Sweden versus Holland 1658

Looking across Øresund

I have finished refighting the Battle of Øresund, 28th October 1658. It was the largest Mad for War game I have played to date so let's get the stats out of the way first:

Table size: 6 x 4 feet

Playing time: 18 turns (6 hours of battle time) played over three days in multiple sessions.

Scale :1/1200

Model to ship ratio: 1: 2 

Number of models used: 50

Total Swedish fleet points: 3,603

Total Dutch fleet points: 3,469

Van Opdam's fleet enters Øresund

The battle was intriguing to play and very difficult to determine the winner until the final tally was made. It ebbed and flowed and contained an enormous number of highlights. It seemed to match the intensity of the historical action in many ways although it was 'free play' and not following any predetermined moves or historical events.

Swedish ships west of Hven

It had three intense phases of action punctuated by phases of manoeuvre. Turns 2-5, Turns 10-15 and 17-18 produced the bulk of the incidents. 

The 32 gun Hjorten opens the battle firing against Zon

The constrained space of  Øresund resulted in an enormously high collision rate particularly for the Dutch and, numerous multiple collisions or 'serial colliders' to be more accurate.

After about 90 minutes the fleets were heavily engaged. A Dutch brander flames at centre.

The Dutch initially had the windward position but as the battle developed into what looking like a galaxy type spiral, the Swedes eventually (after more than three hours of  battle time) gained the weather gauge and the Dutch had come about and attacked into the wind.

Action erupts everywhere

Not a huge amount of writing in English is available about the battle and although historically considered a strategic win for Holland-Denmark, the tactical outcome was far less clear cut and is often described as a draw or indecisive. The intense battering taken by the Dutch fleet made it almost non operational afterwards although the relief ships did reach Copenhagen.

Swedish ships passing Helsingborg

A look at some of the outcomes from this refight shows how punishing the action was:

Dutch fleet at close of battle:

10 ships operational

2 burners spent

4 ships crippled or withdrawn due to damage

6 ships exploded, wrecked by gunfire or sunk

2 ships captured or captured and abandoned

Swedish fleet at close of battle:

14 ships operational

5 ships wrecked by gunfire, abandoned or sunk

5 ships captured

The brander Fruytboom is destroyed by gunfire ands explodes

Ammunition usage:

The Dutch used 30% of available ammunition

The Swedes used 37.6% of available ammunition

Wrangel's Viktoria sinks Windhond behind the smoke at centre

The surrounding and capture of Strussflycht's flagship Kronan in the dying moments of T18 appeared to deliver the Dutch a victory as the rest of the Swedish fleet sailed south past Hven however, calculation of the points losses painted a different picture:

Dutch losses: 2,231 or 64%

Swedish losses:  1,836 or 51%

This turned out to be a convincing Swedish victory and whether Copenhagen could have received its relief supplies is is great doubt.

Kronan realizes she is lagging behind the fleet as the sharks gather

I have meticulously recorded every detail of the battle and scenario construction for publication in a 4Play pdf together with some smaller 'vignette' scenarios from the battle to refight. I will release this soon. 

Kalmar Kastell is captured by Zeeridder in sight of Helsingborg

It was great to get the Swedish fleet out and fighting. Its heavier ships did make it more resilient but the Dutch were unlucky in several instances, particularly with the number of bad collisions they suffered. The last being the ramming of Brederode by Eendracht as they clambered to capture Kronan. They had mistaken her for the fleet flagship Viktoria and saw this as a battle winning combat. Interestingly, as in history, the Dutch Admiral Floriszoon was killed in the battle although the cantankerous Witte de With - survived, only getting into action in the final two turns of the marathon!

King Karl X's view from Kronborg (Elsinore)