Post Without an Interesting Title: The Swedish Army of the Seven Years War

Normally when I write an article, I’m able to find an interesting battle painting, some interesting and quotable military characters, an interesting or exciting historical event or some pithy and amusing phrase to use for a title and/or introduction…

No, me neither…

While Sweden was a fairly major player in the Seven Years War, its star which had shone brightly through the 17th Century, was most definitely on the wane in the 18th.  An ill-advised war with Russia from 1741 to 1743, launched to regain territories lost at the conclusion of the Great Northern War in 1721, proved to be a humiliating defeat.  In 1757 the Swedes joined the allied powers of France, Austria and Russia in the war against Prussia, hoping to regain those parts of Swedish Pomerania (on the Baltic coast of Germany) that had been lost to Prussia in 1720.  The ‘Pomeranian War‘ as that part of the Seven Years War is known, proved to be an extremely indecisive non-event for both sides, with only a few very minor engagements being fought and with Sweden completely failing to effectively prosecute, let alone achieve its war-aims.

So you might be wondering why I bothered getting a Swedish wargames army… Well in the mid-1990s I was running a very large, Europe-wide 1740s campaign and we already had armies in the club for Prussia, Austria, France, Russia, Britain, Hanover, the Reichsarmee and Ottoman Empire (those were the days!), so Sweden was the only missing army for the main players.  The Swedish army also looks great, with the very striking national theme of blue and yellow running right through the army.  Added to which, Pengel & Hurt produced an excellent organisation and uniform guide AND I managed to pick up a sheet of printed flags from Andy Grubb. 🙂 

The uniforms of the Swedish army were very old-fashioned for the period, being largely unchanged since the Great Northern War, with only the headgear having changed significantly.  The infantry also now whitened their belts instead of leaving them natural buff.  Instead of canvas gaiters, they still wore long woollen stockings, secured with a leather garter-strap below the knee and these stockings (usually white or matching the facing colour) add a huge splash of colour to the uniform.  I do rather like them and in our campaign, the King of Sweden (King Bruce I) managed to regain all of Sweden’s lost territories!

Above:  The Swedish army commander and his staff, seated on STEFAN flatpack dining chairs.  According to Pengel & Hurt, Swedish generals and staff usually wore a very plain uniform in the national colours of blue with yellow linings, cuffs and small-clothes, with white stocks and gold buttons and hat-lace.  I’m not aware of a specific range of 15mm figures for the Swedish Army of the period, so these chaps are taken from Old Glory 15s‘ Austrian Generals & Staff pack. 

The Commanding General wears a cuirass under his coat and the red sash of the ancient Swedish Order of the Secret Ways.  This ancient order confers on the holder the ancient knowings of the secret pathways through Swedish life, until at last one is rewarded in Swedish paradise with the Sacred Meatballs.  

Above:  The attendant hussar officer and orderly (holding a leather map-tube – these are lovely figures) are from the ‘Yellow’ (‘Gula’) Hussar Regiment, which was raised late in the war, in 1761.  The dolman is black, with yellow facings and barrel-sash and white braid and buttons (silver for officers) and the pelisse is yellow edged with black fur and braid and buttons as before.  The shabraque is black edged in yellow vandycking and the sabretache is black edged yellow with a crowned yellow ‘G’.  Belts are buff and the busby is brown with a yellow bag and silver death’s-head badge.  Breeches are straw, while boots are black with white lace edging and tassels.  Thigh-length leggings could also be worn and these were black cloth with a white lace upper-edge.

Above:  A pair of ADCs.  Again, these are Austrian figures by Old Glory 15s.  The chap on the right is an officer of the general staff and just wears the usual blue and yellow staff uniform.  The chap on the left is an officer of the Swedish horse guard corps, the Upplands Liv Regiment.  This regiment had white facings, with gold lace for officers and polished steel cuirasses (usually, but not always worn under the coat).  However, when I painted my Swedes in the Pre-Internet Age, the Pengel & Hurt booklet was my only source of information and they just described the coat-colour as ‘blue’.  The Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project website describes the coat-colour of Swedish Regiments of Horse as ‘medium blue’, so the colour should probably be quite a bit brighter than this.

Above:  The Dalarnas Infantry Regiment.  For my Swedish infantry I used Old Glory 15s ‘French Infantry With Turnbacks’, as they have suitably old-fashioned, baggy coats with big cuffs and a waist-belt worn outside the coat, which is ideal for Swedes.  This uniform was virtually the standard uniform for Swedish infantry regiments of the period, with the majority conforming very closely to this scheme of dark blue coat, yellow facings, yellow small-clothes (i.e. waistcoat & breeches), black neck-stock and white stockings, held up by a brown leather garter-strap.  The hat-lace matched the button-colour, which in this case was white (silver for officers).  Speaking of officers, Pengel & Hurt describe Swedish infantry officers as wearing very plain uniforms in the field, being dark blue, without coloured cuffs, small-clothes or stockings (though the linings might sometimes be in the facing colour).  Black canvas gaiters or tall leather boots were worn.

Above:  The Dalarnas Infantry Regiment (again).  There are a couple of differences of opinion between my painting (based on Pengel & Hurt) and the more modern research on Kronoskaf:  First, Kronoskaf describes the Dalarnas Regiment’s small-clothes as being white, not yellow.  Second, Kronoskaf states that the button-hole edging matched the facing colour for all regiments, while P&H says it was white for all regiments (the button-hole edging is hardly visible in any case, so it matters little).

Above:  The Hälsinge Infantry Regiment.  The uniform details for this regiment are exactly the same as the Dalarnas Regiment described above, though the sources this time agree that the small-clothes were yellow.

Above:  The Hälsinge Regiment (again).  As with many other armies of the period, the Swedish infantry carried two types of flag.  The first was the Colonel’s Colour or Liffana.  This was basically the same pattern for all regiments, being a white field bearing the royal coat of arms.  The only difference being that the  provincial ‘badge’ was shown in the canton of each Liffana.  The other type of flag was the Kompanifana, which simply carried the provincial coat of arms, with the field colour matching the armorials.  The 1st (or Colonel’s) Battalion of a regiment carried the Liffana and one Kompanifana, while the 2nd (or Lieutenant-Colonel’s) Battalion carried two Kompanifanor.  However, as with my Prussians, I’ve simplified things slightly by giving the 1st Battalion a single Liffana and the 2nd Battalion a single Kompanifana.  

Above:  The Hälsinge Regiment (again again).  I bought these flags from Andy Grubb of Grubby Tanks in about 1998ish.  I think he printed them himself, but I’ve no idea if they’re still available.  Needless to say, the more modern research in Kronoskaf has highlighted some mistakes:  The flag-staves should apparently be yellow for all regiments and the Kompanifanor should have steel finials (gold for Liffanor).

Above:  The Nylands Infantry Regiment.  The uniform for this regiment is the same as that described above for the Dalarnas and Hälsinge Regiments, except that this time the buttons are brass and the hat lace is yellow (gold for officers).  However, Kronoskaf disagrees, stating that the hat lace remained white instead of yellow (still gold for officers though).

Above:  The Nylands Infantry Regiment (again).  I should discuss the Swedish Army’s system of of ‘Varvade‘ (‘Permanent’) and ‘Indelta‘ (‘Alotted’ – i.e. to the army in wartime) regiments.  Along with the Household Troops, the Varvade regiments were the only permanent, peacetime force of the Swedish army and were mostly used as garrison regiments.  The Indelta meanwhile were raised for one or two months every year in peacetime and would then be placed on furlough, becoming full-time during war (the Prussian Army operated on a similar system, with only the Garrison Regiments and small cadre elements of the other regiments being full-time soldiers).  Consequently, when the Swedish Army was mobilised for war, the field armies consisted mainly of Indelta regiments.  Of the eighteen infantry regiments deployed to Swedish Pomerania during the Seven Years War, fifteen were Indelta regiments, two were Household regiments and only one was Varvade.  All five regiments shown here are Indelta regiments.

Above:  The Skaraborgs Infantry Regiment.  At last, we have a slight change of colour here, with the yellow stockings of the Skaraborgs Regiment!

Above:  The Skaraborgs Regiment (again):  However, Kronoskaf disagrees with the yellow stockings and instead shows them as boring white!  🙁 

Above:  The Närke-Värmlands Infantry Regiment.  This time we have a PROPER splash of colour, with one of the very few infantry regiments in the Swedish Army to have a different facing colour (red).

Above:  The Närke-Värmlands Infantry Regiment (again).  However, Kronoskaf disagrees once again re the stocking colour and instead describes them as white.  In fact, Kronoskaf describes the stockings of ALL regiments as being white.

Above:  The Swedish Artillery had a very plain uniform of dark blue, which lacked contrasting facings, linings, hat-lace or small-clothes.  This was worn with buff belts and dark grey gaiters.  Gun-carriages were painted light blue, as shown here.  However, I now know that metal fittings were either polished brass or were iron painted with yellow ochre, thus reflecting the national colours.  These will therefore need a repaint, as I did them with black iron fittings, like the Prussians.  For these chaps I used Old Glory 15s Austrian Artillery.

Above:  Swedish Horse (‘Ryttare‘) Regiments were theoretically equipped as cuirassiers, being equipped with a polished steel cuirass that was normally to be worn beneath the coat.  However, in practice it would seem that this cuirass was rarely worn.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s French Chevauxleger figures for the Swedish cavalry, as again they have that ‘old-fashioned’ baggy-coated look about them.  Like the Swedes, the French Chevauxlegers were meant to wear a cuirass beneath their coat but rarely did so.  As mentioned above, according to Kronoskaf the coat colour should probably be a brighter ‘medium blue’ shade for all these regiments, but I painted mine according to Pengel & Hurt, which just described them as ‘blue’.

Above:  The Östgöta Regiment of Horse.  This regiment had red cuffs, linings and shabraque-edging with brass buttons (gold buttons and hat-lace for officers).  Small-clothes, gauntlets and belts were buff leather and these were common to all regiments.  My Swedish cavalry are especially glossy, so don’t look all that great in photos!

Above:  A rear view of the Östgöta Regiment of Horse, showing the obverse of the standard.  There weren’t any printed flags available for the cavalry, so I had to paint my own.  Swedish Horse carried one standard per company (there were typically four companies per regiment, though some regiments had more), with the 1st or Colonel’s Company carrying the regimental Lifstandar and the others each carrying a single Kompanistandar.  For simplicity’s sake I’ve given each regiment a single standard.  The Lifstandar was very much like the infantry Liffana, being white and bearing the royal arms on both sides, with the provincial badge shown in the canton.  The Kompanistandar was in the provincial colours, with the provincial badge on the obverse and the crowned royal ‘AF’ cypher within a laurel wreath on the reverse (some regiments had palm-wreaths instead of laurel-wreaths).  All standards had gold finials and were heavily fringed with gold.  I now also know from Kronoskaf that all standards had yellow & blue spirals on the stave. Bah… 🙁 

Above:  The Södra Skånska Regiment of Horse.  This regiment was dressed in the same manner as the Östgöta Horse above, but the facing colour this time was straw.  Note also the general urging them forward; this is another Austrian general figure.

Above:  A rear view of the Södra Skånska Regiment of Horse, showing the reverse of the Kompanistandar.

Above:  The Västgöta Regiment of Horse.  This was again dressed in the same manner as the regiments above, though with yellow facings.  For some reason I’ve given these yellow hat-cockades, but I don’t think that’s correct, as Swedish units normally did not wear any cockade during this period.

Above:  A rear view of the Västgöta Regiment of Horse, showing the obverse of the standard.  I really do love the bold, heraldic designs of the Swedish flags. 

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got painted thus far.  I still have another five infantry regiments, two grenadier battalions, two horse regiments, a dragoon regiment, a hussar regiment and some more guns waiting in the lead-crypt to be painted.

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Swedish Army, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules). Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Post Without an Interesting Title: The Swedish Army of the Seven Years War

  1. Jason says:

    Great write up Mark – the Swedes look fantastic.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Jase!

      They of course, are the army that resulted in one club-member throwing his teddies out of the cot and selling his army… 😉

      • Ibrahim says:

        OK, now I need to know how that happened

        • jemima_fawr says:

          Ha! 🙂

          Back in the 90s, I ran a massive global campaign based on the War of Austrian Succession (Jason above was the King of Spain). King Bruce I of Sweden meanwhile, only had a tiny amount of cash to spare, but spent half of what he did have in spying on Russia.

          Consequently, when Czar Martin I of All The Russias decided to strip out the garrison of St Petersburg to reinforce his attack on Prussia, the Swedes attacked St Petersburg, defeated the Russian Imperial Guard and took the Czar hostage.

          Martin was so angry that he didn’t just leave the campaign, he also sold his rather large SYW Russian army! 🙂

          (It didn’t help that the Times of London was writing satirical articles about Russian battlefield cowardice, to be fair…) 😀

  2. Vincent Tsao says:

    Excellent and surprisingly large Swedish Army!

    “in our campaign, the King of Sweden (King Bruce I) managed to regain all of Sweden’s lost territories!”

    Always fun when you can reverse history. Back in ’76 and ’77, as Lord Dimwittie, I led the Crown forces to an upset victory against the American colonists. This explains why to this day the McDonalds chain sells mainly fish and chips.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Excellent! 🙂 That sounds like one of our campaigns… Was Sir Timothy Paget reporting from the Americas as well, I wonder…?

  3. RB says:

    Great stuff,
    I made my SYW Swedish army with a horde of Old Glory Prussians I had in bins. I wish I could have found flags at the time, since I ended painstakingly making my own from the Kronoskaf site.
    Thanks for writing this up!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers RB! Yes, I’m less inclined to paint flags these days… Must be an age thing… I should perhaps mention that I also have a Napoleonic Swedish army and I painted all the flags for those. I don’t know if Grubby Tanks still does that sheet, so you could try? And yes, I’ve also been making up my own flags from Kronoskaf for my latest Wurttemberg, Imperial, Prussian and French units.

  4. Eric Starnes says:

    Great job on a fairly obscure 7YW army! The ‘Pomeranian’ War was a non-starter war and the Swedes performed fairly poorly, mainly because the leadership was sorely lacking.

    I really like your bases – a lot better than my PVA and flocking bases.

    Seriously, great job. Also, the flags are incredible!

    Cheers from Poland!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Eric! Well nobody else was going to get them and I’d already done a Swedish Napoleonic army! 🙂

      Yeah, I started doing bases that way around the same time I painted the Swedes – in the late 90s. You can see how I used to do bases on my Prussians – just sand, green paint and yellow dry-brush. A friend of mine turned up with some Romano-British troops based that way and I loved it, so went straight out to buy Woodland Scenics flock and everything has been based like that since! 🙂

      • Eric Starnes says:

        My Swedes are a bit later than yours – 1788. I’ve finally finished the infantry and cavalry and artillery crews but, much like you, I have to repaint my guns.

        After I get the 1792 Poles/Lithuanians done, I’m moving on to the 1814 Swedes. They’ll be battling the Norwegians in a campaign game next year (if I can get off my duff and knock out the Poles/Lithuanians). 🙂

        Again, awesome job! I might have to experiment a bit with my bases and see what I can come up with to make them look like yours – they really pop!

        • jemima_fawr says:

          Wow, that’s properly obscure! (to a Brit like me, anyway) 🙂

          The bases are very easy to do. The secret is the fine sand (supermarket play-pit sand is excellent, but needs drying in a tin on top of the cooker) and Woodland Scenics ‘Blended Turf’ flock.

          • Eric Starnes says:


            Thanks for the tip! I’ll try it this weekend, as I’ve got both lying around the house.

            I’ve always been into the obscure Horse and Musket Wars. I was into the GNW back in the late 1970s when I was still a kid. My wargaming passion at present is the ‘Cranberry War’ (the 1788 Russo-Swedish War), the Polish Wars of Partition (1792 and 1794) and the 1814 Norwegian War of Independence but I’ve also been looking at the Brabant Rebellion of 1789.

            My armies are all in 15mm and I’m always looking for ways to improve and I think I’ve found a way to improve the bases! Now, if only I could speed up my painting and money making, I’d be in ‘tall cotton’! 🙂

          • jemima_fawr says:

            Excellent! Polish history fascinates me (the Duchy of Warsaw and the Free Polish Army of WW2 being favourite subjects of mine), though I’ve never looked in any great detail at the Wars of Partition, so I might have to look at wargaming that one day…

            Re the basing: I wrote some notes on the subject here –

  5. jemima_fawr says:

    It does amuse me no end that people are clicking on the link for the IKEA dining chairs… 🙂

  6. Blogger Police says:

    Your blog has been hijacked and listed on The Miniatures Page.

    Many are attempting to discourage the poster from doing this by encouraging him to at the very lease name the blog and or it’s creator.
    Lovely blog by the way, and much appreciated.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers! Though, to be honest I’ve had plenty of traffic from there this week, so I’m not too bothered if he provides the link. As you say though, it would be nice if he posted the name of the blog (though Billy Fishfister might throw a fit if he spots my name… 😉 ).

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