Saturday, September 21, 2019

Following in the tracks of the Roos’ battalions

September 21, 2019 Today the Museum of the Battle of Poltava conducted for the first time a somewhat unusual excursion dedicated to the Via Dolorosa that the Dalarna regiment had passed during the Battle of Poltava on June 28, 1709. Most of Poltava inhabitants who attended this very interesting excursion learned about it from the Facebook social network. This is undoubtedly something new and fresh in the activities of this 110- year-old museum.

Excursion started from the place where the column of the Swedish Army under the command of the Major General Carl Gustaf  Roos  was deployed early morning June 28, 1709. Here all participants of the excursion got a copy of the map, that was published in 1918 by the General Stuff of the Swedish Army, with highlighted route that the Dalarna regiment had passed during the Battle of Poltava. Besides all participants got a Swedish infantry uniform, musket’s replicas, and disguised themselves as a Swedish warriors.

First stop was made near the assumed place where the first Russian redoubt was built on the eve of the battle (although it was half-finished). It was pointed out that all archeological examinations of the battlefield carried out by Bo Krarrström and his team proved that this redoubt was located some other place. The next stop was near the second redoubt that was taken quickly by two battalions of the Dalarna regiment and all its defenders, except for those who fled were cut down to the last man. They didn’t know what is in store for them…

After that we headed for the third Russian redoubt where Swedish losses were very heavy. Roughly 1100 men were killed of the original 2600. Colonel Gustaf Henrik von Siegroth was deadly wounded there. Of the regiment's 21 captains only four survived. Here Major General Carl Gustaf Roos decided to gather up and ordered his force to march to the verge of the wood nearby.

The last place we visited today was the place where Roos’ detachment engaged in an unequal struggle against Russians.  In the summer of 1911 Carl Bennedich and Frei Rydeberg, two Swedish lieutenants from the Northern Scania Regiment, discovered a big burial ground here.

After that we returned to the museum where discussed what happened next to the Major General  Roos' force. Those survived on the battle field marched to the place where the Swedish infantry had been deployed on the eve of the battle. Finally they have found a refuge in an abandoned redoubt north of Poltava where they were in a short time surrounded by superior Russian detachment with artillery. After deliberating with his officers Major General Roos decided to surrender. Of the original force of 3,000 men only 400 survived.