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Coordinates: 59°30′56″N 17°46′10″E / 59.51556°N 17.76944°E / 59.51556; 17.76944

Svea Life Guards
Svea livgarde
Heraldic arms
Active 1521–2000
Country  Sweden
Allegiance Swedish Armed Forces
Branch Swedish Army
Type Infantry regiment
Size Regiment
Part of
Garrison/HQ Stockholm (1843–1946)
Solna (1947–1970)
Kungsängen (1970–2000)
Motto(s) Possunt nec posse videntur
("They do what appears to be impossible")[note 1]
Colors Yellow
March "Kungl. Svea Livgardes Marsch" (W. Körner)[3]
"Kungl. Svea Livgardes Defileringsmarsch" (I. Gustavsson)
"Kungl. Svea Livgardes Gamla Marsch, Inspektionsmarsch" (unknown)
Battle honours Swedish War of Liberation 1521
Rhine 1631
Lützen 1632
Warsaw 1656
March Across the Belts 1658
Halmstad 1676
Lund 1676
Landskrona 1677
Narva 1700
Düna 1701
Kliszów 1702
Holowczyn 1708
Svensksund 1790

The Svea Life Guards (Swedish language: Svea livgarde ), also I 1, was a Swedish Army infantry regiment that was active in various forms 1521–2000. The unit was based in the Stockholm garrison in Stockholm and belonged to the King's Life and Household Troops (Kungl. Maj:ts Liv- och Hustrupper) until 1974.[4]

History[edit | edit source]

1500s–1900s[edit | edit source]

Svea Life Guards, the Swedish Army's first guard infantry regiment, originated from the Trabant Corps that surrounded the first Vasa Kings and is said to have been formed in 1526. The Trabant Corps seems to have, at least in part, been included in the enlisted regiment established in 1613, which consisted mostly of Germans, which under the names of the King's Life and Court Regiment (Konungens liv- och hovregemente), the Yellow Regiment (Gula regementet) and the Yellow Brigade (Gula brigaden) participated in Gustavus Adolphus' campaign in Germany. The regiment's first two companies formed the king's lifeguard and consisted mostly of Swedes. The 60 survivors of the guard after the Battle of Lützen, followed the king's corpse to Sweden, after which the guard, whose staff has been increased to 148 men, united in 1644 with one established regiment in the Baltic governorates and one established regiment in Svealand into a large court regiment of which Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie was the commander.[5]

Most of the regiment was disbanded after 1660, but the part still in Sweden was developed into a Guard or Court Regiment. Eventually increased to 24 companies, it participated in Charles XII's War and was lost after the Battle of Poltava, but was then reestablished. The Life Guards as the regiment then was commonly known, was given the name Svea Guards (Svea garde) in 1792.[5] The regiment had its barracks at Fredrikshov Castle in Östermalm, Stockholm from 1802.[6] In 1808 it lost for a short time its dignity of being a guard and was then called Fleetwood's Enlisted Regiment (Fleetwoodska värvade regementet). It was in 1809 again called Svea Guards (Svea garde) and received the name Svea Life Guards (Svea livgarde) the same year. From having been divided into 10 companies of 80 men, the regiment was in 1831 divides into eight companies with a total of 820 men. After the 1901 Defence Bill it increased into 12 companies (three battalions) and 1 machine gun company, but its number strength of volunteers was reduced to 555 men (music staff included) and after the 1914 Defence Bill further to 540 men.[5]

The barracks of Svea Life Guards and Göta Life Guards at Linnégatan, Stockholm, circa 1890.

Svea Life Guards was an enlisted regiment and its staff, which was stationed in the barracks at Fredrikshov, was permanently employed. In the early 1800s compulsory military service in Sweden was introduced on a modest scale.[7] As a result of the increased multiform unrest in Europe during the 1850s, it increased the conscripts appropriated exercise period from 12 to 30 days, spread over the first two years of conscript military service. These exercises took place during the summer. However, when the space in the barracks was too small to accommodate these conscripts, they were placed in bivouac shelters at Ladugårdsgärdet.[7] The cramped space at Fredrikshov and the unhygienic conditions there and the ever-increasing need to place conscripts in barracks, forced the decision on the construction of modern barracks for the two foot guards regiments, Svea Life Guards and Göta Life Guards. It was decided that the plateau above Fredrikshov, was the most well-situated location for the barracks, adjacent to the large practice field, which northern Djurgården then still was.[7] Palace intendant, Professor Ernst Jacobsson, was instructed to carry out the drawings and in the autumn of 1888 Svea Life Guards could during great celebrations, led by their head, King Oscar II, take possession of their new barracks.[7]

1900s–2000s[edit | edit source]

Administration building in Sörentorp, Solna. Today part of the Swedish National Police Academy.

In the early 1940s the decades ago planned relocation of the regiment to Järvafältet became reality. On 5 October 1946 the Svea Life Guards officially left its barracks at Linnégatan in Östermalm, Stockholm and this took place at a ceremony in the park at the memorial stone. The then executive officer, colonel Gösta von Stedingk handed the memorial stone over to the City of Stockholm, represented by the municipal commissioner of the Stockholm Central Board of Administration (Stadskollegium), Yngve Larsson. It then left Stockholm which had been its location for more than 400 years.[8] The regiment moved in 1947 to Sörentorp in Solna. The design of the area was carried out by the Royal Fortifications Administration. The area was given a relatively free pooled plan, and Bertil Karlén was the architect of the buildings.[9] In 1970 Svea Life Guards moved again, this time to an area at Granhammar Castle in Kungsängen.[9]

From 1975 to 1984, the regiment's duties were maintain a number of military units in the war organization and conduct war planning for these. The regiment was also responsible for Kungsängen's barracks area with associated exercise and firing range as well as some support to other units in the garrison.[10] Included in the maintenance of war units were basic recruitment of officers but internal officer training and education of the conscripts. Officer training was also carried out to maintain the war units. The regimental staff and training units also participated extensively in state ceremonial activities on behalf of the Commandant General and the Commandant in Stockholm.[10] The regiment consisted mainly of a staff, a training unit, including a training battalion and department for management of exercises and firing range, and a support unit with subdivisions. The Swedish Armed Forces ABC-Defence School was located in Kungsängen and was included as a section in the unit.[10]

On 1 October 1984 the Life Guard Dragoons with Stockholm Defence Area (K 1/Fo 44) was disbanded, and Svea Life Guards was renamed Svea Life Guards with Stockholm's Defense Area (I 1/Fo 44). The regiment took over the task as lower regional head of the Stockholm Defense Area as well as the maintenance of cavalry troops in war organization. The regimental commander was the Commandant in Stockholm. The regiment consisted of a staff, a unit of territorial management, a training unit, including two training battalions and one support unit with subdivisions. The duties of the regimental commander as the Commandant in Stockholm, notably to state ceremonial activities, were coordinated by a garrison unit located at the Stockholm Palace in Stockholm.[10] On 1 July 1994 the Life Guard Dragoons were separated and again became an independent unit.[10] Svea Life Guards was disbanded in 2000 and re-emergenced the same year as the Life Guards (LG).

Heraldry and traditions[edit | edit source]

Banners[edit | edit source]

On 30 April 2000, King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Stockholm Palace (in connection with his birthday) handed over the regiment's last banner. The banner has since 1 July 1994 been carried by both the Svea Life Guards and the Life Guards Brigade. The 2000 banner replaced the 1964 banner, which had been handed over the Stockholm Palace by King Gustaf VI Adolf. After the Svea Life Guards was merged with the Life Guard Dragoons and formed the new unit, the Life Guards, the Guards Battalion at the Life Guards now carried the banner.[11] The regiment's life company carried its own banner, which in the years 1994-2000 was carried by the Life Guards Brigade.

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Unit designations and insignias[edit | edit source]

Unlike the other infantry and armor regiments, which have a constant unit designation, the Svea Life Guards has the Swedish monarch's monogram.[11]

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Medals[edit | edit source]

In 1921 the Royal Svea Life Guards 400-year Anniversary Medal in Silver (Kungliga Svea livgardes 400-åriga jubileumsmedalj i silver, SLMSM) was instituted. This medal was instituted as a commemorative medal when the regiment was disbanded on 30 June 2000.[12] In 1999 the Svea Life Guards and the Life Guards Brigade Medal of Merit in Gold and Silver (Svea livgardes och Livgardesbrigadens förtjänstmedalj i guld och silver, SvealivgLivbrigGM/SM) was instituted.[13][14]

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Commanding officers[edit | edit source]

Regimental commanders and executive officers (Sekundchef) active at the regiment. On 11 March 1774, King Gustav III himself took over as commanding officer of the regiment, but left the actual command of it to the executive officer. This was subsequently done to all units within the King's Life and Household Troops (Kungl. Maj:ts Liv- och Hustrupper) which until 1974 had each an executive officer and the king as joint commander. Sekundchef was a title which was used until 31 December 1974 at the regiments that were part of the King's Life and Household Troops.[4]

Commanding officers (1657–1774)[edit | edit source]

Uniforms of the Svea Life Guards.

  • 1696–1706: Knut Posse
  • 1706–1712: Carl Magnus Posse
  • 1712–1712: Jakob Grundel
  • 1712–1717: Gabriel Ribbing
  • 1717–1727: Michael Törnflycht
  • 1727–1739: Arvid Posse
  • 1739–1744: Otto Wrangel
  • 1744–1751: Adolf Frederick
  • 1751–1756: Per Gustaf Pfeiff
  • 1756–1772: Axel von Fersen
  • 1772–1772: Carl Ehrenkrook (acting)
  • 1772–1774: Jacob Magnus Sprengtporten

Executive officers (1774–1974)[edit | edit source]

Commanding officers (1975–2000)[edit | edit source]

  • 1975–1980 – Bengt Selander
  • 1980–1987 – Rolf Frykhammar
  • 1987–1992 – Jan-Olof Borgén
  • 1992–1994 – Göran De Geer
  • 1994–1997 – Markku Sieppi
  • 1997–2000 – Kim Åkerman

Name, designation and garrison[edit | edit source]

Name
Kungl Drabanterna Royal Trabants 1523 1618
Kungl Hovregementet Royal Court Regiment 1618 1649
Kungl Maj:ts garde och livregemente Royal Majesty Guards and Life Regiment 1649 1655
Kungl Maj:ts livgarde till häst och fot Royal Majesty Mounted Life Guards and on Foot 1655 1675
Kungl Maj:ts livgarde till häst och fot Royal Majesty Mounted Life Guards and on Foot 1675 1700
Kungl Maj:ts Livgarde till fot Royal Majesty Life Guards on Foot 1700 1709-07-01
Kungl Maj:ts Livgarde till fot Royal Majesty Life Guards on Foot 1709 1792
Kungl Maj:ts första livgarde Royal Majesty First Life Guards 1791 1792-08-09
Kungl Svea livgarde Royal Svea Life Guards 1792-08-10 1806-06-14
Kungl Livgardet till fots Royal Life Guards on Foot 1806-06-15 1808-10-12
Kungl Fleetwoodska regementet Royal Fleetwood Regiment 1808-10-13 1809-03-12
Kungl Svea livgarde Royal Svea Life Guards 1809-03-13 1974-12-31
Svea livgarde Svea Life Guards 1975-01-01 1984-09-30
Svea livgarde med Stockholms försvarsområde Svea Life Guards and Stockholm Defence Area 1984-10-01 2000-06-30
Designations
No 1 1816-10-01 1914-09-30
I 1 1914-10-01 1984-09-30
I 1/Fo 44 1984-10-01 2000-06-30
Garrison, detachment and training grounds
Stockholm/Fredrikshov Castle (G) 1803-10-01 1888-10-30
Stockholm/Garnisonen (G) 1888-10-31 1946-09-30
Solna/Sörentorp (G) 1946-04-04 1970-06-30
Kungsängen Garrison (G) 1970-07-01 2000-06-30
Stockholm/Life Guards Cavalry Barracks (D) 1970-07-01 2000-06-30
Södertälje/Almnäs (D) 1994-07-01 2000-06-30
Ladugårdsgärdet (T) 1803 1905
Järvafältet (T) 1905 1970-06-30
Kungsängen training and firing range (T) 1970-07-01 2000-06-30

See also[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. Svea Life Guards' motto is Possunt nec posse videntur and is translated by the Svea Life Guards to "modern Swedish" as De gör det som syns vara omöjligt ("They do what appears to be impossible").[1] A more literal translation is De kan, de ser inte bara ut att kunna or De kunna, ehuru de synas icke kunna ("They could, though they seem to not be able").[2]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Print[edit | edit source]

Web[edit | edit source]

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Barkman, Bertil C:son, ed (1937) (in Swedish). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 1, 1523-1560. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. 8201151. 
  • Barkman, Bertil C:son, ed (1939) (in Swedish). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 2, 1560-1611. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. 8201147. 
  • (in Swedish) Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 3:1, 1611-1632. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. 1963. 8201150. 
  • (in Swedish) Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 3:2, 1632(1611)-1660. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. 1966. 8201149. 
  • Wernstedt, Folke, ed (1954) (in Swedish). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. Bd 4, 1660-1718. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. 8201148. 
  • Selander, Bengt, ed (1976) (in Swedish). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. 5, 1719-1976. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. ISBN 91-7260-096-9. 155554. 
  • Selander, Bengt, ed (1983) (in Swedish). Kungl. Svea livgardes historia. 6, Biografiska uppgifter om regementsofficerskåren 1903-1981. Stockholm: Stift. för Svea livgardes historia. ISBN 91-970517-0-5. 8201152. 
  • Engström, Johan (2014) (in Swedish). Fritz von Dardel och Kungl. Svea livgarde. Stockholm: Medström. ISBN 9789173291187. 14858026. 

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