Life Regiment Hussars
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|Life Regiment Hussars|
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The Life Regiment Hussars (Swedish: Livregementets husarer; designated K 3) is one of Europe's most victorious regiments and one of the oldest regiments still active. The regiment descends directly from units set up by King Gustav I of Sweden (Gustav Vasa) in 1536, when Sweden set up a draft of horses and men 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. Today, the regiment plays a central role in the Swedish Armed Forces and is the most active regiment in Swedish military international engagements.
The regiment has always had light, highly mobile units with substantial strike-power, and also has long history 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 it 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 responsible for the operation of UAVs in Sweden.
The regiment is also home to the Parachute Ranger School, Armed Forces Survival School, Special Operations Group as well as being responsible for Örebro/Värmlands Group which trains part of the Home Guard.
The regiment traces its roots 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)'. Sweden had mostly relied on foreign soldiers/mercenaries for any organized, large-scale warfare before this. The new arrangement 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 organized practice essentially never happened. This frustrated king Gustav Vasa, and his son and eventual successor, King Eric XIV of Sweden, who tried to motivate commanders to keep their units ready for war. But this goal remained elusive and the youngest son of Gustav I of Sweden (Gustav Vasa), Charles IX of Sweden, instituted a new 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's son Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (Gustav II Adolf) had just 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 the effective light-hussar 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 four 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 two squadrons each. In the Battle of Lützen (1632), the king himself commanded two 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 manoeuvres 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 Marshal 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).
On 26 November 1667, the regiment was promoted and renamed to the Mounted Royal Life Regiment 'Livregementet till häst' in reward for 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 was the commander of the regiment. Under Charles XI of Sweden, the regiment was distinguished for its great courage in the Scanian War and especially the Battle of Lund in 1676 under commander Nils Bielke. After victory, King Charles XI reportedly uttered, "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 regiment's flag, and straw, which was used to identify members of the regiment in the foggy battle, still today decorates the regiment's emblem (the circle around the three crowns). By 1679, the regiment had 12 companies organized into three squadrons and had been continuously engaged in warfare for over 80 years.
Under Charles XII of Sweden, the son of Charles XI of Sweden, the regiment played a central role in the Swedish victories in the Great Northern War. One example is the Battle of Kliszów when the Swedish army of 12,000 men defeated the Polish-Saxon army double its size. In the battle, the right wing, built around the regiment, which had 21 squadrons and 2,100 men and was led by Carl Gustav Rehnskiöld, was surrounded on three sides by the Saxon cavalry of 34 squadrons with 4,250 men. The back line recognized the situation, quickly reverted and switched to attack the flanks of the enemy in a brutal battle which they eventually won. 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 can be found 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 four 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, six 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 from 1836 had 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. From 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 into a battalion and manage it together with Skaraborg Armoured Regiment, P 4. At the battalion, an annual training of 150 motorcycle and bicycle Rangers and about 200 Field Policemen (MP) was planned. The number of horses was reduced from 432 to 15. In connection with the transition from company training to battalion, the Life Regiment Hussars again became a regiment.
Life Regiment Hussars today
The regiment is located in the Karlsborg Fortress, which is also the home of the Swedish Special Forces, the SOG, the successor or the Special Reconnaissance Group and the Special Protection Group. The regiment in its current form compromises four battalions:
- 31st Airborne Battalion
- 32nd Reconnaissance Battalion (ISTAR)
- 19th Battalion (National Guard)
- 20th Battalion (National Guard)
Second-in-command (Sekundchef) and regimental commanders active during the 1900s. Sekundchef was a title that was used until 31 December 1974 at the regiments which were included in the Kungl. Maj:ts Liv- och Hustrupper.
- 1893-1904: Carl Wilhelm Herman Leuhusen
- 1904-1913: Gustaf Adolf Nyblaeus
- 1913-1917: Carl Thorsten Gotthard Rudenschöld
- 1917-1922: Adolf Adelswärd
- 1922-1926: Axel Fredric Ahnström
- 1926-1935: Carl Erik Knös
- 1935-1937: Henry Georg Rudolf Peyron
- 1937-1943: Knut Henrik Palmstierna
- 1943-1945: Åke Hök
- 1945-1951: Gösta Christian Fredrik Bergenstråhle
- 1951-1954: Sven David Oskar Hermelin
- 1954-1955: Per Hjalmar Bauer
- 1955-1959: Fritz Magnus Sommar Bruzelius
- 1959-1967: Bengt Ljungquist
- 1967-1976: Nils Gustav Malmström
- 1976-1980: Anders Magnus Olson
- 1980-1983: Lars Arne Håkansson
- 1983-1985: Lars Olof Ingemar Andersson
- 1985-1993: Per Gustaf Göran Sjövall
- 1993-1997: Karl Anders Herbert Ingemar Lindberg
- 1997-2002: Claes-Roger Ljunggren
- 2002-2005: Berndt Grundevik
- 2005-2009: Ulf Walter Gunnehed
- 2009-2013: Anders Jerker Löfberg
- 2013–present: Dag Olav Ambjörn Lidén
- 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.
- Aaby-Ericsson, Stig, ed. (1989). K 3 från flydda tider till våra dagar: med traditioner från Kungl Livregementets husarer, Kungl Göta signalregemente, Arméns fallskärmsjägarskola (in Swedish). Karlsborg: Livregementets husarer (K 3).
- Larsson, Olle; Cornelius, Erik (2009). Stormaktens sista krig: Sverige och stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721 (in Swedish). Lund: Historiska media. p. 140. ISBN 978-91-85873-59-3.