The war started following the signing of the treaty of Tilsit, which contained a secret clause giving Russia possession of Finland. This clause was included because of continuing Russian nervousness about the security of St. Petersburg, with Swedish Forces capable of launching an attack from a border only 200 km away, and Napoleon’s desire for revenge on Sweden following Gustav IV’s outspoken opposition to republican France.
On the 21st February 1808 three Russian divisions crossed the border. The weather was bitterly cold, the roads were jammed with snow and the Baltic Sea was frozen; this meant that it would take months before any Swedish reinforcements could be shipped to Finland. With a powerful invasion the Russians surprised the Swedes who were unprepared and lacking effective leadership. The Swedish units were pushed back as the Russians spread all over southern Finland. Out numbered, the Swedish forces retreated towards Uleåborg/Oulo constantly harassed by the Russian The 5th Division.
On the 18th April the Swedish troops were retreating across a frozen river at Sikajoki when the Russian force finally caught them, but instead of running the Swedes fought back and by the evening they had won their first victory. From that day the Swedes could slowly advanced south again.
This book will cover the events in the western theatre from mid April through the Swedish counter offensive and to the turning point in late August. The scenarios are based upon text and maps from the extensive work, “Sveriges krig 1808-09”, published by the Swedish General Staff.