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Artillery personnel
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The Great Northern War
Sunday, 29 March 2015
Odd volumes
Topic: Livonia

Many of the volumes in the archive of the Livonian Governor General contains items with little or no relation to its title. One such example is LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 186, supposedly only about payment of contributions by citizens of Riga 1703-1706. However, it also includes a number of items delaing with an entirely different subject - the organization of the defence of the town in 1704-1705. First comes a list of where the various citizen companies were to be stationed in case of an attack. It's followed by lists which gives details about where the artillery personnel was stationed, how the guns were placed, where the infantry had its positions etc. Towards the end there are also a few items concerning Governor Frölich's attempted monetary reform (a matter I have previously covered briefly here

In LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2 there are quite a few volumes which deal with Swedish-Russian relations (vol. 57-104). Some of them appear to have originated from the Swedish delegations themselves, i.e. drafts of outgoing letters, notes from negotiations with their Russian counterparts etc. In volume 77 one finds lists of Russians who had escaped across the border (1677-1678), in vol. 78 the itineraries for Bengt Horn's return journey from Moscow in 1662 and the journey to Moscow for the Swedish embassy of 1673-74. 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:43 PM MEST
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Sunday, 22 March 2015
Blåman's account
Topic: Livonia

A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days in Riksarkivet. One of the items I looked at was a big volume called Relation om Sachsarnas infall i Lifland (Account of the Saxon invasion of Livonia). It was written by Governor General Dahlbergh's secretary Gustaf Magnus Blåman, but should undoubtedly for all practical purposes be considered as Dahlbergh's work. The actual account is about 230 pages long and stops in early May when the first units of the relief army arrived outside Riga. The volume does however contain a lot more - several hundred pages of attachments (letters, specifications of the strength of the garrison, lists of available supplies etc. - a lot of it originals). Notable are for example letters from Paykull and Flemming, copies of Dahlbergh's letters to them, letters to the Governor General from the Swedish embassy to Russia and from Nils Lillieroot in the Hague - items which of course as a result are missing in the archive of the Livonian Governor General.

One example of what the volume contains is the following list of artillery personnel and guns in the citadel as of 11 March 1700:

Bastion Horn: Two 18-pounders, thirteen 12-pounders and four 3-pounders (also four mortars).

Bastion Christina: Six 12-pounders and six 3-pounders (also one mortar).

Bastion Carolus Gustafvus: Four 24-pounders, two 18-pounders, nine 12-pounders, four 3-pounders (also two mortars).

Bastion Carolus Undecimus: Eleven 18-pounders, two 12-pounders and eight 3-pounders (also two howitzers and three mortars).

Bastion Gustafvus Primus: Four 24-pounders, twelve 18-pounders, four 12-pounders and two 3-pounders (also four mortars).

Bastion Carolus Nonus: Four 24-pounders, six 18-pounders and four 12-pounders (also four mortars). 

Bastion Gustafvus Adolphus: Two 24-pounders and four 12-pounders (also two mortars).


The ravelins:

Prins Gustafvus: Two 12-pounders and six 3-pounders.

Prins Carl: Six 12-pounders and one mortar.

Princesse: Six 12-pounders and four 3-pounders.

Prins Ullrick: Two 6-pounders, four 3-pounders and one howitzer. 


Source:  Riksarkivet, M 1374 (list on pages 1008-1009)


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 10:42 PM MEST
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Sunday, 15 March 2015
The artillery at Dorpat
Topic: Livonia

As my previous blog post resulted in a small discussion about the artillery at Dorpat it is perhaps logical to give some small details about the situation there. 

First, in regard to old guns. There exists a list of guns which was made in January 1700. At that time there were 105 guns of various calibers. Some old ones:

Lithuanian 3-pounder dated 1563.

Two Polish 3-pounders dated 1554.

One 1 1/2-pounder with the name and arms of Johann von der Recke, dated 1549.

One falconet with the arms of Dorpat, dated 1530.

One falconet with the arms of Dorpat, dated 1533.

One falconet of "dhe herrmästerska" (Livonian Order), dated 1544.

Six falconets with the arms of Dorpat but no date. 


This list is followed by another one (unfortunately undated), which gives details about how the artillery was positioned:


Bastion Gustafwus Adolphus: Four 24-pounders and six 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, seven 12-punders on the two lower flanks.

Bastion Carolus Gustafwus: Four 24-pounders and seven 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, three 12-pounders on one of the middle flanks and five 12-pounders on the two lower flanks.

Bastion Carolus Undecimus: Six 24-pounders and seven 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, five 12-pounders on the middle flank and five 12-pounders on the two lower flanks.

Bastion Carolus Nonus: Four 24-pounders and three 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, three 12-pounders on the middle flank and seven 12-pounders on the two lower flanks.

Gustafwus Primus: Four 24-pounders and five 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, four 12-pounders on the middle flank and seven 12-pounders on the two lower flanks. 

On the five ravelins which are placed beyond and between the bastions: Six 12-pounders on each.

Bastion Hedvig Eleonora: Four 24-pounders and five 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, eight 12-pounders on the two lower flanks.

On the ravelin between Hedvig Eleonora and Christina Regina: Six 12-pounders.

Bastion Ulrika Eleonora: Four 24-pounders and five 18-pounders on the two upper flanks, nine 12-pounders on the two lower flanks.

On the ravelin between Ulrika Eleonora and Christina Regina: Twelve 12-pounders.

Bastion Christina Regina: Six 24-pounders and six 18-pounders on the cavalier, six 12-pounders on the lower flank and the faces.

On the towers of the city wall: Sixteen 3-pounders.

In total: 213 guns

Mortars: Two 150-pounders, four 100-pounders, four 80-pounders and six 60-pounders.


Source: Krigsarkivet, Krigskollegium, Artilleridepartementet, G III b, Dorpat & Dünamünde 1642-1703


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 2:34 PM MEST
Updated: Sunday, 15 March 2015 7:30 PM MEST
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Sunday, 8 March 2015
Artillery records
Topic: Livonia

A few days ago I received the latest batch of scanned files from Tartu. This time I hade decided to include a non-correspondence item, an inventory from 1701 of the artillery material (and lots of other stuff) in storage in Riga castle. In the book (EAA.278.1.XXV-95) one literally finds everything: nails of every conceivable size, ammunition, lead, sheepskins, wagons, axes, muskets, crowbars...

The book also lists very thoroughly all deliveries and all items which were distributed to various units. It is for example possible to follow the preparations for the crossing of the Düna as well as the raising of militia regiments. For example: On 17 July 1701 Governor General Dahlbergh ordered that 54 swords and various other items should be handed over to Liphardt's battalion. A month later Liphardt 300 received flintlock muskets. At about the same time another militia unit got 280 matchlock muskets and a third one 600 matchlock muskets.

Many types of muskets are mentioned:  matchlock, new caliber; matchlock, old caliber; Dutch muskets; useless matchlock muskets; flintlock muskets, new caliber; flintlock muskets, new caliber; dragoon muskets. The regiments mostly received flintlock muskets, but there are a few exceptions apart from the militia units. The Uppland infantry regiment received three on 27 August and Lewenhaupt's infantry regiment got 92 on 8 July. Almost 4,000 swords  and 2, 000 pikes had also been handed out.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 11:08 PM MEST
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Sunday, 1 March 2015
Diseases and wounds
Topic: Livonia

In the archive of the Livonian Governor General there are a couple of volumes dedicated to medical matters (EAA.278.1.XI-3 and 4). The latter of these contain material from the GNW, for examples lists of soldiers deemed unfit for further service. Some examples for the Österbotten infantry, 3 May 1705:

Nils Tarkolaby, 71 years old, has served for 49 years. Old and has an old wound in the legs which he got in the Scanian War.

Erik Petolax, 60 years old, has served for 34 years. Cannot march or stand guard.

Jonas Jöös, 70 years old, has served for 37 years. Of the Brabant recruits. Old and incapable.

Philip Kåudoby, 58 years old, has served for 46 years. Weak eyesight, chest defective, toes frozen off on the march through Prussia (1678-79, ny note) 

Thomas Ulfwä, 82 years old, has served for 44 years. Old and incapable.

Thomas Parkarij, 26 years old, has served fo 4 years. Confused and melancholic.


Some examples from a similar list, dated 8 May 1705:

Sven Jung of the Life Guards. Wounded in the foot at Düna. Have been bedridden for two years. Still considered incapable of marching. Permitted to go to Stockholm and join the Guard detachment there.

Nils Sohlberg of "Svenska Adelsfanan". The right eye cut out during the battle of Jacobstadt. 60 years old, has served for 27 years, incapable of further service.

Nils Galle of "Dalregementet". More than 60 years old, wounded in the previous war, has served for 35 years.  His legs are paralysed and the left arm useless.

Henrik Larsson of Col. Patkull's cavalry. Wounded more than 40 times, the right hand paralysed. Useless. 

Hans Meijer of Lt. Col. Lorentz corps. His horse fell on him in Lithuania. Broke his right leg, uses a crutch. Has served for 24 years. The leg is stiff and the right hand paralysed. Useless.





Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:59 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2015 10:01 PM CET
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Sunday, 22 February 2015
Patkul's mission to Courland
Topic: Diplomacy

In one of the many LVVA fond 7349 volumes which contain documents once belonging to Carl Schirren there are a couple of odd Patkul items which suggest that the future conspirator at some point was entrusted with a diplomatic mission to the Duke of Courland (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 200). Unfortunately neither of the two drafts are dated, but Schirren's assumption (in a covering note) was that they are older than 1690. Patkul's task concerned a problem which for a long time irritated both the merchants in Riga and the Swedish government, i.e. the many small "illegal" harbors along the coast of Courland (for this issue, see for example Arnold Soom's Der baltische Getreidehandel im 17 Jahrhunderts, pp. 163 ff.).

Is it possible to date the two items (a letter to the Duke and the instruction for Patkul? Well, they are obviously younger than May 1687 as he called "Captain". If the documents were issued by Governor General Hastfer it would seem likely that it was done during the periods he was present in Riga (July 1687-May 1689, June-October 1690, June-October 1693 or August-December 1695). Based on Patkul's later activities as a spokesman of the Livonian nobility only the first two periods are reasonable possibilities and the first one the more likely. When scanning Hastfer's outgoing letters I soon found an interesting item, dated 22 October 1688 (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 40, pp. 639-641). In a letter to Charles XI Hastfer reports that he has appointed a commission consisting of Leonhard Gustaf von Budberg, H. G. Trautvetter and Captain Patkul. There task was to look into a border conflict between the Livonian estate Pulkarn and Baldohn in Courland. The interesting thing about the composition of this commission is that Budberg was a "Landrat", Trautvetter a member of the court of appeal in Dorpat and Patkul a simple captain. So why this choice? Well, this as well as Patkul's appointment as captain in 1687 (and Patkul's subsequent letter of gratitude to Hastfer) suggests that he during this period of time was quite close to the Governor General, indeed something of a protegé. Whether this commission and Patkul's mission of discussing trade issues were connected I don't know, but if not it would seem likely that the commission came first. 

In his work about the struggle of the Livonian nobility against Swedish absolutism Alvin Isberg suggests that Patkul made himself a name as a outspoken defender of old privileges in private meeting with other nobles in 1689. My hunch is that was quite different - Patkul was perceived as being close to Hastfer and because of this (and his own ability) quickly became a rising star. Once he reached the top Patkul turned out to have a very different agenda...

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:49 PM CET
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Sunday, 15 February 2015
Adrian Virginius and Lt. Col. Tolcks
Topic: Livonia

In January 1701 Charles XII decided to increase the forces in Livonia and Estonia by creating a militia. One of the first to act along these lines was the reverend Adrian Virginius in Odenpäh (Est. Otepää). On 30 Januari Governor General Dahlbergh wrote to Virginius, commending him for his desire to serve the King by recruiting a militia in his parish. As Virginius had managed to collect 112 men Dahlbergh believed it best to divide them into two companies. This meant that two captains, two lieutenants and two ensigns along with non-commissioned officers would be needed and Dahlbergh asked Virginius to provide some names (LVVA, Fond 7349, op.1, vol. 53). This was apparently done quite soon as Dahlbergh on 11 February could sign commissions for officers and send them to Gustaf Adolf Strömfelt in Dorpat. In the letter Dahlbergh also asked for suggestions for commanders of the militia. Apparently Dahlbergh was considering forming two regiments, one in the Estonian district and one in the Latvian district. (Ibid.). Strömfelt replied on the 17th, stating that he had met with Virginius, discussed the matter and delivered the commissions. As for the appointment of a colonel Strömfelt reported that he had not had a chance to consult with his colleague Mikael von Strokirch, but personally he could think of no one but Lt. Col. Tolcks (likely Otto Hermann Tolcks), "a famous soldiers, who served well in the Polish war" (Otto Herman Tolcks was promoted to major in 1658). However, Strömfelt wrote, Tolcks was now fairly old... (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 321, pp. 68 ff.)

On 4 March Dahlbergh informed Strömfelt that he would be pleased with having Tolcks as colonel of the militia (LVVA, Fond 7349, op.1, vol. 53). On the 24th Strömfelt wrote back, saying that Tolcks had been inclined to accept, but eventually had declined due to his age and weak health. Strömfelt instead suggested the cavalry captain Hastfer as Colonel and Captain Wrangel of Sadjerw as Lt. Colonel. (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 321, pp. 85 ff.)

On 3 April  Strömfelt was able to give more details. He had talked to Hastfer, who at first was hesitant but finally had agreed. Strömfelt had written to Wrangel and offered him the position of Lt. Colonel, but unfortunately Hastfer had produced his own candidate, a certain Lt. Captain Plater. Plater was however unwilling to settle for an appointment as Major. But, Strömfelt wrote, if two regiments were created Hastfer could get Plater and Wrangel be placed in the other regiment. (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 321, pp. 88 ff.)

On 7 April Dahlbergh informed Strömfelt that he had decided to solve the problem in another fashion. Instead of two regiments there would be several batallions, each consisting of 6 companies of 50 soldiers each, and under the command of a Lt. Colonel. (LVVA, Fond 7349, op.1, vol. 53) . 

This apparently solved the problem. On 26 May Strömfelt wrote to Dahlbergh saying that Captain Wrangel had arrived in Dorpat to take command of the Dorpat militia batallion. Wrangel had proposed that he and his officers would be given the authority to personally go the parishes and choose the soldiers and then start training them, a method reportedly used in Estonia. (Riksarkivet, Ekonomiståthållaren i Dorpat Gustaf Adolf Strömfelts arkiv, vol. 4)

On the same day Wrangel also wrote to Dahlbergh, accepting the offered position. (LVVA, Fond 7349, op. 3, vol. 62, pp. 134 ff)


Posted by bengt_nilsson at 8:46 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 8:48 PM CET
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Sunday, 8 February 2015
The attack on Patkul
Topic: Source criticism

In 1953 the historian Alvin Isberg published a dissertation called Karl XI och den livländska adeln 1684-1695. In this work Isberg attempted to investigate the various elements in the struggle between the absolute monarch and the Livonian nobility and particularly the role played by Johann Reinhold Patkul. One of the episodes covered by Isberg is the attempt in late 1692 to send Patkul (by then a captain in the Swedish army) to garrison duty at Kokenhusen. According to Isberg this was an idea hatched by Governor General Hastfer, Lt. Colonel Magnus von Helmersen and Charles XI with the purpose of removing Patkul from Riga, thereby making it difficult for him to continue his political work. 

One weakness in Isberg's account is the fact that the archive of the Livonian Governor General was unaivable to him and because of this he had to rely heavily on older literature such as Beiträge zur Lebensgeschichte Johann Reinhold Patkuls (1893) by Anton Buchholtz. What Isberg didn't know was Buchholtz (who used this archive) was severely handicapped by the fact that Carl Schirren had removed many Patkul documents and added them to his own collection (today partly in Riga and partly in Stockholm). These items allows us to get a slightly more complete picture.

The idea to send Patkul to Kokenhusen seems to have been Hastfer's. On 1 January 1693 Governor Erik Soop wrote to Hastfer (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 211, p. 28 ff.), informing him that he upon receipt of Hastfer's order (no date for it is given) immediately had written to Lt. Col. Helmersen, telling him that the King had decided that the garrison at Kokenhusen should be changed every six months. Helmersen should consequently order Patkul to take charge of the detachment and leave for Kokenhusen. Soop's order to Helmersen was issued on 28 December 1692 (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 46, p. 1181). It soon ran into problems. Two days later Patkul replied (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 2, vol. 211, p. 27) that he was severely ill and could not possibly travel. Soop told Hastfer that Patkul was indeed ill and had been for some weeks, but as soon as there was a change for the better the Governor General would be informed. 

According to Isberg the failure of the Kokenhusen plan resulted in a change, i.e. that Charles XI on 16 January 1693 ordered Patkul to switch to the Åbo infantry regiment and go to Finland. As it turns out this is entirely impossible. The order to Patkul was issued on 28 December 1692, his reply was sent two days later and Soop's report on the matter, dated 1 January 1693, did not reach Hastfer in Stockholm until the 26th. So it is clear that Patkul's illness and reluctance to go to Kokenhusen had nothing to do with the King's decision to send him to Finland. 

In the same context Isberg also discusses the complaints lodged by Patkul and four other captains against Helmersen on 19 December 1692 and how these were handled by the authorities. As this is another interesting issue I will deal with it in a separate post in the coming weeks.

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 9:07 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 8 February 2015 9:08 PM CET
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Sunday, 1 February 2015
New uniforms for Skytte's regiment : part 2
Topic: Livonia

In the first part I told the story of how Carl Gustaf Skytte in October 1700 requested new uniforms for his regiment and the subsequent delays. It so turns out that there was an additional twist:

Skytte's regiment had two different stations, Dorpat and Pernau. The commander at Pernau Lt. Col. Gustaf von Schwengeln was slightly quicker than Skytte and sent his list to Dahlbergh on 19 October 1700 (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 339, p. 19). As noted in part one Skytte requested blue coats, red breeches and red stockings for the entire regiment, while Schwengeln asked for blue and yellow (!) for his battalion. From Dahlbergh's letters to the manufacturer it looks like he simply disregarded Schwengeln's list and instructed them to send what Skytte had requested. 

Some fragments of the replies from the manufacturer remains, most notably a letter from Hans Ekman dated Stockholm 7 June 1701(LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 306, p. 257 ff.) In the letter Ekman refers to lack of payment for earlier orders and states that unless this is remedied the collapse of the company will follow. 

Posted by bengt_nilsson at 12:01 AM CET
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2015 7:07 PM CET
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Sunday, 25 January 2015
New uniforms for Skytte's regiment
Topic: Livonia

The modern Swedish standard work when it comes to uniforms during the GNW is undoubtedly Höglund & Sallnäs Stora nordiska kriget 1700-1721 : fanor och uniformer (2000), published in English as The Great Northern War 1700-1721 : colours and uniforms. Uniforms and colours is generally a subject I stay away from, but in this particular case I came upon a few items which should not be available elsewhere.

The story starts with an item I found in LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 288 (p. 78). It's a specification dated 21 October 1700, signed by Col. Carl Gustaf Skytte. It states what type of cloth his regiment needs for new uniforms. According the Höglund & Sallnäs the regiment was dressed in blue and yellow both in the late 1690's and in 1705 - yet in this document Skytte requests cloth for blue coats with red lining, red breeches and red stockings. So what's the story here?

Well, the specification was sent by Skytte to Governor General Dahlbergh in Riga as well as to the manufacturer in Stockholm (the heirs of Jacob Lagerstedt or "Barnängen") and Dahlbergh also forwarded it at about the same time - Dahlbergh's letter to the Lagerstedt heirs is dated 25 October 1700 (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 72, p. 575). Then nothing seems to have happened for quite some time. On 28 March 1701 Dahlbergh reminded the Lagerstedt heirs about the specifications he had sent in October and requested information about the how far the work had progressed. (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 73, p. 234 f.) A month later he sent a new letter, this time more urgent (Ibid., p. 322) and finally on 15 May (Ibid., p. 397) an angry letter demanding a definite clarification of the situation. 

Not even this seems to have yielded an immediate response, as it was not until 25 June that Dahlbergh could inform the King about the situation (Ibid., p. 559 f.). The firm had finally simply told Dahlbergh that nothing could be done until they had been paid for previous orders. The situation was very difficult, Dahlbergh said, and if the regiments did not receive new uniforms before winter they would suffer badly. On 9 October 1701 the King wrote to Dahlbergh, telling him that he had received information that cloth would be sent from Sweden as soon as possible (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 150, p. 810 f.). The wheels of the Swedish bureacracy turned slowly...

On 1 December 1701 Skytte took the matter into his own hands, writing directly to Charles XII (Riksarkivet, M 753). The soldiers of his regiment were now, he wrote, more or less incapable of serving due to their poor clothing. They had received nothing new since 1696/97 and were now "naked". The King, who at this point had reached Courland, replied on 2 January 1702. As far as he recalled material had been sent from Stockholm to Riga so Skytte should send his request to Dahlbergh. So the story continues...

On 19 February 1702 Skytte wrote to Paul von Strokirch, an official in Riga, telling him that the regiment was simply unable to perform its duties until new uniforms arrived (EAA 278.1.XX-12c, p. 140 f.) On 3 April he again wrote Strokirch, wanting to know when new uniforms would arrive in Riga (Ibid., p. 146). Unless something happened very soon Skytte would, he wrote, have to send a courier to the King with information about the situation. On 11 April he again brought the issue to Strkirch's attention (Ibid., p. 151 f.). Same thing on 20 April (Ibid., p. 152). Finally, on 29 April 1702 Skytte again wrote to Strokirch, thanking him for the information about the arrival of uniforms and pointing out the King's decision in January. But the matter was not settled yet. On 7 May 1702 Skytte again wrote to Strokirch, thanking him for his advice to bring the matter to the attention of Governor Frölich (Ibid., p. 159). This he must have done immediately as Frölich on 10 May asked Skytte for a specification and promised to find out what was available (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 74, p. 481 f.) On 17 May the issue had anvanced to a point where Skytte expected to soon get what he needed (EAA 278.1.XX-12c, p. 163 f.). On the 21st Frölich wrote to Skytte, telling him that if the regimental quartermaster came to Riga he would get the new uniforms (LVVA, fond 7349, op. 1, vol. 74, p. 528). This was likely done shortly afterwards as on the 26th Skytte reported that he was in the process of sending the regimental quartermaster to Riga (EAA 278.1.XX-12c, p. 165 f.)

If this was the end (and it appears to have been) it took Skytte almost two years to get new uniforms for his regiment. It says, I think, something about the Swedish bureaucracy but even more about the financial difficulties caused by the war and how they very soon started to cause major problems. 



Posted by bengt_nilsson at 7:22 PM CET
Updated: Sunday, 25 January 2015 11:17 PM CET
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