On the 25th of June the swedish army of 30 000 landed unopposed at Usedom in Germany. I took several days to unload all men, horses, guns and other equipment. At the same time the emperor called all german princes to meeting to discuss the complicated political situation. The protestant princes didnt come and the catholic ones only demanded peace.They also demanded Wallensteins dismissal. Following french diplomacy Wallensein was indeed fired while the swedes landed. The catholic forces were dispersed over the many fronts and the problems to unite the catholic league and the imperial forces weakened the opposition to the swedes. It wasnt until fall that Tilly could be persuaded to assume command over the imperial army that was to defeat the swedes. His command was weakened by the fact that it was Maximilian of Bavaria who commanded the leauguers and that Tilly had no command over the imperial forces elsewhere. The swedes established a bridgehead and occupied Usedom, Wollin and Stettin. Pommerania was forced to ally with the swedes. But there was little interets from others to join Gustaf. Neither Brandenburg or the flegmatic Johan Georg of Saxony wanted to be involved in war against the emperor. In July and August further reinforcements arrived from Finland and Prussia. Magdeburg signed a treaty with the swedes that would have historical and horrible qonsequenses. Colonel Didrik von Falkenberg was sent to Magdeburg to defend the town against an expected imperial attack. The swedes also put Kolberg under siege. On the 4th of November the imperials marsched from Gratz to relieve Kolberg. They first burned Gratz however. Gustaf advanced from Stettin and the imperials withdrew. They were divided and the swedes pursued them all the way to the Oder were the iceconditions let the imperials escape. Sofar the campaign had been succesful and considerable political gains had been made. Behind the armies the starvation among the population was horrible. It is said that cannibalism was common and that dead were dug from their graves and hanged were used as reserve food.

Gust2.jpg (12789 bytes)

Gustaf II Adolf

The swedish army in Germany consisted of the following units: Upplands cavalry, Västmanlands cavalry, Närkes and Värmlands cavalry, Västgöta and Dals cavalry, Smålands and Ölands cavalry, Östergötland and Södermanlands cavalry, The noble banners cavalry, Upplands infantry, Skaraborgs infantry, Södermanlands regiment, the dalregiments infantry, Östgöta infantry, Hälsinge infantry, Älvsborgs infantry, Västgöta dals infantry, Västmanlands infantry, Norrlands infantry, Kalmar infantry and Närke-Värmlands infantry. Add to this the finnish regiments and the mercenaries. The soldiers had no common uniform.

Tilly.jpg (23048 bytes)


In the start of 1631 Gustaf signed a treaty with France. It meant that France would subidize the swedish army with 120 000 riksdaler in 1631 and 400 000 riksdaler for each of the following five years. Richelieu tried to get the swedish king to accept neutrality towards Bavaria and the leaugue, in effect limiting his war to the imperials. Gustaf answered that that was possible only if they were neutral to him.  He pledged to accept the catholic faith in occupied land however. The leaugers and imperials started to besiege Magdeburg. When Tilly heard of that Greifenhagen had fallen to the swedish he marsched on Franfurt an der Oder. Gustaf started to besiege Demmin with 9000 men after having taken Löcknitz, Pasewalk and Neubrandenburg. On the 14th of January the king reconnoitered the assault on Demmin but the ice on a pond cracked under his horse. The enemy spotted him and opened fire. He escaped barely. Later that day Demmin surrendered. Tilly now realized that Gustaf wasnt going to relieve Magdeburg marsched on Neubrandenburg. Gustaf heard of this and followed with 19000 men to be able to attack Tillys rear. Tilly turned back towards Magdeburg that he intended to take. On the 3rd of April Gustaf assaulted Frankfurt after a consentrated artillerybarrage against the citys gate. The city fell after an intense but short fight. In May Tilly assaulted Magdeburg and the imperial soldiers went berserk during the following looting, murdering and pillaging meant that the town was burned to the ground.


The terrible bloodbath and massrape on the helpless civilians (that Tilly tried to prevent) was something yet unheard of. Up to 30 000 people were killed. The german language got a new word "Magdeburgesieren" which means to destroy completely without mercy. This incident got far reaching effects. The prince of Brandenburg that had hesitated for so long to join Gustaf finally allied with the swedes. Since the imperial commander Pappenheim had withdrawn to Halberstadt after Magdeburg the swedes got some rest. By defeating three imperial cavalry regiments close to Burgstall the swedes took prisoners that informed Gustaf that Tilly was headed for Werben. On july 26th he stood close to the swedish camp. After some fruitless attacks Tilly withdrew towards Tangermunde. The otherwise so succesful Tilly had failed. He turned to Saxony instead. He demanded that the very cautious prince of saxony, Johan Georg, should join the imperials with his mercenary army of 21 000 men. The prince who already had negotiated with the swedes refused. In early september Gustafs army entered Saxony by crossing the Elbe. The swedish army in Germany now consisted of 65 000 men including forces of Mecklenburg, Hessen-Kassel and Brandenburg. On the 5th the swedish army was joined by the saxon army. Gustaf found the saxon soldiers well uniformed and beautiful to behold. Johan Georg was not impressed by the ununiformed, raggy swedes on their small horses however. A staffmeeting that night discussed wether to go for a big battle or if to start to attrit the imperials with a series of smaller actions. The decision to offer a set piece battle at Leipzig was taken. At that moment Tilly marsched into Leipzig. On the 6th the swedish-saxon army marsched on Leipzig. On the 7th the battle of Breitenfeldt was fought...