The conscripts from Sweden’s Life Regiment Hussars (K3), an elite cavalry division involved in intelligence and paratrooper training and stationed in Karlsborg in central Sweden, had angered their superiors by packing too many clothes.
Several commanders stood by for the collective punishment, which took place on an abandoned training field last autumn, according to several media reports.
“We view the matter very seriously. To collectively punish someone is never okay and what the commander did can’t be accepted by our leadership or by the Armed Forces at large,” said Christoffer Lindqvist of the Conscription Council (Värnpliktsrådet), to the Aftonbladet newspaper.
The platoon hadn’t received a list of what to bring with them for combat training, so conscripts instead packed what they saw as appropriate.
“When they then arrived out at the location, an officer inspected their packs and noticed that they had taken way too many clothes with them,” said Lindqvist.
As a punishment, the soldiers were ordered to drop their pants to their knees and crawl around on the grass.
Collective punishment is prohibited with the Swedish Armed Forces. But sources told Aftonbladet the phenomenon isn’t out of the ordinary for K3.
“We’re also very concerned about that. There have been other things that have happened before,” said Linqvist.
The officer who ordered the punishment has received a formal reprimand from K3’s leadership, but the commanders who stood by and watched as soldiers crawled in the grass with their pants down have not been punished.
On its website, the Life Regiment Hussars claim to be “light, highly mobile units with substantial strike power” with “long experience in the area of intelligence.”
The collective pantsing incident marks the second time the K3 regiment has been in the news recently.
In late September, the unit also made headlines after a demolition team blew up the wrong house during a routine training exercise.