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During the 18th century, Sweden and Russia fought a protracted series of battles over the control of Finland. In the early part of the century, in what was called 'The Great Northern War', Sweden found herself pitted against Russia and the majority of the other major powers in the Baltic for over 20 years. Various land and sea battles took place and even the British navy put in an appearance on occasion, mainly assisting Sweden against the Russian fleet.

When peace eventually came in 1721, Sweden lost a large part of Finland and Estonia to the growing power of Russia.

Although there were many conflicts during the following years, Sweden didn't actually go to war with Russia again over Finland until 1741. Once more, Sweden came off second best and more Finnish territory was taken by Russia.

A feature of Russia's success in both these conflicts was her Army Fleet. The coast of Finland has many inlets and small islands surrounded by predominantly shallow water. Russia's army fleet during these wars consisted mainly of galleys, supported by gunboats and praams.

Sweden attempted to have an equal galley fleet but could never keep up with her more populous neighbour in the recruitment of galley crews. However, help was at hand in the form of Fredrik Henrik af Chapman, grandson of a Yorkshire shipwright. He was to become one of the foremost shipwrights of his time.

Af Chapman designed and built several conventional but highly efficient vessels of the Swedish high seas fleet that saw service in subsequent conflicts.  He also designed and built several completely new sail and oar powered warships to fight the Russian galleys in the shallow seas around the coast of Finland. These new vessels were ready in 1788 when Sweden again went to war over her lost Finnish territory. The war concluded in 1790 with a Swedish naval victory that enabled the Swedish monarch Gustavus the 3rd to obtain an honourable peace against an enemy with a battle fleet of more than twice its own strength.

Sweden fought many other battles with her army fleet, against her neighbours in the Baltic during the complex period of the Napoleonic wars where alliances were frequently made and broken.

LANGTON MINIATURES have decided to create models of the warships that fought between 1778-1809 because they contain the unique vessels designed by af Chapman. These unusual warships were quickly copied with some modifications by the Russians, so they also utilised some very 'individual' looking vessels. Several craft were also captured and re-used by both sides and in many battles, conventional warships would add their firepower where the depth of water permitted.

Using these vessels, wargamers could have some unusual tabletop battles, fighting among the islands. For those wishing to re-fight earlier conflicts between these two adversaries, the galleys in the range can be readily employed as they had changed little over the years.

LIST OF VESSELS IN SERVICE between 1778-1814
Note: many listed below were discarded or lost during the period.

Ref Vessel Number in service
SR1 Swedish Frigate (24) 3
SR2 Hemmemaa (24) 4
SR3 Turunmaa (22) 14
SR4 Udenmaa (13) 2
SR5 Pojamaa (4) 4
SR6 Kannonslup (2) 100+
SR7 Kannonjolle (1) 100+
SR8 Mortar Boat not known
SR9 Galley 18+
SR11 Russian Frigate (24) 8+
SR12 Shebek (28) 8+
SR13 Secret Boat 3
SR14 Secret Boat


SR15 Galley (5) 40+
SR16 Kaik (4) 30+
SR17 Half Shebek (6) not known

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