Coloured Infantry Brigades and Regiments of the 30 Years War

The Swedes, Dutch, Danes and Germans of the Thirty Years War all had uniformed infantry units. Some brigades and regiments also had colour names. Sometimes there two things were related.

Coloured Infantry Brigades

The colour of a brigade had nothing to do with the colour of the uniforms (Brzezinski, 1991).

Coloured Infantry Regiments

The Protestants were also fond of regiments with colour names (Brzezinski, 1991). The names were more about the colour of the flag rather than the coat colour, but some did have matching uniforms. Examples of units, most of which were mercenary, with the date they were raised/named.

German Coloured Infantry Regiments with uniforms

1620-21 Mansfeld formed the Red, Blue, Yellow and Green regiments.

Danish Coloured Infantry Regiments with uniforms

1625-26 the Danes formed the Red, Blue, Yellow and Green regiments. Of these the Red and Blue regiments definitely had uniforms of a matching colour in 1626, light blue in the case of the Blue regiment.

Swedish Coloured Infantry Regiments with uniforms

1625-27 the first Swedish coloured regiments acquired their names, although the units already existed:

  • Yellow. Raised 1624 and named “Yellow” from 1626, and had a yellow coat.
  • Blue. Raised 1624; renamed “Old Blue” from 1634; had a blue coat.
  • Red. Raised 1624-25; had a red coat.
  • Green (raised 1627; unclear if had a green coat but some units were clothed in green).

1628 “New Blue Swedish Regiment” (as distinct from the “Old Blue” mercenary unit).

1629-30 the Swedes raised new coloured regiments: Three Black (1629), a fourth Black (1630), Orange (1630), Brown (1630), White (1630)


Brzezinski, R. (1991). The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (1): Infantry [MAA 235]. Osprey.

1 thought on “Coloured Infantry Brigades and Regiments of the 30 Years War”

  1. Richard makes the point that cloth tended to be procured and issued in bulk batches to units to be made up into suits of clothes. In the C17th as later, dressing in the style of a gentleman, including carrying a sword, was one of the perks of military enlistment.
    In battle, regiments could be combined to form a brigade and looking at the establishment strengths of units in the context of the stated deployments in Richard’s Luetzen book, I would guess that sub-units or men could be transferred to make up units of a common strength, something happened within regiments and battalions into the C19th.
    That might lead to brigades presenting a mixed appearance, as could the opportunistic acquisition of cloth.


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