Swedish Horse Organisation

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Introduction

The organisation of the Swedish army at the beginning of the Seven Years' War dated back to the reign of king Karl XI at the end of the XVIIth century. It was based on a system known as “Indelningsverk” where the “Indelta” units formed the greater part of the army. During peacetime only the foot guards and a few other regiments were maintained through recruitment. These regiments, along with the artillery, assumed garrison duty in various places and in the provinces on the other shore of the Baltic.

Since ancient times, the Swedish cavalry was formed by the tax-free nobility which assumed “Noble Horse Service”. However, by mid-XVIIIth century, this source of recruitment was not enough to complement the ranks of the cavalry and, since the Vasa dynasty, each landowner had to contribute a cavalryman or pay to be exempted from this duty. Towards the end of the XVIth century, in order to increase the number of contributors to this system, farms belonging to the royal domain were organised into categories. However, the administrators of certain of these farms were exempted from contribution.

From the reign of Karl XI, the confiscation of the state domain was vigorously carried out. Particularly during the reign of queen Christina, the crown extended this organisation throughout the kingdom.

The Guard cavalry included the Adelsfanan regiment which was prohibited to serve outside the territories of Sweden and Finland.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the entire cavalry (line cavalry, dragoons, Adelsfanan) totalled 10,146 men.

Composition and Organisation

In 1756, to the exception of the Adelsfanan regiment, each Swedish line cavalry regiments was organised into 8 companies. Exceptionally, the Upplands Liv Regiment counted 12 companies. Besides these 2 units, there were 6 other cuirassier regiments designated as rytarre.

Regimental Staff

no information available yet

Organisation of a Regiment

Each cuirassier regiment consisted of 8 companies. In the field, each of these companies formed a squadron. Two squadrons could be combined to form a “main squadron”.

Organisation of a Company

A company counted 125 men and consisted of:

  • 1 ryttmastare
  • 1 lieutenant
  • 1 ensign
  • 1 quartermaster
  • 3 corporals
  • 1 trumpeter
  • 97 to 117 troopers

Colour-bearers

no information available yet

Drill

Since 1756, a squadron (corresponding to a company) deployed 3 ranks deep.

References

This article contains texts translated from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • 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

Other sources

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

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

Wilson, Peter, Swedish Politics and Armed Forces in the Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1