Armies Battles and Sieges Colours and Standards













Örjan Martinsson

Swedish Uniforms in
the battle of Narva

At the battle of Narva the Swedish Regiments probably had the following uniforms and strengths. The uniform information comes from Lars-Eric Höglund's book while the strength reports comes from the work by the Swedish General Staff "Karl XII på slagfältet" and Margus Laidre's book "Segern vid Narva". Höglund's book only mentions the colours on the uniforms and not so much about how they were cut. Most likely, they did not look like the classic Carolean uniform, i.e. tricorne hats and turnbacks. Turnbacks existed among cavalrymen at this time but do not seem to have been common and there is no indication that the infantry had begun to adopt turnbacks. The tricorne fashion was established in France by this time. However, judging by battle paintings, it seems that the Swedish troops were still in a transitional stage with usually only two sides folded up, which appeared in various combinations, some of which could look very much like a tricorne depending on the angle from which it was viewed

Infantry (5 889 men)

1 700 men
6 battalions

 661 men
2 battalions

Hälsinge Regiment
568 men
2 battalions

Västmanland Regiment
556 men
3 battalions

Närke-Värmland Regiment
732 men
2 battalions

Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland 3-männings
360 men
1 battalion

Tavastehus, Viborg & Savolax 3-männings
379 men
1 battalion

There was also a Combined Finnish Regiment with 933 men in 4 battalions which consisted of contingents from the following regiments:








Cavalry (4 314 men)

Drabant Corps

158 men
2 squadrons

Liv-dragoon Regiment
514 men
8 squadrons

Åbo & Björneborg Cavalry Regiment
750 men
7 squadrons

Cavalry Regiment

650 men
9 squadrons

Cavalry Regiment

700 men
7 squadrons

Karelska Dragoons
302 men
2 squadrons

Åbo, Nyland & Viborg 3-männing Cavalry
340 men
2 squadrons

Estonian Adelsfana
400 men
3 squadrons

Cavalry Regiment

500 men
3 squadrons

Artillery Regiment
334 men
37 guns

Among the individual regiments are the uniforms of the Finnish 3-männing infantry those that are most uncertain. Höglund only mention that Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland's 3-männings had grey "vadmal" (coarse wool, usually undyed) cloths and grey stockings. Tavastehus, Viborg and Savolax 3-männings had in 1702 blue coats and yellow facings but by then Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland's 3-männings also had the same blue uniforms. It is therefore probable that both 3-männing regiments had grey vadmal cloths in 1700. In Höglund's book Åbo, Björneborg & Nyland's 3-männings are illustrated with all-grey uniforms but I am sceptical to having all details of the uniform grey. By comparing other regiments of the same type it is possible to gain some extra clues. All Finnish double regiments which were raised in the same manner as the 3-männings (but later in the year) had vadmal breeches which make it likely that also the 3-männings had grey vadmal breeches. Information about waistcoats is remarkably rare for Finnish infantry regiments, but in the Swedish army they were usually made of animal hide so I have illustrated them with that. They can however also have had grey waistcoats since they had grey breeches, which also usually were made of animal hide in the Swedish army. On the other hand I do not believe that the facings and lining were grey since all-grey uniforms were very uncommon and hardly desirable. They probably had a contrasting colour and the question really is just if it was blue or yellow. Both colours are equally good candidates. 3-männing regiments in Sweden proper had in all cases blue facing while all Finnish double regiments had yellow facings. But the fact that also the Finnish 3-männing cavalry and one double cavalry regiment (Nyland) had yellow facing would suggest that yellow was the facing colour used for all Finnish regiments of this type (Karelska Double Cavalry Regiment had however blue facings). The headgears are completely unknown for both the Finnish 3-männing infantry and the double infantry regiments. The 3-männing Regiments in Sweden proper seems however to have in every case been issued hats, regardless if their parent regiment had "karpus". I have depicted the hats with a white trim which is what I always do when the colour is not mentioned. During the Great Northern War there were however many different colours on the 3-männing's hat trims. White, yellow, blue and blue-yellow hat trims are all documented.

Narva Garrison

Garrison Regiment

1 400 men

Cavalry Regiment

150 men
2 companies


"a small number"
2 captains in command

Narva's garrison was estimated by themselves to be between 1 800 and 1 900 men. Apart from the units above this force also included 400 armed townspeople. The commandant could also dispose of over 300 peasants who had been sent there from Viborg County as labour to improve the fortifications.

The Ingermanland Garrison Regiment was originally recruited from the formerly Danish province of Scania (Skåne) and at the muster in June 1699 there were still 216 Scanians serving in the regiment. The main part was however composed of 592 Finns and 416 Ingrians. Apart from these there were also 84 "Swedes", 74 Livonians and 53 Estonians as well as a few Reich-Germans, Courlanders, Danes and finally one person each from Norway, Prussia and Poland. The average age was as high as 36 years (The Scanians were probably among the more older soldiers).

Read also about Russian uniforms or the Swedish order of battle.