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"Swedish soldiers diet gnw" Topic

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650 hits since 24 Aug 2019
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Comments or corrections?

barcah200124 Aug 2019 12:39 p.m. PST

Does anyone know what the daily ration of the Swedish soldier was when on campaign during the GNW? I assume bread + some protein + spirits + ?

Travellera24 Aug 2019 12:51 p.m. PST

Per day:
625 gram bread
850 gram butter or bacon
1/3 liter peas
2,5 liter beer

barcah200124 Aug 2019 2:11 p.m. PST

Thank you! So the is similar across Europe except further west you'd have beef

Daniel S26 Aug 2019 9:16 a.m. PST

A couple of small corrections.
The 850 gram ration wasn't "butter or bacon" but meat, I suspect that Travallera used the Swedish book "Karoliner" which made an error when transcribing the ration. However the original text of the "Fältportion stat" has butter as separate issue.

There type of meat issued could be pretty varied, fish including stockfish and salted herring were used as well as pork and beef. (Stockfish was not particularly liked but the fatty herring was popular.

The butter ration was an additional 212 grams with fatty pork ("fläsk" in Swedish) including bacon being a possible substitute for the butter.

The pea ration called for either peas or groats (typically oat groats used for oatmeal or cooked directly) At the start of the war the ration was 1/6 liter groats but the size of the ration was increased as peas became popular. It has been claimed that the pea ration during the GNW what was turned pea soup into an ever present item on the menue served to Swedish soldiers from then on.

While the bread and beer ration stayed the same during the war both the meat and butter rations would see cuts and increases, for 1702 the offical meat ration was only 425 grams with no butter ration. (Of course this was plenty compared to the Scanian war, in 1676 the meat ration was only 212 grams with at best 26 grams of butter.)

Travellera26 Aug 2019 10:28 a.m. PST

Thanks Daniel!

I first thought it looked a bit strange with butter or bacon but on the other hand, bacon is mostly fat anyway so I thought it sounded possible. Thanks for the correction, I will make a note in my book :)

Brentnose30 Nov 2019 2:04 p.m. PST

I am currently in the middle of putting together a study on the various aspects of war that could be objectively quantified, such as rate of movements, what humans can see at various ranges, how quickly various elements in field fortifications or even within formal sieges could be constructed, the technical capabilities of weapons, etc, etc.. I intend to include a section on the amount and types of food the men in various armies received and how these were distributed. I thus found your post about rations in the Swedish army during the Great Northern War of great interest!

It is interesting, for example, to compare this with that of other armies. In France by the late 1690s regulations governing the amount of rations for each soldier and officer in the army appeared almost annually. The March 4, 1702 ordinance governing rations for dragoons is illustrative. Each dragoon was to receive 2 rations per day, one de fourrage – forage for his horse and the other, de bouche (for the mouth,) for himself. The main dietary components were bread, some meat, and a mildly alcoholic beverage. The type of meat and beverage were generally decided by the purveyor supplying the foods or what was available locally. The dragoon was supposed to receive 24 ounces of bread, 1 ½ lbs. of meat, 1 pint of wine or in place of that a 1 jug of cider, or a Paris pint of beer. Officers enjoyed multiple rations. The colonel was allocated 12 rations for himself and 12 for his horse (6 of the quality of his rank and 6 of that like a captain.) The lieutenant colonel was supplied with 10 rations of each (4 of the quality of his rank and 6 like a captain.) The major was given 8 rations of forage for his horse and 6 rations like a captain for himself. A captain received 6 rations of both types, and a lieutenant 4 of each. The chaplain two rations for himself and two for his horse [fn: Guignard, Pierre Claude, de (Lt.-Col.); École de mars ou mémoires instructifs; vol. 2, 1725, p. 53.]. It appears that the French, as in other Catholic countries, to accommodate religious custom distinguished between the jour gras (meat day) and the jour maigre (a fast day or day of abstinence.) On the two days of abstinence a small portion of fish was substituted for the allotment of beef.

Would you be willing to share your source material so that I can include similar information about the Swedish army, an important military player of the period that, all too often has received inadequate treatment in English language works?

I am looking for similar information about other armies and other periods within the 1494-1815 time frame, and I encourage anyone wishing to participate in this research effort to contact me.

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