Battle of Bornholm

25th May 1676
Part of : Scanian War (1675 - 1679)
Previous action : Action of 23rd April 1676 23rd April 1676
Next action : Battle of Öland 1st June 1676



Swedish Line
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Kronan 126 Fleet Flagship
Svärdet 94 Squadron Flagship
Nyckeln 86 Squadron Flagship
Äpplet 84 
Viktoria 84 
Solen 80Johan Bogeman
Mars 74 
Saturnus 74 
Sankt Hieronymus 72 
Wrangel 70 
Jupiter 68 
Venus 68 
Draken 66 
Hercules 64 
Wismar 58Anders Appelbom
Carolus X 56 
Svenska Lejonet 52 
Spes 46 
Maria 46 
Riga 44 
Neptunus 44 
Solen 40 
Flygande Vargen 36 
Abraham 30 
Swedish Frigates
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Danska Fenix 44 
Trumslagaren 34 
Fredrika Amalia 32 
Sundsvall 32 
Salvator 30 
Nordstjärnan 28 
Järnvågen 28 
Hjorten 36 
Uttern 24 
Not in the line
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Leopard 22  Captured
Konung David 10  Captured

Allied (Denmark & Dutch Republic)

Danish Squadron
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Churprinsen 88 Fleet Flagship
Tre Løver 52 Squadron Flagship
Enigheden 72 
Christianus IV 56 
Frederik III 52 
Gyldenløve 52 
Naeldebladet 50 
Christiania 50 
Lindormen 44 
Delmenhorst 42 
Svenska Falk 40 
København 34 
Dutch Squadron
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Delft 62 Squadron Flagship
Gideon 60Abraham Ferdinand van ZijllSquadron Flagship
Akerboom 60 Squadron Flagship
Oostergo 64 Squadron Flagship
Noord Holland 46 Squadron Flagship
Waasdorp 68 
Justina van Nassau 60 
Caleb 50 
Utrecht 36 
Danish Frigates
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes
Havmanden 36 
Charitas 30 
Lossen 26 
Hummeren 24 
Havfruen 20 
Spragelede Falk 16 
Not in the line
Ship NameGunsCommanderNotes

Notes on Action

Description of the actionNWB

The Allies were about ten miles north of Jasmund, the north-east corner of Rugen, when the Swedish fleet was sighted at 6 a.m. on May 25th coming down before a light north-easterly breeze. In the face of such superiority it was obviously Juel's duty to avoid action if possible, more especially since he knew that reinforcements would shortly be leaving Copenhagen. Nevertheless, wanting to avoid any appearance of flight, and also probably with the hope of getting in a blow on his own account before Tromp's arrival, he formed line, not on the starboard, but on the port tack, thus heading away from Copenhagen.

He kept close-hauled on the port tack, but meanwhile the wind gradually veered, so that when Creutz got level and bore away to attack, the allied fleet was four miles east of Jasmund, heading S.S.E. The Swedes were in some disorder, partly through the fault of Creutz, who had never commanded a fleet before, and partly through lack of skill in the handling of individual ships. Juel took the opportunity given him. He tacked his fleet in succession, stood N.N.E. with a freshening breeze, and managed at about 9 p.m. to cut off the last five Swedish ships, apparently small-craft, but it was too dark to do much. A little later Creutz tacked also, and the action ended. During the night both fleets kept on the starboard tack, and next morning the action was renewed. Details of the fighting are very uncertain. Each of the three nations concerned has an entirely different account of it; but it is possible by the selection of portions of each story to piece together a fairly plausible narrative. In the following account mention is made of the sources from which the various details are drawn. The wind was S.S.E. (Tornquist, Garde). The Swedes were in a general way to windward, but very much scattered (Tornquist). Juel began to beat to windward to cut off the most leewardly of the Swedes, who did the same in order to re-unite (Bruun, Juel's report). The Dutch squadron formed the van of the Allies and sailed in general better than the Swedes, who were in turn better than the Danes (de Jpnge). As a result, when Almonde got up to the Swedish line at 7 a.m. he was supported by only three of the Danish ships in addition to his own squadron (de Jonge). On the other hand, only a part of Creutz's fleet was in position to receive him (Tornquist). The fleets passed twice on opposite tacks. The first time Almonde was only just within range, but the second time he ran along the whole Swedish line as close as possible. His ships suffered severely. According to a Swedish eye-witness his flagship, the Delft 62, had a hole made in her " big enough to drive a horse and cart through". At any rate, she was evidently very much damaged, since Almonde had to shift his flag to the Gideon 60, and in addition to the flagship the Waesdorp 68 was driven out of action and the Ostergo 60 and Northolland 44 considerably knocked about. Meanwhile, some of the Danes had got to windward of the Swedish lee ships and cut them off from the main body. Juel, however, thought he had done enough for appearance's sake, and seeing that Creutz showed signs of coming down to their relief he bore up at 2 p.m. and retired, covering his retreat by sending in a fireship. This, of course, compelled Almonde to withdraw also, and the allied fleet proceeded in good order with the Dutch astern (de Jonge) to Falsterbo, East of Kjoge Bay, where they anchored. Creutz started to pursue, but seeing the Merkurius 64, commanded by his son Major Creutz, in danger from the Danish fireship, he backed his foretopsail with the idea of helping her. This threw the fleet into even worse confusion than before, and it was not until Uggla came on board the flagship (Tornquist) that any sort of order was restored. The pursuit was then begun again, but it was too late, and the Swedes were too scattered to do any good. As night fell Creutz took his fleet to Trelleborg and anchored about ten miles east of the Allies.

The Swedes lost two ships. The Konung David 10 (store-ship) was cut off from the fleet on the 25th and captured and burnt by a Dutch ship next day. The Leopard fireship [She was a merchantman able to carry 20-30 guns, but was now used as a fireship. German accounts give her 22 guns but probably mean " ports." ] was taken by the Brandenburg squadron of three frigates, two Galiots, and six "sloops " (very small craft), which was on its way from Copenhagen under Raule to join the Allies. The Allies had a loss of fifty men killed and fifteen wounded. + That of the Swedes is not known. It can hardly be said that either side had won a victory, though the Swedes had, of course, every reason to feel dissatisfied. With a superiority in force of more than three to two, with the advantage of the single nationality, and with the weather position, they had failed to capture a single ship or to prevent Juel from reaching a position where he could get reinforcements unhindered. Probably much of their want of success was due to Creutz's inexperience, but there is no doubt that he was not properly supported by his subordinates. On the other hand, though the result of the fight wa>s> in a way as creditable to the Allies as it was discreditable to the Swedes, the natural jealousy and distrust of the two different nationalities showed themselves very clearly. Almonde reported that he had not been properly backed up by the Danes on the 26th, and accused Rodstehn in particular of lack of support, while the Danes stated that the Dutch had deliberately kept out of action for some time during the first day's fighting. Be this as it may, there can be little doubt that, in spite of the fact that the Swedes held thanksgiving services for their "victory," the advantage of the two days, such as it was, rested with the Allies.


NWB Naval wars in the Baltic during the Sailing Ship EpochR C AndersonBook

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