German-Danish War of 1863–64

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

German-Danish War of 1863–64


a war of Prussia. Austria, and a number of states of the North German Confederation against Denmark, with the goal of capturing the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.

In 1863 a constitution was introduced in Denmark annexing Schleswig to the Danish kingdom. Austria and Prussia demanded that the constitution be revoked and occupied Holstein and Lauenburg. After Denmark refused the Austro-Prussian ultimatum, military operations began on February 1. The Austro-Prussian troops (about 60,000) under the command of the Prussian field marshal F. Wrangel (after May. Prince Friedrich Karl) attacked the main Danish troops under the command of Lieutenant General K. de Meza at a fortified position near Dannewirk. Under pressure from superior forces, the Danes withdrew from February 5 to February 7 to the Diippel region; under the leadership of General Gerlach they resisted their adversaries there until April 18, and then at the Fredericia fortress until April 29. During the battles, up to 35,000 Danish troops were transferred to the islands of Als and Fyn to threaten the enemy’s rear troops with attack. The Austro-Prussian troops had advanced to Jutland, which was defended by nearly 15,000 men. The Danish fleet’s victories on March 17 off the island of Rugen and May 9 off the island of Helgoland did not influence the course of the war. At Denmark’s suggestion, a truce was concluded that lasted from May 12 to June 26. After the truce was over, the Prussian troops occupied Als on June 29, and by July 14 they were occupying the Jutland peninsula as well. Not one government offered aid to Denmark: a conference in London from April to June with representatives from Great Britain, Russia, France, and the warring governments was a failure. On July 16 a second truce was concluded, which ended on October 30 with the Treaty of Vienna, by which Denmark lost Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg. In the German-Danish War of 1863–64 the Prussian troops used for the first time a new breech-loading rifle whose rate of fire was three times that of their previous rifles.


Blom. M. O. Voina 1864 v Danii. St. Petersburg. 1895.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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