Mars, Athena and Ottoman inclusion at Westphalia (POD 1643)

30 Years War, Torstensson War, Sweden, Ottoman Empire, Westphalia, Christina, Charles Gustav

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"The God of War Hates Those Who Hesitate." - Greek Proverb

"Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot."
- Niccolo Machiavelli

"Pride goeth before a fall, and an haughty spirit before destruction" - Proverbs 16:18


A Coordinated Torstensson War - Introduction and point of departure

(OTL) In late 1643 - as the nightmarish 30 years war and climate induced crop failures ravaged Germany - Swedish Field-Marshal Lennart Torstensson disengaged the main Swedish field army and led it on an invasion of Denmark.

The regency government which ruled Sweden in the name of the young Queen Christina I* had devised an elaborate plan to coordinate other attacks with this invasion. However the courier who brought Torstensson his orders took 3 months longer than expected and so the Swedish Government could not be sure Torstensson had recieved his orders until the invasion had begun. So no preparations for the other, coordinated attacks were made.

This timeline will explore what may have happened, had the courier reached Tortensson as expected and the planned coordination been achieved. The last few years of what historians in our timeline call the 30 years war will take a different course, we will see a different peace and a different course for the early modern period and General Crisis induced by the 'little ice age'.

I will give a fairly detailed account of the alternate Torstensson war, and many of the military operations, told George RR Martin style from the perspectives of different characters. A lot will happen in a few months. This will explain the divergence in detail. After peace is made between Sweden and Denmark time will move more swiflty the geographical scope will widen.

This won't all read like a Sharpe novel (unless I get a lot of positive responses to that stuff) even if some of the beginning does. Once I have established the details of the Point of Departure, politics and worldbuilding will be my focus. In our timeline 1645 the Ottomans were in two minds about attacking Austria or attacking Venice. The Swedish representative pleaded for the former in vain and The Ottomans attacked Venice which was a disaster for them. In this timeline, Sweden will be stronger and Austria looking like weaker pickings...

I would like to make this as realistic as possible while keeping it entertaining. I will include genuine sources from our timeline in quote tags. Commentary and suggestions welcome.

I started this while writing a presentation on The OTL European Wars of Religion, Military Revolution and Development of the European Warfare State. This TL is a creative writing exercise that let me do something else when my mind wouldn't leave that topic. It will continue if people enjoy it.

Also, I really want to hear if anyone thinks I have gotten details wrong or anything would happen differently. Tell me early enough and I can make changes before I have written too much that I don't want to rewrite.


*While she was addressed as 'Queen' in Law her title was 'King'
Source (OTL):
The Lion From the North
The Swedish Army During The Thirty Years War: Volume 2, 1632-1648, p 99
Michael Fredholm von Essen

"The Swedish regency government devised an elaborate strategy that was well ahead of its time. Torstensson would attack Denmark from the south, through Germany. He would conquer Jutland and then ship his army to Danish islands of Fyn, Lolland, and Zealand so that he could attack Copenhagen. Simultaneously, a smaller corps from Pomerania (200 cavalrymen on foot and 2000 infantry under Colnel Erik Hansson Ulfsparre) would invade southern Zeeland. At the same time Field Marshal Gustav Horn would attack Scania and the other Danish provinces in modern-day southern Sweden. Horn, too would then ship his army across the sea to Copenhagen where he and Torstensson would join forces.

Simultaneously the regency government ordered an invasion of Jamtland, a province of Norway which protruded into Sweden. There was also talk of a diversion from Livonia against the nearby island of Osel, which belonged to Denmark.

The plan was intended as a surprise attack. No war preparations would be undertaken that could be observed by the Danes

...

Torstensson invaded Holstein [Danish posession south of Jutland] in late December [1643]

...

communications interfered with the Swedish war plans. Torstensson had moved so rapidly that when he marched into Holstein, his dispatch to Stockholm with confirmation of the plan to attack Denmark had not yet reached the regency government. In Stockholm, the regency government despaired over why Torstensson had not yet confirmed receipt of his orders. Oxenstierna's order to Torstensson should have reached him in, at most, four to six weeks, but because of dificulties in Silesia and Moravia, the couriers travels had taken almost four months ... Stockholm only found out in early January that the invasion of Holstein had been initiated, exactly as Oxenstierna had planned. This upset the entire war schedule. So as to avoid giving warning to the Danes, the regency government had not yet given Horn his marching orders for the invasion of Scania. So, while Torstensson despite the delayed order carried out his part of the plan on time, Horn was unable to cross the border into Scania before February 1644. In addition, the planned maritime invasion of Zealand from Pomerania could no longer be carried out, since the Danish navy now was alerted and surely would act to prevent such an attempt.
 
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1643, Preparation, Moravia, Stockholm, 30 Years War
Part 1: Preparation

First came the Greycoats to eat all my Swine,
Next came the Bluecoats to make my sons Fight,
Next came the Greencoats to make my wife Whore,
Next came the Browncoats to burn down my Home.
I have naught but my life, now come the Blackcoats to rob me of that.

- Anonymous poem​

July 25, 1643 Swedish Camp, Moravia

"Everyone get out, attend to your duties, give the appearance nothing has changed" Torstensson told his staff and senior officers in a voice that bordered on weariness. He could not quite hide the pain in his voice, the Gout was clearly flaring. His voice softened, "not you Charles Gustav, you will stay". Charles straightened and saluted.

"So, my boy", the old general said with affection rolling up the encyphered message he had just read out, "We are to abandon this campaign. In December we are to invade Holstein and The Jutland Peninsula. A surprise attack covered with the pretense of seeking winter quarters. How would you have us proceed? Show an old man just how much you have learned."

Charles relied at once.

"First, send an entire cavalry squadron, 200 men with the courier confirming reciept of our orders. Stockholm having confirmation so they can coordinate other attacks matters above anything else." Charles paused "We will not be wintering anywhere near here. Preparing logistics and securing a line of communication for operations in Austria is no longer our goal."

"Gallas has systematically avoided battle and we should stop seeking it. I would look to our defenses - no more attempts to take fortresses south of our position we strengthen those we have, and take Imperial strongholds that remain within our territory. Oxenstierna will be sending no reinforcements, we need to recruit. Half our troops I would commit to these endeavours."

"Second, the others half I would split and scatter. I would act as my uncle did in Bavaria. Kill All, Loot All, Burn All. The winter storms have delayed the harvest and it is still being gathered. The Peasants have not had time to hide it. Destroy all not close enough to compel the peasants to carry to our strongholds. Kill all livestock. With weakly defended towns, do not euphamise about contributions, impose the Fire Tax as Mansfeld did. If Gallas starts picking off our divided units, we can lay a trap and bring him to battle." *

"I would have Cavalry raid in several directions to conceal our intentions. Königsmark I would have take settlements on our line of march under the guise of raids. We always have typhoid, dysentary and other poxes in our camp. As we depart leave the sick in those settlements we don't intend to keep. Prepare Our Swedish Drink.** As our army marches let our cavalry raiders offer it's taste far and wide, south of our strongholds. They can catch up with the main army when this grim duty is done."

"I would march for Denmark in mid September, this gives us some time. We march divided and take time to gather all the provisions we can along our Line of March. Königsmark will have taken some settlements, our forces will have time to take more. This helps us conceal our intentions and deny supplies to our pursuers. I do expect pursuit eventually"

Charles paused

"For the record, Sir, I don't like these orders either"

The old man smiled, Life and the sharp, energetic intelligence for which he was so famed, returned to his weary frame.

"My boy, I have taught you so well"

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August 07, 1643 Stockholm

"Torstennson has confirmed reciept of his orders. His army will enter Holstein in late December, on the pretence of seeking winter quarters and commence our invasion of Denmark" Lord High Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna informed the Regency Council he dominated with undisguised relief, shared by all the men in the room. Christina shifted in her seat.

"I will order all preparations for the planned invasions of Skane and Norway - compatible with secrecy - begun at once" replied Lord High Constable, Field-Marshal, Jacob De la Gardie "I will also have couriers dispatched to Pomerania and Estonia with encrypted messages ordering the discussed invasions of Zealand and Ösel."

"Well, I think that conculdes matters" Oxenstierna said after a pause.

"No it doesn't" interjected Christina. "We recommend the Navy be heavily provisioned and make ready to put to sea in autumn before ice traps our fleet in port till spring** when the element of surprise is lost. Our fleet should head east along the swedish coast to avoid suspicion, then turn around and head for the Pommeranian coast timed to arrive after the invasion has left for Zealand, but as soon as is compatible with the secrecy of our other plans."

"We recommend giving our fleet operational freedom to act as it see's fit according to what will no doubt be an unpredictable and developing situation. We do not know where the Dane's will be, but they cannot be everywhere at once. However We have a strong preference that our fleets first action be to position itself between Jutland and the Danish Islands, preventing a retreat from Jutland, ensuring that the Danes can be defeated in detail. This will also ensure our veteran German troops with battle and siege experience and the most Terrifying Reputation make it to the Islands."

The Queen paused

"One should never risk one's whole fortune unless supported by one's entire forces" The Queen quoted Machiavelli.

Admiral of the Realm Carl Gyllenhielm tried to control his temper and failed "Ones entire fortune" he spluttered "Does her majesty truly realise how much our new fleet has cost? Unless our armies take an ice free port our Fleet will remain at sea for 6 months. Does her majesty realise the risk this poses to our ships. Does she realise how disease ravages any crew long at sea. How this will degrade their combat effectiveness when they engage the Danes. How hard it is to replace trained crew?"

"Her Majesty realises all of this. We have no doubt the Danes will engage our fleet long before the fears you express come into play. If they do not then we have already won." The Queen stood and came close to raising her voice. "You gentlemen decided on this great gamble. Now is not the time for half measures. What is our fleet for, if not this!"

Field Marshal and Count Jacob De la Gardie looked at His Queen with admiration and new eyes. "I agree with Her Majesty in every detail. Bringing everything we have to bear at once maximises shock and increases the chances of a swift settlement which would allow us to return to Germany with maximum haste. The war will be over by Spring."

This was a debate The Queen would win.

She privately assured Gyllenhielm, humiliated as the other councilors came close to accusing him of cowardice, that he would receive the continued royal favour of a Monarch soon to reach her majority should he propose a promotion for herbe loved cousin and heir presumptive Charles Gustav - that he might win some of the glory he so desired in the coming war. A proposal that was to pass.

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*Gallas had orders not to give Battle
** Something horrible, biological warfare. Look it up if you like, you have been warned.
***During 'the little ice age' Sweden posessed no ports free of ice between Autumn and Spring
 
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1643, Torstensson War, Opening Moves
Interlude – Synchronicity

I intend to write most of this timeline as a narrative however I thought it would be helpful at this point to give a list of dates and locations to indicate what is happening where and when as things kick off.

14 November 1643: Courier reaches Torstensson with Charles Gustav's promotion to Major-General

26 November 1643: Stockholm, Riksdag authorises war

Various dates in December 1643: 100 dragoons, 1600 foot and 4 guns gather in the provinces of Medelpad and Ångermanland and invade the Norwegian province of Jämtland (geography does not permit large scale operations so multiple dates and locations)

12 December 1643: Swedish fleet, having followed the coast north at the first signs of autumn ice, returns to Stockholm

13 December 1643: Colonel Erik Hansson UlfSparre makes landfall in southern Zealand 200 dismounted Cavalry and 2000 infantry. Horses are soon requisitioned and this force makes its presence known.

15 December 1643: Torstensson invades Holstein with 8,000 horse, 10,000 foot and 60 guns

17 December 1643: 200 dismounted cavalry and 1600 infantry land in Ösel.

20 December 1643: Horn, having mustered at Markaryd, crosses the border on a forced march with 3,300 horse, 8,700 foot, and 40 Guns. This force is mostly raw recruits but does include 1,400 veterans withdrawn piecemeal and in secret from Livonia and Ingria*

21 December 1643: Torstensson storms Christianspreis, news of the massacre that followed spreads demoralisation

26 December 1643: Swedish Fleet having taken a crooked route to avoid detection picks up soldiers (500 foot), supplies, pilots and current intelligence off Rügen (island off Stralsund)

27 December 1643: A Pomeranian firsherman spots the Swedish fleet and quickly flees back to his village. Wanting some measure of vengeance for his many murdered kinsmen he decides to set out the next day to report what he has seen to the Danish authorities on Lolland.

28 December 1643: Horn takes unfortified Lund

29 December 1643: Swedish Fleet departs intending to hug the German coast, land the soldiers on Fehman island, continue to hug the German coast as long as they can before moving into position between Jutland and Funen. Contact to be made with Torstensson at whatever Jutland port(s) they find he has taken

30 December 1643: Horn arrives at fortified Malmö with 3,200 horse, 8000 foot and 33 guns. His orders advise Immediate Storm in the tradition of Gustavus, to take advantage of shock and surprise, and this is the course of action he decides upon.

By the end of 1643, no formal declaration of war has been made.

Numbers are the round ones reported by Officers.

* this italicised part is a deviation from OTL enabled by greater time to prepare.

(please DM me or comment if you think realism demands any of this be different. Oh and if anyone knows how much the Swedish did to add to the Fortifications of Malmö between when they took it OTL and 1677 that would be super helpful for the next section. There is so much more detailed English language material on the 1677 siege of Malmö than the 1644 one).
 
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** Something horrible, biological warfare. Look it up if you like, you have been warned.
It's not really biological warfare.
The Schwedentrunk was a form of torture/execution where the victim was force-fed a soup of hot **** or in its absence, other refuse. After the victim's belly was bulging painfully from this procedure, their assailants would beat their tummy with clubs or trample it underfoot, whether to force out the location of treasure, or to induce death.
This method was popular amongst mercenaries under Swedish employ, since pay was not aways adequate, and it was left up to them to make up for the shortfall, usually by robbing the locals. When the mercenaries believed somebody had hidden away money, they might proceed to give them the Schwedentrunk until they talked. Of course, this torture method was extended to other forms of extortion as well.

Personally I don't think the Swedes would call it the Schwedentrunk themselves, due to how utterly shameful it was as a practice. I read that the name comes from the German people who witnessed or suffered it themselves, not the employers of its perpetrators.
 
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I put 'The Swedish Drink' as an asterisk leading to a 'look it up if you like but you've been warned' for a reason. I am not going to sanitise this period in what I write, but neither am I interested in giving loads of detailed accounts of crimes against humanity and their methodology for the sake of it.

It's not really biological warfare.
The Schwedentrunk was a form of torture/execution where the victim was force-fed a soup of hot **** or in its absence, other refuse. After the victim's belly was bulging painfully from this procedure, their assailants would beat their tummy with clubs or trample it underfoot, whether to force out the location of treasure, or to induce death.
This method was popular amongst mercenaries under Swedish employ, since pay was not aways adequate, and it was left up to them to make up for the shortfall, usually by robbing the locals. When the mercenaries believed somebody had hidden away money, they might proceed to give them the Schwedentrunk until they talked. Of course, this torture method was extended to other forms of extortion as well.

Personally I don't think the Swedes would call it the Schwedentrunk themselves, due to how utterly shameful it was as a practice. I read that the name comes from the German people who witnessed or suffered it themselves, not the employers of its perpetrators.
If we are going to go into detail on topics like this, there were loads of variations. Some involved hot liquid, some didn't - even if you always wanted the liquid hot (and commanders using this strategically didn't) you aren't always going to have firewood to hand or the time to make a fire and heat a load of liquid when terrorising peasants - efficient foraging requires rapid movement. Also the smoke from fire used to heat liquid can alert the enemy to your presence.

One method was force feeding the victim water mixed with human bodily waste. Two of the major killers of the 30 years war were Typhoid and Dysentery - transmitted through human bodily waste.


ASKS MOD: does this forum have rules on topics like this?

Also, in the closing years of the war I believe foragers were generally ordered on systematic missions to find where the peasants had hidden their harvest, rather than money per se. There was widespread famine and trade had mostly ceased in large areas of Germany. You can't eat money.

As for the Swedes using the term themselves, maybe, maybe not. This was an era when people took pride in attrocities (or at least bragged about them to spread fear and ensure the people paid them before the other team because they feared them more). For example, IIRC the responsible Swedish commander proudly and publically called the Sack of Landsberg 'Our Magdeburg'.

Thanks for the input and constructive criticism.
 
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1643, Torstensson War, Denmark, Scania, Lund, Malmo, Brage Dalman
Part 2: The Marriage of Malmö

Act 1: No Rest for the Wicked

“it cost the king dear trying to give freedom to Germany, what with giving Sweden the salt tax,
what cost the poor folk a bit, so I've heard, on top of which he had to have the Germans locked up and
drawn and quartered 'cause they wanted to carry on slaving for the emperor. Course the king took a serious
view when anybody didn't want to be free. He set out by just trying to protect Poland against the bad people,
particularly the emperor, then it started to become a habit till he ended up protecting the whole of Germany.
They didn't half kick. So the poor old king's had nowt but trouble for all his kindness and expenses,
and that's something he had to make up for by taxes of course, which caused bad blood,
not that he's let a little matter like that depress him. One thing he had on his side, God's word,
that was a help. Because otherwise folk would of been saying he done it all for himself
and to make a bit on the side. So he's always had a good conscience,
which was the main point.”

- Berthold Brecht, 'Mother Courage and her Children


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Painters always leave out fog, dust and darkness ^

28 December 1643, after Sunset, fishing village north Malmö

"Are we Vikings now?" Cavalryman Brage Dalman joked in an effort to keep his comrades spirits up. Eric Åkesson tried to laugh, but gave a hacking cough instead. That cough was beginning to worry Brage.

When Lund surrendered on terms well before noon the Foot and 500 Horse had been billeted and granted leave till sunset the following day. No doubt whippings were threatened for anyone who came late. Knowing how the Old Man had conducted the campaign so far Brage expected he was planning a Night March. At this time of year! The Old Man was a Finn, they didn't understand cold. Brage thought of Eric's cough and shuddered.

Brage had not set foot inside Lund, though his share of the 'contribution' the Burghers paid to avoid a sack sat reassuringly in his pouch. While the main army rested thousands of cavalry had, as usual, been assigned other duties. This was normal. As the main army entered Lund, Brage and Eric had been on one of the many patrols which ringed the city ensuring no word got out. On the march from Markaryd cavalry patrols had circled the moving army killing anyone – man, woman, even child! - who might give word of their armies movements. Brage thanked the saviour he had never been in a position where he had to do this himself. He was an honourable man and longed for the chance to kill enemy soldiers in battle and prove himself a true Krigare worthy of promotion. He loved his country, had sworn to do his duty and he trusted his priest – who had told him every order he received was Gods Will – but by the saviour and his love of his children, this wasn't what he had signed up for.

5 days into the march at the mouth of the river Rönne 500 cavalrymen had been sent west to burn villages and send the poor peasants forth to spread panic and make it look like the armies true destination was Helsingborg. Brage gave thanks he had not been chosen for that Duty.

So here they were at a fishing village just north of Malmö. Sleeping in shifts, watching with weapons in their hands as under the watchful eye of the engineers these poor folk took their boats - their livelihood - laid up under canvas as ice covered the bay, and loaded them onto sleds brought from Lund. Eric, who had entered Lund had helped requisition as many Sleds as they could find in the city and every sled they now had here was fitted with the Ski's cannibalised from 3 of those had requisitioned.

Two fishermen who had appealed to their shared devotion to The True Lutheran Faith had been shot for protesting. When a woman began to weep and wail, Brage's Superior Officer had given her the flat of his sword then cut her face. The chief engineer seemed oblivious to the human suffering around him, so focussed was he on his measurements. All for pontoon bridges apparently.

God moves in mysterious ways Brage consoled himself quietly. Footslogging it would be as they moved to the rendezvous point with the main army, somewhere they would hunker down just out of sight of the main road. Horses would be needed to pull these Sleds. Brage would volunteer to walk so that Eric could stay mounted.

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29 December 1643, Dusk, A Windmill within cannon shot of Malmö

Brage moved on foot with 4 other volunteers and the engineer-officer seconded to their unit. By volunteering Brage had bought Eric the chance to sleep. He carried a sledgehammer, the head wrapped in muffling cloth. Two of his comrades carried a bundle of wooden stakes. The officer carried a covered lamp for signalling.

Brage's squadron had ridden as close as they dared to the windmill that was now their base, before advancing on foot to take it. They would bring up the horses once night fell. Another squadron was doing the same on the other side of the City.

Now they crept to the positions the engineer had chosen for the Artillery to plant the stakes. Then they would sleep in shifts just behind the hill they were to plant stakes on. Until the time came for their unit to guide the artillery into position. Moving artillery was easier in the winter – winter sleds didn't have wheels that got stuck in summers mud. But digging entrenchments for the cannon... there was a special unit called 'pioneers' for such tasks, but Brage had no doubt he would have to help. His whole body ached at the thought.

December 30 1643, Dawn, Swedish Battery outside Malmö

Mornings mist seeped into Brage's bones. He felt colder than he had at any time in the night, but The Old Man, Field-Marshal Gustav Horn was here – Eric had predicted this, he would position his staff near here for the best vantage point. The Old Man had personally commended Brage; and his unit was to be held in reserve. Pride mixed with relief filled him with a warm glow and he suppressed his shivers.

The chief Engineer rode up. "Ladders and components for pontoon-bridges all in place", he reported. The walls of the city were barely visible. “Can you train your guns on the gatehouse and the top of the wall either side of it with reasonable accuracy”* the Old Man asked. The chief-engineer looked through his telescope for a long moment, then said “Yes Sir”.

“Do so” The Old Man commanded “dispatch a runner to our forces to the south with the following order: train your Guns on the gatehouse and the top of the wall either side of it, once you have done so order the advance. Do not fire until either We or The Enemy do. If enemy Guns fire, half your guns are to redirect their fire and silence them. The other half are to bombard the area they are trained on where our men will storm. If we fire first, fire everything at the area we are attacking and redirect half your guns when the enemy reply”. One of his staff saluted and made it so.

He turned to another of his staff, “the two squadrons of horsemen I ordered concealed in the centre, ready to advance directly between the two gates and to the south of the southern gate ready to advance there.** Their orders to torch the buildings they find near the city walls as a distraction and to illuminate our targets when we conduct counter battery fire. They have their orders and are in position?” “Yes Sir” came the immediate reply.

The Old Man looked at his Swiss watch for a long time, however long he thought it would take for his orders to be received and enacted then Ordered The Advance.

He handed his priceless watch to the chief engineer. "You have made your predictions for how long it will take for your equipment to be moved close enough that it is likely to be spotted. If our gunners have not opened fire before then, when that time has elapsed, order them to do so immediately."

With that he ordered Brage and his squadron to join the reserves and took his Staff out of the line of potential counter-battery fire.

*Accurately by the standards of mid 17th century artillery
**Far enough from either gate to avoid illuminating either Swedish assault
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December 30 1643, Dawn, Malmö Northern Gatehouse

Tobias Andersen was exhausted, but he would do his duty. The Swedish Barbarians were wintering in Jutland. His wife said she could feel war coming and he believed her. Stories that froze the blood were being told by men fleeing southern Zealand. Unpaid mercenaries from The German War in search of rich plunder in a land they had not devastated? A Swedish Invasion? No one knew. His wife thought the latter.

The beloved King had taken many men to Funen to contain the situation in Jutland. His cowardly regent would send no reinforcements to Malmö until the situation in Zealand was understood. So the garrison was on triple watch. Tobias was exhausted, but he would do his duty. Wait, his Duty, he had become lost in thought when he was supposed to be on watch. He snapped back into the world of his senses.

He saw a shape coming out of the fog. “Sir” he yelled immediately. Running to where his superior officer rested his eyes, he yelled “Sir look”. The officer rubbed his weary eyes and blasphemed. “That is what? a boat?!” he muttered in weary agitation. Then his training kicked in. “Run and alert the garrison!” he ordered Tobias “Men, to me, man the cannon!” The officer ran to the nearest gun and began to train it on the advancing shapes himself, heaving and straining. “Bring match quickly we are under attack” the officer roared.

A moment later a fragment of rock, torn from the wall by Swedish cannon fire broke open his skull.

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The pictures don't perfectly reflect what is going on. The top one is a painting of the OTL 1667 Danish siege of Swedish Malmö. All the others are from the 30 years war. A german peasant begging for mercy from a soldier of unknown allegiance (actually made during the 30 years war). Swedish cavalry. Swedish artillery - unlike in my story these ones aren't protected by entrenchments. Nor are any of the pictures in winter.

Contrary to possible appearances I am not interested in writing an endless Sweden wank. But they do have to do well at the beginning for a significant departure from OTL. Malmö is the only major danish settlement with a name beginning with M and 'The Marriage of Malmö' was a title I couldn't pass up. 'The Marriage of Magdeburg being what contemporary media tended to call this:
 
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Cheers for all the likes and interest.

People following this TL, let me know what you are enjoying so I can maybe give you more of it.

It won't all be harrowing, just given that my first piece was from the perspective of Royals and Nobles I thought I would follow up with one through the eyes of commoners.

Also if I have got any important details wrong, best knowledgeable people tell me now so I can make edits before my errors create too many butterflies for me to change.
 
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personally, i generally favor political history and the like so I'm actually wondering when news of the campaign will reach Stockholm and the effects there.
 
personally, i generally favor political history and the like so I'm actually wondering when news of the campaign will reach Stockholm and the effects there.
The whole basis of this POD is how slow communications were back then. But we will get there, dont worry. And there won't be a blow by blow of every military action, just the ones that really change things.

Little spoiler. Christina's character is already a little different as she has spent much of her formative 16th year in an atmosphere of gleeful anticipation among her court rather than acrimonious worry, anxiety and despair.

Thanks for commenting.
 
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1643, 1644, Torstensson War, Denmark, Prince Christian

Part 2: The Marriage of Malmö

Act 2: The Procession

“Sometimes I see myself driving through hell with this wagon and selling brimstone.
And sometimes I’m driving through heaven handing our provisions to wandering souls!
If only we could find a place where there’s no shooting, me and my children
—what’s left of ‘em—we might rest a while.”

Berthold Brecht - Mother Courage and Her Children

SpaanseFurie.jpg

29 December 1643, noon: Nykøbing Castle, private chamber

“Your Majesty, Prince-Elect, I hate to interrupt” said the garrison-commander. “But...” sighed Christian, Prince-Elect and Heir Apparent to the throne of Denmark. “But there are two delegations waiting to see you. One is a courier from your father The King. The other... I regard as even more urgent” the commander finished.

Christian gestured for his mistress to refill his wine glass and downed it in one swig before gesturing for her to make herself scarce. “Boy” he called to his manservant “make me presentable”. Turning to the garrison-commander he softened his tone, “Inform them I will be with them shortly.”

Erbprinzchristiandenmark.jpg


29 December 1643, just after noon: Nykøbing Castle, grand hall


“Your majesty, I bear a summons from your father The King. You are summoned to Copenhagen to act as his Head of Government” the courier was politeness itself. “Can't ignore that.” Christian turned to his secretary “Inform my household to start preparing our departure” Christian turned back to the courier. “Why? Is my father ill?” Worry threaded Christian's voice. “The letter doesn't say your majesty. I wouldn't presume to speculate.”* The courier handed the letter to The Prince-Elect.

"That will be all. Commander, send in the delegation you regard as more important than this summons."

“Who is this wretch in rags” Christian muttered to the commander. Not quietly enough, but the wretch couldn't understand Danish. The commander gestured and the wretch spoke in German.

“I am a humble fisherman from Pomerania, my name is Harlan Diechert, I come to your majesty bearing intelligence your officer here instructed me to bring you” The fisherman looked fearfully at the commander for support. In all his life he had never met a nobleman, let alone a Prince.

“And what intelligence is this” Christian sneered. “When I was out fishing I spotted a fleet of warships anchored of Rügen. Swedish by the look of the flags. I counted 31 massive buggers and 9 big ones. Sorry I can't be more precise, not a naval man. No idea where they were headed. As I say they were anchored and I made myself scarce as soon as I was done counting. I hate the Swedes, they killed my wife and took my sons. I want to help you any way I can, Your Majesty.”

Suddenly Christian felt quite sober. “You may not be a naval man, but you remember what you saw, yes? Commander, find the best naval experts in the city to interrogate this man. Also gather horses and every man of yours who can ride fast. We will have to risk a short crossing to Zealand but I will make as much of the journey as I can by land and if the rumours are true I will need a military escort.”

"That wont be necessary Your Majesty, there is a galliot waiting in the bay to take us jo join the 2/3 of the Danish fleet we have patrolling the south-east coast of Zealand" said the garrison-commander.

“Secretary, have this man provided with fine boots and clothing and given a fine meal. You, Herr Diechert, are coming with me.”


*When the courier was dispatched The Swedish army 'seeking winter quarters' in Jutland had been reported to the government in Copenhagen but they had managed to keep this information from the public.

01 January 1644, just south of Fehmarn Island

“That's the last of the army infantry disembarked” Admiral Claes Fleming heard his second mate report. “Good, it will take them long enough to circle behind Burgstaagen to regain their land legs. Wait the allotted time then order the fleet into the bay commence bombardment and send the marines ashore.”

“Do we really need to waste time like this? Can the army men not handle this themselves?”

“A word in private midshipshman” said the Admiral, gesturing his subordinate aside. “Not only will our guns and marines assist in the capture of Burgstaagen, I have ordered our marines to accompany the army men to the town of Fehmarn itself so they can return with all the victuals they can lay their hands on. Yes, this will waste 2 days. 3 at most. However, I am much more concerned about the wasteage of our crews.”

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03 January 1644, early morning, Kiel

“The Duke of Holstein has surrendered” Torstensson informed his 3 Generals. “Those fortresses not already in our hands will accept garrisons. Not Glückstadt or Krempe of course, they are held by the Danes rather than Dukes men. They will attempt to harry us no doubt, so we will need to leave significant garrisons.”

“Königsmark, I am giving you 3,500 men to do what you do best. Move fast, spread terror and confusion throughout Jutland. Ensure the Danes can never be sure where we will next strike in force."

"Charles Gustav you are now my chief of staff and will accompany me with our main force to hit the strong-points in Jutland and seek battle with the danish army."

"Wragnel, you will take a smaller force along the eastern coast and coordinate swift strikes on coastal settlements to gather boats before they flee. Bring them to the rendezvous at The Little Belt where we will cross en masse to Funen."

03 January 1644, Rosenberg Castle Copenhagen, Grand Hall

“To tell of all the misery and misfortune is not within my power, not even what I know and have seen myself. If I did report everything which I have seen and so painfully experienced you would not believe me.” The man was gazing into the middle distance, he looked like he was trying to weep but lacked the strength to do even that.

“You are a Burgher of Lund?” Prince-Elect Christian asked. “Am? Was?” Franz Hilner looked disoriented for a moment. “The Swedes were so gentle with Lund. We paid a hefty contribution sure, and they took a lot of hostages, an awful lot; myself among them. But they protected our property and womenfolk better than our own governor ever did. Hanged 14 of their own men in the main square."

“But Malmö … they put loads us on horseback, brought us into the city and paraded us around for 3 bloody days with an escort so we came to no harm ourselves but made sure we saw as much of what they were doing as they could. Took us everywhere but near the Malmöhus, don't think they managed to capture that.”

“They took the walls first, used our guns to fire on any boats trying to flee the harbour. For 3 days. Then... Then they let people from Malmö run, only on the smallest boats, mind. Split us Lund Burghers up and put us among them that could flee.”

Prince-Elect Christian gripped his temples. “I think I see why."

03 January 1644, Rosenberg Castle Copenhagen, Private chamber

Prince-Elect Christian took a long swig of wine.

"So my Father took half the Zealand garrison and a third of the fleet to Funen, to contain Swedes on Jutland" Prince-Elect Christian asked his councellors.

"Correct, your Majesty"

"And we can't very well send him naval reinforcements because the Swedish could attempt a crossing from Malmö any time and for all we know their fleet is on its way to support them." He winced, sighed and finished the glass.

"Dispatch our fastest two ships on separate routes. Also send 5 couriers in disguise on humble fishing boats, separate routes again. Warn the Funen garrisons and get my father word and warning of all that has developed. Be swift in this matter!"


05 January 1644, Malmö

“Sir, the Malmöhus has mutinied and surrendered. They handed over their commander”. The runner reported breathlessly to Field-Marshal Horn.

Horn turned to his chief of staff “Call the troops to the colours, order the sack stopped at once. The 3000 men we have kept outside the city besieging the Malmöhus will remain as a garrison. Everyone who has participated in the sack camps outside the city tonight. You are authorised to hang our men as an example, as many as you need to, should that prove necessary.” Those had been the terms. No mercy until the Danish garrison surrendered.

The commander was never going to surrender for the sake of civilians, but the common soldiers were not going to tolerate the sack of their home town forever. He wouldn't know the full number until the muster, but even with shock and surprise the storm had cost him well over a thousand men. No way was he storming the citadel as well.

“Let the Malmöhus garrison march out with their weapons, standards and all the honours of war. Put the commander on a boat to Copenhagen. I am sure he will get a promotion.”

“Bring the hostages we have taken from the prominent Malmö burghers to our camp outside the city. Tomorrow we divide our forces and move against every fortified settlement this side of the sound. I will take half our forces north along the coast, hitting Landskrona then Helsingborg. You will take other half east and capture Kristianstadt. Leave a significant garrison then fan out moving back west to the sound. I give you operational freedom. When Landskrona, Helsinborg and Kristianstadt have fallen the lesser towns and smaller fortresses will surely fold."

"When our armies arrive outside a settlement they will send in a group of burghers from Malmö and a group of burghers from Lund. These will do our negotiating for us.”

"Oh, once you have Kristianstad dispatch a squadron of cavalry to take news of the campaign to Stockholm.
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Editors Note: Butterflies and hurricaines

I have edited the post above because originally I had the Danish acting as in OTL. However I realised that the Swedish landing in south Zealand would mean the Danish fleet patrolling the South-East coast of Zealand. So Christian is now travelling by sea and it is him rather than an un-named official who hears from the Burgher of Lund in Copenhagen.
 
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1643, 1644, Torstensson War, Denmark
Part 2: The Marriage of Malmö

Act 3: The Reception


Make a sound in the east, strike in the west.
All warfare is based on deception.”

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

"An alliance with the powerful is never safe."
- Greek Proverb

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Map showing Locations mentioned ^

26 December 1643, Port of Odense, North Funen


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“You are not staying with us Your Majesty? Danish Admiral-General Jørgen Vind asked his King. “Forgive my impertinence, but I cannot overstate the effect your presence has had on the morale of my men.”

“Admiral-General, I have complete faith in you” The King said in a kindly voice. “My presence is needed more on land to ensure that our militia's rapidly report for duty swiftly at full strength and are willing to serve outside their home province should that prove necessary”

The King paused on the edge of a rueful laugh. On the 18th he had received word of the Swedish armies movements from his agents in Lüneburg who had blown horses riding to Lübeck. He had ordered 9 warships and half the regular soldiers on Zealand mobilised at once.

“I may even need to negotiate with their envoys, though I find that doubtful. No, their objective is not Jutland or winter quarters. They will try to cross. Your orders are to depart with all haste the moment the last soldier has disembarked. You will proceed to the little belt with haste and cross it at night. From there you will patrol the coast of Funen and Ærø.”

“Above all else you must not allow your presence to be known on Jutland. When the Swedes try to cross in force let them get at least two thirds of the way across before taking them unawares and sending the little boats they will steal to the bottom. Your priority is to maximise casualties.”

07 January 1644, northern tip of Ærø Island

“Admiral, we have spotted what looks like a fleet to the south, come see for yourself.”

Jørgen Vind roused himself, and moved with speed and dignity. He took a long look through his priceless telescope. He could just make out what could only be a fleet. Barely visible but so many dots on the horizon clumped together could only be a fleet of boats.

“Torstensson sent his men to cross from Kiel!” Such recklessness was stunning in its audacity. They were in open water, far from any shore no doubt in whatever civilian ships they had plundered. The closest land to what could only be the enemy was Ærø. They were still far away but getting closer.

“Signal the rest of our fleet.” Admiral Vind's voice was suffused with excitement. “Lads, we have them exactly where we want them. Signal the rest of the fleet to follow us and move in to engage.”

09 January 1644, Flensborg

“Admiral Jørgen Vind, I am honoured to dine with such exalted company. Please, make yourself comfortable. I have had the finest chef in the city prepare this banquet. You have been how long at sea?” General Wragnel asked his guest.

“I will dine with you, but you must know I will not provide you with intelligence” Vind replied curtly.

“But of course, I would not wish to spoil this dinner with talk of business. Have no fear you will be treated with all the dignity appropriate to your military rank and social station.”

“Your officers have already been interrogated separately and forced to tell the truth. We know you had nine warships. Our fleet sank two, captured three and four are in the harbour of this town. My orders were to collect boats to cross the little belt. However, given that our main fleet has arrived and set itself that task my orders seem less urgent some of the boats I have collected still need to go north, but we have boats to spare. We know your King is on Funen. We know how many men he has.”

“My superior officer has always encouraged my initiative. So I will be sending my infantry and my dismounted dragoons to take Ærø and Longland to help ensure no one runs. The ships you so kindly provided will be most helpful in this matter.” Wragnel smiled “Our fleet has been appraised of everything I just told you, I have no doubt once our main Army has been shipped across the little belt our fleet will patrol the eastern coast of Funen. No one runs.”

“You see Admiral Vind, you have nothing to hide. You can relax and enjoy your meal. Tomorrow I ride north with my cavalry to join the main army. You will join me as my honoured guest of course. Anyway, enough of business. Let us dine!”

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14 January 1644, Kolding

“General Wragnel, I received your courier only a few hours ago. You have ridden fast.”

Wragnel could sense a trace of envy in his superior officer's pain-threaded voice.

“Yes, Sir, I moved as swiftly as I could to achieve conjunction so as to best facilitate what you no doubt have planned.”

Torstensson gave a weak smile and ordered prepared the swift and efficient troop movements for which he was so famed in a voice that was slow and weary.

“Indeed. We broke the Danish army this morning. They will retreat to Snoghøj, my cavalry led by our redoutable Charles is in pursuit. I have given my infantry a days leave billeted on Kolding, in the morning I will leave 2000 in Kolding and the rest will follow towards Snoghøj. I am taking almost all the guns, we will need them at Copenhagen.”

“This morning, I dispatched most of our Dragoons to meet our fleet which has sent a courier reporting it is anchored off Hjelsminde. They will embark dismounted be landed south of Middelfart. Then our fleet will move to blockade any crossing from Snoghøj and ship our infantry across to assault Middlefart from both the west and once the Jutland Danes have surrendered over the crossing at Snoghøj itself. I have taken great care with the timings.”

“You will remain in Kolding. When the Jutland Danes have surrendered half my cavalry will return to Kolding and be placed under your command. I leave the occupation of Jutland to you. I encourage you to act at your digression and use your initiative. The horses of the embarked dragoons will be led north to Kolding. You may dispatch them to Snoghøj for shipment to Funen or retain them for your own use as you see fit.”

Wragnel saluted “It will be as you say Sir. All Jutland will be ours. One more thing Sir, I have brought you a guest.”

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17 January 1644, north of Snoghøj

“Leave me” Henrik Danielsen said to his closest comrade Lars Ursen name, “you must get to Snoghøj before their horsemen catch us, then you can cross to safety”. Neither of them had slept in 3 days. “On your feet soldier. I will never leave you behind. We have got this far and we are almost there.”

Lars pulled his friend to his feet and half dragged, half carried him forward. The battle outside Kolding had been a disaster and became a disordered rout. The Swedish cavalry were in pursuit cutting fleeing men down, there had been no time to rest. The two friends had taken a long route heading north from Kolding before circling south to Lars dragged his comrade forward.

“Look!” Lars tried to raise Henrik's spirits, “we can see the sea!” Henrik took a groggy look. “And see those shapes. Our fleet is here”.

The two friends picked up their pace. Thunder. No, that wasn't thunder. “Lars, I don't think that fleet is ours.”

Everyone with any sense in the broken army would be running for the crossing at Snoghøj. If that fleet was the enemy they were trapped and would have to surrender, if the barbarians even understood such a thing. Lars heard the clatter of hooves.

17 January Skærbæk west of Snoghøj

“Men of Great Sweden, do you want to live forever?” Charles Gustav called to the assembled infantry in a rousing speech. “Do you hear the cannons of our Fleet roaring? The Danes will be pissing their breeches.” Charles paused to let the men laugh. “All the wealthy men of Jutland have fled to Funen and taken their gold and silver with them! Do you know that none of the towns on Funen are fortified? This battle will be remembered as one of the most important in the history of our Great Nation. Get on those mighty ships and win rich plunder and eternal glory!”

With a roar, the soldiers rushed to the ships.

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18 January 1644, Amsterdam

“Monsieur Ambassador, I assume you have heard the news regarding the Swedish invasion of Denmark?” Jacob Cats Grand-Pensionary of Holland addressed the French Ambassador to the Dutch Republic.

“But of course, this development is most alarming. Our supposed allies start a new war – while they are supposed to be occupying our mutual enemy - without even consulting us. And they don't even have the decency to declare it.” Replied the Ambassador.

The Grand-Pensionary smiled “Indeed. The Council of State has just discussed the matter. The Danish refusal to allow arms exports across the sound has upset powerful interests here and does help the Hapsburg cause. Louis de Geer is hiring mercenary warships here to assist the Swedes and I suspect he is bribing men of influence.”

“However, the Council of State has no desire for Sweden to simply replace Denmark as Queen and Mistress of the Baltic. It is our wish to limit Swedish gains and impose a swift settlement. We desire your assistance in this matter. I have for you a detailed document outlining a range of terms we would be willing to accept.”

“We would like to send a special envoy to Paris to negotiate our two nations presenting a united front in this matter.”

“But of course, I will prepare my formal authorisation and approval in this matter, then let your envoy be dispatched at once. I am sure France will be most agreeable.”

22 January – Stockholm

“We have received a courier” Oxenstiernna told the regency council. “Malmö was taken in immediate storm with great sack. Field-Marshal Horn let some of the burghers flee to Copenhagen alongside hostages from Lund which surrendered on terms and was treated with excessive gentleness. Horn is using the fastest boats in Malmö harbour to probe and scout moving towards Zealand and retreating as soon as they spot a Danish warship. When the courier was dispatched their fleet was concentrated patroling the south and west Zealand coast.”

“He aims to keep it that way. He split his forces. Significant garrison in Malmö, half the rest under his personal command moving north along the coast to take Landskrona and Helsinborg, from where he will also let some of the burghers run to Zealand and tell of their fall and from where he will send probes. He expects them to surrender swiftly when he sends hostages from both Malmö and Lund in to give evidence of what his ultimatums entail.”

“He dispatched a significant force to take Kristianstadt while the enemy fleet is where it is and where he intends to keep it.”

Oxenstiernna smiled.

“He exceeds his orders” Lord High Justicar Per Brahe noted. “He was to keep all his forces at the coast, should the opportunity to cross to Zealand present itself.”

“Be that as it may” Lord High Constable and Field-Marshal, Jacob De la Gardie added “I think given the success he has achieved, he may be permitted some initiative. If the Danish fleet is where Field-Marshal Horn says it is, then Torstensson will cross to the Danish Islands. We should avoid negotiations until that has occurred.”

“I agree with the Lord High Constable” Oxenstiernna said “However, I believe it is time for us to send the formal declaration of war”

Laughter ensued.
 

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One more part in 2 acts till we get to the end of our Alternate Torstensson War. Then with POD established geographical focus broadens, more time gets covered in fewer posts and we shift focus somewhat from military to political history.
 
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1644, Torstensson War, Denmark, Major Battle, Charles Gustav

Part 3: Battlefield Promotion

Act 1

“We cut with swords.
A battlefield death is the happy portion of the brave,
for he stands the foremost against the storm of weapons.
He, who flies from danger, often bewails his miserable life.
Yet how difficult is it to rouse up a coward to the play of arms?
The dastard feels no heart in his bosom.”

The Death Song of Ragnarr Loðbrók


Oh, gather 'round me, comrades
And listen while I weep;
Of a war, a war, a war...
where hell is six feet deep.

Along the shore, the cannons roar.
Oh how can a soldier sleep?
The going's slow on Anzio
And hell is six feet deep.


Praise be to God for this captured sod
That's rich where blood does seep;
With yours and mine, like butchered swine;
And hell is six feet deep.

That death does wait
There's no debate;
No triumph will we reap
The crosses grow on Anzio,
Where hell is six feet deep.

- Audie Murphy, The Crosses Grow On Anzio

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19 January 1644 – Kristianstadt

Seargeant Brage Dalman inspected his 43 Men and 109 Horses on a ridge behind the siege lines. His personal commendation from the Old Man Field-Marshal Horn had ensured his promotion. The Malmö guns had collapsed one of the buildings their squadron had been torching on top of his old Seargeant. That wretched man had died slowly, legs crushed, burning and screaming. Brage was convinced he was still doing so. The Lord would never take a man so lacking in honour.

Eric, Brage was certain, was with the Lord.

"Horses well cared for, at ease, look after each other, you have all done me proud so far" Brage told his men. He turned to look at the dust and gunsmoke which had replaced morning mist wreathing the walls of Kristianstadt.

Brage and his men had brought the Lund and Malmö Burghers to the gates of the City and ensured their entrance – presenting it as a release of prisoners and gesture of good faith prior to negotiations. As ordered, once this had been achieved, they had delayed with protocol and formalities as long as practical before handing over the ultimatum offering terms then high tailed it back to the Swedish position. The offer of terms lasted until nightfall.

As soon as Brage and his men were out of range, the Swedish Guns had opened fire.

Mid-afternoon, the Danish Guns fell silent and Brage thought he could make out a white flag.

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23 January, Håre, Danish Command Post

“Feigned retreat, oldest trick in the book” King Christian told his officers, heartily laughing, showing no sign his laughter was forced and making it infectious.

As soon as he realised the Swedish landing was supported by their Navy he had begun pulling back his lighter Guns and ordered first an orderly withdrawal of the militia he had raised, then his professional soldiers, south in stages. The gunsmoke meant his own army didn't see this, let alone the enemy.

He had left the heavy guns to fire on the Swedish ships for as long as possible and personally assured their commanding officer surrender would be honourable so long as the Guns were destroyed first. He had sacrificed 1000 militia stiffened by 200 professionals. A rearguard ordered to run for Odense when the odds became overwhelming. The regulars set fire to Middlefart to cover the retreat.

The Swedish fleet would have moved to blockade Odense. Of course their fleet would stick together in case it made contact with His Own. No longer could their beachhead be supported by naval bombardment, they would be conducting the rest of the crossing in small boats.

Christian's scouts reported no sightings of the enemy naval fleet. That was the advantage Christian possessed. For now. Intelligence. He had 2000 elite cavalry. It was a difficult thing to transport horses by sea, and once landed it took time for them to be ready to be ridden without killing them within days. So half his cavalry had fanned out eliminating enemy scouts, keeping them blind and providing him unparalleled intelligence. The other half were gathering his infantry to make sure his feigned retreat did not become a real one.

Once his forces were gathered, they would advance on a blind enemy. Of course the Swedes would take the bait and pursue to Odense before all their forces were landed. Offence was the only combat doctrine they had. The Spirit of The Offensive, Shock and Momentum was the only strategy these barbarians knew.

Once his scouts reported the enemy had split their forces he would Go Unto this blind foe and give them a taste of their own medicine.

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23 January, Ruins of Middelfart, Swedish Command Post

Less than 1/6th of the town had escaped the flames. Here the Swedes had established their command post.

Charles Gustav forgot protocol and embraced his superior officer as if they were brothers. The old man returned the embrace warmly, Torstennson had more vitality than Charles had ever seen. Seeing such life in his mentor filled Charles with emotion.

“A glorious victory, Sir, Your name will live forever. The Danes are routed.”

“Indeed. A Rout must be pursued, a victory consolidated. Odense is where the enemy have retreated, it is unfortified and the largest concentration of food and other supplies on this island. You must take it.”

“Alas, for now, we lack cavalry. Nevertheless you will take our 4000 freshest infantry and march swiftly on Odense. I will coordinate landing the rest of our forces. We have less than 300 horses we can expect to survive two days if ridden now. After deducting those needed for the senior officers, I will give you the rest.”

Immediately and without thinking Charles saluted and went to carry out his orders. As he hastily gathered his forces from along the coast, he wondered for a moment why there were so few Danish guns given the fire they had taken while crossing and why all of them were successfully spiked, then he returned his full attention to the task at hand.

24 January, Funen, Odense Road

Colonel Johan Albrecht was nervous when singled out by a commander he did not trust. This whelp half his age had been promoted by nepotism and carried an arrogance Albrecht did not like. Albrecht felt the other gathered officers felt the same way.

"Colonel Albrecht, you are to take your regiment to Odense, the rest of you are to come with me back to Middelfart. Forced march, double time." Charles snapped. The General was agitated.

“With respect...” Albrecht began. Charles cut him off “The enemy have not fled this way in numbers. We have been drawn off, I expect a Danish attack on the landing." Albrecht hesitated, “You... know this how?”

Charles placed his hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword. “You will take Odense without serious resistance. If this is not the case, you have my permission to retreat and join the rest of us”. There was more steel in Charles eyes than his hand. The threat of accusations of cowardice hung in the air.

“You have your orders, carry them out! The rest of you with me!”

As tired men were resentfully chivvied on a forced march the way they had come, their officers gave Charles ugly looks. This abruptly changed when they heard gunfire.

“Hear that? Charles roared. Change tack, tripple time. Everyone follows the sound and heads for the cannons. Relay those orders to my officers” Charles told his Chief of Staff “I will exhort and inspire the enlisted men for the coming fight.”

Charles drew his sword and came to life.

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Exerpt from a pamphlet, mass printed in Copenhagen and Stockholm April 1644*

"The Scene was one of utter destruction. King Christian had arranged the complete destruction of the Swedish landing. Despite seeing so many of our comrades dead, dying and maimed we could not but admire the man.

We approached the roaring cannon which had broken all order in our forces. The Danish Cavalry had scattered, falling upon our broken men like wolves. Their infantry advanced in impeccable order slaughtering all before them. Two Squadrons of their cavalry – clearly their finest – had stuck together lead by their Gallant King, seeking our command staff and finding them.

Dismay gripped us but Charles was fearless. He gave his orders, for us that were mounted to charge the guns immediately and for the infantry to follow. He led from the front and dyed his sword in crimson. Two horses were shot from under him before their guns fell silent. But fall silent they did.

When the infantry joined us Charles gave his orders with calm and humour. Even at so dark an hour he had us laughing. Their own guns were trained on their infantry. One of our infantry regiments was to fire and defend the guns. The other two were to be sent forward to take them in the rear.

“Not so fast, Charles said”, laughter in his eyes. “Every man who can ride is to take one of the draft horses from the artillery and form up with our cavalry. I will not lie to men so gallant as yourselves”, he roared, “this is a dangerous duty. But I swear an oath on my honour as a soldier and my faith in Christ that every man – and the family of every man - who joins me will be richly rewarded.”

When this was done we charged to engage the Danish King."

Sworn testimony 107 Swedish Cavalrymen, 9 Officers

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"Torstennson and most of his staff were dead. We had pinned them in the ruins and none escaped. All the Swedish Staff with their field-marshal fought with courage and died with honour. None surrendered. The King in his wisdom sought disengagement with their commander dead and his body in our hands. But our blood was up and to our shame we would not withdraw while there were common soldiers and lesser officers to kill.

Then we were pinned as they had been. They charged us from the rear, had us on all sides. Once the melee began they used their pistols, ours were all spent. Some of them carried muskets. After the initial charge with their rapiers these dragoons fell back, dismounted and took cover in the ruined buildings. They fired and kept firing. Most of us had our horses shot from under us.

All was lost. King Charles was in the melee wherever it was thickest. Eventually he found a pause. When he beheld Torstensson impaled on our standard many of us saw tears in his eyes. He looked to the Old King Christian and began yelling for a ceasefire. The good old King reciprocated.

There we stood the new king and the old backing their forces down. Should the fight continue our defeat was certain.

“Your Majesty King Christian, I offer you these terms. Face me in single combat and I swear your men can withdraw with their lives and their honour.” He gestured to Torstensstons corpse and tears ran down his face. “I am the ranking officer, your men can withdraw now. Or if they wish to remain to ensure none of mine intervene in our duel they may leave when one of us falls.”

“None of my men will intervene. “That man was like a father to me” The New King roared, pointing to Torstensson's desecrated corpse. “I mean to kill you myself. I offer your men their lives and you the chance to kill me. These are my terms.”

“If you kill me it is my Order as ranking officer and my last will and testament that Your Majesty King Christian be permitted to withdraw with honour. You may trust that or not, but you can be sure of the rest.”

The Old King accepted. Both of them dismounted, saluted oneanother and raised their blades.

It was a duel for the ages. None of us had ever seen such swordsmanship nor such honourable courage. The Old King - burdened with age - fought alone to buy the lives of Us his loyal and young men. The New King blazed with passion. He fought out of loyalty to the man who had been his superior officer and out of love for the man who had been his mentor.

'Vengeance is mine sayeth the lord' (Romans 12.19) and “a prince and lord must remember that he is God’s minister and the servant of his wrath” sayeth Martin Luther (Against the hordes of murdering and robbing peasants). The New King fought for revenge as was the right due to his station.

In the weeks that followed we spoke of little else but the duel we had the enormous privilege of witnessing. What we all agreed upon was that the Old King was ice and precision while the New King was passion and fire.

Age had ravaged the Old King yet he burned with life. Age slowed him, but only to a pace that was no slower than the finest swordsman among those writing here. And his Age had given him so much experience..."

(there follows a detailed and dramatic blow-by-blow of the duel and how Charles Gustav ensured that the witnesses were permitted to withdraw with all the honours of war)

Sworn testimony 47 Danish Cavalrymen 12 Officers

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We did receive those men who tell the tale given above and heard it from them as it is written here in the week that followed the Battle of Middelfart and heard from them the tale they have written here.

Sworn testimony, the mayors of Håre, Assens and Faaborg

24 January, Swedish Command Post, West of Middlefart, Dusk


“The day is ours, the Danish Army has surrendered and their King is dead but the butchers bill is on the wrong side of hillarious” One Colonel ventured nervous and brittle. “If you hadn't returned General...” another Colonel ventured voice filled with awe.

“Indeed” Charles said calmly. “But we must look to the present and the future not the past.”

“First order of business, the death of Torstensson will be kept secret from the men for reasons of morale. His litter is to be carried prominently and you my Colonels will give the impression of speaking with him infront of the men. He never nomally campaigns in winter, his illness does not allow it. Torstensson is sick but as capable as ever, that is the official line. I as the ranking officer will issue orders in his name. A courier will of course be dispatched to inform General Wragnel. Does anyone have any reservations about this course of action?”

Silence.

“Very well.” Charles turned to his chief of staff. “Have a written order in Torstensson's name dispatched to the navy that our artillery is to be embarked on ships and taken to Odense by sea.” He turned to his colonels “We will complete the landing of men and horses, then move to Odense. Dispatch our two freshest regiments there now, and think at all times of morale.”

“Dismissed.”

After the Colonels had left Charles gathered the 6 most loyal cavalrymen in his personal retinue and handed them fat pouches of silver.

“That courier to Wragnel. Follow him, kill him quietly and destroy the message.” Charles paused and smiled. “There will be much more where that came from.”

As his loyal men left Charles realised he was starving and very much looking forward to dinner with Admiral Vind.

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* Authors note: Given that King Christian features so prominently in the Danish National Anthem, I felt that he deserved a hero's death. I leave it to the audience to determine how accurately this pamphlet tells of events.
 

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Part 3: Battlefield Promotion

Act 1

“We cut with swords.
A battlefield death is the happy portion of the brave,
for he stands the foremost against the storm of weapons.
He, who flies from danger, often bewails his miserable life.
Yet how difficult is it to rouse up a coward to the play of arms?
The dastard feels no heart in his bosom.”

The Death Song of Ragnarr Loðbrók

Oh, gather 'round me, comrades
And listen while I weep;
Of a war, a war, a war...
where hell is six feet deep.

Along the shore, the cannons roar.
Oh how can a soldier sleep?
The going's slow on Anzio
And hell is six feet deep.


Praise be to God for this captured sod
That's rich where blood does seep;
With yours and mine, like butchered swine;
And hell is six feet deep.

That death does wait
There's no debate;
No triumph will we reap
The crosses grow on Anzio,
Where hell is six feet deep.

- Audie Murphy

View attachment 665505

19 January 1644 – Kristianstadt

Seargeant Brage Dalman inspected his 43 Men and 109 Horses on a ridge behind the siege lines. His personal commendation from the Old Man Field-Marshal Horn had ensured his promotion. The Malmö guns had collapsed one of the buildings their squadron had been torching on top of his old Seargeant. That wretched man had died slowly, legs crushed, burning and screaming. Brage was convinced he was still doing so. The Lord would never take a man so lacking in honour.

Eric, Brage was certain, was with the Lord.

"Horses well cared for, at ease, look after each other, you have all done me proud so far" Brage told his men. He turned to look at the dust and gunsmoke which had replaced morning mist wreathing the walls of Kristianstadt.

Brage and his men had brought the Lund and Malmö Burghers to the gates of the City and ensured their entrance – presenting it as a release of prisoners and gesture of good faith prior to negotiations. As ordered, once this had been achieved, they had delayed with protocol and formalities as long as practical before handing over the ultimatum offering terms then high tailed it back to the Swedish position. The offer of terms lasted until nightfall.

As soon as Brage and his men were out of range, the Swedish Guns had opened fire.

Mid-afternoon, the Danish Guns fell silent and Brage thought he could make out a white flag.

View attachment 665503

23 January, Håre, Danish Command Post

“Feigned retreat, oldest trick in the book” King Christian told his officers, heartily laughing, showing no sign his laughter was forced and making it infectious.

As soon as he realised the Swedish landing was supported by their Navy he had begun pulling back his lighter Guns and ordered first an orderly withdrawal of the militia he had raised, then his professional soldiers, south in stages. The gunsmoke meant his own army didn't see this, let alone the enemy.

He had left the heavy guns to fire on the Swedish ships for as long as possible and personally assured their commanding officer surrender would be honourable so long as the Guns were destroyed first. He had sacrificed 1000 militia stiffened by 200 professionals. A rearguard ordered to run for Odense when the odds became overwhelming. The regulars set fire to Middlefart to cover the retreat.

The Swedish fleet would have moved to blockade Odense. Of course their fleet would stick together in case it made contact with His Own. No longer could their beachhead be supported by naval bombardment, they would be conducting the rest of the crossing in small boats.

Christian's scouts reported no sightings of the enemy naval fleet. That was the advantage Christian possessed. For now. Intelligence. He had 2000 elite cavalry. It was a difficult thing to transport horses by sea, and once landed it took time for them to be ready to be ridden without killing them within days. So half his cavalry had fanned out eliminating enemy scouts, keeping them blind and providing him unparalleled intelligence. The other half were gathering his infantry to make sure his feigned retreat did not become a real one.

Once his forces were gathered, they would advance on a blind enemy. Of course the Swedes would take the bait and pursue to Odense before all their forces were landed. Offence was the only combat doctrine they had. The Spirit of The Offensive, Shock and Momentum was the only strategy these barbarians knew.

Once his scouts reported the enemy had split their forces he would Go Unto this blind foe and give them a taste of their own medicine.

View attachment 665506

23 January, Ruins of Middelfart, Swedish Command Post

Less than 1/6th of the town had escaped the flames. Here the Swedes had established their command post.

Charles Gustav forgot protocol and embraced his superior officer as if they were brothers. The old man returned the embrace warmly, Torstennson had more vitality than Charles had ever seen. Seeing such life in his mentor filled Charles with emotion.

“A glorious victory, Sir, Your name will live forever. The Danes are routed.”

“Indeed. A Rout must be pursued, a victory consolidated. Odense is where the enemy have retreated, it is unfortified and the largest concentration of food and other supplies on this island. You must take it.”

“Alas, for now, we lack cavalry. Nevertheless you will take our 4000 freshest infantry and march swiftly on Odense. I will coordinate landing the rest of our forces. We have less than 300 horses we can expect to survive two days if ridden now. After deducting those needed for the senior officers, I will give you the rest.”

Immediately and without thinking Charles saluted and went to carry out his orders. As he hastily gathered his forces from along the coast, he wondered for a moment why there were so few Danish guns given the fire they had taken while crossing and why all of them were successfully spiked, then he returned his full attention to the task at hand.

24 January, Funen, Odense Road

Colonel Johan Albrecht was nervous when singled out by a commander he did not trust. This whelp half his age had been promoted by nepotism and carried an arrogance Albrecht did not like. Albrecht felt the other gathered officers felt the same way.

"Colonel Albrecht, you are to take your regiment to Odense, the rest of you are to come with me back to Middelfart. Forced march, double time." Charles snapped. The General was agitated.

“With respect...” Albrecht began. Charles cut him off “The enemy have not fled this way in numbers. We have been drawn off, I expect a Danish attack on the landing." Albrecht hesitated, “You... know this how?”

Charles placed his hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword. “You will take Odense without serious resistance. If this is not the case, you have my permission to retreat and join the rest of us”. There was more steel in Charles eyes than his hand. The threat of accusations of cowardice hung in the air.

“You have your orders, carry them out! The rest of you with me!”

As tired men were resentfully chivvied on a forced march the way they had come, their officers gave Charles ugly looks. This abruptly changed when they heard gunfire.

“Hear that? Charles roared. Change tack, tripple time. Everyone follows the sound and heads for the cannons. Relay those orders to my officers” Charles told his Chief of Staff “I will exhort and inspire the enlisted men for the coming fight.”

Charles drew his sword and came to life.

View attachment 665507

Exerpt from a pamphlet, mass printed in Copenhagen and Stockholm April 1643*

"The Scene was one of utter destruction. King Christian had arranged the complete destruction of the Swedish landing. Despite seeing so many of our comrades dead, dying and maimed we could not but admire the man.

We approached the roaring cannon which had broken all order in our forces. The Danish Cavalry had scattered, falling upon our broken men like wolves. Their infantry advanced in impeccable order slaughtering all before them. Two Squadrons of their cavalry – clearly their finest – had stuck together lead by their Gallant King, seeking our command staff and finding them.

Dismay gripped us but Charles was fearless. He gave his orders, for us that were mounted to charge the guns immediately and for the infantry to follow. He led from the front and dyed his sword in crimson. Two horses were shot from under him before their guns fell silent. But fall silent they did.

When the infantry joined us Charles gave his orders with calm and humour. Even at so dark an hour he had us laughing. Their own guns were trained on their infantry. One of our infantry regiments was to fire and defend the guns. The other two were to be sent forward to take them in the rear.

“Not so fast, Charles said”, laughter in his eyes. “Every man who can ride is to take one of the draft horses from the artillery and form up with our cavalry. I will not lie to men so gallant as yourselves”, he roared, “this is a dangerous duty. But I swear an oath on my honour as a soldier and my faith in Christ that every man – and the family of every man - who joins me will be richly rewarded.”

When this was done we charged to engage the Danish King."

Sworn testimony 107 Swedish Cavalrymen, 9 Officers

View attachment 665509

"Torstennson and most of his staff were dead. We had pinned them in the ruins and none escaped. All the Swedish Staff with their field-marshal fought with courage and died with honour. None surrendered. The King in his wisdom sought disengagement with their commander dead and his body in our hands. But our blood was up and to our shame we would not withdraw while there were common soldiers and lesser officers to kill.

Then we were pinned as they had been. They charged us from the rear, had us on all sides. Once the melee began they used their pistols, ours were all spent. Some of them carried muskets. After the initial charge with their rapiers these dragoons fell back, dismounted and took cover in the ruined buildings. They fired and kept firing. Most of us had our horses shot from under us.

All was lost. King Charles was in the melee wherever it was thickest. Eventually he found a pause. When he beheld Torstensson impaled on our standard many of us saw tears in his eyes. He looked to the Old King Christian and began yelling for a ceasefire. The good old King reciprocated.

There we stood the new king and the old backing their forces down. Should the fight continue our defeat was certain.

“Your Majesty King Christian, I offer you these terms. Face me in single combat and I swear your men can withdraw with their lives and their honour.” He gestured to Torstensstons corpse and tears ran down his face. “I am the ranking officer, your men can withdraw now. Or if they wish to remain to ensure none of mine intervene in our duel they may leave when one of us falls.”

“None of my men will intervene. “That man was like a father to me” The New King roared, pointing to Torstensson's desecrated corpse. “I mean to kill you myself. I offer your men their lives and you the chance to kill me. These are my terms.”

“If you kill me it is my Order as ranking officer and my last will and testament that Your Majesty King Christian be permitted to withdraw with honour. You may trust that or not, but you can be sure of the rest.”

The Old King accepted. Both of them dismounted and drew their swords.

It was a duel for the ages. None of us had ever seen such swordsmanship nor such honourable courage. The Old King - aged and wounded - fought alone to buy the lives of Us his loyal men. The New King blazed with passion. He fought out of loyalty to the man who had been his superior officer and out of love for the man who had been his mentor.

'Vengeance is mine sayeth the lord' Romans 12.19 and “a prince and lord must remember that he is God’s minister and the servant of his wrath” sayeth Martin Luther. The New King fought for revenge as was the right due to his station.

In the weeks that followed we spoke of little else but the duel we had the enormous privilege of witnessing. What we all agreed upon was that the Old King was ice and precision while the New King was passion and fire.

Age had ravaged the Old King yet he burned with life. Age slowed him, but only to a pace that was no slower than the finest swordsman among those writing here. And his Age had given him so much experience..."

(there follows a detailed and dramatic blow-by-blow of the duel and how Charles Gustav ensured that the witnesses were permitted to withdraw with all the honours of war)

Sworn testimony 47 Danish Cavalrymen 12 Officers

View attachment 665508
We did receive those men who tell the tale given above and heard it from them as it is written here in the week that followed the Battle of Middelfart and heard from them the tale they have written here.

Sworn testimony, the mayors of Håre, Assens and Faaborg

24 January, Swedish Command Post, West of Middlefart, Dusk


“The day is ours, the Danish Army has surrendered and their King is dead but the butchers bill is on the wrong side of hillarious” One Colonel ventured nervous and brittle. “If you hadn't returned General...” another Colonel ventured voice filled with awe.

“Indeed” Charles said calmly. “But we must look to the present and the future not the past.”

“First order of business, the death of Torstensson will be kept secret from the men for reasons of morale. His litter is to be carried prominently and you my Colonels will give the impression of speaking with him infront of the men. He never nomally campaigns in winter, his illness does not allow it. Torstensson is sick but as capable as ever, that is the official line. I as the ranking officer will issue orders in his name. A courier will of course be dispatched to inform General Wragnel. Does anyone have any reservations about this course of action?”

Silence.

“Very well.” Charles turned to his chief of staff. “Have a written order in Torstensson's name dispatched to the navy that our artillery is to be embarked on ships and taken to Odense by sea.” He turned to his colonels “We will complete the landing of men and horses, then move to Odense. Dispatch our two freshest regiments there now, and think at all times of morale.”

“Dismissed.”

After the Colonels had left Charles gathered the 6 most loyal cavalrymen in his personal retinue and handed them fat pouches of silver.

“That courier to Wragnel. Follow him, kill him quietly and destroy the message.” Charles paused and smiled. “There will be much more where that came from.”

As his loyal men left Charles realised he was starving and very much looking forward to dinner with Admiral Vind.

View attachment 665513



* Authors note: Given that King Christian features so prominently in the Danish National Anthem, I felt that he deserved a hero's death. I leave it to the audience to determine how accurately this pamphlet tells of events.
You really should be careful about the pictures you are using (except for the contemporary ones): uniforms belong to the later period and there were no bayonets in 1640s. 😂
 
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