Swedish Army

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

Introduction

During the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), Sweden was one of the mightiest if not the mightiest military power in Northern Europe. However, this position was taken by Prussia after the first battle of Fehrbellin in Brandenburg on June 18 1675. The army of the young Prussian state, which had increased from 8,000 to 23,000 men, then chased the Swedish Army up to the heavily fortified town of Riga.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War in 1756, the Swedish economy was not in a very good shape. The Swedish Army was not very well equipped and, during the previous war against Russia in the 1740s, had proven to be in a very bad condition. Furthermore, there was widespread corruption among the leading politicians of the "Hats Party" who equipped the cavalry with useless rifles and bad swords made from brittle steel that often broke in the middle of a fight. But maybe worst was the unusable bridge material that jeopardized General Gustaf David Hamilton's offensive against Berlin during the campaign of 1758. Finally, the Swedish Army started the war without a single light troop unit. Measures were taken in December 1757 to raise a small unit of hussars. Gradually, the Swedes were able to field a light brigade which proved to be very effective against the Prussians.

Another factor who impeded the effectiveness of the Swedish Army was the pseudo-democratic "seniority system" which remained in effect until General Augustin Ehrensvärd, the best and last commander of the Swedish field army, took command. Ehrensvärd promptly broke with the seniority system. He chose young and elite officers for the newly formed light brigade and put it under the command of a brilliant young officer of Swedish-Finnish descent: Major Jacob Magnus Sprengtporten.

Guards

Cavalry

Kunglig Majestäts Livgardet till häst (aka Upplands Liv Regiment)

Infantry

Kunglig Majestäts Livgarde till fot

Household Units

Cavalry

Adelsfanan
Livdragoner

Infantry

Drottningens Livregemente
Kronprinsens

Line Infantry

Organisation
Generalities about the uniforms
Generalities about weapons and equipment

The "Indelta" Regiments (allotted regiments) were a part of the standing army and did service one or two months every year in peacetime. During wartime they served for as long as required. For their part, the "Varvade" Regiments were permanent units of the Swedish Army used mainly for garrison duties.

Swedish Provincial "Indelta" Regiments

Upplands
Skaraborgs
Södermanlands
Kronobergs
Jönköpings
Dalarnas
Östgöta
Hälsinge
Älvsborgs
Västgöta-Dals
Västmanlands
Västerbottens
Kalmar
Närke-Värmlands
Jämtlands

Finnish Provincial "Indelta" Regiments

Åboläns
Björneborgs
Tavastehus
Savolax
Nylands
Österbottens
Elimas

Permanent "Varvade" Regiments

Livdrabantkåren
Cronhjelmska
Löwenfelska
Hamiltonska
Hessensteinska
Posseska
Spenska

Temporary Units

Finnish Grenadiers
I. German Grenadiers
II. German Grenadiers
I. Swedish Grenadiers
II. Swedish Grenadiers
Fabritius Bataljon

Horse

Organisation
Generalities about the uniforms

Smålands
Norra Skånska
Södra Skånska
Östgöta
Jämtlands
Västgöta

Hussars

Blå Husarerna aka Putbus Hussars
Gula Husarerna

Dragoons

Organisation

Nylands
Bohusläns
Karelska

Artillery

Equipment - Guns, Howitzers, Mortars, Carriages

Artillery

Engineers

Engineeers

Light Troops

Organisation

Hästjägare
Husarskyttekår Company
Köhler's Company
Böhnens Fribataljon
Schwarter's Company

References

  • ETAT general. Des Troupes, de sa Majesté le Roy de Suede, comme elles trouvent effectivement l'an 1759. Jacques Andre Frederic, Augsbourg
  • Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Vol. 6 Leuthen, Berlin 1904,

    - chapter C: Das königlich Schwedische Heer, page 92-107
    - appendix: supplement 4, Das Königlich Schwedische Heer 1757 bis 1762, page 11-16

Acknowledgments

Gunnar W. Bergman for the introduction

Thomas Roth, senior curator at the Swedish Army Museum, for additional information on this army