Why the Swedish Empire collapsed…

First the Vasa, then the Mars…and now the Svärdet

The Svärdet was built in 1642 as one of the biggest warships of its day, according to Deep Sea Productions, noting that is “a prime example of richly decorated ‘gaudy’ ships, built largely to impress the enemy.

From Ocean Discovery:

The Swedish fleet was being chased by the Danish and Dutch armada. The Swedes chose to sail as close to the shores of Öland as they dared. The enemy sailed more to the east and overtook the Swedish ships using the wind. The Swedish fleet was more than likely sailing as proclaimed by the Swedish admiralty sail order regulations written 1676. This indicates that the Svärdet was in front of the Cronan thus further north at this time.

11.00 Admiral Uggla commanding the Svärdet notices the Danish /Dutch fleet overtaking to the east. He fires a signal shot with his canon commanding his ships in front to close formations.

Admiral Creutz, the commander of the entire Swedish fleet aboard the Cronan misunderstood the signal and ordered his ship to be turned hard south even though he had full sails and open canon ports.

Uggla, on the Svärdet, noticed his commander’s mistake and turns his ship south to aid in an attempt to avoid a total disaster.

Cronan lists heavily due to the hard turn and takes in water through the canon ports. Fire broke lose and the powder stored in the lower decks ignited and she explodes and starts to sink.

During his turn south Uggla almost collides with the sinking Cronan and has to turn “away wind”. This move confused the rest of the Swedish fleet and led to chaos and disorder in the lines. This information indicates that the Sword was straight over the Cronan wreck site, a position known by us, at approximately 11.00.

12.00 After only a short time the Svärdet is completely surrounded by three Danish and Dutch admiral ships and an intense and furious battle follows. During this an hour and a half the Svärdet got her mast and sails blown away and takes three canon blasts under the water line. Uggla can no longer maneuver the ship as he likes and are now in the hands of the Danes and Dutch enemy as the ship drifts by wind, waves and the current.

14.00 A Dutch fire ship manages to hock itself onto the hull of the Svärdet and fire broke loose. Uggla does not command his crew to fight the fire. He did not want to let the enemy take over the mighty ship. Instead he intended to go down with her.

16.00 Finaly the Svärdet explodes, breaks up in two and sinks.

For want of a ship…the empire was lost.


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