Armed Forces

David Parrott

in The Oxford Handbook of the Ancien Régime

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199291205
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Armed Forces


In early 1645 Field Marshal Lennard Torstensson led a Swedish army of 9,000 cavalry, 6,000 infantry, and sixty cannon against a Habsburg-Imperial army of 10,000 cavalry, 5,000 infantry, and twenty-six cannon commanded by Melchior von Hatzfeld. Both armies were composed of regiments commanded by international colonel-proprietors, who had used their funds or credit to raise and maintain military units. Many of the soldiers in both armies had been in service for ten years or more. The colonel-proprietors and generals in both armies regarded the recruitment of their experienced veterans as a long-term investment, and both were supported in their enterprises by an international network of private credit facilities, munitions manufacturers, food suppliers, and transport contractors. In both cases this elaborate structure was funded through control of the financial resources of entire territories, largely extracted and administered by the military high command. The armies clashed at Jankow in Bohemia, and the Imperial forces, though superior in cavalry, were held and eventually defeated by the Swedes, in part thanks to their artillery.

Keywords: Swedish army; Habsburg-Imperial army; colonel-proprietors; credit facilities; regiments; armed forces

Article.  8443 words. 

Subjects: History ; Military History

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