Raid on Archangel, 6-7 July 1701

The battle of Archangel was a minor naval battle during the Great Northern War (1700-1719). In 1701 Archangel was Russia’s only port, and a key Swedish target in any fighting. An attempt had been made to seize the port over the winter of 1700-1701, but had failed.

In June 1701 a naval expedition was sent to raid Archangel. It was a small expedition, containing only seven ships. The fleet, commanded by Commodore Lewe, left Gothenburg on 7 June to sail north around the coast of Norway to Archangel, arriving after a journey of a month.

On the evening of 6 July 1701 the three smallest ships in the fleet (the Falk of six guns, the Töfva-lite of four guns and the Mjöhund of six guns) were sent up the North Dvina River towards Archangel. The fleet was flying Dutch and English flags in an attempt to disguise their hostile intentions, and were piloted by Russian prisoners.

As the three ships passed close to a Russian fort near the mouth of the river the Russian pilots ran the ships aground. Two boat loads of Russian soldiers were sent out to attack the Swedish raiders, although the low Swedish casualties (one officer killed and two men wounded) would suggest that the Russians were not able to approach too closely. The Mjöhund and the Falk had to be abandoned, and the Swedes withdrew in the Töfva-lite.

The five-strong Swedish fleet remained in the White Sea for another two weeks, before departing on 21 July, reaching Gothenburg on 25 August, having achieved very little.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (30 July 2007), Raid on Archangel, 6-7 July 1701, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_archangel.html

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