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(???? - 1799 AD) Pre-19th Century Battles
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john hayward
Allenstown
NH USA
Posts: 767
The Swedish Army
Posted on: 5/7/2019 10:56:21 AM

During the War of Spanish Succession 1702-1714 the Allied Armies of the Duke of Marlborough marched thru Germany, Belgium and northern France. There was the usual waste that large armies caused but very little deliberate acts of destruction. There were very few atrocities reported on the civilian population.

As the same time Swedish Army was descending on Poland like a plague of locust. It robbed the civilians of life's necessities. They slaughtered all the animals they couldn't carry away. Orders were given to kill all males over 15. Entire villages disappeared

In the village of Masovia, the soldiers rounded up the children, beat them, and then pretended to hang in front of their parents. Some units actually carried out the hangings

As to prisoners...after the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706, over 500 prisoners executed after the battle's end. They were herded together and "shot and cut down within the ring without mercy, like slaughtered sheep."

These don't seem to be isolated incidents

The Swedish Army behaved more like armies of The 30 Years War or even more telling like the German Army of the Second World War.

Any explanation for this behavior or why Marlborough's Army didn't?
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Fairmont
WV USA
Posts: 5
The Swedish Army
Posted on: 8/19/2019 8:01:58 PM

Hi John,

I recently became interested in the Great Northern Wars and how it affected Sweden, Poland, and Russia (along with several other countries/locales). I have read three books so far:

The Northern Wars 1558-1721 by Robert Frost
A Warrior Dynasty by Henrik Lunde
The Battle That Shook Europe (Poltava) by Peter Englund

From my brief introduction, it seems as if that was a way of fighting in the Baltic region. There are accounts of all sides committing atrocities on the defeated armies and civilian populations. When the Russians recaptured Narva from the Swedes in 1705 they slaughtered all Swedish inhabitants. Maybe someone else with more knowledge will help with a more specific reason(s). It seems the brutality was used at times to subdue the local citizens (who survived) and to try and intimidate your enemies. By the time the Swedes arrived at Poltava they expected no mercy, but all sides had at times throughout the previous 150 or so years committed atrocities on their enemies.
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Nick Spencer
IOW,United kingdom
 UK
Posts: 196
The Swedish Army
Posted on: 3/30/2020 4:16:46 AM

Quote:
During the War of Spanish Succession 1702-1714 the Allied Armies of the Duke of Marlborough marched thru Germany, Belgium and northern France. There was the usual waste that large armies caused but very little deliberate acts of destruction. There were very few atrocities reported on the civilian population.

As the same time Swedish Army was descending on Poland like a plague of locust. It robbed the civilians of life's necessities. They slaughtered all the animals they couldn't carry away. Orders were given to kill all males over 15. Entire villages disappeared

In the village of Masovia, the soldiers rounded up the children, beat them, and then pretended to hang in front of their parents. Some units actually carried out the hangings

As to prisoners...after the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706, over 500 prisoners executed after the battle's end. They were herded together and "shot and cut down within the ring without mercy, like slaughtered sheep."

These don't seem to be isolated incidents

The Swedish Army behaved more like armies of The 30 Years War or even more telling like the German Army of the Second World War.

Any explanation for this behavior or why Marlborough's Army didn't?


Try looking at population density of the regions effecting logistical capabilities, ie Marbrough can march ( notice how he uses river born grain supplies to supliment his purchase from allies lands he moves over) through a highly populated series of nations ( France 39 per sq mile, Belgium 50) and feed his army from surplus food in the region who can replace what it sells to him, in next harvest, while Armies moving through Poland 8 per sq mile have to take everything from everyone and still dont have enough.

JSTOR for instance Army Provisioning, Logistics and Strategy in the Second Half of the 17th Century
https://www.jstor.org/stable/42555013?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3A8ca8a4b8a3234cd868cfa2c7b1a90afd&seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents

Or https://www.amazon.co.uk/Supplying-War-Logistics-Wallenstein-Patton/dp/0521546575

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