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Russo-Swedish War: Battle of Svensksund

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Russo-Swedish War: Battle of Svensksund

Battle of Svensksund, 1790 by Johan Tietrich Schoultz

Photograph Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Conflict:

The Battle of Svensksund was the climatic battle of the Russo-Swedish War (1788-1790).

Dates:

Fought over two days, the Battle of Svensksund occurred on July 9-10, 1790.

Commanders at the Battle of Svensksund:

Sweden

  • King Gustav III
  • Carl Olof Cronstedt
  • 12,500 men, 176 ships of various sizes

Russia

  • Prince Charles of Nassau-Siegen
  • 14,000 men, 135 ships of various sizes

Results of the Battle of Svensksund:

The Battle of Svensksund was a decisive Swedish victory. As a result of the battle, Russia was persuaded to sign the Treaty of Värälä in August 1790, which ended the war. Of the 14,000 men in the Russian fleet, between 7,500 to 9,000 were casualties, along with approximately half their ships. The Swedes suffered only 304 killed and around 400 wounded.

Battle Summary:

After launching a failed assault on the Russian port of Vyborg and escaping following a defeat at the Battle of Vyborg Bay, the Swedish Navy retreated to Svensksund in early July. Led by King Gustav III and Flag Captain Lieutenant-Colonel Carl Olof Cronstedt, the Swedes assumed a defensive position in anticipation of an attack by the pursuing Russians. Anchoring in an L-shaped formation, the Swedish line was a mix of frigates, gunboats, and galleys, supported by shore batteries. On July 9, the Russians advanced and encountered rough weather which enabled the shore batteries to inflict heavy casualties.

As the Russian attack faltered, the Swedes pressed forward with their gunboats, driving a number of Russian galleys ashore. The gunboats also swarmed around a number of anchored Russian ships capturing and burning them. The following morning, the Swedes sought to capitalize on their success and launched a large attack that drove the Russians away. The victory is regarded as the greatest in Swedish naval history and ultimately led to Russia negotiating peace with Sweden.

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