The Swedish Caroleans

Discussion in 'Great Britain & Europe' started by Larsen, Oct 7, 2019.

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  1. Oct 7, 2019 #1

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    Contrary to common belief swedes weren't always swedecucks :D We've all heard about the vikings obviously but this thread is dedicated to the Caroleans, the swedish army under Charles XI & XII in the 17th and 18th century.

    A song dedicated to the Caroleans that could be nice to listen to while you read on:

    Now i won't make this a history lesson, just describe a little and show some of their weapons since it's a muzzleloading forum after all.

    The Swedish Empire was at this point in time stretched across a great distance and the Caroleans were known at the time to be probably the most feared troops in all of Europe. Sweden was at this point a military superpower in Europe.

    This is how big sweden is today apart from the bottom red "Skåne" also belonging to us: [​IMG]

    And during the Caroleans: [​IMG]



    The Caroleans under Charles XI & XII was obviously christian, and you can imagine their devotion to God was even more zealous back then.

    They were known to pray before battles and ask for Gods blessing.


    The Caroleans would fight very aggressively by marching forward into the enemy at a steady pac,e they were told not to fire until they were close enough, this led to them drawing fire from the enemy until they were closer and then they would all fire with a much more devastating effect.

    A saying went "No bullet hits a man" meaning only God decides if a bullet will hit you or "Crouching or standing straight won't matter if a bullet hits you" i guess to keep the men standing straight and marching on without seeming to be frightened or bothered, it would have a pretty scaring effect.

    This devotion to God could obviously boost morale you can imagine the fear on the other end while firing and seeing them just marching and taking fire like a zombie army not stoping or caring that even people are dying around you.

    After they fired at close range they would draw their weapons and charge at the enemy.

    Usually the enemy fled at this point.



    The cavalry used a wedge formation, unlike other cavalry at this time that would charge, fire from horseback and then back off to repeat, the Caroleans would charge at a wedge formation, be known to fire their flintlock pistols once then draw their swords and smash into the enemy ranks creating chaos in the enemy lines.



    This aggressive no backing down tactic was one of the reasons they were feared and effective.




    There are people in sweden reenacting as Caroleans just like civil war reenactors in america. [​IMG]

    I'm not that knowledgeable about history so i'm sure i have some things wrong but feel free to add, this thread is dedicated to the Caroleans :)


    Now for the muzzleloading part:
    (Note not all these weapons would be used by the Caroleans)





    M1688 Rifle
    m1688.png




    Flintlock pistol m1683
    flintlock 1683s.png
    Pistol from 1680
    pistol 1680s.png
    Rifle m1704
    m1704.png
    Rifle m1770 (This was later but it's cool)
    canvas.png

    Cannon 1699
    cannon 1699.png
    Cannon 1675 cannon 1675.png
    Cannon 1665 cannon 1665.png
    Ship Carolus XI
    It had 84 cannons and weighed 1700 tons. Sadly there are no pictures of it but i'll show some of a ship that survived that was 1200 tons and had 64 cannons. It was longer though.

    1280px-Vasa_above_bow1.jpg



    Just thought i'd add a swedish section, it can't all be about the civil war :D
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Oct 7, 2019 #2

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    Treestalker and DaveC like this.
  3. Oct 7, 2019 #3

    DaveC

    DaveC

    DaveC

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    Ah yes, Sweden's warrior kings... As for the strange portmanteau "swedecucks" which I don't care for at all, I might nominate one of the Gustavians, namely Gustav III who apparently had literally zero sex drive and little understanding of human anatomy of the sort that any of his peasant farmer subjects understood. So enter into the boudoir of Queen Sophia Magdalena and King Gustav III the Finn Count Adolf Munck to provide some instruction...

    As for the Caroleans, many of my four-times great-grandparents and five-times great-grandparents died in the "Great Wrath"--murdered by Russian soldiery after Carl XII thought it would be proper to give Peter the Great a real drubbing after defeating Poland and several German states... The result of course was Poltava.

    Fast forward, and one of my ancestors, a corporal in the Västerbotten regiment, mustered out after the last humiliating defeat at the hands of Russia and the permanent loss of Finland, turned in his "model 1738 flintlås" in 1811! The Gustav IV had provided Russia with many of the firelocks in store... And never received payment for them. So the really old stuff had to be handed out, along with considerable British aid to try to stave off defeat.

    While the traditional enemy, Denmark, derided Sweden's sailors as peasant farmers dunked in seawater, there is an admittedly grim trend discernible in Sweden's naval prowess:
    1. Mars or Makalös if you prefer, the largest warship afloat in 1564, with 107 guns. She blew up at the First Battle of Öland, taking the lives of some 800 soldiers and sailors with her.
    2. Gustavus Adolphus peerless, splendid expression of stormaktstiden, the 64-gun Wasa that heeled over and sank in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage. Prior to that the Poles had captured Tigern and the sea-water-dipped Swedes blew up Solen at the point of its capture.
    3. Stora Kronan of 1676, which was to have carried 126 guns, but the realm could only dredge up 105 for the ship, including 16th century German guns captured in the Thirty Years War. Again, one of the largest warships afloat, she came to grief during a risky maneuver during the war over Skåne at Öland, when she capsized and her powder magazine exploded. Only 14 sailors, 22 soldiers, 2 trumpeters, and two officers survived, with the implication that together with the Svärdet, 1,400 men had perished. With the loss went the entire supply of 30-pounder and 36-pounder guns.

    Small wonder, perhaps, that Sweden fought its last war in 1814, hmm?
     
  4. Oct 7, 2019 #4

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    Haha well instructions are always welcomed, you gotta learn somehow :D

    It's amazing that you had real military ancestors, my family has done ancestry research aswell and our family was a military family so i guess we fought in some wars for sweden, i don't know much specifics, we apparently came to sweden from france around 1600 though.

    Interesting stories, i know ofc about the Vasa, it would be the perfect example of what the newer generations would refer to as "epic fail" xD haha.

    I don't really know much about politics and world events. However after swedens "Great Power" period aka "Stormaktstiden" when it came to an end, we had Napoleon in the 1800.

    Apparently sweden lost some decivise battles wich was the cause for Germany to be able to grow and become a superpower aswell aka Prussia.

    Now after Napoleons conquests one of his marshals Jean Bernadotte was elected as the new King of Sweden or crown prince, i think he was adopted by the swedish King.

    That's pretty much the end of swedish royal lineage :D

    And our king yet as of today is a Bernadotte, the descendant of Napoleons marshal.

    I can only imagine the polticis involved after Napoleons conquests geting one of his marshals elected as King in sweden lol.

    At this point sweden really had lost any attempt at being a superpower.

    And the truth is only superpowers go to war. Everyone else is either forced to surrender or get attacked.

    So there's really not even the option for sweden to go to war from this point on, except as subjects or hired guns to either side if you will.
     
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  5. Oct 7, 2019 #5

    DaveC

    DaveC

    DaveC

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    Oh yes, I have very, very many "allotment soldiers" in my family tree... This was when the farmers had to provide able bodied men for the warrior king's armies. Rather than pay taxes, which was always objectionable, they would build a cabin or croft and barn for a soldier to live in, and offer a contract for a man to serve for their "rotar" or "root" community. He'd go and serve in the army and while he was away, the farmers would help his wife and kids with the farm and animals and so on. When he returned from service, he was just another farmer. I have some soldiers who served in wars, and others who did not. One of my ancestors was a fältjägar, or rifleman, and so it appears that he used the fotjägarstudsare m/1815-20" until 1849 and afterwards the tappstudsare m/1840-48 and/or tappgevär m/1848. These were apparently "Tige" system rifles whereby the bullet was thumped a few times with a heavy rammer to try to get it into the rifling before firing. The corporal served at the time of the 1808-1809 "Finland War" and so I could look up the regimental record and see what sorts of muskets they had. I was surprised about how old the muskets at the time of his discharge were. I wondered why none of my ancestors seemed to have been in the navy... But the "epic fails" of the Swedish navy may suggest that the navy guys left very few descendants comparatively?! :(

    My Finnish relatives included some farmers who were in the levy/ militia trying to defend their homes from the Russians. One of them was literally sabered by Cossacks! :(

    Denmark sided with Napoleon's "Continental System" and so the British Royal Navy demolished their fleet at Copenhagen in 1807. Sweden sided with Britain, and eventually so too did Russia. So after the "Battle of Nations" at Leipzig, the British decided to punish Denmark and reward Sweden, which had lost Finland to Russia, by forcing Norway to marry Sweden. That lasted until 1905, of course, when after the 17 May divorce Norway went its own way and Sweden its own way too. As you say, the superpowers do what they want, and the weaker powers adapt.

    Hälsnings från Texas! ;)
     
  6. Oct 7, 2019 #6

    DaveC

    DaveC

    DaveC

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    CharlesXIIAutopsy1916.jpg nypl.digitalcollections.510d47da-c88e-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w.jpg
    I attach the autopsy photo of Carl XII... No mystery about the cause of death, although there is dispute about which side the lethal shot came from... The 1916-7 autopsy established that he was a man and not a hermaphrodite.

    Also, uniforms from the Finland War, although by the end the Swedish army and the Finnish regiments too were all quite ragged. Many captured Russian shakos were "re-purposed" as Swedish army hats...
     
  7. Oct 10, 2019 #7

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    Texas eh? My dream place to live, own a ranch and a bunch of guns that'd be sweet xD

    That's cool, family history is important, especially fun when you find a history to be proud of like army ancestors :)
     
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  8. Oct 10, 2019 #8

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    I gotta say his nose looks like the ancient egyptian pharaohs, perhaps that's why he became king of sweden some ancient ruling bloodline dna :D


    Picture of the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II

    Ramesses_II_mummy_in_profile_(colored_picture).jpg
     
  9. Oct 11, 2019 #9

    DaveC

    DaveC

    DaveC

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    Unless I'm mistaken, there was a royal--or at least "chiefly"--burial found in Birka, Sweden/Sverige that on closer inspection revealed that the warrior in question was actually a bad-ass woman! And then they ran her DNA, which revealed she was from a particular DNA haplogroup not only connected to the "metal age warriors" that over-ran Europe, but also frequently found in royal blood-lines... So there it is.

    I'm fascinated by the rowed warships of the old Army Fleet in the Baltic...
    Here's one of my faves of late:
    flintlås änterbila (sp?):[​IMG]

    https://digitaltmuseum.se/011024413302/anterbila-med-pistol-m-1703

    Of course while the Caroleans died in battle, Adolf Fredrik died eating his 14th serving of semla hetvägg... Although the sauerkraut, herrings, lobster, caviar and champagne might have played a role too... :eek:;)
     
  10. Oct 17, 2019 #10

    Larsen

    Larsen

    Larsen

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    Uh oh! Badass amazon viking woman, take cover! ;)

    That's cool to know, you always learn something new. Yeah that's a cool one i agree, haha semla, yeah it was probably the caviar and too much champagne ;) !

    Thanks for replying in the thread btw it's fun to share some with others about the caroleans, i don't come here much but it was nice talking to you my swedish Texas bro :D

    Have a good one!
     
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