1759-09-10 - Combat of Neuwarp

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Battles >> 1759-09-10 - Combat of Neuwarp

Swedish victory

Prelude to the Battle

During the winter of 1758-59, the Prussians, who until then were devoid of any naval force, built a small fleet at Stettin (actual Szczecin in Poland) by transforming some fishing and transport boats into military vessels. The flotilla was launched on April 5 1759. Informed of the preparations of the Prussians, the Swedes decided to destroy this small naval force before it could become a threat to their hitherto uncontested naval supremacy.

At the start of August 1759, a Swedish squadron under Carpelan advanced into the Oder, moving towards the Stettin lagoon. On August 8, it forced the defences of Peenemünde and penetrated the western half of the lagoon (called Kleines Haff, or Little Lagoon, by the Germans). On August 22, a first engagement took place off Anclam between the two naval forces. The Swedes won this initial action.

Captain Ernst Mattias von Koller, then decided to stop the Swedish advance by deploying the small Prussian flotilla in 2 lines in a narrow between Neuwarp and the island of Wollin.

Map

Map of the combat of Neuwarp on September 10 1759.
 
Source: Wikipedia


A. Position of the Swedish fleet when it weighed anchor
B. The Swedish fleet advances in oblique order against the Prussian right wing
C. From there, vessels “f” and “h” get to grip with the Prussian right wing
D. The attack on the Prussian right wing
E. Position of the main Swedish fleet during the attack on the Prussian right wing
F. Deployment of the Prussian flotilla

Description of Events

On September 10, the Swedish squadron (28 vessels) led by Captain-lieutenant Karl Rutensparre, penetrated into the lagoon of the Vistula (Frisches Haff in German), resolved to attack the Prussian flotilla (12 vessels).

The Swedish ships were deployed in 4 lines.

  • first line: 4 x 13-guns galleys
  • second line: 4 x 5-guns demi-galleys (with mixed sail and oar propulsion)
  • third line: 3 sloops and 2 bomb galiots armed with howitzers
  • fourth line: 13 gunboats.

For their part, the Prussians had 4 12-guns galiots and 4 12-guns galleys as well as 4 gunboats. They were deployed in 2 lines:

  • first line (from right to left):
    • right wing
      • Merkury (12)
      • Jupiter (10)
    • centre
      • Kœnig von Preussen (14)
      • Prinz Wilhelm (14)
      • Prinz Heinrich (14)
      • Prinz von Preussen (14)
    • left wing
      • Neptun (12)
      • Mars (11)
  • second line
  • 4 x 6-guns gunboats

Once within range, the Swedes placed themselves in a single line. When sail were spotted to the south, the Swedes sent 3 demi-galleys and 9 gunboats to chase them. However, these sail turned out to be neutral ships. Nevertheless this manoeuvre deprived the Swedish squadron of several vessels at the opening of the combat.

The artillery duel lasted for more than 2 hours. During this duel, the Prussian Mars sank a Swedish gunboat. Then the Swedish squadron advanced in oblique order towards the Prussian flotilla, planning to attack the Prussian right wing. The Swedes cam to grip with the Merkury and Jupiter which were forming the right wing of the Prussian first line, and soon captured them.

With the Prussian right wing defeated, the Swedish vessels outflanked the Prussian centre and left wing, capturing or sinking the galiots and galleys forming the first line.

After the defeat of the Prussian first line, the Swedes turned their attention against the 4 Prussian gunboats forming the second line and pursued them. One Prussian gunboat was lost during this pursuit.

The battle lasted 4 hours and ended in a heavy Prussian defeat.

Outcome

The Prussians had lost all their galiots and galleys, 30 killed and wounded, and 490 sailors taken prisoners. The Swedes lost 1 gunboat, 13 killed and 31 wounded.

The small Prussian fleet ceased to exist. The Prussians were now unable to support their isolated positions at Usedom and Wollin. The Swedes soon took advantage of the situation to capture these two places.

After the battle, in the vicinity of the Danish island of Bornholm, Prussian prisoners (27 soldiers and 133 sailors) on their way to Sweden aboard the Sköldpadde (34 sailors) managed to escape and to capture the galiot and brought her back to Colberg.

Meanwhile, undaunted, the Prussians began to build a new fleet.

Order of Battle

Prussian Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Captain Ernst Mattias von Koller

Summary: 12 vessels manned by 448 sailors and 162 men

  • 4 galiots
    • Kœnig von Preussen (14), flagship
    • Prinz von Preussen (14)
    • Prinz Heinrich (14)
    • Prinz Wilhelm (14)
  • 4 galleys
    • Jupiter (10)
    • Mars (11)
    • Neptun (12)
    • Merkury (12)
  • 4 gunboats

Swedish Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Major-general Wilhelm von Carpelan

Summary: 28 vessels manned by 402 sailors and 2,882 infantrymen

  • 4 galleys
    • Carlskrona (13), under Captain-lieutenant Karl Rutensparre, flagship of Major-general Carpelan
    • Cronoberg (13), under Captain-lieutenant Friedrich Otto Billberg
    • Malmö (13), under Captain-lieutenant Daniel Mansner
    • Blecking (13), under Captain-lieutenant Martin Helding
  • 4 demi-galleys
    • Svärdfisk (5), under Captain-lieutenant Malm
    • Delphin (5), under Captain-lieutenant von Schneidau
    • Cabeljau (5), under Lieutenant Hult
    • Stör (5), under Lieutenant Kullenberg
  • 2 bomb galiots
    • 1 unidentified (maybe the Sköldpadde) armed with howitzers, under Lieutenant Kornstedt
    • Snaell, under Lieutenant Friedrich Bong
  • 3 sloops
    • Flygarn, under Lieutenant Ioachim Bong
    • Diana, under Constable Pfeiff
    • Loeparen, under Constable Barfoth
  • 13 gunboats

References

This article contains text from the following article:

Other sources

Duffy, Christopher, Prussian Navy in the Baltic Versus the Swedes, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1

Acknowledgments

Tomasz Karpiński (student at the Institute of History, University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, Poland) for his collaboration for the initial version of this article

Gunnar W. Bergman for additional information on this combat