The political leaders
Alexander I, Czar of Russia, Grand Duke of Finland (1777-1825)
The Czar had an initial fascination for Napoleon which soon faded. After some Russian defeats, the two emperors signed the treaty of Tilsit in 1807, dividing Europe between them. Finland fell within the Russian area of interest.
Gustav III, King of Sweden (1746-92)
The king of Sweden before the Napoleonic era, personified the romantic 18th century. By his accession in 1771 the king's powers were severely diminished in Sweden, but he changed all that in a royal Coup d'Etat, making himself absolute ruler.
Gustav IV Adolf, King of Sweden (1778-1837)
The weak leader of Sweden-Finland during the war was convinced that he was the godsent saviour of Europe, his goal was to annihilate the French revolution and Napoleon's empire. The defeat in the 1808-war led to the king's fall.
Swedish military leaders
Adlercreutz, Carl Johan, General Count (1757-1815)
Adlercreutz was one of the most renowned generals of the war. He led the Swedish army during the offensive as well as in the defeat at Oravais. Later he also participated in the revolution against the king. A colourful and exciting person, he deserves more than a few words.
Cronstedt, Carl Olof, Admiral (1756-1820)
Cronstedt's name has a bad sound in Finnish and Swedish history. He was the man responsible for the surrender of the fortress of Sveaborg to the enemy in May of 1808. By surrendering the fortress, he surrendered Finland to the Russian troops.
Döbeln von, Georg Carl, General (1758-1820)
Perhaps the most legendary of all Swedish generals of the war, Döbeln demonstrated an immense tactical genius. The battle of Juthas, where he defeated Russian troops trying to cut off the retreat for the main Swedish army, was his most famous victory.
Fieandt von, Otto, Colonel (1762-1823)
Successful defender of the middle roads between the inner parts of the country and the West Coast, Otto von Fieandt often made use of the "Small War". A great ego as well as a brave and brilliant commander.
Klingspor, Wilhelm Mauritz, Field marshal (1744-1814)
This was the gentleman who led the Swedish army in the first retreat north. Appointed by the king to lead the Swedish forces in Finland, His inefficient command of the army has been badly criticized in history.
Sandels, Johan August, General (1764-1831)
Sandels was the one who operated with insuperior forces in Eastern Finland, and even made raids along the Russian border. The victory at the battle of Virta Bro was his, which was the last Swedish victory on Finnish soil.
Wachtmeister, Gustaf, General Count (1757-1826)
A hero from the war of 1788-90, whose name became synonymous with the battle of Sävar in 1809, where his careful command led to a humiliating defeat for the Swedish. He is still a controversial figure in history.
Russian military leaders
Bagration, Petr Ivanovitj, General (1765-1812)
As one of the most experienced and famous generals Bagration took part in the Finnish war as well. He conquered all of southern Finland early in the campaign, placing both Tammerfors and Åbo under Russian control.
Barclay de Tolly, Michail, General (1761-1818)
Barclay was of Scottish descent, yet one of the most famous generals of Imperial Russia. He fought against Sandels in the eastern parts of Finland and also later played a significant role in the war of 1812.
Buxhoevden von, Friedrich Wilhelm, General (1750-1811)
General Buxhoevden was an experienced commander at the time he took the command over the Russian armies fighting in Finland. Among other things, he had been military governor in Poland and also taken part at Austerlitz in 1805.
Kamenskij, Nikolai Michailovitj, General (1776-1811)
The young and innovative general Kamenskij took over command after Rayevskij had been beaten at Lappo. Kamenskij led the Russian campaign to a good conclusion. This was the general who beat the Swedes at Oravais and Sävar, and as such he is a name to be remembered.
Kulnev, Jacov Petrovitj, Colonel (1763-1812)
The dashing cavalry officer Kulnev often operated behind enemy lines and in exposed positions. At the battle of Oravais, Kulnev was the first to reach the field and engage the enemy. In Finland he was very popular and known under his nickname Don Quijote.
Rayevskij, Nikolai Nicholaievitj, General (1771-1826)
While the war of 1808-09 was not Rayevskij's best days, he was certainly one of the most interesting Russian commanders of the Napoleonic period. In 1812, he took part in the Great Patriotic war with shining grades.
© Göran Frilund 2000-03, All Rights Reserved.
If you've surfed onto this page from outside and there is no menu on the left,
CLICK HERE for the full Website.