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  STRESOW 1715
 
 
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Örjan Martinsson

Swedish Uniforms and Strength
in Pomerania 1715

It is hard to tell which Swedish regiments participated in the battle of Stresow 5 November 1715 (OS) and how strong they were. No order of battle has been recorded in the sources so any estimate has to be based on the list of regiments located in Rügen at the time of the battle and reports of how strong the Swedes were at Stresow. A problem with this approach is that there are contradictory information in the sources. I have in order to give a better understanding of the composition of the Swedish force added two strength reports for Swedish regiments in Pomerania in June and the Stralsund garrison 12 October.

The Swedish Force in Rügen

The literature is consistent in saying that the Swedish force in the battle of Stresow was made up of two battalions and 20 squadrons. The artillery was represented with eight cannons and an additional four cannons were also on the island. More uncertain is how many soldiers there where and from which regiments they came from. The work by the Swedish General Staff "Karl XII på slagfältet" state that the total strength in Rügen was 3 500 men, of which about 750 men infantry and over 2 200 men cavalry took part in the battle. It also make reference to English envoy Jefferyes who was present in the island and who reported the Swedish force in Rügen to be 4 000 men strong. The work by the Danish General Staff "Bidrag til den store nordiske krigs historie" criticise however the Swedish work to have an incomplete and erroneous list of regiments in Rügen. It estimates instead the force to be between 4 000 and 5 000 men strong. Of these only 2 000 men participated in the battle (according to Jefferyes) and the colonel of the Bender Dragoon Regiment wrote in his journal that the cavalry was 1 200 men strong. Reports from deserters stated that the cavalry consisted of 20 squadrons à 50 men.

All this uncertainty makes it difficult to establish which regiments the two battalions and 20 squadrons belonged to. The Danish General Staff mention that five infantry regiments had a presence in Rügen but also states that their main parts were inside the Stralsund fortress. Both battalions are therefore likely to have been composed of men from several different regiments. And because the Swedish force suffered from a lack of infantry but had plenty of mounted troops it is also conceivable that the infantry was strengthened by dismounted dragoons. The fact that only 2 000 men from a force of 4 000 are reported to have taken part in the battle could be a consequence of the battle being of so short duration. The other troops may have been intended to join the battle later in a similar fashion as in the battle of Holowczyn 1708.

The information below on the individual mounted units' strength (except Niester Dragoon Regiment) is taken from the official strength report from June 1715. With the exception of the Rügen National Militia the size of the infantry units are unknown, but all these units were actually small detachments from Stralsund where the main part of the regiments were located. Worth noting is also that the Swedes had a shortage of proper cavalry horses and were mainly mounted on peasants horses.

Regiments which according to "Karl XII på slagfältet" participated in the battle of Stresow

Pomeranian Infantry Reg. Bremen
Infantry Reg.
Holstein
 Cavalry Reg.
(ca 335 men)
Bassewitz'
(Wismar)
Dragoon Reg.
(ca 547 men)
Vietinghoff's
Dragoon Reg.
(ca 306 men)
Holstein
Dragoon Guards
(ca 562 men)
Bender
Dragoon Reg.
(ca 96 men)
Artillery Regiment
(8 guns, an additional 4 were on the island)
Regiments deployed in Mönchgut and Zicker peninsula
Additional units which were present in Rügen
according to "Bidrag til den store nordiske krigs historie"
(this work also state that the Pomeranian Infantry Regiment was not on the island)
 

Rügen National Militia
(probably not wearing uniforms)
(ca 300 men)

Jönköping Regiment

Rheinland Regiment

 

Holstein
(Liv?) Regiment

Drabant Corps

Pomeranian Cavalry Reg.
(ca 262 men)

Niester Dragoon Regiment
(ca 200 men)

Bremen
 Cavalry Reg.
(ca 126 men)

Bremen
Dragoon Reg.
(ca 307 men)

Verden
Dragoon Reg.
(ca 249 men)

French
Dragoon Reg.

(ca 95 men)
 


A mystery to me is where the Pomeranian Dragoon Regiment (300 men) and the Vallacks (400 men) were located. The Danish General Staff do not list them, neither here or in Stralsund even though they were present in Pomerania. Wyre Forest Wargames Clubs's website state, without naming the source, that the Pomeranian Dragoons took part in the battle and suffered heavy losses.

Ruden Command
(total strength 419 men)


Bremen
 Cavalry Reg.
(24 men)

Pomeranian Cavalry Reg.
(33 men)

Bremen
Dragoon Reg.
(101 men)

Verden
Dragoon Reg.
(31 men)

Pomeranian Dragoon Reg.
(122 men)

Bassewitz'
(Wismar)
Dragoon Reg.
(66 men)

Bender
Dragoon Reg.
(3 men)

Niester
Dragoon Reg.
(20 men)

Vietinghoff's
Dragoon Reg.
(19 men)

Ruden was a small fortified island between Rügen and the mainland. After the conquest of Rügen the Ruden command was evacuated to Sweden where its component’s were merged to create the Tyska (= German) Dragoon Regiment. The new regiment was mustered in early spring 1716 when it still had very diverse uniforms (among other things they had grey, blue, red, brown, and black coats).

It is possible that the men in the Ruden command should be subtracted from the strength numbers for their parent regiments in Rügen. But those numbers are from June when an additional 470 troopers were reported to be "commandeered" and these could very well be the Ruden command.
 


Stralsund Garrison

The strength report in this section comes from the work by the Danish General Staff and refers to 12 October 1715. The garrison was divided into four commands of which one was a reserve. Knieper Thor constituted the northern front, Triebser Thor the western and Franken Thor the southern.

Danish sources describe captured militia soldiers as wearing simple peasant clothing. And because there is no record of them having uniforms it is possible that they never had any.
 

Knieper Thor (941 men)
 
Triebser Thor (2 104 men)
 

Wismar
Regiment
(300 men)

Bremen
Regiment
(325 men)

Stettin
National Militia
(316 men)

Combined (Wrangel's) Regiment
(446 men)

Jönköping Regiment
(822 men)

Tyska
Livregementet
(282 men)

Malmö Garrison Regiment
(278 men)

Rheinland Regiment
(276 men)

Franken Thor and the Retranchements
(1 422 men)

 

Reserve (785 men)

Riksänkedrott-ningen's livreg.
(396 men)

Pomeranian Regiment
(423 men)

Elbing Regiment
(49 men)

Anklam
National Militia
(39 men)

Delwig's Holstein Regiment
(505 men)

Stralsund Regiment
(235 men)

Rügen
National Militia
(401 men)

Holstein Livregiment
(149 men)

All in all the four commands had 5 252 men. But this does not include sick and commandeered soldiers, several regiments had detachments in Rügen. Compare the strength report below which is from June 1715.


Swedish Regiments in Pomerania June 1715

This strength report is also taken from the work by the Danish General Staff. The reported figures for the individual regiments are in the low end as soldiers who were commandeered (2 013) or sick (676) are not included. The effective force was 10 476 men, and if the artillery and fortification personnel is also included then the sum rises to 11 488 men. Stralsund fortress was however dimensioned to be defended by about 26 000 men so the Swedish forces were inadequate for the coming siege of Stralsund.

Reinforcements arrived from the homeland in August. I have however no information of how large these were and which regiments were reinforced, but this is likely the reason why Jönköping Regiment is reported to have had 388 men in June but 822 men in October

Wrangel's combined infantry regiment was composed of soldiers from "indelta" regiments who had been left in Wismar when Magnus Stenbock marched to Tönningen. Most of them had been injured in the battle of Gadebusch and after they recovered they formed a combined regiment of about 1 100 men. At the end of 1713 it consisted of 78 men from  Södermanland Regiment, 141 from Västmanland, 139 from Älvsborg, 172 from the Dal Regiment, 70 from Västgöta-Dal, 183 from Hälsinge, 83 from Närke-Värmland and 85 from Östergötland Regiment..

Cavalry
 


Bremen
Cavalry Reg.
126 men

Pomeranian Cavalry Reg.
262 men

Bremen
Dragoon Reg.
307 men

Verden
Dragoon Rreg.
249 men

Pomeranian Dragoon Reg.
301 men

Schwerin's Dragoon Reg.
6 men

Bassewitz' Dragoon Reg.
547 men

French
Dragoon Reg.
95 men

Bender
Dragoon Reg.
(96 men)

Vietinghoff's Dragoon Reg.
(306 men)

Holstein
Dragoon Guards
(562 men)

Niester
Dragoon Reg.
(96 men)

Holstein
Cavalry Reg.
(335 men)

Vallacks

(ca 400 men)
Sum excluding the Vallacks = 3 288 men

In addition 470 troopers were "commandeered"


Infantry
 

Jönköping Regiment
(388 men)
 

Tyska
Livregiment
(342 men)

Malmö Garrison Regiment.
(259 men)

Pomeranian Regiment
(469 men)

Riksänkedrott-ningen's Livreg.
(312 men)

Stralsund Regiment
(229 men)

Wismar
Regiment
(451 men)

Bremen
Regiment
(268 men)

Elbing Regiment
(126 men)

Stettin
National Militia
(402 men)

Rheinland Regiment
(388 men)

Anklam
National Militia
(68 men)

Rügen
National Militia
(485 men)

Holstein Livregiment
(74 men)

Delwig's Holstein Regiment
(413 men)

Combined (Wrangel's) Regiment
(440 men)

The sum of the infantry regiments above is 5 114 men. But apart from these there were also an additional 1 604 men who were "commandeered" (served in multi-unit detachments).

Anti-Swedish coalition uniforms in the battle of Stresow.