Sunday, March 17, 2013

Swedish Army 1813 and 1814

One of the lesser played armies for Napoleonic era wargames is the one from Sweden.  The army did fight Russia in an attempt to hold Finland after Russia invaded, then returned to Europe in 1813 with an ex French Marshall as its leader.  The Marshall was Bernadotte, who was sort of on probation as king during the campaign; the nobility in Sweden were able and had shown themselves very capable of strongly suggesting that a king abdicate.

The campaign had as one of its controversies a feeling by other nations that Swedish forces were being husbanded with a look to after the campaign, putting extra strain on the Russian and  Prussian units in the same army.   Rather than go over ground much more thoroughly covered in most histories of 1813,  I thought to share sources with those who want to know a little about the uniforms of the Swedish army units, and of course put up some photos of the units I have in my collection.

There are two wonderful articles on Swedish army units for the time period, both of which are from defunct magazines, The Courier and Tradition.   Thanks to the wonder of the internet, a kind soul has put the pages up for view on one of the photo sharing sites.

The Courier's article comes first and addresses the cavalry, while the infantry and artillery are covered in the Tradition article.  The Tradition article has two wonderful tables of uniform information on the infantry regiments, the group of which had several official changes of uniform during the period of the late 1790's a through 1815.

Other resources for the Swedish army in the Napoleonic period include  websites by gamers from Sweden (they have a better chance of understanding the source material than the vast majority of gamers).  The first concentrates on the Russo Swedish War in Finland.  

The second site has collected more information on the OoB and some period illustrations, as well as an overview of the war that proves useful.

I have to admit the Swedes were an early army for me to paint, the figures are the venerable 25mm Minifig Swedes from the Napoleonic range.  The paints back then I used were the Humbrol brand, and the style was pretty 'war games basic.'  Still there is a certain charm to these figures and they are practically the only castings I am aware of for this army and time period.   I know there is an odd elite figure or two for the infantry, but the Minifig artillery and cavalry castings are the only game in town that I know of being made in either 25 or 28mm. 

So, on to the photos.  First up will be the cavalry units I have painted. The figures are all from the 1970's and early 1980's, and I believe they were all painted by about 1988.  Here are the first three units, the 'heavies.'

The first unit is the Life Regiment Cuirassier Corps, a bit of a mouthful but  a good unit on the table top. These fellows are actually the castings from the Swedish Minifig range.  The helmet is similar to but not exactly like some of the other nationalities classical ancients themed helmets.  Buff coats and pants, steel cuirass, black crest on a black leather helmet with brass fittings on the front.

 Next up are the South Scanian Carbineers, For this unit I used castings for Spanish Dragoons, don't tell the boys they are meant to be in warmer climates!   Dark blue coats, buff pants and belts, the bicorne make the unit easy to spot on the table.
The third unit is the Lif Garde Til Hast, in the uniform as they would appear late in the Napoleonic wars, 1813 and onward. T he uniform is of a hussar pattern, and the headgear is a Russian Kiwer.  I used the Russian Hussar figure available way back when to build the unit. Light ish blue dolman and pelisse, black fur, white shako plume and cords. The horse blanket is the same lightish blue with a broad white stripe around the outside.   The unit has always been pretty dependable on the table, but then it is usually rated pretty well.

These three units make up the 'punch ' of the Swedish cavalry in the Army of the North.

Next time, the lighter horse regiments.


Anonymous said...

I still have a few units of Minifigs Napoleonics. You are right about the sense of nostalgia that they endear.

pancerni said...

The Swedes are my last large group of Minifigs, although I do have some Russian units left as well. Most of my 25mm stuff was sold off, probably 15 years ago to make ends meet in a layoff period. These guys still get used, though!

Gonsalvo said...

Some great sources on the Swedees there, Joe. As you know, I have my own contingent of Swedes; the same Minifigs, of course!

Schrumpfkopf said...

Minifigs still do the job. I like these quite a bit.

Kind regards,


Unknown said...

The link for the Courier and Traditions Magazines does not work, any idea as to where I can see these articles?

pancerni said...

Looks like the photobucket pages are unavailable. Maybe the wayback machine?