Älvsborgs Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Swedish Army >> Älvsborgs Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was initially raised in 1613 as the Västergötlands Storeregement, one of the nine grand regiments organised by Gustavus Adolphus. It incorporated various fänikors (smaller units of about 500 men) from Västergötlands (created in 1540), Dalsland, Skaraborg and Älvsborg.

In 1624, this grand regiment was organised into sub-units: three field regiments (Skaraborg, Älvsborg and Västgöta-Dals) and one cavalry regiment (Västergötlands).

In 1684, the grand regiment was finally broken down into three distinct and independent regiments, giving birth to the Älvsborgs Infantry regiment.

In the Great Northern War in the Homeland at the Norwegian border and in Göteborg from 1703 to 1709: each year 325 men from the Regiment commanded to the Fleet. In the Skane campaign of 1710 and the with Stenbock in Germany, 1712. Captured at Tönningen. Raised again, one battalion in the Norwegian campaign of 1716, the whole Regiment in the Norwegian campaign of 1718.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment consisted of 1,200 privates in 2 battalions of 4 companies. Each company had 150 privates and 11 officers, NCOs and musicians.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • not yet available

Service during the War

Intitially in 1757, the regiment remained in Sweden.

In 1758, 6 companies of the regiment (about 1,000 men) were among the reinforcements sent to Pomerania. On September 15, these companies came to the rescue of a Swedish convoy which had been ambushed by a Prussian force in the forest between Boitzenburg and Lychen. It chased away the Prussian skirmishers with musket volleys. On November 18 1758, a detachment of the regiment was part of general von Lingen's force at the combat of Güstow.

On September 16 1759, during the campaign of Pomerania, the regiment took part in the assault and capture of the fortified town of Wollin, attacking the Amthaus. On October 1, the regiment followed Fersen's Corps when it left the Oder islands to join the main Swedish army in Pasewalk.

The regiment continued to serve in Pomerania until 1761.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
sketches of infantry uniforms from the
Swedish War Archives
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a tin button on the left side
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a blue bag (because of the great similarity of the Prussian and Swedish grenadiers, in the field the mitre was covered with a black wax cloth)
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue with 10 tin buttons down the front with yellow trimmed butonholes and 2 tin buttons at small of the back
Collar saffron yellow
Shoulder Straps on the left shoulder with one tin button
Lapels none
Pockets on each side with 3 tin buttons each
Cuffs saffron yellow
Turnbacks saffron yellow
Waistcoat yellow
Breeches yellow
Gaiters white stockings with brown leather strap at knee
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt broad white leather shoulder-strap
Waistbelt white with brass buckle
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear black shoes with brass buckles


Troopers were armed with a sword and a musket. The bayonet was permanently fixed to the musket.

Other interpretations

Schirmer as well as Pengel & Hurt mention: white breeches, yellow waistcoat, blue collar, blue cuffs, blue turnbacks, yellow lapels and white buttonholes

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of privates with the following differences:

  • silver lace on the tricorne
  • blue collar and cuffs on the coat
  • brass buttons (smaller than those of officers)
  • probably white waistcoat
  • white breeches
  • blue stockings

NCOs carried halberds but no cane.

Officers

Officers wore a blue uniform (coat) with blue distinctives (collar, cuffs, turnbacks). They were further distinguished from privates by:

  • a gold lace on the tricorne
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • a silver gorget
  • brass buttons
  • blue or black breeches (breeches of the same colour as those of the privates were also worn)

N.B.: contrarily to the custom in other armies, Swedish officers did not wear any sash

Horses were equipped with blue housing with a yellow border.

Musicians

The uniform of the drummers was completely white.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with a crowned gold lion carrying a blue shield and weaving a sword. Rims were blue edged yellow.

Colours

The pikes used as staffs to carry the colours were always yellow. The Liffana had gold finials while the Kompanifana had steel finials. The colours measured 2.12 x 1.70 m. (1.81 x 1.33 m. as per Clifford).

Liffana (colonel flag): white field; centre device carried the crowned royal arms of Sweden flanked by 2 crowned golden lions; the outer corner of the first canton carried a crowned gold lion carrying a blue shield and weaving a sword.

N.B.: for the liffana, Clifford adds a pedestal supporting the arms, the letters “AFRS” above the arms and 1 royal crown in the corner of each of the 3 remaining cantons.

Kompanifana (ordonnance flag): field made of black and yellow alternating stripes, starting with yellow at the top; centre device had a field consisting of seven diagonal stripes alternating blue and yellow from left to right, a yellow or gold crowned lion carrying a blue shield charged with 3 yellow crowns in its left hand and wielding a sword with his right hand; the whole surrounded by a green laurel wreath tied with a gold ribbon.

N.B.: Schirmer describes a totally different Kompanifana with a yellow field and 4 blue corner flames with a centre device consisting of a red circle with 4 horizontal white stripes; within the circle the golden lion described above.

Colonel Flag - Source: rf-figuren from a template by Hannoverdidi
Ordonnance Flag - Source: rf-figuren from a template by Hannoverdidi

The colonel's battalion carried the Liffana and a Kompanifana. The lieutenant-colonel's battalion carried 2 Kompanifanor.

References

Economic Expert: Westrogothia Grand Regiment (website)

Großer Generalstab: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen - Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Vol. 6 Leuthen, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher), Berlin 1904, pp.92-107, Annex pp. 11-16

Höglund, Lars-Eric and Ake Sallnäs: The Great Northern War 1700-1721, Colours and Uniforms, Acedia Press, Karlstadt, 2000

Pengel, R. D. and G. R. Hurt: Swedish Army in Pomerania – 1757-1763, Birmingham, 1983

Purky, Jim: Swedish Army Organization, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1

Säwe, Teofron: Sveriges deltagande i Sjuåriga Kriget Åren 1757-1762, Beijers Bokförlagsaktiebolag, Stockholm, 1915

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

Schorr, Dan: Swedish Flags 1757-1762 - Part II Infantry Flags, The Courrier, March-April 1980

Schorr, Dan: Uniforms of the Swedish Army, 1757-1762, The Courrier, June-July 1979

Swedish War Archives, Sketches of infantry uniforms

Wilson, Peter: The Swedish Army in 1756, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.