Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics

The Swedish Army in the Napoleonic Wars

By Magnus Olofsson

Regular Army Units in 1805 - 1808

During these years there were changes both in the names and establishment of several units. These changes are enumerated below and are included in the two tables which show the Swedish and Finnish armies in the spring of 1808, shortly after the outbreak of the war against Russia and Denmark-Norway.

The only change in the Swedish part of the indelningsverk was that the Skånska dragonregementet was renamed to Skånska husarregementet (“Skånska Hussar Regiment”) on the 21st of June 1806.[14]

The same summer the värvade infantry was reduced for financial reasons. The Svea Lifgarde was cut from a strength of 1,200 to 600 and shortly afterwards to 534 and changed its name to Lifgardet till fot (“Foot Life Guards”). The other guard regiments were reorganized at the same time: the Göta gardesregemente’s strength went from 1,200 to 533 and it was renamed Svenska gardesregementet (“Swedish Guard Regiment”) while the Finska gardesregementet, which kept its name, was first reduced to 400 soldiers, which soon was increased to 533. All three units kept their old number of companies.[15]

Likewise, a part of Kungens eget värfvade regemente was disbanded in the summer of 1806. First its strength was cut to 500, but shortly afterwards this was increased to 800 and the regiment was put on a ten company establishment. In 1807 the strength of both Drottningens lifregemente and Engelbrechtenska regementet was halved from 1,200 to 600 men, without any change in the number of companies.[16]

In the spring of 1807, while the Pomeranian Campaign was being fought, a new enlisted unit was raised: Le régiment du Roi. The idea to form this unit was King Gustavus, who thought that many soldiers in the French army were still loyal to the Bourbons and could be tempted to turn against Napoleon. A manifesto was smuggled into French army camps, promising not only good pay and service conditions to those who would join the unit, but also the possibility to fight for a righteous cause and thereby save their immortal souls for eternity! The magnitude of Gustavus delusions can be seen in that only about 100 Frenchmen ever joined Le regiment du Roi; it had a strength of 105 men in one company in 1808.[17]

In 1806 the Lätta Lifdragon regementet’s two chassuers à cheval squadrons (hästjägare) were turned into ordinary dragoons and on the 9th of June the regiment was renamed Lifgardet till Häst (“Horse Life Guards”). On the 1st of August, squadron strength was increased to 70; thus the whole unit now had a strength of 420. That same year (1806) the Mörnerska husarregementet had the size of its squadrons increased to 75 each and it therefore now had a strength of 600.[18]

In the autumn of 1807, the four companies of Wendes Artillery that traditionally garrisoned Stralsund were transferred to Sweden and were reduced to two companies due to wartime losses and the difficulties of finding recruits.[19] The strength of the Svea and Göta Artillery Regiments remained unchanged.

Table 3: The Swedish Army in 1808

Unit name and type

Companies

Number Strength

     

Indelta infantry units

   

     Lifregementetsbrigadens grenadiercorps

4

500

     Lifgrenadierregementets rothållsfördelning

8

1,200

     Lifgrenadierregementets rusthållsfördelning

8

1,000

     Uplands regemente

8

1,200

     Skaraborgs regemente

8

1,200

     Södermanlands regemente

8

1,200

     Kronobergs regemente

8

1,100

     Jönköpings regemente

8

1,100

     Dalregementet

8

1,200

     Helsinge regemente

8

1,200

     Elfsborg regemente

8

1,200

     Vestgötadals regemente

8

1,200

     Bohuläns regemente

8

904

     Vestmanlands regemente

8

1,200

     Vesterbottens regemente

8

1,056

     Kalmar regemente

8

1,100

     Nerike och Vermlands regemente

10

1,674

     Jemtlands regemente

8

1,048

     

Värvade infantry units

   

    Lifgardet till fot

10

534

    Svenska gardesregementet

10

533

    Finska gardesregementet

6

533

    Kungens eget värfvade regemente

10

800

    Drottningens lifregemente

12

600

    Engelbrechtenska regementet

12

600

    Vermlands fältjägarebataljon*

3

300

    Regiment du Roi

1

105

     

Indelta cavalry units

   

    Lifregementbrigadens kyrassiercorps

4

505

    Lifregementbrigadens husarcorps

8

500

    Västgöta dragonregemente

8

1,000

    Smålands dragonregemente

8

600 (400)

    Skånska husarregementet

8

1,000

    Skånska karabinierregimentet

8

1,000

    Jemtlands hästjägaresqvadron

1

100

     

Värvade cavalry units

   

    Lifgardet till häst

6

420

    Mörnerska husarregementet

8

600

     

Artillery units (all värvade)

   

    Svea artilleriregemente

13

1,040

    Göta artilleriregemente

16

1,305

    Vendes artilleriregemente

7

560

     

Sources: Aminoff, Lundh, Sveriges Krig, vol. 1

The outbreak of the war in 1808 caught the indelningsverk of Finland in the midst of a major overhaul. Since the establishment of the indelningsverk, the cultivated areas in Finland had grown considerably. The country supported far less soldiers than it could. The reform, when competed would have added no less then 2,494 infantrymen to the Finnish army. When the war broke out the reform was only half completed in the Österbotten County and had not  begun in the other counties. Österbotten County would gain no less than 1,031 soldiers in this reform and the original plan called for these to be added to those of the old Österbotten regiment and reorganized into two full-sized regiments. The war meant that this reform never was completed, but the 1,031 soldiers from Österbotten County were recruited, some at the start of the war and the others during its first months and organized into two new indelta units: Vasa regemente, organized in two three-company battalions with a total strength of 753, and Österbottens nya rotering (“Österbottens new rotering”), later renamed Uleåborgs läns bataljon (“Uleåborg County’s Battalion”), with a two company establishment and a strength of 278. They trained during the spring and fought with the regular field forces, until incorporated with several other Finnish units into an ad hoc battalion in March 1809 due to the staggering losses most units had suffered by then.[20]

At the beginning of 1805, the Savolkas jägareregemente was organized in ten companies with a total strength of 1,330 men; on the 2nd of May, one company was used to form an independent artillery company for the so called Savolax Brigade, Savolaks-brigadens artilleri-kompani (“Artillery Company of the Savolaks Brigade”), and the rest of the unit was reorganized with 1,200 men in eight companies. Also on the 2nd of May 1805 one company of the huge Adlercreutzska Regiment, 200 men strong, was split into two companies and transferred to the very weak Nylands jägarebataljon. The old company of this “battalion” was indelt, and the Nylands jägarebataljon  therefore - uniquely - was part indelt and part värvad. After this reform the unit consisted of one indelt company with a strength of 92, and two värvade companies with a strength of 100 each.[21]

The enlisted infantry of the Finnish army was decreased in size in 1806 as were the enlisted units in Sweden. Both Enkedrottningens lifregementet and Jägerhornska regementet were cut from 800 to 640 men without decreasing the number of companies. This cut was somewhat compensated by increasing the strength of Karelska jägarecorpsen with 200 numbers, from 400 to 600 the same year.[22]

Table 4: The Finnish Army in 1808

Unit name and type

Companies

Number strength

     

Indelta infantry units

   

    Åbo läns regemente

8

1,025

    Åbo läns regimentes rusthållsbataljon

4

500

    Björneborgs regemente

8

1,025

    Björneborgs regimentes rusthållsbataljon

4

500

    Tavastehus regemente

8

1,025

    Tavastehus regementes jägarebataljon

4

500

    Savolaks infanteriregemente

8

954

    Nylands infanteriregemente

8

1,025

    Nylands jägarebataljon (indelt part)

1

92

    Österbottens regemente

8

1,197

    Kajana bataljon

3 (1)

186 (525)

    Vasa regemente

(6)

(753)

    Österbottens nya rotering/ Uleåborgs läns bataljon

(2)

(278)

     

Värvade infantry units

   

    Enkedrottningens lifregemente

8

640

    Jägerhornska regementet

8

640

    Savolaks jägareregemente *

8

1,200

    Karelska jägarecorpsen *

4

600

    Adlercreutzska regementet

12

1,800

    Nylands jägarebataljon (värvad part) *

2

200

     

Cavalry units (all indelta)

   

    Karelska dragoncorpsen

2

200

    Nylands dragonregemente

8

550

     

Artillery units (all värvade)

   

    Finska artilleriregementet

10

800

    Savolaks - brigadens artillerikompani

1

133

     

Sources: Aminoff, Sveriges Krig, vol. 1

   

Thus, in the spring of 1808 the Swedish part of the army’s establishment (including those numbers that were only to be raised only in wartime) had a strength of 33,317. Of these numbers, 24,287 were infantry (20,282 indelta, 4,005 värvade), 6,125 were cavalry (5,105 indelta, 1,020 värvade), and 2,905 were artillery (all värvade). The Swedish part of the establishment included 25,387 indelta numbers and 7,930 värvade numbers.

The Finnish part of the army’s establishment (including those numbers that were only to be raised only in wartime and the indelta units raised during the war) had a strength of 16,348. Of these numbers, 14,665 were infantry (9,585 indelta, 5,080 värvade), 750 were cavalry (all indelta,), and 933 were artillery (all värvade). The Finnish part of the establishment included 10,335 indelta numbers and 6,013 värvade numbers.

The whole army thus had a total strength of 49,665. Of these numbers, 38,952 were infantry (29,867 indelta, 9,085 värvade), 6,875 were cavalry (5,855 indelta, 1,020 värvade), and 3,838 were artillery (all värvade). The whole establishment included 35,722 indelta numbers and 13,943 värvade numbers.

 

Notes:

[9] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.148-154.

[10] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.154-156.

[11] Aminoff, C. G., Nyuppsatta  truppförband i Finland 1770 - 1808, Helsingfors 1971, p.259; Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.132-135.

[12] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.136-139.

[13] Aminoff, C. G., Nyuppsatta  truppförband i Finland 1770 - 1808, Helsingfors 1971, pp.63, 134, 237; Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.159-161, 163.

[14] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, p.128.

[15] Bergenstråhle, G., Historiska anteckningar om Kungl. Göta lifgarde, vol. 1, Stockholm 1907, pp.64, 67 and 73; Historiska upplysningar om Kungl Svea lifgardet, Stockholm 1906 , p.365; Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.150-151.

[16] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.151-152.

[17] Björlin, G., Sveriges krig i Tyskland åren 1805-1807, Stockholm 1882, pp.196-197; Sveriges Krig, vol. 1, p.153.

[18] Björnstjerna, C. M., Anteckningar om Konungens Lif-garde till häst, Stockholm 1873, p.29; Sveriges Krig, vol. 1, p.154.

[19] Scheutz, S., Kunglig Wendes artilleriregementes historia 1794-1944, Kristianstad 1993, p. 119.

[20] Aminoff, C. G., Nyuppsatta  truppförband i Finland 1770 - 1808, Helsingfors 1971, pp.266-269; Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.142-146.

[21] Aminoff, C. G., Nyuppsatta  truppförband i Finland 1770 - 1808, Helsingfors 1971, pp.71, 259; Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.135-136, 160.

[22] Sveriges krig åren 1808 och 1809, vol. 1, pp.159-160.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2008

 

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