Carl Eric Almgren

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Carl Eric Almgren
Carl Eric Almgren.jpg
Born (1913-03-04)4 March 1913
Linköping, Sweden
Died 20 May 2001(2001-05-20) (aged 88)
Täby, Sweden
Allegiance Sweden
Service/branch Swedish Army
Years of service 1934–1976
Rank General
Commands held Jämtland Ranger Regiment
Chief of the Defence Staff
Eastern Military Area
Commandant General in Stockholm
Chief of the Army
Awards Knight of the Order of the Sword[1]
Knight of the Order of Vasa[1]
and more

Carl Eric Åke Almgren (4 March 1913 – 20 May 2001) was a Swedish Army general. Almgren served as Chief of the Defence Staff from 1961 to 1967, military commander of the Eastern Military Area (Milo Ö) from 1967 to 1969 and as the Chief of the Army from 1969 to 1976.

Early life

Almgren was born in Linköping, Sweden, the son of captain Carl Almgren and his wife Esther (née Tell).[2] The father, Carl, who derived from a farming family, was a commissioned officer in the Life Grenadier Regiment, where he was among the more prominent representatives of his corps and had several positions both in the regiment and in the city of Linköping.[3] He did very well in school and was chairman of the school association. It is said to have been a disappointment for Almgren's teacher that with his striking theoretical endowment did not choose the academic path.[4] Almgren was an avid reader and in 1930 at the age of 17 he read, according to his reading records, 198 books; ie almost four books per week.[5]

Almgren graduated from Linköpings högre allmänna läroverket with exceptionally high grades on 4 June 1931. A week later he stood as an officer cadet outside the barracks of the Life Grenadier Regiment, the year after his father had resigned.[3] At Military Academy Karlberg, he would have been the top student, if he had not been too outspoken. He graduaded third best in his class and at the Royal Swedish Army Staff College he graduated with some of the best grades awarded.[4] Almgren was appointed in April 1934 to officership at Jönköpings-Kalmar Regiment. In 1936 he became a lieutenant and went through the Infantry Officer School. The winter of 1938 to 1939, he studied Russian on a scholarship in Tallinn.[3] Apart from Russian, he also spoke English, German and French fluently.[5]


In October 1939, Almgren was appointed assistant military attaché in Tallinn, Riga, and Kaunas.[2] With placement in Tallinn, he became interested in the tense global political activities. The Soviet Union invasion in 1940 ended his ability to act as attaché, so he was told to observe the Soviet tanks when they crossed the Estonian border.[3] During the war years he served, among other things, in the war preparedness organized army corps and division staff's and attended the Royal Swedish Army Staff College from 1941 to 1943.[3] Almgren was promoted to captain in 1942 and was an officer candidate in the General Staff Corps and the captain of the same in 1945. In the next post-war years, he was placed at the Army Inspectorate's Central Department and the Army Staff's Organization Department, while he taught at the Royal Swedish Army Staff College in tactics and staff service and a shorter time at the Swedish Air Force Flying School.[3]

In 1949 he was appointed captain of Västernorrland Regiment (I 21) and he was promoted to major in the General Staff Corps in 1951. Almgren was a teacher at the newly established Swedish National Defence College from 1951 to 1953 and was placed at the Defence Staff and then as head of the Army Staff's Tactics Department.[3] Almgren was promoted lieutenant colonel in the General Staff Corps in 1955.[2] He was head of the Defence Staff's Army Department, a central post with influence over operational planning and cooperation between the central staff's.[3] He returned to the troop service as training officer in Hälsinge Regiment (I 14) in 1957 and was appointed to colonel and commander of Jämtland Ranger Regiment (I 5) in 1960.

Almgren (center) and Colonel Sten Geijer visits Lieutenant General Donn. R. Papke, FORSCOM Deputy Commander at Fort McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1975.

Already the following year in 1961 he took up the post as Chief of the Defence Staff, while also being promoted to major general. In 1966 he was promoted to lieutenant general, and in 1967 he was appointed military commander of the Eastern Military Area (Milo Ö), and also the Commandant General in Stockholm. Almgren was then Chief of the Army from 1969 to 1976.[2] When he took office the 1968 Defense Policy had just been put into force. Having lost their previous political agreement between the Social Democrats and the centre-right parties, and it was obvious that the Supreme Commander's military and political assessments accorded less importance. The appropriations frame shrank, the fixed mark-up for technological development disappeared, and the carefully calculated price compensation system previously in force was replaced by a less favorable net price index.[3]

Among Almgren's contributions during his six years as Chief of the Army's was to improve leadership, staff treatment and training methods, as his predecessor Curt Göransson had initiated and that despite no small resistance pushed through a merger of regiments and defense area staffs; the provincial regiments thus regained its original role to both coordinate the defense of their own counties and train brigades for national defense. These far-sighted reforms survived, unfortunately, not the so-called restructuring in the 1990s.[6] By the time of his retirement as army chief, he was promoted to general.[2]

Other work

Alongside the traditional career had his services been used in numerous investigations and special assignments. Almgren was secretary of the Army Officers Training Committee from 1943 to 1946, member of the 1948 Air Defense Committee, expert in the committee for voluntary defence in 1949, expert in the ÖB investigations of 1947, 1954, 1957, 1962 and 1965, expert in the 1962 Defence Committee and the 1965 Defense Investigation, member of the board of the Swedish Civil Defence League (Sveriges civilförsvarsförbund) from 1956 to 1957, the Total Defence's head-board (Totalförsvaret chefsnämnd), the Total Defence's information board (Totalförsvarets upplysningsnämnd), the National Singal Security Board (Statens signalskyddsnämnd) and the presidium of the Central Association of Society and Defence.[3]

Almgren was also a military employee of Stockholms-Tidningen in two periods 1943-1946 and 1952-1954.[2] During his time as Chief of the Army 1969-1976 he was at the same time chairman of the Swedish Army Museum. He put a great effort in the Fältjägare Association (Föreningen Fältjägare) in Stockholm and often attended meetings of the Swedish Military History Commission (Svenska militärhistoriska kommissionen) and could occasionally find amusement in the cultural evenings with the Idun Society (Sällskapet Idun). At the military academy Almgren had served as a palace poet.[3]

He became an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences in 1952. Almgren was chairman of the academy's Section I, Land Warfare Studies from 1970 to 1975 and was president of the academy from 1969 to 1971.[3]

Later life

In the obituaries Almgren was termed as extraordinarily talented and extremely hardworking. It also appears that he could be perceived as harsh in his criticism of the persons who in his opinion did not measure up. It also emphasizes that he gladly wrote verse that he performed on various occasions. He also had a strong Christian faith.[5] After his resignation he got involved in The Salvation Army. In 1983 he entered the Salvation Army's counsel and worked actively to plan the activities in crisis situations. In the early 1990s, he followed closely the efforts to build the organization in the Baltic states.[3]

Among his former colleagues the perception of him was diverse. General Carl Björeman said that when you asked Almgren a question and came up with a proposal that he did not like, you felt as a subordinate officer but still not dejected. The opposite was not unusual.[5] Almgren was for many years an active member of Försvarsfrämjandet,[7] an organization that primarily works with advocacy for a strong defense.

Personal life

In 1938 he married Lisa Salomonsson (1910–1988), the daughter of Anton Salomonsson and Edla (née Sköld).[2] Almgren was the father of Bo (born 1943) and Åke (born 1946).[8]

Dates of rank

Awards and decoration

  • Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Sword[9]
  • Knight of the Order of Vasa[8]
  • Home Guard gold medal of merit (Hemvärnets förtjänstmedalj i guld)[8]
  • Swedish Civil Defence League's badge of merit in gold (Sveriges civilförsvarsförbund förtjänsttecken i guld)[8]
  • Central Federation for Voluntary Military Training's silver medal (Centralförbundet för befälsutbildnings silvermedalj)[8]
  • SLSM?[8]
  • Central Board of the National Swedish Rifle Association's silver medal (Sveriges skytteförbunds överstyrelses silvermedalj)[8]
  • Finnish War Memorial Medal (Finsk krigsminnesmedalj)[8]


  • André, Beaufre; Almgren, Carl Eric; Almström, Carl-Erik (1966). Modern strategi för fred och krig [Modern strategy for peace and war]. Militärlitteraturföreningen, 99-0119708-2 ; 241Prisma, 99-0330598-2 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Prisma. LIBRIS 30884.
  • Almgren, Carl Eric; Lorents, Yngve (1959). Atlantpakten under tio år [North Atlantic Alliance during ten years]. 1950-talets världspolitik, 99-0305721-0 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Utrikespolit. inst. LIBRIS 666991.
  • Almgren, Carl Eric (1956). De moderne våben og deres indflydelse på strategien [The modern weapons and their impact on strategy]. Udenrigspolitiske skrifter, 0109-1654 ; 2:2 (in Danish). København: Det udenrigspolitiske selskab & Det danske forlag. LIBRIS 792851.


  1. ^ a b Sveriges statskalender för året 1955 (in Swedish). Stockholm: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1955. p. 96.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Uddling, Hans; Paabo, Katrin, eds. (1992). Vem är det: svensk biografisk handbok. 1993 [Who is it: Swedish biographical handbook. 1993] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. p. 44. ISBN 91-1-914072-X.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Norberg, Erik (2001). "Minnesteckningar över bortgångna ledamöter 2000-2001" [Memory of deceased members, 2000-2001] (in Swedish). Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Unger, Gunnar (1961). "Namn att minnas – Carl Eric Almgren" [Name to remember – Carl Eric Almgren] (PDF). Svensk tidskrift (in Swedish). Stockholm: Svensk tidskrift: 493. LIBRIS 8258426. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  5. ^ a b c d Söderberg, Ulf (2011). "Den ivrigt läsande generalen" [The eagerly reading General] (PDF). Biblis (in Swedish). 2011 (54): 62–66 : ill. ISSN 1403-3313. 1403-3313. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. ^ Sagrén, Åke; Holm, Karl Eric; Björeman, Carl (2001-05-25). "DÖDSFALL: Carl Eric Almgren" [DEATH: Carl Eric Almgren]. Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  7. ^ "Carl Eric Almgren har avlidit" [Carl Eric Almgren has died]. Fritt militärt forum: tidskrift för Försvarsfrämjandet (in Swedish). Stockholm: Försvarsfrämjandet (2). 2001. LIBRIS 8261892. Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Harnesk, Paul, ed. (1962). Vem är vem? 1, Stor-Stockholm [Who is who? 1, Greater Stockholm] (in Swedish) (2nd ed.). Stockholm: Vem är vem. p. 32.
  9. ^ Från Carl XVI Gustafs trontillträde [From Carl XVI Gustaf's accession to the throne] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Sveriges Television. 19 September 1973. Event occurs at 21:45. Retrieved 21 March 2016.

External links

  • Article about Almgren's reading habits
Military offices
Preceded by
Curt Göransson
Chief of the Defence Staff
Succeeded by
Stig Synnergren
Preceded by
Gustav Åkerman
Military commander of the Eastern Military Area
Commandant General in Stockholm

Succeeded by
Ove Ljung
Preceded by
Curt Göransson
Chief of the Army
Succeeded by
Nils Sköld
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
President of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences
Succeeded by
Stig Norén
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