The battle of Gadebusch, fought
in 1712 on 9 December (Old Style) or 20 December (New Style'), was the last
major battle the Swedes won during the Great Northern War. With the mission
to join Charles XII and a Turkish army, general Magnus Stenbock had arrived
to Swedish Pomerania with a 14 000
men strong field army. He was however not alone in this region since Danish,
Saxon and Russian armies were there as well and kept him trapped. A lack of
supplies forced him to attempt to break the encirclement by marching in to Mecklenburg.
There he met the 16 000 men strong Danish army which was too far away to be
aided by the Russians in time, although a 3 500 men strong Saxon cavalry
force did manage to join the Danes just before the battle. But despite of
the numerical inferiority Stenbock won a great victory over the Danes by
attacking them from an unexpected direction and using the artillery
efficiently to block the Danes' movements. On the Swedish side 500 men were
killed and 1 100 injured. The Danes lost on the other hand
2 500 men and an additional 2 500 were captured. The Saxon force lost 750 men
and 100 men were captured.
Sweden would however not
benefit from the victory in the long run because Stenbock continued to march
west and was eventually trapped in the fortress of Tönningen by the Danish-Saxon-Russian
coalition. On 5/16 May 1713 Stenbock surrendered and yet another Swedish
field army was captured.
The following pages show the
battle order and appearance of the participating armies:
The image above is a section from a contemporary drawing of
the battle of Gadebusch made by fortification captain Magnus Rommel (1678-1735)
which is kept in krigsarkivet (the Swedish War Archive).