Carl Gustaf Armfeldt

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Carl Gustaf Armfeldt
Carl Gustaf Armfeldt.jpg
Born (1666-11-09)9 November 1666
Swedish Ingria
Died 24 October 1736(1736-10-24) (aged 69)
Liljendal, Nyland, Swedish Empire (now Finland)
Allegiance Swedish Empire
Rank General
Commands held Finnish Army
Battles/wars

Carl Gustaf Armfeldt (9 November 1666 – 24 October 1736) was a Swedish officer, general and friherre (baron) who took part in the Great Northern War.

He was born in Swedish Ingria to lieutenant colonel Gustaf Armfelt and Anna Elisabet Brakel. Like other members of his family Armfelt devoted himself to war and at seventeen years' age joined Nylands kavalleri as a cadet. In 1685 he left this position and left for France where he joined prince Ferdinand of Fürstenburg's regiment as a mere footsoldier. He campaigned in France for twelve years and returned to Sweden as a captain.

Great Northern War[edit]

Due to his military experience he was employed in the Finnish army as a generaladjutant in 1701 and stayed with this army for most of the Great Northern War. He was named commander of the Finnish army in 1713.

During the long war he distinguished himself in several occasions, especially during the defense of Helsingfors in 1713, but met an overwhelming Russian force and was defeated at the battle of Storkyro in 1714.

1718 Norwegian Campaign[edit]

In 1717 Armfeldt was promoted to lieutenant general and commanded the Swedish force which on the orders of Charles XII of Sweden was sent into Norway to take Trondheim. Poorly equipped, Armfelt pulled out after the king fell at Fredrikshald.

The ensuing disaster that struck his army is known as the Carolean Death March. On New Year's Eve 1718 he arrived at Norwegian Tydal, with 80 kilometers to the closest Swedish village in Jämtland. When the troops had marched 10 kilometers from Tydalen, a severe blizzard struck from the northwest. The bitter cold killed the guide on the very first day, and the army wandered blindly in the mountains (Sylan mountain range). On the following nights, hundreds more perished. Of the over 5,000 men who left Tydalen, only 2,100 were found alive on arrival at Duved.

As a result of the misfortunate Norwegian campaign and for leading his men astray in the harsh Norwegian winter he was made patron of the orienteering sporting society at the main science university (NTNU) in Trondheim. Whenever there is a sporting event or competition organised by the university's sporting society (NTNUI) the first name in the signup list is always C.G Armfeldt.

Later life[edit]

In 1719 Armfelt was named governor of Viborg county but never took office, as the county was under Russian control and was ceded to Russia after the treaty of Nystad. He was elevated to friherre on 5 July 1731 and named general of infantry in 1735. According to the Pernå parish records (cited by Hornborg, 1952) he died at Liljendal in Nyland on 24 October 1736, and was interred at Isnäs on 3 December 1736.

He was married in 1700 to Lovisa Aminoff (1685–1741), daughter of cavalry captain Johan Fredrik Aminoff. Gustaf Mauritz Armfelt is his grandson.

References[edit]

  • Svenskt Biografiskt Lexikon II. Stockholm. 1920. 
  • Eirik Hornborg (1952). Karolinen Armfelt och kampen om Finland under Stora nordiska kriget.