Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Skirmish and raid of Pelkola (Pelgola) 1701

The Great Northern War had just begun and only lasted for a year. In the Baltic war theatre; minor skirmishes and raids on both sides of the Swedish/Russian border have taken place. One of the many skirmishes/raids is the one of Pelkola 1701. 

Ever since the battle of Narva in late November 1700 Charles XII focused the greater part of his forces in the south in order to repeal the Saxon siege of Riga. The forces left in the cities and around Estonia and Ingria performed raids on Russian territory as response to Russian raids in Ingria. In this campaigns performed by Major General Abraham Cronhjort the Swedish forces often with newly recruited militia, "fördubblingsförband" and "tremänningar" were often enganged in combat. 

In april 1701 the war movements were resumed like last year with smaller detachements committing raids and minor battles. In the 19th of July Cronhjort went over the border at Järvisaari with a host of 1000 cavalrymen and 200 dragoons and continued to the village of Pelkola. 

Pelkola was a complex with 100 buildings and was at the time a Russian adminastrive centra and was defended by steltz and bojars (irregular cavalry). The village appears to have been fortyfied when Carl Gustaf Armfeldt and Abraham Cronhjort came there the 21th of July.  

To lure the Russians out of their defended position Armfeldt and 12 dragoons approached the village and frightened away livestock outside the village. As soon as the dragoons came close the garrison in Pelkola opened up fire. Quickly 52 "bojar"-cavalrymen and steltz joined the fight riding out towards the outnumbered Swedes. Though Cronhjort had placed himself with his men in an ambush position and engaged the bojars. The Russians fled in panic due to the power of the Swedish counter-attack. The Russian streltz infantry was cut down as the Swedish cavalry and dragoons persued them. One captain and four of the streltz were taken prisoners. 
The bojars took shelter in a nearby forest and the remaining garrison and the habitants fled desperatly out of the village as Armfeldt and his men entered the city and followed the fleeing. 

According to Cronhjort about 150 Russians were killed and the entire village was plundered and burned down. The Swedish force should according to Cronhjort not taken any casualties. 

After the raid of Pelkola Russian detachements responded by burning down the villages of Järvisaari and Lisilä. Soon after that Colonel Ramsay defeated two Russian cavalry forces in skirmishes nearby the border at Loppis. 

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