Hessensteinska Infantry

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

Origin and History

This permanent "Varvade" regiment was initially formed as a training unit in Västgöta. In 1719, it was stationed at Göteborg. It consisted of troops from Västgöta, Västraskånska, Östraskånska and mountain troops. It counted 1,088 men in 2 battalions of 4 companies recruited at Göteborg. Each company had 125 privates and 11 officers, NCOs and musicians.

In 1755, the regiment garrisoned Göteborg and the fortresses of Karlstens and Bohus. A few companies were also stationed in Filand.

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

  • since 1747 until 1769: Hessenstein

Service during the War

During the entire Seven Years' War, 500 men of the regiment garrisoned Göteborg in Sweden and the other 500 men Loviisa in Finland.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
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 buttonholes 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

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

Other interpretations

Schirmer as well as Pengel and Hurt mention white trimmed buttonholes.

NCOs

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

  • a silver lace on the tricorne
  • brass buttons (smaller than those of officers)

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 were usually yellow with the addition of plain white swallows nest on each shoulder. There were no other lace on the sleeves, etc.

The drums were brass. The rims were blue with yellow edging.

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), probably the common Varvade Liffana: white field; centre device was the crowned King's monogram surrounded by palm branches tied with a gold or yellow ribbon.

Kompanifana (Ordonnance flag): yellow field; centre device consisted of a blue circle with 3 diagonal waved stripes (running from top left) , the circle charged with a crowned gold lion; each corner carried a golden royal ciphers surmounted by a gold crown.

Liffana - Source: Hannoverdidi
Kompanifana - Source: rf-figuren

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

References

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

Högman, Hans: Svenska regementen under indelningsverkets dagar (broken link)

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

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, vol. III, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989, pp. 25-38

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

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