Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Johan Stiernschantz

Stiernschantz Coat of Arms

He was born in Ingria, made a good military career in the Swedish army. Faught several battles and sieges and ended his days Persia. This was Johan Stiernschantz. 

24th of June 1670 Johan was born. Though not under the name Stiernschatz but Wessman. He started his military career early at age of 22 year 1692. He joined Brakel's Regiment and served in Brabant. Where he got wounded and became P.O.W. He Became "fältväbel" 1700 and a royal "Drabant" 1702. 1704 he became Major in Viborgs "fördbubbling" Infantry Regiment. 1705 he recieved a knighthood under the name Stiernschatz and was promoted 5 years later as colonel in Savolax Infantry and Commandant in Kexholm Fortress.

His first campaign was most likely Lybecker's attack on Ingria in 1708, where he was charge of Viborgs Fördubbling consisted of 631 Men in July.

His first major battle was the siege of Kexholm in 1710. Where he defended the fortress with 300-500 Men against a Russian under General Bruce and 6000 Men. After 2 Months of siege he finally gave up at the 9th of September. Though he and the garrison was allowed to  leave the castle to fall back to Nyslott.

In 1711 he commanded General Carl Gustaf Armfeldts troops in Savolax. He committed very successful raids in the beginning of the year. In Parikkala, Koitsanlathi, Hannukkala and even as far as to Mola he drove away minor Russian outposts.
After that Helsingfors (Helsinki) had fallen in 1713 he managed to in the Battle of Landsbro fend off the Russian attackers for long until he had to fall back and joined the Finnish Main Army.

In before the Battle of Storkyro he was one of many officiers who suggested to fall back instead of fighting the Russians. He did not participate in the battle and much afterwards in the war due to sickness.

In 1724 he left the Swedish Army and seeked service in the Russian Army where he served as officier, during his service in Russia he participated in the Ruso-Persian Wars and advanced as high up as Major General and commandant in Astara in Persia. After a long and intense life, as a very successful officier in both the Swedish and Russian Army he died four years later in 1728.

Even though the story of Stiernschantz's life and deeds has not been told often, I say that he was with no  doubt one of the most brilliant commanders in the Swedish Army during the Carolean era. Especially his and his men's bravour at Landsbro should never be forgotten!

"Karolinska Krigare" 

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