When the Dutch Fought the Swedes in 1807
By Stefan Spett
Marshal Mortier's VIII Corps invaded Swedish Pomerania in January, 1807. The 2nd Dutch Hussars participated although a chevaux-leger regiment did most of the fighting. During the blockade of Stralsund in February-March a large area of Pomerania was nearly unoccupied and was not asked to make contributions. Governor Essen came to the conclusion that the Dutch forces slowly marching towards Pomerania in rather small units was foraging in that area. When the Dutch arrived, much of Mortier's marched east and the Dutch replaced them. This shuffling of units was known in great detail on the Swedish side. One of many sources were a corporal from the 4th Legere who had deserted. He told them that he deserted because he had killed a Dutchman and that two Dutch regiments recently arrived outside Stralsund. He also named 5 French regiments that had marched off. On 30 March the Swedish forces made a large reconnaissance because some enemy outposts were missing. They found new outposts in new fieldworks some way back and 8 Swedish hussars found half a squadron of Dutch hussars in the village Pütte. Three of the Swedish hussars were taken prisoner and a fourth received two cuts, a thrust, and a gunshot wound before he could escape the other Dutch soldiers who quickly stopped their advance.
On 1 April, the Swedes made a breakout. The fighting was not very bloody, but it was noisy. Morale snapped anyway among both the French and Dutch units. When a parliamentary rode to Greifswald on 2 April, the outpost started running and the parliamentary and his escort transformed into a storming-party and rushed the town, taking mostly Dutch prisoners. For some days the Swedes were warrior-gods. At Anklam the ammunition train of Division Grandjean was taken by 2 officers and 6 jaegers. Those jaegers converted themselves to bareback dragoons and continued their rampage. They took prisoners from the following Dutch units:
On 5 April, a raiding-party was sent from Demmin to take Schwerin at least 160 kilometers away. The next day the party took a French patrol and learned from them that Schwerin had been reinforced by Dutch forces and that a company had outpost duty in the village of Pinnow. Because the raiding-party consisted only of 41 Moerner-Hussars and 52 Joenkoeping Jaegers on wagons it was decided to attack only the outpost the next evening. A woods concealed the raiders until they were about one kilometer from Pinnow. The horses must have been rather tired for the Dutch had time to muster. The jaegers rode on their wagons until they were in musket range of the village and then dismounted. (They should have played the Ride of Valkyrias on loudspeakers!) The Dutch was ridden down by the hussars and outflanked by the jaegers and quickly crumbled. One Dutch subofficer was sabered and 46 Dutch of the 4th Infantry Regiment were taken prisoner. Among the prisoners was a lieutenant Roll. At least 41 prisoners were brought to Rügen. Swedish casualties were light: Hussar No35, Falskij was killed and Hussar No 47, Roth was mortally wounded; while a jaeger was lightly wounded. Swedish sources states that most of the Dutch were left on the field!
When Mortier forcefully counterattacked from Pasewalk on the 16th of April, the 7th Dutch Infantry participated. Six of them deserted. It may have been only the Dutch artillery that fought heroically on the 6th. Eight gun sloops, armed with long 24-pounders attacked Uckermünde there the retreating division Grandjean was bivouacked. One field gun and one howitzer challenged the Swedish might and managed to fire about 50 balls and grenades before the howitzer was hit and the guns withdrew. One Swede had been killed and a further two drowned then they tried to land. The weather was windy and which is probably why the gunners could survive 59 24-pound roundshot, 5 grapeshot and 8 ball and grapeshot.
During 1807 of the Dutch Corps had about 20,000 participating in the campaign, of which about 900 deserted (about 4.5% of the total force). At least 20 of these deserters deserted during the cease-fire (April-July 1807). Interestingly, three of them were Swedes taken prisoner at Lübeck in November 1806!
Kriget i Pommern 1805-1807 vol.29 Melins
E3597 H.H.Essens handlingar
Krigsvetenskaps Akademiens Tidskrift 1844/9