Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War
|Part of the Thirty Years' War|
Gustav II Adolf leads his army to victory at the Battle of Breitenfeld
| Swedish Empire
|| Catholic League and allies:
Holy Roman Empire
|Commanders and leaders|
| Gustav II Adolf †
|| Albrecht von Wallenstein
Landing in Germany:
20,000 Hungarian and Croatian
|Casualties and losses|
|31,518 killed, wounded and captured||101,094 killed, wounded and captured|
The Swedish invasion of the Holy Roman Empire, or the Swedish Intervention in the Thirty Years' War, that took place between 1630 and 1635, was a major turning point of the war often considered to be an independent conflict. After several attempts by the Holy Roman Empire to prevent the spread of protestantism in Europe, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden ordered a full-scale invasion of the Catholic states. Although he was killed in action, his armies successfully defeated their enemies and gave birth to the Swedish Empire after proving their ability in combat. The new European great power would last for a hundred years before being overwhelmed by numerous enemies in the Great Northern War.
Although Gustavus Adolphus was well informed of the events transpiring in Europe for some time, his hands were tied because of the constant enmity of Poland. The Polish Royal Family, the primary branch of the Vasa had once claimed the throne of Sweden. However, when Sigismund III Vasa was elected by the Nobles of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, he was elected on the condition that he be a Roman Catholic. Which he was, as he had had a mother who was Roman Catholic and had abandoned the religion of his predecessors, however, lutherinism was the primary religion of Sweden, and had by then established a firm grip on the country. It was not solely the result of religious sentiment that Sweden converted. Notably, one of the reasons that Sweden had so readily embraced it was because converting to Lutheranism allowed the crown to seize all the lands in Sweden that was possessed by the Roman Catholic Church. As a result of this seizure and the money that the crown gained, the crown was greatly empowered. In spite of this, he retained Roman Catholicism as his religion, which his mother had been. Although he guaranteed the rights of this religion to the people in his Swedish domains, this was a subject of great contention for the kingdom. He was a supporter of the counter reformation. Because of this, his right to the throne became a further subject of contention. After the battle of the Battle of Stångebro, in which he was defeated, it was demanded by the Swedish nobility that he rule Sweden from Sweden. However, he returned to his Polish Capital, Warsaw. In 1599 he was deposed because of this.
Gustavus Adolphus' Father, Charles IX of Sweden, a Vasa himself, was rewarded the throne. He was an ardent Lutheran, and this was one of the reason why he was rewarded the throne. Swiftly after this, Sweden became engaged in wars with The Kingdom of Denmark and The Tsardom of Russia. Sweden subsequently became hard pressed on almost all of its borders, being surrounded by Denmark in the North and Russia in the East, in addition to Poland. Sigismund never renounced his claim to the throne, and for many years the primary direction of Polands' foreign policy was directed at reacquiring the Swedish throne.
Gustavus' father died after reigning for just 6 years and no conclusive result was brought about as the result of these wars. Assuming the throne at the age of 17, the king inherited his father's wars. The surrounding powers, assuming that such a youth could not maintain the Swedish gains that his father had won, smelled blood. However, Gustavus in addition to having first hand knowledge of how to govern a kingdom (he first entered the army at the age of 11, and his training at statecraft began when later that year his father permitted him to sit in on meetings of the council of state) the surrounding powers had not measured the new King accurately.
However, the new King was able to bring about conclusive results to these conflicts. By the year 1617  he had forced Russia out of the wars and compelled them to cede territory to Sweden. In addition, by the year 1613 he had compelled the Danes out of war after driving a landing on Swedish territory (a landing that took place 6 miles from the capital) back.
He had during this time, settled a number of truce's with Sigismund – who agreed to them only because of internal strife within Poland. This respite, which lasted 5 years gave him a free hand to act against the two other powers which had designs on Swedish land. In 1617, he sought to establish a permanent peace with Poland. However, all advances by Sweden for a permanent peace were rejected by Sigismund.
Swedish Military Reforms
This period of peace with Poland benefited Sweden much, and Gustavus employed it advantageously. He established a military system that was to become the envy of Europe. These reforms, among which tight discipline was one of the prevailing principles brought the Swedish military to the highest levels of military readiness. All soldiers who were caught looting were to be court-marshalled and then shot, nepotism was "Unknown" in the Swedish army. In addition, the system of magazines was brought up to an efficiency unknown in the period. The baggage of soldiers and officers alike – for the speed of movement – was restricted significantly. Garrison duty was required out of everyone alike, there were no exceptions.
Other reforms were introduced as well, a chaplain was attached to every regiment. Prayers were offered up on every occasion before battle. It is related how strange it was to see in Germany, the marshal of high standing in the military establishment kneeling in their religious observations next to the private. Crimes such as thievery, insubordination and cowardice were brought before a tribunal that was overseen by a regimental commander. The last appeal was brought before the King. Provost Marshals were also introduced, and in addition to the duties they had they were empowered to execute any soldier on the spot who resisted orders. Decimation was introduced into regiments that were known to have committed crimes. The rest of the regiment was then disgraced by being ordered to perform menial tasks. Violence towards women was punished with death Dueling was forbidden. On one occasion – when two men requested leave to duel – the King attended the duel himself and informed the combatants to fight to the death, and that he had a provost marshal on hand to execute the survivor.
The soldier of merit stood in as high standing as any of the Swedish nobles of the day. Sweden was becoming what had not existed since the days of the Romans, a military monarchy.
The severity of discipline was not the only change that took place in the army. Soldiers were to be rewarded for meritorious service. Soldiers who had displayed courage and distinguished themselves in the line of duty were paid generously – in addition to being given pensions. The corp of engineers were the most modern of their age, and in the campaigns in Germany the population repeatedly expressed superise at the extensive nature of the entrenchment and the elaborate nature of the equipment. There was a special corp of miners, but the entire army was drilled in the construction of entrenched positions and in constructing pontoon bridges. The first establishment of a general staff took place.
It was with this military establishment that the Swedes were to bring about a conclusive end to the wars with Poland as well land in and have so much success in Germany.
Break in the Polish Wars
The Swedish royal family had held for some time claims to Livonia – such claims were of dubious legality but were common in Europe. They were constantly employed by Monarchs to acquire more land. Using this pretext to invade Poland, as Sigismund was proving incorrigible as long as he did not retain the Swedish throne the King landed near the city of Riga with 158 ships, and proceeded to besiege the city. The city itself, was not favorable to the Poles, as they were not Catholic. In addition to this difficulty that the Poles faced, Sigismund's attention was focused on his southern borders, where the Ottoman Empire was making inroads into his Kingdom. Embarrassed as he was by this difficulty, he could not relieve the siege taking place. After 4 weeks, the siege was concluded after the garrison surrendered the city.
He started to march into Poland proper – as the Lithuanian-polish commonwealth was significantly larger than modern Poland when Sigismund proposed another truce. He did not have the resources necessary to engage in war simultaneously in the North-West and the South of his Kingdom. Gustavus could not persuade the Polish King to a permanent peace of any sort, but Sigismund concluded a truce and granted the section of Livonia that the Swedes had already captured as a guarantee of the truce. Accepting these terms, Gustavus returned to Stockholm in the later part of 1621.
Gustavus had as yet no one to succeed him in the case of his untimely death, and his brother, the current heir to the Swedish throne, passed in early 1662. Sigismund saw an opportunity in this for his claims on the Swedish throne. He had no navy to invade Sweden with, but was eyeing the Danzig, a member of the Hanseatic towns. This city was one of the great trading emporiums of the Baltic at the time, and with this city in his power he figured that he could construct a fleet. The Holy Roman Emperor of the time, Ferdinand II, who had the ear of Sigismund, encouraged him in this ambition. The King, perceiving the advantages that Sigismund would thus gain, in June  sailed with a fleet to Danzig and compelled the city to pledge itself to neutrality in the conflict between Poland and Sweden. With Danzig's pledge, Sigismund proposed a renewal of the armistice. Extensions of this armistice would be agreed upon over the course of the next three years.
During this Peace, which was to last until 1625, the King worked further in reforming Sweden's military establishment. Among which, a regular army of 80,000 was settled upon, in addition to an equally great force for the National Guard.
During this time, Irregular support had been provided by the Protestant powers of Europe (England, Holland) for the Protestant cause. Both Sweden and Denmark sought to receive aid in order to bring a powerful nation into the German conflict proper, but the terms on which Gustavus proposed had some very definite clauses, and as Christian of Denmark[disambiguation needed] effectively underbid him, support was provided to him. The sum of the Danes' effort was although they achieved some initial inroads into Roman Catholic territory, the Catholic League, under the able general Wallenstein (who is reported on one occasion to have told Ferdinand that Gustavus was worse then "the Turk") drove them completely back into Danish territory. All of Germany was effectively in the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor. Christian was granted favorable terms, as it was anticipated that the Swedes, under the command of Gustavus, whom all Europe by this point recognized as an able commander, were going to make a landing in Germany.
While no definitive agreement had been brought about with Poland, Gustavus did not contemplate landing in Germany. He wanted to secure his base, Sweden, absolutely before he made landing in Germany. He finally settled on bringing the issues with Poland to a conclusion. To this effect, in 1625 he again set sail for Livonia. As Danzig, recreant to its trust, had allowed a Polish force to garrison it, Gustavus immediately marched his army towards that city. He besieged it in spite of the fact that and they fought off several efforts to relieve the siege. During this campaign though, The King, wounded on two different occasions, once very severely, was unable to command the army in person. As a result of this, the Swedes suffered some reverses, but nothing materially damaged Sweden's presence. As a result of the King's wounds, the successes of the beginning of this campaign were negligible.
Finally, the King was able to bring a conclusion to the conflict with Poland. In 1628, the King, passing through the Danish sound, a treaty being previously settled that allowed the Swedes the right to do this, landed again. The Emperor sent some forces to support the Poles in their efforts against Gustavus, and it was only at costly results that the Swedes were able to drive this force back and bring a conclusive settlement with Poland. Sigismund agreed to a 5 years truce.
Preparations for the German Landing
The Protestant cause was bad. Although they had initially had some successes, the emperor commanded all of Germany with the exception of some of the free towns on the German coast. Gustavus could not have fully appreciated the situation that faced the Protestants, although he must have had some inkling of it. Including France at this time, there was no concert of action and it was in no small measure due to this lack of unity that the Protestant cause had hit the rocks so hard. There were no ardent powers fighting for the Protestant cause, all of them only seeking to empower themselves while simultaneously being willing to come to terms with Ferdinand. France promised subsidies to Denmark, but had provided them irregularly. In addition, Holland, although ostensibly equally ardent for the Protestant cause as the French, were not keen on seeing the entirety of the baltic coast fall into the hands of Sweden. Lubeck and Hamburg did nothing more than pledge to exchange silver for Swedish copper.
The Duke of Pomerania, Bogislaw XIV pledged his assistance as well, as he was in a sore case. The Magravate of Baden as well as William of Hesse also pledged their support. However, even once the Swedes were in Germany they expressed a great deal of reluctance and had to be constantly cajoled into contributing their resources to the cause. The only ardent supporters of the Protestant cause, the Duke of Hesse-Cassel and Brunswick-Lunenburg held themselves in complete readiness to join hands with the Swedish. Although little favored the Protestant cause at the time, there was much unrest in the entirety of Germany as a result of the horrible atrocities that the catholic armies incurred, on Catholic and Protestant states alike. Everyone alike in Germany, as well as elsewhere in Europe – France, always fearful of the Habsburgs – feared Ferdinand II and the increasing resources that he could bring to bear.
France was in favor of Swedish intervention, but because France was also Catholic, and Cardinal Richelieu, France's de facto prime minister, did not desire to openly declare against Catholicism, only offered monetary contributions. However, France refused Gustavus' demands for contributions. He demanded a lump sum upfront, and 600,000 rix dollars per annum subsequently. Although Sweden lacked many qualities that great powers of the era had, in addition to having the most able military force of her day, was the most efficiently governed monarchy of Europe. Even here however, there were deficits. Sweden's annual revenues only amounted to 12 million rix dollars per year. In addition, there were only a million and a half people living in the country at the time. As a result of this, as his campaign progressed in Germany, he came to increasingly rely on German mercenaries. Although these German mercenaries were well known for their atrocious conduct towards the local population, under the Swedish military system they were later brought the Swedish standard of discipline.
The King called a convocation of the most eminent men of the state, and after arguing his case before them, it was agreed that Sweden should intervene. It was his belief that after Ferdinand had settled affairs in Germany to his satisfaction, Sweden would be next on his programme. There were several pretext for landing in Germany as well. The Habsburgs had actively aided the poles in their conflict with Sweden - in spite of the fact that the two were at peace with each other. In addition to this the conference that had taken place at Lubeck - a conference that had sought to settle the disputes of Germany - had dismissed the Swedish embassy out of hand. This dismissal, angered the King greatly. Lastly the King, as well as the nation, did feel deep concern for the Protestants who were being ruthlessly oppressed.
Stralsund, a member of the Hanseatic towns, was being hard pressed by the Imperials. This area, could not be left to the Catholics without leaving the serious possibility of the Holy Roman Emperor invading Sweden. As long as he was not personally on the scene to prevent such an acquisition, it was only a matter of time that these areas should be seized. The Emperor had 170,000 troops, of various qualities to be sure, in Germany. Such an army could not be prevented from seizing these places with the minimal resources that were at the command of these allies.
Preparations were therefore made between 1629 and 1630. Nitrus and Sulfer were gathered in large qualities in anticipation for the campaign. There was to be enough of this that each regiment could be furnished with the quantity that it would need each month. Factories that produced swords, armor and other weapons were kept at full capacity. A war tax was also implemented, which was specifically aimed at taxing the nobility to ensure that everyone was contributing their part. During this first year, 3/4's of the revenue that was accumulated by the state was to be directed towards the war effort. Even the churches were given instructions to preach in favor of the cause. All males from the ages of 16 to 60 were called upon to report for service. Those who could not report regular wages were the among the first to be brought into the ranks. Only families that could report at least one son were required to furnish soldiers. If a family could not report sons, then they were let off from service. Men were also incorporated into the army from abroad. There were two regiments of Scots, many soldiers were incorporated into the ranks from the Danish army that had been defeated at the hands of the Habsburgs. The Hanseatic towns also furnished contingents for the upcoming conflict.
There were also considerable reserves, already encamped in certain parts of eastern Germany. There were 6 thousand men distributed between the Island of Rügen and the city of Stalsund which were under the command of Marshall Leslie - a general who had already proven his ability. Leslie himself had been active in recruiting from the Hanseatic tows. There were stationed in the occupied parts of Prussia and Livonia an additional 12,000 men. These were under the command of Oxenstiern - a man whom held the absolute confidence of the king and was the governments first minister - by the end of the year these forces were brought up to 21,000 men. In order to hold Sweden and its subsidiary states firmly, there were stationed in Sweden itself 16,000 men. In case there should be any contingency that should arise from Finland, there were left 6,500 men were left. In the Baltic provinces there was a further 5,000 men. Gustavus believed that it was absolutely essential that he should hold the entirety of the Baltic coast, because he would be no good in Germany if the Catholic powers could operate on his lines of communication and threaten his throne. In total, there were 76,000 men enlisted in the Swedish service. Of whom, 13,000 were destined to make the initial landing on German soil. These forces were further reinforced by 2,500 men from Sweden, and 2,800 men from Finland once the landing had taken place. In total, the army consisted of 76,000 men. The army consisted of 43,000 Swedes and the rest were recruited from other nations. 3% of the total population of Sweden was therefore designated for the campaign- if the population was divided between males and females evenly - then 8% of the male population was serving in the ranks for the initial campaign - no doubt a heavy burden on the state.
The cost to the Swedish exchequer per year was to in excess of 800,000 rix dollars per year. The king, not knowing of the recalcitrance of his Protestant allies, counted on receiving considerable contributions from them as well once he was on German soil. With these 13,000 men, the King had two armies to contend with (one being under Walenstein and the other being under Tilly) that he assumed to be at 100,000 men each. The king was seriously gambling on recruiting more men in Germany. His troops however, were of the highest quality, and once he had gained the confidence of the Protestants by winning battles and seizing important places, he did not doubt that he would receive more.
The King made no formal declaration of war against the Catholic powers. After the attack that had taken place on Stralsund, his ally, he felt that he had sufficient pretext to land without declaring war. He did make attempts to come to an agreement with the Emperor, but these negotiations were not taken seriously by either side.
The Capital of Pomerania, Stettin was being seriously threatened by the Emperor's forces. In order to save the town, the King deemed it essential that he should land here right away. He planned to land there in May, but as a result of the fact that there were winds that were not favorable to sailing out, the Swedes waited three weeks before departing. There were 200 transports, employed and 36 ships employed to guard the armada while it made its landing. the King proposed that he should land his armada at the Oder's delta and treat with each of the cities in the vicinity to gain firm grip on the country before making any inroads into the interior of Germany. His plan, once he had established himself, was to march up the Oder.
The King gathered knowledge of the vicinity in which he was to land. He made himself intimately familiar with it. Despite being on the Protestant side, the Duke Bogislaw of Pomerania was treating with Ferdinand, and from time to time had even supplied with victuals. When he learned of Gustavus' intention of landing in Germany, in his Duchy, he reached out to the King and requested that the King should not make war in his Duchy. The King informed Bogislaw that he was going to land in his Duchy, and that upon his conduct depended how the Duchy was to be treated. He informed the Duke that depending on his conduct, he could count on the Swedish army being lenient towards his duchy or severe in how it was handled.
3 days of public fasting and prayer were declared in order to ensure the success of the landing. The King made the final arrangements for the government of his Kingdom. First of all he ensured that his daughter, Christina of Sweden would be his successor in the event of his untimely death (later, ironically enough, she would renounce the Swedish throne and convert to Catholicism).
The landing transpired on July 4 on the island of Usedom. He immediately captured a number of the important towns on the Island and garrisoned them. Disembarking on the Island, the King slipped and fell, but nothing was made of this by the army. The first thing the King did upon landing was kneel and offer up prayers in thanks for the success of the landing. Immediately after offering up these prayers, the King picked up a shovel and started to dig entrenchments that were going to cover the landing. It took two days for the entirety of the force to land, as the companies were landed they were immediately put to work in creating these entrenchments. There were some older entrenchments that were already there, and these were seized as well. Other new ones were also constructed.
Since it had taken so long for the armada to disembark, the stores of food had largely been consumed by the army. Orders were issued that food should be gotten from Stalsund, but even these were not enough. The King, angered by this lack of victual, held John Skytte, the officer who had been in charge of ensuring the supply of food to task for this and lectured him severely. He sent to Oxenstiern and ordered him to hurry up supplies from Prussia. Feeling confident that he had secured his landing, by the end of the month, the King sent to Oxenstiern a small portion of his fleet to gather supplies and bring them to his position at the delta of the oder.
After two days, the King took 1200 musketeers and a force of cavalry with him. He moved this force to the region opposite Wolgast (a city that was on the land side opposite Usedom). Seeing that the Imperialists had constructed a fortress to protect the region he reconnoitered the fortress, observing its strengths and weaknesses. He sent back to his principle base and ordered that 4,000 additional musketeers be brought up to the position. When these came up, he moved towards the fortress but found that the Imperialists had abandoned the base and moved to Wolgast. He left 1,000 men in this base and with the rest of the force, 3,500 foot and 2,500 cavalry, he set out to clear Usedom of Imperialist forces entirely. There were a number of bases opposite Usedom on Wollin, the Imperialists also retreated here to. He ordered that his forces garrison these bases and continued to pursue the Imperialists to the far side of the Island. There was no resistance on the Island, as the Imperialists continued to retreat. Seeing that they would soon be pinched between the inlet that separated Wollin from the mainland, the Imperialists burnt the bridge that crossed from Wollin to the mainland and continued their retreat. The King had secured both Wollin and Usedom - as the result of which he controlled all of the mouths that the Oder had into the ocean, he went back to his headquarters.
Stettin was the capital of Pomerania, and one of the reasons that it was selected as the capital was because it was centrally located in the duchy. The duchy itself was divided roughly in two by the Oder. It had been under siege by the Imperials for some time but the Imperialists – as was common for sieges at the time – had not made significant progress in taking the city. Generals of the time deemed sieges to be difficult and ill advised. To this effect, Stettin was still in the hands of Bogislov – having held out against many vigorous assaults. Learning of Gustavus' landing however, the Imperialist generals retreated (Savelli South-East of Stralsund farther north on the Oder) retreated away from the Swedes. Savelli retreated to Anklam and Conti retreated to Gartz and Greigen-Hagen (holding both banks of the oder). Gustavus left Colonel Leslie in command of Wollin and General Kagg on Usedom. Both of them were left under the command of General Kniphausen. He took provisions to ensure that these islands would be secure from landings by the imperials.
The king drew in the 5,000 soldiers that he had garrisoned in Stralsund and assembled the rest of his forces and brought them up to a total of a total of 74 companies. By July 18, he had assembled this force and the next day he set out from the Swine Inlest to Stettin. He was squarely between Savelli and Conti, and once he was able to acquire the city, he would have established himself on interior lines.
This is important because he would have a shorter period of time to bring his troops to any given point, and would therefore be able to reinforce any position that was threatened more quickly then the Imperialists if they should attack a sector the land he had taken. In addition, he would be able to apply pressure to any point in the Imperialist line more quickly then the Imperials themselves could apply to his line.
In spite of his city being harassed by the Imperialists, Bogislav was focused on maintaining his neutrality in the conflict. Colonel Damitz, who was in charge of the defense of the city, had received orders not to admit the Swedes into the city. If necessary, the duke ordered him to attack the Swedes. A drummer was sent to treat with the king; however, the king did not receive the ambassador, stating that he did not recognize messages that came from soldiers of such low grade, and that he would only speak with Damitz himself. Some talks took place between the King and the Colonel; however the Colonel had not been empowered to allow troops to enter the city. The King and the Duke quickly made arrangements to speak, and at the meeting the King informed the Duke that he would not brook neutrality from any power in Germany, and that he was fully prepared to take the city by force. He was also informed by the King that the Swedes would not tolerate delay of any sort, that he must be allowed to enter the city at once.
On 20 June, after having persuaded Bogislov that he should be allowed to enter the city (up to this point, there had not been a single Swedish causalty), the Swedes marched into the city. A treaty was concluded between the two powers, which effectively stripped Pomerania of its sovereignty, and matters were settled to the king's satisfaction. The king then received contributions from the duke and swapped out Damitz' force and placed three companies to garrison the city. Bogislov sent an embassy to the Emperor, informing him of the situation that had just transpired, but the Emperor declared that the entirety of Pomerania was in revolt, and looting and pillaging in the country was permitted on an even more extensive scale.
Shortly thereafter, the King received additional reinforcements from Prussia. So bad were the conditions that were prevailing in Germany at the time, many other men voluntarily enlisted into the Swedish ranks - it was easier for a villager to get food within an army then if he were living in the country side. With the acquisitions the Swedes had made, they were now up to 25,000 soldiers. Although there was much support for the Swedes in the German country side, there was also significant enmity to the Swedish cause. During this time there were multiple attempts made to assassinate the King.
The King then ordered that the defenses to Stettin be improved. All of the denizens of the city as well as villagers were rounded up and the defensive works were quickly completed.
Despite the advantageous position that the Swedes had acquired, they were still vulnerable. At Wolgast, opposite Usedom, there was an imperial force concentrating preparing to attack the Swedish on Usedom. In addition, there were Imperial camps established at both Garz and Greigenhagen, they also still held Damm - opposite of Stettin - and as long as this city was in imperial hands the possession of Stettin was not an established fact. On July 22, the King ordered a squadron to capture this city. After taking it, the King ordered Damitz - the colonel of Bogislaw - to take Stargard. This city was taken, and shortly after Treptow and Griefenberg were also taken. A number of other cities were taken in order to ensure that the force that was at Colberg could not join their comrades via Greifen-Hagen and Garz. The King was careful to garrison these cities to ensure that they should not punch through his line and join their comrades. The King's next objective was Garz, and one day while observing the area an Imperial patrol came across him and his guard and they were captured. Not knowing who he was though, they did not take due precautions, and his main guard quickly attacked and saved the King. The King was so wreckless about his own personal security that this happened on two different occasions during the course of his career.
The next city on his programme was Anklam. Savelli had stationed himself there upon the Swedish landing. The city was on the opposite side of Usedom, and although there were no bridges between it and Usedom, it still posed a significant threat. it would easily serve as a place from which the imperials could cross onto Usedom. However, the Imperials retreated from this city too, so confused was the King by this that he warned the general whom he had detailed to take the place, Kagg, that he should be on the alert for a rouse of some kind. Kagg took the city and fortified it without incident.
Ueckermünde and Barth (to the west of Stralsund) were also taken without incident. Wolgast was besieged, and although the garrison gave up the city to the Swedes they held out in the citadel of the city. This garrison hung on the citadel until the 16th of August. Treptow was also taken.
The King did not only desire to tighten his grip in the area he had landed, but he also wanted to join hands with Oxensteirn. Oxensteirn had, as mentioned, a large force on hand in Prussia which the king wanted to employ. The king order Oxensteirn to order an "able officer" to stolpe, but establishing a connection with Prussia and Oxensteirn would have to wait. Despite his good position, being inbetween the imperials as he was, his army was spread out in three separate bodies that could not support each other except by sea; under the King, was the force that was stationed at oderburg and Stettin; Kagg's force was based off of Usedom (a sort of "linked in the chain"); and Kneiphausen's force that was based off of Stralsund. It was critical that before he advance into the interior, or that Oxensteirn should join him, he should be able to act in concert with all of these bodies and move them about at will. One of the features that makes him the first "modern general" as some have labelled him, is his scrupulous care for his communications and his operating under the principle that his army should be united, or each unit having the ability to join the other units, at any time. Holding Anklam was not enough to ensure that the body based off of Stralsund could quickly join his army at Oderburg should matters become problematical. The line from Stralslund to Anklam down to Stettin could be punctured at any point. The river Tollense (immediately west of Anklam) ran roughly parallel to this irregular line that he had garrisoned. To hold his gains on the coast secure, he must have this river as to prevent the imperials based out of Mecklenburg from cutting his line. To change this situation, the King ordered Kniephausen to move his army forward in a south-westerly direction towards the Tollense, and Kragg was to follow Kniephausen's movement and simultaneously ensure that Kniephausens force was not attacked on its northern flank. As the line was spread out as it was, with a somewhat weighted right flank, it would ensure that the Imperials could not support each other, as the original units would be forced to hold their position or risk losing their positions in their attempt to save another fortified place.
Savelli was still at Griefswalde, and when he learned of the occupation by a small Swedish unit at Clempenow, he sent a small detachment to observe it. Upon learning that Wolgast had fallen, sensing that he was being surrounded, he marched his army by way of Demmin onto Clempenpow. As there were only 100 men stationed in the city, it fell. Only one officer and 6 men surrendered. Seeking to tighten his grip on the Tollense region, as having been driven out of Griefswalde, it was effectively his new line; he garrisoned Clemenpow, Loitz and Demmin. He also garrisoned Neu-Bradenburg, Treptow and Friedland. He ordered Pasewalk taken, a small town outside of Stralsund, and despite fierce fighting the place was taken and the town was burned to the ground.
Meanwhile, stationed at Pasua and Elbing (to the far east), Oxenstiern was seeking to move towards the King. The cities that were critical to establishing a land route between the two armies was Colberg and Cammin. Kneiphausen and Oxenstiern were entrusted with the task of establishing a land route between Prussia and Swedish occupied Pomerania. Meanwhile, being August as it was, the King was contemplating the establishment of winter quarters. However, the Administrator of Madgeburg, Christian William declared in favor of the Swedish and called them to aid him in relieving his city of Imperial possession. This was done without the King's prior knowledge, and there were many objects which the King deemed to be of higher importance then the city of Madgeburg. The King still wanted to march to the elbe, take possession of Mecklenburg and engage in negotiations with Hamburg and Lubeck. It was much too far away, and there were large contingents of Imperial troops between the Swedish Army and Magdeburg. However, the king sent a colonel to the city and ordered him to bring the city into the highest level of defense for an anticipated siege by the imperials. This put the King in a difficult position.
In December of 1630, the King was confident that he had secured himself on the coast of Germany. Desiring to reach out west, he had a number of reasons for doing so; He wanted to restore his cousins to their duchies in Mecklenburg (whose territories had been taken from them by Ferdinand and given to Wallenstien for his services), to establish a firm connection with the Duke of Hesse-Cassel (who was the only prince at the time that had provided support to the Swedish), to reach Madgeburg (if at all possible), reach out to the Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg who had assured him that he would be received warmly and to establish contact with Lubeck and Hamburg. Although this route, towards Madgeburg, was indirect, it was the only route he could take without passing through Electorate of Saxony and the Electorate of Brandenburg (which was also in the hands of the same family that possessed Prussia). These princes, desiring to maintain the integrity of their dominions did not want armies, especially imperial armies, marching through their territories and destroying their land, desired to remain neutral - inspite of them both being protestant.
To move in this direction, the King saw that Wismar and Rostack would be necessary to take. Wismar was especially important because it allowed him to incorporate more of the Baltic sea within his lines, and would allow him to exclude fleets from the ocean. Gustavus Horn had brought reinforcements from Finland and Livonia. He left these reserves, as well as the majority of the army stationed at Stettin, under Horn. The King issued him orders that he was to hold the place securely, he assigned him the task of taking Greifswalde before the spring and to hold on to the road between Stralsund and Stettin. If the Imperials were to march on him directly with a numerically superior force, he was to abandon the project of Greiswalde and protect the Stettin-Stralsund line and march towards the King.
Leaving Stettin on 9 September, he landed at Wolstack. He quickly arrived at Sralsund in anticipation for his advance on Mecklenburg. Although he anticipated receiving reinforcements from Prussia, all that was on hand was the Finlanders and the Livonians that had been brought up by Horn. In addition, there was sickness in the camp. allegedly, every 6th man was sick in this force that was to invade Mecklenburg From here he set sail in the direction of Ribnitz towards Rostack. He took this place, and Dammgarten While here the king learned that there was an army assembling at Demmnitz. This worried the King, and as a result of which he abandoned his scheme of taking Rostack. However, a turn of events took place that would turn aide the Swedish further. A congress had been in session at Ribnitz for the last 6 months, and one of the results of this Congress was that Wallenstein was dismissed, many of the potentates in Germany were prejudiced against him, because of the liscense he allowed his troops in their dominions. Tilly was rewarded with the command, but as a large part of the Imperial army, being mercenaries as they were, had been under contract to Wallenstein personally, rather than to the Emperor, and upon being relieved of his command a large portion of the army was disbanded. Many of these soldiers enlisted in the Swedish service, and it is related that they were quickly brought up to the Swedish standard of discipline. The King deemed Wallenstein to be such an able general, that upon learning of his dismissal, he reached out to him and requested that he serve under him. The Catholic cause, had lost an able general.
Settling for not taking Rostack at the present, the King determined that he must take the Tollense river before progressing. However, before doing this he decided to definitively settle the Colberg question, and instead of observing the place to take it, so he could communicate completely with Oxenstiern. Horn, the general who had been allocated to command the Colberg region and see about the taking of Colberg itself, was informed of an imperial plan to march to Colberg from Garz and relieve the place. Horn assembled all of the forces that he could, leaving a small force to observe Colberg, and marched towards Rossentin, immediadely to the south of Colberg to await the arrival of the Imperial army from Garz. The Imperials made a huge circuit, hoping to avoid detection marched via an elaborate circuit to the south.
However, their movement and subsequent attack was repulsed, and they retreated. However, they were so eager to take this place, and expecting to catch the Swedes off guard, contemplated another move on colberg. For whatever reason, during the beginning of this plan it lost impetus, and the army that was marching to relieve colberg became disorganized. After assembling his generals, getting all the facts from them that he could, he resolved to attack Garz. The time for wintering his troops was coming, but he desired to strike a blow to the Catholic cause before taking to camp for the winter.
The army moved mostly down the right (east) bank of the Oder towards Garz. There were also troops on the left (western) bank that were kept in constant communication with the main army via the naval force that was to keep the two armies in communication with each other. Moving towards Griefenhagen first, when the Imperial General in command of the city observed the army coming to his position he deemed it to be nothing more then a salve that was typical of the Swedes to distract him. However, the Swedes camped in a nearby forest, and the next day - christmas - after a solumn observation of religious traditions was observed, the attack was begun. A breach was made in the Griegenhagen fortifications, and the King in person led the first assault. After this place was successfully assaulted, the troops here started to retreat towards their comrades in Western Pomerania.
The next day the King marched his army towards Garz, in preparation for battle in battle order, but the Imperialists soon retreated. They moved to the south in a south-easterly direction, certain units were detailed to hold Custrin and Landsburg, in order to ensure that they were not cut off from Frankfurt. The King sent units towards these cities to prevent the retreat of the Imperials, but Landsburg the King deemed to be too strong for an assault. He retreated his army back to Neumark Konigsburg.
Having taken Garz and Griefenburg, which if utilized properly could lead the King, through Prussia and Silesia into Ferdinand's hereditary possessions, the King left Horn with 6 regiments of infantry and 6 of Cavalry. These were faced towards the Warta river, with orders to keep the enemy pinned in the Warta country between the Landsburg and Custrin neighborhood. Instructions were left to horn not to engage the enemy outright, to act strictly on the defensive against a numerically superior enemy and if the opportunity should arise, seek to seize Frankfurt and Landsburg. His reserves were stationed in Pyritz, Stargard and Gullnow. These were stationed there so that he could retreat towards them if a numerically larger foe should present itself against his front at Soldin, while simultaneously protecting Swedish gains along the right bank of the Oder and Eastern Pomerania.
The King set out from baerswalde to Stettin, crossed there and accumulated 12,000 men. From Stettin he marched through Germany towards Prenzlow, Neu-Brandenburg. Taking Neu-Brandenburg, the Imperial garrison at Treptow also retreated for fear of being captured. The next day Clemenpow was also taken. These tows were important, because they could prevent any imperial armies from advancing north to relieve Demmin. Upon taking Demmin, the King would hold the entirety of the Tollense river. This he had set out some time back to do, but had been distracted from the project. Being winter as it was, the King could afford to take up a project that was comparitively conservative in scope for a winter campaign as such that he was in the process of conducting. In addition, in spite of the fact that it was winter, it was important that he should establish a firm base between the Stralsund and Stettin country. With this line secured, his proposed expedition into Mecklenburg would be more secure.
Demmin, being at the confluence of three rivers as it was, was something of a bog. As it was mid-january significant portions of the area were somewhat frozen, and this aided the Swedish in their siege of the place. Kniephenhausen, who was at that time stationed at Griefswalde and besieging it, was ordered to come south and aide in the siege at Demmin. Loitz, and city that is in between Griefswalde and Demmin, had to be taken first though, as it was in the way. The King took it before sitting in front of Demmin, and after having taken it he urged Kniefphenhausen to come as quickly as possible. In addition to making room for Kniephenhausen's army to come up on eastern side of Demmin, it also blocked Griefswalde and left it completely without aide.
As a result of this manoevre Tilly was placed in a difficult position. He wanted to go head towards Mecklenburg, but if he left only the reserve he had in the Landsburg country (8,000 men), then he feared that Horn would push these reserves out of Landsburg and establish the Swedes on the Warta river. Inversely, if he stayed here to protect the Warta line (which if opened would give the Swedes free access into the Hereditary lands of the Austrian Emperors), then the Swedish would have an easy time of marching into Mecklenburg over the Havel and relieving the siege at Madgeburg. Tilly deemed it important to take Madgeburg, as taking it would be an impressive moral victory over the Swedes and it would keep the protestant powers cowed. In addition, he wanted to ensure that Demmin wasn't taken. Since the Swedes had all the towns that were on the most direct route between Frankfurt and Demmin, he made a circuit to the south. This allowed him to simultaneously move towards his objective and at the same time ensure the siege of Madgeburg continued by quickly gaining a secure footing on the Havel from which he could prevent the Swedes from relieving Madgeburg. However, in addition to making this indirect route, he had to march through the Electorate of Bradenburg as tenderly as possible. As Brandenburg had not declared for either side, it still retained a neutrality, but only in the technical sense. Enough so that Tilly could demand to march through the Electors territory, but sought to alleviate the worst of the enmity this might arouse in the elector by avoiding his Capital, Berlin. After making this "tender" march, he finally arrived in Neu-Rippin. As the Havel was behind him, he had achieved one of his objectives, that of keeping Madgeburg safe. However, from this position he now marched North in order to help relieve Demmin.
However, Tilly was not able to come to the support of his subordinate in time. After two days of sitting before the city, Savelli believed that he could not hold Demmin, and surrendered on condition of his army not serve in Pomerania and Mecklenburg for three months. This city was well stored, as it had anticipated holding out for awhile against a Swedish siege. However, as the city was given up after only 2 days, the Swedes gained all of the provisions. Among the baggage that was discovered, which as per the agreement was to be returned to the Imperialists, were the possessions of a Quinti Del Ponte, a man who had served under the Swedish and had been paid to betray the Swedish and then desertered. The King was asked what he would like to do with this stuff, but he stated that he had no intention of taking petty revenge.
With so much success in Pomerania, the estates in the duchy were finally roused to action, and offered their support to the Swedes. 10,000 infantry and 3,000  cavalry were offered to garrison the duchy itself. This was valuable because the Swedes would be able to free up men from Garrison duty and bring them into the field. In the face of the imperial armies, and their sheer size, this was a sorely needed acquisition.
Although the King was seriously considering wintering his troops at the present, he himself, as well as Kniephenhausen, came to believe that Tilly was contemplating a march on Neu-Rippin in an attempt to relieve the siege that was taking place at Griefswalde. As the siege was important and he didn't want to lighten up the impetus of the siege taking place, he ordered Horn to march towards Friedland in order to ensure the Kniephenhausen did not have to move troops away from the siege to prevent Tilly from reaching Griefswalde.
Colberg had previously fallen, and Gustavus believed that the manoeuveres by Tilly were designed in part to compensate for this loss. Which was indeed a blow to the Imperialist cause. The King moved back to the Oder, thinking that it would draw Tilly away from his advance towards the siege, stralsund and Stettin. He proposed marching on either Frankfurt or Landsburg. Tilly does not seem to have paid any attention to this manoevre. Instead he marched towards Stargard, the one just south of Neu-Bradenburg. Stargard was not a place that could be easily defended, the King did not believe in the strength of the position, and informed Kniephenhausen of this. He had ordered Kniephenhausen to plan on retreating after an honorable period of time, but the messengers had been seized and Kniephenhausen held out to the last. THe city was breached, and only Kniephenhausen, and three other man, survived the siege. The subsequent looting of the city was allegedly horrible.
After this siege though, and Imperialist victory, Tilly retreated. He failed to capitalize on his victory. Seeing this, the King continued with his plan toward Frankfurt. However, before advancing towards Frankfurt he was informed that the Imperialists had sent a detachment of the force that had been left at Landsburg towards Anklam. They had taken this place. Inspite of this, the King ignored it, this would have been considered a very bold manoeuvre at the time, but despite the fact that the King had a force that could easily operate on his lines of communication, he continued advance. Moving from Schwedt the king moved his force south towards Frankfurt along the Oder.
Arriving in front of Frankfurt on the 3rd of April. A small breach was made, from this breach the city was taken. This was a critical victory, and on the 5th the king continued his advance. He marched towards Landsberg after driving Imperialist cavalry attachments which were placed in the country surrounding Landsburg.
Swedish Strength and Material
|Ship name||Ship type||Guns||Launched||Fate|
|Andromeda||Galleon||44||Early 1600s||Shipwrecked in 1654 or 1655|
|Ceasar||Galleon||54||1648||Captured by Denmark in 1677|
|Fågel Grip||Pinnace||14||Early 1600s||Shipwrecked in 1639|
|Gamla Kronan||Galleon||32||1618||Retired in 1643|
|Göta Ark||Galleon||72||1634||Sunk in 1650|
|Jupiter||Galleon||50||1633||Sold in 1647|
|Kalmar Nyckel||Pinnace||14||1625||Sold in 1651|
|Krona Ark||Galleon||68||1633||Sunk in 1675|
|Kronan||Galleon||68||1632||Sunk in 1675|
|Maria||Galleon||54||1648||Lost in 1677|
|Mars||Galleon||44||1633||Sunk in 1660|
|Oldenburg||Galleon||42||1628||Captured from Denmark, 1644|
|Patentia||Galleon||48||1616||Captured from Denmark, 1644|
|Scepter||Galleon||66||1636||Sunk in 1675|
|Tre Lejon||Galleon||46||1642||Captured from Denmark, 1644|
|Vasa||Galleon||64||1627||Sunk during maiden voyage in 1628|
|Vestervik||Galleon||44||Early 1647||Burnt in 1676|
|Äpplet||Galleon||64||1628||Sold in 1659|
|Battle||Swedish numbers||Enemy numbers||Swedish casualties||Enemy casualties||Result|
|Frankfurt an der Oder||13,000||N/A||800||3,000||Swedish victory|
|1st Breitenfeld||23,000||35,000||3,550||23,600||Decisive Swedish victory|
|Rain||40,000||25,000||2,000||3,000||Decisive Swedish victory|
|Alte Veste||46,000||40,000||2,500||2,000||Imperial victory|
|Oldendorf||13,000||25,000||700||6,000||Decisive Swedish victory|
|Wittstock||16,000||22,000||3,100||7,000||Decisive Swedish victory|
|Chemnitz||20,000||8,000||Minor||1,500+||Decisive Swedish victory|
|2nd Breitenfeld||15,000||25,000||2,000||10,000||Decisive Swedish victory|
|Jankau||16,000||16,000||1,500||10,000||Decisive Swedish victory|
- Helmolt, Hans Ferdinand (1903). The World's History: Western Europe to 1800. W. Heinemann. p. 573. ISBN 0-217-96566-0.
- John George I abandoned the Swedish cause early on in the war, and joined the Catholics after hearing of Sweden's defeat in the battle of Nördlingen
- Numerous Scottish mercenaries and volunteers served in the Swedish army, most notably Alexander Leslie
- Hussar (Huszár)
- Ervin Liptai: Military history of Hungary, Zrínyi Military Publisher, 1985. ISBN 9633263379
- Denmark fought Sweden and the Dutch Republic in the Torstenson War
- Schmidt (2006), p.49
- Oakley (1992), p.69
- László Markó: The Great Honors of the Hungarian State (A Magyar Állam Főméltóságai), Magyar Könyvklub 2000. ISBN 963-547-085-1
- Dodge, Theodore. Gustavus Adolphus: A history of the Art of War. Houghton, Mifflin and Company.