Danish Army Records Background

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The content in this article was extracted from the publication A Guide to Danish Army Units: Compiled from a study of Danish Military Records and Histories by Brentnall H. Barlow, Genealogical Society Research Department, December 1966. This article contains the introductions and descriptions of the army units publication. However, the compiled content about the army units themselves are accessible in the article Denmark Military Records.

For Background on the Danish Army, see image 3 of FamilySearch Digital Library, and for information about The Regimental Records, see page 7.

Instructions to the Use of the Army Units Guide[edit | edit source]

As indicated in the Background heading above, most Danish Army Units changed their names from time to time. This has made the identification of a unit sometimes difficult, especially when the unit was moved to a different station. The name under which a particular unit's service records is listed is only one if its names, and is not the present designation of the unit.

Many units, including the very early ones, and the ones formed in the period after 1870, have no records at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (as of 1966).

A - In each of the Index Sub-Sections (includes sections I A-B, II A-C, III A-C), the names are arranged alphabetically after the first main identification feature of the unit's name of that period. Each item is begun with a line number for reference within the Index. Line numbers are used only in the index sub-section.

This is followed by the unit's identification number, which pertains to any one unit only. The name of the unit was known by for that period is next, followed by the period of time it was in use, by year only.

The next two columns indicate first the line number of its previous name, and second the line number of its later name. In the case that either earlier or later names were non-existent, these columns will indicate something about its formation and its disbandment.

The next column indicates whether any known service records exist at FamilySearch for this unit for this period. The last column contains notes pertaining to the unit during that time period that the author believed was pertinent.

  • Example: An Infantry Unit: Line 390 - B4 - Kronens Regt. til Fods (1808-1839) - (line) 385 - (line) 456 - R. B4 is the identification number of the unit whose service records are listed as the "4th Battalion." (See Section II, part D.) It carried the name of "Kronens Regiment til Fods" during the period 1808 to 1839. Line 385 indicates it was earlier known as "Kongens Regiment til Fods" and line 456 indicates it was later called "Tredje Liv Regiment til Fods." The "R" indicates that records for all of this period are available at FamilySearch/Family History Library.

B - The Service Record Sub-Section indicates whether or not any designated unit has existing service records at FamilySearch/Family History Library. The arrangement is by sequence of identification numbers.

The first item is the identification number, followed by the name it is listed under in the FamilySearch catalog. This is followed by the correct Danish name. Then follows the year the unit came into existence, and the year it was disbanded or whether it still exists. The next column indicates the earliest year the existing service records begin. In many cases, part of the records after that date have been lost. The last column lists the part numbers of the main series of Army service records or the serial number and part numbers if it is cataloged under a different serial number.

  • Example: an Infantry Unit: B4 - 4 Battalion - Fjerde Batalion - 1614 - exists - 1758 - pts. 156-170. B4 is the unit known as 4 Battalion (English and Danish) which came into existence in 1614 and still exists (as of 1966). Its records begin in 1758 and can be found under parts 156 to 170 of FHL serial number 8556.

Both the Cavalry and Infantry have some fragmentary service records which can be found among other types of records, particularly the older Military Levying Rolls. A separate part has been compiled showing those the author has identified.

Each unit has listed its identification number, followed by its "main" name, usually the one known by in the FamilySearch catalog. The various names it used at the different time periods, with the time periods pertaining to the records listed next. The area to which the record refers then follows, and then the reference source by FHL serial number, part number and book number.

C - The last major sub-section is that of Unit Histories and Other References. It is arranged by identification number in sequence.

Each item lists the identification number, followed by the name of the unit, using Vaupell's designation for most units. Next the page references to the works of Vaupell and Boeck are listed, followed by the year in which a history appears in the Haandbog For Haeren. The fourth reference pertains mostly to the very early units listed in Berliens Collection. The last column contains both notes and other refererences.

Undoubtedly the zealous student will find some errors wtihin the Guide. Likewise, he will find that some units which served in the Danish Army are not listed. These were deliberately left out. Particularly we can mention the composite Grenadier Battalions of the Seven Years War period. Others were oversignts caused by the pressure of limited time for the study.

Any errors and omissions which are found that are called to the attention of the FamilySearch Wiki will be appreciated.

Notes on Sources Used for Unit Histories[edit | edit source]

Major Sources

I. Vaupell - "Den Danske Haers Historie til Nutiden og Den Norske Haers Historie til 1814," by Otto Vaupell, published 1872-1876 (FHL Serial Number - 44883). This is the best and most complete history up to 1860.

II. Boeck - "Danmarks Haer," by Hector Boeck, S.E. Johnstad-Møller and C.V. Half, published 1933-1934 (FHL Serial Number - 444884). This is the best for units later than 1860 that still existed in 1932/1934.

III. Haandbog for Haeren, by Krigs Ministeriet. Published annually from 1877, with the Library having the issues from 1877 to 1927. (FHL Call Number: 948.9 M23K.) This gives the unit and commands officers in the Army. Some short unit histories are printed in the 1922-1927 issues.

IV. Berliens Collection - A collection of officers' short biographical data on cards up to around 1730. (FHL Serial Number 8554 parts 1 to 3) at the end of part 3 is a "miscellaneous" section, which contains data on early Army units.

V. Notes taken from "Kongens Tro Regimenter" by Arne Hoff and Anton Huidt, published in 1955. These were taken at the Library of Congress in June 1959, and cover particularly the units designations after 1934, including the major reform in 1951.

Other Sources

VI. Hirsch - "Fortegnelse over Danske og Norske Officer fra 1648 til 1814" by I.C.W. Hirsch and Kay Hirsch. (FHL Serial Number 8522, parts 1 to 10). This has been useful in many ways when the units name was unsure but when an officer of the unit was known.

VII. Hof og Stadt Kalender - published annually with the issues from 1832 to 1926 available at the Family History Library. This has given the units assigned to brigades from 1842 to 1867 when all other sources failed to do so. (FHL Call Number 948.9 H4K).

VIII. The Military Card Index of Noncommissioned Officers, from 1757 to 1860, has occasionally been helpful. (FHL serial number 8553, parts 1 to 8.)

IX. Notes from re-print of Manchester Guardian in 1864 (located in University of Utah Library) under the title "Engels as Military Critic" was the only source listing organization of the Danish Army on a war footing in the spring of 1864.

Abbreviations Used (All Sections) Of Army Units Guide[edit | edit source]

Identification Letters:

Sec. I -
Sec. II -
Sec. III -

C -- Cavalry (and Armor)
B -- Infantry
A -- Artillery
E -- Engineers
F -- Fortifications
G -- Higher Commands
H -- Service Corps
M -- Medical
MP -- Military Police
S -- Schools
T -- Train

Under Name and in Notes

Regt. Regiment
Bat. Batallion (Battalion)
Esk. Eskadron (Squadron)
Div. Divison ("Squadron")
Afd. Afdeling (Division - "Battalion")
Komp. Kompagnie (Company)
Nat. Nationale (National)
Gev. Gevorbne (Recruited)
Cav. Cavalleri (Cavalry)
Inf. Infantry (Infantry)
Art. Artilleri (Artillery)
Ing. Ingenior (Engineer)
Res. Reserve
Forst. Forstaerkning (Reinforcement)
Flag toj Hus Flag now at Tojhusmuseet

Under Previous and Later

Abt. about
R. Raised
R.R. Re-raised
F. Rormed (from existing units)
R. by Div. Raised by Division of earlier unit
Div. Divided into ___ units
Inc. Incorporated into ___
Disb. Disbanded
Comb. Combined with ____
Exists (nr) Exist, but not raised
Exists (date) Existed in year of date, later existence unknown

Under Records
(Pertains to FHL holdings)

R Records for entire period
R (Date) Records exist from this date
F.R. Fragmental records exist during period
R/NA Records exist, but are not available at the FHL
R & R/NA Records exist but those of late period (usually post 1890) are not available at the FHL

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  • Footnote 1: Unit Existing Only after 1937/1951 - Data from notes taken from "Kongens Tro Regimenter" in Library of Congress; June 1959.
  • Footnote 2: Refer Also to "Hof Og Stads Kalender" and "Haandbog for Haeren" of the period in question.
  • Footnote 3: Data of Organization of 1864 war units from article in University of Utah Library published in March 1864, Manchester Guardian.