The old Military systems before 1682
The force of peasants
The earliest shape of a defence system in Sweden you can only guess and make theories about, but we have got our knowledge from archaeological findings, rune stones and rock-carvings. After the laws of the provinces, so called "landskapslagar", (read more in my Swedish history) was written down in the 13th century, we got a more clear idea of how the defence was organised. The laws were probably based on an oral tradition. Every free man (the bondage was abolished in 1335) had a right to carry arms. There was also a duty bound to arm and take part of the defence of the home district. They used beacons to warn about enemies. The hosts of armed free men, mostly peasants, were called by means of fiery cross, which was sent from village to village. All men had to turn carry arms and equipment for about three weeks at a definite place. The men were deployed in hosts by the county district, hundred (härad). Their weapons were spears, crossbows and maces and other implements that could be useful. Those who could afford had swords. .
Ledungen - the system organising the fleet
The so called Ledungen was the system organising the coastal fleet with the aim of aggressive war or plundering in war expeditions. The peasants in the coastal area were obliged to take part in the Ledungen. They were divided into ship's crew and the smallest unit was the crew of peasants who had to arm an oarsman. The great men were the leaders and had the command of the armed ships. In the earlier Middle Age the Ledungen got a more established organisation and the king was the highest ranked command. As time went on and the chivalry became established the Ledungen became of less importance. The Ledungen was transformed to a tax, so called skatteledung. The king financing to pay knights and to build up fortresses used the tax. .
The chivalry and the nobles
In 1280 the king Magnus Ladulås directed in the Alsnö statute that all men who could supply an armed rider and horse got exemption from land dues to the Crown and should be considered to be a part of the nobles. This statute was regulated more in detail in 1345 and formed the cavalry. All free men could be a member of the nobles if they could afford to provide an armed rider and horse and were approved in the yearly inspection. .
After the statute of inspection in 1526 the duty to arm the cavalry was regulated in proportion to noblemen's income. If the income was 400 "daler" they should arm 6 riders and horses and an additional income of 600 daler should resulted in an additional armed 6 riders and horses. Rules stipulated that a rider yearly should have e.g. 12 barrels and 6 barrels of bread. .
A permanent national army
When King Gustav Vasa ruled our country he found that the army consisted of cavalry of the nobility and the force of the peasants was reinforced with mercenaries. That was very expensive and he took the first step to build a national army in the meeting of Arboga 1536 when a new system for the army was established. Two new principles were introduced. One principle was that the army should be a nationalised. The second principle was that the soldiers should have a croft with a small piece of land for their disposal. The foot soldiers were called "Fotfänikor" divided into "Rote" and the cavalry was called Ryttarfanor. After the Dacke feud, Gustav Vasa formed the army to be permanent at a parliament in Västerås in 1543.
Sweden got a permanent national army and that took about hundred years before any other state of Europe had an army like to the Swedish army..
When Gustav Vasa was chosen as king of Sweden in 1520 he got 16 men as life guardsmen. This was the first step to the Svea Life Guards, which became the Kings bodyguard. King Erik XIV improved the army and increased the number of Soldiers from 15000 to 24000 men. The troops were demobilized during the times of peace which caused the army to receiv enough efficient training.
Gustav II Adolf reorganised the army
Next step to the national army was when the king Gustav IV Adolf in 1619 decided, that Swedish men should be recruited regularly to the army. All men between the age of 15 to 40 were divided in "rote" and each "rote" consisted of 10 men. One of these men had to serve the army. This organisation of the army was based on the principle that there should be a regiment in most of the counties. When Sweden entered the German war in 1630 there was an army, which surpassed most of the armies in Europe. The war organisation was organised into infantries and cavalries. The fighting unit was the brigade in the infantry, armed with pikes and musketeer with slow match guns. The fighting unit in the cavalry was the squadron and consisted of 2-4 companies of riders. This regiment grouping was founded in 1634 and remained to 1925.
The Allotment System, "Indelningsverket"
In 1680 the king Karl XI began to reorganise the army and in January 1683 the Swedish Parliament decided to introduce the system called "indeldningsverket" (The Allotment System). "Indelningsverket", the system organising and financing the Swedish army, was a very practical way for the State to tax the inhabitants and provide an army in war as well as in peace. The Swedish farmers had to acquire and provide soldiers for the army. The system was similar to the system financing the Priests, officers and public officials. Sweden had long borders to defend, but had a small number of inhabitants compared to the neighbouring countries like Russia, Prussia and Poland. Sweden could in the end of the 17th century mobilise an army of totally 43.000 soldiers in the Allotment System. Totally Sweden could mobilise 76 000 soldiers. Beside the soldiers in the Allotment System also 16.500 soldiers from the Swedish provinces in Baltic and North of Germany and soldiers in fortresses etc. was included. The Swedish forces were big compare with the potential enemies. Denmark could mobilise 36.000 soldiers; Prussia 22.000 soldiers and Russia could mobilise 40.000 soldier to send to the Baltic. The problem Sweden had to deal with in the Nordic war 1700 - 1720 was that the enemies acted at the same time.
The farmers, either a "rusthållare" or a farmer of a "rote", were responsible to recruit the soldier instead of the state. That obligation called "det ständiga knekthållet" completed the Allotment system, the system financing and organising the army.
The cavalry was organised by voluntary agreements between the State and wealthy person, in Swedish called "rusthållare". They where mostly people from the nobility or wealthy farmers and they agreed to acquire and provide a rider, horse and equipment. In return they had their taxes reduced and they did not have to be involved in recruit trial for the army. The system to organise the cavalry was called "rusthållnings-systemet".
The infantry system, in Swedish: "rothållnings-systemet ", was built up with obligation for the counties and provinces to provide an infantry regiment consisted of 1.200 soldiers (except for a few regiments). The Swedish Army consisted of 22 regiments and each regiment was divided in 8 companies . Each company was divided in 150 military wards or stations, so called "rote" which had to acquire and provide one infantry soldier.
The Swedish unit "hemman" was an estimated unit to provide the living of one family, a homestead. A military ward, "rote", consisted of two or more homesteads. There were public officials who travelled round the country to divide up each county into homesteads and "rote". The farmers belonging to a "rote" had to pay the soldier a salary, and provide him a croft consisted of a small cottage with a barn and a small field. The cottage should consist of a "stuga", (very simple living room), entrance-hall (also very simple) and a little chamber. Furthermore the croft should contain a small barn for feed and cattle. The croft also included a small arable land (field).
When the soldier was commanded for the training camp or war, his wife was allowed to use the croft for living. The farmers had no obligations helping her. When the soldier was at home, he often had duties to help the farmers for a day-salary. In the evenings he could help his wife farming in his own place. The soldiers´ salary was regulated by a soldier contract signed by "rotemästaren", who was the farmer who represented the "rote" and of course the soldier himself. The contract had to be confirmed by the Army, signed by the captain of the company.
The Swedish navy was built up in a similar way like the infantry system "det ständiga knekthållet". It was the counties and the cities near the coast which was organised to sent marines, "båtsmän", to the navy.
The Allotment System was abandoned in 1904 and substituted by "allmän värnplikt", a system where all Swedish young men are recruited for a period of 8 - 9 month.