The Allotment System - Sweden

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Military home The Older Allotment System Soldier names Rote Swedish wars
Previous Page Utskrivning The soldier croft Mantal Swedish Regiments
  The Later Allotment System Uniforms The Reduction Uniforms of the Swedish Army
  Infantry Soldier Contracts Land ownership Military ranks - today
  Cavalry Documents Volunteers Swedish Military Research
  Navy Discharge Rank vs Position  
  Allotted vs Enlisted Regiments Karlberg War Academy Swedish/English dictionary - Military terms  
  The end of the Allotment System Peacetime work    
  The civil Allotment System      
  Military Ranks in the 1700's      

The gun "Galten"  from the 1500's at the Gripsholm castle.The allotment system, the system of organizing and financing the Swedish armed forces in earlier times.

The Older Allotment System,
"Det äldre indelningsverket"

The army was reorganized in the 1620's. King Gustav II Adolf had an infantry regiment stationed in each province of Sweden including Finland (Finland belonged to Sweden until 1809). The Regiments were called "landskapsregementen" (Provincial Regiments, landskap = province). A cavalry Regiment was also stationed in many provinces.

Each infantry regiment normally consisted of 1200 men (privates and corporals) plus the Commissioned and Non-commissioned Officers.
The 1200 men were divided into 8 Companies of 150 men each. Four Companies made a Battalion.

A Colonel commanded the Regiment as well as the First Battalion. A Lieutenant Colonel commanded Second Battalion.
A Captain commanded each Company. The 1st Company in each Regiment was called the Life Company or the LifeGuard Company.

In total at this time, 20 infantry Regiments were organized (13 in Sweden and 7 in Finland) and 8 cavalry Regiments (5 in Sweden and 3 in Finland).

The original Infantry Regiments:

Nr Regiment Province
1 Upplands regemente Uppland
2 Skaraborgs regemente Västergötland
3 Åboläns infanteriregemente The county of Åbo, Finland
4 Södermanlands regemente Södermanland
5 Kronobergs/Jönköpings regemente Småland
6 Björneborgs regemente The county of Björneborg, Finland
7 Dalregementet Dalarna
8 Östgöta infanteriregemente Östergötland
9 Tavastehus regemente The county of Tavastehus, Finland
10 Hälsinge regemente Hälsingland
11 Älvsborgs regemente Västergötland
12 Västgöta-Dals regemente Västergötland/Dalsland
13 Viborgs infanteriregemente The county of Viborg, Finland
14 Savolax regemente Finland
15 Västmanlands regemente Västmanland
16 Västerbottens regemente Västerbotten
17 Kalmar regemente Småland
18 Nylands infanteriregemente The county of Nyland, Finland
19 Närke-Värmlands regemente Närke/Värmland
20 Österbottens regemente The county of Österbotten, Finland

The original cavalry Regiments:

Nr Regiment Province
1 Upplands ryttare (Livregementet till häst) Uppland
2 Västgöta kavalleriregemente Västergötland
3 Åbo- och Björneborgs läns kavalleriregemente The county of Åbo and Björneborg, Finland
4 Smålands kavalleriregemente Småland
5 Nylands- och Tavastehus läns kavalleriregemente The county of Tavastehus and Nyland, Finland
6 Östgöta kavalleriregemente Östergötland
7 Karelska eller Viborgs- och Nyslotts läns kavalleriregemente The county of Viborg, Finland
8 Skånska kavalleriregementet Skåne

The soldiers in the infantry and the navy personnel were recruited by a system call "utskrivning" (involuntary conscription).
Every fit man in villages and farms throughout the countryside were grouped together in a "rote" (ward). Each "rote" consisted of 10 men between the age of 15 and 40. One man per "rote" was involuntary recruited to serve in that "rotes's" Regiment.
The towns and cities were not a part of the army recruiting system but the navy recruited in towns and cities as well as in the countryside.

The cavalry didn’t use the system of choosing every 10th man like in the infantry. The cavalrymen were voluntarily recruited among men in villages and farms and normally it was the farmer himself who rode. The farmers who joined the cavalry got a tax deduction as a compensation.

The recruiting requirements was decided by the government each time when there was a need to mobilize the army. Normally the veterans were recruited first.

This system had many disadvantages. Generals never knew in advance how many soldiers they could recruit each time. So they never really knew the strength of their forces in advance.

The system was also widely disliked by the farmers and their farmhands. At any time a farmer or his hands could be designated the "10th man" with no alternatives but to become a part of the Regiment.
But if the soldier’s family was rich they could hire someone else to take his place. The only persons that would accept to take someone else’s place were the people among the poor and the weak. The army then didn’t get the best-qualified soldiers.

The soldiers that served the army in the old system, chosen by "utskrivning" were paid a salary when they were at war. But in peace time the Crown could not afford to keep a standing army so the soldiers were sent home to take care of themselves as best as the could. Another problem with those involuntary chosen soldiers was the large number of desertions.

So there was no standing army at this time accept for the Lifeguard Regiments and the Regiments that manned the fortresses around the nation. They were paid a salary.

The Older Allotment System was first of all a way to organize the armed forces even if the cavalry system was similar to the so-called Later Allotment System.

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The Later Allotment System, "Det yngre indelningsverket"

In 1682 the armed forces were reorganized again. This was took place under the command of King Karl XI. This Later Allotment System (Det yngre indelningsverket) lasted until 1901.

The Later Allotment System was a system of organizing as well as financing the Swedish armed forces between 1682 and 1901.


The system with regiments in each province (landskapsregementen) was kept. But it now included a system with permanently recruited "career" soldiers. At the same time the hated system with "utskrivningar" (involuntary conscription) was significantly changed.

In order to get away from the risk of being involuntary recruited, the farmers / country people accepted a system, which guaranteed them exemption from "utskrivning" if they permanently provided the army with soldiers.

The regiments normally had 1200 soldiers. Therefore each province was divided into 1200 districts (allotments) called "rote" (
"rote” in singular and “rotar” in plural).
The farmers within each "rote" had to provide one soldier to the regiment of that province. In return the farmers were exempted from having to serve as a soldier (as long as they provided a soldier).
The closest word in English to a "rote" would be a milirary ward. One of the farmers in the "rote" (normally the largest farm) was in charge of the responsabilities of the"rote". He was called "rotemästare" (warden).  

The number of farmers per "rote" depended of the “mantal”.
"Mantal" was a property tax code and every farm who had to pay taxes was assigned a "mantal". In the beginning (1600’s) one "mantal" meant a farm with a yearly yield large enough to support the farmer's family and their farm hands.  

In the forest provinces in northern Sweden a farm of one "mantal" had to be big to produce a yield corresponding to one "mantal". In the plains in southern Sweden, with a better climate and a richer soil, a farm could be a lot smaller than in the north and still produce a yield of one "mantal". So “mantal” is not a value for the size of the farm but rather it’s capability of yielding a good crop. Farms with the same “mantal” paid the same amount of tax.
Not all farms could produce a yield corresponding to
one "mantal" but was still able support a family. It was common with farms of ½ "mantal or 5/8 "mantal" etc.  Throughout the centuries the “mantal” rating has changed into lower values. Farms have been split up between siblings due to inheritance and the tax code has been adjusted to that in order to get a fair taxation.

Farms in the 1700’s and 1800’s with a “mantal” rating of ½, ¼ or 1/8 could still support a family. A farm in the 1800’s with a “mantal” rating above 1 (1¼ for example) was a farm with a large yield. So, the “mantal” rates have changed over the years.

The total sum of each farmer’s “mantal” per “rote” had to be 2 “mantal”, that is, a "rote" was supposed to have a total yield of 2 "mantal". It was estimated that a ”rote” had to be of 2 ”mantal” in order to afford the cost of providing a soldier.
In some areas there could be two farms per "rote" (the two farms together had a total yield corresponding to 2 "mantal").
In other areas there might be 5 - 6 farms per "rote", while a wealthy farm of 4 "mantal" alone had to provide two soldiers. 
Small farms and crofts (torp) with a small yield weren’t assigned any “mantal”.

Sometimes you will find the “mantal” rate for a fram in the Household Examination Rolls (Husförhörslängd, HFL).

Not all farmers were obligated to participate in the Allotment System. For example, the estates of the noblemen and the farms on noble land were exempted.
It had to do with the classification of land and the land ownership. Basically it was the people that lived on their own land, "skattebönder" and farmers that lived on land owned by the Crown, "kronojord" that provided the army with soldiers. Other groups like police officers, priests, inn keepers etc were also exempted.
More about land ownership.

The allotted infantry regiments recruited their soldiers in this manner. The majority of the seamen in the Navy and the Army Fleet were recruited in the same way. This way of recruiting was called "rotering".

Each "rote" had to provide the army with one soldier. This meant that it was the responsibility of the "rote" to recruit a soldier, to give him recruitment money (lega), a cottage/croft with land so that the soldier could feed his family, an annual amount of money and an annual supply of hay, seed etc ("hemkall"). The soldiers on the other hand, when they were not training with the army or had to go to war, had to work on the "rote" farms.
The "rote" also had to provide the soldier with the uniform.
The army provided the soldier's weapons.

The new recruit had to be between the age of 18 to 30 and be mentallySoldier's croft
and physically fit. He also had to be at least 5 foot 8 tall. It was first of all peasants and farmhands that were recruited but also sons of farmers, sons of soldiers' etc. For the peasants it was a way to rise in social status, get a place of their own to live in (the soldier croft), a uniform etc. So the recruits signed the contract by free will.

The soldier croft:
The cottage or croft (soldattorp) had to be provided by the "rote" and was located on the farmers' land or on the village common land. The size of the croft had to be at least 7 m x 4,7 m with a barn 10 m x 4,7 m.

When a soldier retired he had to vacate his soldier croft (soldattorp). If the soldier died his family would have to vacate the croft within three months. The "rote" then had to recruit a new soldier who would then move into the croft. At the right, a soldier's croft, Södermanlands regiment, rote 143, Livkompaniet.
If the soldiers was above the age of 50 when he retired and had served in the army between 25 to 30 years he was granted a small pension from the crown.

At the gable of the soldier croft there was a "rote" sign ("rotetavla") stating the name of the regiment, the Company name and the "rote" number. A "rote" signSee the picture to the right. It says: Södermanlands Kongl regemente, Gripsholms kompani, no 1017.
(The Royal Södermanland regiment, the Gripsholm's company, no 1017.)

Soldier Contracts:
A contract was made between the "rote" and the recruit. Both the recruit as well as the contract had to be approved by the Captain in that Company. The recruit didn’t officially become a soldier until he was approved at the next general muster (generalmönstring).
Example of a contract from 1895.

In wartime the "rote" also had to recruit extra soldiers or reserve soldiers.

In peacetime the soldier lived as part time farmer with a couple of training camps per year. In wartime he could be away from home for many years. His wife would have to farm the croft by herself (usually with some help from the "rote" farmers).
If her husband died in action, as mentioned earlier, she would have to move with her children because then the "rote" needed the croft for their new recruit.
If she had no relatives to turn to she had to rely on the poor relief.

This system that was called "Det ständiga knekthållet" (ständiga = permanent, Knekt = soldier). The system provided the army with 1200 soldiers in each Regiment and was financed almost exclusively by the farmers. On the other hand, the farmers were free from having to involuntarily serve as soldiers.

The Companies were locally located. All the soldiers from the same part of a province served in the same Company. Each Company covered a specific geographical area in a province.

The infantry was also called "fotfolket" (men at Foot or foot soldiers).

An important advantage of the new system was that it took much less time to mobilize. Generals now knew the strength of their permanent army before they had to go to war. The skills of troops were improved due to increased degree training and due to the fact that the soldiers were in the army for many years.
The number of desertions was significantly reduced.

The soldier's contract didn't stipulate a certain service time. It was a permanent tenure until further notice. Normally the soldiers served for a very long time, up to 30 years or more.
A soldier could only get a discharge ("avsked") at a general muster ("generalmönstring"). This could be on the soldier's request or be discharged by the army. The reason for discharge could be old age, war injury or sickness.
At the request of a soldier, the Colonel of the regiment could discharge the soldier between general musters if the rote farmer supported the proposal. This was called a "provisional discharge" (interim avsked). However, the discharge had to be approved at the next general muster.

In order for a soldier to get a discharge on his own request he had to have a valid reason like old age, injury, sickness etc. Therefore he needed a medical certificate from the regimental surgeon in order to make the request.

However is was no guarantee that the request was granted. If the army thought the soldier could do another couple of years in service they could reject the request for a discharge.

At time of war it was very difficult to get a request for discharge approved. Valid reasons then could be weakness due to old age or severe injury/sickness.

A soldier could also be discharged if he had committed a crime like theft, crime of violence etc. The soldier was then discharged in dishonor and the general muster roll would the have the comment "kasserades" or "cassation".


Officers were also provided with a house. Usually it was a large farmhouse. The Crown granted homesteads or dwellings to the Officers to live in. The homestead was not a personal gift but related to the their work as an Officer. When an Officer left the army they had to move from the homestead.
About 3,000 officers' homesteads were spread over the country. Those homesteads or estates were an important part in the financing of the Allotment System and had earlier been restored to the Crown from the nobility in a process called The Reduction.

Instead of the Officers getting a salary from the Crown, the "rote" farmers paid a certain amount of their taxes directly to the Officers. The Officers also had a income from tenants that had a cottage on the homesteads' land. This system was called "Indelningsverket" (The Allotment System).
At war Officers also received a "field" salary from the Crown.

Later the entire system including the organization and financing of the Officers and the calalrymen as well as the soldiers in the "Det ständiga knekthållet/båtsmanshållet" was collectively referred to as "Indelningsverket".

The homesteads of the Officers were also located in the same part of the province as the Company they served in. So the soldiers and the Officers more or less lived side by side. Officers could keep an eye on the soldiers even while they were at "home".

The Allotment System ("indelningsverket") was also used to finance state officials in the provinces. An example of a state employee that received money this way was the priests. The farmers paid one 10th of their taxes directly to the priests. This was a civil Allotment System.

A common way to become a NCO or an officer was to start as a volunteer. Volunteer was a term used for military personnel being trained to become NCOs or officers. The volunteer system was used both in the Army as well as within the Navy. The volunteer system was established in the 16th century. A volunteer started off as a soldier/seaman but had a higher position or status than the ordinary soldier/seaman.
The volunteers were during the period of the Allotment System (1682 – 1901) a group of soldiers separated from the Allotment System. They were paid in cash and had to equip them self by their own means.
Volunteers were regarded as a pool of future officers.

The age when young men could become volunteers was set to 15 years in 1730. In 1736 this rule was changed to “old enough to handle a musket”. However, during the second half of the 18th century (1765) the Army tried to keep down the number of too young volunteers by setting a rule that the future officers couldn’t include the service years prior to their 15th birthday in their total amount of service years. In 1796 this rule was changed so the officers only could include their service years above the age of 18.
The number of service years was an important element for officers being candidates for promotions. However, this didn’t stop children from becoming volunteers.

The volunteer system lasted until 1952. According to a military regulation set in 1901 a volunteer had to be at least 17 years of age when he signed the contract. The contract was signed for a period between 2 to 4 years. The contract could be extended for another 1 to 2 years. An unpromoted volunteer could remain as a volunteer for a maximum of 6 years and couldn’t be above the age of 28. A promoted volunteer could remain as a volunteer until the age of 32.

Rank vs Position:
Normally there was a one to one relation between rank and position (official standing). The position of company commander was normally held by a captain and the regimental commander was normally a colonel.
After periods of war there were many officers with a higher rank than there were positions for them. That is why you can see officers with the rank of Major General holding positions as regimental commanders in the GMRs (General Muster Rolls). 

Officers and NCOs were always paid by the position they held, not by their rank. 

Company commander is normally a position held by an officer with the rank of captain. This position could also be held by an officer with a rank above captain, for example major.
There are also examples of officers with a lower rank than captain acting company commander.
At a theatre of war there might have been a great need to replace a fallen captain and a way of getting a new captain was to ”transport” a captain from another company or promote a lieutenant to captain. However, if the lieutenant wasn’t experienced enough or didn’t have the right amount of service years to became a captain he could act as a company commander for the time being. 

The above conditions were also true for the NCOs. So, there is a difference between rank and position and they do not always go hand in hand. 

Furthermore, an officer for example could hold more than one position. The colonel was normally the regimental commander but he also held a position as battalion commander of the 1st Battalion and company commander of the Life Company (1st company). Since they were paid by position and not by rank, a colonel therefore was paid for three positions. However, normally the colonel had little time for the Life Company so there was often a promoted lieutenant titled “kaptenslöjtnant” being the company commander of the Life Company. “Kaptenslöjtnant” (Lieutenant captain) was a rank between lieutenant and captain and only used for lieutenants holding a position as company commanders of the Life Company. 

Also the lieutenant colonel held more than one position; he was the deputy regimental commander, commander of the 2nd Battalion and company commander of the Lieutenant Colonel’s Company.
Also the major held a second position; he was company commander of the Major’s Company.


The horsemen in the cavalry were recruited in a different way than the soldiers in the infantry.
A "rote" was used to provide a cavalry soldier. But normally, there was only one farmer in the "rote". However, the farmer could have an extra farmer ("augument") to help him cover the expenses. Karoliner-ryttare / horseman

A "rote" in the cavalry was called "rusthåll".
The farmer in a cavalry "rusthåll" had a personal contract with the Crown stating that he had to provide a cavalryman, horse and uniform. The contract was a voluntary agreement between the crown and the proprietor of an independent farm.
Just like in the infantry, the cavalrymen also were provided with a croft (ryttartorp) and land to farm. The farmer in a cavalry "rusthåll" was called a "rusthållare" and a cavalryman a "ryttare".
In the Older Allotment System it was normal that the "rusthållare" and the cavalryman  was the same person. This was not the case in the New System.

In order to provide a cavalryman with a horse and uniform the farmer got a large tax reduction. But if the farmer couldn't keep the contract he could loose his own farm. But he was also was free from having to serve as a soldier.

A cavalry Regiment had 1000 cavalrymen (privates and corporals) plus the officers. Each Regiment had 4 Squadrons of 250 horsemen. A Company in a cavalry Regiment had 125 men.

Every "rote" in the army was in the countryside. None were organized in the cities.


The Navy recruits were called "båtsmän" (it literally means "boatsmen" and they were seamen) and served on Navy ships. They manned the artillery onboard and also had sailing duties. At war the Navy ships also had infantrymen onboard.The Royal flagship HMS Vasa

The system of recruiting "båtsmän" was very similar to the system of recruiting soldiers in the infantry. A number of farmers in coastal areas formed a "rote" and had to recruit a "båtsman" and provide him with a croft (båtmanstorp) and a uniform.

In southern Sweden a number of "rotar" was organized as in the cavalry.

In some provinces they had both a cavalry Regiment and a infantry Regiment. All coastal provinces had "båtsmän" organized into Navy Companies (båtsmankompanier).

In the "båtsmanhållet" they used "rotar" both in the coastal areas of the countryside as in the cities. Even cities in non coastal areas were used. From the middle of 1700’s the "rotarna" in the cities became vacant. Instead of providing a "båtsman", these "rotar" had to pay a vacancy fee to the Navy. The amount of the fee was about the same as the cost of keeping a "båtsman". So even if the "båtsmännen" in the cities weren’t needed, the "rote" still had to pay expenses for them.

One difference between the Navy and the Army was that the officers in the Navy lived at the naval bases, not in the provinces among the "båtsmän".

Sweden had two types of fleets, the Navy (örlogsflottan) and the Galley fleet (skärgårdsflottan or galärflottan). The Navy had the bigger ships of the line that were used to fight on the open sea. The Galley fleet had smaller ships called galleys. Galleys could use both sails and oars. They were used to fight in coastal waters. In shallow waters and calm weather Galleys could be a danger even for the larger ships of the line.
The Galley fleet was establised in 1756. In 1823 the two fleets were merged into one Navy.

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Soldier names:

When a soldier was enrolled he was given a special "soldier name" by the Captain of the Company. In each company the soldiers had to have a unique last name. When an order was given to a certain soldier only one soldier was to react. A lot of soldiers with the same last name could generate problems.

These soldier names was of a special character, many of the names had military touch.
Some of the names assigned were for example:

But a large number of soldier names were those that were related to the name of the "rote". For example if the name of the "rote" was Sundby the soldier's name could be Sund or Sundin.

Independent of which name was used, the name was linked to the "rote". When a soldier died or was discharged the new recruit often inherited the old soldier’s name of that "rote". When a soldier had to move to another "rote" he was given the soldier name that previously was used at that "rote". This was normally the case if he moved to another Company. If he moved to another "rote" within the Company, the soldier often kept the soldier name he already had.
If a soldier didn’t like the name he was assigned he could have it changed as long it was unique in his Company.

The same name could be used at different Companies however, within the same company, each soldier's name was unique. So there could be many soldiers named "Attack" within a Regiment but only one soldier with the name Attack in the same Company.
This means that many soldiers in a Regiment over a period of time could have used the same name.

In the Army they started to use these special soldier names in the 1680’s. The Navy started to use special sailor names about 30 or 40 years later.

The "rote" also had a number (soldier number). In total there normally were 1,200 "rotar" in the province that provided soldiers to the Regiment. This number was also the soldier’s number.
For example, soldier "407 Attack". That meant he was soldier 407 (out of 1,200) and belonged to "rote" number 407. His soldier name was of course Attack.
When a soldier moved to another "rote" he always adopted the number of the new "rote". The number belonged to the "rote".

When a soldier retired he normally took back his ordinary last name. But it also was not unusual for the discharged soldiers to keep their soldier name, especially during the 19th century.

More then one regiment in a province:

One example of a province that had all three types of Regiments was the province of Östergötland. The cavalry Regiment was called Östgöra kavalleriregemente (or Östgöta regemente till häst or Östgöta ryttare) and an infantry Regiment called Östgöta infanteriregimente (or Östgöta regemente till fot) and a Navy Company called Östergötlands båtsmanskompani. This Company belonged to the naval base in Karlskrona.

The Battalion:

Regiments were merely a peacetime organization for training the recruits. Taking into account the area of a province, 1200 soldiers was apparently believed to be what the provinces could afford economically as well as based upon population.

In wartime and in the field the Battalion was the primary military unit that was used, not the Regiments. As mentioned above, each Regiment included 2 Battalions of 600 soldiers each.

Each Battalion was a part of a larger unit called an "avdelning". An "avdelning" consisted of a number of Battalions from different infantry Regiments plus Calvary Squadrons from various Cavalry Regiments. This name, "avdelning" has changed over the time. One of the names name is armékår (Army Corps).

A smaller unit within an "avdelning" was the Brigade. Brigades have had several different strength sizes over the years.
The unit the cavalry fought in was the squadron, 250 horsemen.

An Army consisted of a number of "avdelningar".

The Battalions from a Regiment could be assigned to different "avdelningar" or Brigades. So soldiers from the same province and Regiment could end up fighting in different battles.

 The size of the armed forces

Sweden had a large border to defend and a limited number of inhabitants. Yet we managed to mobilize an Army of about 76,000 soldiers at the outbreak of The Great Northern War (1700 - 1721). That force was much larger than our enemy neighbors could mobilize.
Denmark had 36,000 soldiers, Poland 22,000 and Russia 40,000. At this time Sweden only had about 2,000,000 inhabitants.

Modern research has found that Sweden mobilized a grand total of  200,000 soldiers during the 21 years of The Great Northern War. A lot of replacements were needed. So every "rote" had a tough job to provide new soldiers when they were needed. If they couldn’t find a new recruit they could face having to put on the uniform themselves.
Getting enough replacement recruits was one of the major weaknesses of the Allotment System.

 The Order of Battlestrid2.jpg (14569 bytes)

Before each battle the opposing armies lined up in rows facing each other.
The first row was called "första träffen" and the second "andra träffen". Each row had a center, a right flank and a left flank plus the artillery.

The infantry was stationed in the"center" of both the first and second rows. Within the "center" there was a right, left and a center of infantry (fotfolket). On the left and the right flanks were the cavalry.

In the rows, each Battalion fought together as a unit. Normally, each row was three soldiers deep. In some battles a "row" was as many as six soldiers deep.

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Enlisted Regiments, "värvade regementen".

In addition to the Regiments organized through the Allotment System there were also Enlisted Regiments ("värvade regementen"). In these Regiments the soldiers were employed with a salary paid by the Crown and lived in military barracks. These "värvade" Regiments manned the fortresses around the nation and the Royal Castles. Both the Life Guard Regiments and the artillary Regiments were Enlisted Regiments.
For a comparison between allotted and enlisted regiments, see Allotted - Enlisted Regiments..

 Uniforms Karolinersoldat

Before the 1680’s each regiment had it’s own uniform with it’s own colors. King Karl XI introduced a standard uniform ("enhetsuniformen") with the same colors and that looked the same. The process of changing the uniforms started in 1687 and took 10 to 15 years before the transition was complete.

The soldiers under the regime of Karl XI and Karl XII (1682 – 1721) were called Caroleans ("karoliner"). The uniform was called the Carolean uniform ("karolineruniformen"). The colors were blue and yellow. The coat was blue with a yellow lining. The stockings the soldier wore were also yellow. The uniform hat was a triangular shaped one fairly typical during that time frame.
The soldier to the right is wearing the Carolean uniform.

The Navy did not get its first standard uniform until 1817.

See also Uniforms of the Swedish Army

Military Peacetime Work

In peacetime a regiment could receive orders ("arbetskommenderingar") to do various types of construction and maintenance labor throughout the nation. This work could include projects such as the construction or repairing of fortresses, bridges, canals and other public works facilities. In other words they participated in different types of civic projects.
Examples of canals that were built with the major labor contributions from many regimental soldiers include the "Göta kanal" and "Hjalmare kanal".
Another area for the military peacetime work was to serve as prison guards at prisons or penitentiaries.

During the 17th and 18th century when Sweden was at war much of the time, the Crown also used prisoners of war for these types of civic labor projects.

Examples of a contract and other documents  

The end of the Allotment System

In 1901 the Allotment System was abandoned. Sweden then changed to a universal conscription system / draft system ("allmän värnplikt") system with a conscript army ("värnpliktsarmé"), i.e. compulsory military service.
More about the end of the Allotment System and the new Universal Conscription System.

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Military Ranks in the Carolean Army (1700's)

Infantry ranks


Swedish rank English Description
Överste Colonel, a Army military rank - [commissioned] officer. The Regimental Commander. The Colonel also held a position as a commander of the First Battalion and as the commander of the Life Company.
Överstelöjtnant Lieutenant Colonel, a Army military rank - [commissioned] officer.
 Deputy Regimental Commander.
Lieutenant Colonel also held a position as the commander of the Second Battalion and as the commander of the Lieutenant Colonel's Company (normally the 5th company).
Major Major, a military rank - [commissioned] officer. A rank immediatly above Captain.  
In the middle of the 1700's the rank "Andre Major" or Sekundmajor (Second Major) was introduced. These officers had the rank of a major but received a salary of a Captain.
During the 1800's a full major were also called "Förste Major" or Premiärmajor (First Major). In the 1800's there was also a rank "Tredje Major" (Third major).
The Major also held a position as the commander of the Major's Company.
Kvartermästare  (regements-
Military position (held by a commissioned officer) in the Swedish Army (Regimental Quartermaster).
An officer with the responsability to prepare a regiment's quarter and provision.
There were both a company Quartermasters and a regimental Quartermaster.
Regementsskrivare Military position (held by a commissioned officer) in the Swedish Army (Regemental scribe).
A Regementsskrivare was an officer who was in charge of the accounts and the correspondence). The Regementsskrivare was a part of the regemental staff.
Ryttmästare Ryttmästare , a military rank - [commissioned] officer used in the Swedish Cavalry corresponding to a Captain in the Infantry.
Kapten (Armén) Army Captain, a military rank - [commissioned] officer. 
The Captain was the Company Commander.
Kaptenlöjtnant Kaptenlöjtnant, a military rank - [commissioned] officer.
A army rank used until 1833. A Kaptenlöjtnant (Lieutenant Captain) held a rank between a Lieutenant and a Captain. A Kaptenlöjtnant was normally the company commander of the Life Company, the company which the Colonel formally was in charge of.
Löjtnant Lieutenant, a military rank - [commissioned] officer
(in the US First Lieutenant). Deputy to Company Commander.
Fänrik Second Lieutenant, a military rank - [commissioned] officer. Fänrik was used in the Swedish Army until 1835 when it was replaced with the rank Underlöjtnat. The rank of Fänrik was reintroduced in 1937. 
In former days the Fänrik was in charge of the company colors during combat.
Kornett Kornett, a military rank - [commissioned] officer. Kornett is an old military rank used in the Swedish Cavalry corresponding to Second Lieutenant in the US.
The rank "Kornett" corresponds to the Swedish infantry rank of "Fänrik".

Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) and lower ranks

Swedish rank English Description
Kvartermästare  (kompani-
kvartermästare )
Military position (held by a non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army (Quartermaster Sergeant).
A NCO with the responsability to prepare a company's quarter and provision.
There were both a company Quartermasters and a regimental Quartermaster.
Mönsterskrivare Military position (held by a non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army (Company scribe / Company clerk).
A Mönsterskrivare was a NCO who was in charge of the rolls/lists (roll keeping, accounts and other desk-work). The Mönsterskrivare held a rank equal to the highest NCO rank.
The number of Mönsterskrivare was reduced in the 1700's and 1800's and was abolished in 1875.
Fältväbel Military rank (non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army (Master Sergeant).
In former days the Swedish Fältväbel’s responsibility was to line up the troops before a battle and he had the right to punish the company soldiers if they misbehaved. It was normally a fältväbel who held a position as the quartermaster-sergeant (kompanikvartermästare).
The rank Fältväbel was used in the Swedish Army until 1833 when it was replaced with the rank Fanjunkare.
Sergeant Military rank (non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army. A Swedish sergeant corresponds to a Staff Sergeant in the UK and USA.
In former days the Swedish Sergeant was in rank just below the fältväbel (Master Sergeant). His responsibilities were very much the same as the fältväbel but he had no right to punish the soldiers.
Förare Military rank (non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army (Master Sergeant).
A ”förare” was in charge of the company colors. Before a battle he handed the company colors to the Second Lieutenant who was in charge of the company colors during combat. The “förare” was also in charge of the company’s wounded and sick plus the company baggage, clearing the march route etc. He was also an assistant to the Second Lieutenant.
The rank Förare was used in the Swedish Army until the beginning of the 1800's. 
Furir Military rank (non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army until 1875 when this rank was replaced with Fanjunkare.
The rank of Furir was reintroduced in 1914 but now as a lower rank corresponding to the English/American rank of sergeant.
In former days the Furir’s responsibility was to choose the company campsite. He also received the company food supplies and distributed it to the soldiers.
Rustmästare Military rank (non-commissioned officer, NCO) in the Swedish Army until 1835.
The rank of was also used between 1957 and 1972 but now as a lower rank NCO.
In former days the Rustmästare was in charge of the ammunition and handed the ammo to the soldiers according to the orders. He also had the responsibility to inspect the soldier’s rifles and see to that the soldiers were clean and ready for duty.
Korpral Corporal, a lower military rank.
Trumslagare Drummer, a regimental bandsman
Pipare Piper, a regimental bandsman, playing the pipe

The soldier

Swedish  English Description
Menig Private soldier
Manskapet Private soldiers, trooper, the men, rank and file
Soldat Soldier
Volontär Volunteer
Volunteer was a term used for military personnel being trained to become NCOs or officers. The volunteer system was used both in the Army as well as within the Navy. A volunteer started off as a soldier/seaman but had a higher position or status than the ordinary soldier/seaman.

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Copyright © Hans Högman, last updated 2017-03-04