Västerbottens Infantry

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

Origin and History

The regiment was initially raised in 1615 as the Norrland Grand Regiment, one of the nine grand regiments organised by Gustavus Adolphus. It incorporated various fänikors (smaller units of about 500 men) from Västerbottens, Angermannia, Medelpadia, Hälsinge and Gestricia.

In 1624, this grand regiment was organised into sub-units: three field regiments (Västerbottens, Hälsinge and a third regiment transferred to Navy service) and one cavalry regiment.

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

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was understrength and consisted of only 1,056 privates in 2 battalions of 4 companies. Each company should have counted 150 privates and 11 officers, NCOs and musicians.

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

  • E. Lagerbom

Service during the War

In 1757, six companies (about 900 men) of the regiment were sent to Pomerania.

On September 26 1758, a detachment of 150 men of the regiment probably took part in the Combat of Tarmow. Two days later, on September 28, part of the regiment was involved in the successful defence of Fehrbellin against a Prussian assault.

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 white trimmed buttonholes and 2 tin buttons at small of the back
Collar white
Shoulder Straps on the left shoulder with one tin button
Lapels none
Pockets on each side with 3 tin buttons each
Cuffs white
Turnbacks white
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
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.

N.B.: Pengel and Hurt give yellow rather than white as distinctive colour

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 white border.

Musicians

The uniform of the drummers were identical to those of the privates but white laces decorated the collar, seems and pockets.

The drums were brass with provincial coats of arms embossed on the front. The rims were blue with yellow edging.

Colours

The pikes used as staffs to carry the colours were always yellow. The Liffana had gilt 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 upper corner of the first canton carried a white stag surrounded by 13 five-pointed white stars.

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): blue field; centre device consisting of a white stag surrounded by 13 five-pointed white stars; the whole surrounded by a green laurel wreath (yellow as per Schirmer) tied with a gold ribbon.

Liffana - Source: rf-figuren from a template by Hannoverdidi
Kompanifana - 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: Norrland 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

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

English Wikipedia – Västerbottens regemente

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.