Thursday 29 February 2024

Charles XII's Karoliners, Volume 2: Swedish Cavalry of the Great Northern War 1700–1721


There was a time not very long ago when anyone wishing to research the Swedish army during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries would have struggled to find much, if anything, available in English. Over the last couple of years Helion has been hell bent on remedying this situation, to the point where we have been presented with a bumper series of titles, the latest being this one, Charles XII’s Karoliners, volume 2: The Swedish Cavalry of the Great Northern War 1701–1721 by Ukrainian author and artist Sergey Shamenkov.

I will avoid regurgitating the contents list, but the book covers, in great detail, the organisation, recruitment, arms and equipment, uniforms of the officers and men of the wide range of horse, dragoon and Drabant (guard) units in the army, as well as those of musicians and their instruments (a nice touch), and the horse furniture for all ranks.

There are 34 full colour plates, all by the author, and they are absolutely wonderful. They cover examples of the uniforms of some of the numerous Swedish cavalry and dragoon regiments, including some particularly nice ones of musicians, but my favourite is the one depicting a mounted dragoon complete with what looks like a rifle grenade or hand mortar for lobbing grenades at the enemy; not something to be attempted lightly from the back of a horse I imagine. There are also numerous black and white images, some contemporary, some previously unpublished, and others that are photos of surviving equipment and clothing items.

A perfect companion to volume 1, this is well presented and full of detail, and is a welcome addition to my collection of books covering this subject. Highly recommended.

ISBN 978-1-804513-51-4. 165 pages softback

1 comment:

  1. I'm more miffed than I probably should be at the double plural "karoliners"; in Swedish it's one karolin, several karoliner.