It was one of Sweden's oldest uniformed regiments and the longest-standing such regiment in the Swedish army.
During the Thirty Years' War, military uniforms did not yet exist. Each soldier served in his own clothes, which were no different from civilian clothes. Only the wealthiest regimental owners had uniforms of a uniform colour and cut made for their troops.
Thus, in the Swedish army, between 1613 and 1627, four uniformed regiments were formed, the Green, Red, Yellow and Blue, named, of course, after the colour of their coats. The Yellow Regiment formed the personal guard of the Swedish king and many Bohemian emigrants served in it.
Of course, we are most interested in the last regiment, the Blue Regiment, which was founded in 1624. The regiment was formed in Livonia (now Latvia and southern Estonia) during the Swedish-Polish War. In 1630, together with the Swedish expeditionary force, the regiment landed in northern Germany and took part in the Swedish army's campaign during the so-called Swedish War.
During this campaign, Swedish troops also captured Munich, where they captured large quantities of blue cloth. This enabled the production of uniforms for the next Blue Regiment. The original Blue Regiment was therefore called the "Old Blue" or Altblau from then on. The regiment was mentioned under this name as early as 1632 at the Battle of Lützen (it was not officially adopted until 1634).
In this battle the regiment also became famous for the heroism of its soldiers. The regiment was apparently already considered an elite unit by then, as it was deployed in this engagement without the support of other units and formed a brigade in itself (which was unusual, as a brigade was otherwise a unit formed only for the duration of the battle, usually consisting of one and a half regiments, i.e. three battalions. Also, a battalion was a unit only on the battlefield, two battalions made up a regiment).
The Altblau Regiment was deployed in the centre of the Swedish line, where it attacked against the outnumbered Imperial troops. Support from the Swedish cavalry did not arrive, as the Swedish cavalry was engaged in heavy fighting with the Imperial cavalry on the right flank. The Altblau Regiment's attack was halted, but the unit did not retreat under the pressure of superior numbers, nor after repeated attacks by the Imperial heavy cavalry. The regiment suffered heavy losses, especially from the fire of Wallenstein's well-positioned artillery. Of the 1110 members of the regiment (192 commanders, 432 pikemen, 486 musketeers), 779 men were killed or wounded (398 killed and missing, 381 wounded). Casualties thus reached an appalling 70 percent. Moreover, only the losses of the men, which, excluding the commanders, numbered 918 men at the beginning of the battle, are counted, in which case the losses represent a terrible 84 per cent. The regiment also earned the admiration of the enemy in the battle: "And they fought in that place as if they had forgotten what a retreat was and died in that place."
Even after heavy losses, the regiment did not perish. On the contrary, when the other "colored" regiments (the Green, Red and Yellow) were disbanded in 1635, the Altblau Regiment remained as the only one of the original foursome. From 1636 onwards, the regiment was most likely directly subordinate to the Swedish army's commanders-in-chief.
The regiment then took part in all the major campaigns of the Swedish army through Europe and fought in a number of battles. In 1645 it also participated in the Swedish siege of Brno under the command of Lennart Torstensson. In this battle it was the most elite Swedish regiment. It was the only Swedish unit that managed to break through the city walls. Three years later the regiment also took part in the siege of Prague.
The regiment was disbanded in 1650, making it the longest existing Swedish unit of its kind.
Commanding officers and years of command:
Hans Georg von Arnim - 1624
Maxmilian Teuffel - 1625
Hans von der Noth - 1627
Hans Kaspar von Klitzing - 1629
Hans Georg aus dem Winckel - 1630
From 1636 the regiment was commanded directly by the commanders-in-chief of the Swedish army:
Johann Baner - until 1641
Lennart Torstensson - until 1645
Carl Gustaf Wrangel - until 1650
The regiment's motto embroidered on the blue banner was: "With luck we will achieve victory!"
It is gratifying that the tradition of the famous unit has not completely disappeared, as today there is an eponymous association of historical fencing groups in our territory. The modern Altblau Regiment demonstrates the appearance of uniforms, period commands, weapons exercises and tactics of combat in the usual formations of the time.
More information about the historical and modern Altblau Regiment can be found at www.altblau.cz, which is also where the pictures used in this forum come from, courtesy of Mr. Tomas Eger. I would like to thank him for his help in the creation of this forum and the article about the Siege of Brno.