Part 1: I am looking forward to Christmas because...

Capital units of the Swedish fleet head north towards Stockholm, June 1st 1676

..... I will get to play my Christmas game which this year I have decided is a version of the Battle of Öland, June 1st 1676. This will be my largest effort with 1/1200 17th century ships and my target is to included 36 models. That leaves me about four weeks to paint up 7-8 ships several of which are big 'uns.

Highly detailed three frame evolution of the battle.

I also need to scratchbuild a little corner of terrain to represent the northern tip of Öland island. I thought it might be useful to brief on the build up to the battle which is probably not that well known outside of Scandinavia. 

Wonderful artwork of Dutch,Danish and Swedish ships engaging.

The battle is part of the Skåne War between Denmark-Norway and Sweden although it is contemporaneous with the 3rd Anglo Dutch War and the Franco Dutch War. These other wars are significant because Denmark-Norway was allied to the Dutch Republic and, the fleet commander of the Allied fleet was none other than Cornelis Tromp. Tromp was a fleet admiral in the Danish Navy and commanded from a Danish vessel. Over one third of the Allied fleet was Dutch. Dutch ships were the most heavily engaged and first into action. 

Circled area marks the battle site off  Öland

The battle was large and involved a total of 97 ships. Not as large as some of the Anglo-Dutch epics but huge nevertheless. It was a most spectacular engagement resulting in the loss of the two most senior admirals in the Swedish navy together with the two largest Swedish ships - Stora Kronan (Great Crown) of 124 guns and Svärdet (Sword) of 94 guns.

From a previous smaller Öland scenario - Danish and Dutch ships shadowed by a Swedish scout

Stora Kronan infamously was blown over in a gust of wind and subsequently exploded in a fireball when a forward magazine ignited killing almost all of her crew together with RijksAdmiral Lorentz Creutz.

I previously modelled the sinking Stora Kronan in 1/1200 - maybe this will get used!

The battle was full of incident and drama and resulted in a crushing victory for the Allied fleet. I have decided to model the fleets on roughly a 1:2 basis to make the battle manageable. The majority of the Allied fleet will be composed of Dutch ships from Philip van Almonde's squadron with the Swedes having three squadrons represented on the ratio stated.

Öland was part of the brutal Scanian War. Here Danish and Swedish troops clash.

The were several fascinating sea battles during the war all of which saw the Allies or Danes victorious. On land the Swedes had far more if not universal success.

Buff coated Swedish Life Guard cavalry charge - Karl XI perfecting Swedish tactics.

Both fleets are of great interest and exciting to model. This introductory post should begin to explain the scope of the project and why I have chosen it. 

The Swedes had not fully adopted the line of battle formation commonly used by the English and Dutch

The battle took place just off the northern tip of Öland island which lies very close to the south east coast of Sweden. The Swedish fleet was heading north towards Stockholm when Creutz decided to turn it round and directly into the fierce north easterly wind to face the pursuing but numerically inferior Allied fleet. 

Large Swedish battleship - Mars - I am modelling this vessel for Uggla's squadron

The Swedes had larger, heavier-gunned ships and were far more numerous than their opponents. On the debit side of the ledger their crews lacked the open ocean experience of the Dutch and many Danes and Norwegian crews who served in the Dutch fleets ranging all over the world. Swedish command structure and organization was far poorer, the main commander was a political appointee and the ships were on the whole, older, undermanned and poorly maintained. Many had sustained damage during a violent storm the previous day. 

Exciting action in 1/1200 between Danes, Dutch and Swedes

Faced by two naval 'stars' the experienced Dutchman Cornelis Tromp and the charismatic Dane Niels Juel, the fractured and disgruntled Swedish commanders were at a disadvantage in numerous ways. Although the battle was fought in late Spring, the weather on the day was turbulent and the Swedes had failed to achieve a windward position between Öland island and the Allied fleet. This meant the Swedish fleet had to face into the wind to join battle. This fact in combination with the many other stated factors greatly influenced the outcome. 

I will explain how the scenario is being put together and the progress on both fleets as I countdown to the Christmas break.