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.
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.
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.
Just the two poses, one with carbine in hand (appropriately):
…and the other figure with sword drawn:
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…
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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]
HaT’s own website contains a great overview of the Swedish cavalry during Napoleonic times including an extensive section by Björn Bergéruson the Horse Guards which I respectfully reproduce below.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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”.
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).
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.
Immediately noticeable are their peculiar headdress with it’s woollen crest and turned up side which ends in a white plume.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mörner Hussar Pelisse
Mörner Hussar Pelisse
Figures with sabres drawn and at the walk:
Figures waving sabres in attack:
In Full Dress:
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.
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.
Trooper of Blå Hussars Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan
Trooper of Gula Hussars – Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan
In 1762, the regiment was separated into two independent regiments known as theBlåand 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just thought I’d share progress on my latest Napoleonic cavalry figures – the Mörner Hussars. There are eighteen of these to keep me busy, but they’ve been coming along easily enough.
The entire group of eighteen figures are made up of just three poses. Here are the half-dozen figures which wear breeches and Hessian boots with a black fur-lined pelisse hung over the shoulder:
The remaining dozen have blue overalls on their legs with black leather knee patches. They fully wear the pelisse and have the streamer wrapped around their Mirliton hat. Half of them are waving the sabre in mid charge:
…and the remainder have sabres drawn but are advancing steadily at the walk.
I went a little wrong on my painting of the figures wearing overalls, unsure of what I was looking at (overalls, breeches, or a mixture of both). This resulted in my repainting the legs twice over before I was sure I was correct. One or two swear words may have been uttered during this time.
The breeches are made of buff leather, as are the crossbelts worn by the other figures.
HaT have produced a nice, if not spectacular, set of figures. The yellow-topped mirliton looks pleasingly unusual. The streamer (or flamme) I think should be black with yellow trim on the side I’ve painted it, not yellow as I have them, but – well – I’m sticking with it for now! The detail is a little hazy on the braiding but I’ve done my best to bring it out and the overall effect is OK, I think.
Taken as a large group, I think they’ll look quite impressive when mounted. With the Mörner Hussars riders nearly painted, their herd of horses will take their turn under the brush. And when I’ve finally completed all that, I’ll share what will be the 27th regiment in my Nappy Cavalry Project!
Following on from the recent return to my Napoleonic Cavalry Project, I’m continuing the momentum with a kit that I’ve had lying around for a few years now; HaT’s Napoleonic Swedish Cavalry.
Actually it’s ‘kits’ (plural) rather than kit (singular) as I’m attempting two packs of the same set. The reason being that the set contains not one but five different examples of cavalry regiments. It’s a remarkable approach; to have so many different examples of troop types within one box. Furthermore, it’s unusual also that the set is produced with specific rather than generic regiments in mind. Although there is nothing recorded on the box, according to Plastic Soldier Review, HaT’s Swedish cavalry contains the following regiments pictured illustrated below on the back of the box:
Royal Lifeguard (middle top row)
Scanian Carabiniers (1st and 2nd figures, top row)
Skjöldebrand Cuirassier (4th figure from left, top row)
Småland Light Dragoons (last figures on 1st and 2nd rows)
Von Mörner Hussars (first three figures 2nd row)
Some of these regiments are represented by only a few figures per box (the Royal Lifeguard and the cuirassiers); others by half a dozen (the Light Dragoons and Carabiniers); whilst the “Von Mörner Hussars” given a more generous nine. Buying a second box has therefore allowed me to double the size of these regiments into a more respectable amount.
I can announce that the first Swedish cavalry regiment that I’m attempting (and the 27th in the Nappy Cavalry Project) is the Mörner Hussar Regiment, (Mörnerska husarregementet) the most numerous regiment with 18 figures from the two boxes.
Two of the hussar figures wear their fur-lined pelisse, the other having it over the left shoulder. This figure also has the distinction of wearing a ‘streamer’ attached to their mirleton hat. The other two have it wrapped around the hat instead and doubtless, therefore, less of a nuisance.
The Mirleton hat is the first one attempted in the project. It was also known as the Flügelmütze or Flügelkappe and was another piece of typically outrageous hussar dandyism. It came into fashion around 1750 but by the turn of the century was becoming obsolete or ‘old hat’, if you will. The fact the Swedish hussars still employed this headgear in the Napoleonic period was a consequence of Sweden’s poor economy which meant that old-fashioned uniforms were worn for longer and only replaced when completely worn out.
The three hussar figures depict different legwear too. One figure wears buff leather breeches and Hessian boots (as in the figure above right). The two other figures are wearing blue overalls with, curiously, black leather knee patches – these can be seen in the Knotel print seen previously.
HaT, I’ve said before, are a manufacturer with an impressive range of topics. The sculpting runs short of the tremendously high quality of Zvezda or Italeri at their best, in my opinion. However, the figures are still neatly done and I think this Swedish set looks like they could be fun to paint. The most marked difference between HaT and Zvezda can be seen in the horses, I think, an area where Zvezda’s sculpting really excels whereas HaT is simply OK.
Nevertheless, with the kind of diversity such as HaT have packed into this box, I’m looking forward to developing them and seeing how they turn out. Furthermore, this is the first time in the project that I’ve attempted a regiment from Sweden, adding further variety to my collection. Having already made a start I’ll be updating as soon as I have something worth sharing!
I mentioned in a previous post that I’d share some pics on my Napoleonic Swedish army project and, as good as my word, here they are! As stated before, I found the box when retrieving some Christmas decorations. They were purchased for me (at my cheeky suggestion) by Mrs Lentonist as a 2013 Christmas present from a brilliant local model shop that was (tragically after 20 years) closing down and selling stock cheaply. The sculpting certainly isn’t HaT’s best, but they are easy to paint and look good – I like to think – with paint on them.
What I like about this issued from HaT are the range of types of infantry available; from guards, to infantry of the line, to jager. Furthermore the Swedes were an eccentric lot when it came to Napoleonic military fashion, a consequence of necessity (they were not a wealthy at the time and held on to old stock) and eccentricity (on the part of their then ruling monarch). For a man that does painting for display and not for wargaming, the wide range in the box is a boon. Often unfairly overlooked for their military involvement during the Napoleonic period, the Swedes were nonethelesss still active participants. They faught the Russians, the Danes, the Norwegians and the French themselves during this era, most notably at Leipzig in 1813 under their new king Charles XIV, formerly known as one of Napoleon’s ex-marshalls; Bernadotte! Bernadotte began a dynasty that remains on the Swedish throne even today and his military adventures with the Swedish army were to herald the end of warfare for his country; a nobly proud record that continues up to the present day.
Anyway…first off – the line infantry:
The Guard Grenadiers feature next. Note the perculiar crest coming over the tall helmet, a feature that moves about at various angles to the helmet in the Swedish army.
Next up, the Life Guard. There are only about 12 of these in total in the box. I’ve painted them with the ceremonial white gaitors rather than campaign black. Note the curious crest that seems to feature at a 45 degree angle to the front rather than the straight-over versions of the Guard Grenadiers.
Now for the first of the two sharpshooter units; the Varmland Sharpshooters. These were the only Swedish Jager unit apparently and feature their crest at right angles to the front of the helmet:
And next up, the Finnish variety of sharpshooters. Finland was a part of Sweden during the Napoleonic period and I understand their troops tended to feature grey uniforms. They have a dark green busby with upturned peak (and yes I painted the required ‘dark green appearing as almost black’ headgear, actually using dark green mixed with black paint…)
And finally, one of the two artillery units that I’ve made. I’ll add a pic of the other howitzer unit as soon as I’ve added a finishing touch (i.e. a bucket!).
And that’s it for now. I’m about half way through the 100 strong infantry box and the artillery box too. There are four cavalrymen primed and awaiting the first lick of paint. Oh, but I got a little distracted the other week by painting up a few more of my Crimean war Sardinian Infantrymen – which I might show off on this blog soon too as the next ‘Featured Figures’! And then there’s my contribution to the group build project to start work on…
It’s a productive start to 2015 here at Suburban Militarism. My very best to everyone.