|Battle of Stralsund|
|Part of Napoleonic Wars|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Ferdinand von Schill †|| Pierre Guillaume Gratien |
Johann von Ewald
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Stralsund on 31 May 1809 was a battle during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars, between Ferdinand von Schill's freikorps and Napoleonic forces in Stralsund. In a "vicious street battle", the freikorps was defeated and Schill was killed in action.
A battle is a combat in warfare between two or more armed forces, or combatants. A war usually consists of multiple battles. Battles generally are well defined in duration, area, and force commitment. A battle with only limited engagement between the forces and without decisive results is sometimes called a skirmish.
The War of the Fifth Coalition was fought in 1809 by a coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleon's French Empire and Bavaria. Major engagements between France and Austria, the main participants, unfolded over much of Central Europe from April to July, with very high casualty rates for both sides. Britain, already involved on the European continent in the ongoing Peninsular War, sent another expedition, the Walcheren Campaign, to the Netherlands in order to relieve the Austrians, although this effort had little impact on the outcome of the conflict. After much campaigning in Bavaria and across the Danube valley, the war ended favourably for the French after the bloody struggle at Wagram in early July.
The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, financed and usually led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict. The wars are often categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition (1805), the Fourth (1806–07), the Fifth (1809), the Sixth (1813), and the Seventh (1815).
Stralsund, a port at the Baltic Sea in Swedish Pomerania, was surrendered to France after the siege of 1807 during the War of the Fourth Coalition.During this war, Prussian captain Ferdinand von Schill distinguished himself by cutting off French supply lines using guerrilla tactics in 1806. In 1807, he raised a freikorps and successfully fought the French forces in what he intended to become a patriotic insurrection. When his corps was disbanded after the Peace of Tilsit on 9 July 1807, Schill was promoted to the rank of a major, decorated with the Pour le Mérite, and became a hero of German resistance and patriotic movements.
Stralsund, is a Hanseatic town in the Pomeranian part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is located at the Southern coast of the Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea separating the island of Rügen from the mainland.
The Baltic Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, enclosed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, northeast Germany, Poland, Russia and the North and Central European Plain.
Swedish Pomerania was a Dominion under the Swedish Crown from 1630 to 1815, situated on what is now the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland. Following the Polish War and the Thirty Years' War, Sweden held extensive control over the lands on the southern Baltic coast, including Pomerania and parts of Livonia and Prussia.
In January and February 1809, the German resistance in French-held Westphalia invited Schill to lead an uprising. He agreed in April and drafted a proclamation which however was intercepted by the French, and left Berlin on 27 April when he was threatened with arrest.With a freikorps of 100 hussars, Schill headed southwest towards Westphalia to stir up an anti-French rebellion, but news of the French victory in the Battle of Ratisbon made him change his plans. Schill turned northwards to secure a port, hoping for relief by the British navy.
Westphalia is a region in northwestern Germany and one of the three historic parts of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has an area of 20,208 km2 (7,802 sq mi) and 7.9 million inhabitants.
Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with its capital, Potsdam. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.
Freikorps were German military volunteer units that existed from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, which effectively fought as mercenary or private armies, regardless of their own nationality. In German-speaking countries, the first so-called Freikorps were formed in the 18th century from native volunteers, enemy renegades and deserters. These sometimes exotically equipped units served as infantry and cavalry, sometimes in just company strength, sometimes in formations up to several thousand strong; there were also various mixed formations or legions. The Prussian von Kleist Freikorps included infantry, jäger, dragoons and hussars. The French Volontaires de Saxe combined uhlans and dragoons.
Schill entered Stralsund on 25 May with 2,000 men.The freikorps was pursued by a French-led force of 6,000 Danes, Holsteiners, Dutch and French, who confronted Schill on 31 May inside of the town.
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is the southern half of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany.
The Dutch auxiliaries, about 4,000 troops, were commanded by Pierre Guillaume Gratien, another 1,500 Danish troops were under general Johann von Ewald's command.Garnier's Dutch forces included the 6th and 9th infantry, 2nd Horse Regiment, two squadrons of hussars and two horse artillery batteries. They entered the town after storming the Tribseer Tor gate, and engaged Schill's freikorps in street fights. Schill was killed, and the survivors of his freikorps dispersed or captured.
Eleven of Schill's officers were taken to Brunswick, and later executed in Weselfollowing an order of Napoleon Bonaparte. More than five hundred of Schill's men went into captivity. Schill's head was sent to The Netherlands for display in Leyden's public library, and only in 1837 the head was buried in Brunswick.
Braunschweig, also called Brunswick in English, is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, north of the Harz mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oker River which connects it to the North Sea via the Aller and Weser Rivers. In 2016, it had a population of 250,704.
Wesel is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the capital of the Wesel district.
Schill was not alone with his plans to stir up an insurrection of the Prussian people against the French occupation. Other prominent plotters were Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick and Kasper von Dörnberg. All of them saw the Austrian resistance and the resulting War of the Fifth Coalition as a chance to expel Napoleon Bonaparte from Northern Germany as well. France however proved to be the stronger party, and Schill's defeat in the streets of Stralsund put a definite end to all plans for a popular uprising.
The Franco-Swedish War or Pomeranian War was the first involvement by Sweden in the Napoleonic Wars. The country joined the Third Coalition in an effort to defeat France under Napoleon Bonaparte.
Ferdinand Baptista von Schill was a Prussian Major who revolted unsuccessfully against French domination of Prussia in May 1809.
The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. Several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.
Lützow Free Corps was a volunteer force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. The Corpsmen were also widely known as the “Lützower Jäger“ or “Schwarze Jäger“, sometimes also "Lützower Reiter".
The Brunswick Ducal Corps, commonly known as the Black Brunswickers in English and the Schwarze Schar or Schwarze Legion in German, were a military unit in the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was raised from volunteers by German-born Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1771–1815). The Duke was a harsh opponent of Napoleon Bonaparte's occupation of his native Germany. Formed in 1809 when war broke out between the First French Empire and the Austrian Empire, the corps initially comprised a mixed force, around 2,300 strong, of infantry, cavalry and later supporting artillery.
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The Siege of Stralsund lasted from 30 January to 24 August 1807 and saw troops from the First French Empire twice attempt to capture the port city from Lieutenant General Hans Henric von Essen's 15,000-man Swedish garrison. On the first try, Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier blockaded the city for two months before he was called elsewhere. In his absence, the Swedes drove back the inferior blockading force. After Mortier returned and pushed Essen's troops back in turn, the two sides quickly concluded an armistice. The truce was later repudiated by King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, whereupon Marshal Guillaume Marie Anne Brune led 40,000 French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch soldiers against the fortress. Fearfully outnumbered, the Swedes abandoned the Baltic Sea port of Stralsund to the Franco-Allies in this action during the War of the Fourth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. As a consequence, Sweden also lost the nearby island of Rügen.
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