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Siege of Malmö
Part of the Scanian War
Battle of Malmø-Johan Philip Lemke.jpg
Battle of Malmø, by Johan Philip Lemke.
DateJune 26, 1677
LocationMalmö
Result Swedish victory
Belligerents
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark
Commanders and leaders
Fabian von Fersen Christian V
Strength
2,000 troops
5,000 townsmen
14,000 troops
Casualties and losses
1,000 killed 3,000 to 4,000 killed

The Siege of Malmö was fought during the night between June 25 and 26 (Julian calendar), 1677.

Prelude

The fortified town of Malmö was the only Swedish stronghold that had not fallen into the hands of the Danes and during 1676 and 1677 it was used as a base for Swedish operations in the southwest corner of Skåne. To win the war king Christian V therefore had to capture Malmö. The siege began on June 10, when the Danish navy anchored in the roadstead north of the town and the Danish army camped on the plain south of the town. Danish engineers soon begun digging trenches leading up to the castle in the west and to the eastern and southern gates in the town wall. On the 12 the Danes brought in 28 siege guns and 27 mortars that started bombarding the castle and the town walls. The Swedish administration was not sure about the loyalty of the civilian citizens as they had only been under Swedish rule since 1658. But reports from Kristianstad about how the Danish king Christian V had allowed his soldiers three hours of plunder after the capture of the town in August 1676 ensured the citizens that their best option was to support the Swedes.

Battle

The bombardment became more intense on the evening of the 25 and at 1 o'clock AM the battle begun with a Danish sham attack on the castle Malmöhus, followed by two full attacks on the city. One at the southern gate (Söderport) and one at the eastern gate (Österport). The Danes used fascines, ladders and pontoons to cross the moat. After a fearsome fight the Danish guard under command of Siegfried von Bibow was able to break through the defence close to the eastern gate. However, as soon as Danish troops reached the crest of the town wall the Danish artillery ceased to fire and this gave the defenders the opportunity to man their guns. The Swedish artillery soon begun firing on Danish troops making their way across the moat and this not only killed a lot of Danish soldiers but also made it impossible for the Danes to bring reinforcements to von Bibow. On the inside of the town wall von Bibow had too few men to force his way to the gate and open it and eventually he and all his men were cut down by Swedish soldiers and townsmen. Another attack on the other side of the eastern gate made it to the crest of the wall, but no further, while the attacks at the southern gate failed to even cross the moat.

Aftermath

On the 5 July the Danish army began its retreat back north to Landskrona. The Danes had not only lost the initiative in the war but also its best troops and some of its most skilled commanders. It has been suggested that the later is one of the main reasons why the Danes lost at the battle of Landskrona a few weeks later.

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