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Old 27th May 2022, 05:07 PM   #1
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The Thirty Years War - 400 Years Later

Thirty Years War:

Quote:
The Swedish Period

Gustavus II (Gustavus Adolphus) of Sweden now came into the war. His territorial ambitions had embroiled him in wars with Poland, and he feared that Ferdinand's maritime designs might threaten Sweden's mastery of the Baltic. Moved also by his Protestantism, he declared against the emperor and was supported by an understanding with Catholic France, then under the leadership of Cardinal Richelieu. Swedish troops marched into Germany. Meanwhile, Ferdinand had been prevailed upon (1630) to dismiss Wallenstein, who had powerful enemies in the empire. Tilly now headed the imperial forces. He was able to take the city of Magdeburg while the Protestant princes hesitated to join the Swedes. Only John George of Saxony, vacillating in his support between Tilly and the Swedish king, joined Gustavus Adolphus, who offered him better terms.

The combined forces crushed Tilly at Breitenfeld (1631), thus winning N Germany. Gustavus Adolphus triumphantly advanced and Tilly was defeated and fatally wounded in the battle of the Lech (1632). Wallenstein, recalled with some pleading by the emperor, took the field. He defeated the Saxon forces and later met the Swedish forces at Lützen (Nov., 1632); there the imperialists were defeated, but Gustavus Adolphus was killed and the anti-Hapsburg troops were disorganized. Wallenstein after his great defeat remained inactive and entered into long negotiations with the enemy. Meanwhile, the able anti-imperialist general, Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, stormed Regensburg (1633).
Infoplease


I have ancestors who settled in Ulvila at the order of the then King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus. At the time it had long been a Finnish village but was renamed – believed to be after St Olaf, a saint who was quite big in Norway and and across the nordic region – and Finland’s second oldest [mediaeval] church established there by the 14th century, although there had been an earlier church from year 1200’s. What these settlers had in common was that they had been ennobled by Gustavus Adolphus for the victory in the Thirty Years War 1618 – 1648, with Monkhoven having come from a Belgian noble family – buried at Antwerp Cathedral – and Von Grothusen from Latvia then known as Livonia, a Baltic German noble line, together with Mikael Von Jordan, supposedly another Baltic German, who originated from Pomerania or Silesia, but some historians believe was actually 100% Finnish, all knighted and rewarded with substantial areas of land in the Ulvila region. Von Jordan married Monkhoven’s daughter, and his third eldest son, Magnus, married the granddaughter of Von Grothusen whose other parent was a Swedish noble, Engelbrekt Eneskjöld. The eldest son, Carl von Jordan, was disowned and executed by beheading for bigamy (the only execution for bigamy ever in Finland), having married a lady in Bremen, which was then Swedish-owned, and at the same time marrying a noblewoman in Finland, whilst the second son behaved in a manner unbecoming and was cut out of the will. I can imagine, having won a religious war in which the Protestants were victorious, affirming Sweden as a sovereign nation, with Von Jordan having been some kind of war chaplain who led his troops in prayer before each battle, and wanting two of his sons to enter into the clergy, there was a strong puritanical pious whiff about him. The pair had fourteen children in all, some dying in infancy. Now they lived at a truly beautiful spot at Villelä, Nakkila, and the fabulous manor house is still standing, albeit now privately owned by a company. Likewise, the Von Grothusen kartano (=manor house) is now a school but can still be seen at Lyttylä, on a promontory, also near Pori. Pori is a more modern city, which came about as land rose out of the sea and it was considered a more suitable harbour. Ulvila/Nakkila is quite far inland now by about 10 kilometres.

The big surprise however, was to come later.

Having had a historian in the family who meticulously researched my grandmother’s side of the family (as her own father was my grandmother’s brother), I knew they had been in the same rural region for at least ten generations, and their kartanos are still there, I looked further into my grandmother’s line as they obviously could not all have come from the same place. Having researched as many lines as possible – helped by the fact Finland has a meticulous local history of most areas, and easily obtainable from the library – I discovered they were concentrated in four main areas…all within fifty kilometres of each other, to form a neat square around the rich fertile belt of southwest Finland. In other words, for up to thirteen generations and beyond, my grandmother’s ancestors never moved very far away at all, yet consanguinity seemed rare, with one or two great grandparents married to someone who shared their third great grandparent. So the outliers at Ulvila, 150 kilometres away to the west, near Pori, were the aberration, and I can thank the Thirty Years War for that. The others were just ordinary Finnish farmers, albeit formerly Free Estates until Charles X's Great Reduction, when suddenly taxes had to be paid to support all the wars and having toured the area recently, I doubt the landscape has changed much over the past four hundred years. The same farmsteads and extensive fields. There was one ancient family name that I found cropping up in the library books, which was new to me: ‘Kulta’. Imagine my shock to walk into Kuusjoki church yard (Kuusjoki population: <1,800) to be confronted with row upon row of gravestones bearing the name…’Kulta’. The other knock out was to chance upon the presumed site of the mythical [but officially listed as a Finnish antiquity site] Kaupinlinna, by accident, which was an added bonus.

So, how did the Thirty Years War affect you, culturally, historically or geographically?
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Old 27th May 2022, 05:58 PM   #2
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My father's family was (southern) German and Lutheran, so I'm sure that war was the big dominant thing in the lives of all of my father's ancestors who were alive at that time, and probably killed some of them young, but I can't say anything beyond that because we don't have written records going back that far. The oldest thing I know of from anybody in our family is that at least some of them went to Russia during the reign of Catherine The Great, which is significantly later and probably describes only a pretty small fraction of them.

There was a large migration wave from Germany, especially southern Germany, to North America starting about the time of the war, with the war being a contributing factor. It was big enough to make German the most common second language in a part of the USA running from Pennsylvania to Missouri and Kentucky to Wisconsin, and even most people's first language in some counties/towns in that region at least up into the early 20th century. I don't think my family was part of that wave; I think they moved here in the 1800s. But they probably ended up where they did because that was where it seemed most natural for German-speaking southern German Lutherans to go, and might have even pick their specific town or county based on having relatives already there. My grandmother grew up in what was at the time a German-speaking town in Missouri and didn't even start learning English until she went to an English-speaking elementary school. So, through a few layers of indirectness, I guess I could say the war was why I was born in Missouri. That's about it.
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Old 31st May 2022, 12:48 PM   #3
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Thirty Years War is interesing from a military historian point of view as it being the war where, during the "Musket and Pike" era, the Musket acheived superority over the Pike

No doubt Gustavus was one of the "Great Captiains" since his tactical system based on moblity and flexibilty, proved superiort to the massed squares used by his opponents, the Spanish Tercio in particular.
Also Interesing in that it started as a religous civil war in the Holy Roman Empire ( pretty much what is now Germany and the old Hapsburg empire) between Protesents and Catholics, but by it's later stages had become just another Imperial struggle between the Hapsbrugs and the Bourbons, with Catholic France, (led by a Cardinal no less) interveinng in support fo the German Protestents.....
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Old 3rd June 2022, 06:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Thirty Years War is interesing from a military historian point of view as it being the war where, during the "Musket and Pike" era, the Musket acheived superority over the Pike

No doubt Gustavus was one of the "Great Captiains" since his tactical system based on moblity and flexibilty, proved superiort to the massed squares used by his opponents, the Spanish Tercio in particular.
Also Interesing in that it started as a religous civil war in the Holy Roman Empire ( pretty much what is now Germany and the old Hapsburg empire) between Protesents and Catholics, but by it's later stages had become just another Imperial struggle between the Hapsbrugs and the Bourbons, with Catholic France, (led by a Cardinal no less) interveinng in support fo the German Protestents.....
Adolpus Gustavus was also an egalitarianist: to him the foot soldiers were equally as important in battle as the cavalry, who tended to come from the higher classes (this is because the lowest rank a noble could be given was a cornet [probably equivalent to Second Lieutenant today]).
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Old 3rd June 2022, 06:52 AM   #5
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Mention of the Thirty Years War recently from the GUARDIAN:

Quote:
Khue-reyen is a wistful ditty, sung originally by Swiss milkmaids and capable of provoking such paroxysms of longing in mercenary soldiers during the thirty years’ war that it was banned. The penalty for playing it, sapping morale and inciting desertion, was death.

The depressive malaise of 17th-century soldiers led to the first diagnosis by Johannes Hofer, a Swiss doctor, of a condition he called nostalgia. The word is assembled from Greek – nostos, meaning home; algos, meaning pain. The meaning has changed over time. Only relatively recently has it shed the connotation of neurosis to become a cultural balm – a perfumed distillation of the past applied to bruises inflicted by the present. The home we pine for is attainable only on hallucinatory voyages of time travel.
Actually using it as an analogy for the culture wars and the current Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Elizabeth II.

Quote:
Politics adds an additional narcotic element. There is no need to have participated directly in past events invoked from a mythologised collective memory. Most of the people who honour the blitz spirit are too young to have endured bombardment by the Luftwaffe, which was not something anyone would anyway want to replicate. It is the heirloom memory of a country bonded in solidarity – social division dissolved in shared endeavour – that animates the sense of longing. Britain is nostalgic for the idea of itself as a place with a common purpose.
ibid

Certainly, watching the pageantry, there is a great deal that harks back to mediaeval times: the colours (standards, sashes and regimental flags), the armoured and crested cavalry, the beautiful glossy black horses juxtaposed against the white, the slow marches and brass bands, even a couple of drum horses, Ed and Harry, two brown and white shires plodding along next to the elegant thoroughbreeds. None of these would last five minutes in a real war...unless, of course, it was a meeting at a battlefield. That would be a sight.
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Old 4th June 2022, 08:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Thirty Years War is interesing from a military historian point of view as it being the war where, during the "Musket and Pike" era, the Musket acheived superority over the Pike

No doubt Gustavus was one of the "Great Captiains" since his tactical system based on moblity and flexibilty, proved superiort to the massed squares used by his opponents, the Spanish Tercio in particular.
Also Interesing in that it started as a religous civil war in the Holy Roman Empire ( pretty much what is now Germany and the old Hapsburg empire) between Protesents and Catholics, but by it's later stages had become just another Imperial struggle between the Hapsbrugs and the Bourbons, with Catholic France, (led by a Cardinal no less) interveinng in support fo the German Protestents.....
I just do not understand why Gustavus Adolphus is considered on of the "Great Captains" of history.

In fact the detailed story of his elevation into the upper levels of the Military Pantheon would make a very interesting study of the creation of a academic myth.

For example the notion that Gustavus created a "new" system of warfare, with massively greater mobility, is hugely exagerrated. Many of the changes predated him and many wern't even his ideas in the first place.

From what I've read it appears that the origin of this academic myth was, apparantly, in the Military Staff colleges in the 19th century, and some military writers who boosted Gustavus' dubious reputation.

I find little to no evidence of Gustavus being one of the "Great Captains" of history in his actual campaigns; during which his leadership was competant but not that of a "Great Captain". (His campaigns in Russia and Poland before Germany don't scream Great Captain to me for example.)

Another source of the academic myth concerning Gustavus was the deluge of propaganda about him during the period of his dominance in the Thirty Years War, much of which greatly exagerrated his accomplishments.

Thus we hear from some writers the notion that Lutzen, (The battle in which Gustavus was killed.), was a great Swedish victory, and that the last army of the Empire hd been destroyed. (From the writings of Theodore Ayrault Dodge. From His Gustavus Adolphus: A History of the Art of War from Its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the Spanish Succession War, With a Detailed Account of the Campaigns.) It wasn't a great Swedish victory and the last army of the Empire was not destroyed.

In fact I find it interesting that in the last campain of Gustavus' life he waged it against the Czech general Wallenstein, during which Wallenstein often out generaled Gustavus.
Yet Wallenstein is ussualy rated has a much lessor general than Gustavus.

Finally there is the battle of Lutzen, often considered Gustavus' "crowning mercy", and getting all sorts of people to wax poetically about what would have happened if Gustavus had lived. For this battle we get the belief that a), Gustavus was heavily outnumbered from the begining of the battle. B), that a heavy reinforcement of troops arrived for th Empire during the battle. The usual figure given is c. 8000 men.) C), the Empire was utterly defeated and the army shattered and disbursed. D), Only Gustavus' death prevented the crushing of the Empire in the aftermath. All of those points are dubious.

To go through them. A), It is likely that the Empire was outnumbered through out the battle, but esspecially at the begining before reinforcements arrived. B), The reinforcements that arrived during the battle did not number 8000 but c. 3000. C), The Empire's army retreated that night after the battle and was not either disbursed or shattered / routed. And during that night c.5000 reinforcements came for the Empire. It appears that in the night after the battle the Swedes considered withdrawing from the field due to their high casualties during the battle, one comadre urged them to stay. Wallenstein had been seriously sick during and before the battle which helped to make him cautious so despite the reinforcements he withdrew during the night abandoning his artillery. The next day the Swedes were surprised to find Wallenstein and his army gone. This enabled them to claim victory. D) Is just plain unlikely.

Gustavus' tactics during the battle were just plain bad and he managed to get himself killed, along with suffering significantly, apparantly, more casualties than the Empire.

The historian Peter H. Wilson in one of the few detailed English language books about the whole Thirty Years War, (Europe's Tragedy, 2010.), has little truck with the legend of the "Great Captain", Gustavus Adolphus, or the great victory at Lutzen. Although interestingly a fair number of historians have been dubious about both of those claims in the past. (For example the claim that Lutzen was a great victory. A fair number of historians view the battle has indecisive.)
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Old 6th June 2022, 05:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
I just do not understand why Gustavus Adolphus is considered on of the "Great Captains" of history.

In fact the detailed story of his elevation into the upper levels of the Military Pantheon would make a very interesting study of the creation of a academic myth.

For example the notion that Gustavus created a "new" system of warfare, with massively greater mobility, is hugely exagerrated. Many of the changes predated him and many wern't even his ideas in the first place.

From what I've read it appears that the origin of this academic myth was, apparantly, in the Military Staff colleges in the 19th century, and some military writers who boosted Gustavus' dubious reputation.

I find little to no evidence of Gustavus being one of the "Great Captains" of history in his actual campaigns; during which his leadership was competant but not that of a "Great Captain". (His campaigns in Russia and Poland before Germany don't scream Great Captain to me for example.)

Another source of the academic myth concerning Gustavus was the deluge of propaganda about him during the period of his dominance in the Thirty Years War, much of which greatly exagerrated his accomplishments.

Thus we hear from some writers the notion that Lutzen, (The battle in which Gustavus was killed.), was a great Swedish victory, and that the last army of the Empire hd been destroyed. (From the writings of Theodore Ayrault Dodge. From His Gustavus Adolphus: A History of the Art of War from Its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the Spanish Succession War, With a Detailed Account of the Campaigns.) It wasn't a great Swedish victory and the last army of the Empire was not destroyed.

In fact I find it interesting that in the last campain of Gustavus' life he waged it against the Czech general Wallenstein, during which Wallenstein often out generaled Gustavus.
Yet Wallenstein is ussualy rated has a much lessor general than Gustavus.

Finally there is the battle of Lutzen, often considered Gustavus' "crowning mercy", and getting all sorts of people to wax poetically about what would have happened if Gustavus had lived. For this battle we get the belief that a), Gustavus was heavily outnumbered from the begining of the battle. B), that a heavy reinforcement of troops arrived for th Empire during the battle. The usual figure given is c. 8000 men.) C), the Empire was utterly defeated and the army shattered and disbursed. D), Only Gustavus' death prevented the crushing of the Empire in the aftermath. All of those points are dubious.

To go through them. A), It is likely that the Empire was outnumbered through out the battle, but esspecially at the begining before reinforcements arrived. B), The reinforcements that arrived during the battle did not number 8000 but c. 3000. C), The Empire's army retreated that night after the battle and was not either disbursed or shattered / routed. And during that night c.5000 reinforcements came for the Empire. It appears that in the night after the battle the Swedes considered withdrawing from the field due to their high casualties during the battle, one comadre urged them to stay. Wallenstein had been seriously sick during and before the battle which helped to make him cautious so despite the reinforcements he withdrew during the night abandoning his artillery. The next day the Swedes were surprised to find Wallenstein and his army gone. This enabled them to claim victory. D) Is just plain unlikely.

Gustavus' tactics during the battle were just plain bad and he managed to get himself killed, along with suffering significantly, apparantly, more casualties than the Empire.

The historian Peter H. Wilson in one of the few detailed English language books about the whole Thirty Years War, (Europe's Tragedy, 2010.), has little truck with the legend of the "Great Captain", Gustavus Adolphus, or the great victory at Lutzen. Although interestingly a fair number of historians have been dubious about both of those claims in the past. (For example the claim that Lutzen was a great victory. A fair number of historians view the battle has indecisive.)
Lützen was a victory insofar Tilly had to retreat back to Bavaria. Up until then the 'German' princes had been reluctant to take sides but after Tilly invaded Saxony, and lost, they came to the side of Sweden, together with France who had been at war with Spain.

Being killed in battle is no disgrace. Graf Von Tilly (a Flemish-Spanish General fighting for Maxilimilian head of the Holy Roman Empire [for the Catholics and the Hapsburgs]) who met Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Rain at lech River 1632, also died in battle, albeit from wounds two weeks later. He was aged 72 by then, so seems to have had a good innings. Von Tilly, too is regarded as one of the military great Generals. At least if a General dies in battle they get to have a statue of themselves on a horse.

Maurice, Prince of Orange, an innovative military commander who organised the Dutch rebellion against Spain was first to combine infantry, artillery, and cavalry. This gave for flexibility, speed and mobility. This formation replaced the traditional Spanish tercio blocks that were up to fifty ranks deep, by having just five or six men deep. This meant forces could reconfigure and redeploy rapidly.

The Swedish Army had three regiments from Finland, which included Åbo and Bjornborg (Turku and Pori). This included the famous Hakkapelit, led by Åke Henriksson Tott, Torsten Stålhandske* and Hans Ramsay. The Imperial Armies (Spain, HRE, Catholic League) no doubt had a good laugh at how small the Finnish own-breed horses were. However, they were astonishingly effective, very fast, extremely manoevreable, and struck fear into the hearts of the enemy with their riders’ bloodcurdling battle cry of ‘Hakka peli’ (‘strike them down’ [with halberds, swords, maces and pickaxes).

Within the ranks of the infantry – who were paid the same as the cavalry – were light artillery, mobile guns, ready for the foot soldiers to take shield behind after a strenuous ‘having at it’ on the frontline of pitched battle. This was a first in the renaissance battlefield.

The knight of the OP, Mikael von Jordon was known to have been with the Seton regiment – a Scottish mercenary one that helped out Denmark but then came over to the Swedish side, hence the number of Swedish knights with Scottish names, such as Ramsay) and was involved in the Siege of Riga, (present day Latvia) bringing the north coast of eastern Europe into the Swedish domain of Livonia, which included current day Estonia, against old enemies Catholic Poland - Lithuania. Gustavus II Adolph Vasa (Gustavus Adolphus) ensured discipline amongst the ranks. Being deeply religious, looting, raping and torture were actively discouraged. There was a great deal of plundering during the Thirty Years War due to mercenary soldiers not receiving their pay and lack of food supplies, so entire fields of grain or cattle would be plundered and the Swedish regiments were not exempt from this behaviour. The Thirty Years War left between 16 to 20 million dead, one of the most devasting wars ever in Europe. However, Gustavus Adolphus tried to ensure the men were paid on time.

After the war, the military leaders were rewarded with knighthoods and estates because many had donated large funds towards the war as well as having been victorious on the battlefield, using Gustavus Adolphus’ fine military strategies, and thus were in the debt of the Swedish Crown. He also created the Swedish navy, which helped bring troops to the continental battle field in present day north Germany. He had the foresight to adopt a talented Prime Minister, Axel Oxenstierna, who was ready to take over governance when Gustavus Adolphus fell in battle in 1632 at Lützen. Oxenstierna himself was a great statesman, copying William the Conqueror’s administrative measures in dividing up land into parcels and registering all land in a similar fashion to the Doomsday Book of Britain, records which remain largely in use to the present day.

On a local level, Ramsay – who was from the noble Douglas clan in Scotland – and Ståhlhandske, were given the estates that were owned by my grandmother on either side of her family (across the river from each other!) for over ten generations and still is in the family possession today, as the noble – freemen - estates came and went in the later 'Great Reduction' [of free noble estates], Church ownership then via inheritance.

So was Gustavus Adolphus a great General? Of course, these were the days when the head of the army was invariably the King, which didn’t necessarily make for a great military leader. His uncle before him, Erik XIV, loved to lead into battle heavily and elaborately armoured, right down to his horse, costing at least the equivalent of a quarter of a million pounds in today’s money (and which can be seen at a Swedish museum) and the later Charles XII, who came to the throne aged 18, who also led his men into battle, some say recklessly, culminating in the Battle of Poltava and the beginning end of the great Swedish empire in 1709 and the start of Peter the Great’s of Russia, (although it still had Finland for another hundred years). But look where Gustavus Adolphus came from, he was just the third generation Vasa since Sweden arose out of nothing from the Kalmar Union, to shake off the shackles of the Danes and Erik VII of Pomerania, who ruled the entire Kalmar kingdom, by his grandfather, Gustav Vasa I, from lowly common stock (albeit well-respected).

The attached graphic from Britannica indicates the scale of Gustavus Adolphus’ successes, which were gains at the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648, that ended the conflict. The other shows the divisions between Roman Catholic, Protestant and Calvinist, the opposing forces in the Thirty Years War.

Sweden's specific gains at the Treaty of Westphalia, 1648:

Quote:
Through the efforts of Johan Oxenstierna and Johan Adler Salvius it obtained:
• Swedish Pomerania, the Swedish share of the former Duchy of Pomerania since the Treaty of Stettin (1653), consisting of
o Western Pomerania, with the islands of Rügen, Usedom and Wollin, as well as the towns of Stettin, Greifswald, and Stralsund;
o a strip of Farther Pomerania on the right side of the Oder, including the towns of Damm and Gollnow, with the right of succession to the rest of Farther Pomerania in the case of the extinction of the Brandenburg Hohenzollerns;
• the town of Wismar, with the districts of Pod and Neukloster;
• the secularized bishoprics of Bremen-Verden, with the town of Wildeshausen; and
• 5,000,000 Riksdaler.[8]
These German possessions were to be held as fiefs of the Holy Roman Empire. This allowed Sweden a vote in the Imperial Diet and enabled it to "direct" the Lower Saxon Circle alternately with Brandenburg. France and Sweden, moreover, became joint guarantors of the treaty with the Holy Roman Emperor and were entrusted with carrying out its provisions, as enacted by the executive congress of Nuremberg in 1650.[8]
After the peaces of Brömsebro and Westphalia, Sweden was the third-largest area of control in Europe by land area, only surpassed by Russia and Spain. Sweden reached its largest territorial extent during this time under the rule of Charles X Gustav (1622–1660 [came to the throne 1654]) after the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658.[9]”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_Empire


I would say that was a great achievement, especially against the formidable forces of the Holy Roman Empire, and Napoleon copied his tactics 150 years later, whilst even daring to take credit for them. His military strategy was copied for at least two centuries, with Maurice of Orange having provided the template.

*As an aside, there are no statues of any Swedish Kings or Queens in Finland, apart from at the tomb of Karin Månsdottir who was Queen for just two months (the peasant wife of deposed Erik XIV) but there are statues of Åke Henriksson Tott, Torsten Stålhandske which can be seen by the visiting tourist at Turku Cathedral where they are entombed. This is a lasting eulogy to their leaders, Adolphus Gustavus and Oxenstierna.
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Old 6th June 2022, 07:21 AM   #8
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Erratum Ramsay came from the Dalhousie earldom of Scotland, not Douglas.
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Old 6th June 2022, 07:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Lützen was a victory insofar Tilly had to retreat back to Bavaria.
The Imperial commander at the battle of Lutzen, 1632, was Wallenstein not Tilly. Are you perhaps confusing Lutzen with the battle of Breitenfeld in 1631 where Tilly was the Imperial comander. After losing the battle Tilly retreated into Bavaria. Tilly later on died in the battle of the Lech. The Emperor then recalled Wallenstein to command the Imperial army.

Has I said I am baffled that Gustavus is considered one of the "Great Captains" in Military History. There is next to nothing in his campaigns in Russia, Poland and then Germany which indicate that Gustavus deserves such status in Military History.

Has Peter H. Wilson states in his book about the Thirty Years War, Europe's Tragedy,
at p. 510.

Quote:
The Swedes lost 6,000 and were on the point of retreating themselves when a prisoner revealed that the Imperilaists had already gone.
(As an aside Wallenstein had lost c. 3,000 men.)

At p. 511.

Quote:
Protestant propaganda and Gustavus' firm place on latter staff college curricula have ensured that Lutzen is generally hailed as 'a great Swerdish victory'. Wallenstein showed far superior generalship, whereas Gustavus relied on an unimaginative frontal assualt with superior numbers. The Swedes were able to claim victory because Wallenstein lost his nerve and retreated...

Last edited by Pacal; 6th June 2022 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 7th June 2022, 02:43 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
The Imperial commander at the battle of Lutzen, 1632, was Wallenstein not Tilly. Are you perhaps confusing Lutzen with the battle of Breitenfeld in 1631 where Tilly was the Imperial comander. After losing the battle Tilly retreated into Bavaria. Tilly later on died in the battle of the Lech. The Emperor then recalled Wallenstein to command the Imperial army.

Has I said I am baffled that Gustavus is considered one of the "Great Captains" in Military History. There is next to nothing in his campaigns in Russia, Poland and then Germany which indicate that Gustavus deserves such status in Military History.

Has Peter H. Wilson states in his book about the Thirty Years War, Europe's Tragedy,
at p. 510.

(As an aside Wallenstein had lost c. 3,000 men.)

At p. 511.
Indeed, Tilly died in 1631 after Breitenfeld, and was replaced by Wallenstein. Gustavus Adolphus died at Lützen 1632. However, the turning point in the Thirty Years War came earlier, in 1630, when the Imperial Army for the Holy Roman Empire was under Graf Von Tilly. Wallenstein was indeed a capable General but in the grand scheme of things, it was Sweden who made the overall gains as of the Westphalia Treaty 1648, which ended the war.

The Thirty Years War Timeline

Which countries?

France versus Spain; Dutch and English versus Spain aka Imperial Army aka Holy Roman Empire aka Catholic League aka Hapsburgs.

Who’s who

What generals? Graf Von Tilly was replaced by Albrecht Wallenstein for the Catholic League of Maximilian of Spain, after Tilly’s death in 1631 after the Battle of Rain over the River Lech, Bavaria, following the Battle of Breitenfeld in which the Imperial Army was crushed.
Adolph II Gustav for Sweden was replaced by Axel Oxenstierna after Adolphus Gustavus’ death 1632 at the Battle of Lutzen.

Where power lay at the start of the Thirty Years War

Von Tilly for the HRE had triumphed in the north of what is now known as Germany in the Upper Palatinate and Rhenish Palatinate in 1620.

1625 – 1629 the Danes led by Christian IV were crushed by Von Tilly for the Catholic League/HRE/Imperial Army/Spain at the Battle of Luter. Christian was forced to make peace at Lubeck, Wallenstein was dismissed and replaced by Von Tilly as the Imperial Army commander.

Sweden’s arch enemy was Poland (HRE/Catholic/Hapsburg). Sweden united with the Netherlands, newly liberated from Spain (as was France, who became an ally and subidised Sweden’s war efforts). France was the chief western power. Sweden controlled the Baltic.

1630 Gustavus Adolphus invaded northern Germany to defeat Von Tilly and his allies, during which three-quarters of the town of Magdeburg, Saxony, was slaughtered, causing the German princes to side with the Swedes. Saxony remained neutral. However, when von Tilly invaded Saxony, it was forced to side with Sweden. Together, they routed Tilly.

Tilly retreated back to Bavaria, whereupon to pre-empt a further northern strike by Maximilian, Holy Roman Empire ruler, Adolphus Gustavus crossed the Lech River into Bavaria and at the Battle of Rain, Tilly was wounded and died two weeks later, already aged 72. (1632)

Wallenstein, replacing Tilly, had a gift for mobilising troops and supplies via plundering. As many of the soldiers were mercenaries and were often not getting their pay, they took to plundering the towns and villages for subsistence. Wallenstein’s plan was to wreck the Dutch and English commerce in the Baltic, to subdue north Germany and dislodge Adolphus Gustavus from Prussia, which Sweden had gained during the war against Poland. By 1628 these objectives were largely fulfilled.

Sweden with the Dutch and Saxony, and subsidised by the French allies (to keep out Spain), entered the conflict in 1630, with victories at Breitenfeld, 1631, and Lützen, 1632 but defeat at Nördlingen in 1634. The Thirty Years War culminated in Sweden/France versus Bavaria in 1638 and the Treaty of Westphalia signed 1648. This gave territorial gains to Sweden and France and an electoral seat in Bavaria. Church properties were secured for protestants based on the 1624 status quo. Calvinists were brought into the settlement. Netherland achieved independence from Spain and Switzerland from the Holy Roman Empire. There was unlimited territorial sovereignty of German protestants. The former Holy Roman Empire became highly fragmented. Finally, state was established over religion. In other words, a sovereign King or Queen converting his or her religion could no long change the state religion.

In practice

In other words, churches and monasteries sequestered from the Catholics in 1624 remained in Protestant hands. On a more local level, Catholics held out in Finland by hiding the church bells, which Gustav had ordered to be confiscated and melted down towards war efforts. Admiral Klaus Fleming who led the army on behalf of Duke John of Finland, (Vasa's second son), and to protect the Catholic Polish-Swedish Prince heir to the throne, Sigismund, were all secretly practising Catholics and resistant to the reformation. Vasa's third son Charles, who deposed John, who became John III after deposing Erik XIV, as insane, was staunchly protestant and led Finland's peasants in a blood revolt against Fleming and John III in the Cudgel War of 1596 - 97, elaving over 5,000 dead. At the start of Gustav Vasa's reign Archbishop Arvid Kurki had famously fled, in 1522, five hundred years ago this year - as Gustav Vasa was having all the Catholic bishops beheaded after his religious conversion, leading to the vicious spat with Christian of Denmark. Kurki was said to have drowned just of the coast of Orebro but is now believed to have actually been buried in a small island off the Finnish coast. [see article]

In Sweden, likewise, the peasants resented having to give up their Catholic faith, plus the south considered themselves Danish yet were forced to speak Swedish and become protestant:

Quote:
Led by Nils Dacke, an outlaw, the peasants of the province of Småland took up arms against the King in the spring of 1542 in protest against the royal suppression of Catholicism; furthermore, the ruthless collection procedures of nobles and state bailiffs exacerbated the peasants’ discontent.
https://www.britannica.com/event/Dacke-War

On the battle field, on top of all of the above unrest:

Quote:
April 1632. At the Battle of Lech, Gustavus Adolphus defeats Tilly once more, and in the battle Tilly sustains a fatal wound.

May 1632. Munich yields to the Swedish army.

August 1632. Gustav Adolph forced the Battle of Fürth in late August 1632, arguably the greatest blunder in his German campaign.

September 1632. Gustavus Adolphus attacks the stronghold of Alte Veste, which is under the command of Wallenstein, but is repulsed, marking the first defeat in the Thirty Years' War of the previously invincible Swedes.

November 1632. At the Battle of Lützen, Gustavus Adolphus is killed in action, but the Swedes win the fight thanks to Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, who assumes command and defeats Wallenstein.

The Swedish war effort was kept up by generals Gustav Horn, Johan Banér, Lennart Torstenson, et al.
Quora


Yes, Gustavus Adolphus blundered. Like all great Generals, he lost a battle or two. But he won the war at the crux of it. Wallenstein was his nemesis.

The rise of Gustavus Adolphus:

1523 – Gustav Vasa became King of Sweden.

1530 – Martin Luther issued the Augsberg Confession, calling for the rejection the Pope and papal bulls.

1534 Gustav I clashed with the Pope when he seized the estate of archbishop Trolle and razed it to the ground. This incurred the wrath of Catholic Danish King Christian II. Gustav converted to Luther’s Protestantism. Christian’s men were invited to Stockholm in an attempt to appease him. Denmark ruled the southern part, Skåne. Once there, Christian’s army locked the nobles and newly converted bishops inside the banqueting room of the castle. The bishops were then taken to the court yard and beheaded one by one, with the non-clergy and non-nobles simply hanged from the nearby trees. This incident, the Stockholm Bloodbath directly led to Sweden declaring independence and the eventual dissolution of the Kalmar Union.

Gustav I’s son, Eric XIV became the next king. He was deposed by his two half-brothers – who had a different mother (Margrethe Leijonhuvud) – John III who himself was deposed by brother Charles IX.

Charles IX was a pretender to the throne as the real heir was Sigismund who had a Polish Princess mother, and was John III’s son. However, as Sigismond was not only of the Polish monarchy, he was also a Roman Catholic. (The Polish royal family had arranged for Catherina to marry John III, then Duke John of Finland, whilst Erik XIV ruled, for that particular political expediency and positioning against Sweden). However, Charles IX, a protestant, got the Finnish peasants to rise in revolt against John III and Catholism was decisively banished.

Thus, John III was deposed and imprisoned and Charles IX installed on the throne in place of John III’s son Sigismund. The new heir to the throne, born 1594, before John III was even deposed, was the son of Charles IX, Adolph II, better known as Gustavus Adolphus, and he came to the throne in 1611, the third generation of the Vasa dynasty.

Thus, Sweden had already been at war with Denmark and Poland and now it was in a struggle in north Europe with the Catholic Hapsburgs and the Spanish-Catholic-League or Imperial Army, headed by Maximilian head of the Holy Roman Empire, under Papal rule. The turning point was when Tilly's army invaded Saxony resulting in the slaughter of three-quarters of the population of Magdeburg, and Tilly routed. This was 1630, when all three Generals were very much alive, and at the point Sweden entered into the fray. Now all of the various fiefs, duchies and suzereinties sided with them.

The triggering incident that caused the entire conflict did not result in victory. Frederick V, Elector Palatine of the Rhine of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Bohemia, a Calvinist, was defeated by Ferdinand II, led by Tilly, at the Battle of White Mountain [near Prague] 1620, having failed to get support from his father-in-law, James VI of Scotland, a Catholic. Frederick V had been installed after the Protestant estates - the nobles - rebelled against Catholic Ferdinand, in 1618, triggering the Thirty Years War. His defeat ensured that the Hapsburgs remained in control of what is now known as the Czech Republic for the next 300 years.

Whilst the Thirty Years War was not actually thirty years, we can see that there was about a hundred years leading up to it culminating in the final resolution of 1648. It could easily have gone Tilly/Wallenstein's way but did not.
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