SweGGate Theme: Military
Soldier Recruitment

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This is a very brief introduction to the different systems used to recruit personnel for the armed forces in Sweden in the last 500 years. There is a lot of detailed information on the Internet but this overview just states the basics. .

Äldre Indelningsverket Yngre Indelningsverket Enrolleringsverket Allmän värnplikt Stamanställning

Äldre Indelningsverket  ("Older Divisional system")

This system was instigated by king Gustaf Vasa, the first king of all of Sweden, in the 1540's. The basic principles were:
1  soldiers should be recruited from Sweden as opposed to hired soldiers from anywhere,
2  a home (farm or torp) was provided as part of the pay,
3  the armed forces selected the soldiers from the population and the selected man could not refuse (utskrivning = conscription).

Yngre Indelningsverket  ("Younger (=later) Divisional system")

This system replaced the previous one in the 1680's, created by king Karl XI. It was also named Det Ständiga Knektehållet from ständig = constant, knekt = soldier, håll from (v) hålla = hold, i.e. a system providing constant supply of soldiers.
The main difference was that instead of the army drafting (forcing) individuals the responsibility to recruit a soldier was placed on a group of farmers who employed someone to be their soldier. If they failed a young man from the area would be drafted as before.
The country was divided into small districts named rote, including a few farms (hence the alternative name "roteringssystemet "). Each rote should provide for one soldier, including lodging (a soldattorp built to army specifications), some farming land and specified supplies like one uniform / year, fire wood, grain etc. Usually a small salary was paid too.
Soldiers were named indelt soldat or rotesoldat. Navy sailors recruited through the yngre indelningsverket were named rotebåtsman or simply båtsman.
Båtsmän recruited from cities were named stadsbåtsman. (There were no corresponding soldiers recruited for the army from the cities)

Enrolleringsverket  ("Enrolment system")

This system was used in some areas to recruit sailors for the navy (båtsman). On the west coast (provinces Bohuslän, Västergötland, Halland and Skåne) it started in 1704. A commission from the navy travelled a coastal area to recruit young men with experience of the sea. In peacetime the båtsman received a small yearly salary, permission to work on merchant ships, do fishing or other trade and exemption from being drafted to other services. In wartime a higher salary was paid and a pension was paid in case of injury or death while in service. This system was also based on voluntary joining, as the yngre indelningsverket but contrary to the drafting in the äldre indelningverket.
Båtsmän (navy sailors) recruited through the Enrolleringsverket were named Enrolleringsbåtsman (Enr:båtsm:) or Enrolleringskarl (Enr:karl) and were part of a navy unit of type enrolleringskompani. These companies existed parallell to the companies recruited through the "standard system" yngre indelningsverket.
The system had its problems since the companies were rarely fully manned. The sailors had the right to sail on merchant ships and were often not at home when the companies were mustered or training.

Allmän värnplikt  (General Conscription)

By the end of the 19th century the indelningsverk was phased out and successively replaced by a general conscript service where every young man had to show up for evaluation and if found suitable was assigned a position in the armed forces (mandatory service)

Stamanställning, volontär  (Volunteer, soldier by direct employment)

At all times there have been men volunteering employment in the armed forces, mainly with the aim of becoming officers.

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Last updated by F Hae 2005-05-11 00:59 © Fredrik Haeffner, 2001-5