Military Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2019-01-12

Uniforms of the Swedish Army - 1600s

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The Carolean Uniform 1672 – 1680s

Caroleans (Swedish: Karoliner) were the soldiers of the Swedish kings Karl XI and Karl XII and the period of these kings’ regency are known as the Carolean period (Karolinska eran). When King Karl XI took up office as King of Sweden in 1672 he began a job to standardize the Swedish military uniforms. Each regiment was to be dressed in specific colors.

Uniform colors of 1675

Swedish regiments were according to a regulation dated 1675 to wear uniforms in the following colors: Dal regiment Blue with Red lining Hälsinge regiment Red with green lining Jämtland regiment Gray with green lining Jönköping regiment Gray with red lining Kalmar regiment Gray with green lining Kronoberg regiment Yellow with red lining Närke-Värmland reg. Red with white lining Skaraborg regiment Yellow with black lining Södermanland reg. Yellow with Blue lining Uppland regiment Red with yellow lining Västerbotten reg. Blue with white lining Västgöta-Dal reg. Gray with yellow lining Västmanland reg. Green with red lining Älvsborg regiment Gray with isabella lining Östgöta regiment Red with black lining In the summer of 1676 the colors of the Närke-Värmland regiment was changed from white lining to green lining. As we can see in the above chart, the Närke-Värmland regiment was assigned the same colors as the Kalmar and Jämtland regiments. Isabella is a color with a BrownGrayYellow shade.

Infantry

In the early period of the Carolean Army, the soldiers wore a headgear known as karpus. A karpus was a circular, padded or fur-lined hat with ear-muffs that could be let down to cover forehead, ears and the nape of the neck. The Karpus was mainly used by the soldiers of rank and file. Officers wore hats. The hat was soft, three-cornered, had a low crown and turned up brim. The coat (tunic) was a so-called long-coat with tin buttons and sleeve cuffs in a different color than the coat. The trousers were breeches and in the same color as the coat and made of skin. The soldiers also wore a long waistcoat of skin. The socks were knee socks (stockings) in the same color as the lining, either sewed or knitted of wool. The footwear was black shoes broken right off in front, i.e. square toecaps. The greatcoats were generally sleeveless capes, so-called cloaks. The cloaks were often cumbersome to use while riding and therefore normally turned up on both sides and hooked onto a brass buckle at the back. The cloaks were generally not worn in battle. The non-commissioned officers (NCO) wore breeches and stockings in gray color. The NCOs also wore buff coats (Swedish: kyller). The color of the officers’ uniform at this time is a bit uncertain, but probably blue. Long-coats: The Swedish long-coat was made with the French so-called justaucorps as a model. The long-coat with its long tails was a bit uncomfortable to wear. The tails reached down to the knees and were a hindrance in combat. The tails were also troublesome for foot soldiers during march and for horsemen while riding. Therefor it was common to turn up the tails in front as well as at the back at each side and onto a buckle. The coat lining thereby became visible. At other occasions the tails were let down. The long-coat was generally introduced in Sweden in the 1680s even if they also can be found in the 1670s. The long-coat tails were not turned up in the artillery as they normally were in the infantry and cavalry.

Cavalry

In the cavalry the horsemen either wore the three-cornered hat or karpus. The horsemen also wore buff coats (Swe: Kyller) made of moose skin, breastplates (Swe: bröstharnesk) with a shammy linings (Swe: sämskinn), skin breeches and high grain-leather jackboots. The boots have stiff bootlegs (Swe: stövelskaft). Both the buff coat as well as the long-coat reached down to the knees. The hats had a low crown and wide brims. The dragoons wore either hat or karpus and coat instead of buff coats worn by the cavalrymen. The dragoons didn’t use breastplates or jackboots either. At this point in time dragoons were basically mounted infantry, not cavalry. The Royal Life Guards (Drabanterna) wore a blue long-coat with a yellow lining and a circular collar. It was decorated with braids or silver or gold cords. Mid-1670s the coat as gray with gray lining. The blue coat with yellow lining was introduced in 1677.

Artillery

The Artillery long-coats were gray in color and the tails were not turned up as they generally were in the infantry and cavalry.

The 1683 Uniform Regulation

Swedish infantry regiments were according to the 1683 regulation wearing uniforms in the following colors: Dal regiment Blue with yellow lining Hälsinge regiment Red with green lining Jämtland regiment Blue with yellow lining Jönköping regiment Gray with red lining Kalmar regiment Gray with green lining Kronoborg regiment Yellow with red lining Närke-Värmland reg. Red with Blue lining Skaraborg regiment Yellow with black lining Södermanland reg. Yellow with Blue lining Uppland regiment Red with yellow lining Västerbotten reg. Blue with white lining Västgöta-Dals reg. Gray with yellow lining Västmanland reg. Green with red lining Älvsborg regiment Blue with red lining Östgöta regiment Red with black lining Above, names of colors in bold style are changes to the colors stated in the 1675 regulation. The colors of the cavalry uniforms weren’t regulated at this time.
Soldier of rank and file, Södermanland regiment. The soldier’s headgear is a karpus.
Officer, Södermanland regiment, 1680s. Notice the large cuffs (blue) and the vertical pocket flaps. Photo Hans Högman 1997, Malma Hed Museum.
Officer, Uppland regiment, 1680.
Soldier of rank and file, Uppland regiment, 1680.
Soldier of rank and file, Uppland regiment, 1680.
Armémuseum (Army Museum). Photo Hans Högman 2003.

The Regulation of 1687 - The blue standard uniform, m/1687

The Early Carolean Uniform m/1687

Before the 1680s each regiment had their own uniform with their own colors. When you saw a soldier in a uniform prior to the 1680s you could tell the regiment by the colors of the uniform. King Karl XI introduced a standard uniform ("enhetsuniformen") in the 1680s. This uniform was standardized and was the same for all regiments. The colors were, with a few exceptions, blue and yellow. The coat was blue with a yellow lining. The stockings were also yellow. The hat was triangular shaped and fairly typical during that time frame. The process of changing the uniforms began in 1687 and took 10 to 15 years before the transition was complete. All infantry regiments were to wear the blue standard uniform. Trousers (breeches), stockings, sleeve cuffs and the coat lining were yellow. The drawing to the right shows a soldier in the blue later Carolean uniform with yellow stockings and lining. Infantry NCOs wore also buff coats and waistcoats made of moose skin. The NCOs coats were Initially gray. However, from 1687 they wore blue coats like the soldiers. The hårpung (hair pouch) was an accessory to the uniform and was introduced in 1681. The “hårpung” was a small black pouch made of linen or cotton which was used to cover the soldiers’ long hair at the back of their heads or down the back of the soldiers. The soldiers were to comb their hair to their back and cover it in these pouches. Swedish hårpung literately means hair pouch. The image to the left shows a cavalryman with a hair pouch. Karpus was still the standard headgear for the soldiers of rank and file. The stockings were made of wool and were kept up below the knee with the help of straps and clasps. The officers’ uniform was of better quality and had brass buttons, gold braids on gloves, vest, sword belt and coat collar. This uniform of 1687 is known as The Early Carolean Uniform (”den äldre karolinska uniformen”). The most significant part of the 1687 regulation was that the entire army was dressed in the same color, the blue long-coat. It wasn’t foremost uniform details that changed in 1687 but the colors.

Infantry

The standard uniform was gradually introduced in the infantry. The standard colors were blue coat with yellow cuffs and lining. Some regiments had a different color of cuffs and lining though. For example, the Närke-Värmlands and Jönköping regiments had red lining and cuffs. Västerbotten regiment had white color of corresponding details. The color of the stockings and breeches was normally of the same color as the lining and cuffs, but there were some variations.

The Long-Coat

The Swedish blue long-coat was of the French Justaucorps type and the initial design was used until 1706. It had a tight waist and the large pocket flaps were initially fixed vertically but later horizontally. The coat had a row of buttons along the entire cutting edge with yellow buttonholes (the lower 12 buttonholes were blind buttonholes). The early long-coat had 36 buttons; 22 for the buttonholes, 12 for the blind buttonholes and 2 for the shoulder straps. A characteristic feature of the Early Carolean long-coat was the lack of a real collar. There were shoulder straps mounted on the shoulders. Musketeers had two straps, one on each shoulder; one to keep the bandoleer to the cartridge pouch in place, the other shoulder strap was to keep the musket in place on the shoulder. The pikemen had only one shoulder strap on the right shoulder to keep the sword belt in place. Pikemen were soldiers armed with pikes instead of muskets. During the Great Nordic War (1700 - 1721) a 1/3 of the soldiers in each company were armed with pikes while 2/3 were armed with muskets. A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear used extensively by infantry. Unlike many similar weapons, the pike is not intended to be thrown. The cuffs were initially large. However, later they were cut down in size. The width was the same as the depth which made them look square. This type of cuffs is also known as Swedish cuffs. These smaller cuffs were worn by the soldiers and NCOs. The officers kept the larger cuffs for yet some time. However, it was more practical with smaller cuffs. Cuffs and lining were normally in the same color. The fastening of the coats’ tails onto buckles made the coat lining visible. See image to the right. Photo Hans Högman 2001. Between the 1690s and 1706 there were some changes made to the design of the standard uniform. The double vertical pocket flaps were now changed to to horizontal ones. The number of buttons on the coat were reduced and also provided with proper collars. The image above left is an example of the Early Corelean long-coat m/1687, infantry. Note the vertical pocket flaps, the large cuffs and the tucked-up tails. Photo Army Museum, Stockholm. The vest (waistcoat) reached down to the knees, was made of skin and generally yellow. There were vests also made of broadcloth even if they weren’t common. The trousers were so-called breeches, i.e. they reached down to the knees. The breeches were tight and made of skin, sometimes of broadcloth and normally yellow. The stockings (knee socks) reached above the knees and usually made of knitted of wool. They were kept in place by straps and brass clasps. It was common to wear two pair of stockings on top of each other. The stockings were normally yellow but there were variations: For example, the Närke-Värmlands and Jönköping regiments wore red stockings and the Västerbotten regiment wore white stockings. Mid-1690s a special type of protective stocking was introduced to be worn on top of the ordinary stockings. These protective stockings were made of broadcloth or wadmal (Swe: vadmal) for winter usage and linen for summer usage. These outer stockings were predecessor to the gaiters (spats). At the end of the 1690s a new regulation stated that the stockings was to be in the same color as respective regiment’s color of the lining. The footwear were shoes, usually with a decorative buckle. The shoes were made of grain-leather (smorläder) and each shoe could be worn on either foot (no differences between left and right shoe). The shoes were black and broken right off in front, i.e. square toecaps. To the right an example of the shoes worn by the Carolean soldiers. Photo Hans Högman 2003, Army Museum, Stockholm. The scarf was initially black but was in the beginning of the 1690s other colors appeared. In 1694 the Västerbotten wore white scarfs while the Jönköping regiment wore red scarfs. The scarf was made of cloth. The scarf was wrapped around the neck and tied at the back. However, the black color reappeared in the first decades of the 1700s. Normally the cuffs, lining, trousers, vest and the stockings were worn in the same color and the standard color of these details were yellow even if other colors were used by some regiments. Cloak: A cape or rather a cloak was also belonged to the uniform. However, the cloak wasn’t fully introduced in the infantry until the 1690s. The cloak was like the coat blue and was cut in a circular shape, sleeveless and equipped with a collar. They were usually made of wool with a yellow serge lining. The cloak was kept in place by two buckles in front. The cloak was 7m (21 ft.) in circumference at the bottom. The image to the left shows an officer’s cloak. Below the collar we can see the two round buckles. Photo Hans Högman 2003, Army Museum, Stockholm. The gloves were of the type gauntlets.

Headgear

The headgear in the infantry varied between karpus and a three-cornered hat. The karpus was initially the dominating headgear. A karpus was a circular, padded or fur-lined hat with ear-muffs that could be let down to cover forehead, ears and the nape of the neck. It was usually blue. The image to the right shows a karpus. Photo Hans Högman 2007. Army Museum, Stockholm. The early Carolean hat had initially flat brims but later turned up, however not fastened. At the end of the 1600s the hat was pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape. Hats of this general style were referred to as "cocked hats". This three-cornered hat is also known as tricorne. The karpus was still in the beginning of The Great Northern War 1700 - 1721 the most common headgear among the soldiers of rank and file. There was a button on the left brim. The NCOs button was made of silver-plated while the officers button was gold-plated. The hat was typically worn with one point facing forward, though it was not at all unusual for soldiers, who would often rest a rifle or musket on their left shoulder, to wear the tricorne pointed above their left eyebrow to allow better clearance. To the right is a drawing of the Carolean cocked hat shown from different angles. Photo Högman 2004, Mariefreds Värdshus. These two images shows modern replicas of the Carolean cocked hat. Left photo Hans Högman 1999, Södermanland Regiment’s Museum. Gorgets: The officers and NCOs wore the same type of uniform as the soldiers of rank and file but their uniforms were made of a much better material. However, some details were different; the lining and the cuffs were blue instead of yellow. The officers wore blue stockings in the 1690s. Ornaments varied from rank to rank. The uniforms had no rank insignias. Instead ranks were marked with crescent-shaped gorgets (Swedish: Ringkrage) which were worn around the neck like a necklace. Gorgets was only used by the infantry, not by the cavalry or the artillery. Gorgets were were worn by officers both as a badge of rank and an indication that they were on duty. The gorget to the right is from the 1670s while the one to the left is from 1799. Photo Hans Högman 2007, Army Museum. As early as 1688, regulations provided for the wearing of gorgets by Swedish army officers. For those of captain's rank the gorget was gilt with the king's monogram under a crown in blue enamel, while more junior officers wore silver-plated gorgets with the initials in gold. The gorget was discontinued as a rank insignia for Swedish officers in the Swedish Armed Forces as of 1792, when epaulets were introduced. However, use of the gorget was revived in 1799, when the Officer of the day was given the privilege of wearing a gorget which featured the Swedish lesser coat of arms. It has since been a part of the officer's uniform (when he or she functions as "Officer of the day"), a custom which continues to this day. The officer of the day (OOD) is a detail rotated each day among the unit/post's officers. The OOD oversees security, guard, and law enforcement considerations as well as conducts inspections of dining facilities.

Gorgets - Infantry

Colonel: Silver-plated with the King’s monogram under a Royal Crown. Other ornaments in enamel. Lieutenant colonel: Silver-plated but not with as many ornaments as the Colonel’s gorget. The crown and monogram were surrounded by two palm twigs. Major: Similar to the Lieutenant Colonel’s gorget. Captain: Silver-plated with a crown and monogram in enamel, but without palm twigs. Lieutenant: Polished silver with gold-plated monogram under a crown of gold av of the same look and size as the captain’s gorget. Second Lieutenant: Similar to the Lieutenant’s gorget.

The Introduction of the Blue Carolean Standard Uniform

The new standard uniform wasn’t introduced over a night. It took some years before every regiment had been equipped with the new uniform. There were several reasons for this; lack of material and lack of money. The old uniforms of each regiment was to be worn out before they were assigned the new uniform. The chart below shows when respective infantry regiment in Sweden and Finland was mustered for the first time wearing the new uniform (m/1687).

Uniform Regulation 1699

There is a draft of a uniform regulation dated 1699 with detailed information regarding the infantry standard uniform. This draft regulation states that the long-coat was to be made of blue Swedish broadcloth, with a collar and small cuffs. The lining was made of serge. Collar, lining and cuffs was to be in the regimental color. Waistcoat and trousers (breeches) was to be made of buck skin or reindeer leather. The hat was to have a braid or lace along the edge of the brim made of white camel yarn. The stockings was to be made of wool and in the regimental color. The scarf was to be made of black linen. The coat cuffs were now smaller, and the coat was equipped with a collar. The pockets were not fixed horizontally. This draft shows the development of the early standard uniform into the traditional Carolean uniform as most Swedes are used to. The coat had at this point in time still the characteristic long row of buttons in front. When the Great Northern War broke out in 1700, infantry soldiers still wore the early long-coat and the tails were only in exceptional cases tucked up. Karpus was still the common headgear and the coats still had the larger cuffs.
Sample long-coat, infantry, 1687. Vertical pocket flaps, large cuffs, no collar and a button row all the way down to the hem.
Sleeveless cloak, cut in a circular shape and with a collar. Army Museum, Stockholm. Photo Hans Högman 2003.
Sample long-coat, infantry, 1687. The early Carolean uniform.

The Late Carolean Uniform m/1706

The Great Northern War broke out in 1700. In 1706, after six years of war, there was a great need of replacing the then worn out uniforms. A new uniform was developed and assigned the model-year 1706, i.e. m/1706. The new m/1706 had several changes compared to the former m/1687. The long-coat was now wider at the bottom and had four pleats at each side and two at the back. The officers’ coats had from the beginning had these pleats on uniform m/1687. Now also the soldiers’ coats were equipped with pleats. The image to the right shows a m/1706 long-coat with the wider pleated bottom. Army Museum. The most significant change on the coat was the much shorter row of buttons. Now the row of button no longer reached down to the hem; it ended at the waistline. This change gave the long-coat a specific new look and model m/1706 is referred to as the Late Carolean Uniform. The waistcoat and the trousers were now to be yellow. The collar, the horizontal pocket flaps and the yellow smaller cuffs remained as stated in the 1699 regulation. It is the m/1706 uniform people normally have in mind when they talk about the Carolean uniform. In some respect, the m/1706 was a simplified version of the former m/1687. The first regiment to be equipped with the new m/1706 uniform was the Life Guards. During the following years the rest of the army was dressed in the new uniform. Sweden was very victorious during the first nine years of the Great Northern War but in 1709 Sweden faced the Russian army in the battle of Polatva in today’s Ukraine. Sweden lost the battle and many regiments were lost. The image to the left shows a m/1706 Carolean hat. Army Museum. A lot of regiments had to be reestablished in Sweden to replace the lost ones and thereby be uniformed. There are contemporary paintings made at the battle of Gadebusch 1712, Northern Germany, and these paintings shows the Swedish soldiers wearing the new uniform m/1706. The soldiers had long-coats with the shorter row of buttons ending at the waistline and the cocked hat with up-folded brims. The tails at the long-coats were tucked up and fastened both on the infantry and cavalry soldiers. The tails of the artillery soldiers’ long-coats weren’t tucked up though. Both the infantry as well as the cavalry soldiers used hair pouches while the artillery soldiers’ hair was hanging down. By mid-1710s was the older headgear, the karpus, replaced by the cocked hat. However, the Jämtland Regiment was still wearing karpus at the general muster of 1717. The image to the right shows a m/1706 long-coat once belonged to Lieutenant Carl Vilhelm Drakenhielm, Södermanland Regiment. Lt. Drakenhielm wore this uniform when he fell in the battle of Fredrikssten, Norway, in 1718. The row of buttons ends by the waistline. It is m/1706 coat but lacks a collar. The coat is unique since it it the only survived uniform of its kind from the Great Northern War. Photo from Ludgo Church, Södermanland.

Cavalry

Also, the cavalry was embraced by the uniform regulation of 1687 even if the introduction of the m/1687 uniform was much slower than in the army. The new long-coat wasn’t used by the cavalry until mid-1690s. The cavalry used the knee-long buff coat (Swe: kyller) until then. The buff coat is also known as jerkin. The image to the right shows a cavalryman at the end of the 1600s. He is wearing a yellow long buff coat made of chamois leather. He is also wearing a breastplate, cocked hat and a hair pouch. His trouser is made of deer skin. Army Museum, Stockholm. When the cavalry was equipped with the long-coat the buff coat became an undergarment. One reason that the buff coat was abolished as an outer garment was the material. The buff coats were made of moose chamois leather and chamois tends to attract water and thereafter takes long time to dry. Instead of chamois buff coat a waistcoat of skin was introduced. This waistcoat was called “camisole” (Swe: kamisol) and had long sleeves. When the Great Northern War broke out in 1700 the entire Swedish cavalry was equipped with camisoles instead of buff coats. Headgear: The Life Regiment was in 1680 wearing black hats. However, in 1686 the regiment purchased karpus to all cavalrymen in the regiment. Only a few years later, in 1691 hats were again acquired. The Östgöta Cavalry Regiment acquired karpus for the cavalrymen in 1690 while they in 1695 were wearing hats. So, it seems that both hats and karpus was in use simultaneously at the point in time. Jackboots: The cavalry was in the end of the 1600s equipped with the traditional cloak. The cavalrymen weren’t wearing shoes as the soldiers in the cavalry did but high jackboats (Swe: kragstövlar). The dragoons weren’t wearing jackboots at this time. The cavalrymen were wearing breastplates on-top of the camisole. The camisole prevented the breastplates chafing the body. The image to right show typical Carolean jackboots. Army Museum, Stockholm. Also the cavalrymen were using scarfs.

Dragoons

The Swedish dragoons had, when the Great Northern War broke out in 1700, an independent position and were no longer only mounted infantry. By time the dragoon uniform showed more and more similarities to the cavalry uniform. The Bohuslän Dragoons wore the regiments typical green color on their coats.

Photos of cavalrymen Wearing Uniform m/1706

Mounted cavalrymen in the m/1706 uniform. Jackboot of Carolean type for cavalry officers. Photos Hans Högman 2003. Army museum.

Artillery

Also the Artillery was affected by the 1687 uniform regulation. Their m/1687 long-coat was steel-gray with blue cuffs and collar and equipped with brass buttons. The trousers (breeches) were made of skin, blue stockings, blue waistcoat, boots, blue karpus with yellow lining. Hair pouches weren’t generally used by the artillery. The artillery has always used dark uniforms for practical reasons. Handling the guns was a dirty due to the gun soot. The drawing shows a gunner in a gray Carolean long-coat and blue stockings. However, the gunners wore high boots.

Summary – The Carolean Uniform

The m/1687 Uniform

The blue standard uniform was introduced in 1687 and is known as the Early Carolean Uniform. The blue shade used was medium blue. In reality the blue color shifted from time to time due to the dyeing process. The color of cuffs, linings, stockings and collars was yellow even if there are exceptions. Generally, the color of trousers and waistcoats was also yellow. There is not only one model of the Carolean uniform. The m/1687 uniform was the first one but in 1706 there was a new uniform introduced, m/1706. This uniform is known as the Late Carolean Uniform. However, you might say that there is an intermediate uniform too. At the end of the 1690s and in the beginning of the 1700s there were several minor modifications done to the uniform.

The m/1706 Uniform

The uniform most people associate to the Carolean period is the Late Carolean Uniform, i.e. m/1706. This uniform had the modified long-coat with the tucked-up tails, pleats on both sides and on the back, proper collar, smaller cuffs and a row of buttons ending at the waistline. The headgear was the characteristic three-cornered tricorne (cocked hat). The pocket flaps were fixed horizontally on m/1706. This uniform was introduced at 1706 but it took some time before all units were equipped with the new uniform. The Carolean soldiers who entered the Great Northern War in 1700 wore the Early Carolean uniform with the older long-coat without tucked up tails. This coat had a row of buttons all the way down to the hem and lacked a collar. Headgear was the karpus or the old styled hat without up-folded brims. The pockets on the waistcoat and long-coat was normally blind pockets. The trousers on the other hand had several “real” pockets. The trousers were knee-short breeches and had from the end of the 1600s and forward a square opening with a lid in front, an attached fall-front, (flies didn’t exist at this time). See also the Södermanland Regiment uniform as of 1702 (Replica).

Photos of Uniform m/1706

Grenadier wearing a grenadier cap with the belonging front plate.
Musketeer wearing uniform m/1706, tucked-up tails, small cuffs, collar, buttons to the waistline and tricorne.
Pikeman. Photo Hans Högman 2001. The photos are from a meeting held by the military history society; Småland Caroleans.
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Militaria Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2019-01-12

Uniforms of the Swedish

Army - 1600s

The Carolean Uniform 1672 –

1680s

Caroleans (Swedish: Karoliner) were the soldiers of the Swedish kings Karl XI and Karl XII and the period of these kings’ regency are known as the Carolean period (Karolinska eran). When King Karl XI took up office as King of Sweden in 1672 he began a job to standardize the Swedish military uniforms. Each regiment was to be dressed in specific colors.

Uniform colors of 1675

Swedish regiments were according to a regulation dated 1675 to wear uniforms in the following colors: Dal regiment Blue with Red lining Hälsinge regiment Red with green lining Jämtland regiment Gray with green lining Jönköping regiment Gray with red lining Kalmar regiment Gray with green lining Kronoberg regiment Yellow with red lining Närke-Värmland reg. Red with white lining Skaraborg regiment Yellow with black lining Södermanland reg. Yellow with Blue lining Uppland regiment Red with yellow lining Västerbotten reg. Blue with white lining Västgöta-Dal reg. Gray with yellow lining Västmanland reg. Green with red lining Älvsborg regiment Gray with isabella lining Östgöta regiment Red with black lining In the summer of 1676 the colors of the Närke- Värmland regiment was changed from white lining to green lining. As we can see in the above chart, the Närke-Värmland regiment was assigned the same colors as the Kalmar and Jämtland regiments. Isabella is a color with a BrownGrayYellow shade.

Infantry

In the early period of the Carolean Army, the soldiers wore a headgear known as karpus. A karpus was a circular, padded or fur-lined hat with ear-muffs that could be let down to cover forehead, ears and the nape of the neck. The Karpus was mainly used by the soldiers of rank and file. Officers wore hats. The hat was soft, three-cornered, had a low crown and turned up brim. The coat (tunic) was a so-called long-coat with tin buttons and sleeve cuffs in a different color than the coat. The trousers were breeches and in the same color as the coat and made of skin. The soldiers also wore a long waistcoat of skin. The socks were knee socks (stockings) in the same color as the lining, either sewed or knitted of wool. The footwear was black shoes broken right off in front, i.e. square toecaps. The greatcoats were generally sleeveless capes, so- called cloaks. The cloaks were often cumbersome to use while riding and therefore normally turned up on both sides and hooked onto a brass buckle at the back. The cloaks were generally not worn in battle. The non-commissioned officers (NCO) wore breeches and stockings in gray color. The NCOs also wore buff coats (Swedish: kyller). The color of the officers’ uniform at this time is a bit uncertain, but probably blue. Long-coats: The Swedish long-coat was made with the French so- called justaucorps as a model. The long-coat with its long tails was a bit uncomfortable to wear. The tails reached down to the knees and were a hindrance in combat. The tails were also troublesome for foot soldiers during march and for horsemen while riding. Therefor it was common to turn up the tails in front as well as at the back at each side and onto a buckle. The coat lining thereby became visible. At other occasions the tails were let down. The long-coat was generally introduced in Sweden in the 1680s even if they also can be found in the 1670s. The long-coat tails were not turned up in the artillery as they normally were in the infantry and cavalry.

Cavalry

In the cavalry the horsemen either wore the three- cornered hat or karpus. The horsemen also wore buff coats (Swe: Kyller) made of moose skin, breastplates (Swe: bröstharnesk) with a shammy linings (Swe: sämskinn), skin breeches and high grain-leather jackboots. The boots have stiff bootlegs (Swe: stövelskaft). Both the buff coat as well as the long-coat reached down to the knees. The hats had a low crown and wide brims. The dragoons wore either hat or karpus and coat instead of buff coats worn by the cavalrymen. The dragoons didn’t use breastplates or jackboots either. At this point in time dragoons were basically mounted infantry, not cavalry. The Royal Life Guards (Drabanterna) wore a blue long-coat with a yellow lining and a circular collar. It was decorated with braids or silver or gold cords. Mid-1670s the coat as gray with gray lining. The blue coat with yellow lining was introduced in 1677.

Artillery

The Artillery long-coats were gray in color and the tails were not turned up as they generally were in the infantry and cavalry.

The 1683 Uniform Regulation

Swedish infantry regiments were according to the 1683 regulation wearing uniforms in the following colors: Dal regiment Blue with yellow lining Hälsinge regiment Red with green lining Jämtland regiment Blue with yellow lining Jönköping regiment Gray with red lining Kalmar regiment Gray with green lining Kronoborg regiment Yellow with red lining Närke-Värmland reg. Red with Blue lining Skaraborg regiment Yellow with black lining Södermanland reg. Yellow with Blue lining Uppland regiment Red with yellow lining Västerbotten reg. Blue with white lining Västgöta-Dals reg. Gray with yellow lining Västmanland reg. Green with red lining Älvsborg regiment Blue with red lining Östgöta regiment Red with black lining Above, names of colors in bold style are changes to the colors stated in the 1675 regulation. The colors of the cavalry uniforms weren’t regulated at this time.
Soldier of rank and file, Södermanland regiment. The soldier’s headgear is a karpus.
Officer, Södermanland regiment, 1680s. Notice the large cuffs (blue) and the vertical pocket flaps. Photo Hans Högman 1997, Malma Hed Museum.
Soldier of rank and file, Uppland regiment, 1680.
Soldier of rank and file, Uppland regiment, 1680.
Armémuseum (Army Museum). Photo Hans Högman 2003.

The Regulation of 1687 - The blue

standard uniform, m/1687

The Early Carolean Uniform m/1687

Before the 1680s each regiment had their own uniform with their own colors. When you saw a soldier in a uniform prior to the 1680s you could tell the regiment by the colors of the uniform. King Karl XI introduced a standard uniform ("enhetsuniformen") in the 1680s. This uniform was standardized and was the same for all regiments. The colors were, with a few exceptions, blue and yellow. The coat was blue with a yellow lining. The stockings were also yellow. The hat was triangular shaped and fairly typical during that time frame. The process of changing the uniforms began in 1687 and took 10 to 15 years before the transition was complete. All infantry regiments were to wear the blue standard uniform. Trousers (breeches), stockings, sleeve cuffs and the coat lining were yellow. The drawing to the right shows a soldier in the blue later Carolean uniform with yellow stockings and lining. Infantry NCOs wore also buff coats and waistcoats made of moose skin. The NCOs coats were Initially gray. However, from 1687 they wore blue coats like the soldiers. The hårpung (hair pouch) was an accessory to the uniform and was introduced in 1681. The “hårpung” was a small black pouch made of linen or cotton which was used to cover the soldiers’ long hair at the back of their heads or down the back of the soldiers. The soldiers were to comb their hair to their back and cover it in these pouches. Swedish hårpung literately means hair pouch. The image to the left shows a cavalryman with a hair pouch. Karpus was still the standard headgear for the soldiers of rank and file. The stockings were made of wool and were kept up below the knee with the help of straps and clasps. The officers’ uniform was of better quality and had brass buttons, gold braids on gloves, vest, sword belt and coat collar. This uniform of 1687 is known as The Early Carolean Uniform (”den äldre karolinska uniformen”). The most significant part of the 1687 regulation was that the entire army was dressed in the same color, the blue long-coat. It wasn’t foremost uniform details that changed in 1687 but the colors.

Infantry

The standard uniform was gradually introduced in the infantry. The standard colors were blue coat with yellow cuffs and lining. Some regiments had a different color of cuffs and lining though. For example, the Närke-Värmlands and Jönköping regiments had red lining and cuffs. Västerbotten regiment had white color of corresponding details. The color of the stockings and breeches was normally of the same color as the lining and cuffs, but there were some variations.

The Long-Coat

The Swedish blue long-coat was of the French Justaucorps type and the initial design was used until 1706. It had a tight waist and the large pocket flaps were initially fixed vertically but later horizontally. The coat had a row of buttons along the entire cutting edge with yellow buttonholes (the lower 12 buttonholes were blind buttonholes). The early long-coat had 36 buttons; 22 for the buttonholes, 12 for the blind buttonholes and 2 for the shoulder straps. A characteristic feature of the Early Carolean long- coat was the lack of a real collar. There were shoulder straps mounted on the shoulders. Musketeers had two straps, one on each shoulder; one to keep the bandoleer to the cartridge pouch in place, the other shoulder strap was to keep the musket in place on the shoulder. The pikemen had only one shoulder strap on the right shoulder to keep the sword belt in place. Pikemen were soldiers armed with pikes instead of muskets. During the Great Nordic War (1700 - 1721) a 1/3 of the soldiers in each company were armed with pikes while 2/3 were armed with muskets. A pike is a pole weapon, a very long thrusting spear used extensively by infantry. Unlike many similar weapons, the pike is not intended to be thrown. The cuffs were initially large. However, later they were cut down in size. The width was the same as the depth which made them look square. This type of cuffs is also known as Swedish cuffs. These smaller cuffs were worn by the soldiers and NCOs. The officers kept the larger cuffs for yet some time. However, it was more practical with smaller cuffs. Cuffs and lining were normally in the same color. The fastening of the coats’ tails onto buckles made the coat lining visible. See image to the right. Photo Hans Högman 2001. Between the 1690s and 1706 there were some changes made to the design of the standard uniform. The double vertical pocket flaps were now changed to to horizontal ones. The number of buttons on the coat were reduced and also provided with proper collars. The image above left is an example of the Early Corelean long-coat m/1687, infantry. Note the vertical pocket flaps, the large cuffs and the tucked- up tails. Photo Army Museum, Stockholm. The vest (waistcoat) reached down to the knees, was made of skin and generally yellow. There were vests also made of broadcloth even if they weren’t common. The trousers were so-called breeches, i.e. they reached down to the knees. The breeches were tight and made of skin, sometimes of broadcloth and normally yellow. The stockings (knee socks) reached above the knees and usually made of knitted of wool. They were kept in place by straps and brass clasps. It was common to wear two pair of stockings on top of each other. The stockings were normally yellow but there were variations: For example, the Närke- Värmlands and Jönköping regiments wore red stockings and the Västerbotten regiment wore white stockings. Mid-1690s a special type of protective stocking was introduced to be worn on top of the ordinary stockings. These protective stockings were made of broadcloth or wadmal (Swe: vadmal) for winter usage and linen for summer usage. These outer stockings were predecessor to the gaiters (spats). At the end of the 1690s a new regulation stated that the stockings was to be in the same color as respective regiment’s color of the lining. The footwear were shoes, usually with a decorative buckle. The shoes were made of grain-leather (smorläder) and each shoe could be worn on either foot (no differences between left and right shoe). The shoes were black and broken right off in front, i.e. square toecaps. To the right an example of the shoes worn by the Carolean soldiers. Photo Hans Högman 2003, Army Museum, Stockholm. The scarf was initially black but was in the beginning of the 1690s other colors appeared. In 1694 the Västerbotten wore white scarfs while the Jönköping regiment wore red scarfs. The scarf was made of cloth. The scarf was wrapped around the neck and tied at the back. However, the black color reappeared in the first decades of the 1700s. Normally the cuffs, lining, trousers, vest and the stockings were worn in the same color and the standard color of these details were yellow even if other colors were used by some regiments. Cloak: A cape or rather a cloak was also belonged to the uniform. However, the cloak wasn’t fully introduced in the infantry until the 1690s. The cloak was like the coat blue and was cut in a circular shape, sleeveless and equipped with a collar. They were usually made of wool with a yellow serge lining. The cloak was kept in place by two buckles in front. The cloak was 7m (21 ft.) in circumference at the bottom. The image to the left shows an officer’s cloak. Below the collar we can see the two round buckles. Photo Hans Högman 2003, Army Museum, Stockholm. The gloves were of the type gauntlets.

Headgear

The headgear in the infantry varied between karpus and a three-cornered hat. The karpus was initially the dominating headgear. A karpus was a circular, padded or fur-lined hat with ear-muffs that could be let down to cover forehead, ears and the nape of the neck. It was usually blue. The image to the right shows a karpus. Photo Hans Högman 2007. Army Museum, Stockholm. The early Carolean hat had initially flat brims but later turned up, however not fastened. At the end of the 1600s the hat was pinned up on either side of the head and at the back, producing a triangular shape. Hats of this general style were referred to as "cocked hats". This three-cornered hat is also known as tricorne. The karpus was still in the beginning of The Great Northern War 1700 - 1721 the most common headgear among the soldiers of rank and file. There was a button on the left brim. The NCOs button was made of silver-plated while the officers button was gold-plated. The hat was typically worn with one point facing forward, though it was not at all unusual for soldiers, who would often rest a rifle or musket on their left shoulder, to wear the tricorne pointed above their left eyebrow to allow better clearance. To the right is a drawing of the Carolean cocked hat shown from different angles. Photo Högman 2004, Mariefreds Värdshus. These two images shows modern replicas of the Carolean cocked hat. Left photo Hans Högman 1999, Södermanland Regiment’s Museum. Gorgets: The officers and NCOs wore the same type of uniform as the soldiers of rank and file but their uniforms were made of a much better material. However, some details were different; the lining and the cuffs were blue instead of yellow. The officers wore blue stockings in the 1690s. Ornaments varied from rank to rank. The uniforms had no rank insignias. Instead ranks were marked with crescent-shaped gorgets (Swedish: Ringkrage) which were worn around the neck like a necklace. Gorgets was only used by the infantry, not by the cavalry or the artillery. Gorgets were were worn by officers both as a badge of rank and an indication that they were on duty. The gorget to the right is from the 1670s while the one to the left is from 1799. Photo Hans Högman 2007, Army Museum. As early as 1688, regulations provided for the wearing of gorgets by Swedish army officers. For those of captain's rank the gorget was gilt with the king's monogram under a crown in blue enamel, while more junior officers wore silver-plated gorgets with the initials in gold. The gorget was discontinued as a rank insignia for Swedish officers in the Swedish Armed Forces as of 1792, when epaulets were introduced. However, use of the gorget was revived in 1799, when the Officer of the day was given the privilege of wearing a gorget which featured the Swedish lesser coat of arms. It has since been a part of the officer's uniform (when he or she functions as "Officer of the day"), a custom which continues to this day. The officer of the day (OOD) is a detail rotated each day among the unit/post's officers. The OOD oversees security, guard, and law enforcement considerations as well as conducts inspections of dining facilities.

Gorgets - Infantry

Colonel: Silver-plated with the King’s monogram under a Royal Crown. Other ornaments in enamel. Lieutenant colonel: Silver-plated but not with as many ornaments as the Colonel’s gorget. The crown and monogram were surrounded by two palm twigs. Major: Similar to the Lieutenant Colonel’s gorget. Captain: Silver-plated with a crown and monogram in enamel, but without palm twigs. Lieutenant: Polished silver with gold-plated monogram under a crown of gold av of the same look and size as the captain’s gorget. Second Lieutenant: Similar to the Lieutenant’s gorget.

The Introduction of the Blue Carolean

Standard Uniform

The new standard uniform wasn’t introduced over a night. It took some years before every regiment had been equipped with the new uniform. There were several reasons for this; lack of material and lack of money. The old uniforms of each regiment was to be worn out before they were assigned the new uniform. The chart below shows when respective infantry regiment in Sweden and Finland was mustered for the first time wearing the new uniform (m/1687).

Uniform Regulation 1699

There is a draft of a uniform regulation dated 1699 with detailed information regarding the infantry standard uniform. This draft regulation states that the long-coat was to be made of blue Swedish broadcloth, with a collar and small cuffs. The lining was made of serge. Collar, lining and cuffs was to be in the regimental color. Waistcoat and trousers (breeches) was to be made of buck skin or reindeer leather. The hat was to have a braid or lace along the edge of the brim made of white camel yarn. The stockings was to be made of wool and in the regimental color. The scarf was to be made of black linen. The coat cuffs were now smaller, and the coat was equipped with a collar. The pockets were not fixed horizontally. This draft shows the development of the early standard uniform into the traditional Carolean uniform as most Swedes are used to. The coat had at this point in time still the characteristic long row of buttons in front. When the Great Northern War broke out in 1700, infantry soldiers still wore the early long-coat and the tails were only in exceptional cases tucked up. Karpus was still the common headgear and the coats still had the larger cuffs.
Sample long-coat, infantry, 1687.Vertical pocket flaps, large cuffs, no collar and a button row all the way down to the hem.   Sleeveless cloak, cut in a circular shape and with a collar.  Army Museum, Stockholm. Photo Hans Högman 2003. Sample long-coat, infantry, 1687.  The early Carolean uniform.

The Late Carolean Uniform m/1706

The Great Northern War broke out in 1700. In 1706, after six years of war, there was a great need of replacing the then worn out uniforms. A new uniform was developed and assigned the model- year 1706, i.e. m/1706. The new m/1706 had several changes compared to the former m/1687. The long-coat was now wider at the bottom and had four pleats at each side and two at the back. The officers’ coats had from the beginning had these pleats on uniform m/1687. Now also the soldiers’ coats were equipped with pleats. The image to the right shows a m/1706 long-coat with the wider pleated bottom. Army Museum. The most significant change on the coat was the much shorter row of buttons. Now the row of button no longer reached down to the hem; it ended at the waistline. This change gave the long-coat a specific new look and model m/1706 is referred to as the Late Carolean Uniform. The waistcoat and the trousers were now to be yellow. The collar, the horizontal pocket flaps and the yellow smaller cuffs remained as stated in the 1699 regulation. It is the m/1706 uniform people normally have in mind when they talk about the Carolean uniform. In some respect, the m/1706 was a simplified version of the former m/1687. The first regiment to be equipped with the new m/1706 uniform was the Life Guards. During the following years the rest of the army was dressed in the new uniform. Sweden was very victorious during the first nine years of the Great Northern War but in 1709 Sweden faced the Russian army in the battle of Polatva in today’s Ukraine. Sweden lost the battle and many regiments were lost. The image to the left shows a m/1706 Carolean hat. Army Museum. A lot of regiments had to be reestablished in Sweden to replace the lost ones and thereby be uniformed. There are contemporary paintings made at the battle of Gadebusch 1712, Northern Germany, and these paintings shows the Swedish soldiers wearing the new uniform m/1706. The soldiers had long-coats with the shorter row of buttons ending at the waistline and the cocked hat with up-folded brims. The tails at the long-coats were tucked up and fastened both on the infantry and cavalry soldiers. The tails of the artillery soldiers’ long-coats weren’t tucked up though. Both the infantry as well as the cavalry soldiers used hair pouches while the artillery soldiers’ hair was hanging down. By mid-1710s was the older headgear, the karpus, replaced by the cocked hat. However, the Jämtland Regiment was still wearing karpus at the general muster of 1717. The image to the right shows a m/1706 long-coat once belonged to Lieutenant Carl Vilhelm Drakenhielm, Södermanland Regiment. Lt. Drakenhielm wore this uniform when he fell in the battle of Fredrikssten, Norway, in 1718. The row of buttons ends by the waistline. It is m/1706 coat but lacks a collar. The coat is unique since it it the only survived uniform of its kind from the Great Northern War. Photo from Ludgo Church, Södermanland.

Cavalry

Also, the cavalry was embraced by the uniform regulation of 1687 even if the introduction of the m/1687 uniform was much slower than in the army. The new long-coat wasn’t used by the cavalry until mid-1690s. The cavalry used the knee-long buff coat (Swe: kyller) until then. The buff coat is also known as jerkin. The image to the right shows a cavalryman at the end of the 1600s. He is wearing a yellow long buff coat made of chamois leather. He is also wearing a breastplate, cocked hat and a hair pouch. His trouser is made of deer skin. Army Museum, Stockholm. When the cavalry was equipped with the long-coat the buff coat became an undergarment. One reason that the buff coat was abolished as an outer garment was the material. The buff coats were made of moose chamois leather and chamois tends to attract water and thereafter takes long time to dry. Instead of chamois buff coat a waistcoat of skin was introduced. This waistcoat was called “camisole (Swe: kamisol) and had long sleeves. When the Great Northern War broke out in 1700 the entire Swedish cavalry was equipped with camisoles instead of buff coats. Headgear: The Life Regiment was in 1680 wearing black hats. However, in 1686 the regiment purchased karpus to all cavalrymen in the regiment. Only a few years later, in 1691 hats were again acquired. The Östgöta Cavalry Regiment acquired karpus for the cavalrymen in 1690 while they in 1695 were wearing hats. So, it seems that both hats and karpus was in use simultaneously at the point in time. Jackboots: The cavalry was in the end of the 1600s equipped with the traditional cloak. The cavalrymen weren’t wearing shoes as the soldiers in the cavalry did but high jackboats (Swe: kragstövlar). The dragoons weren’t wearing jackboots at this time. The cavalrymen were wearing breastplates on-top of the camisole. The camisole prevented the breastplates chafing the body. The image to right show typical Carolean jackboots. Army Museum, Stockholm. Also the cavalrymen were using scarfs.

Dragoons

The Swedish dragoons had, when the Great Northern War broke out in 1700, an independent position and were no longer only mounted infantry. By time the dragoon uniform showed more and more similarities to the cavalry uniform. The Bohuslän Dragoons wore the regiments typical green color on their coats.

Photos of cavalrymen Wearing Uniform

m/1706

Mounted cavalrymen in the m/1706 uniform. Jackboot of Carolean type for cavalry officers. Photos Hans Högman 2003. Army museum.

Artillery

Also the Artillery was affected by the 1687 uniform regulation. Their m/1687 long-coat was steel-gray with blue cuffs and collar and equipped with brass buttons. The trousers (breeches) were made of skin, blue stockings, blue waistcoat, boots, blue karpus with yellow lining. Hair pouches weren’t generally used by the artillery. The artillery has always used dark uniforms for practical reasons. Handling the guns was a dirty due to the gun soot. The drawing shows a gunner in a gray Carolean long-coat and blue stockings. However, the gunners wore high boots.

Summary – The Carolean Uniform

The m/1687 Uniform

The blue standard uniform was introduced in 1687 and is known as the Early Carolean Uniform. The blue shade used was medium blue. In reality the blue color shifted from time to time due to the dyeing process. The color of cuffs, linings, stockings and collars was yellow even if there are exceptions. Generally, the color of trousers and waistcoats was also yellow. There is not only one model of the Carolean uniform. The m/1687 uniform was the first one but in 1706 there was a new uniform introduced, m/1706. This uniform is known as the Late Carolean Uniform. However, you might say that there is an intermediate uniform too. At the end of the 1690s and in the beginning of the 1700s there were several minor modifications done to the uniform.

The m/1706 Uniform

The uniform most people associate to the Carolean period is the Late Carolean Uniform, i.e. m/1706. This uniform had the modified long-coat with the tucked-up tails, pleats on both sides and on the back, proper collar, smaller cuffs and a row of buttons ending at the waistline. The headgear was the characteristic three-cornered tricorne (cocked hat). The pocket flaps were fixed horizontally on m/1706. This uniform was introduced at 1706 but it took some time before all units were equipped with the new uniform. The Carolean soldiers who entered the Great Northern War in 1700 wore the Early Carolean uniform with the older long-coat without tucked up tails. This coat had a row of buttons all the way down to the hem and lacked a collar. Headgear was the karpus or the old styled hat without up-folded brims. The pockets on the waistcoat and long-coat was normally blind pockets. The trousers on the other hand had several “real” pockets. The trousers were knee-short breeches and had from the end of the 1600s and forward a square opening with a lid in front, an attached fall-front, (flies didn’t exist at this time). See also the Södermanland Regiment uniform as of 1702 (Replica).

Photos of Uniform m/1706

Grenadier wearing a grenadier cap with the belonging front plate. Musketeer wearing uniform m/1706, tucked-up tails, small cuffs, collar, buttons to the waistline and tricorne. Pikeman. Photo Hans Högman 2001. The photos are from a meeting held by the military history society; Småland Caroleans.
Officer, Uppland regiment, 1680.