domingo, 6 de noviembre de 2016



Översatt till engelska och svenska av Sandra Dermark inför 6 nov 2016

To the memory of Gustavus Adolphus Karlsson of Vasa

*Nyköping, Sweden, 9th of December 1594 
 + Lützen, Saxony, 6th of November 1632

Beloved ruler of nations and leader of armies,
consort, father, friend, and lover

His spouse Mary Eleanor (next to the throne), their daughter Christina Augusta 
(in his arms), his right-hand man Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna (next to the throne),
 his courtiers and his people, his officers and soldiers, will always
 keep his memory alive, as long as Sweden and freedom exist.

Inspired by thirst
for glory, on the field of battle quaffed
instead death's bitter draught.

The last word was missing in his epic song:
the word that crowns every achievement.
The mourners have done their duty, right or wrong:
they wrote it in blood and bereavement.
He left us when we (and he) expected it the least
in the prime of his life and at the climax of his career,
before he could be tarnished by the failing vigour of an older age
or by the corruption brought upon him by success. 
A single bullet, just like any other, 
suddenly struck his back and entered his noble chest, 
to quench a flame that never could or should have burned brighter.

Biblioteca cultural Carroggio, ed. Carroggio S.A. de Ediciones, Barcelona.
Enciclopedia Infantil. Tomo/Volumen 5: Lecciones de historia.
Impreso en Artes Gráficas Grijelmo, S.A. Bilbao, 1974
Creación: Fernando Carroggio y Ana Calzada
Ilustración de Pierre Monnerat


If he had not died that young, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden would doubtless have been one of the great military geniuses of history, for he started a great revolution in the art of warfare.
In fact, his first measure was suppressing mercenary companies, using only Swedish professional soldiers at his service.
But what is most important is that he introduced a series of very light and fast weaponry, aside from a series of military tactics that combined the use of cavalry, infantry, and artillery in an excellent way. From that day on, part of the European countries would copy these systems introduced by the King of Sweden in his national army.
At Lützen, Gustavus Adolphus himself took part in the battle, leading his own troops. This was his last engagement, since he fell upon the battlefield, though the victory was for his own host.

Near Lützen

The year was 1632. Sweden had recently entered the Thirty Years' War and was trying to invade the Imperial German crownlands. After a string of victories, Gustavus Adolphus managed to arrive with his troops into the very heart of Saxony, near the village of Lützen, about ten kilometres away from Leipzig.
By the side of Lützen stood the Imperial army, prepared not to let the invader pass. It was led by a skilful general, whose name was Albrecht von Wallenstein. The Imperial troops vastly outnumbered those of the King of Sweden.
Wallenstein's army had the infantry in the centre, formed by four square tercios of tightly-thronged pikemen, covered by flintlockmen and arquebusiers. The cavalry was arranged in the wings, like in nearly every war in those days. The right wing was reinforced by a tercio of infantry and a row of cannon. The artillery was placed in the centre, right before the infantry, in great trenches dug into the ground.
Gustavus Adolphus's army also had the infantry in the centre, but in less tightly-thronged lines and defended by light artillery. In the wings, he placed his cavalry in alternating squadrons, according to his strategy, always protected by groups of flintlockmen and by more light artillery.

The confrontation

In the morning, both armies were unable to watch one another. A thick fog made any action impossible, so they had to wait until midday.
Gustavus Adolphus, leading the cavalry on his right wing, lunged at the Imperial ranks, taking over their artillery and shattering the cavalry on the enemy's left wing.
The cannon captured by the Swedes was now fired against the Imperialists themselves, wiping out two of the tercios, each one composed of four thousand men.
But General Wallenstein did not let his spirits down; rather, he commanded the right wing of his own cavalry to return and claim the cannons. This was done, and the Swedes were thus forced backwards, leaving the Imperial cannons in their flight.
Gustavus Adolphus, indignated by the Imperialists' maneuver, rushed into the centre of the fight, where it was thicked, without thinking of the consequences. There, he found himself alone before the enemy infantry. In the midst of this struggle, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden met his own demise. He had barely reached his thirty-eighth year of age.

The reaction

It seemed that this moment was the end of the battle. But the Swedes, now led by the King's lieutenant Bernhard von Weimar, managed to claim once more the artillery, while the cavalry on the left and part of the infantry reached the rest of the Imperial cannon and captured it completely.
It seemed then that victory was already Sweden's. However, reinforcements soon appeared for Wallenstein's ranks. Not more or less than eight infantry regiments!
These reinforcements thus claimed the cannon once more. But then, von Weimar gave the order to let the second line advance. It was a decisive attack. The cannons, now in the hands of Sweden for the third time, began to fire at the centre and the right wing of the Imperialists, who had to retreat in complete disarray. They left upon the battlefield, counting both the slain and the sorely wounded, a total sum of nine thousand men.
At Lützen, it was thus proved that the Swedish tactics were the best and that artillery, if well employed, would be the definitive weaponry for all the later wars.



Hade han inte dött så ung, hade den svenske kungen Gustav II Adolf varit utan minsta tvekan ett av världshistoriens stora militärgenier, ty han inledde en stor revolution inom konsten att föra krig.
Faktum är den första förändringen han presenterade var att sluta anlita legoknektar, och han använde i sina arméer endast professionella svenska soldater.
Men det viktigaste var att han för första gången ställde under sina fanor nya, otroligt lätta och snabba vapen, och dessutom en ny taktik där infanteri, kavalleri och artilleri kombinerades på ett väldigt skickligt sätt. Från och med då skulle flera europeiska länder kopiera de system som den svenske regenten för första gången framställde inom sin nations armé.
Vid Lützen deltog Gustav Adolf själv i slaget och ledde sina egna trupper. Det var hans sista strid, ty han mötte döden på slagfältet, men trots det fick hans soldater kamma hem segern.

Nära Lützen

Året var 1632. Sverige hade nyligen gått med i trettioåriga kriget och försökte tränga in i Tyska rikets arvländer. Efter ett pärlband av segrar hade Gustav Adolf lyckats att med sina skaror tränga in i Sachsens hjärta, nära byn Lützen, på ungefär tio kilometers avstånd från Leipzig.
Vid Lützen befann sig dock den kejserliga armén, redo att inte låta inkräktaren passera. Den fientliga hären var ledd av en skicklig general vid namn Albrecht von Wallenstein. Hans skaror var mycket talrikare än den svenske kungens.
Wallensteins krigshär var uppställd med fotfolket i centern, format i fyra tertior, verkligen tätt uppställda fyrkanter av pikenerare täckta med hakeböss- och flintlåsskyttar. Kavalleriet var uppställt i flyglarna, enligt den tidens sed inom krigskonsten. Den högra flygeln var dessutom förstärkt av en tercio fotfolk och en rad kanoner. Resten av artilleriet var uppställt i centern, framför infanteriet, i stora löpgravar som hade grävts i marken.
Gustav Adolfs armé hade även fotfolket i centern, dock uppställt inte så tätt i linjer, beskyddade av lätta kanoner. I flyglarna placerade han sitt kavalleri i alternerande skvadroner, enligt sin egen strategi, rytteriet alltid beskyddat av grupper med flintlåsskyttar och ännu mer lätt artilleri.


Under hela morgonen kunde de två krigshärarna knappast se varandra. En tät dimma gjorde alla aktioner omöjliga och de fick vänta fram till mitt på dagen.
Gustav Adolf, i täten för sitt högra flygels rytteri, kastade sig mot de kejserliga, och tog sålunda över deras artilleri och förskingrade ryttarna på fiendens vänsterflygel.
De av svenskarna tagna kanonerna avfyrades då mot de kejserliga själva, och tillintetgjorde två av deras tertior, var och en bestående av fyra tusen man.
Men general Wallenstein tappade inte andan; han befallde sin högra flygel att ånyo rädda kanonerna. Sagt och gjort, och de tvingade svenskarna tillbaka, så att Gustav Adolfs män i flykten lämnade de kejserliga kanonerna i löpgravarna.
Gustav Adolf, provocerad av de kejserligas manöver, skred in i centern, där striden var som hetast, utan att tänka på följderna av denna handling. Där befann han sig ensam mot det fientliga fotfolket. Mitt i den här striden mötte Gustav II Adolf, Svea rikes konung, döden. Han hade knappt fyllt 38 år.


Det såg ut som att slaget höll på att ta slut. Men svenskarna, nu ledda av kungens högra hand i fält, Bernhard von Weimar, lyckades med att ånyo tillskansa sig artilleriet i löpgravarna, medan den svenska vänsterflygelns ryttare och en del av fotfolket nådde resten av de kejserligas kanoner och gjorde anspråk på alla av dem.
Då såg det ut som om segern tillhörde redan svenskarna. Trots det fick de kejserliga trupperna se deras förstärkningar dyka upp. Inte mer eller mindre än åtta tertior fotfolk!
Dessa förstärkningar tog återigen över kanonerna. Men då befallde von Weimar den andra linjen att skrida fram. Detta anfall blev avgörande. Kanonerna, för tredje gången i svenska händer, började avfyras mot de kejserligas center och deras högerflygel, vilket tvingade fienden till reträtt i total oordning. De lämnade efter sig på slagfältet sammanlagt omkring niotusen man, stupade och svårt sårade.
Vid Lützen bevisades det att den svenska taktiken var den bästa och att artilleriet, väl använt, skulle bli det avgörande vapenslaget i alla de kommande krigen.

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