Svärdet (The Sword) sank in battle in 1676. In Summer of 2011, she was rediscovered on the seabed east of Öland.
Svärdet was built by Dutch shipwright Jakob de Voss at the naval shipyards at Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. She was launched in 1662 and displaced about 1,700 tons.
The ship was nearly 47.5 meters long and 12.5 meters wide. There is no definitive information yet Svärdet's armament, but according to historical documents from 1675 she was equipped with 86 guns:
- 12 36-pounders (on the lower gun deck)
- 4 30-pounders (on the lower gun deck)
- 14 24-pounders (on the lower gun deck)
- 26 12-pounders (on the upper gun deck)
- 24 8-pounders (4 pieces on the upper gun deck and 20 on the weather deck)
- 6 3-pounders (on the weather deck)
The Swedish Navy and the Scanian War 1675-1679
In 1675, Sweden was at war with most of her Baltic neighbors. The Danes sought to recapture provinces lost to Sweden in the previous war, including Scania. To allow an invasion of Scania, Denmark would have to achieve dominance of the sea to allow supply lines for any invasion force. Sweden also had a strong naval presence in the Baltic for to allow for access to Swedish holdings in the eastern parts of the Baltic and as a means of holding recently acquired Scania.
In 1676, the assembled Swedish fleet consisted of 57 warships, 27 of which were ships of the line, the other 30 being fireships and converted merchantmen. The Swedish fleet consisted of almost 12,000 men with a total of 2,200 guns across all the ships. The fleet was under the command of Lorenz Creutz, who was on the largest ship Kronan. Second in command was Claes Uggla who was on Svärdet.
On May 19th, the Swedish fleet left Älvsnabben in the Stockholm archipelago and headed south. A few days later, south of Bornholm, the Swedish fleet met the Danish-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Niels Juel. The Danish-Dutch crew and officers were better trained than their Swedish counterparts and struggled to keep up with the Danish-Dutch fleet. On May 28th, the Dutch admiral Cornelis Tromp arrived to reinforce the Danish-Dutch fleet. With the numbers now not in favor of the Swedish fleet, it was decided that the fleet should withdraw northward to fight between Öland and Landsort, which could offer cover to the Swedish ships if the battle went poorly.
Battle of Öland June 1st, 1676
On the morning of June 1st, 1676, the Swedish fleet was sailing north along Öland's eastern shore pursued by the Danish-Dutch fleet. By noon that day, some of the ships were close enough to begin firing at one another. Shortly after the firing began, Kronan turned to fire upon the enemy, but suddenly started taking on water through her lower gun ports. The ship leaned far over onto her port side and exploded. According to some sources, Kronan's turn was a result of overzealously following a signal to turn from Svärdet, which also turned to fight the enemy at that time. The vessels of the Swedish fleet fell into disarray at the loss of Kronan and several ships fled.
Svärdet ended up surrounded by the Danish ships Christianus Quintus with Cornelis Tromp on board and Churprindsen with Niels Juel on board. After fighting for two hours against the superior force, Svärdet's main mast was broken and the ship surrendered. Before the Danish could take the Svärdet, she was struck by a Dutch fireship and caught fire. After a short while the fire reached the powder magazine and Svärdet exploded.
Of the 650 sailors and soldiers on board, only 50 survived the battle. The ships Neptunus and Järnvågen were captured by the Danes. The rest of the defeated Swedish fleet fled into the Stockholm archipelago. As a result of the battle, the Danes were able to land 14,000 troops in Scania on June 29th that year.