Minutemen

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The last of the French and Indian Wars, 1754 – 63, opened with attempts first by Virginia volunteers (raised outside the militia system) commanded by George Washington, then by British regulars commanded by Edward Braddock to seize control of the forks of the Ohio River from France. Though not used to raise men until 1757, the militia system proved efficient enough to muster men from New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts for John Bradstreet ‘ s 1758 expedition that captured Fort Frontenac on the St. Lawrence River in 1758. William Byrd II commanded the Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and North Carolina militiamen who accompanied the British regulars who drove the French from Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio (Selesky 1990, Titus 1991, Ward 2003). Though they worked together colonial militiamen and British regulars did not get along and this experience reinforced American distrust of standing armies of professional soldiers (Leach 1986, Johnson 1992).

The French and Indian War resuscitated the militia system and gave colonial leaders experience in working together on military matters, but, in general, militia did not perform well on extended campaigns away from their immediate homelands, indeed many deserted. On the eve of the American Revolution the 13 colonies had a total of 500,000 men enrolled in the militias, one – third of the entire population of those colonies. As tensions between Americans and the mother country escalated, leaders of what would become the Patriot cause gained control of most militia units purging officers loyal to Britain (Shy 1975). Militia officers often assumed leadership roles in committees of correspondence, Sons of Liberty, and committees of public safety that organized opposition to British policies and enforced non – importation, non – consumption agreements. In 1774 and 1775 the Continental Congress instructed colonial governments to reorganize their militias and gather arms and ammunition. The revolutionary government in Massachusetts ordered all commanders to designate a portion of those under their command to be ready for instant service. Thus were born the Minutemen who opposed British regulars at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill and laid siege to the British in Boston (Fischer 2004).

Those units were subsequently formed into the Continental Army during 1776. From 1777 to the end of the war the “American army ” would consist of Continental Army ” regulars ” who were organized as state ” lines, ” whose ranks state governments were responsible for filling with volunteers or conscripts; by state troops which were raised in a variety of ways, and local militia units that were usually called to serve for short periods of time when their state was threatened (Alexander 1945, 1947 , Murphy 1959 – 60 , Royster 1979 , Buel 1980 , Kestnbaum 2000 ). Mark Kwasny (1998) traces the evolution of the militia and George Washington’s employment of militia units as the war progressed concluding that they came to form an important component of his campaigns. In 1776 Charleston was defended by a force of 900 Continentals, 2,000 state troops, and 2,700 local militia. The August 16, 1777 defeat of a force of 1,250 British troops by 2,000 New Hampshire and Massachusetts militia at Bennington, Vermont, laid the basis for Major General John Burgoyne ‘ s surrender at Saratoga two months later. Brigadier General Daniel Morgan made effective use of militia units at Cowpens, South Carolina, in January 1781, and George Washington had three brigades of Virginia militia at Yorktown. In addition to providing a system through which governors could raise state armies for operations such as the Virginian campaign that captured British posts in the Old Northwest or the Massachusetts – organized debacle at Penobscot, militia conducted most operations against Britain’s Indian allies and kept in check Loyalists away from the main theaters of operations (Higginbotham 1971, Ferguson 1978, Galvin 1989, Clements and Wright 1989, Resch and Sargent 2007). Patriot militiamen inflicted significant defeats on Loyalist American militiamen at Moore’s Creek Bridge, North Carolina, in February 1776 and at Kings Mountain, South Carolina, in October 1780. Militia successes were balanced by failures, for example, at Groton Heights in Connecticut in 1781 and at Blue Licks in Kentucky in 1782, and many commanders, with reason, considered militiamen unreliable. Dissatisfied with the performance of Virginia ‘ s militia during the war, governor Patrick Henry sought to reorganize it during the 1780s and met resistance from local governmental officials (Ethridge 1977 , Waghelstein 1995 ).

During the late 1780s insurrections occurred in South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts where militia units from the eastern portion of the state subdued Shay ‘ s Rebellion in the west (Szatmary 1980 ). When these were followed by the Whiskey Rebellion and Fries Rebellion during the 1790s it appeared for a while that domestic civil unrest might pose a greater threat to American society than any foreign enemy.

Nonetheless, always warned to fear a standing army, Americans relied, at least in theory, on militia as their first line of defense against enemies domestic and foreign for the half century of their independence (Cunliffe 1968, Crackel 1987). Richard Kohn (1975) shows that during the 1790s the Federalists created and stationed a standing force of army regulars on the frontier, and Lawrence Cress (1981) argues convincingly that within a decade, despite Republican rhetoric, most American leaders accepted, at least tacitly, a force structure in which regulars formed the core around which militia would build in time of danger.

Panavia Tornado

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The Tornado is possibly the most flexible multimission aircraft in history. Designed as a strike aircraft, it can also perform air-defense, antishipping, and reconnaissance missions with ease.

In the late 1960s Germany, Italy, and Great Britain joined hands to design a basic ground-attack aircraft that would be built and deployed by all three nations. The new machine would have to operate from short runways, deliver ordnance with pinpoint accuracy, and operate in any weather conditions. It would also be optimized for high-speed/low-level operations that are highly taxing to both crew and airframe alike. After extensive studies, the prototype Panavia Tornado IDS was flown in 1974. It was a compact yet highly complicated aircraft, the first European production design to employ variable-geometry wings. The wings are extremely complicated and designed around a number of high-lift technologies that enable it to become airborne quickly. The craft is characterized by a somewhat short, pointed nose, a long canopy seating two crew members, and a very tall stabilizer. Internally, the Tornado utilizes advanced fly-by-wire technology, as well as highly sophisticated navigation/attack radar that combines search, ground-mapping, and terrain-following capabilities. Around 900 Tornados have been built and acquired by the manufacturing nations since 1980. Several dozen have also been exported to Saudi Arabia.

In 1976 Great Britain wanted to develop an airdefense version on its own accord to replace the aging inventory of English Electric Lightnings and McDonnell-Douglas Phantoms. It desired a fast, flexible interceptor to protect NATO’s northern and western approaches. The new Tornado ADV rolled out in 1976 and is distinguished from the IDS variant by a lengthened nose. It houses the advanced Foxhound radar system, which can track up to 20 targets simultaneously at ranges up to 100 miles. The Royal Air Force currently operates 144 Tornado ADVs, and several have been exported to Saudi Arabia. Both versions saw active duty in the 1991 Gulf War and sustained the heaviest losses of any Allied type. They will continue to serve well into the twenty-first century.

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Panavia Tornado GR4

The Tornado GR4 is the latest version of the RAF’s primary attack aircraft. Capable of supersonic speeds and flight at low-level, the aircraft is one of the most potent in the world today.

First deliveries to the RAF of the original GR1 version were made in 1980 where it replaced a number of older RAF aircraft including the Buccaneer and Vulcan as low-level attack aircraft. A major feature is the Tornado’s ‘swing wings’ (or ‘variable geometry’ to give it its correct title). With the wings swept fully forward, the aircraft can fly very slowly – ideal for landing on short, unprepared runways. With the wings swept to their full 68°, the aircraft can fly supersonically, whilst at the intermediate position the manoeuvrability is greatly increased – useful should the aircraft need to undertake rapid action during an attack. Another innovative feature of the Tornado is the ability to use thrust-reverse to shorten landings.

A programme to update many of the Tornado’s weapons and navigation systems was completed in 2003 and these updated aircraft are known as Tornado GR4s. As well as the existing weapons carried by Tornados (such as the Paveway family of laser- and GPS-guided bombs and the ALARM anti-radar missile) a number of new weapons can now be used. These include the Storm Shadow stand-off (or ‘cruise’) missile and the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod – both of which were used for the first time during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and the forthcoming Brimstone anti-tank missile. Other improvements include GPS navigation and changes to the cockpit to allow the use of night-vision goggles.

A reconnaissance version of the Tornado GR4, the GR4A, is in service with the RAF.

Roles

Air Interdiction (AI). Low- or medium-level attacks using precision-guided, freefall or retarded bombs.

Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD – pronounced ‘see-add’). Attacks on enemy air defence systems such as surface-to-air missile positions with ALARM missiles.

Reconnaissance (using an externally mounted pod).

Armament

One Mauser 27mm cannon and up to 18,000lb of ordnance. Available weapons include Paveway 2 or 3 laser-guided bombs, ballistic or retarded “dumb” 1000lb bombs, Cluster Bomb Units (CBU), Storm Shadow cruise missiles, Brimstone anti-tank missiles, Air Launched Anti-Radiation Missile (ALARM) anti-radar missiles. For self-defence, Sidewinder missiles are carried.

GR4 Specifications

Engines:

Two Turbo-Union RB199s

Length:

54ft 10in (16.70m)

Wingspan:

45ft 7in (13.90m) at 17° sweep; 28ft 2in (8.60m) at 68° sweep

Top Speed:

1,452mph (2,336km/h, Mach 2.2) at 36,000ft (11,000m); 710mph (1,140km/h) at sea-level

Crew:

Pilot and Weapons Systems Operator

Operation ‘Steinbock’

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This aviation art print by Mark Postlethwaite depicts Heinkel He 177s of KG40 preparing for an operation over England during Operation Steinbock in early 1944.

The highly optimistic aim of ‘Steinbock’ was to avenge the so-called RAF terror attacks on German cities. As the Baedeker raids had failed to do this, the reasoning was that more force was needed. This was of course to completely ignore the fact that whatever the Luftwaffe could do, the combined bomber forces of the RAF and USAAF could pay them back one hundredfold. It also presupposed that the effete citizenry of England could sustain far less bombardment than the sturdy National Socialists of the Third Reich without revolting against the government.

Actually, Goering had a point. A ruthless and authoritarian dictatorship, backed by the Gestapo with its pervasive network of informers, was far better equipped to hold its citizens in subjugation than was any democratic government, even with the constraints of war. In more recent times, this was underlined by the Gulf War of 1991, when Saddam Hussein retained control of Iraq despite a massive military defeat. However, friend Hermann reckoned without the British national trait which is at once their greatest strength and their greatest weakness-they are stubborn!

For ‘Steinbock’, the offensive strength of Luftflotte 3 was more than doubled. Gruppen were transferred from other theatres in conditions of great secrecy, while units already in place flew little. In consequence, serviceability was exceptionally high at the start of the campaign, whereas the norm was little more than 50 per cent.

In order to maximise the damage, the largest bombs available to the Luftwaffe, of 2,500kg, were to be used while stocks lasted, and smaller bombs used only to bring the bomb load up to the maximum. These were to be filled with the extremely powerful, if sensitive, ‘England Mixture’, consisting of Hexogen and Trialen. For fire-raising, the new AB 1000 container was used. This held up to 620 1kg incendiary bombs, dispensing them at intervals to spread them evenly over a large area.

The lack of navigational and bombing accuracy demonstrated in many of the Baedeker Raids was unaffordable. To improve matters, the Pathfinder Gruppe I/KG 66 was equipped with Egon, a new system similar in concept to the British Oboe. The bomber, tracked by ground radar, flew a curving course at high altitude a constant distance to it. A second ground radar measured the range to the bomber and signalled the bomb release point. The maximum range of this system was about 275km, and the maximum obtainable accuracy about 200m, although this last was difficult to attain under operational conditions. A second gadget was Truhe, which aided navigation by monitoring signals from the British Gee navigational system. Knickebein and Y-Gerät were also used, in a hopeful attempt to conceal the new systems.

The first ‘Steinbock’ raid took place on 21 January 1944, with 227 bombers. No longer was the ‘Crocodile’ used: the main force assembled into compact gaggles, crossing the coast of England between Hastings and Folkestone, and set course for London. As the bombers came within range of British radar they started to drop clouds of Düppel. Ahead of them were the Pathfinders of I/KG 66, which, as they approached the city, dropped a string of white flares to indicate the correct course for the main force. The target area, with Waterloo Station at its centre, was then marked with green and white flares. The main force bombed, then escaped eastwards towards the North Sea. Returning to base, they refuelled and rearmed, then, minus seven of their original number, set out once more for the capital.

A raid of 447 sorties on the same night sounds impressive, but in fact little damage was done. Most bombs fell well outside the London area, with Kent getting more than its fair share, presumably on the approach. This appears to indicate poorly trained bomber crews and inadequate target-marking.

Despite the extensive use of Düppel, losses were heavy. British fighters and anti-aircraft guns accounted for 25 bombers, while another eighteen were lost for operational reasons, amounting to nearly 19 per cent of the aircraft taking part. At this rate, the ‘Steinbock’ force would quickly have bled to death. Never again was a double raid mounted.

A raid by 285 bombers on 29 January caused considerably more damage, starting many fires, for fourteen losses-a more acceptable attrition rate. By then, however, the Allied landing at Anzio in Italy had caused four Gruppen of bombers, three of Ju 88s and one of He 177s to be transferred to the Mediterranean. This was a serious loss of strength.

Nine raids were made on London during February. The first four were largely ineffective but the remainder were fairly concentrated. A change in tactics became apparent. No longer did the bombers head straight for the target area; instead they flew past London, on at least one occasion as far as High Wycombe. This may have been an attempt to mislead the defenders as to the real target. The turning point was marked by red and white flares and the main force then headed back for London at full throttle in a shallow dive.

High above the capital, at 9,000m, a Ju 88S of I/KG 66 released eighteen red marker bombs on Westminster. The main force bombers swept in at high speed, bombed, then headed towards the coast while continuing to descend. This high-speed escape made life very difficult for the RAF night fighters, but they still managed to inflict a high toll. In all, 72 bombers were lost during the month.

The pattern was broken during March when four raids on London were followed by attacks on Bristol, Hull and Portsmouth. Then, on 18/19 April, came the last manned raid of the war on London. In a terribly unfortunate incident, North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton was hit by five high explosive bombs. The nurse’s quarters were hit, the ward above the children’s ward was set on fire and the x-ray rooms were destroyed. Nineteen people were killed, including several nurses, and 86 were injured. Many of the victims were trapped in the rubble for several hours.

The next attack came on 30 April, when 101 aircraft raided Plymouth. They included a dozen Do 217s of III/KG 100, carrying the Fritz X guided bomb. Their main target was the battleship King George V, but this was obscured by the harbour smokescreen. Little damage was caused, for the loss of three bombers, two of them missile-carrying Dorniers. ‘Steinbock’ finally fizzled out in May. On 14 May 91 bombers raided Bristol but only succeeded in landing three tonnes of bombs on the city, losing six bombers in the process. A few attacks were made on the invasion ports, but to little effect. The campaign had, like the Baedeker Raids, been an almost total failure, with more than 300 bombers lost for little result, apart from tying down a considerable amount of defensive resources.

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Serious attempts to streamline production and to adapt it to Germany’s deteriorating war situation were made in the production plans prepared under the impression of increased strategic bombing on 8 August 1943 (no. 223/1) and 1 October 1943 (no. 224/1). In these plans the focal point shifted heavily towards increased fighter production, while bomber production rate was kept at its current level. This shift was advocated by Milch, who was well aware of the status of Germany’s battered air defenses and of the need to regain air superiority in order to avert military defeat. At that time Hitler also pressed for type reduction. In September 1943, probably following the aforementioned meeting with Messerschmitt, he asked Speer to convince Göring and Milch that fewer aircraft types should be produced. Production plan 224/1, submitted after Hitler’s meeting with Speer, projected a monthly output of 3,327 single-engine fighters and 577 twin-engine fighters by July 1944. This plan set the goals for the 1944 production rate, but production plan 225/1, published in December 1943, was less ambitious and more balanced. Upon Hitler’s request the production figures of fighters were somewhat reduced in order to enable production of the massive He 177 bomber. Göring also pressed for increased bomber production in order to strengthen his bomber arm for the expected resumption of the night bombing campaign against England. This campaign started on the night of 21-22 January 1944 under the codename “Steinbock,” when 447 bombers attacked London. The attacks continued with an ever-decreasing force until May. Not much was achieved, because the attacks were not concentrated and the attackers suffered grave losses. This so-called Little Blitz practically finished off the Luftwaffe’s long-range bomber force and thus wasted most of the increased bomber output demanded by Hitler.

Since production plan 225/1 (December 1943) was the last formal production program published until July 1944, it was supposed to represent aircraft production for most of 1944, including a fairly large number of bombers, which proved to be completely ineffective during the “Little Blitz.” However, events unfolding in the following months dictated a sharp deviation from this plan towards vastly increased fighter production. This shift of policy happened in spite of Hitler’s repeated demands to continue bomber production. Yielding somewhat to this pressure, the Jägerstab approved in early March 1944 reduced bomber production regardless of the decision to concentrate all efforts on fighter production. It also decided to equip 30 percent of the He 177 bombers with modern guided bombs and aerial torpedoes in order to improve their operational capabilities. Even in April 1944, when Saur submitted a revised production plan that included no bombers, Hitler demanded to continue production of the same troubled He 177. The German navy also expressed interest in the aircraft as a long-range maritime reconnaissance platform to support the new submarine offensive it hoped to start in 1944-45 with its revolutionary new submarines. In late May and early June, plans were made to produce the aircraft in a new forest factory in Eger, Czechoslovakia, in order to free German capacity for fighter production. All these meddling explains why quite large numbers of this costly and ineffective aircraft were produced in 1944. Hitler finally declared the He 177 “vollkommen uninteressant” (completely uninteresting) in mid-June 1944, but its production continued at a low rate for several more weeks, mainly for the maritime reconnaissance role. The ax finally fall on this bomber at the beginning of July 1944 after a key discussion chaired by Göring, aimed at terminating or limiting the production of less important aircraft types. It was decided, among other matters, to terminate all conventional bomber production. Even afterwards it took a couple of months until the production lines came to a complete stop. After the He 177 was finally terminated in autumn 1944, the only strategic offensive weapon left to the Luftwaffe was the V-1 (which was never included in the aircraft production programs).

Battle of Friedland, the decisive battle of the campaign of 1807.

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Napoleon Watching The Battle Of Friedland 1807

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A major engagement between French forces under Napoleon and the Russian army under General Levin Bennigsen Friedland was the decisive battle of the campaign of 1807. Following the bloody stalemate at Eylau in February, the Russian and French armies spent the spring recuperating and preparing for a new round of fighting. The Russians launched their offensive on 5 June, threatening Marshal Michel Ney’s corps around Guttstädt. However, the Russian attack was poorly executed, allowing Ney to make a fighting retreat to the Passarge River. Napoleon quickly concentrated his forces at Deppen on the Passarge and counterattacked on 7 June, driving the Russians out of Guttstädt. Three days later, the French attacked the Russian fortified camp at Heilsberg and suffered heavy casualties. However, Bennigsen feared a flanking maneuver by Napoleon and ordered further retreat toward the Russian frontier.

Late on the afternoon of 13 June, the Russian advance guard approached Friedland and found it already occupied by the advance guard of Marshal Jean Lannes’s corps. After a cavalry skirmish, the Russians carried the town and established a cavalry screen on the left bank of the river Alle. The French prisoners indicated that only Lannes’s advance guard was some 2 miles from Friedland waiting for the rest of V Corps to arrive. The leading units of the main Russian army arrived after 8:00 P. M., and Bennigsen moved General Dmitry Dokhturov’s 7th and 8th Divisions to the left bank to support the Russian Imperial Guard and cavalry already deployed there. During the night, the rest of the army concentrated on the right bank. Bennigsen initially did not intend to give battle around Friedland but wanted to secure his march northward to Wehlau, whence he planned to attack Napoleon’s flank and rear if the French advanced to Königsberg.

Bennigsen was exhausted and in poor health, so on the evening of 13 June he left the army to spend the night in a town house in Friedland. He had barely received any rest when, at 11:00 P. M., he was informed that General Nicolas Oudinot’s troops were deployed near Postehnen. Concerned about his positions, Bennigsen moved additional troops across the river and took up positions near the forest of Sortlach. By late evening there were some 25,000 Russians on the left bank of the Alle. Furthermore, that same evening two pontoon bridges were constructed, and additional forces moved to the left bank to secure the flanks. Ataman Matvei Platov’s Cossacks, supported by the Preobrazhensky Guard, the cavalry of the Guard, Finnish Dragoons, and Oliovopol Hussars, were dispatched northward to seize crossing sites at Allenburg and on the Pregel River. Bennigsen moved most of his cavalry to the left flank and posted Prince Peter Bagration with his advance guard on the left. Thus, the Russian troops were deployed in a half-circle around Friedland. This position was extremely unfavorable for several reasons. First, a deep ravine, Muhlen Teich, in the center divided the Russian forces into two parts and complicated communications between them. Second, the troops were deployed on marshy terrain with their backs to the Alle. In case of defeat, the Russians could escape only through the narrow streets and across one small wooden bridge and three pontoon bridges at Friedland. No attempt was made to reconnoiter the river for fords or to examine the terrain on the flanks.

Late on the night of 13 June, Lannes learned about the Russian occupation of Friedland. He instructed Oudinot to reconnoiter the Russian positions and to recapture the town if he found himself faced only by small Russian detachments. Oudinot reached Postehnen, where he encountered a Russian cavalry screen and observed the enemy main columns in the distance. As he was reading Oudinot’s report, Lannes also received instructions from Napoleon to prevent Bennigsen from crossing the Alle and was told that General Emmanuel marquis de Grouchy was en route with his dragoon division to reinforce V Corps for this mission. Around midnight, Lannes received reinforcements, increasing his forces to some 13,000 men. He deployed these troops between Postehnen and Heinrichsdorf, with the light cavalry deployed on the right flank and Grouchy’s dragoons kept in reserve near Postehnen.

Some time after 2:00 A. M., Oudinot, supported by General François Ruffin’s troops, reached Postehnen and engaged the Russian outposts in the woods of Sortlach. The fighting rapidly grew intense, and an hour later Grouchy arrived with his cavalry; he was initially driven back by the numerically superior Russian cavalry, but new French reinforcements (Dutch cavalry of General Adolphe Mortier’s corps) arrived and forced the Russians back. Simultaneously, General Andrey Gorchakov’s troops advanced toward Heinrichsdorf, forcing Lannes to shift part of his cavalry to the right flank. The fighting continued for the next three hours, in the course of which Heinrichsdorf changed hands several times.

On the Russian left flank, Bagration arrived at Sortlach shortly after 3:00 A. M. and deployed his infantry in two lines. In addition, he deployed most of his Jäger regiments (some 3,000 men) as skirmishers in the woods of Sortlach; two battalions, five squadrons, and four guns were placed behind them as reserves and another two battalions, five squadrons, and four guns were placed at Sortlach. As the French attacked, the fighting on the left flank was particularly violent as the French tirailleurs (skirmishers) and Bagration’s Jäger regiments stubbornly contested the ground in the woods. Bagration launched a series of attacks against Oudinot, but French grenadiers repulsed him each time. The 9th Hussars and the Saxon cavalry also counterattacked but suffered heavy losses.

Lannes skillfully used the terrain and protected his troops with a dense screen of skirmishers in the woods. He had mobile columns moving between the lines to create the illusion of arriving reinforcements. He was already told that Napoleon was hurrying with the rest of the army, so he had to pin down Bennigsen for as long as possible. Bennigsen ordered more troops to cross the Alle to support forces already there. The Russian troops crossed the river and, by 9:00 A. M., Bennigsen had most of his cavalry deployed on the right flank, supported by the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Divisions; Gorchakov commanded these forces. On the left flank, the 1st and 2nd Divisions reinforced Bagration. The 14th Division and the Imperial Guard were kept in reserve.

Around 7:00 A. M. Bagration launched another assault. He spread General Nikolay Rayevsky’s 20th Jägers in a skirmish line and arranged the Life Guard Jäger Regiment, with the Rostov Musketeers in reserve, in two columns behind them. A battalion of the 20th Jägers, spearheaded the attack. In hand-to-hand combat, the Life Guard Jägers captured three officers and forty-eight men, but lost two officers and six men themselves. As the French counterattacked, Bagration committed the Moscow Grenadiers, the Pskov Musketeers, and the Alexandria Hussars and deployed Colonel Aleksey Ermolov’s horse artillery battery. The 3rd and 7th Jäger Regiments were ordered to hold their ground in the center while the 5th Jägers remained at Sortlach. Bagration also instructed Rayevsky to disengage the 20th and Life Guard Jägers and rally them in the valley behind the forest. The Jägers slowly retreated, pursued by the French, who stopped on the edge of the woods and continued harassing the Russian lines.

At the same time, Oudinot moved part of his division to seize Sortlach on Bagration’s left, but he was beaten back by the 5th Jäger Regiment. Simultaneously, Rayevsky rallied his troops (20th Jägers and Life Guard Jägers) on the plain behind the Sortlach woods. The French cavalry soon charged him there, but a squadron of the Life Guard Horse Regiment drove them back. Early in the morning, Bagration called up General Karl Baggovut’s detachment. He wanted to make a decisive attack to clear and secure the woods, where Oudinot’s grenadiers had found good positions from which to harass Bagration’s troops. Bagration deployed the 26th Jägers in line, followed by the 4th and 25th Jägers in column. The Russians overwhelmed Oudinot’s troops and drove them out of the Sortlach. To secure his position in the forest, Bagration reinforced Baggovut with a battalion of Olonetsk militia.

Hearing of this success, Bennigsen ordered the rest of his army to adjust the line with the front held by Bagration’s troops. As a result, the Russians advanced 1,000 paces. At the same time, several major cavalry actions took place around Heinrichsdorf, where regular cavalry under General Fedor Uvarov and the Cossacks threatened to envelop the French flank. However, the cavalry of I and VI Corps arrived in time to repulse the Russians and secure the flank. Shortly after 9:00 A. M., Mortier’s corps also arrived on the battlefield near Heinrichsdorf in time to counter a new Russian attack.

It was an important moment in the battle. Unable to defeat Lannes’s corps, Bennigsen could have recalled his army and safely retreated across the Alle before Napoleon’s entire army arrived. However, he decided to remain at Friedland, though he took no precautions to protect his exposed army.

The Russian troops, already exhausted by the previous days’ marches and the early fighting, lapsed into a brief lull between 2:00 and 5:00 P. M. Both sides exchanged artillery fire, but no major actions took place. Bagration, meantime, met Bennigsen in Friedland and turned his attention to the arrival of the French corps. He urged Bennigsen to take measures to strengthen the positions around Friedland. Furthermore, Bagration anticipated that Napoleon would direct a main attack against his flank, so he requested more reinforcements; his appeals were all turned down. Finally, shortly after 4:00 P. M., Bennigsen observed the French corps taking up new positions from which to attack and realized the danger to his exposed army. He ordered a retreat, but Gorchakov argued it was better to defend the current positions until night. Bagration disagreed with this suggestion and began preparing his troops to withdraw to Friedland.

Napoleon, meanwhile, was rapidly concentrating his corps at Friedland. He personally arrived near the town shortly before noon, declaring to his troops “Today is a happy day-it is the anniversary of Marengo” (Chandler 1966, 577). Examining the Russian positions, he realized that he had a chance of destroying the Russian army in a single battle. He urged Ney, General Claude Victor, and the Imperial Guard to accelerate their march to the battlefield as he prepared new dispositions for the battle. He rested his troops in the woods of Sortlach and made sure they had enough ammunition. He then placed Victor’s troops and part of the cavalry in reserve near Postehnen. On the left flank, Mortier’s corps, supported by most of the French cavalry, defended Heinrichsdorf and the road to Königsberg. However, Mortier was instructed not to advance, as the movement would be by the French right flank, pivoting on the left. Napoleon had two corps designed for this flanking attack. Ney was ordered to move to the right flank, passing Postehnen toward the woods of Sortlach. Lannes would form the center in front of Postehnen, while Oudinot’s troops were to turn to the left in order to draw upon themselves the attention of the enemy. Napoleon’s planned maneuver was aimed at destroying the bridges at Friedland and cutting the Russian line of retreat.

At 5:30 P. M. a salvo of twenty French guns signaled the renewal of battle. Ney’s corps advanced from Postehnen to the woods of Sortlach, where Bagration had posted his Jägers. After an hour of vicious fighting, Bagration had to withdraw his exhausted Jägers, allowing the French to occupy the woods and open fire on his main forces. Ney organized his troops in columns in three broad clearings in the forest; General Jean Gabriel Marchand’s division was on the right, General Baptiste Bisson on the left with the cavalry of General Marie- Charles Latour-Maubourg following them behind. The superior French forces drove Bagration’s Jägers out of the woods and carried Sortlach, which was partly abandoned on Bagration’s orders. As the French advanced, several Russian batteries on the right bank opened fire at them, while Bagration deployed his troops in new positions. He then moved the Life Guard Ismailovsk and Semeyonovsk Regiments forward.

The advancing French came under fire from Bagration’s troops and from the batteries on the opposite bank. General Alexandre Antoine Senarmont, chief of artillery of Victor’s corps, later recalled that the Russian batteries, deployed on the opposite side of the Alle, fired on the French flanks and decimated them. Bagration initially counterattacked with the Life Guard Horse Regiment and then moved the Pavlovsk and St. Petersburg Grenadier Regiments forward. The Russians drove the French columns back and captured the eagle of the 69th Line in the process. Ney’s troops fell back in confusion but were quickly rallied when General Pierre Dupont moved his division with the cavalry under generals Armand Lahoussaye and Antoine Auguste Durosnel closely behind. The Russian cavalry continued its attack but came under fire from Dupont’s batteries and was counterattacked by Latour-Maubourg’s cavalry. As the Russians fell back, Dupont changed the direction of his troops to the right and covered the gap on Ney’s left.

Simultaneously, Senarmont moved his twelve guns forward and organized two companies of fifteen guns, with six pieces in reserve, and placed them on both flanks of Dupont’s division. As the French advanced, Senarmont outpaced the infantry and opened fire on Bagration’s troops from close range. The fire was very effective because the Russians were massed in a narrow defile between the Muhlen Teich and the Alle. Realizing the danger of these batteries, Bagration directed his artillery against them. Senarmont disregarded the Russian artillery and concentrated his fire on the enemy infantry. His guns initially fired at 600 paces, then moved to 300 paces; Senarmont’s guns operated with remarkable intensity, firing over 3,000 rounds into the Russian troops. Bagration sent his cavalry to destroy the French guns, but Senarmont calmly awaited their advance before ordering canister fire, which in the event literally mowed down the enemy ranks. The Russians then attacked with the Life Guard Izmailovsk and Pavlovsk Grenadier Regiments, but the French fire virtually wiped out these regiments as well; the third battalion of the Izmailovsk Regiment lost some 400 men out of 520. Realizing the utter futility of his orders, Bagration finally fell back to Friedland, where he unsuccessfully attempted to delay the French advance. By 8:00 P. M. Bagration had withdrawn into Friedland and had the houses in the southern suburbs set on fire to slow down the French. At the same time, as he approached the river, Bagration found the bridges had already been set ablaze by the Russians.

On the Russian right flank, Gorchakov made a desperate assault with his four divisions on Lannes and Mortier. The French contained General Dmitry Golitsyn’s efforts with the support of the cavalry of the Imperial Guard. However, senior French commanders did not exploit their numerical superiority in cavalry (forty squadrons against twenty-five) and allowed the Russians to retreat. The French artillery on the left bank of the Muhlen Teich soon engaged Gorchakov’s forces in flank. The arrival of Gorchakov’s troops in the crowded streets of Friedland created havoc at the bridges, which were already on fire. Bagration and Gorchakov dispatched numerous officers to look for fords along the river, which were quickly found.

The Battle of Friedland was the final engagement of a long campaign. The Russian army had suffered a crushing defeat and could not field another army. The casualties were staggering, as the Russians lost some 20,000 killed and wounded; the French lost 7,000-8,000. Bennigsen had undertaken some effective operations in the early months of 1807, but he committed a fatal blunder at Friedland. Furthermore, the Russian high command played virtually no role in the battle, since Bennigsen was in poor health, his quartermaster general, Fadey Steingeldt, and his duty general, Ivan Essen, were wounded and unavailable for duty, and the Russian headquarters were full of incompetent officers and observers.

Friedland was a decisive military and diplomatic victory for Napoleon. It proved the superiority of French military organization: A single corps had repulsed attacks of the Russian army and allowed the rest of the French to concentrate for a counterattack. It put an end to the Fourth Coalition and led to rapprochement between Russia and France. The meeting between Napoleon and Tsar Alexander at Tilsit and the subsequent treaty of alliance was a direct result of this victory. In addition, Napoleon spread his sphere of influence to the territory between the Oder and the Niemen rivers and found eager supporters in Poland.

References and further reading Both, Carl von. 1807. Relation de la bataille de Friedland le 14 juin 1807. Berlin: Schropp. Chandler, David G. 1995. The Campaigns of Napoleon. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Derode, M. 1839. Nouvelle relation de la bataille de Friedland. Paris: Anselin et Laguionie. Grenier, E. 1911. Etude sur 1807: Manoeuvres d’Eylau et Friedland. Paris: Lavauzelle. Horne, Alistair. 1979. Napoleon, Master of Europe: 1805-1807. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Lettow-Vorbeck, Oscar von. 1896. Der krieg von 1806 und 1807. Berlin: Mittler und Sohn. Michel, Lt. Col. 1909. Etude sur la période du 5 au 14 juin de la campagne de 1807. Paris: Berger-Levrault. Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky, Alexander. 1846. Opisanie vtoroi voini Imperatora Aleksandra s Napoleonom v 1806-1807 godakh [Description of the Second War of the Emperor Alexander against Napoleon in 1806-1807]. St. Petersburg: N. p. Petre, F. Loraine. 2001. Napoleon’s Campaign in Poland, 1806-07. London: Greenhill. Summerville, Christopher. 2005. Napoleon’s Polish Gamble: Eylau and Friedland, 1807. London: Leo Cooper.

Hittite-Hurrian Wars (c. 1620-c. 1325 B. C. E.)

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The Hittite Empire at its greatest extent under Suppiluliuma I (ca. 1350–1322 BC) and Mursili II (ca. 1321–1295 BC)

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The approximate area of Hurrian settlement in the Middle Bronze Age is shown in purple.

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Hittites vs. Hurrian Mitanni (later with Assyrian allies); separately, Egypt vs. Hurrian Mitanni

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Anatolia (Turkey) and the region of modern Palestine and modern Syria

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: The Hittites and Hurrians struggled to dominate Anatolia.

OUTCOME: Dominance seesawed between the Hittites and Hurrian Mitanni but ultimately fell to Assyria, which became the dominant force in the region by the end of these wars.

The Hittite-Hurrian Wars are especially significant for having included the earliest battle of which a record- however incomplete-exists: the Battle of MEGIDDO, 1469 or 1479 B. C. E.

The Hurrians and Hittites vied for centuries to control Anatolia, the territory of modern Turkey. The long series of wars between them began about 1620 B. C. E. when the Hittites fought the Arzawa, a kingdom on their southwest border. Because the Hittites devoted most of their military resources to this struggle, they left south and southeast Anatolia undefended, and the Hurrian kingdom of Mitanni invaded and seized this region. In response, Hittite forces were rushed to the area and succeeded in ejecting the Hurrian Mitanni but, about 1600 B. C. E., were again involved in a pitched struggle for the city of Aleppo. After approximately five years of fighting, the Mitanni finally withdrew.

Some time after this victory, internal struggles within the Hittite kingdom weakened its military position, and the Hurrian Mitanni wrested Cilicia from the Hittites, establishing a kingdom called Kizzuwada about 1590 B. C. E. In a bold strategic move, the Mitanni also created the Hanigabat kingdom in the southeast, which effectively cut the Hittites off from northern Syria. This led to the Battle of Megiddo in 1469 or 1479 B. C. E., not between the Hurrian Mitanni and the Hittites, but between the forces of Egypt, under Pharaoh Thutmose III (fl. c. 1500-1447 B. C. E.), and Saustater (fl. 1500-1450 B. C. E.), the Mitanni king of the Syrian city of Kadesh. With the failure of the Hittites to contain Mitanni expansion, Thutmose feared losing influence in Syria and Palestine. He therefore led an army around the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea to extinguish what he interpreted as a revolt in northern Palestine led by the king of Kadesh. The king’s rebel army marched south to Megiddo, which overlooked the pass leading to the Plain of Esdraelon and was thus a strategically placed high-ground position, the gateway to all Mesopotamia. Deploying his army in three groups, Thutmose made a surprise attack on the Mitanni position at dawn and routed the opposing force, which withdrew behind Megiddo’s walls. Had Thutmose proceeded against Megiddo immediately, the city would have quickly fallen. But his troops paused to loot the abandoned Mitanni camp, giving the defenders time to prepare strong defenses. As a result, Megiddo fell only after a seven month siege. The Battle of Megiddo must have involved very large forces, for it was probably the site of the Armageddon battle described in the New Testament.

The Egyptian victory at Megiddo stopped the Mitanni expansion. The Hittite “Old Kingdom” still languished in decline, however, until the advent of a new leader, Suppiluliumas (c. 1375-c. 1335 B. C. E.), who founded the “New Kingdom” and brought the Hittites to renewed power and influence. He resolved to end the Hurrian presence in Syria altogether by mounting a massive invasion into Syria. With strategic aplomb, he invaded via an unexpected route, through the eastern valley of the Euphrates, which caught the Mitanni entirely unawares. They offered only feeble resistance and, by about 1370, yielded all territory north of Damascus and all of present-day Lebanon.

Seeking to halt the Hittite advance, the Mitanni struck an alliance with Assyria, a rival of the Hittites, but the Hittites checked this move by conquering the Mitanni city of Carchemish on the Euphrates in about 1340. This gave the Hittites a buffer state between them and Assyria. It would be years before the Mitanni-Assyrian alliance retook the region in 1325. After the area around Carchemish had been retaken, the Hurrian Mitanni also reestablished Hanigabat as a subkingdom. By this time, however, both the Hurrians and the Hittites had greatly receded in importance relative to the Assyrians, who were rapidly becoming the dominant people in the region and were destined to possess all of Anatolia.

Further reading: Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998); O. R. Gurney, The Hittites (New York: Penguin Books, 1990); J. G. Macqueen, The Hittites and Their Contemporaries in Asia Minor (London: Thames and Hudson, 1986).

After Okinawa 1945

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Haruna at her moorings near Kure, Japan, under attack by U.S. Navy carrier aircraft, 28 July 1945

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Wreck of Tone at Kure
The Heavy Cruiser Tone, sister of Chikuma survived many battles and was sunk at anchor in Kure harbor by US carrier aircraft on July 24th 1945. Her hulk was scrapped between 1947 and 1948.

After Okinawa had been taken and with the rolling up of the Japanese empire in Southeast Asia progressing satisfactorily, the Americans decided to bring the war home to the Japanese people by carrying out a mix of attacks – massive carrier raids on air bases around Tokyo and the naval facilities at Yokohama; the bombardment by surface warships of principally iron and steel works on the main island of Honshu- and in southern Hokkaido; and bombing sorties on shipping found in the Tsugaru Strait between these two northern islands. In a series of attacks that began on 10 July and spread over eight days featuring no less than fifteen carriers, eight battleships, fifteen cruisers and fifty-five destroyers belonging to Admiral Halsey’s TF 38 and supported by three carriers, a battleship, six cruisers and fifteen destroyers from the BPF for the latter part of the operation on 16-18 July, extensive damage was done. Forty-seven naval craft of various kinds were sunk, the battleship Nagato was made inoperable, while the two new carriers Amagi and Katsuragi, the battleship Haruna and forty-five other vessels were damaged. In addition, well over 5,000 rounds of 5-16 inch (127-406 mm) shells rained down on industrial targets on the home islands.

This operation was followed by one led by Vice-Admiral Jesse Oldendorf at the head of TF 95 in which the principal focus was on shipping in the East China Sea, the Yangtze River estuary and the Yellow Sea. It lasted nearly a month (16 July-12 August) and was one of Oldendorf’s least successful and more frustrating ventures. He lost a destroyer sunk, another two damaged (one of them grievously) and the battleship Pennsylvania torpedoed, for little positive gain. It was not often that Japanese submarine operations became anything other than a by-word for frustration, but in what turned out to be their last sortie with kaiten torpedoes they at last showed what they might have been able to have contributed to the war effort had they been used properly in the past: I-53 armed with two kaiten sunk the destroyer escort Underhill and I-58 damaged the destroyer Lowry on the night of 27-28 July. A couple of nights later I-58 struck again – this time with conventional torpedoes – hitting the US heavy cruiser Indianapolis twice and sinking her. Unbeknown to Lt-Cdr. Mochitsura Hashimoto, his victim had already brought parts of the atomic bomb from San Francisco to Tinian and was on her way back to Leyte when he found her running alone east of Luzon and sent a salvo of six torpedoes in her direction. Only 316 out of the total number of 1,199 officers and crew survived the sinking. I-58 continued to use her kaiten to attack convoys but further success narrowly eluded her on both 10 and 12 August.

Although most of the naval action in the Pacific had been concentrated in the central and southwest regions in 1945, American task groups – usually consisting of a cruiser division and a flotilla of destroyers – had continued to make their presence felt further north by indulging in a series of periodic visits to the Kuriles where they would spend usually a couple of days shelling enemy positions around Paramushiro and Matsuwa without attempting any amphibious operations. One suspects these sorties were designed to be a monthly reminder to the Japanese military that the Americans possessed the strategic and logistical reach necessary to tackle all parts of the empire and that the physical damage wrought by these raids was if anything rather secondary in importance to the psychological blows they were administering to the defenders. An invasion could wait, their turn would come. When it did come, however, it was to be far sooner (18 August) and from a completely different source (the Soviet Union) than might have been expected.

Allied action elsewhere in the Pacific before the first of the atomic bombs was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August took in action against islands, such as Truk and Wake, which had been robbed of their former prominence. By mid-1945 the Japanese defenders on both of these former bases were left as isolated pockets of resistance and ones that remained utterly bereft of making any impact on a war that had passed them by. The Allies resorted to a combination of carrier raids and offshore shelling of both of these islands for much the same reasons as those advanced against the Kuriles – it reminded the Japanese of how much their stock had fallen and who now held the ascendancy in this ocean.

An illustration of just how dominant the Americans had become in this vast theatre was vividly shown on 21-22 July when a US task group of fifteen tankers, five transports and four freighters carried out the replenishment of both TF 38 and units of the British TF 37 whilst they remained on station providing them with roughly 60,000 tons of oil, 6,369 tons of ammunition, 1,635 tons of supplies, ninety-nine aircraft and 412 reservists, in what became the largest supply operation of the entire war at sea. This impressive logistical exercise was arranged primarily to keep the two fleets operational and in a position to launch a further series of attacks on Japan in the next few days. On 24 July, for instance, their carrier aircraft conducted 1,747 sorties along the shoreline of the Inland Sea attacking major naval bases such as Kobe and Kure. In these raids a significant amount of damage was done to the infrastructure of the ports and the warships that were caught at anchor in these harbours. By the time that the last Allied planes had wheeled away and headed back towards their carriers, the bases were littered with the wrecks of the fleet carrier Amagi, the three battleships Haruna, Hyuga and Ise, the heavy cruiser Aoba, the light cruiser Oyodo, and the training cruiser Iwate, along with over 22,000 tons of merchant vessels and auxiliary ships which had either been sunk directly or had become so badly holed and waterlogged that they had ended up by slithering to the harbour floor. In addition, bombs had struck a trio of carriers (Hosho, Katsuragi and Ryuho), the escort carrier Kaiyo, the light cruiser Kitakami, a destroyer, three escort destroyers, two corvettes, a target ship and a landing craft. These raids demonstrated most graphically that there was no longer any hiding place for naval vessels in Japan. Further raids on 28 and 30 July reinforced that impression by finishing off the heavy cruiser Tone, the training cruiser Izumo, as well as the escort destroyer Nashi, the large, but uncompleted, submarine I-404 and eight other assorted ships, while badly damaging ten other warships including a submarine, a frigate and five corvettes. Apart from deploying carrier planes to assist their Allies in the bombing of Japanese naval targets, the British also sent their battleship King George V and three destroyers to join forces with Rear-Admiral John Shafroth’s task group (TG 34.8) for a night’s bombardment of aircraft and other military related factories situated close to Hamamatsu in the southern part of Honshu-(29-30 July).

At the same time they were also planning another surprise for the Japanese in Singaporean waters. Two midget submarines, XE 1 and XE 3, were towed by the submarines Spark and Stygian into position off the island. They then left their mother ships and entered Keppel Harbour alone on 30 July with the intention of destroying the two Japanese heavy cruisers Myoko and Takao stationed there with explosive charges. They achieved only 50% of their objective with Takao being holed and sunk, while Myoko escaped unharmed.

Battle of Warsaw, (July 28-30, 1656)

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Swedish King Charles X Gustav in skirmish with Polish Tatars near Warsaw 1656.

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Siege of Warsaw (1656) second day.

By the numbers involved, this was a colossal, three-day fight during the second campaign of the Second Northern War (1655-1660). Measured by casualties, it was a much smaller affair: Polish losses were about 1,000 cavalry and 600 infantry, while the Allies lost about 700 killed and wounded, though these numbers are often greatly swollen in various nationalist retellings of the battle.

The Polish Army under John II Casimir numbered 25,000 regulars, from 10,000-13,000 noble levies, and 2,000 Tatar allies. Of these troops, barely 4,500 were infantry. Many of the peasants who rallied to Casimir were half trained at best, while his noble levies were as they always had been: ill-disciplined and haughty. The Poles were also under-gunned. Nevertheless, Casimir ferried some troops across the Vistula to attack along the right bank of the river, while others were ordered to advance against the Swedes along the left bank. Karl X commanded an allied force of 18,000 men, about equally divided between Swedes and Brandenburgers. These troops were well-trained and well-armed professionals, and they had far more big guns. Interestingly, this army also was predominantly cavalry and dragoons: some 12,000 horse soldiers were divided into 60 squadrons, supported by only 5,500 infantry divided among 15 brigades.

On the first day, Karl took the offensive by attacking Polish infantry entrenched along a narrow neck of land on the right bank. The attack failed to dislodge the Poles. On the 29th, he used cavalry to screen a risky maneuver by his own infantry, which he wheeled left through wooded terrain. He was established in a new position before the Poles could attack, but they did anyway, sending in 800 hussars while the weaker but more numerous Pancerna cavalry held back. The charge was brave but unsuccessful, as Karl deployed his Swedish- Brandenburg horse in three lines. The hussars broke through the first two Allied lines, but were counter charged by the third. Casimir withdrew his forces, admitting defeat and abandoning Warsaw for the second time in 12 months. The Allies entered Warsaw the next day. The Battle of Warsaw was notable for a Swedish emphasis on deploying cavalry when fighting in Poland, something the Swedes had learned from earlier defeats at Polish hands. But it was not close to being a decisive battle and did not determine the outcome of the war.

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Karl X of Sweden (1622-1660).

King of Sweden, 1654-1660. He trained for war under the great Swedish artillery master Lennart Torstensson (1603-1651) and saw action at several battles of the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), ending as commandant of all Swedish forces in Germany. Worried about the Russian invasion of Poland-Lithuania that began the Thirteen Years’ War (1654-1667), he tried to conquer large, new territory in Poland during the “Little” or Second Northern War (1655-1660), in a serious overreach of Swedish power. He captured Warsaw in 1655 but could not overcome Polish defense of the fortress-monastery of Czestochowa from 1655-1656. The next year he campaigned against Denmark, performing several virtuoso field maneuvers that brought him to the suburbs of Copenhagen. His success in the field forced Denmark to cede large swaths of territory to Sweden in the Treaty of Roskilde (February 26/March 8, 1658). But he fundamentally failed to improve Sweden’s geostrategic position in the Baltic. He startled all Europe by sailing away from Kiel only to turn around and attack Copenhagen a second time, in an effort to repress Denmark permanently and establish Sweden as the dominant Baltic and Scandinavian power. His attempt to exclude all foreign fleets from the Baltic provoked Dutch intervention, which forced him away from Denmark.

He died unexpectedly on February 23, 1660, opening the door to a negotiated settlement with Denmark and its allies, and an end to the Second Northern War. His death at age 37 also left a four-year-old son, Karl XI, on the throne.