Piirakkaa ja pannukakkua / Pies and pancakes

GARS osallistui heinäkuun lopussa pohjoismaiden suurimpaan pehmomiekka- eli bofferitapahtumaan Sotahuutoon.  Emoyhdistys Harmaasudet on ottanut osaa sodankäyntiin jo ensimmäisestä tapahtumasta lähtien, ja kun tämän vuoden tapahtuman teemaksi oli valikoitunut Nuijasota, päätimme osallistua yhteistyössä GARSin kanssa. Musketit vaihtuivat tussunuoliin ja piikit hopeapatukoihin, kun hollantilainen palkkasoturiryhmä Grolsche compagnie waardgelders lähti sotimaan Ruotsin aateliston riveissä!

 

In the end of this July, GARS participated in the largest padded weapons fighting event in the Nordic countries, Sotahuuto. Our mother organization Harmaasudet/Greywolves has participated since the first event in 2005, and when the Finnish rebellion Cudgel War (1596/1597) was chosen as the background story for the event, it attracted some people from GARS. So we changed our muskets to padded arrows, pikes to duct taped swords and started the fight as Dutch mercenary unit, Grolsche compagnie waardgelders.

Photo by Jari Kuskelin

(c) GARS

 

Koska elävöitimme huippumuodikasta ulkomaalaista palkkasoturijoukkoa, halusimme näyttää sen myös vaatteissa, leirissä ja tietysti ruoassa. Leiripaikalla ei ollut mahdollisuutta tehdä avotulta, joten kokkaaminen oli hoidettava yhden kaasukeittimen avulla. Koska ruoanlaittomahdollisuudet olivat normaalia rajoittuneemmat, piti suurin osa ruuista tehdä etukäteen tai mahdollisimman vähän laittoa vaativina. Mikä olisi helposti kulkeva ja etukäteen valmistettava ruoka, joka ei välttämättä tarvitse kylmäsäilytystä? Piiraat!

 

Since we were depicting high-fashion foreigners, we decided to go all in with our clothing and camping, and especially food. We weren’t allowed to make fire in the area and were able to get only one gas stove with us, so food had to be prepared in advance or with some light preparation. What’s easy to carry, doesn’t need to be stored in cold and could be made beforehand? Pies!

Lisäksi oli leipää, juustoa, hedelmiä ja leikkeleitä / There was also bread, cheese, fruits and meat (c) GARS

Tarjolla oli kolmea erilaista piirasta: yksi perjantain iltapalaksi ja kaksi lauantain lounaaksi. Lisäksi söimme mm. savukalaa, makkaroita, grillikanaa, kasvispataa, mantelikeksejä, mansikoita ja lettuja. Kaikki perustuivat 1600-luvun lähteisiin.

 

There was three different pies: one for Friday evening and two for Saturday lunch. We also ate smoked fish, sausages, grilled chicken, vegetable stew, almond cookies, strawberries and pancakes. Everything was based on 17th century sources.

Photo by Jari Kuskelin

Yhtä piirasta varten tarvitset kaksi pakettia valmista piirakkataikinaa (pohja+kansi) tai saman verran voista ja jauhoista tehtyä perustaikinaa. Et tarvitse vuokaa, vaan taikina toimii itsessään säilytys- ja tarjoiluastiana. Ohjetta voi helposti muokata myös pasteijoiksi. (helppo peruspiirakkaohje täällä)

 

For one pie, you need enough ready-made or home-made pie pastry to make the top and bottom of the “coffin”.  You don’t need any pie mold, since the pie is made whole and keeps the filling inside. You can also make pasties with this receipe. (basic ingredients for a pie pastry here)

Photo by Jenna Marttila

Lihatäyte / Meat filling

(lähde/source: The Accomplish’d Lady’s Delight In Preserving, Physick, Beautifying, and Cookery, 1675)

400 g jauhelihaa (alkuperäinen ohje on lampaalle, mutta myös esim. naudanpaisti toimii) / minced meat (the original is for lamb, but other meats, like beef, works too)

1 hapan omena (ei alkuperäisessä, mutta esiintyy muissa lähteissä) / green apple (this is not in the original, but comes up in other period receipes)

1-2 dl rusinoita / raisins

Mausteet / Spices:

muskottia / nutmeg

neilikkaa / clover

valkoviinietikkaa / white wine vinegar

sokeria / sugar

suolaa / salt

Kuutioi omenat. Paista jauheliha kypsäksi, lisää loppuvaiheessa omenat niin, että ne vähän pehmenevät. Sekoita täytteeseen rusinat ja mausta makusi ja säätysi mukaan.

Cut the apple into cubes. Fry the minced meat until it’s cooked. When it’s almost done, add the apple cubes so they soften a bit. Mix with raisins and season according to your taste and wealthy.

 

Kasvistäyte / Vegetarian filling

(lähde/source: The Cooks Guide: Or, Rare Receipts for Cookery, 1654)

250 g tuoretta pinaattia / fresh spinach

250 g lehtikaalia (toimii lämmitettynä paremmin kuin alkuperäisen ohjeen salaatti, jonka tarkasta lajikkeesta en ole ihan varma) / kale (baked better than ‘lettuce’ from original receipe, which I have no idea what kind of plant it meant in the 17th century)

4 munaa (tekee piiraasta ruokaisamman) / eggs (makes the pie more filling)

Mausteet / Spices:

tuoretta meiramia / fresh marjorum

muskottia / nutmeg

sokeria / sugar

suolaa / salt

Paista pinaattia kuivalla pannulla ja matalalla lämmöllä niin, että se menee kasaan. Pilko lehtikaali. Yhdistä pinaatti ja lehtikaali sekä mausta makusi mukaan. Voit joko sekoittaa kananmunat täytteen joukkoon tai levittää täytteen piirakkapohjalle, jonka jälkeen teet täytteeseen koloja ja rikot kananmunat niihin. Joissain ohjeissa piirakkaan lisätään myös keitettyjä kananmunia, joko ehjinä tai paloina.

Fry the spinach on low heat until it collapses. Chop kale. Mix spinach with kale and season according to taste. You can mix the eggs to the filling, or if you want, you can spread the filling to the pie bottom, make small holes to the filling and pour the eggs there. In some receipes you can also put boiled eggs to the filling, either whole or chopped.

 

Päärynä-brietäyte / Brie and pear filling

(lähde/source: Eenen nyeuwen coock boeck, 1560)

200 g Briejuustoa / Brie cheese

2 päärynää / pears

2 munaa / eggs

sokeria / sugar

Keitä munat koviksi ja viipaloi ne. Viipaloi brie ja kuutioi päärynät. Levitä piirakkapohjalle kerroksittain päärynöitä, brietä ja munia, ripottele päälle makusi mukaan sokeria.

Hard boil the eggs and slice them. Slice Brie and dice the pears. Fill the pie bottom with layers of pear, cheese and eggs, and sprinkle sugar on top.

Kun haluamasi täyte on valmis / When the filling is done:

Levitä täyte kaulitulle taikinapohjalle. Kauli myös kansi ja peitä piiras. Käännä pohjataikina kannen päälle ja painele sauma tiiviiksi. Halutessasi voit koristella pinnan ylijääneestä taikinasta leikatuilla kuvioilla ja sivellä kananmunalla. Pistele haarukalla muutamia reikiä piiraaseen ja paista uunin keskitasossa 175 asteessa piirakan paksuudesta riippuen 30-45 min.

Spread the filling to the rolled out pastry bottom. Cover the pie with rolled pastry. Turn the edges of the bottom on top of the cover and secure the seam by pressing it with your fingertips.  If you want, you can decorate the pie with left-over pastry or paint it with egg. Stick some holes to the pie and bake it in 175 C for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pie.

Nautitaan Saimaan rannalla auringon laskiessa / Enjoy by the beautiful lake Saimaa when the sun sets. (c) GARS

Huoltojoukot tulivat tarpeeseen / Service troups were much needed. Photo by Kristiina Tarkkala

Jenni

Tallenna

Mämmiä ja äkseerausta Turussa / Some mämmi and drill in Turku

GARS kävi esiintymässä Turun linnalla maaliskuun ensimmäisenä sunnuntaina. Pikenööripäivään sisältyi kaksi äkseerausnäytöstä linnan pihalla, tutustuminen linnaan ja erityisesti Valtapeliä – Reformaatio Suomessa -näyttelyyn, sekä kylmä lounas 1600-luvun sotilashengessä.

On the first sunday of March, GARS made a trip to Turku Castle. We had two pike drill shows, visited the castle and especially their exhibition on reformation in Finland, and had a cold lunch in 17th century military style.

Turun linnan pihalla / At Turku Castle courtyard (c) GARS 2017

Noin tunnin äksiisin jälkeen nälkä alkoi olla jo aikamoinen. Nautimme lounaan linnan renessanssisalissa lähes autenttisessa 1600-luvun ympäristössä. Tosin sotilaat eivät olisi näin hienoihin tiloihin päässeet, vaan ruoka olisi tarjoiltu linnantuvassa.

After one hour drill we started to get hungry. We had our lunch in the renaissance hall of the castle in an authentic 17th century surroundings. Although back then, soldiers would have eaten in the common dining hall.

Keihäät kulkevat hyvin myös kapeassa portaikossa / Pikemen can go also in narrow staircases (c) GARS 2017

Koska käytössämme ei ollut keittiötä, valmistimme ruoat etukäteen. Tarjolla oli perinteisen ruisleivän, juuston, lihan, kananmunien ja kalapiirakan lisäksi länsisuomalaista erikoisuutta, mämmiä. Mämmi tunnetaan jo katolisen ajan paasto- ja eväsruokana, ja myöhemmin siitä tuli suosittu pitoruoka. Mämmiä syödään nykyisinkin koko Suomessa pääsiäisen tienoilla, joten katolisesta tavasta ei suinkaan ole kyse!

We didn’t have kitchen, so lunch was prepared beforehand. We had rye bread, cheese, ham, boiled eggs, salmon pie, and local Western Finland speciality, mämmi. There are mentions of mämmi in the Middle Ages during Lent and as food for travel, and later it became a festive dish. Mämmi is still popular in Finland during Easter holidays, so it’s in no way a catholic tradition!

Lohipiirakkaa, mämmiä ja muita tarjottavia / Salmon pie, mämmi and other dishes. (c) GARS 2017

Mämmi valmistetaan ohramaltaista ja ruisjauhoista imeltämällä.  Imeltämisessä maltaiden ja rukiin tärkkelys pilkkoutuu sokeriksi. Tärkeintä prosessissa on lämpötilan pitäminen tasaisena, jotta imeltyminen onnistuu. Sokeri on ollut harvinainen yläluokan herkku aina 1800-luvulle asti, ja jos hunajaankaan ei ollut varaa, oli imeltäminen ainoa keino valmistaa makeita ruokia. Ohje on sovellettu Marttojen ohjeesta.

Mämmi is made from malt and rye flour by a special technique called imeltäminen. It’s what happens when starches in malt and rye are modified into sugar in certain warm temperatures. It is important to keep the temperature steady for the whole process. Imeltäminen creates a sweet taste, which was hard to achieve before sugar came into wider use in the 19th century. Honey was also expensive, so imeltäminen was the only way to make sweet dishes.

Mämmi 1600-luvun tapaan / Mämmi in 17th century style

1. vaihe / stage
1 l vettä / water
200 g mämmi- tai kaljamaltaita / malt
400 g ruisjauhoja / rye flour

2. vaihe / stage
1,5 l vettä / water
150 g mämmi- tai kaljamaltaita / malt
300 g ruisjauhoja / rye flour

1. vaihe. Kuumenna vesi poreilevaksi (n. 70 astetta) isossa kattilassa. Sekoita veteen maltaat ja ruisjauhot. Ripottele pinnalle hieman ruisjauhoja. Peitä kattila kannella. Anna imeltyä 1½-2 tuntia lämpimässä paikassa, esimerkiksi uunissa 50 asteen lämmössä. Imeltyminen tapahtuu 50-75 asteessa, joten lämpötilaa ei saa ylittää eikä alittaa. Onnistunut imeltyminen tekee seoksesta juoksevampaa.

1. stage. Warm the water to ca. 70 degrees Celsius in a large kettle. Add malt and rye flour and mix together. Sprinkle some flour on top and cover the kettle with a lid. Put the kettle to an oven in ca. 50 C for 1½-2 hours. The modification of starch into sugar happens in 50-75 C, so that should be the temperature for the whole process.  If imeltäminen is done correctly, the mix should be a bit more runny than when it was put to the oven.

(c) GARS 2017

2. vaihe. Kuumenna vesi poreilevaksi ja lisää kattilaan. Sekoita joukkoon maltaat ja jauhot. Jatka kuten edellä ja anna imeltyä taas pari tuntia lämpimässä uunissa.

2. stage. Warm the water to 70 C and add to the kettle. Add more malt and flour to the mix and let it stay in the oven as in stage 1 for a couple of more hours.

(c) GARS 2017

3. Tässä vaiheessa mämmin tulee olla löysän puuron vahvuista. Lisää tarvittaessa jauhoja. Keitä seosta 10 minuuttia koko ajan hämmentäen varoen pohjaan palamista. Jaa mämmi tuokkosiin, leivinpaperilla vuorattuun uunivuokaan tai foliovuokiin. Jätä kuohumisvaraa noin 1/3 vuoan korkeudesta. Astian on hyvä olla laakea, ja mämmiä noin 5 cm paksuinen kerros, jotta nestettä haihtuu riittävästi.

3. Now the mix should resemble thin porridge. Add flour if it’s too runny. Boil for 10 minutes, stirr constantly and be careful that the mix doesn’t burn. Pour it into traditional bowls made of birch bark, disposable folio dishes or oven dishes covered with baking paper. Fill the dishes 2/3 full. Mämmi should not be more than 5 cm thick, so the moist evaporates more effectively.

(c) GARS 2017

4. Paista uunin alatasossa 170 asteen lämmössä 2½-3 tuntia. Mämmi on parhaimmillaan muutaman päivän kuluttua. Tarjoa kylmänä.

4. Bake in 170 C for 2½-3 hours. Mämmi is best after a couple of days in the fridge. Serve cold.

(c) GARS 2017

Nykyään mämmi syödään useimmin kerman ja sokerin kera. Kermaa ei kuitenkaan olisi ollut 1600-luvulla tarjolla tähän aikaan vuodesta, koska lehmät olivat talven ja kevään ummessa. Lypsy onnistui vain kesäisin ja syksyisin, kun lehmillä oli tuoretta ruokaa. Lisäksi suurin osa kermasta käytettiin voin valmistamiseen, eikä ruoanlaittoon. Ja kuten mainittu, sokeria ei ollut aikakautena yleisesti saatavilla.

Nowadays mämmi is usually eaten with cream and sugar. But in the 17th century there would not have been cream available during winter and spring, only in summer and autumn, when there would be fresh food for cows. Most of the cream was also used to make butter, not in cooking. And as mentioned before, sugar was not widely available in the early modern period.

Zum bier! (c) GARS 2017

Kuvia tapahtumasta / More pictures here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/128865949@N07/sets/72157677587267174

https://henluo.kuvat.fi/kuvat/Turun+Linna+5.3.2017/

Jenni

Tallenna

Tallenna

Making a rättänä

GARS portrays soldiers from the province of Savo (Savolax) in eastern Finland. For our “Peasant day” in 5.2.2017 we prepared several traditional savonian dishes. Here is the recipe for the dessert, a rättänä. It is basically a blueberry pie with a rye crust, and belongs to family of savonian dishes called “kukkos”. A kukko can be made from many types of ingredients -fish, meat, vegetables- but it’s always fully enclosed in rye dough and then slowly cooked in oven. The rye crust seals in the ingredients resulting in food that preserves well, an ideal food for longer journeys.

Baking rättänäs in clay oven in Pukkisaari. Photo (c) GARS 2017

Our recipe is slightly modernized, and of course we don’t have any written peasant recipes from the 17th century to start with. But the kukko is surely a centuries-old thing and the only ingredient here that wasn’t a part of 17th century savonian staple is the sugar: back then, it was mostly available for the rich, as it was imported. Instead of sugar kind of a home made sweetener called imellös would have been used. Imellös is made by soaking and simmering rye, in a process similar to malting. But it’s a bit gross so we used sugar anyway!

Kukko-type dishes can be made without any cooking vessel, into a form of a plump bread, but with rättänä it’s best to use a clay pot as the blueberry filling can be very runny when hot and may try to escape from the crust. You’ll need a oven-proof clay pot, about 2-3 liters in volume. The pot doesn’t need to be glazed.

The crust in a clay pot. Photo (c) GARS 2017

Crust:
  • 200 grams butter, plus some for the pot
  • 1 dl of sugar
  • About half a liter of rye flour
  • Some cold water
Filling:
  • Half a kilo of blueberries
  • Few tablespoons of honey or sugar (not necessary)
  • One desilitre of rolled oats (not necessary)

Making the blueberry filling. Photo (c) GARS 2017

1. Make the doug by melting the butter and mixing the sugar with it. Then add enough rye flour to make a pretty firm dough. Add a splash of water to make the dough pliable.

2. Divide the dough into two pieces, smaller and larger one. Take your clay pot and butter the inside well. Line the inside of the clay pot evenly with the larger portion of the dough. Roll the smaller piece of the dough into a circle that is slightly larger than the mouth of the pot.

3. Make the filling: mix the blueberries with sugar or honey and oats. You can use only the blueberries to fill the rättänä, but some extra sweetening adds to the taste and the oats are good for absorbing the liquid from the blueberries. Pour the filling to the pot. Cover with the dough circle and press the edges well.

4. Put into baking oven (on medium heat / 200 degrees celcius) for around 1 hour, or longer. You might want to cover the dish for the first half of the cooking time, to prevent the top from burning.

Wait a bit – the filling is hot – and then eat. If you are a flamboyant catholic, you can eat it with vanilla ice cream!

Heating the clay oven in Pukkisaari. Photo (c) GARS 2015

– Photos from the Peasant day 5.2.2017 in Pukkisaari.

Bengt Bengtsson Oxenstierna and Palmanova

GARS is attending great 17th century festival in Palmanova, Italy next month. The Savolax infantry regiment did not, obviously, fight in the Uskok war of the 1615-1618 which the Rievocazione Storica di Palmanova re-enacts: so in the event we portray generic Northern European mercenaries on the service of the Venetian Republic. But there actually exists strong ties between Gustavus Adolphus’s Sweden and Venice, and at least one person that forms a link between fortress town of Palmanova and Savolax infantrymen: Bengt Bengtsson Oxenstierna (1591-1643).

During Thirty Years War kingdom of Sweden and the republic of Venice were allied, Venice providing diplomatic and financial support to Sweden and Protestant Union. Venice of course was catholic in faith, but like very often during that time, the religion was secondary issue to power politics. Sweden and Venice shared the same enemy, Hapsburg empire, and thus were on the same side of the conflict.

In 1621 King Gustavus chose 30-year old nobleman Bengt Bengtsson Oxenstierna to travel as his ambassador to Venice. Bengt was born to one of the highest ranking families in the kingdom but the reason he was picked for the job was that he already knew the republic well. In fact Bengt was already a veteran traveler at that time.

Bengt Bengtsson Oxenstierna
Bengt Bengtsson Oxenstierna (1591-1643)

He had started his traveling hobby as a teenager studying in Rostock, first making trips to Germany and Poland, and then further south to Italy. He attempted visit to Holy Land already in 1613 but was forced to return to Tuscany because of a robbery. Few years later he made second, and this time successful trip to Orient, reaching Syria, Bagdad, Persia and Egypt.On his first trip to Italy (and the only part of his travels that we have his own written account of) Bengt Oxenstierna visited Palmanova in 1612. Here is his description of the fortress in his own words:

Ifrån Venedig och till Palma, huvudfästningen I Friul, äro 2 dagsresor, vilken fästning ligger uti ett slätt och eben land, och för den skull ser man henne långt bort, förty boluarderne och vallarne äro högt uppförda. Hon är alldeles regular och har 9 boluarder. Lorinus Florentinus har varit byggmästare därföre. Hon ligger ungefär 500 steg ifrån Österriks gebiet: två mil härifrån ligger det Österriks gränsfastning, som heter Gradisca; är tämlig fast.

Modern spelling by Sven Hedin. Same in english, translation by Konsta Nikkanen:

From Venice to Palma, main fortress in Friuli, was 2 days journey, where the fortress is situated in flat and plain land, so that she can be seen from far away, as the boulevards [bastions] and banks were built high. She is perfectly regular shape and has 9 boulevards. Lorinus Florentinus had been the construction master there. She is situated about 500 steps from Austria’s land: two miles from there is Austrian border fortress called Gradisca; which is quite sturdy.

Palmanova1600
Palmanovan kartta, 1500-1600 -luku

Later in his life Bengt Oxenstierna served as a governor of Augsburg in 1632-33: during that time several companies of Finnish infantry, first from Savolax and then from Viborg regiments (both under the Savolax colonel Kaspar Ermes) were stationed as garrison troops of Augsburg for short periods of time. So that’s our (only slightly forced) connection between Palmanova and our regiment!

Flag

During Thirty Years’ War thousands of silken flags were produced for Swedish army, but just a few of them survive: most of the surviving ones are those which enemy took in battle and brought home as trophies, to be shown in churches and palaces. Later, some of them ended up in museums. Researching flags of this period is based largely on paintings and written descriptions. We know for sure that swedish army didn’t have any single flag standard, as the flags were usually made in the regiments according to the tastes of the commanding officers and of which materials were available. Native Swedish regiments might have had slightly simpler flags than the continental mercenary regiments. There are no evidence of flag colours being systematically coordinated with the uniform colours or the provincial colours even though there might have been that kind of efforts or plans.

German monk Reginbaldus Möhner painted dozens of water-colour portraits of flags, belonging to Swedish regiments occupying and passing through Augsburg in 1634, for his chronicle. Amongst these paintings there are four flags of Kaspar Ermes’s Finnish (Savolax) infantry, which are company flags in all propability. Every one of the four flags have been reduced to mere rags hanging from a flagpole, with no hint of the pattern of the flag. Silken flags truly were not very durable in the battlefield and on the other hand new flags were often not issued until the regiment was reorganized: so in the long campaigns, many units were marching under tattered flags.

GARS uses blue and black flag with golden wreath painted on both sides and on the middle the Savolax coat of arms on the other and the king’s monogram on the other side. This is a speculative reconstruction made after Möhner’s paintings, general flag fashion of the period, other Swedish infantry flags and later period flags of Savolax infantry regiment.

Savolax infantry regiment

Savolax (Savo in modern finnish) is a province in southeastern Finland. Out of all Finnish infantry units the men of Savolax infantry regiment were most actively present in the key events of Swedish king’s German campaign. After the military reform of 1626 there was seven Finnish infantry regiments in Swedish army, all named after the province whose population they were drawn from. Not all these regiments were used in the German campaign (or at least it’s most active early phase) and many units served mostly as garrisons in Northern Germany, Prussia and Livonia. When Swedish field army marched far south to Bavaria and fought the big decisive battles, Finnish infantry was mainly represented by Savolax infantry who also are the ones being most often mentioned in contemporary sources. Men of Savolax regiment performed well especially in the battle of Rain (crossing the Lech river).

Five out of the eight companies in Savolax regiment were sent to Germany with the king. These companies were formed into a regiment under the command of colonel Klas Hastfer even though the Savolax regiment itself was still commanded by general Gustav Horn (who himself was acting as a Field Marshal of the Swedish army). Later the Hastfehr’s regiment was commanded by Lt.Col. Kaspar Ermes who was a veteran captain from Savolax regiment. Even though Swedish conscription system worked on a regional basis and every conscript regiment had a provincial identity, name and insignia, on field of war the regimets were still named after their leader: so Savolax regiment in Germany was usually called “Hastfer’s Finnish regiment” and later “Ermes’s Finnish Regiment”. Last men of Savolax reximent left Germany in 1649, after the peace treaty. Many of those who survived were then transferred to new wars against Poland and Denmark.

It is safe to assume that Savolax was equipped as other native Swedish infantry units. Savolax regiment is the only Finnish infantry unit from the period that we have a reasonably trustworthy, even though only partial, source for a flag. German monk Reginbaldus Möhner painted flags of Swedish forces occupying Augsburg in 1634 and amongst these paintings there are four flags -shown as mere rags- of Kaspar Ermes’s Finnish infantry.

Finnish infantry and 30 Years War

Thirty Years’ War was fought in Central Europe from year 1618 to 1648. Sweden joined the war properly in 1630 and Swedish forces remained in Germany to the end of the war. The whole reign of Gustavus Adolphus, from 1611, had been time of almost constant war: Sweden fought against Russia in Ingria (1611-1617), against Poland in Livonia (1617-1618 and 1621-1626) and in Prussia (1626-1629) and several times against Denmark. After the death of Gustavus Adolphus and towards the end of the German war, wars against old enemies Poland and Denmark started again. State of war was effectively the normal state of things, short periods of peace were spent getting ready for the next war.

Whole area of modern Finland belonged to the Kingdom of Sweden during the 17th century and Finnish troops were well represented in Swedish military. Finnish cavalry (“Hackapelites”) and their exploits in German War are well known especially amongst Finns, and have a somewhat mythical reputation thanks to 19th and 20th century writers. In reality, much bigger number of Finns fought in infantry. While cavalrymen were volunteers (drawn mostly among the sons and servants of welthier farmers, with tax exemption and freedom from feared conscription as motive of volunteering) native Swedish and Finnish infantry were conscripts, drawn from the peasant class.

During the early-17th century wars against Poland and Russia a very large proportion of Swedish army had been Finnish in origin, but in Thirty Years War the Swedish field army was actually mostly comprised of foreign (German, Scots, etc.) mercenaries: native Swedes and Finns were a minority. Often concripted troops were also given tasks in guarding and garrisoning the North-German towns and castles and saw less action in battlefield than mercenaries. Nevertheless, a small number of Finnish infantrymen were present in most of the famous battles of Thirty Years War, like Breitenfeld and Lützen.

GARS mainly re-enacts Finnish infantry from Savolax infantry regiment during the German campaign of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (1630-1632) but our equipment can mostly be used also in a larger timeframe from the beginning of the Livonian war in 1621 to the end of the Thirty Years War in 1648.