The Battle of Lund - 4th December 1676

The Battle of Lund, although not that well known outside of Scandinavia, was one of Europe's

The 21 year old, King Charles XI of Sweden

most important battles in the late 18th century. It was major engagement in what is called the Scanian Wars, a conflict between Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Brandenburg which saw several national boundary changes by its end. However for may historians it is seen as a "northern theatre" of the greater Louis XIV Wars being waged in western Europe. Whichever way you decide to consider it, the Scanian Wars are a fascinating and exciting piece of history that are well worth refighting in miniature.


Since the Battle of Halmstad in August 1676, the war between Denmark and Sweden had become a chess game of manoeuvring, but as autumn turned to winter Charles XI of Sweden new that his army would not last much longer in the field without adequate supplies and quarters. He also knew that if he retired north for the winter then the Danes would more than likely never be removed from Scania (the region of modern day southern Sweden), however considering the poor state of his army it was far from certain that they could take the Danes on in battle either. His army numbered around 7,500 compared to the Danish 11,000 who in addition had just been reinforced by another 1,500 sailors, although their use on a battlefield was debatable. A third option open to Charles, as well as the retreat north or direct attack on the Danes; was to try and slip past the Danes, crossing the River Kavlinge and making a dash for Malmo, where there were supplies his army could replenish on. The arrival of Swedish & Finnish reinforcements from the north on the 24th November, including two infantry companies and a Finish cavalry regiment, gave the Charles the boost he wanted to try the dash for Malmo, with the security of now having a larger force if it turned into a battle.


The problem of getting past the Danes though still was very real. The Swedish army and Danish army were camped opposite each other about 4km apart with the River Kavlinge between them. To get to Malmo Charles would have to cross the river and sweep around the Danish camp in a 270* arc before having a clear route to his destination. On the 30th November good luck came to Charles and his army in the form of the first strong winter weather blowing in which began to freeze the river. Under cover of darkness, for several days, Charles and his officers would reconnoitre the river and test the thickness of the ice, waiting and hoping it would thicken enough to support his entire army crossing it and on December 2nd it was gauged at 10cm thick and sufficient to move the army. The order was given to prepare to move out and to expect battle on the other side, a coded message was sent to Malmo informing the forces their of the plan. As uniforms at this time were far from standard, as a final preparation the Swedish troops attached tufts of straw to their hats and sleeves to identify themselves as friendlies in case in the confusion of melee they could see who was who.


At 1;30am on the morning of the 4th December the Swedes started their move, small groups of men reinforced the ice with wooden planks and slush, that would refreeze quickly and harden to provide a roadway for the artillery to cross. This went until after the moon set around 2:30am at which point the army formed up in five columns and slowly and quietly began to walk towards the river, cavalry leading their horses on foot. By 5am the entire army had crossed the river without alerting the Danes to their movements despite now being less than 3km away. It's possible the Danes did hear noises of horses and wagons and thought it was the Swedes retreating, but if they did they failed to investigate and the Swedes were unchallenged.


As the army passed to the left of the Danish camp Charles considered a surprise attack but scouts reported a tangle of stone walls and fences between them that would hamper any attempt by cavalry and artillery to close in unobserved, so the they continued their march south, moving past and beyond the Danes and towards the town of Lund. The Swedes knew that as dawn approached they were bound to be spotted and then intercepted by the Danes so they planned to seize high ground outside Lund which would cover their route to Malmo, with this in mind, Charles ordered a vanguard of cavalry forward to secure that area. As this small force advanced, the dawn broke and the Danes saw they had been outmanoeuvred; surprised but not panicked, the Danes sprang into action and within 30 minutes the entire army had turned about and was forming up into a battle deployment, as well as a cavalry force on their left wing effectively racing against the Swedish vanguard to reach the area around Lund first. The terrain, littered with walls and gullies was not easy for either army to move over, but the Swedish vanguard narrowly beat the Danes to area around the windmill north of Lund, securing their path to Malmo, before turning to engage the Danish cavalry opposite them. In the frosty sunlight at around 8:30am, the Battle of Lund was about to begin.



Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Lund

ORDERS OF BATTLE using a figure ratio of 20:1 (approx)


The Swedish Army


Field Marshal Simon Grundel Helmfelt - joint Commander-In-Chief - veteran, experienced, excellent tactician

King Charles XI of Sweden - joint Commander-In- Chief - veteran, impetuous, good tactician, inspirational leader


Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt. General Otto Wilhelm von Fersen - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, elite, inspirational leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoon Regiment (240 men) - 12 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron His Majesty's Drabant Guard (150 men) - 8 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, elite, excellent morale, ferocious fighters, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Life Regiment of Horse (530 men) - 26 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Abo-Viborg Cavalry Regiment (303 men) - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Leonard Johan Wittenberg - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, reliable leader

1 x Squadron Scania-Bohulsan Dragoon Regiment (60 men) - 3 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2 Squadrons The Retinue of Nobles (200 men) - 10 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Reinforcement of Nobles (170 men) - 8 figures - Close Order Cavalry., veteran, experienced. good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Old Smalanders (120 men) - 6 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron The Civil Service's Temporary Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - Close Order Cavalry, well trained, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols


Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Lt.General Martin Schultz - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, inspirational leader

3 Battalions His Majesty's Life Guard of Foot (600 men) - 30 figures - veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Skaraborg Regiment (240 men) - 12 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Dalecarlia Regiment (125 men) - 6 figures - veteran, experienced, elite, musket

1 Battalion Vastogota Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Haslinge Regiment (120 men) - 6 figures - well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Narke-Varmland Regiment (120 men) - 6 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Vasternorrland Temporary Regiment (176 men) - 9 figures - well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deployed along front (8 x 6lb guns & 4 x 3lb guns) - 2 x 6lb models 1 x 3lb model with crew, veteran, experienced, sold morale

2nd Line

Maj.General Barthold de Mortaigne - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, steady leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoons (126 men) - 6 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Old Ostgotians (66 men) - 3 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

1 Battalion Gastrike-Halsinge Reserve Regiment (200 men) - 10 figures - veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Smaland Dragoon Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - Open Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, dragoon musket


Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt.General Johan Galle - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, talented leader

1 Squadron Smaland Cavalry Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Viborg & Nyslott Cavalry Regiment (600 men) - 30 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Vastgota Regiment (440 men) - 20 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Savolax Dragoon Regiment (295 men) - 15 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2nd Line

Maj.General Johan Benedikt von Schonleben - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, reliable leader

4 Squadrons The New Retinue of Nobles (590 men) - 30 figures - veteran, experienced, sold morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Queen Dowager's Life Regiment (140 men) - 7 figures - veteran, experienced, excellent morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) - 5 figures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket


The Swedish Drabant Guard cavalry engage the Danes

The Danish Army


King Christian V of Denmark - joint Commander-In-Chief - veteran, experienced, good tactician

General Carl von Arensdorff - joint Commander-In-Chief - veteran, experienced, good tactician


Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Hans Wilhelm Meerheim - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, respected leader

3 Squadrons Ortzens Dragoon Regiment - 15 figures- Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

3 Squadrons The Guard Cavalry - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Life Regiment of Cavalry - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Jutland Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Zealand Retinue of Nobles - 10 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Detlef Rantzau - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, average ability

3 Squadrons Baudissin's Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons 2nd Zealand Cavalry Regiment - 10 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Fyn Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Zealand Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols


Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Maj.General Joachim von Schack - sub-commander- veteran, experienced, respected leader

2 Battalions The King's Life Regiment - 32 figures - veteran, experienced, excellent morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions Prince George's Regiment - 32 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

1 Battalion Stuart's Regiment - 16 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Croy's Regiment - 16 figures - veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

2 Battalions Prince Frederick's Regiment - 32 figures - veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions The Queens Life Regiment - 32 figures - veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deplyed along the front line (56 cannons of various calibres) - 6 x 6lb models, 6 x 3lb models & crew - veteran, experienced, good morale

2nd Line

Colonel Caspar von Cicignon - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, average ability leader

1 Battalion Lutkens Regiment - 16 figures - trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 4th Jutland Regiment - 16 figures - trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 1st Fyn Regiment - 16 figures - well trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

3 Battalions of Commandeered Sailors - 60 figures - basic training, inexperienced, average morale, assorted melee weapons

1 Battalion 3rd Jutland Regiment - 16 figures - trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Plon Regiment - 16 figures - trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket


Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Anders Sandberg - sub-commander - veteran, experienced, respected leader, hesitant

3 Squadrons 3rd Jutland Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Jutland Retinue of Nobles - 10 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Fyn Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Jutland Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Rauch's Cavalry Regiment - 10 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Schleswig Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

3 Squadrons 4th Jutland Cavalry Regiment - 15 figures - Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Brockenhus's Dragoon Regiment - 15 fgures - Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket


Charles XI at the Battle of Lund

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED


The battle started on the Swedish right wing, where their vanguard made contact with their Danish opposites in the attempt to reach Lund and the windmill first. Swedish cavalry led by the Drabant Guard charged the Danish cavalry, but these were soon reinforced by the arrival of the Brockenhus Dragoons who overwhelmed the Swedes and their reinforcements, forcing them back. The Danes however suffered from the start, General Arensdorf was personally commanding this section and was shot in the right arm, forcing him to leave the field for treatment. He would die of his wounds the following week after gangrene sets in. The two sides separated while they both waited on the more reinforcements catching up to join them before once again charging into a confused melee. The Swedish army had recently been practicing more aggressive tactics, using faster movement and closing to contact quicker, tactics developed by Louis XIV's French as opposed to the slower gentler contact tactics of the 30 Years War still largely used. It may be that these more aggressive tactics helped the outnumbered Swedes, coupled with the Danes loss of Arensdorf, that helped them break the Danish cavalry. Either way, after several attacks and counter attacks, and King Charles XI himself joining the combat, the Swedes sent the Danish cavalry into a rout back towards their camp with the Swedish cavalry in hot pursuit.


King Christian of Denmark had apparently been observing the battle from behind his left wing and as his cavalry came racing back in rout he got caught up in the panic and swept away from the battle towards and past the Danish camp towards the River Kavlinge. As the Danish cavalry attempted to cross the frozen river, the ice which had now been warmed by the day's sunshine gave way and many fell through, drowning in the icy water. Rumours spread that King Christian himself had drowned which spread even more panic in the fleeing cavalry, although this rumour was in fact untrue. It was now though that King Charles's youth and inexperience caused the Swedes problems. As the Danes fled across the river, Charles and his cavalry halted to observe their departure and ensure that they did not rally and return; that in itself is the correct action, however he stayed at the river far longer than necessary, for several hours in fact, while his outnumbered army was left to struggle on the battlefield.


In the centre of the battlefield both sides occupied raised ground with a gully and frozen stream separating them, however the ground on the Danish side stood considerably higher than that of the Swedes which gave their more numerous artillery a huge advantage. It was obvious the Swedes could not simply stand in an artillery duel and so they advanced down from their position to engage the Danish front line. The Danes, now being commanded by Friedrich von Arensdorf, the wounded General's brother, also moved forward to contact the Swedes. Desperate hand to hand fighting began, with the Swedes slowly but surely being pushed back, the army pivoting through 90* so it's back now faced Lund itself. As they became trapped between the city walls and the pressing Danish army, Arensdorf bizarrely pulled the Danish army back to regroup and replenish ammunition. This respite gave the Swedes time to also regroup and steady their formation, but still the King and his Field Marshal did not return to the battle.


As the battle recommenced the Swedish left wing of cavalry managed to gain the upper hand over their Danish opposite numbers and push them back, but in the centre the Danes once again gained the upper hand and began to squeeze the Swedish against the city walls and their attacking front line. Things looked desperate for the Swedish army when finally, as the sun began to set around 3pm, King Charles, his Field Marshal and the cavalry from the right wing returned, appearing behind the Danish centre. The sight of the Swedish Royal Standard boosted the morale of the faltering Swedish centre and the King made an assault to push through the Danish lines and re-join his main army. Although still outnumbered by the Danish, the Swedes suddenly had a renewed energy and gained the initiative over the now exhausted Danish troops. After another half an hour of hard fighting in the growing twilight, the Danish army began to break up and it's troops flee the field. The Swedes pursued in revenge mode, killing all they could catch until around 5pm when Field Marshal Helmfelt ordered a stop to the killing and ordered all Danes should now be taken as prisoner. It had been an exceptionally close run thing, but the Swedish had won the day; estimates suggest the Swedes lost 3,000 killed and 2,000 wounded, while the Danish suffered 6,500 killed, 1,000 wounded and 2,000 taken prisoner.


WARGAMING THE BATTLE

As said at the beginning, the Scanian Wars are not a particularly popular conflict for wargamers outside of Scandinavia, but they are an exciting period to game. Lund is pretty battle to reproduce in miniature so we would suggest smaller scales such as 6mm or 10mm, the Pendraken League of Augsburg range lend themselves very well to both Swedish and Danish forces. As for rules, those who love Wargames Research Group will find DBR works well for this battle, but also the Under Lilly Banners rules would work brilliantly too.


We have been so inspired by researching this particular battle that we will be continuing our work and publishing a "Wargamers Guide" to the battle, complete with uniforms and even more details for those equally inspired to recreate this battle in miniature. It will be the 350th anniversary in a few years time and we at The Little Corporal are already planning a fully detailed and accurate tabletop version of the battle to mark the occasion.


In ending we would like to thank especially the Public Library and Community Hub in Lund, Sweden, without whose generous help and supply of additional information this article wouldn't have been possible.



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