On this day

12 November 1720

Norwegian Vice Admiral Peter Wessel Tordenskiold was killed in a duel at Hildesheim in Germany. The occasion was a quarrel in which Tordenskiold accused Jacob Axel Stael von Holstein, a colonel who had been in Swedish service, to trick people for... Read more ...

12 November 1720

Tordenskiold was killed
Norwegian Vice Admiral Peter Wessel Tordenskiold was killed in a duel at Hildesheim in Germany. The occasion was a quarrel in which Tordenskiold accused Jacob Axel Stael von Holstein, a colonel who had been in Swedish service, to trick people for money. The dispute ended in scuffles and Tordenskiold beat up the ten years older Staël von Holstein. Stael tried to pull the sword, but was unable to get it out of its sheath. Tordenskiold used it instead to beat him up. The injured von Holstein demanded redress through a duel.

At five o'clock in the morning of 12 November Tordenskiold was summoned by his second, named Münnichhausen – whom Tordenskiold had never met. It was predetermined that the duel would be fought with guns, but Münnichhausen told Tordenskiold that the duel was cancelled because von Holstein had traveled to Hamburg. Münnichhausen convinced Tordenskiold that for formal reasons he had to show up at the agreed site of the duel instead, but that there was no need to carry a gun.

When they arrived von Holstein was present and ready to fight. Since Tordenskiold had arrived without pistols, it was decided to fight with sword instead. Stael von Holstein was better armed with a long ‘karolinerverge’ while Tordenskiold just had a small parade sword. During the duel Tordenskiold was hit by a powerful thrust that went in under his arm and hit the spine. Mortally wounded, he died after a few minutes, just 30 years old.



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    Published: 24 November 2007 by Øyvind Flatnes.
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    The sport of black powder shooting is now spread all over Norway and the rest of the world. In the following I will describe what we black powder enthusiast are doing. The powder we use in our weapons is called black powder which is a mixture of charcoal, saltpetre and sulphur. It was invented by the Chinese over 1000 years ago and until the late 1880's it was the only powder used in firearms. The Chinese used the powder in fireworks, but it was soon discovered that it could be used for war purposes. The first known use of black powder in war dates back to 1247 when the defenders of Seville used a cannon loaded with rocks against the intruders. The powder that is used in modern hunting weapons, machine guns, shotguns etc. is called smokeless powder and became common in the late 1880's. During the first decades of the 20th century the use of black powder almost vanished. Black powder is still an important ingredient in the modern armies; the largest cannons on the biggest battleships still uses black powder! Smokeless powder makes shooting cleaner, as it produces very little fouling in the barrel, and it produces very small amounts of smoke and flames when fired. In other words extremely boring!

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