Franco-Swedish War

Last updated
The Pomeranian War
Part of the Napoleonic Wars
Swedish Pomerania 1812.png
Swedish Pomerania(centre-right) in 1812
Date31 October 1805 – 6 January 1810
(4 years 11 months & 6 days)

French victory, Treaty of Paris


Flag of France.svg France

Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Spanish Empire[b]
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Holland [1]
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of the Kingdom of Prussia (1803-1892).svg  Prussia
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Guillaume Brune
Flag of France.svg Édouard Mortier
Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Louis Bonaparte
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Jean Dumonceau
Flag of Sweden.svg Gustav IV Adolf [a]
Flag of Sweden.svg Charles XIII [a]
Flag of Sweden.svg Hans von Essen
Flag of Sweden.svg Johan Christopher Toll
13,000 men (in 1805)
40,000 men (in 1810)
12,125 men (in 1805)
27,000 men (in 1810)

[a] Gustav IV Adolf was deposed by a coup d'etat on March 9, 1809, and Charles XIII was appointed king in his place.


[b] Until 1808

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.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund Strait. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. The capital city is Stockholm. Sweden has a total population of 10.3 million of which 2.5 million have a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi) and the highest urban concentration is in the central and southern half of the country.

Napoleonic Wars Series of early 19th century European wars

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).

War of the Third Coalition war

The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others. Prussia remained neutral during the war.


In 1803 Britain had declared war on France, at this time Sweden had remained neutral together with the Nordic countries Denmark–Norway and Prussia. But after the execution of Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé in 1804, the Swedish government broke all diplomatic ties with France and concluded a convention allowing the British to use Swedish Pomerania as a military base against France, in exchange for payments. Russia also promised Sweden that 40,000 men would come to the aid of the country if it was threatened by French forces. So on 9 August 1805 Sweden joined the Third Coalition and declared war on France on 31 October. [2]

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1921

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Denmark–Norway personal union in Northern Europe between 1524-1814

Denmark–Norway, also known as the Dano–Norwegian Realm, the Oldenburg Monarchy, or the Oldenburg realms, was an early modern multi-national and multi-lingual real union consisting of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway, the Duchy of Schleswig, and the Duchy of Holstein. The state also claimed sovereignty over two historical peoples: Wends and Gutes. Denmark–Norway had several colonies, namely the Danish Gold Coast, the Nicobar Islands, Serampore, Tharangambadi, and the Danish West Indies.

The war

The offensive against Hanover

In the beginning of November 1805, a combined British, Russian and Swedish force of about 12,000 men were sent from Swedish Pomerania to liberate French-held Hanover. The offensive against Hanover was repeatedly delayed because of Prussia's partial reluctance that the Swedes and the Russians moved troops through Prussian territory. However, in December 1805, after the battle of Austerlitz, the British and the Russian forces started to evacuate Hanover, leaving only a small Swedish force alone to face the French. In April 1806, the Swedes were also forced to retreat back to Swedish Pomerania after an agreement had been concluded between Prussia and France.

Hanover City in Lower Saxony, Germany

Hanover or Hannover is the capital of and largest city in the state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth-largest city in Germany as well as the third-largest city in Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city in the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen and Bremen.

Battle of Austerlitz A battle of the Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. In what is widely regarded as the greatest victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France defeated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Emperor Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the town of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire. Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the Austrians later in the month. The battle is often cited as a tactical masterpiece, in the same league as other historic engagements like Cannae or Gaugamela.

The Fourth Coalition

But during the summer of 1806 Prussia formed the Fourth Coalition against France, which gave Sweden the right to occupy Lauenburg. But during the autumn, the French forces advanced rapidly and soon much of the western German regions were occupied, this forced the Swedish troops on a retreat towards Lübeck. The plan was that the troops from there could take the sea route to Stralsund in order to avoid the advancing French forces. The Swedes were still caught by the French on the 6 November while they loaded their ships at Lübeck, and following the battle of Lübeck about 1,000 Swedish soldiers had to surrender to the numerically superior French forces.

Lauenburg Place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Lauenburg, or Lauenburg an der Elbe (Lauenburg/Elbe), is a town in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated on the northern bank of the river Elbe, east of Hamburg. It is the southernmost town of Schleswig-Holstein and belongs to the Kreis (district) of Herzogtum Lauenburg. Lauenburg had a recorded population on 31 December 2013 of 11,253.

Lübeck Place in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany

Lübeck, officially the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (German: Hansestadt Lübeck), is a city in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. On the river Trave, it was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, it is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. In 2015, it had a population of 218,523.

Stralsund Place in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

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 French army began their offensive towards Swedish Pomerania in early 1807 and besieged Stralsund on 15 January. This was the beginning of a seven-month-long siege, and since the French forces also were engaged in warfare elsewhere this increasingly reduced the number of troops stationed around Stralsund. When the Swedes were reinforced on 1 April it was decided that they would attempt to break the siege. This was done with some success since the Swedes managed to take Usedom and Wolin. But the French chose to counterattack, and a force of 13,000 men attacked the Swedes from Stettin on 16 April. This forced the left section of the Swedish army to withdraw, and another division in Ueckermünde was then cut off and later captured. On 18 April, France and Sweden agreed on a ceasefire according to which the French were to leave Pomerania. However, the Swedish government refused to join the Continental System and denounced the armistice under the influence of British diplomacy on 8 July.

Siege of Stralsund (1807) siege during War of the Fourth Coalition

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.

Usedom Baltic Sea island

Usedom is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, divided since 1945 between Germany and Poland. It is the second biggest Pomeranian island after Rügen.

Wolin island

Wolin is the name both of a Polish island in the Baltic Sea, just off the Polish coast, and a town on that island. Administratively the island belongs to the West Pomeranian Voivodeship. Wolin is separated from the island of Usedom (Uznam) by the Strait of Świna, and from mainland Pomerania by the Strait of Dziwna. The island has an area of 265 km2 (102 sq mi) and its highest point is Mount Grzywacz at 116 m above sea level

On 6 August 1807, 50,000 French, Spanish and Dutch troops under Marshal Guillaume-Marie-Anne Brune began an assault on Swedish Pomerania and besieged Stralsund again. On 20 August 1807, the defenders of the city capitulated and the remains of the Swedish army was surrounded at Rügen. However, Swedish General Johan Christopher Toll managed to conclude the convention of Schlatkow with Marshal Brune on favorable terms and his forces withdrew to Sweden with all of their munitions of war on 7 September. [3]

Rügen island in the Baltic Sea off the Pomeranian coast of Germany

Rügen is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Johan Christopher Toll Swedish noble, soldier and politician

Count Johan Christopher Toll, Swedish statesman and soldier, was born at Mölleröd in Scania. Toll came of an ancient family, of Dutch origin, which can be traced back to the 13th century, but migrated to the Baltic provinces in the 16th century.

Franco-Russian treaty

The Franco-Russian Treaty of Tilsit left Britain and Sweden without other allies in the war against France. On 21 February 1808, Russia joined the war against Sweden by invading Finland and on 14 March the same year, Denmark-Norway also declared war on Sweden. Danish and French-Spanish troops began preparations for an invasion of Skåne in Sweden, but the plan was soon aborted, and the war was instead directed to the Norwegian-Swedish border. Sir John Moore's expedition sent by the British government to protect Sweden from possible French-Danish attack arrived on 3 May 1808 and stayed until July when it was redirected to Portugal.

Napoleon's plans to invade Sweden was never realized due to the British activity on the Baltic Sea, the weakness of the Danish military and hesitations of French Marshal Bernadotte. Bernadotte's actions made him popular enough to be elected as a Swedish Crown Prince after the coup d'état in March 1809. On 30 August 1809, the new Swedish government was to conclude the Treaty of Fredrikshamn with Russia legitimizing the Russian annexation of Finland and Åland. A peace treaty between Sweden and Denmark-Norway was signed with no territorial adjustments on 10 December 1809.


On 6 January 1810, Sweden signed a Russian-mediated Treaty of Paris with France regaining Pomerania, at a cost of joining the Continental System. On 17 November 1810, Sweden was forced to declare war against Britain and all British goods in Swedish Pomerania were seized. The government-supported smuggling continued, however, over the North Sea and the English fleet was informed that it would be a phantom war. The war lasted until 1812 and no military action was taken.

See also


  1. Sundberg, Ulf(2002), page 357-362
  2. Lindqvist, Herman(2004) page 256
  3. Sundberg, Ulf(2002), page 357-362

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