Battle of Saltholm

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Battle of Saltholm
Part of the Gunboat War and the English Wars
Kanonbåde 1808.jpg
The battle off Saltholm, 1808
Date 9 June 1808
Location off Saltholm, Øresund Strait
Result Dano-Norwegian victory
Belligerents
Denmark Denmark–Norway United Kingdom United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Johan Cornelius Krieger United Kingdom George Wood
Strength
21 gunboats,
7 mortar boats
3 brigs
1 bomb vessel


  • The British warships were escorting a fleet of seventy merchantmen. During the battle, the Danes and Norwegians captured 12, as well as one of the escorting brigs.

The Battle of Saltholm was fought on 9 June 1808 during the Gunboat War. Danish and Norwegian ships attacked a British convoy off the island of Saltholm in Øresund Strait near Copenhagen.[Note 1]

The convoy of 70 British merchant vessels left Malmö Roads under the escort of three Royal Navy brigs and one bomb vessel. The brigs were HMS Turbulent of 12 guns, the 14-gun HMS Piercer and the 12-gun HMS Charger. The bomb was HMS Thunder.

The Danes and the Norwegian assembled twenty-one gunboats and seven mortar boats for the attack. Once the Dano-Norwegian force attacked, the battle was over within twenty minutes.

Turbulent, under the command of Lieutenant George Wood, was bringing up the rear. She and Thunder engaged while the remaining ships attempted to flee. This proved difficult as the wind was very calm, which allowed the Danish and Norwegians to row up to and board several of the British vessels. Turbulent was finally dismasted, which forced her to strike. Still, her resistance enabled most of the merchant fleet to escape. The Dano-Norwegian force captured 12 or 13 merchant vessels, plus Turbulent.[1][2]Thunder escaped with some damage.

Postscripts[edit]

The subsequent court-martial of Lieutenant Wood for the loss of his ship acquitted him of all charges.

Although the Danish gunboats were active, this convoy was the only one to suffer a large loss. Still, the loss of the 12 ships led the British north country merchants to publish a protest in Hull.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Danish sources place the battle in Flinterenden, the channel between the island of Saltholm and Malmø

References[edit]

  1. ^ Danish website detailing loss of British Ships (in English)
  2. ^ Topsøe-Jensen Vol 2-page 49 (in Danish)
  3. ^ Voelcker (2008), p.45.
  • Voelcker, Tim (2008) Admiral Saumarez versus Napoleon: The Baltic 1807 - 1812. (Boydell & Brewer). ISBN 978-1-84383-431-1
  • (Danish) Topsøe-Jensen, T.A. og Emil Marquard (1932) Officerer i Den dansk-norske søetat 1660-1814 og Den danske søetat 1814-1932. (Officers of the Danish-Norwegian Naval Service)