All of Livland having been wrested from the polish, the king decided to move the main effort to the sofar from war untouched polish Prussia. It would be easier to supply the army while Livland was plunedered and had little to offer. The goal was to make the baltic to a sea surrounded by swedish territory and thus put all the trade on the rivers leading to the baltic under swedish taxation. When and where to strike was kept secret. The harbors in the polish eastprussia was under the protection of Gustafs father in law, Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg, but that diplomatic complication didnt bother the king. In the end of June 1626 the navy assmbled at Ölvsnabben once more and set sail with over 150 ships and more than 14000 men. On the 22nd the king bad his wife, pregnant for the fourth time, farewell. With him the king had a group of officers that soon would be famous or infamous all over Europe. Gustav Horn, 33 years old, trained in the netherlands and a veteran of the russian war. Johan Banér, aged 30, a veteran from the campaigns in livland and the young Lennart Torstensson, 23 years old, recently arrived from studies in the art of war in the Netherlands.

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Gustav Horn

After only four days the navy reached Pillau that fell without battle. Pillau was situated at the mouth of two polish rivers and thus strategically very important. With Pillau under control the swedes now put all trade from Prussia under taxation. Another ten towns fell in rapid consession. Loot was sent home to Sweden from plundered monastaries and towns. Frauenburg, Braunsberg, Oliva, Dirschau and Elbing where taken and a bridge was built over the Weichsel. The swedes now stood at the border of Pommerania. That meant that Danzig was cut off from land and the swedish navy sailed outside the town. Danzig being the last of the old independant Hansatowns refused to open the gates for Gustaf and also refused to ally with Sigismund against the swedes. The campaign had been very succesful, but no further gains were achieved in 1626.


In May 1627 the king was back with well needed reinforcements. 20% of the army had died of disease in the winter. Now it was time to conquer Danzig. On the night between 23rd and 24th of May 1200 men attempted to cross the Weichsel in boats but the noice alarmed the defenders of Danzig and they opened fire. In the dark and gunsmoke the boats lost direction and the king immidietly jumped into a boat with Per Brahe and a handful of men to save the situation. The boat got into the line of fire and the king was hit below the waist and fell down, convinced he was dying. The men tried to row back under heavy fire. Per Brahe used his hands to plug some of the nine holes in the boat that hits produced. When the king was carried onto dry land it was found that the bullet hadnt hit any vital organs. Maybe his obesity had saved him. It wasnt the first time the king was in danger. We know of a close call in the Kalmar war where he barely escaped death or captivity from the danish. In july the king got in a melee with polish hussars while reconoittering and a polish hussar swinged for his head. The king parried but the sword broke and a large piece of the kings hat was cut off. The pole was shot off his horse. In August 1627 the king studied the enemys activity at the battle of Dirshau through his fieldglass when he was struck by a musketball in the chest a few centimeters from the throat. Axel Oxenstierna helped the king back to camp and few expected him to survive. The bullet was impossible to remove and as a result the king couldnt carry metalarmor again. Two fingers on the right hand were paralyzed. The battle was won and the poles withdrew. The war continued and the king returned to Sweden while diplomats and others tried to arrange a cease fire.

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The King at the battle of Dirshau

The war continued in Livland as well. Polish offensives led by Sapieha and Gosniewski were met by Jakob de la Gardie, Svante Banér and Gustav Horn. Initial setbacks for the swedes were turned into victories when Dunaburg, Dahlen and Uxkull were taken. In September 1627 all of Livland was in Swedish hands.


In 1628 the king returned to Prussia with the largest army sofar. 33000 men. Still no decisive victories over the poles were won. A very important event was the imperial commander Wallensteins attack on Stralsund. In april the commander von Arnim started the siege. The danish had offered help while the town had written to Gustaf II Adolf for help. The danish help consisted of the scotsman Alexander Seaton who arrived with 1000 men of scots and germans. Sweden sent 4200 kg of gunpowder. During the siege both danish and swedish reinforcements were sent and the siege failed. Gustaf had finally intervened in the European war.  After a failed polish campaign in Prussia 1629  the cease fire at Altmark was signed. Danzig was never taken but forced to pay tax to Sweden. Sweden kept Prussia for six years with the important towns of Elbing, Frauenburg, Braunsberg and Memel. Livland became Swedish permanently.The taxes from  the new towns gave as much as the extra wartaxes in Sweden and Finland while Prussia gave 20% of the gathered income to the crown. It was a spectacular success for Sweden. The war against Poland had cost 40000 swedish and finnish boys their lives, mostly from disease.


In Europe the imperials and leaguers under Tilly, Wallenstein and Henrik von Pappenheim defeated the danish forces. On the 10th of August the danish surrendered at Aalborg. Intriguing and conspiration by Wallenstein led to rumors that was to effect him later. At this time he was hailed as a hero and the emperors star rose higher than ever as the protestants were in total defeat. The fact that the swedes were so close to Germany in Prussia disturbed Wallenstein who dreamt of a baltic empire for himself. His army of 12000 being a political instrument loyal to him. He is to return in history as an opponent because Gustaf II Adolf now commits to a full scale intervention in the European war. A fateful decision that leads to glory for Sweden but the human tragedy behind it escalates to a disaster unheared of and unequalled until 20th century.