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Thread: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

  1. #21

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Quote Originally Posted by Turk View Post
    Isnt Gustav Adolf not the king who wanted help from Turks after he lost against Russia?and then the Turks won Russia?
    No i think you are talking about Karl XII who lost against the russians at poltava and the retreated to the ottoman empire but he lost the war.
    These fine gentlemen's have thanks to their consistent idiotic posts have earned their place on my ignore list: mrmouth, The Illusionist, motiv-8, mongrel, azoth, thorn777 and elfdude. If you want to join their honourable rank you just have to post idiotic posts and you will get there in no time.

  2. #22
    cegorach's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    No that was Charles XII/Karl XII - after he lost the battle at Poltava he tried to convince them to declare war.

    In reality the Ottomans went to war anyway, but because Peter the Great thought he can easily beat them. He lost at Pruth in 1711 and only bribing some commander in the Ottoman forces saved his life and his army.
    Nonetheless he lost all the teritories conquered from the Ottomans before.
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  3. #23
    Spartan JKM's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Sorry Excelsior, a question of yours went unanswered.
    ...Didn't a Pole/Lithuanian win the famous battle of Tannenberg in the 1400s?...
    Yes, otherwise known as the Battle of Grunwald, fought in 1410.

    The victorious leader, along with the Lithuanian kunigaikstis (the title for the higher nobility), one Witold (or Vytautas the Great), was the Grand Duke of Lithunia and King of Poland, Jagwiga (Jogaila); he took the name Ladislaus Jagiello (or Wladyslaw II) in the 1390s, on his accession as the King of Poland. There is a huge equestrian statue of him in Central Park, New York City (a little west from 'Cleopatra's Needle', the Obelisk, and the Metropoliatn Museum of Art).

    The battle was a resounding victory over the Teutonic Order, of which you'll find no scant information by yahooing and/or googling. This basically springboarded Poland's Golden Age, which ended nearly 2 1/2 centuries later with the aforementioned Khmelnytsky Uprising and 'The Deluge'.
    Quote Originally Posted by cegorach
    ...but because Peter the Great thought he can easily beat them. He lost at Pruth in 1711 and only bribing some commander in the Ottoman forces saved his life and his army.
    Nonetheless he lost all the teritories conquered from the Ottomans before.
    Indeed. Peter's (Pyotr's) campaign was disatrous against the Ottomans, and Karl XII was expelled by the Sultan, racing back to Swedish Pomerania on horseback. Karl XII was a mercurial military great: he was so good at Kliszow (the significant last show of the husaria; firearms were too strong by this time) and Narva, but not so inspiring with his strategic and logistic conduct in the Ukraine, even taking into consideration hindsight is 20/20.

    For all in all, however, Peter the Great centralized his government, modernized his army, created a substantial navy, and effectuated domestic reforms (particularly with taxes, introducing capitation) which allowed for an aggressive foreign policy.

    Thanks, Spartan JKM
    Last edited by Spartan JKM; October 22, 2007 at 05:37 AM.
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  4. #24
    cegorach's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Pawel Jasienica (one of the best Polish historians) described Karl XII as 'ingenius idiot' - brilliant tactician, a real soldiers' general, but bad strategist and horrible politician.
    Add ot that he never listened to advices and you will see why on earth he invaded Poland in 1701 fighting the useless campaign and marched all the way to Saxony while Peter strangled Swedish Livonia...
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  5. #25
    Valus's Avatar Natura, artis magistra
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    It is not so hard to understand why Karl XII was so sucessful during the start of the war, I mean he had one of the best armies in Europe at that time..
    The swedish army often fought outnumbered like at Narva (1700), roughly 10.000 versus 37.000 russians, Gemäuerthof (1705), 7000 vs 14000 russians, Holowczin (1708), 17000 vs 28000 russians.. The swedish forces won all these battles and I find the battle of Holowczin the most impressive as the swedes had to cross the river Vabitj to attack the russian defenses..
    Narva was a great victory though the russian army at that time, with the exception of some russian elít regiments, mainly consisted of badly trained peasents with little or no experience of combat.
    At Poltava (1709) roughly 16000 swedes faced around 40000 russians and this time the russians would win and the swedish army never recovered from its losses (some 6900 men dead and nearly 3000 wounded).
    What fascinates me is that the swedish army managed to survive so long against opponents who clearly outclassed them in terms of numbers..


    Gustavus Adolphus was the best warrior king that sweden has ever had as he created an army that would fight a very sucessfull campaign in Germany though I think that the army under Karl XII was the best army that sweden has ever fielded... I wonder what Gustauvs would have done with such an army? Karl XII was a good soldiers general but was way too rash and bold, it worked well up to Poltava but with a little hindsight it was doomed to fail miserably, and he would probably not have been a good peace time king..
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  6. #26
    cegorach's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Quote Originally Posted by Valus View Post
    What fascinates me is that the swedish army managed to survive so long against opponents who clearly outclassed them in terms of numbers..

    With Poland it is quite easy to explain.

    It was actually never really AT WAR with Sweden...

    First the whole alliance with Peter was a provate eterprise of August II as duke of Saxony, he used the REQUIRED (from a king) oath to 'reclaim all lost Polish territories - those included even Silesia lost in XIIIth century BTW) as an excuse, but wanted Livonia as a private duchy to support his influnece in Poland-Lithuania.


    Second - the state was still recovering from over 50 years of constant wars - victorious (mostly - war with Russia was militarily won) in the end but exhausting- especially the long striggle with the Ottomans which was virtually fruitless.

    Third - Lithuanian part of the Commonwealth was in state of civil war since 1690s which was both exceptional and eliminated the whole region from any military effort.

    Fourth - Jan Sobieski was most likely the best Polish commander in history, but as a king he didn't find or didn't want to find a worthy commander/s to the Commonwealth's armies. It was clearly political decision because hetman commanders were to limit king's powers and at that time it would mean a serious danger. Unfortuanatelly it also meant NOONE of at least avarage skill was avaialble during the war - so the period of horrible commanders in the Polish army has begun.
    No continuity as it was before when regiment commanders were promoted and there was always a large poll of talented leaders to be found...


    Fifth - August II was ... miserable to say the least - he was incredibly 'talented' in wasting opportunities, discouraging support and making wrong decisions - all this with arrogance of Louis XIVth.

    Sixth - Polish army was deteriorating - morale was a problem, quality of the army was getting worse etc.




    All in all about 20 years of PEACE and reforms were necessary. Poland would again be able to mix eat with west in its army so line infantry would fight together with 'modernised' husaria acting as Napoleon's cuirassiers.
    The problem was that fate said otherwise and just like Venice, Netherlands and Spain it lost the status of a great power which spelled doom to Sweden too - the balance of power in eastern europe was destroyed for next centuries.
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  7. #27
    Spartan JKM's Avatar Semisalis
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Great stuff; I'm proud of this thread.

    cegorach, nobody has responded to this enthusiast in a week:

    http://www.historum.com/showthread.php?t=2786

    How about some images?




    Left: Gustaf (Gustav) II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus), King of Sweden, (1594-1632, reigned as of 1611). In my opinion, he stands as one of the greatest monarchs in history. Middle: a Hussar Companion (Towarzysze husarski, or husarz); the towarzysze were the first line troops, and this cavalryman man seems to be an ensign (standard-bearer) at perhaps the Battle of Lwow - the redoubtable Jan III Sobieski's smashing victory over encroaching Tatars in 1675, who were sent in advance of an Ottoman army. I'm assuming he's approaching the first line of battle. Right: 'Old Man' Tilly; Johann Tserclaes (Johan 't Serclaes), the Count of Tilly, joined the Spanish army at age 15 and spent the rest of his long life fighting Ottomans and Protestants. A fine general who won more than he lost, Tilly simply outlived the methods with which he conformed to, resulting in two crushing defeats by the superior linear methods and hardware of Gustavus, in 1631. He was still leading troops in the field at 72 years of age.




    Top left: the wheel-lock pistol. Top right: the wheel-lock musket. Middle right: a matchlock musketeer with fork rest. Middle left: 'on the march in bad weather'. Bottom left: a matchlock musket of the 17th century. Bottom right: 17th century colonial militia (North America) being trained.

    Gustavus placed the production of these firearms for his men weapons as top priority. Hand held firearms no longer required a rest of any sort, and the firing mechanism involved a spark created by a pyrite to ignite the gunpowder. A ceaseless, burning match was no longer required; mounted men now possessed a firearm operable with the use of only one hand, leaving his other free to maintain control of his mount etc. In 1624, Gustavus decreed a new and lighter design to replace the matchlock. In 1630, the Suhl model arrived; the Thuringian city of Suhl was the leading center of firearms manufacturing at the time, including the task of improved quality and reduced weight. With the wheel-lock firearms, Swedish musketeers could fire and reload much faster than their enemies (of course, everyone gets a hold of such assets). The wheel lock musket and pistol have a steel wheel that rotates on a coiled spring. This wheel touches a piece of flint and a small pan of gunpowder, causing the ignition. Let's have military professor Thomas F.Arnold elucidate us,

    "How did the wheel lock work? The key element was a palm-sized, serrated wheel that was attached, via a short chain of three links, to a powerful leaf spring made of steel. Using a wrenchlike tool called a spanner, the wielder cranked this wheel counterclockwise, bending the spring until the wheel engaged a catch linked to the trigger. Pulling the trigger then released this catch and allowed the spring to spin the wheel, which protruded through the bottom of a priming pan filled with fine gunpowder. The mechanism also automatically retracted a lid covering this pan, allowing the spinning wheel to scratch against a lump of the mineral iron pyrites, producing a shower of sparks and setting the piece off. The loading of a wheel lock remained unimproved over other firearms of the day: powder, ball, and wadding were pushed down the weapon's bore with a short ramrod; then the loader filled the priming pan and depressed the cock. But unlike other firearms, once loaded the wheel-lock pistol could be tucked away and held until drawn and fired. Until its widespread replacement by the flintlock (which required no wheel, relying instead on a flint to spark the charge) after the mid-seventeenth century, the wheel lock remained the only practical pistol mechanism"

    And form the arms historian Harold Peterson,

    "The appearance of the wheel lock brought changes in warfare and in social history as well. Pistols were now practical, and this brought a change in the armament and tactics of many cavalryman, especially the German Reiters. It was now possible for a gun to be kept fully loaded for instantaneous discharge, and this brought with it problems unknown with the earlier matchlock, in the presence of a smoldering wick always indicated that a weapon was capable of being fired. In this connection, it is interesting that one of the first documents to mention a wheel lock is an account of an accident in which such an arm went off unexpectedly. The gun could now also be carried as a concealed weapon, and crimes of violence involving wheel locks became so prominent that rigid laws controlling their use were promulgated in many cities of Austria, Italy, and England. Finally, the booby trap or infernal machine with clockwork or spring release also became possible, and added one more facet to military and political life."




    Top Left: an English Handgonne (is that gunner smiling??), from the 1405 (approx.) manuscript Belli Fortis, by one Konrad Kyeser. Top Right: Jan III Sobieski, the supreme commander of the army of the Holy League, triumphant over the massive army of the Ottoman Empire at Vienna, September 12, 1683. Left: the Battle of Vienna (1683). Right: the body of Karl XII, 1718.



    Left: Gustavus at Breitenfeld, September 17, 1631. Middle: Stanislaw Koniecpolski, perhaps Gustavus' finest opponent - and least well-known in the mainstream - of the solid generals Gustavus faced. Right: the husaria and Swedish infantrymen fiercely engage.




    Left: a re-enactor presenting a Swedish pikeman in his defensive position. This pikeman was from the time of the great Battle of Poltava, fought in 1709. Right: June 28, 1709. Peter the Great is right there - the one in the central, commanding position.




    Top left: a much smaller Polish-Lithuanian army defeats the Muscovites at the Battle of Orsza, 1514. Top middle: Johan Baner, probably the finest subordinate of Gustavus. Had he not been seriously wounded at the Battle of Tczew (Dirschau) in September, 1627, as Gustavus was, the Polish-Swedish War (1626-1629) may have ended over two years earlier. Top right: Sofia Augusta, the Grand Duchess of Finland, circa 1750s. Left : the Battle of Rocroi, May 19, 1643: the triumph of Louis II de Bourbon, later to be known as the 'Great Conde'. By this time, the linear formation had clearly superseded the tercio, in overral method, something fully realized at Breitenfeld. But the vaunted Spaniards, never up against Gustavus himself, stood strong here against the French after their allied contingents had surrendered, but the cavalry and artillery of the 22-year old Louis II de Bourbon was too much. Basically, It seems an evolutionary pattern from western antiquity: the rigid phalanx gave way to the flexibility of the manipular system, and now, some 1,800 years later, it's like the pattern repeated itself, only now appended with firearms and artillery. Right: a German style reiter, circa late 1500s.




    Left: Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein, perhaps Gustavus' superior in attritional warfare. Middle: Tilly at Magdeburg, late May 1631. Magdeburg fell on May 20, 1631, and the subsequent pillage witnessed horrible acts of massacre upon civilians; 25,000 lost their lives before the onslaught, more than 80% of the total population of the city. Left: the dauntless and formidable winged hussar of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; from the 1570s to the early 18th century, a 'Golden Age' was evident for the greatest cavalrymen (non-steppe archers etc.) of all time. It may be a traditional thing: even in late September 1939, the Polish Nowogrodek Cavalry Brigade thoroughly surprised and defeated the mighty Wermacht's 8th Infantry Division, along with their allied cavalry, at the town of Krasnobrod, in SE Poland; they totally scattered the enemy (albeit machine gun fire was now potentially damaging like never before, regarding cavalry charges). The fighting between the Germans' Prussian horsemen, who actually counter-attacked after the German infantry was sent to flight from their position atop a hill, and the Polish brigade and their Uhlan supporters (light cavalry soldiers for this timeperiod) here might be the last significant European cavalry battle ever fought. As so often in their glorious past, the Polish cavalry was outnumbered, and won with the charge, lance, and saber.




    Left: Gustavus dangerously gallivanting amid the fighting, Alexandrian style, at Tczew, August of 1627. Middle: under Gustavus' father, Karl IX, the Swedes are dealt a painful reality-check at Kircholm (modern Latvia), in 1605, against the redoubtable Jan Chodkiewicz and his husaria. Gustavus possessed much superior acumen than his father, thus he began digging at Riga in 1621, and didn't stop digging until the Treaty of Altmark. Right: the 4 lb. regimental piece of Gustavus; the advent of concentration and mobile firepower.




    Top left: a Swedish musketeer of the Altblau regiment (1624-1650); as well as his wheel-lock musket (perhaps the 1630 Suhl model), he is equipped with a bardiche (the syntactic derivative is Russian - berdysh), one of many types of polearms of the period. This weapon was commonly used among Russian and Polish infantry as well. The bardiche was a very heavy and bulky weapon, and entailed a strong and experienced man to wield one properly in combat. Despite the weight, the bardiche was longer and narrower than the well-known halberd; the bardiche was one of the few polearms that was commonly used on horseback. The rider would wear a shoulder strap attached to two rings on the weapon. Top middle: Axel Gustaffson Oxenstierna, the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden during Gustavus' reign. He proved to be more than a capable administrator, as he merits as much credit as anybody for the development of Swedish industry and for the fiscal and administrative reforms of Gustavus' reign. But he was as simple as he was austere, and with Gustavus gone, no man was left with the capacity to impose an end to the terrible fighting of the Thirty Years War. Maybe it was an impossible task: after all, the Thirty Years War had commenced for over a decade before Gustavus arrived. Top right: charging husaria, resolving to strike their enemy furiously with their 15 ft.+ lances (kopias) at the gallop, and carry their charge through the enemy ranks. Not until the early 18th century would the technology of firepower decrease their effectiveness (but they were never totally negligible). This tactical asset was one result of the organizing skills of Stefan Batory (d. 1586). Right: the Polish alchemist Michal Sedziwoj performs a transmutation of a silver coin into a gold one, in the presence of King Zygmunt (Sigismund) III. Right: artillery crew, 17th century.




    Left: Gustavus at the onset of the Battle of Lutzen, November 16, 1632. Right: winged husaria facing horsemen of Sultan Osman II, Khotyn (western Moldavia), September/October, 1621.


    Left: the Lion roars no more, falling on the field amongst the thick mixture of gunsmoke and fog at Lutzen, November 16, 1632. Middle: Bernhard of Saxe-Weimer assumed command and won bloody victory with his furious resolve. Right: a hursaz in full battle dress.




    Left: Swedish reiters. Right: last and not least, the last two images portray members of the prominent distrahera ('distraction') regiments. They were an integral part of the Swedish instrument, deeply immersed amid its balanced articulation. Invariably, the adversary tigerishly chased after the distrahera members, regardless of obvious contingencies, thus achieving the object at hand - luring them away. It worked every time! Peculiar, huh?

    Thanks, James
    Last edited by Spartan JKM; December 21, 2007 at 09:58 PM.
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  8. #28
    Darsh's Avatar Maréchal de l'Empire
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    nice pictures especially the last one.

    these Swedish girls are... hummm.

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  9. #29
    Carl von Döbeln's Avatar Crossing the Rubicon
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Great ,simply great

  10. #30

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    One of the best and most informative topics I ever saw +REP
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  11. #31

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    I hope to revive the topic.

    I've been recently playing "Dzikie Pola" (Wild Fields) Role Playing Game, as a Game Master, and I want to experiment with history (this RPG is a Polish game in a historical setting, now we're in the year of 1635).

    What if Gustavus Adolphus didn't die in 1632? Would Gustavus himself be able to win something more in Germany than his generals after his death, so than Nördlingen defeat wouldn't happen?

    I want the Polish-Sweden war to continue in my game, would Gustavus Adolphus, victorious in Germany, continue war against Poland-Lithuania starting from 1635?

  12. #32
    hellheaven1987's Avatar Comes Domesticorum
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    I brought this thread back since currently we have several threads about pike and shot formation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Markas View Post
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  13. #33
    Blatta Optima Maxima's Avatar Definitely banned
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    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Quote Originally Posted by hellheaven1987 View Post
    I brought this thread back since currently we have several threads about pike and shot formation.
    What does this have to do with formations? Also, there's not such thing as "the pike&shot formation". Contrary to popular belief, warfare changed a lot over the 200 years between 1500 and 1700. The Swiss of the Burgundian wars =/= the Landsknechts at Pavia =/= the Tercios in the early 80yr war =/= the Dutch in the latter 80yr war =/= the Germans, French, Swedes, Spaniards and English in the 1640's.


    As for G2A's actions in Poland, they appear to have been less than spectacular. He secured Vidzeme with what amounts to overwhelming force, but did not meet comparable success further south. It is quite likely that some Polish tactics found their way into his army, like using musketeers to support cavalry.

  14. #34

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Quote Originally Posted by Blatta Optima Maxima View Post
    As for G2A's actions in Poland, they appear to have been less than spectacular. He secured Vidzeme with what amounts to overwhelming force, but did not meet comparable success further south. It is quite likely that some Polish tactics found their way into his army, like using musketeers to support cavalry.
    And so was Swedish tactics brought into Polish warfare, what did you expect really? Learning from your opponents is the most effective (if not the only) way to learn and invent new tactics, doesn't really mather who they are. Sweden got huge lot of wisdom fighting the Danes and Russians as well.

    Well, Sweden had an intial bigger field army yes, but also Sweden counquered a lot of towns and cities, reducing there amount heavily to garrison troops, while those surrendered Polish troops who got passage to leave, filled up in the Polish field army. In the end there was not any bigger difference, it all gets balanced out with the time. Also you don't wanna forget the milita warfare, with irregulars Poland had a much bigger army than Sweden.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Excellent thread.

  16. #36

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Croat + carbine = 1 wounded Lion of the north
    Last edited by Zangg; June 16, 2013 at 12:15 AM.

  17. #37

    Default Re: Gustavus Adolphus in Livonia and Polish Prussia, 1617-1629

    Croatian cuirassier + wheel-lock pistol = 1 dead swedish zealot named Gustavus II Adolphus
    2/10 Would shoot in the head
    Last edited by Zangg; June 16, 2013 at 12:37 AM.

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