UNITS OF THE SWEDISH ARMY
THE UNITS REMAINING AND THE ONES
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The last ten years have seen the swedish
defence forces and the army in particular decimeted until a it is quantitatively a mear
shadow of what it was. Before all is gone and no one remembers what once existed the
following page will try to keep the memory of traditions and excellence alive.
Only four brigades are to be raised in the future by a handfull
of regiments. These brigades will have no local ties as has been the rule of the
past, hence the old names of the brigades, but will rather be raised jointly by
all regiments. Of the supporting branches only one regiment of each branch will
remain since the army will be so small that these will be able to produce the
number of neccecery supporting units by themselves.
THE DIFFERENT BRANCHES
The basis of the information are the units
in existance when the conscriptsystem was introduced almost 100 years ago. Since then may
changes have been made. Many of the old units of the great power era and the following 200
years are thus not included. These were often mercenary units and have had no successor.
Their banners are at the army museum and they are outside the scope of this work.
The information on each unit follows the
same guidelines listed below.
The history of the regiment is only told very briefly. The organisational ties with
older units is claified, in some cases some minor simplifications have been made. The
wartime achievements is not the subject of this work and is mentionred briefly if at all.
Banners, standards and other symbols have been used since the medieval times and have
great significanse in Sweden as in other countries. Today only used in ceremonys they
still represent the spirit and elan of the unit. The color is often embroided
with victorynames especially in the case of infantryunits. The infantry units color is a
banner of the dimensions 140 cm height and 160 cm length. Earlier the dimensions were
120x150 cm. In the late medieval era the pattern on the banner was most often one with
various geometrical shapes in different colors. Different slogans ,often in latin, were
added to the banner. This habit started to fall in disuse around 1620 and in 1686 the new
regulations for colors regulated the embroidment to be of the countryparts heraldic symbol
where the unit was raised and the banner of every company as well as the regimental one to
have the colors of that countrypart as well. A clear connection to the local
tradition and the importance of this can not be overestimated over the centuries.
Even today politicians that vote for disarmament and the local population go half insane
in rage if "their" regiment is to be disbanded. The guard company of every
regiment had a white banner with the royal emblem instead with a small coutrypart emblem
in the corner as well as the lifeguard regiments where all banners were white and with the
royal emblem. Every regiment contained eight companies divided in to two battallions. In
1731 the number of banners was reduced to two per battallion The cavalrys standards are
smaller and square with the exception of dragoonunits that have split standards. The
lifeguards on horse had white standards with the royal emblem.
Carl XIV Johan (Bernadotte) introduced a new (french) colortradition where all colors
were the national flag with the royal emblem in the middle and with bands in the swedish
colors. Only one banner per battallion was allowed. His son Oscar I reintroduced in
1844 the local colors but kept the bands and ordered the banners to be emboided with the
voctorynames of each regiment. Oscar II reintroduced the national colors for the banners
in 1877 but kept the local heraldic symbol.
The present regulations stipulate the banners to be in the local colors with the local
heraldic symbol but with the bands in the national colors. Since colors are not exchanged
until worn out the regiments of today use a mix of the different regulation depending on
the age of their banner. Only one color per unit is allowed today with several regiments
using unofficial colors for their companies.
The use of victory names started in 1844 and the present regulation of 1950 stipulates
that the qualifications for using a victory name on a color are:
- His/her majesty decides wether to allow or not in every single case
- Only names on battles that have had importance for Sweden, its historical development,
or from the operative view, for the fought campaign are to be allowed. The battle must
have been an undsiputed swedish victory.
- Names of other battles won from a tactical viewpoint where the unit has fought with
extreme distinction and ability may be allowed.
- Names of campaigns of importance to Sweden where the unit has distincyioned itself may
Infantry and armor regiments use the local heraldic symbol combined with the heraldic
symbol of their branch while the artillery and anti aircraft artillery units use the
symbol of the branch combined with a smaller local heraldic symbol. Other branches use the
branch symbol and a local color.
Except on banners these symbols were little used until the dailly dress m/60 was
introduced when the heraldic sign started to be worn on the uniforms. Units disbanded
before the introduction of that uniform lacks the m/60 version of the heraldic sign and
thus it can not be displayed.
Many, but far from all, units use a device.
Many, but not all, units have a special rembrance day that is honored every year.
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