.

In the fall of 1944 the Swedish Air Force oversaw the training of Danish pilots at Såtenäs, who were subsequently organized into a squadron equipped with SAAB 17 bomber-reconnaissance aircraft.

The Danish Flotilla

The Danish Flotilla (Danish: Den Danske Flotille) was formed with ships primarily of the Danish Royal Navy that had escaped to Sweden.

Liberation of Denmark

The Swedish government delayed the deployment of the Brigade to Denmark so as to not complicate the surrender of German forces there. Most of the German occupation force surrendered without incident to Allied troops on 5 May 1945. However, three Danish soldiers were killed in a firefight as they marched into Copenhagen.


Most of the officers of the Brigade were influenced by the Swedish military doctrine (based on German strategy) which they learned during their exile and carried their knowledge into the restructured Danish Army following the war. On the anniversary of Operation Safari in 1947, veterans of the Brigade erected a monument to the three soldiers killed during liberation near the Provincial Archive of Zealand in Copenhagen.