Battle of Lund, 4/14 December 1676

Battle during the Danish invasion of Scania that saw Charles XI of Sweden inflict a bloody defeat on the Danish army, preventing them from easily recapturing the Danish provinces lost in 1660 and 1645. The Danes had landed an army 14,000 strong at Rå in Scania on 29 June 1676. By the middle of August they had captured the key towns of Helsingborg, Landskröna and Kristianstad, although a thrust north along the west coast into Halland had been defeated at Halmstadt. In October the Danish army went into winter quarters at Lund, in south west Scania. At this point their army was still over 12,000 strong (5,000 cavalry, 1,300 dragoons and 6,000 infantry).

Charles XI was determined not to let the Danes enjoy a peaceful winter. In October he led an army 11,000 strong south into Scania. Over the next two months he lost nearly half of his men to hunger and disease – by the start of December the Swedish army had been reduced to 4,700 cavalry and 1,750 infantry (out of a total of around 7,500 men). Charles attempted a surprise night attack, which failed. His infantry was then forced to spend eight hours in a desperate fight across farmland, broken up by stone walls, while the cavalry, with Charles at its head indulged in a lengthy pursuit of the Danish left.

By evening the Swedish infantry was on the verge of collapse, having been forced back against Lund. At this point Charles and the cavalry finally returned to the battlefield, hitting the Danish lines in the rear. The Danish cavalry was broken and fled, the Danish infantry was left to be slaughtered. Lund was the most costly battle during the wars between Sweden and Denmark. Both sides suffered close to 50% killed – 6,000 Danes and as many as 3,000 Swedes were reported to have been killed in the battle. The victory at Lund did not end the Danish invasion of Scania, but it did prevent the Danes from establishing control over the province. Over the next two years they struggled to hold on to areas they had already occupied before Lund. In the Peace of Lund (September 1679) Sweden retained control over all of Scania.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 July 2007), Battle of Lund, 4/14 December 1676,

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