The Destruction of the Danish Frigate Najaden at the Battle of Lyngør, 1812

By Martin L. Robson, published November 2018

Abstract

The British gunboat war against Denmark in the period 1808 to 1813 was conducted against vital Baltic convoys carrying strategic materials and manufactured goods travelling through hostile or, at best, neutral waters. Following the loss of her battle fleets, Danish Norwegian attacking forces consisted of highly manoeuvrable oared vessels carrying few guns and lighter brigs mounting attacks in open waters. ‘Hit and run’ operations were countered by operational placements of line of battle ships and blockade forces led by frigates. Danish forces reacted accordingly, using the geography of the coastal waters to best advantage. With the launch of the Najaden in 1812, the balance of forces was threatened, but the application of effective intelligence and the knowledge of an embarked pilot led to its tracking and confrontation inshore at Lyngør, Norway. The resulting action led by a 64-gun Third Rate running aground amidst coastal islands was both brutal and decisive, with the Danish commerce raider succumbing to fire and explosion. This article uses Admiralty letters and ships’ logbooks to provide new insights on this battle and the impact it had on Denmark and Norway’s future.

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Filed under: Baltic | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies

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