Barry's little Scanian War project part 2 - WHAT TO WEAR?

Soren Christiansen's magnificent Swedish Lifeguard
Barry Hilton - Inspired as I was by Soren Christiansen and Michael Leck's use of Warfare Miniatures in the construction of their forces for the Battle of Lund I decided to use similar codes.

There is much conjecture over dress and equipment of the period 1670 - 1700 across all European armies. Typically the debate rages around;

GNW Swede in a karpus hat
Head gear
When did troops start to fashion their hats into the three cornered shape known for posterity as a Tricorne? Evidence seems to exist that this style was known as early as the 1680s although it was not universally adopted. It is also clear that well into the 18th century soldiers and civilians continued to wear their hat brims wide or turned up on one or two sides. When did black hats begin to predominate and was that fashion convention universally adopted? The adornment of a tape or lace trim on the hat must have begun sometime but when? How robust was this and how easily did it fray and tarnish?

Danish infantryman in black hat
In Scandinavia both the Danes and Swedes wore warm peasant style caps known by various names but commonly called a karpus in Swedish. Who wore these is the question. Officers? the other ranks? Were they mixed amongst units or ranks or were there dress conventions? All fascinating stuff!

Coats & waistcoats
Coat style, length and cut all present challenges. Pocket size shape and orientation too. Vertical? Horizontal? Scalloped? Saw toothed? Straight edged? What about buttons on cuffs or not? Vents in the coat back buttoned or not?

Sleeve length creates yet more problems. When did the turned up cuff move from just below the elbow to round the wrist? Waistcoats are often thought to be the cut down remnants of previous year's worn out coats.Was this always the case or did people have specific garments tailored? What about the colour... was it that of the new coat's lining or not? The Swedes of Karl XII turned back the skirts of their coats but when did this fashion begin and was it always followed? Did other armies do it as early as the Swedes?

WLOA80-87 codes as Danish infantry Weyer's Regiment 
The adoption of blue as a standard uniform colour by the Swedes often seems to be coincidental with the Great Northern War 1700-1721 yet a painting by Cederholm of the army at prayer at Fraustadt 1706 shows the cavalrymen in turned back buff coats. Similarly perplexing are illustrations such as Vucksic & Grabasic's Swedish cavalryman during the Lund period (1676) with turned back and piped buff coat.

The Danish Footguards - Grand Alliance period
With the introduction of flintlock musket technology the big question is when did people change from matchlock? What were the mixes of matchlock to flintlock? When did armies abandon the Thirty Years War style '12 apostle' bandoliers and adopt bullet bags on the right hip or little cartridge boxes on the front of the waistbelt? Who got bayonets and from what year?

Aalborgske Regiment - bullet bag equipment
Similar conjecture exists around various aspects of cavalry dress and equipment. When did the riding boots become universally black? Who wore armour? When did the Swedes move away from the buff coat? What colour were pistol holsters and when did the cloth covers appear. Was this a universal trend or not? Did dragoons carry pistols? What shape were saddle cloth ends rounded or square? When did coloured saddle cloths with trim in a contrasting colour begin to appear?

Swede 1678 Vuksic & Grbasic - True or false?
If you are confused, don't worry! This is the standard mental condition for fans of the period and is not restricted to the Scanian War but extends well into the 18th century. It provides us with enormous scope for interpretation and ideal fodder for some lively debate.

Join me for the next part of the series where I will be turning mountains of unpainted lead into mountains of painted lead.