Battle of Silda

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Dano-Norwegian shallop gunboat

Battle of Silda (Affæren ved Silden or Affæren ved Stadt) was a naval battle fought on 23 July 1810 between the United Kingdom and Denmark–Norway near the Norwegian island of Silda in Sogn og Fjordane county. The battle occurred during the Gunboat War, itself part of the Napoleonic Wars. In the battle, two British frigates captured or destroyed three or four Dano-Norwegian gunboats. The Danish and British accounts of the battle differ.

Danish account[edit]

The Dano-Norwegian Navy had based three gun-schooners Odin, Thor and Balder and the gun-barge Cort Adeler at the pilot station on Silda. However, only the latter two of these, plus a third, smaller gunboat, were involved in the battle.

On 23 July the British frigates HMS Belvidera, Captain Richard Byron, and HMS Nemesis, Captain William Ferris, attacked. One of the Norwegian boats was able to hit at least one of the British boats, killing several British soldiers. Still, the British captured the station. The crew of one of the Danish boats scuttled their vessel and escaped.[Note 1] The British took the other two Danish vessels as prizes and sent their crews to imprisonment in England. The British also raided civilian ships moored in the vicinity. The British raided farms several places along the coast both before and after this incident.

British account[edit]

Belvidera and Nemesis were sailing close in-shore of Studtland, Norway. On the evening of 22 July a boat from Belvidera scouting a deep bay sighted three Danish gun-vessels. The next morning seven boats from the two frigates entered the creek and cut out the two larger Dano-Norwegian vessels. The British suffered no casualties, though the Danes lost four men killed.[2]

The two larger vessels, Balder and Thor, commanded by Lieutenants Dahlreup and Rasmusen, were schooner-rigged. Each mounted two long 24-pounder guns and six 6-pounder howitzers and had a crew of 45 men. The third gun-vessel, Gunboat No. 5, was of a smaller class; she carried one long 24-pounder and had a crew of 25 men. Her crew ran her up a fiord where they abandoned her; the British then burnt her.[2]

The British prize money reckoning refers to three vessels, Balder, Thor and Fortuna. Fortuna may have been a merchant vessel seized at the time.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

The local Norwegian commander, vicar Gabriel Heiberg, failed to alert other Dano-Norwegian naval vessels nearby that could have helped repel the British attack. He also later issued an order to keep out of the way of the British as he thought they would behave better if they were unopposed, an action for which he later underwent a court-martial.

Footnotes[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ This was kanonjolle Nr.5 - a two-masted Norwegian gunboat (or gunyawl), of 20 men, and one 24-pounder gun and two-4-pounder howitzers.[1]
Citations
  1. ^ [1] Orlogsmuseet card - Kanonjolle No. 5 (1808))
  2. ^ a b "No. 16402". The London Gazette. 4 September 1810. p. 1342. 
  3. ^ "No. 16583". The London Gazette. 14 March 1812. p. 503. 

Sources[edit]