The Invasion of Rugen and Battle of Stresow, 1715

The Invasion of Rugen and Battle of Stresow in 1715 was part of the anti Swedish alliances efforts against the stronghold of Stralsund. The island of Rugen was the naval source for supplies, etc into and out of this important fortification. Therefore it was decided to invade and close this supply route. Further details of the events can be found at  Dan Schorr's Battles and Campaigns. On this page I will give the units involved in the battle and invasion.

Swedish Army: King Charles XII

At the time of the invasion there were 4,500 Swedish troops and 12 guns on the island. Of these 2,000 participated in the battle of Stresow under the command of the Swedish King Charles XII. Unfortunately not many of the units available have been identified at the battle, those that have I have put in italics

Cavalry:

The following units were on the island, although as you will see one at least almost certainly wasn't. I have also given a guide / guess to the possible strength of the unit. This is necessary as many of the units had lost portions in various capitulations and other events.

  • Drabantkaren: A squadron sized bodyguard unit nominally of 200 men.

  • Bremiska kavallerireg:te: A maximum of 4 companies remained with a nominal strength of 400 men.

  • Holstenska kavallerireg:te: A Holstein regiment in Swedish service, 395 men.

  • Pommerska regementet till häst: A maximum of 4 companies remained with a nominal strength of 400 men.

  • Holstenska Gardedragoner:  A Holstein regiment in Swedish service, 562 men.

  • Bremiska dragonreg:te: A unknown portion left probably in the region of 100 to 200 men.

  • Verdiska dragonreg:te: A unknown portion left probably in the region of 50 to 100 men.

  • Bassewitz or Wismarska dragonreg:te: Nominal strength 222 men

  • Vietinghoffs or Barthska dragonreg:te: Nominal strength 300 men

  • Benderska dragonreg:te: Unknown size but probably less than 100 men.

  • Niesterska dragonreg:te (formerly the Polska regementet till hast):  Unknown size but probably less than 100 men.

  • Franska dragoner or Grenadjarerna till hast: This unit is listed as part of the Swedish forces on Rugen but it was disbanded in 1709. Possibly included by mistake for the unit below.

  • Pommerska dragonreg:te: This unit is not listed as present on the island, but it took part in the battle and suffered heavy losses there. It had a nominal strength of 1000 men and may have been something approaching this strength, i.e 600 to 800.

Infantry:

The following units were on the island. I have also given a guide / guess to the possible strength of the unit. This is necessary as many of the units had lost portions in various capitulations and other events.

  • Jönköpings regemente: Nominal strength of 1100 men.

  • Bremiska infanterireg:tet: Only 6 companies remained with a nominal strength of about 900 men.

  • Holstenska infanterireg:tet: A Holstein regiment in Swedish service, 600 men.

  • Rhenländska infanterireg:tet: A unit raised in Zweibrucken with 534 men but only a few hundred managed to make it to Sralsund / Rugen. So probably about 200 to 250 strong.

  • Rügenska Lant or Marinereg:te: Nominally 500 men strong earlier in 1715.

  • Elingska garnisonregementet: Not listed as present but the regimental history says small numbers left in Stralsund & Rugen, probably less than 50 strong.

Size of the defending force:

The above gives us a Swedish army on the island of approx. 4,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry. Yet the actual total was something like 4,500 men. So it is likely that many of the units would be well under this strength, perhaps in the order of 40 to 60% under strength.

Allied Army: Prince Leopold of Anhalt Dessau

The Allied army consisted of Danish, Norwegian, Saxon and Prussian troops all under the command of the Prussian general Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau. It is supposed to amount to about 19,000 infantry, 3,500 cavalry and 26 field guns, the total given in the translated document on  Dan Schorr's Battles and Campaigns site. The following are the units that were involved in the invasion. Those in italics were actively involved in the battle of Stresow. At this battle all the infantry was present but those in italics are most likely to have actually participated. While for the cavalry only those in italics were present on the island at the time of the battle and all of them fought.

Danish Troops:

There were 8 Danish infantry battalions and 8 cavalry regiments in the invasion force. Each of the cavalry units had 2 squadrons.

Infantry: 1 battalion each from the following regiments

  • Garden Til Fods
  • Dronningens Liv
  • Prinds Georgs
  • Prinds Carls
  • Jyske
  • Fynske
  • Grenaderkorps
  • Oldenborgske battalion

Eight battalions at approx. 600 to 700 men each gives about 5000 men in theory.

Cavalry: 2 squadrons (4 companies) each from the following regiments

  • 2nd Jyske Horse
  • 3rd Jyske Horse
  • 2nd Fynske Horse
  • Holstenske (former Bernstorffs and Oldenborgske) Horse
  • Dewitz (former Dithmer) Horse
  • Jydskenational Ryttar (former Jyske Landmilitia Dragoons)
  • Livregiment Dragoon
  • Wurttemberg - Oels Dragoon

6 Horse and 2 Dragoon regiments, 7 regiments at about 280 men and 1, Wurttemburg-Oels, at 200 men gives about 2150 Danish cavalry in theory.

Norwegian Troops:

One battalion each from the Norske Geworbne (800 men) and 2nd Trondhjemske (650 men) regiments were present, in total about 1450 men.

Saxon Troops:

There were 4 infantry battalions and a single dragoon regiment of 2 squadrons in the invasion force. The number refer to the number on Dan Schorr's Saxon Army Pages

  • Kurprinz or Konigl. Prinz (Infantry regiment No 3) - 'Old' regiment
  • Koningin (Infantry regiment No 4) - 'Old' regiment
  • Weissenfelts or Weissenfels (Infantry regiment No 27) - 'New' regiment
  • Ansbach-Kavanagh (Infantry regiment No 33) - Mercenary regiment.
  • Ansbach-Flemming (Dragoon regiment No 15) - Mercenary Dragoon regiment.

In theory the infantry battalions were about 700 men each, but in practice could be very under strength. The dragoon regiments strength is unknown but is likely to be in the region of 100 to 150 men per squadron. So the theoretical total would be 2800 infantry and 200 - 300 cavalry.

Prussian Troops:

Prussia's contribution consisted of 10 infantry battalion, 15 cavalry squadrons and the commanding officer. The exact composition of the Prussian contingent is not clear. Below is the most likely interpretation but please see the Prussian army page for more details.

Infantry: 5 'Line' battalions were present, one from each regiment. One of the regiments was probably that of Anhalt Zerbst (IR 8). The other 4 regiments were either what were to become Infantry Regiments 5, 9, 11 and 21 or what were to become Infantry Regiments 4, 16, 19 and 23. One of these battalions was also likely to have been involved in the fighting, in addition to the Anhalt Zerbst battalion.

There were also 5 combined grenadier battalions, those of Sidow, Prinz von Holstein, Billerbech, Barleben and Reinach. See main Prussian army page for details. The size of these units are unknown but i think a theoretical strength of about 500 is likely.

In theory this would be 5 battalions at 680 men and 5 at 500 men, giving a total of about 6000 men.

Cavalry: 15 Prussian cavalry squadrons were sent to Rugen. Most of them have been identified but some are still unknown. This list gives the most likely interpretation but see the Prussian page for details.

  • Schlippenbach Horse (CR 1) - 2 squadrons.
  • Leib Horse (CR 3) - 2 squadrons.
  • Gendarme Horse (CR 10) - 1 squadron
  • Leib / Blankensee Dragoons (CR 4) - 1 squadron.
  • D'Albe Dragoons (CR 7) - 1 squadron.
  • Markgraf Albrecht Dragoons (CR 11) - 2 squadrons.
  • Portail Dragoons (CR 12) - 2 squadrons.
  • Veyne Dragoons (DR 1) - 2 squadrons.
  • Defflinger Dragoons (DR 3) - 2 squadrons

These 15 squadrons would have in theory about 2250 men.

Size of the invasion force:

The above totals for troops give us additional problems, namely the numbers do not add up! For the cavalry this is not so bad as the above breakdown of forces gives us something in the region of 4700 mounted troops instead of the 3500 quoted above. This is explainable by the fact that most units at any time have a lower strength in the field than the theoretical size. So a 25% or some short fall is reasonable to expect.

The problem is with the infantry. The above totals give us a grand total of 15,250 infantry, well short of the 19,000 expected! It may be that the army should be 19,000 total, i.e. 3500 cavalry, 15,500 infantry and artillery, rather than as stated above. Yet even this is suspect because you would expect the infantry to be similarly under strength. While the total of 15,500 infantry and artillery would have the infantry more or less at full strength.

I have no idea what the truth might be but it does seem more likely to me that the total size of the army was more like 19,000 rather than the 22,500 noted above. Indeed it seems likely to me that the infantry would be actually more like 12,000 strong in the field, i.e. the units listed above would be 20 to 25% under strength.