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Swedish warship. Source: pyty / Adobe Stock.

This Swedish King Built a Warship That Redefined Naval Combat (Video)

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In a dramatic departure from the maritime norms of his era, Eric XIV of Sweden unveiled a groundbreaking approach to naval warfare. Traditionally, battles at sea involved grappling and close quarters combat on ship decks. Eric, however, championed a visionary concept: let the cannons do the talking from a distance. His brainchild, a formidable warship called Mars, boasted an unprecedented number of cannons, forever altering the dynamics of naval warfare. Eric's unwavering ambition to forge a grand empire hinged on building the mightiest fleet, with Mars as its crowning jewel. When rival fleets converged near the Island of Gotland, the stakes were sky-high. The struggle for dominance in the Baltic Sea reached its zenith.

Historians uncovered a direct and ruthless order from Eric to Admiral Jakob Bagge, articulating the strategy in no uncertain terms. Attack with unrelenting ferocity, unleash cannon fire, and shatter the enemy vessels. The impact of Eric's innovation soon became evident as reports emerged of enemy ships succumbing to the devastating firepower. Notably, the sinking of Lu Beck's long bark by a cannonball marked a historic tipping point in naval warfare. Eric XIV's audacious vision and Mars' firepower transformed the seascape, underlining Sweden's ascent as a formidable maritime power, forever altering the rules of engagement at sea.

Top image: Swedish warship. Source: pyty / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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