Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Battle of Narva

Battle of Narva
Date of battleNovember 20, 1700
ConflictGreat Northern War
Site of battleNarva, northeast Estonia
Combatant 1Sweden
Commandersking Charles XII of Sweden
Strength10,500 troops
Combatant 2Russia
Commandersfield marshal Charles Eugène de Croy
Strengthabout 37,000 troops
ResultDevastating Swedish victory
Casualties(1) 667 dead
(2) about 15,000 dead, about 12,000 POW

The Battle of Narva was a battle in the Great Northern War in which King Charles XII of Sweden defeated the army of Tsar Peter the Great at Narva.

On November 20, 1700 (Julian calendar) the 8,140 men strong main force under King Charles XII engaged the Russian Army that laid siege to the Swedish (now Estonian) city of Narva. The main Swedish force was assisted by around 2,500 men from within the city. The Russian army was in great numerical superiority and numbered about 37 000 troops. Swedish sources from the time, still quoted in some literature, claimed that the Russians numbered 80,000 to 100,000; this might be reasonable numbers when including the Russian support machinery of civilians, soldiers wifes and families.

The Swedish Army was commanded by the king himself assisted by General Charles Renskjöld and the Russian Army was commanded by the Duke of Croy. Tsar Peter had left the army just days before.

The Swedish Army went into action at noon, protected by a blizzard blowing the Russians in their eyes, blinding them. They broke through the Russian lines and put the entire Russian army in panic.

The casulties was high for both sides. Sweden lost 667 men (almost 10%) and the Russian army lost about 15 000 men, many of whom fled the battlefield, only to drown in the Narva River.

The remaining Russians capitulated and were given full quarters after turning over their weapons. Over 20,000 muskets were turned over to the Swedes.

The Swedish Victory at Narva.
(Painting by Gustaf Cederström, 1910.)