Hangö, Battle of 1714

Hangö, Battle of (1714)


(in Russian, the Battle of Gangut), a naval battle near the Hangö Peninsula between the Russian and Swedish fleets during the Northern War of 1700-21.

In 1714 a Russian galley fleet under the command of Admiral-General F. M. Apraksin (99 galleys and scampavias [small galleys], with an amphibious landing force of 15,000) was sent to the Åbo-Åland reefs (skerries) to effect a landing. However, the Russian flotilla that left Kronstadt on May 9 was forced to stop at Tvärminne because the further route was barred by the Swedish battle fleet (15 battleships and 14 smaller ships) of Vice-admiral Wattrang. In order to bypass the Swedish ships in the southern extremity of the Hangö Peninsula, it was decided to create a portage on the narrow part of the isthmus and to drag the galleys across and into the rear of the main forces of the Swedish fleet. The Swedes sent a detachment under Rear Admiral Ehrensköld (one frigate, six galleys, and three skerry boats) toward one end of the portage and another detachment under Rear Admiral Lillje (eight battleships and three other ships) to Tvärminne in order to attack the Russian flotilla.

Taking advantage of the division of the Swedish forces and of the calm, Peter I decided to break through along the shore. On July 26 the Russian vanguard (35 scampavias) bypassed Hangö Peninsula on oars and blockaded Ehrensköld’s detachment in Rilaks Fiord; on July 27 it was joined by the main forces. On July 27 the vanguard attacked Ehrensköld’s detachment, which surrendered after a stubborn battle. The Swedes lost ten ships with 116 guns; 361 men were killed, 350 wounded, and 237 captured, including Ehrensköld. On July 28 the Swedish fleet withdrew to the Åland Islands. The Hangö battle, which was the first major naval victory of the Russian fleet over a strong enemy, ensured domination over all Finland to the Russian troops. In memory of the victory, a medal was instituted and a monument erected on the shore at Rilaks Fiord.


Novikov, N. V. Gangut. Moscow, 1944.
Tel’pukhovskii, B. S. Severnaia voina 1700-1721. Moscow, 1946. (Bibliography.)
Materialy dlia istorii Gangutskoi operatsii, fascs. 1-4. Petrograd, 1914-18.