(Life Regiment Hussars)
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Livregementets husarer, Kavalleri 3 (K.3) (Life Guard Regiment Hussars, 3rd Cavalry) is one of Europe's most victorious regiments of all time and one of Sweden's oldest military units. It is still active today. The regiment descends directly from units set up by the Swedish king Gustav I of Sweden (Gustav Vasa) in 1536 when Sweden, as the first country in the world introduces a draft set up of voluntary riders north and south of Stockholm. The regiment was very active in 1600's and 1700's and helped win several key battles for Sweden on the European continent. The regiment still today plays a central role in the Swedish Armed Forces and is one of the most active regiments in Swedish international engagements.
Today the regiment has light, highly mobile units with substantial strike power. It also has long experience in the area of intelligence. The regiment currently trains an airborne battalion and an intelligence battalion. The airborne battalion is a rapid response unit with high mobility that enables the unit to be first on the scene of a mission. The intelligence battalion is able, through the use of advanced technology, to control and guide attacks by aircraft and artillery against a wide range of targets. The regiment is also responsible for the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, in Sweden.
It is also home to the Parachute Ranger School and the Armed Forces Survival School, as well as being responsible for the Örebro/Värmlands Group which trains part of the Home Guard.
History[edit | edit source]
The regiment traces its root to the Arboga meeting in 1536 when king Gustav I of Sweden (Gustav Vasa) set up the units 'The Flag of Uppland (Upplandsfanan)' and 'The Flag of Södermanland (Södermanlandsfanan)'. Before this Sweden had mostly relied on foreign soldiers/mercenaries for any organized larger scale warfare. The new set up was based on voluntary farmers who kept horses and, as incentive to sign up, received tax credits. They were supposed to practice on their own, but any organized practice essentially never happened. This frustrated Gustav Vasa, and his successor son king Eric XIV of Sweden, and they tried to prescribe to commanders how to keep their units ready for war. But this remained a problem and the youngest son of Gustav I of Sweden (Gustav Vasa), Charles IX of Sweden instituted a rule in 1609, when he was king, that the units had to be inspected and exercised at least monthly by their commanders. In 1612, when Charles IX of Sweden son Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (Gustav II Adolf) just had been appointed king, the two units had about 200 cavalry riders each and were well trained and organized. These cavalry units would become the backbone of the king's successful military tactics, inspired by the new Polish hussars of light hussar cavalry units, during the Thirty Years' War and the Polish-Swedish War. In 1626 he reorganized the Swedish Army completely into independent fighting units called squadrons composed of 4 mounted rider (Hussar) companies with 125 riders each fighting next to infantry units dragoon. The newly named "regiment" units were 'The Riders of Uppland', which recruited from Uppland, Västmanland, and Värmland, and 'The Riders of Södermanland' which recruited from Södermanland and Närke. They had 2 squadrons each. In the Battle of Lützen (1632), the king himself commanded 2 of these squadrons, one from each regiment, on the left wing against the Roman Catholic general Wallenstein, where due to heavy smoke they became separated from the rest of the army and suffered heavy losses, including the king's life. Sweden still won that battle, and today the name of this battle is included in the regimental flag. These tactics, with cavalry playing the central role of fast flanking manouvres on the battlefield, required much more practice than previous styles and Gustavus Adolphus has been called the "father of modern warfare", or the first great modern general. In 1634, in a major Army reorganization, the two regiments were merged into one regiment called 'The Riders of Uppland' (Upplands ryttare). Commander Field Marshall Sir (Baron) Claes Christersson Horn af Åminne (1587-1651) was leading the Uppland regiment during 1628-1634 and the merger, and his successors were Isak Axelsson Silversparre (1634-1638), Johan Mauritz Wrangel (1639-1657), Pontus Fredric De la Gardie (1658-1664), Eric Planting Gyllenbåga (1664-1667).
In 1667, on 26 November, the regiment is promoted and renamed to the Mounted Royal Life Regiment 'Livregementet till häst' thanks to its achievements under King Charles X Gustav's in the Second Northern War by his son Charles XI of Sweden. Count Otto Wilhelm von Königsmark is the commander of the regiment. Under Charles XI of Sweden the regiment is distinguished for its great courage in the Scanian War and especially the Battle of Lund in 1676 under commander Nils Bielke. King Charles XI reportedly uttered after victory: "näst Gud hade jag att tacka den tappre Nils Bielke och sitt Livregemente" ("after God I had the brave Nils Bielke and his Life Regiment to thank"). The city of Lund is still mentioned in the regiments flag, and some straw, which was used to identify members of the regiment in the foggy battle, is used in the emblem of regiment still today (the circle around the three crowns). By 1679 the regiment has 12 companies organized into 3 squadrons and have now been engaged in warfare for over 80 years.
Under Charles XII of Sweden, the son of Charles XI of Sweden, the regiment plays a central role in the Swedish victories in the Great Northern War. For example, in the Battle of Kliszów the Swedish army of 12,000 men defeats the Polish-Saxon army double its size. In the battle, the right wing, led by Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld with 21 squadrons of 2,100 men, which primarily is the regiment, is surrounded on three sides by the Saxon cavalry of 34 squadrons with 4,250 men, the back line quickly reverts and strikes the flanks of the enemy in a brutal battle they eventually win. Other battles in the Great Northern War where the regiment played central roles include Crossing of the Düna, Battle of Pułtusk (1703), Battle of Holowczyn, Battle of Poltava and Battle of Helsingborg. All of these city names are in the regiment's flag.
The Mounted Life Regiment was the only regiment within the Garrison of Stockholm that was not enlisted. After 1780 the regiment had its exercise field on Utnäs Löt by Strömsholm. In 1785 a special detachment of light dragoons was formed at the regiment. It was formed by adding 18 men from each company to the dragoons, who formed 4 companies of 36 men each. This force was later enlarged and in 1789 during the Russian War they appeared as a separate unit of 300 men, 6 companies, under the name The Light Dragoon Corps of his Majesty's Life Regiment.
In 1791 the regiment was reorganized into a brigade consisting of Life Regiment Brigade Cuirassier Corps., which consisted of the companies closest to the capital – heavy cavalry; the Life Regiment Brigade Light Dragoon Corps., which consisted of Örebro, Fellingsbro, Östra Nerike's and Vadsbo companies; and the Life Regiment Brigade Light Infantry Battalion, which consisted of the companies in Västmanland and from 1804 also Södermandland's company. In 1815 the Life Regiment Light Dragoon Corps. was declared independent and received the name Life Regiment Hussar Corps. The corps. was divided primarily into Närke and Northern Västergötland and had from 1836 its office and schools in Örebro. The unit had its meeting place 1815–1836 on Utnös Lut by Strömsholm, and from 1846 on Sanna Hed outside Hallsberg. In 1893 the name was replaced with the present name 'the Life Regiments Hussars'. In 1905 the regiment moved into barracks in Skövde.
During the period 1942–1961 the Signal Detachment of Skövde S1 Sk, was located in barracks within K 3 regiment area. In 1955 it was decided to reorganize the Life Regiment Hussars to a battalion and manage it together with Skaraborg Armoured Regiment, P 4. At the battalion a yearly training of 150 motorcycle and bicycle Rangers was planned, together with about 200 Field Policemen (MP). The number of horses were reduced from 432 to 15. In connection with the transition from company training to battalion the Life Regiment Hussars again became a regiment. The regiment was relocated to Karlsborg Fortress in Karlsborg the 1 July 1984.
Life Regiment Hussars Today[edit | edit source]
The regiment is located in the Karlsborg Fortress, that also is the home of the Swedish Special Forces SOG (Särskilda Operationsgruppen), based out of SIG (Särskilda Inhämtningsgruppen) and the SSG (Särskilda Skyddsgruppen).
The regiment itself is an elite training unit within the Swedish Army, where conscripts are trained for either the Air assault battalion or the ISTAR battalion. The later also includes one UAV platoon for remote recon.
Training Squadrons[edit | edit source]
- Life squadron (1st skv)
- Örebro squadron (2nd skv)
- Östra Nerike squadron (3rd skv)
- Västa Nerike squadron (4th skv)
- Vadsbo squadron (5th skv)
The different squadrons (company sized) have different training responsibilities.
Life squadron: The command, maintenance, mortar, pioneer and reconnaissance (pathfinder) platoons are trained at this squadron. Before the military training system was changed in 2006–2007, this squadron was responsible for training recruits selected for NCO school to become squad leaders (upon the completion of their training they were promoted to conscript officer with the rank of 2nd lieutenant).
Örebro Squadron: One Guard Platoon for the ISTAR battalion, Basic combat training for military interpreters/interrogation leaders. The Squadron was disbanded until the summer of 2005, but was reformed as the regimental command recognized a need for a special squadron for training conscripts that serve outside the regular training schedule.
Östra Nerike Squadron: 2 reconnaissance platoons for the ISTAR battalion.
Västra Nerike Squadron: Indefinitely disbanded.
Vadsbo Squadron: 3 air assault platoons for the Air assault Battalion. Until recently responsible for the mortar platoon and the special platoon (Forward Observers, Pioneers, and Reconnaissance), but these were transferred to the Life squadron.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (1890). Gustavus Adolphus: A History of the Art of War from Its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the Spanish Succession War, with a Detailed Account ... of Turenne, Conde, Eugene and Marlborough. Boston and New York: Da Capo Press Inc. ISBN 978-0-306-80863-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=uIsDAAAAYAAJ&dq.
K3 - Från flydda tider till våra dagar
Larsson, Olle (2009). Stormaktens sista krig. Lund, Historiska Media. p. 140
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