The Battle of Matrand was a military battle on 5 August 1814 between Norwegian and Swedish forces as part of the Swedish-Norwegian War of 1814. It was the bloodiest battle of the entire war, where the Swedish lost 340 men, of which 270 captured; the Norwegians lost around 50 men with 90 wounded and 15 captured.
Background[edit | edit source]
After the defeat at Lier the Swedish army retreated first to Malmer and from there back to Matrand, where the rest of the army was stationed. At Matrand they took care of the wounded and it is said that they used the local church there as a field hospital.
At Matrand, Major General Carl Pontus Gahn would let the troops rest and resupply themselves with new ammunition, before they again should attempt an offensive towards Kongsvinger. But on 4 August, Gahn received a message that Norwegian reinforcements were sent from Høland to Kongsvinger in order to reinforce the Norwegian posisions. Gahn therefore decided to withdraw back across the border to Sweden instead of attempting an offensive.
Norwegian plan[edit | edit source]
Through the Norwegian farmers who visited the Swedish camp at Matrand, Lt. Colonel Andreas Samuel Krebs had received good information about what the Swedish troops undertook. When he got the message that Gahn intended to march the army back across the border, he decided to strike against the Swedish in the early morning of August the 5th.
The Battle[edit | edit source]
At 22:00, 4 August, Krebs started his march against the Swedish forces at Matrand. The troops marched together to Åbogen where Captain Dons, with about 1,000 men, was sent to Pramhus from where he could attack the enemy from behind at Skotterud. The rest of the troops, together with Lt. Colonel Krebs, continued to Malmer, where Krebs sent off 250 men to Skinpungrud to attack the enemys flanks. The rest of the troops continued on to Matrand, but it was a weak force of only about 700-800 men.
The Norwegian and Swedish vanguards met quickly close to Matrand, and the Swedes where forced to retreat back to stronger defensive positions. There, the Swedish vanguard also got reinforced, and they managed to keep the Norwegian troops back for about an hour. Gahn used this opportunity to try to speed up the withdrawal and get the Swedish troops into the security of the home country, but the Swedish were eventually quickly pushed back towards the rest of the brigade who had taken positions on both sides of the road, east of the river at Matrand.
After being reinforced by the column that had passed by Skinpungrud, Krebs' forces continued their advance under heavy fire. Krebs did, at this time, not know if Dons and his troops were in position at Skotterud and for this reason he would not continue to move forward against the enemy. But after a while the Norwegians had grouped themselves so that they were about to encircle the Swedish defenders, and Gahn therefore decided to withdraw to Skotterud with one battalion and two cannons to keep the escape route open. While all this was going on, Captain Dons and his troops were on the march towards Skotterud. When they heard musket fire coming from Matrand, they were concerned that they would not arrive in time to take part in the battle and the last few kilometers they ran. Many of Dons' soldiers could not keep up and thus did not participate in the early stages of the attack on the Swedish withdrawal. When Dons' troops came to the main road at Ilag, who the Swedish used for their withdrawal. Some Swedish supply troops were about to pass, but many of their horses were shot down by the Norwegians so that the road was blocked for those who came behind. Originally Dons should have created a roadblock to prevent the Swedish troops to withdrawn by Ilag, but this was impossible since the time was too short.
The Swedish forces were now under attack from two sides and were also about to run out of ammunition. Gahn saw that they would have to break through Norwegian lines if they were to avoid being captured. However, with only bayonets, some of the Swedish troops managed to fight their way back to Sweden.
Aftermath[edit | edit source]
Lt. Colonel Krebs was hailed as a hero and promoted for the victory at Matrand as well as the prior Battle of Lier. His victories were the only ones in an otherwise despondently campaign and obtained for Norwegian envoys a valuable starting point for negotiations leading to the Swedes accepted the Norwegian Constituent Assembly of Eidsvoll.
References[edit | edit source]
Literature[edit | edit source]
- Rastad, Per Erik (1982) Kongsvinger festnings historie - Krigsårene 1807–1814
- Rastad, Per Erik (2004) Sju dramatiske år - Ufredstid i Glåmdalsdistriktet 1807–1814
[edit | edit source]
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|