Abstract:
The Delmenhorstiske Regiment -- from German to Norwegian 1767-1774
The original essay was written in Norwegian by Yngve Nedrebø, this is a short version in English by Anette Skogseth Clausen.
The Delmenhorstiske Regiment was a regiment constituted by elite soldiers. They served in several parts of Europe, and their nationality was accordingly mixed. In the second half of the 1760s, the regiment was sent to Norway to replace the locally recruited garrison. There were turbulent times in Norway, and after a local riot in the 1765, the Dano-Norwegian government feared the lack of loyalty from the Norwegian soldiers in conflicts with the local population.

Delmenhors was a Danish county nearby Oldenburg, just outside Bremen, Germany. The regiment was founded in 1763 and came to Denmark two years later. There were two battalions each having seven companies. With 65-67 men in each company,  there was a total of 914 men in the regiment, in addition to fifty officers. Furthermore, the wife and children often accompanied as well. The 1st Battalion (Livbataljonen) was stationed in Bergen, at Bergenhus, while the 2nd Battalion was sent to Trondheim. In Bergen they were more than one thousand persons connected to the Regiment.

In Bergen, the regiment struggled with lack of discipline: a large number of the soldiers deserted. They were also met with disapproval from the citizens in Bergen since quite a lot of the soldiers benefited from the generous spare time by working, thus representing a competition for the local merchants. Of the non-working soldiers several ended as slaves at Bergenhus mostly because of stealing. There was also an increase in illegitimate children born in Bergen. However, the most important reason for the disapproval was the decision that the citizens of Bergen had to pay for the housing for these soldiers.

From 1769, colonel Johan Daniel von Kreber (1719-1790) was in charge of the Delmenhorstiske Regiment. He was a clever officer. So when the men,  in 1770, were free to discharge after seven years, many of them continued. von Kreber started recruiting soldiers locally as well. von Kreber had a vision of changing the Delmenhorstiske into a regiment of young Norwegians with the Guards' ranking.

In 1773, the Delmenhorstiske Regiment, was going to be replaced by a Norwegian garrison and transferred back to Denmark. von Kreber made a deal to leave behind some of his men if he could recruit 300 Norwegian soldiers. This way he could get rid of the older, smaller persons, and get the tall, young Norwegians. However, not all of the Norwegians joined willingly although they were offered a reward for enlisting.

Things did not go as smoothly as planned for von Kreber. Firstly, the Government opposed to his recruitment of Norwegian soldiers. Secondly, the crew on the Danish ship transporting the regiment to Denmark were contaminated with typhoid and soon the soldiers were attacked as well. Finally, the situation was so severe, they were ordered back to Bergen. However, the replacements were already stationed and installed at Bergenhus, and now the town had to house one regiment more, in addition a regiment suffering from a contagious disease. To validate the extra payment for the citizens in Bergen, the Delmenhorstiske Regiment had to do garrison service during the winter in Bergen.

In February 1774, the regiment was able to leave, but von Kreber was not allowed to bring any Norwegian soldiers. Apparently he followed orders, but still von Kreber arrived in Denmark with quite a large number of Norwegians. However, the rolls after 1773 are mysteriously missing, both in the Danish and Norwegian archives, thus it is impossible to know exactly how many Norwegians there were in the regiment.

It is difficult tracing the regiment and its soldiers after they left Norway, but apparently few Norwegians returned to their home country. The regiment was stationed firstly in Viborg, in Jylland, Denmark. The name was changed to Sjællandske in 1778, and to Fynske Infanteriregiment (Fynske Foot Regiment) in 1785. In 1789, the remainders of the regiment were transferred to the regiment of the crown prince Fredrik. Usually, the Norwegian soldiers stationed in Denmark had free journey home after discharging, but the Norwegians in the Delmenhorstiske Regiment did not have this right since after all there were no Norwegians in the regiment officially. Thus a lot of the Norwegians settled in Denmark.