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The Destruction of the Kronprins Gustav Adolf


At the beginning of August 1788, Swedish ships were on patrol in the Gulf of Finland. Some of the ships, including the Kronprins Gustav Adolf, were anchored for the night outside the fortress of Viapori (Suomenlinna) off Helsinki. In the following morning, on the 6th of August, Russian vessels surprised the anchored Swedish ships. All of these except for the Gustav Adolf managed to escape. The Kronprins Gustav Adolf had difficulties when lifting one of its anchors, but in the end she managed to leave for the fortress. When fleeing, the ship struck a shoal that was previously unknown and lost the topmast of the mainmast. Also the bottom of the ship was damaged and water flew into the gunpowder store. After a few shots the ship had to surrender to the Russians. People later gave the shoal the name of “The Gustav Adolf ‘s Shoal”. The name can be found on naval charts of today.

The Swedish Second Lieutenant Gustav Klint described the events in his diary. He was commanded to sail and rescue the crew of the Kronprins Gustav Adolf but on his way to the ship there were two Russian frigates and the enemy was already by the Gustav Adolf too. The rescue operation failed. Russians took the crew of the Gustav Adolf as prisoners of war and set the ship of line on fire. In the end the ship exploded.

The shoal on which the Kronprins Gustav Adolf wrecked. Gustav Klint signed the map in 1790. The map is now in the Military Archives of Sweden (Sjökartverket, Nyland, Litt. D nr 53).


 



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Last updated 30.10.2015
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