Armies Battles and Sieges Colours and Standards












Örjan Martinsson

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:

Swedish uniforms
Danish uniforms

Saxon uniforms

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).