Battle of Stresow
The battle of Stresow 5
November (Old Style) or 16 November (New Style) 1715 was Charles XII's last
battle and it was also the first time he lost a battle in which he
personally led the Swedish army. But in no other battle of the Great
Northern War were the participating armies more unequal in strength. Only 2
000 Swedes attacked a fortified camp with 11 500 Danes, Norwegians,
Prussians and Saxons inside.
The battle was a consequence of
the siege of Stralsund which the Anti-Swedish coalition had begun in 1715
with the intent of depriving Sweden of its last overseas bridgeheads.
Stralsund could however be supplied from the island of Rügen and therefore
the Anti-Swedish coalition assembled an expedition force consisting of 11
000 men infantry and 3 500 men cavalry which would land and conquer the
island. The transport fleet sailed from Greifswald 1 November (OS) and
threatened to land at Palmer Ort. Charles XII was however waiting for them
there and he had over 4 000 men on Rügen. The fleet chose instead to sail to
Stresow which was only defended by 20 dragoons and on 4 November (OS) they
landed all their infantry and a small portion of the cavalry before Charles
XII arrived on the evening. In order to prevent Rügen to fall to the enemies
Charles XII chose to attack the fortified camp at 3 o'clock in the night,
hoping to duplicate his achievement at Narva 15 years earlier. This was,
with only two battalions against the enemies' 14, a very difficult task and
even though only three Danish-Norwegian battalions were directly affected by
the battle the Swedes failed two times to break through the enemies' front.
During the last attempt Charles XII was shot in the chest and the Swedes
aborted the battle. Coalition cavalry (Saxons and Prussians) were sent out
to fight the Swedes but the Swedish cavalry was twice as large and performed
well so a pursuit of the retreating Swedish army was out of the question.
This was however not necessary since Rügen fell to the Coalition the
following days without any significant resistance from the Swedish army who
via Alte Fähr pulled back to Stralsund, which in its turn surrendered to the
Coalition army on 22 December.
The size of the Swedish battle
losses varies in different (non-Swedish) sources. One of them report that over 100
men were killed and 300 were taken as prisoners or deserted. Another account
says that between 400 and 500 Swedes were killed and a third source says
that as many as 600 men died. The losses on the Coalition side were for the
infantry (Danes and Norwegians) 89 killed and injured. The Saxon and
Prussian cavalry suffered 34 respectively 49 casualties.