Karelska Dragoons

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Origin and History

The regiment, raised in 1628 in Eastern Finland as the Vyborgsläns kavalleriregementet, descended from the Karelska ryttare of 1618. Indelta in 1690.

During the Great Northern War, the regiment was initially stationed in Livland with Wellingk's Corps in Spring 1700. In 1704, it was attached to Lewenhaupt's Corps. In 1708, it took part in the campaign in Lithuania, finally joining the main Swedish Army in Ukraine. In July 1709, a few days after the Battle of Poltava, the regiment surrendered to the Russian Army at Perovolotjna. However, it was reconstituted in 1710 and with the Army of Finland thereafter. It served with Armfeldt in the Norwegian campaign of 1718.

In 1721, at the Peace of Nystad, Sweden lost most of the Province of Vyborg where the regiment usually recruited. Thus, the regiment was reduced to only 730 men in 6 companies.

In 1724, the regiment was transformed into a dragoon regiment (Karelska dragonskvadronen).

In 1744, after the cession of further Finnish territories to Russia, the regiment was reduced to only 242 men: 2 companies of 100 men each in Savolax and half a company (42 men) in another district. These companies were now known as the Karelska Dragoon Corps.

In 1753, the regiment incorporated the company of Kymmenegårdsläns.

Exceptionally, the regiment counted only 2 ½ companies (242 men) instead of the usual 6 to 8 companies of other line cavalry regiments. It was usually attached to the Nylands Dragoons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • no information available yet

Service during the War

During the entire Seven Years' War, the regiment remained in Finland and did not take part in any campaign.



Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1757
Headgear black tricorne without lace and with a brass button on the left side
Neck stock black
Coat medium blue lined red with 12 brass buttons down the front and 2 brass buttons in the small of the back
Collar red (later yellow)
Shoulder strap medium blue fastened with 1 brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (later yellow), each with 3 brass buttons
Turnbacks red (later yellow)
Waistcoat red (later yellow)
Breeches buckskin or reindeer skin
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather bandolier
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Bayonet scabbard none
Gloves chamois
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Housings medium blue laced red (later yellow)
Holster caps medium blue laced red (later yellow)
Blanket roll medium blue

Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols, a short dragoon musket and a bayonet.


The officers wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • a gold laced tricorne
  • black breeches (sometimes)
  • housings and holster caps laced gold


The NCOS wore the same uniform as the troopers with the unique distinction of a narrow golden lace on the tricorne.


The musicians wore medium blue uniforms with red swallow nests laced yellow or white at the shoulders. The uniform had no additional laces.

The drums were made of brass with red rims. The trumpets were made of brass with a medium blue banner.


The pikes used as staffs to carry the colours were always striped in blue and yellow. The standards were, and gold and silver cords, tassels and fringe.

Lifstandar (colonel standard): white field; borders heavily embroidered in gold and silver; centre device carried the crowned royal arms of Sweden flanked by 2 crowned golden lions; the upper inner corner carried a silver armoured arm holding a sword.

Kompanistandar (ordonnance standard): red field

  • Obverse: centre device consisting of a silver armoured arm holding a sword (left) facing a blue “Saracen” arm waving a scimitar (right); the whole surmounted by a small golden crown.
  • Reverse: borders heavily embroidered in gold and silver; centre device consisting of the golden royal cipher “AF” surmounted by a gold crown; 2 golden palm branches beneath tied with a red ribbon.
Lifstandar - Source: rf-figuren using elements of a template by Hannoverdidi
Kompanistandar - Source: rf-figuren

The colonel's squadron carried the Lifstandar, each other squadron had a Kompanistandar.


Brolin, Gunnar: 18th C. Swedish Military Flags - Part I: Standards and Guidons, 18th Century Military Notes & Queries No. 5

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)

Höglund, Lars-Eric and Sallnäs, Ake: 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

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

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.