Uhlan Regiment No. 1 (Merveldt) [Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #32]

My 32nd regiment in the Napoleonic Cavalry Project reaches its completion with the basing of Merveldt’s Uhlans (Uhlan Regiment No.1). The figures are by Mars about whom’s merits I discussed in a recent post.

I won’t pretend that they were the easiest paint, and I can’t exactly say that they’re perfection incarnate, but I do reckon I’m satisfied with the end result! It’s good to have some Austrians as part of the project at last.

The most tricky aspect of the figures was perhaps the attachment of the lances to the figures. The hands were very indistinct and so I simply attached some old Esci Polish Lancers versions to the hand area with a blob of glue. Job done.

The curious horse poses allow for only certain figure combinations. Hence, one horse appears to be charging hard into the ground, presumably felled by a bullet. The only figure which satisfactorily sits with this equine this the man leaning backwards in a kind of counter-balance. Three of these figures means that a quarter of my regiment is in the process of being felled by a volley! It makes for a unique, dramatic and interesting pose, though.

The rearing horse allows for two standing figures, who, in another pleasing pose, appear to be desperately holding on to their agitated mount by the bridle. This was likely a not uncommon situation in battle.

A spare figure without any horses left to hold I simply gave a lance to, thrusting his weapon in the air and urging his comrades on… or perhaps admiring it… or waving it for attention… OK, possibly an unconvincing pose!

“Hang on, this looks like an Esci lance to me…”

Austrian Uhlan officers would not have had lances and so I’ve attached a sword which came with the Mars set to one of my officers but left the other simply gesturing heroically to his men. They have black pouch belts with gold edging.

The remaining figures include this one urging his horse forward and thrusting the lance.

Also, there is the figure with his arm held high in the air. Another slightly curious gesture, but not a bad one by any means once the lance is attached.

So that concludes regiment number 32 in the old ‘NCP’. Slated as the next regiment in the endless project are some figures which may see me make a return to painting some French cavalry. More on this anon. Until then, I continue the tradition of a sort-of-biography of the latest completed regiment.


Regimental Biography: Uhlan Regiment No. 1 (Merveldt) [Austria]

Austrian Uhlans were effectively Polish lancers and were dressed as such. Their country came under the leadership of the Habsburgs after 1772 when that empire gained part of the territory (Galicia). The first uhlan unit, the “Uhlan Pulk” was raised in 1784 with 600 men intended for use against a rebellion in the Netherlands. Later it was renamed the “Uhlan Freicorps”.

A Richard Knotel illustration of a Merveldt Uhlan in 1813.

In 1785, this unit was sent to Vienna and broken up into various uhlan units attached to a variety of chevaux-leger regiments. The first Uhlan Regiment, No.1, was raised on 1 November 1791 from those Uhlans existing in the Kaiser, Karaiczai, Lobkowitz and Levenehr chevaux-leger regiments.

Austrian 2nd Uhlans. Watercolour by French military artist, Henri Boisselier an example of which can be found at: https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:248368/

This 1st regiment of Uhlans were known as Merveldt’s Uhlans in 1796, after the regiment’s proprietor (a position similar to that of honorary colonel), Maximilian, Count von Merveldt. Merveldt garnered considerable experience in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars against the French and he was considered a very able commander of cavalry, rising to the rank of general.

The No.1 regiment’s headquarters moved over the years, in 1791 it was based in Sárospatak in Hungary, ending the Napoleonic wars in St. Floeian, near Linz. It’s recruiting area was Galicia and most of the uhlans therefore were made up of either ethnic Polish or Ukrainian men.

Preben Kannik’s fabulous illustration of a wounded man of the Austrian Merveldt’s 1st Uhlan Regiment.

Uhlan Regiment No 1, as with the three other Austrian Uhlan regiments, wore jackets of green (initially ‘grass green’ but later ‘dark green’) with red facings. The pennons on their lances were black over yellow. Trousers were also green with red stripes with the lower part covered in black leather near the boots, although grey overalls could be worn when on campaign. The sheepskin over the saddles appears to have been black, though this is open to question. The only regimental distinction was the colour of the czapkas; No.1 having yellow czapkas and numbers 2, 3 and 4 being green, red and white respectively.

Another illustration by Boisselier of Austrian Uhlans; No. 4 (left) and No. 2 (right).

At Austerlitz in 1805, a handful only of Merveldt’s Uhlans were in the 1st Cavalry Brigade, otherwise the regiment was not represented. During the 1809 War of the Fifth Coalition, the regiment fought at Ursensollen-Amberg. One detachment was at the blockade of the Oberhaus fortress. Parts of the regiment were also involved in the Regensburg battles and later at Stadt am Hof. In July 1809, they were in Bohemia and fought against Saxons in the battles of Gefrees and Nürnberg.


Napoleon I. 1809 vor Regensburg by Albrecht Adam. Wiki Commons.

Merveldt’s Uhlans did not take part either in the Battle of Aspern-Essling, being instead kept in defence on the Danube later harassing the French rear lines of communication. After the Battle of Wagram, it retreated to Bohemia when the campaign ended.

 Wojciech Kossak’s “Austrian Uhlan of Savona“, 1891.

The 1st regiment towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars was fighting in the Northern Italian campaign of 1813-14 alongside its sister uhlan regiment No.2 (Schwarzenberg). Consequently, having largely missed out on the key battles of Austerlitz and Aspern-Essling, they were also to find themselves absent from the decisive Battle of Leipzig in 1813. The regiment’s namesake, Count von Merveldt, however was present at the ‘Battle of the Nations’, where he was unfortunately captured when wandering too close to Saxon troops.

In Italy, his regiment continued to do great service however; patrolling, reconnoitring and, as can be seen in the following brief quote I discovered about the Battle of Feistritz, also putting the enemy to flight!

… Austrian Generalmajor Speigel responded quickly, and a very successful charge of the Merveldt Uhlans encouraged the French to withdraw.

The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814, G.F. Nafziger, M. Gioannini

Notable Battles: Austerlitz, Ursensollen-Amberg, Regensberg, Gefrees, Nürnberg, Feistritz.

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Men are from Mars…

A quick update on my Mars Austrian Uhlans. The figures are almost there, but there is a little more work to do including some paint still to be applied on the Czapkas amongst other things. The horses are next up on the painting table and also looming is the question of lances.

I’ve decided that the lances provided by Mars require too much effort removing from the flash. There are also no pennons provided and so would require their manufacture. Consequently, I’ve opted to source some lances from another set, possibly from some of my old Esci Polish lancers. The next challenge will be how on earth to affix them to the figures, the hands being extremely vague and amorphous!

Mounting them on horses will be another interesting challenge, a couple of the poses and postures being a little strange, I think. It makes for an interesting and different figure, however.

Aside from these technical issues, I’m pleased with how they’re looking now they’ve got some paint on them. An update, hopefully with mounted and lance-armed uhlans, to come in due course.

Martian Uhlans

A glance through my venerable Napoleonic Cavalry Project tells me that since 2015, I’ve attempted sets from 6 different manufacturers representing 7 different nations. My next set of figures brings both a new nation and manufacturer to the project.

Mars Scots Greys – which Plastic Soldier Review confirms as being copies of original figures by Esci.

Mars are a Ukrainian manufacturer who, I believe, started out producing copies of other manufacturer’s figures (Matchbox, Revell, Esci, etc.) Although I can’t verify claims, some believe that this was effectively piracy of other companies’ work. However, in the plastic model soldier world, some felt that even this bootleg reissuing of out-of-production old sets at least made some old figures, often much in demand by hobbyists, available once more and was so to be welcomed. It’s a contentious issue for sure and one perhaps left to the lawyers to pass judgement over but since (I think) 2009, Mars have been making their own sets instead.

The quality of some of their own-brand work has been criticised as being disappointing by Plastic Soldier Review, amongst others, with PSR saying of one set; “This set is typical of Mars output in many ways. The sculpting is not attractive and the poses quite flat, with some of the faces being particularly messy. Accuracy is good and the selection of poses is adequate if uninspired. The subject itself is unusual and not widely known…”

Mars Lithuanian Medium Cavalry

Once again, however, criticism should perhaps be tempered by the fact that in today’s trading climate, a plastic soldier manufacturer is out there producing sets at all. Furthermore, as PSR suggested, Mars have often concentrated on eras overlooked by other companies, including an extensive 30-Years War range, Crimean Tartars, and the Lithuanian-Teutonic wars (see above). Fancy some late-Mycenaean Light Infantry anyone? Mars has that covered too!

15 figures – 12 horses? The answer is that a choice of riders is offered.

Mars have largely steered clear of the ever-popular Napoleonic period, yet they have produced a few cavalry sets; Russian Dragoons, Russian Uhlans and Austrian Uhlans. The latter are particularly interesting as, to my knowledge, no one has produced Napoleonic Austrian cavalry with the sole exception of HaT’s early Curassiers and Chevauxleger sets in 1998/2000. For such an important participant to the Napoleonic Wars, this seems a real oversight (Great Britain has 11 sets with two more slated for release). Furthermore, it’s been said that during the Napoleonic Wars;

“Austrian cavalry was considered the best in Europe, and one of the best of the time anywhere”

(Fisher and Fremont-Barnes “The Napoleonic Wars”)

The ‘best Napoleonic cavalry in Europe’ surely needs a place in the Nappy Cavalry Project, but can Mars’ Austrian Uhlans figures justify that inclusion?

The set is a bit of an enigma in parts but there’s some real quality there for sure. Even PSR grudgingly admitted that “the sculpting of this set exceeded our admittedly low expectations.” The ‘riot of flash’ of the sprue for the weapons reported by PSR seems to be also present on parts of the figures too for me and I’ve had to spend some time trimming and cleaning them up – never a skill that I excel at!

It’s curious that whilst their Austrian Uhlans seem good, Mars’ Russian Uhlans set doesn’t quite match the same degree of quality. I can only really appreciate the standard of these Austrian’s once I’ve painted them up, so I’ll share how I get on and maybe you can judge for yourself!

Martian horses, lots of flash on their noses but otherwise I think look pretty good.

So, for regiment number 32 in the Napoleonic Cavalry Project I will be attempting the Austrian 1st Uhlan Regiment (Merveldt’s Uhlans) who, like all Austrian lancers, were made up of Polish men.

Wish me luck!

The Småland Light Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #31)

So far as the Napoleonic Cavalry Project is concerned, 2018 has been the year of Swedish cavalry.  HaT’s five regiments contained within their Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry set have now all been painted over the course of this year. These regiments were;

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (24)
Swedish Napoleonic cavalry. Left to right: Mörner Hussar; Life Guard; Scanian Carbineer; Cuirassier; Småland Light Dragoon.

I’ve enjoyed painting these Light Dragoons. Being perhaps the least remarkable of the five Swedish cavalry regiments painted this year, it would be forgivable perhaps if I found the painting almost a chore. Instead, it’s reaffirmed my love of painting Nappy cavalry; all that colour, detail and of course the horses.

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (3)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (2)

Those details I mention have included painting a tiny silver and red badge on the centre of the shako in a nod to Småland’s symbol of the red standing lion with crossbow. There’s also yellow cord and a rosette plume holder.

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (15)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (21)

There’s also yellow trim to be found on the shoulder flaps, facings, tunic and waistband.

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (4)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (1)

The pouch belt is buff, not white, as are the overalls.

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (19)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (16)

More yellow appears on the edge of the horses’ blue shabraques.

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (22)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (17)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (20)

As with all the other regiments in this box, the poses were limited, the emphasis on the set being on providing a variety of regiments rather than poses. The two poses were nice enough, however.

Pose 1 – charging:

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (11)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (12)

Pose 2 – At the walk:

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (6)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (7)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (8)

There are plenty of other great kits I’m still intending to tackle in this long-term project, but with November looming, it’s probably the last cavalry regiment to be painted until the New Year. So, now it just leaves me to present the usual regimental biography!


Biography: The Småland Light Dragoons

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (5)

This regiment began its history in 1543 when raised in Kronoberg and Kalmar. Called the Småland Cavalry Regiment, the regiment’s name referred to its recruitment area of ‘Småland’ – a province in the south-east of Sweden.  During the Scanian War, the regiment took part in the battles of Lund (1676) and Landskrona (1677).

In its early days at the end of the 17th century, a ‘cassock’ had superseded the previous
buff coat and it was decided that the Swedish uniform should be only in one colour; the familiar Swedish blue. The regiment was also allotted grey greatcoats in 1701, with yellow lining, collar and cuffs. For headdress at this time, they wore a tricorn with a narrow gold braid edge. During the Great Northern War, the regiment fought at Klissow (1702), Pultrusk (1703), Warsaw (1705) and Holowzin (1708).

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Uniform of the Småland Cavalry Regiment, c.1710

During the Seven Years War, the Småland cavalry took part in a number of minor engagements. One example is of a detachment of 50 men which joined a Swedish force despatched to chase away a force of Prussian cavalry reconnoitring the Swedish positions. During its approach of the Prussian scouting party, the Swedes were attacked by a large body of cavalry. The Swedish cavalry fled the field after firing a single volley. Another detachment of 60 men was part of the Swedish force defending the crossing at Nehringen which they did before undertaking a fighting retreat in good order without casualties.

Smålands_Horse_Uniform_Plate 1757
Uniform c.1757.

In 1758 300 men of the Småland Cavalry Regiment, under Lieutenant-colonel Baron Klas Erik Silferhjelm, took part to the battle of Tarmow, being charged and routed by 5 squadrons of Möhring Hussars. Two days after this, four squadrons of the regiment took part in the successful defence of Fehrbellin against a Prussian assault.

Smalands Cavalry Regt 1780
Uniform, 1780.

In 1790, with the Revolutionary Wards looming, the Småland Cavalry Regiment (Smålands kavalleriregemente) became known as the Smålands Light Cavalry Regiment (Smålands lätta kavalleri- regemente). It was then subsequently renamed again in 1801 as the Småland Light Dragoons (Smålands lätta dragoner), being the subject of the HaT set of figures.

Smalands Cavalry Regt 1800
Uniform, c.1800

The regiment at this time had adopted a Russian-type shako with long yellow cords. On the shako was a yellow Swedish cockade and a cap plate featuring the provincial coat-of-arms. Swedish cavalry favoured buff instead of the more common white belts. Their standard was yellow with the heraldic sign of Småland, the standing lion with the crossbow, in red.

Smålands_Horse_Kompanistandar
1750s Kompanistandar (ordonnance standard) showing the heraldic sign of Småland. Photo courtesy http://www.kronoskaf.com

In 1806, it received another new name; the Småland Dragoon Regiment, (Smålands dragonregemente) . In 1812 part of the regiment was converted into infantry – Smålands dragonrementes infanteribataljon (the Infantry Battalion of the Småland Dragoon Regiment).

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Contemporary illustration showing Smaland Light Dragoon with shako.

Smaland light dragoon (2)

The converted infantry battalion later became part of Karlskrona grenadier regiment. The remaining cavalry received its final name change to the Smålands Hussar Regiment (Smålands husar- regemente) in 1822. The regiment was located in Eksjö and was disbanded in 1927.


Notable battles: Breitenfeld (1631), Lutzen (1632), Lund (1676), Landskrona (1677), Klissow (1702), Pultrusk (1703), Warsaw (1705) and Holowzin (1708), Tarmow (1758), Fehrbellin (1758)

Swedish Smaland light dragoons (10)

 

 

The Life Regiment Cuirassier Corps (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #30)

The fourth regiment of the five contained within HaT’s Swedish Napoleonic Cavalry box are now painted. Cuirassiers now join the Swedish Hussars, Horse Guards and Carabineers already despatched, leaving just a regiment of Light Dragoons remaining.

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (2)

Plastic Soldier Review confidently state that the figure I’ve painted is a “Skjöldebrand Cuirassier”. I am uncertain as to whether this identification has been drawn from their own research or from HaT’s own release information, as the box itself doesn’t contain any specific information about the figures. Personally, I’ve not discovered any reference to a “Skjöldebrand Cuirassier” Regiment as such. Anders Skjöldebrand was however a Swedish cavalry leader, and the cuirassier corps was under his command during the Leipzig campaign, but the question remains as to what to actually call this figure’s regiment.

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (13)

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (15)

HaT’s own site contains an excellent monograph on the Swedish cavalry during the time of the Napoleonic Wars and is well worth a read for those who may be interested. It refers to the somewhat wordy Livregementsbrigadens kyrassiärkår – or, in English, the “Cuirassier Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade”. So, I have labelled these figures as belonging to the slightly more succinct Life Regiment Cuirassier Corps.

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (22)

As with my King’s Horse Guards, only the one pose to paint for which is supplied only three to a box. I’ve doubled this to six with two box purchases. No messing about with the basing for me, this time. Just a little parched brown grass of the kind I’ve become used to seeing on my lawn this summer!

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (15)

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (18)

Not being a wargamer, I always appreciate my figures on parade or in a similar resting pose and this figure and horse pose does the job nicely. An occasional modest twist of the head has enabled them to reclaim a little individuality. I was tempted to paint a white crest for an officer, but stuck with troopers instead – I’d need a few more troops to command before I raise one from the ranks.

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (24)

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (23)

The set’s Hussars, Light Dragoons and Horse Guards share the same type of horse in two poses. My previous regiment, the Scanian Carabineers, had a single horse pose specifically for themselves and the same applies to these Cuirassiers. Plastic Soldier Review assures me that “all the saddlery and cloths are correct for the allocated units”. I trust them!

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (12)

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (10)

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (6)

What I’ve enjoyed most about painting HaT’s set has been the variety of eccentric uniform styles that the Swedes adopted. The final regiment to tackle however, (whenever I get around to them…) wear a relatively straightforward light dragoon uniform for the time with a shako for headdress. What might make these a little more distinctive is the uniform colour – but more on that whenever I decide to tackle them.

Now for the biography which this time, I admit, has been a particularly tricky one to research…

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (25)


Biography: The Life Regiment Cuirassier Corps

Hat Swedish Cuirassiers (3)

This regiment had its origins as far back as the year 1667. The Mounted Life Regiment was created from an pre-existing cavalry regiment from Uppland which itself could claim a regimental history going back to 1536. During the Scanian War, the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Lund in 1676.

Upplands_Liv_Regiment_Uniform_Plate
1757 uniform of the Upplands Liv Regiment, predecessor of the cuirassier corps.

At the beginning of the Seven Years’ War, the regiment was stationed in Uppland and 4 companies (540 men) were part of the expeditionary force sent to campaign in Pomerania. The following year, 800 men of the regiment were sent over to Pomerania to reinforce the Swedish expeditionary force campaigning against Prussia. In November, a detachment of the regiment was at the Combat of Güstow.

In 1791, the Cuirassier corps of the Life Regiment was formed. At this point, I refer to the following information on this is respectfully reproduced from the HaT website from information on “The Swedish Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars” written by Björn Bergérus:

Kavallerie1810_Schiavonetti4
Contemporary print of Swedish cavalry:  cuirassiers shown mounted and dismounted (officer).

The Cuirassier corps… was formally created in 1791 when the former Mounted Life Regiment was split into three units, the Cuirassier Corps, the Light Dragoons Corps of the Life Regiment (in 1795 re-named the Hussar Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade) and the Light Infantry Battalion of the Life Regiment Brigade (in 1808 renamed the Grenadier Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade).

38e93cd29b9163b1704a3813da26b4b2--swedish-army-napoleonic-wars

The Mounted Life Regiment had its recruitment area all around lake Mälaren. For the cuirassiers in particular the recruiting area became the original area of Uppland, reaching north from Stockholm to around Uppsala. The unit was present during the campaign in Germany 1813 and was part of the Swedish cavalry present at the battle of Dennewitz, September 6th 1813. The Swedish general Skjöldebrand was ready to charge but was held back by Bernadotte, who figured that the French would fall back anyway, which they did.

swedish_horse_breastplate.jpg
Swedish cavalry cuirass

The Cuirassier Corps was the only Swedish unit equipped with cuirasses. They would have started the period with a single front-plate, which was later changed to a full front- and back plate. The cuirass would although have become a bit out of fashion, and it is unclear how much it was really worn. When not wearing the cuirass, the unit had a full dress uniform, very similar to the uniform of the Scanian Carabineers, but with white collar and cuffs. Furthermore, for field duty, all Swedish cavalry regiments had an undress uniform, generally made in reverse colours, which for the Cuirassier Corps meant a white jacket with dark blue collar and cuffs.

b32c58194ba746aa1ca9bead9138c9a3--sweden-army
Richard Knotel’s depiction of a Swedish cuirassier officer (centre).

By today’s standards, [the Swedish cavalry horses] would barely pass as a pony. However, the Cuirassier Corps and the Scanian Carabineers – the two Swedish heavy cavalry regiments – were to have horses exceeding 1,45 m in height. Any colour of the horse was generally accepted, but for the heavies – the Cuirassiers and Carabineers – they had to be of dark colour. The preferred colour of the horses for the trumpeters was white or grey for all regiments.

014068a826319223f2fcbd0dac7d122f

I’m grateful to HaT and Björn Bergérus for this information as discovering anything on the Swedish cuirassiers was proving particularly difficult!

Notable battle: Dennewitz.


A Footnote about Anders Skjoldebrand…

As I’ve mentioned, Plastic Soldier Review listed these figures as being Skjöldebrand Cuirassiers, so I thought it worth a brief mention about who this Skjöldebrand actually was.

General Skioldebrand
General Anders Fredrik Skjöldebrand. Miniature by Jakob Axel Gillberg 1810.

Anders Fredrik Skjöldebrand (1757 to 1834) was an “unusually versatile talent”; at various times being a Swedish count, a military general, and a statesman and minister. He began his military career as a cornet in the South Scanian Cavalry Regiment in 1774, and was later promoted to lieutenant in the East Gothic Cavalry.

He was present in the Russo-Swedish War taking part in the Battle of Karlskrona. In 1789, he then managed to serve at sea and fought in the sea battle of Öland. In the Napoleonic Wars, having risen to the rank of General, he was present at the battles of Dennewitz and Leipzig. In command of the Swedish cavalry (which included the Morner Hussars and Scanian Carabineers), he later won a victory at the Battle of Bornhöved (December 1813) and participated in the war on Norway the following year. He died in 1834 in Stockholm.

hat-swedish-cuirassiers-4.jpg

Scanian Carabineers (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #29)

Swedish Carabineers (47)

The third regiment from HaT’s Swedish Napoleonic Cavalry set is ready for parade. A pleasing dozen of figures to paint with their large bicorne hats and clear, crisp sculpted details.

Swedish Carabineers (39)

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Swedish Carabineers (37)

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Obeying the information I uncovered, I depicted them all riding ‘dark coloured’ horses; painting up some bays, dark bays and black horses.

 

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Just the two poses, but I quite liked the relaxed look of the figures. Below – one of the carbine carrying troopers.

 

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Uniform colours were blue coat, yellow facings, buff-coloured crossbelts and breeches. Sabretaches appeared to be blue with three yellow crowns. Shabraques, likewise blue with yellow edging. The bicornes are shown with a tall white plume.

 

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I’ve suggested before that HaT’s horses are OK without reaching the superb sculpting of some others I’ve painted, but after applying some paint, I do think they look good and have gone up in my estimation a little.

 

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So that leaves two more regiments to paint; Cuirassiers and Light Dragoons. Last time, I indicated which regiment from the box I was going to paint and then painted something different. So, this time I simply say – expect news of another Swedish regiment soon! In the meantime, the usual regimental biographical information.

Biography:  The Scanian Carabineer Regiment

Swedish Carabineers (35)

This regiment was first formed in 1676 and named the Blekinge Regiment of Horse Blekingska regimentet til häst. Commanded by Hans Ramsvärd, the regiment was also known as Ramsvärd’s regiment to horse. They fought during the Skåne war, including the battles of Lund (1676) and Landskrona (1677).

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In 1679, the regiment was permanently transferred to Scania, in the southern tip of Sweden,  despite being initially associated with the Blekinge province. Ljungbyhed, a town in the northwest of Skåne (Scania) was the base for the Carabineers.

scanian karabinjar

When the Great Northern War began in 1700, it was transferred to the Baltic States before then campaigning in Poland and Russia in the years up to 1709. During this time, the regiment took part in the Swedish victory over the Saxons at Kliszów (1702) and then later in the terrible defeat by the Russians at Poltava (1709). The survivors of the regiment surrendered with the rest of the Swedish army at Perevolotjna, but a group also accompanied King Karl XII in his flight to Bender in modern-day Moldova.

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Swedish cavalry battle Russian Dragoons and Ukrainian Cossacks at Poltava, Great Northern War.

The regiment subsequently participated in most of Sweden’s wars during the remainder of the 18th century. In 1757, the entire regiment was part of the expeditionary force sent to Pomerania under Field-marshal Mathias Alexander von Ungern Sternberg. On November 18 1758, a detachment of the regiment was part of General von Lingen’s force at the combat of Güstow. It served in the successive Pomeranian campaigns until 1761.

Södra_Skånska_Horse_Uniform_Plate
1757 Uniform of the Southern Scania Regiment

In the latter part of the century, the name was changed to be the Southern Scania Cavalry Regiment (Södra skånska kavalleriregementet) before becoming the Scanian Carabineers in 1805. In this guise, it took part in the final stages of the Napoleonic Wars, during the 1813-1814. The only other heavy cavalry regiment in the Swedish army at this time were the cuirassiers.

Uniformsbilder - CJ Ljunggren
Scanian Carabineers in yellow Undress (left) and blue Service Dress (centre) with a Morner Hussar following behind.

The Scanian Carabineers later changed its name in 1822 to the Scanian Dragoon Regiment. This name was then retained until the final decommissioning of the force in 1927.

lossy-page1-250px-Norway_and_Sweden,_1797-1799_(NYPL_b14896507-419101).tiff
Scanian Carabineer, c.1790.

Notable Battles: Lund, Landskrona, Kliszów, Poltava, Güstow.


swedish-carabineers-48.jpg

Carbine Cavalrymen

I confidently announced in my last post on the Nappy Cavalry Project that my next regiment from the HaT Swedish Cavalry box would be the Smaland Light Dragoons. I then promptly picked up the Scanian Carabineers and began work on that regiment instead. I’m a bit like that. Capricious.

scanian karabinjar

A Carabineer, ( Carabinier or Carbineer) was originally a French word intended to indicate cavalry armed with carbines, a lighter firearm than the longer musket. Although originally a concept for light cavalry, it seems that Carabineers were frequently equipped as medium or heavy cavalry. Napoleon’s French Carabiniers were eventually armed with a brass-lacquered cuirass, and the British version, called the Carabiniers, were otherwise known as the 6th Dragoon Guards, technically a medium-heavy cavalry formation.

Swedish Carabineers (5)

Anyway, the Swedish Scanian Carabiniers were a heavy cavalry formation and were distinguished by their very broad-brimmed bicornes and tall white plumes. They had separate uniforms for undress (yellow uniform) and service dress (blue uniform). I’ve opted for the latter for my figures.

NorraSkanska

Just the two poses, one with carbine in hand (appropriately):

Swedish Carabineers (16)

Swedish Carabineers (14)

Swedish Carabineers (13)

Swedish Carabineers (12)

Swedish Carabineers (11)

Swedish Carabineers (1)

…and the other figure with sword drawn:

Swedish Carabineers (10)

Swedish Carabineers (9)

Swedish Carabineers (8)

Swedish Carabineers (7)

At least I get to paint a different horse after the previous 24 Swedish cavalrymen required the very same duo of horse figures! Apparently, the standard Napoleonic Swedish cavalry horse would barely pass as a pony, today. However,

“…the Cuirassier Corps and the Scanian Carabineers – the two Swedish heavy cavalry regiments – were to have horses exceeding 1.45m in height. Any colour of the horse was generally accepted, but for the heavies – the Cuirassiers and Carabineers – they had to be of dark colour.”

So, some dark-coloured mounts are required. They will be next up to paint, although – truth be told – I’ve a few other things on the painting table at the moment competing for my attention…

Swedish Carabineers (4)

Swedish Carabineers (2)

 

 

The King’s Horse Guard (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #28)

My second regiment from HaT’s Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry is The King’s Horse Guard (Konungens Livgardet till häst). The box contains just the 1 pose of this regiment, reproduced in 3 figures which I’ve doubled up via the purchase of an extra box. So it’s not so much a regiment, as a squadron – but enough to guard a Crown Prince at any rate!

Swedish Life Guard (17)
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Their horses are a chestnut-coloured selection of Swedish Warmbloods, a breed used by  today’s successor regiment to the Livgardet till häst in ceremonial duties. In Napoleonic times, any reasonable pony often would have had to suffice but I’ve been generous to this exclusive guard detachment and referenced their modern equivalents with this colour of mount.

Swedish Life Guard (14)

Having the same pose is not a problem with this group, I think. With swords drawn and advancing calmly at the walk, they look entirely like a guard regiment out on royal duty or parade. A more energetic action pose would have been less appropriate for these royal dandies.

Swedish Life Guard (15)

The unusual mid-light blue uniform (I’ve used Vallejo Andrea Blue) and distinctive headgear with white plume and facings make them a decorative addition to my project. It seems that selecting a shade of blue wasn’t just a problem for me. Regarding the modern regiment, Wikipedia says that;

The colour of the parade uniform worn by the cavalry was in the 1950s changed to match the officer’s “mid-blue” shade: (a slightly lighter colour) for all ranks. In the 1990s, the colour was again changed, apparently in error, to a royal blue colour. The shade for other ranks is now to revert to mid-blue, while officers will retain “middle blue, slightly lighter.”

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Before the regimental biography commences, I perhaps ought to ponder on which regiment to tackle next in the project. I’m determined to clear the box (at least at some point) and there are three regiments remaining: the Småland Light Dragoons, the Scanian Carabiniers, and the Skjöldebrand Cuirassiers. All look quite interesting… but I’ve randomly chosen the Småland Light Dragoons to be the 29th regiment in the project!

 

 


Biography: The King’s Horse Guard [Sweden]

Swedish Life Guard (12)

HaT’s own website contains a great overview of the Swedish cavalry during Napoleonic times including an extensive section by Björn Bergérus on the Horse Guards which I respectfully reproduce below.

Taken from an original text by Björn Bergérus, Stockholm, Sweden 2005-2006.

This unit originated in Finland (based in Borgå/Porvoo, very close to Helsinki). The unit was promoted to Guards’ status – Lätta dragonerna av Livgardet (The Light Dragoons of the Life Guards) – after the bloodless coup d’état of the Swedish king Gustavus III. In 1793 the unit was renamed Livhusarregementet (The Life Hussar Regiment), and in 1797 Livdragonkåren (The Life Dragoon Corps) and finally got the name Livgardet till häst (The Horse Guards) in 1806.

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Contemporary illustration of a 1798 uniform of the Konungens Livgardet till häst.

The unit was composed of three companies (later called squadrons) of 50 men each. When inspected in 1771 the commander found “that all dragoons were made up of Swedish or Finnish, all happy, well spirited and particularly beautiful people”.

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In the bloodless coup d’état by Gustavus III in 1772, the unit’s commander Jakob Magnus Sprengtporten took a force of some 1.000 men and sailed to Stockholm from Finland to support the king. Due to poor winds, however, he arrived only some two weeks after the successful coup d’état. The king was nevertheless very grateful and made 100 men of the unit into the King’s personal bodyguard to reside in the capital of Stockholm. Sprengtporten was also made the commander of both the Foot and Cavalry Guards. The new guard unit was given the name Lätta dragonerna av livgardet – the Light Dragoons of the Lifeguard. History tells that the old guard regiments – the Life Regiment and the Foot Guards – found it hard to regard the dragoons as their equals with resulting petty disputes between officers and even coming to blows between the troopers.

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Swedish king Gustavus III

In 1777 the two parts of the regiment – in Sweden and Finland respectively – were amalgamated to the Stockholm area, counting four squadrons of 200 men total. In 1793 the name was changed to Livhusarregementet – the Life Hussar Regiment. At the end of the 1790s the unit was reduced to two squadrons and the name changed to Lätta livdragonregementet – the Light Life Dragoon Regiment.

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1783 incarnation of the Lätta livdragonregementet uniform.

About 90 troopers from the regiment were present during the campaign in and around Swedish Pomerania (North Germany) against the French in 1805-07. The campaign was fruitless, as the troops eventually had to retire before a more numerous French foe. The commander Löwenhjelm and four troopers still got medals for bravery for a delaying action during a crossing of the river Elbe.

The regiment’s name was changed again in 1806 to Konungens lifgarde till häst – the King’s Horse Guard – or simply the Horse Guards.

The regiment also fought in the Russo-Swedish war of 1808-09. One squadron took part in a landing operation against Turko/Åbo that resulted in hard fighting that is said to have lasted for 14 hours. The commander von Vegesack writes of the Horse Guard that they “fought as a guard should fight; they have with the greatest manly courage endured the renewed attacks of the enemy and never fallen back a single step”. Many troopers were mentioned for their good conduct during this battle, like trooper no. 4 Lind, who had “shot nine Russians, and freed himself and five men of the militia from captivity”.

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Cornet Carl Fredrik Reinhold von Essen dressed in the uniform of the King’s Horse Guard, 1808. Painting by Carl Fredrik von Breda.

Later during the summer of 1808 a new landing attempt was made to cut off the Russian supply from their bases in the south of Finland. Three reduced infantry regiments, a battery of guns and two squadrons of Horse Guard took part. The landing force was soon engaged by the Russians, but could give support to another Swedish brigade at Lappfjärd under the Swedish General von Döbeln (immortalised by the Finnish poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg). After a successful engagement the Horse Guard could pursue the fleeing Russians. Von Vegesack then joined the main army and took part in the battle of Oravais close to Vaasa in Western Finland September 14th 1808. Here some 5-6.000 Swedes-Finns faced some 6-7.000 Russians – the only major battle of the Russo-Swedish war 1808-09. At first it looked good for the Swedish-Finnish, but the battle finally ended in a Russian victory.

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Contemporary print of the action at the captured the city of Umeå, Russo-Swedish War of 1808-09.

During the winter of 1808-09 four squadrons of the Horse Guard were stationed on the Åland Islands, between the Finnish and Swedish mainland. Here several small skirmishes took place with Russian Cossacks – often on the frozen ice between the small islands. During one of these events, a trooper named Kämpe of the Horse Guards (Kämpe meaning ‘fighter’ in Swedish – soldiers were often given these short “soldiers’ names” that were easy to remember) is recorded to have cut one Cossack in the throat and broke his lance. The Swedish defenders were eventually forced to retreat over the frozen waters from Åland to the Swedish mainland before the advance of more numerous Russians. The Horse Guards covered the retreat, and was engaged several times in small skirmishes with harassing Russian Cossacks.

In August 1809 a final Swedish push was made with a landing designed to take back the town of Umeå on the Swedish mainland. The Swedish force was composed of 7.000 men, more numerous than the defending Russians. Two squadrons of the Horse Guards were present, although fighting on foot. The Swedish command was as slow and hesitant, as the Russian commander Kamenski was eager and determined. The Swedish suffered from not having mounted cavalry as scouts and overestimated – as usual – the strength of the Russians. After some fighting the Swedish chose to retire and re-embark – the landing having been a failure. Five troopers of the horse guards nevertheless got medals for bravery.

With the peace in 1809 Finland was lost to Russia and made into a Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsar. A total of 24 medals of honour had been awarded to the men from the Horse Guard during the war.

The regiment was seriously decimated by the war – upon inspection the regiment had 95 horses present of which 34 were rejected for further service and about the rest they were said to be “very poor, due to serious fatigue, cold and – for the horse’s maintenance during the end of the campaign – a far too inadequate supply of food”.

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During the campaigns of 1813-14 the Horse Guard mainly served as escort and bodyguard to the newly elected Crown Prince of Sweden, the former French Marshal Bernadotte, now commander of the allied Army of the North. The Horse Guard also functioned as a recruiting base for dispatch riders. In Germany the regiment also got new beautiful light blue hussar uniforms made up by the fine tailors of Berlin.

After the short war with Norway in 1814 the Horse Guards were stationed in Fredrikshald, Norway, for some two months together with other Swedish troops to guarantee the peace treaty, in which Norway accepted Bernadotte as their king, joining a union with Sweden that lasted until 1905.

Notable campaigns: Swedish Pomerania (1805-07), Russo-Swedish war of 1808-09, War of the Sixth Coalition (1813-14).

Swedish Life Guard (1)

Horse Guards of the Swedish King

Having despatched the Morner Hussars, the 27th regiment in my project, I have been turning my attention to one of the other four regiments in HaT’s Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry set; the Royal Life Guard.

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Immediately noticeable are their peculiar headdress with it’s woollen crest and turned up side which ends in a white plume.

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The colour of the uniform is a light blue, the exact shade of which seems to vary from illustration to illustration. Consequently, I’ve opted for what I thought was an attractive shade of mid / light blue from Vallejo called Andrea Blue.

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Just a mere 6 troopers with a single pose this time, so it’s a quicker process (each box only containing a token 3 of these figures). I toyed with the idea of twisting a few heads for variety but left them as they are as I rather liked the uniformity.

Hat Swedish Life Guard (7)

The regiment is described on Plastic Soldier Review as being the Royal Life Guard. The regiment was called a number of names over its history but by 1806 was known as the Konungens lifgarde till häst or King’s Horse Guards.

Hat Swedish Life Guard (4)

The Life Guards of Sweden are a successor regiment to the Royal Life Guard of the Napoleonic era. Today, in Stockholm, these ceremonially dressed troops can be seen acting as ceremonial guard and protecting the Royal Palace.

Much like the ceremony in London, the guard take part in their own regular Changing of the Guard. The colour of their uniform bears some similarity to the Napoleonic forbears that I’ve been painting.

Hat Swedish Life Guard (3)

I am using the exact same horses from the HaT Swedish Cavalry box that I used for the mounts of the hussars, so I’m well familiar with them by now. Today, the modern mounted Life Guard have up to 75 Swedish Warmblood (chestnut/sorrel) horses in their stable.

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Unlike the British Life Guards, the Swedish variety accept females within their ranks.

These horses are specially bred by The Swedish Horse Guard Association which acts to maintain the traditions of the Swedish guards. I’m not certain whether their forbears in the Napoleonic period also rode this specific type of horse, that’s assuming that appropriate mounts could ever be found in time of war, but I’ve referenced this tradition by mounting my figures on horses of a similar colour. The finishing touches to these horses are still being painted on but I’ll share them soon in a coming post (with riders) when the whole lot are finished.

Mörner Hussars (Nappy Cavalry Project Regiment #27)

It’s been a while coming but steady progress has been made on this latest regiment which, at 18 figures, may well be the largest I’ve so far attempted. Painting 18 of everything certainly makes for a longer painting process. Thankfully, the figures were pleasurable to paint.

Swedish Morner Hussars (17)

The three poses for the regiment work well, but that might be considered a little insufficient for a force of 18 figures. Furthermore, there are only two horse poses and, I know I’ve said it before, the horses are good rather than great.

Swedish Morner Hussars (41)

Six figures are on the charge with sabres waving. They wear their pelisse and have blue overalls, suitable for being on campaign. Another half-dozen are hussars wearing buff breeches rather than blue overalls. They also carry their pelisse over the shoulder. Black fur trim on their pelisse was unique to this regiment in the Swedish cavalry.

Swedish Morner Hussars (47)

Swedish Morner Hussars (48)

Figures with sabres drawn and at the walk:

Swedish Morner Hussars (35)

Swedish Morner Hussars (36)

Swedish Morner Hussars (34)

Figures waving sabres in attack:

Swedish Morner Hussars (29)

Swedish Morner Hussars (24)

In Full Dress:

Swedish Morner Hussars (27)

Swedish Morner Hussars (28)

There’s still another four, yes four, regiments from this set to produce, though none will be as numerous as the Hussars. The next one in the box I thought I’d tackle is the Royal Lifeguard, numbering a mere 6 figures. From the largest regiment in my project to the smallest! Six is a suitable number for a royal bodyguard unit, I think.

Swedish Morner Hussars (43)

A few more photos of my finished figures and then an overview of the Mörner Hussars history in the usual Regimental Biography.


Biography: Mörner Hussars [Sweden]

The regiment was first established in 1758 as the Swedish Hussar Regiment (Svenska Husarregementet). It was located at Bonarps Hed in the province of Skåne, in the southern tip of Sweden.

In 1762, the regiment was separated into two independent regiments known as the Blå and Gula Husarregementet (i.e. the blue and yellow hussar regiments, see respective illustrations above). These two were merged back to one in 1766 with the name Husarregementet. At this time, it’s strength was approximately 400 men divided into eight squadrons. Intrestingly, the famous Prussian Marshall Blücher originally served with the Blå Hussars during the first campaigns of the Swedish Field Army in Pomerania, his family originally coming from the area.

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Swedish Cavalry:  A Mörner Hussar (right) with Carabiniers.

In the Swedish provinces of the Duchy of Pomerania in what is now Germany, the regiment was primarily responsible for guarding and patrolling the borders. In 1772, under King Gustav III, the regiment was transferred back to mainland Sweden, and was first placed in a number of cities on the west coast and rotated to other western Swedish cities thereafter.

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Mörner Hussar, 1792,

In 1797, the name was changed again to the Horn Hussars (Hornska husarregementet), being named after the regiment’s colonel, Samuel Horn. The Horn Hussars continued to transfer to various locations during this time including, Halmstad, Malmö, Helsingborg, Ängelholm, Ystad and Simrishamn.

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Illustration of Mörner Hussar, 1796.

The Napoleonic Wars demanded an increase in the regiment’s size and the number of squadrons rose to eight in total, with up to 100 men per squadron. In 1801, the regiment was named the Mörner Hussars (Mörnerska Husarregementet), when Hampus Mörner became head of the regiment.

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Hampus Mörner. The man himself in a cuirassier uniform. Miniature by Domenico Bossi, 1796.

A less than glorious episode for the regiment is remembered with some irony as being the Battle of Klågerup. In 1810, Sweden enacted sweeping army draft regulations to increase its supply of forced recruits. Many groups in society were exempt, however, with the burden therefore falling on the poor. In 1811, anger amongst this group finally resulted in the so-called Klågerup riots.

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Memorial for those killed in the Klågerup riots 1811.

Major Hampus Mörner went with 150 men of his hussar regiment and two cannons to face a mob of about 800 at Klågerup. Mörner’s troops tried to persuade them to leave but they wouldn’t disperse and the major launched an attack which killed about 40 of the rebels. 100s more were wounded, captured and imprisoned, with a ‘ringleader’ publicly being executed in Malmö.

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The Battle of Bornhöft (1813). Painting by Per Krafft the Younger.

More gallantly, on December 7, 1813, the regiment played an important role in the Swedish victory in the battle of Bornhöved in Schleswig-Holstein. Crown prince Charles John led a division to pursue the retreating Danish army. This division under the commander of the Swedish cavalry, Anders Fredrik Skjöldebrand, included the Mörner Hussars . Having been carefully spared any serious engagement hitherto by the Crown Prince, all of the Swedish cavalry was desperate to finally see some combat. Such frustration apparently bubbled over when they disobeyed orders and rode straight at the Danish army.

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Contemporary illustration of the Mörner Hussars laying into the Danish rearguard at the battle of Bornhöved. Note the fleeing Polish lancers, top right.

The cavalry soon caught up and clashed with the Danish rearguard which included Napoleon’s famous Polish lancers of the Guard. By the evening, the Swedes encountered the main Danish army at Bornhöved, a 2,500 strong Danish force which included infantry, cavalry and artillery. With nightfall close, it seemed as though a suicidal frontal cavalry assault upon the Danes was unlikely. Having dispersed the rearguard, however, the 471 strong Swedish cavalry, including the Mörner Hussars commanded by Colonel Bror Cederström, immediately attacked and forced the Danish army into retreat.

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The Mörner Hussars at the Battle of Bornhöved, 1813.

Remarkably, the charge of the Mörner Hussars at the battle of Bornhöved was to prove to be the last time a Swedish regiment fought in a battle on foreign soil outside Scandanavia. Mörner’s nephew, Colonel Bror Cederström, had effectively been the leader of the regiment since 1804. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the regiment consequently became known as the Cederströmian Hussar Regiment (Cederströmska Husarregementet). In 1822, it was called the Crown Prince’s Hussar Regiment (Kronprinsens Husarregemente) and despite further temporary name changes, would retain this title until final disbandment in 1927.

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Colonel Bror Cederström


Notable battle: Bornhöved.

Swedish Morner Hussars (3)