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Course of War 1757-1758

The Swedish army sent to Germany was only sufficient for taking possession of what had already been conquered by the Allies, but made the all necessary preparations to go on the offensive despite not having the necessary funds. The army's very premise, to suppress Frederick, was found false - on being notified of his victory at Rossbach on 5 November 1757, the Swedish commander Marshal Mattias Alexander von Ungern-Sternberg dared not obey the orders from his government and the French agent Marc Ren de Montalembert to lead his ill-equipped army in a march on Berlin, instead returning in November 1757 to Swedish Pomerania, where the Swedes were being besieged by the Prussians at Stralsund and Rgen. Von Ungern-Sternberg relinquished command on 21 December 1757 to Gustaf von Rosen, but von Rosen too was forced to lie idle, blockaded by the Prussians. This blockade was lifted by an invading Russian army on 18 June 1758, but von Rosen had grown tired of his thankless task and handed command over to Gustav David Hamilton. Augustin Ehrensvard captured Peenemunde hill on July 27, and Hamilton sent 16,000 men to support the Russians, who were besieging Kstrin. However, after their defeat at Zorndorf he decided instead to march to Saxony to join up with the Austrians. However, he got no further than Nuruppin in Brandenburg. A detachment he sent from there suffered a heavy defeat on 26 September at Tarnow, although major Karl Konstantin De Carnall was able to reach Fehrbellin with 800 men to defend it from about 5,000 Prussians. After the failure of the Austrian invasion of Saxony, Hamilton left Neuruppin on 10 October and headed for the River Oder, in the hopes of joining up with the Russians. He failed in this and the Swedish force had to go into winter quarters, with Hamilton returning to Swedish Pomerania. The government blamed him for the force's failure and pressured him into resigning his command, which Hamilton did on 23 November 1758. Hamilton was replaced as commander on 19 December the same year with Jacob Albrecht von Lantingshausen.

Early in 1759, a superior Prussian force forced him to retreat to Stralsund, losing the garrisons at Demmin, Anklam and Peenemnde after hard fighting. The Russian advance in May liberated Swedish Pomerania, but lack of money and supplies meant the Swedish commander could only start campaigning that August. His goal was to besiege Stettin and in preparation for this Lantingshausen allowed Axel von Fersen to take 4,000 men to capture Usedom and wolin - this objective was met after the Battle of Frisches Haff ensured Swedish naval supremacy in September - while Lantingshausen took the main body of the army to advance deep into Prussian Pomerania, where he then remained still for a long while. However, due to a lack of cooperation from his allies, he was unable to besiege Stettin and in late autumn withdrew into Swedish Pomerania.

The Prussians then invaded Swedish Pomerania on 20 January 1760, but this time they were repulsed and on 28 January Swedish troops penetrated as far as Anklum and captured the Prussian general Heinrich von Manteuffel. However, despite these successes and despite the Prussian army's attention mainly being elsewhere, Lantingshausen and his 15,000 troops were under-supplied and only able to invade Prussia in August, mainly in order to find supplies. He pushed forward to Prenzoles (now Prenzlau) in Brandenburg with his main force of 6,000 troops, leaving Augustin Ehrensvard with a detachment in Pasewalk. There he was attacked by the enemy and fought back bravely, but Ehrensvard was wounded and had to resign his command. Then many officers left to participate in parliament and the resulting shortage of officers forced Lantingshausen to return to Swedish Pomerania, where he remained for the whole winter without being attacked by the Prussians. Although his commands exceeded any expectations, Lantingshausen tired of the immense difficulties and in June 1761 resigned. Only in July was his successor Augustin Ehrensvard able to raise 7,000 men to invade the enemy's country. Although superior to the Prussian army that tried to prevent his advance, they were so poorly equipped that the advance did not get far and the campaign saw only minor engagements. In September he sent two regiments under count Frederick William von Hessenstein to support the Russians, who were besieging Kolberg since 1759. However, Hessenstein soon had to withdraw and in October the whole Swedish force returned to Swedish Pomerania. When the Prussians began to worry about their borders, he sent Jacob Magnus Sprengtporten with light troops (the so-called Sprengtportenska) to Mecklenburg and on 23 December defeated a Prussian force at Malchin on 23 December. However, there he was surrounded by a superior Prussian force, though Ehrensvard was able to break through and rescue him. An advance guard under De Carnall defeated the Prussians at Neukalen (2 January 1762) who were trying to block the road and Ehrensvard marched into Malchin. However, he then immediately returned to Swedish Pomerania and on 7 April came to a truce on his own initiative - this truce of Ribnitz lasted until the peace.

In Sweden, the unpopularity of this costly and futile war meant that the Hats' control on government began to falter and the confusion the war caused led to a deficit which resulted in their fall in 1765. The death of Elizabeth of Russia in January 1762 changed the whole political situation in Europe. A RussoPrussian alliance, formalized on 5 May, threatened to make Russia an enemy not an ally of Sweden. The secret committee thus decided on March 13 that year that Sweden would seek a separate peace. Via the queen's mediation, the Swedes signed the peace of Hamburg with Prussia and Mecklenburg on 22 May, accepting their defeat - Prussia and Sweden were restored to the status quo ante bellum. References: 1. Wikipedia: