Charles XII leading his Dalecarlians into battle.
All minis and flag from Warfare Miniatures.
This week I finished up the C-In-C command base for the Swedish army we’ll be fielding at next weekend’s Lincon gaming convention in Linköping Sweden. As we are hosting a Great Northern War participation game based on the Battle of Holowczyn 1708, I thought it would be appropriate choosing a scene from that dramatic fight as inspiration.
Another great Cederström painting of Charles XII.
The warrior king always wore a simple, dark blue "Karoliner" uniform into battle.
The Swedish warrior king, Charles XII, had a taste for battle and enjoyed leading from the very front, sword in hand. During the Battle of Holowczyn, he personally led three battalions of his Guard and the Dalecarlian Regiment over the Vabitsch River and into an initial flanking sneak attack on the Russian camp.
Portrait of Charles XII.
Took inspiration here when adopting a similar hairline to the miniature.
This dramatic scene is what I’ve tried to capture here, on the C-in-C base. King Charles XII, pointing with his sword, directing men from the Dalecarlian regiment forward into the fight. Currently there is no really good Charles XII miniature available in 28mm, so I built this one out of parts from three different Warfare minis, filing away the hairline on the head to resemble Charles’ actual hairstyle.
A view from the opposite site, showing the conversion I did
to create a Charles XII miniature.
To add a little drama and further allude to Charles’ special relationship with his Dalecarlians, I’ve posed him here waving the Dalecarlian regimental flag, as he takes a gallant stand at the front line.
The special relationship between the Swedish kings and the Dalecarlian people has deep roots, going all the way back to when Gustav Vasa founded the Swedish Crown with the help and encouragement of the Dalecarlians in the 16th Century. Through the ages of the Swedish warrior kings and imperial expansion, the tenacious and proud people of the hilly woods and lush farmland in Dalecarlia have been the indicator of national spirit, whether it was for or against the king and his wars.
Gustav Vasa addressing the Dalecarlians in Mora,
leading to the rebellion that would finally overthrow foreign suppression,
and found the Swedish Crown in the 16th century.
This special position, perhaps at the very heart of all things Swedish, naturally reflected on the morale and fighting spirit of the Dalecarlian Regiment. This infantry unit was a personal favourite of Charles XII, and often given the most dangerous and demanding tasks in a given battle – simply because the king trusted the Dalecarlians to get the job done.
The beautiful and picturesque Dalecarlia region.
Holowczyn was no exception, and the Dalecarlians preformed the risky sneak attack with great discipline and vigor, resulting in the Swedish forces shocking their adversaries and gaining the upper hand and initiative for the rest of the battle.
A view from behind, offering a good look at the Swedish "Karpus".
The special soft felt hat, worn by many Swedish units during the Great Northern War.
The Karpus could be bent down over the ears, as protection during the cold northern winters.
One year later at the Battle of Poltava in 1709, the Dalecarlians would once again be dealt a most dangerous and demanding task. They were to form the spearhead of an suicidal attack on a well defended Russian redoubt system. Having been given a clear order to attack and conquer the redoubts, the regimental commander, Roos, ordered attack upon fruitless attack, until the regiment was canistered to pieces and all but annihilated.
Swedish troops storming the Russian redoubts at Poltava.
The destruction of the Dalecarlian regiment and the monumental Swedish defeat at Poltava would also signal the fall of the Swedish Empire, and the rise of a new one. The Russian Empire under Tsar Peter I.
Thank you very much for reading!
P.S: Did I mention my fiancé is from Dalecarlia ;0)