In the year of 1676 Swedens most bloody battle took place on the plains outside the city of Lund, and my reenactment group has for several years been invited to reenact the battle for the public. Since it was just one day event, it turned into a bit of a mini vacation, taking a small roadtrip down to Lund on Saturday (its only three hours) and then doing shows on Sunday, and then Monday was the national day, so looked at the places of the battle around Lund and then stopping at both Bosjökloster (which is an amazing old nunnery and castle) and also my friend Kristian and Wendy who has their farm down in Skåne (Kristian is also a great saddlemaker and make both western and historical saddles, so is that is of any interest check out his WEBPAGE).
Anyhow, the event day was very nice. We had got reinforcement from Skånes Caroliner, and we were divided with the Swedes on one side with straw in their hats, and then infantry and a canon on the Danish side, with white armbands (which was the side I was on). The Swedish side also had cavalary, but they started behind our (the Danish line). Then we fired a couple of rounds on each others, then the cavalry broke trough and then they ran back a few times to fight us, and then we all met in the middle, and we the Danes surrended.
The smoke in the pictures are just gun powder smoke, that is from the muskeets and canon. Its not added for effect in anyway.
The Real Battle
At the peace treaty of Roskilde Denmark lost alot of their provinces that is in nowday Sweden, and was aiming to take them back the Summer of 1676, and they started to work they way south up trough Skåne. When the winter came take took winter camp just south of the river Kävlinge, just out side the town of Lund. There where over 15000 people in the camp, which can compare to te city of Lund, which had 3000 people living there. The Danes horses alone ate 50 ton of hay a day. So in December, the Swedes had enough and decided to make a suprise attack on the Danish camp, so at 2:30 at night, they crossed the iced river and started to march on the camp. But the Danes discovered them and the Swedish army changed direction towards Lund instead.
The king Karl XI managed, with his cavalry forces, to drive a portion of the Danes back several kilometers, while the main part of the forces where still fighting just outside the city walls.
Several hours past, and the Swedish side where getting exhausted. But in the mean time Karl XI returned with 1000 cavalry, but they where now behind the Danish lines, and by some sort of miracle the king and 2 of his men managed to just ride straight trough the Danish forces and when the King broke trough. I can only imagine it must have been like Gandalf arrived at Helms deep. The exhausted Swedish men got there breath back and with the help of the cavalary that now was also attacking in the rear, the Swedes finally managed to win the day.
But the number of losses had been huge, its hard to know exactly but several thousand where dead. Some number say 4000, but many says that it was 8000 men dead of about 18000 soldiers a total. This is a huge number, even for this era. The ground was frozen solid and the dead had to be put in piles in the church yards and could only be buried later in february in massgraves where Danes and Swedes where put side by side.
In is said that if Sweden had lost Lund, the Danes would probably been able to later take back all of Skåne. As Sweden winning, the borders remained the same as before.
I visited the place where the Danes had there camp, its marked out, and also the stretch of river the Swedes crossed. Its very humbling to think how 300 years ago they marched the icy land to defend there country in the middle of the night.