Danish-Prussian Wars 1848-50 and 1864
The Prussian Amphibious Attack on the
Island of Als
The truce Talks in London broke down because the
Danish government would not go into a division of Schleswig. Despite the defeat at
Dybbøl, on april 18thl 1864 maintained the Danish diplomats with Prime minister D.G. Monrad the
requirement for a boundary at the
Eider. The Danish government was well aware that after
the defeat at Dybboel they had not any military options, but threy that the army
could hold out, while the Danish diplpomacy achieved something at the
negotiating table in London. The government based its hopes
European powers Russia, France and Britain had guaranteed the Danish possession of Schleswig. It quickly became clear that
none of the major
powers were willing to go to war for Schleswig's sake. When the negotiations broke apart definitively,
army could make the final attack on the Danish army by an invasion of the island of Als.
On June 26th 1864 the ceasefire ended
and a fleet of open boats, gathered at Ballebro before the attack on the
Dybboel. Originally they
should have been used to surround the Dansih
army at Dybboel via a landing at Hardeshoej at the Als side. Now these boats were
moved to the forrest Sottrupskov at the coast of
Alssund, a narrow strait between Jutland and the island Als,
The owner of Sandbjerg Farm had at a time
offered to cut the parts of the forest facing the Alssund, but the ministry of war was sure the
Prussians could not make any use of the area. At two o´clock at night on June 29th,
2500 Prussian soldiers with 166 boats and 20
pontoon ferries started in the first assault wave across Alssund between Sottrupskov and Arnkil.
Because of the steep banks to the beach
it was necessary to dig
ramps for the
boats launching from the forrest
embarkation was covered by
batteries of field artillery
in the woods
The transition was not without casualties.
The Graveof 5 drowned Prusian
Danish forces on the peninsula Arnkil took immediate battle, but the
defence was too weak.
were only approx.
who quickly were defeated.
The nearest Danish forces was in Ulkebøl. As
the nearest major Danish forces reached the battle area, a
fighting developed around the village
Map over the
strait between Arnkil and
the Sottrup Forrest
Prussian Memorial of the
attack at the landing siteon Als
attack could probably be averted military as the Danish ironclad Rolf
the way down through Alssund could have fired on,
and sunk, the simple
small boats, which the Prussian forces were transferred in. But just as
Rolf Krake was about to open fire, order
was given to turn around and
sail to Mommark to support the evacuation of the Danish army.
the morning the
Prussian troops defeated the Danish army, and at.
5.30 am the Danes gives up to defend the island and
fighting, back to the little Peninsula Kegnaes to the south.
here the troops were shipped over to the island
of Funen and Copenhagen the next day.
1st the last Danish soldier left Als.
Danish army's losses (killed, wounded and captured) in connection with
the fight for Als totaled 3,148
men, while the correspon-
ding Prussian losses amounted to 372 men. Subsequently
Prussia occupied Als, the Austrian forces occupied the north of Jutland
and the Danish
government had to sign a peace agreement.
The first wave of almost 2500
of Prussian infantry landing at
Danish guards at the Alssund
Boat used at the transsition
success of the Prussian invasion immediately got the
mood in the Danish public to
In the leading Copenhagen newspaper the
panic spread, and it was seriously discussed if
there was a probability of an enemy force landing on Zealand.
entire Danish warfare was based on the fact, that the
fleet had supremacy in the inner Danish waters
and that the enemy could not
reach the islands.
Now the Austrian fleet main force was headed for
and if the Danish naval supremacy was lost too, the
Prussians could easily cross the Fehmarn Belt
and conquer the unprotected Lolland-Falster.
Then Zealand and Copenhagen could be
the next target.
prospect of war was not just something that was
happening over there in the darkness of Jutland, but
actually it also could hit the
capitol. This fact got
the national liberal core movement in the Copenhagen
to give up and demand peace at almost any
population's fears were not unfounded.
The commander of the German forces, Prince Friedrich
Karl, actually had detailed
plans for an invasion of Funen, too be effected if Denmark chose to continue the
To the great chagrin of the prince there became
for another large-scale Prussian landing operation.
Memorial in redoubt X.
Here the order of the
June 29th 1864 was given, and
there, the German supreme
command watched the operation.
Graves and Memorials
on the island of Als 2011