Monday, March 3, 2008

Swedish Foot

The Swedish infantry often wore long coats, smocks or cassocks. The basic cut was a peasant coat that reached from to just beyond the waist or almost to the knee. The hat was often gray felt. Buff coats, when worn, were sleeveless as were most buff coats of this period. Armor was blackened. Militia and pre-1626 coats were tended to be tawny orange and or light gray with a white trim. Native Swedish troops tended to wear blue but there are also references to red and yellow coats. The Swedes were one of the first to try to match the pants to the coat color. As a field sign, many Swedes wore a yellow hatband with a blue edging on the band. They also used temporary field signs of bundled straw or sprigs of green foliage. In addition, officers often wore blue, yellow, or green sashes to identify Swedish and Allied troops. There are many references to the Red, Green or Blue regiments, which were in the early war years, references to the color of the flag and not to the uniform of the regiment. Only later did the jacket color begin to match the color of the flag.

Unit History – The Hovid or Yellow IR
The regiment is based on the German Yellow Regiment which was raised in 1624 and spent most of its early service with the Swedes. It was first commanded by Frans Bernhard v. Thurn in 1625. Later in 1627 command passed to Teuffel, an ex-Imperial colonel who was a close advisor to Gustavus Adolphus. The regiment was part of the Pomeranian campaign (September 1630 to January 1631) and Gustavus’s 2nd invasion of Mecklenburg. The regiment later fought at Werben (August 1631) and Breitenfeld (September 1631). At Breitenfeld, Teuffel was killed by a stray shot whilst checking a firefight between the Imperial Alt-Tilly Brigade and the Swedish Blue Brigade.
Commanded by Nils Brahe after Breitenfeld, the regiment then saw action at Lech (April 1632) and Lutzen (November 1632) where it took heavy casualties including Brahe who was shot above the knee. The wound festered and Brahe died fourteen days after the battle. He was considered by Gustavus Adolphus as one of the best generals that the Swedes had. With Brahe’s death in 1633, command of the regiment went to Lars Kagge. As part of Kagge’s Brigade, it fought in the center at the battle of at Hessich-Oldendorf (July 1633).
At Nordlingen (September 1634), the regiment was commanded by Lt-Col. Schonbeck. In 1634 after the Frankfurt muster, the Yellow regiment was disbanded and reformed as the Schonbeck regiment. This regiment transferred in 1635 to French service. At this point the regiment no longer retained any semblance to the unit it once had been.

Three Flags of the Yellow IR using the 1620's design
Text: Uniforms of the Thirty Years War by Bill Boyle in Time Portal Passage Summer 2000
Osprey’s The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (1) Infantry (Men-at-Arms 235)
Battles of the Thirty Years War From White Mountain to Nordlingen, William P. Guthrie, Greenwood Press, 2002.
Osprey's L├╝tzen 1632, (Campaign Series), Richard Brezezinski, 2001.


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