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 ...
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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The 10.15 x 61 cartridge for which the Jarmann rifle was chambered for was also used in numerous civilian firearms, for example, rifles made by Lars Hansen Hagen and Hans Larsen. This article deals with the reloading and shooting of the Jarmann rifle and the 10,15 x 61 cartridge.
Published: 31 October 2012 by Øyvind Flatnes.
Jo Gjende, about 1850.
Aged eighteen Jo killed his first reindeer in 1812. The rifles available at that time– many of which were made on parts from old infantry muskets from the reign of Christian IV (1577–1648) – were mostly made by gunmakers outside the local community. The oldest parts compromising these firearms must have been more than 150 years at the time Jo was born.
The Østerdal Rifles
Jo's favourite rifles were the Østerdal rifles mad by gunmaker Engebret Engebretsson who lived in Østerdalen, a valley in Hedmark County in Eastern Norway, between 1680 and 1760. His rifles had box barrels, which were distinguished by the square to octagon shape. Jo claimed several times that these were the best rifles he had ever used. Most of the Østerdal rifles had iron barrels, but some had steel barrels that were more durable. In Jo's lifetime these rifles were getting scarce, especially in good working condition. As they were worn the barrels were bored out and rerifled and as a result the calibre became larger and larger as time went by.
Find out more!
You can learn more about Jo Gjende and other black powder hunters in the brand new book From Musket to Metallic Cartridge: A Practical History of Black Powder Firearms.
Barrel Rifling as a Science
Sometime around 1845 Jo's community got a visit from a regimental gun smith. Capable of boring steel barrels, the gun smith had a good reputation. Jo purchased a long and a short smooth box barrel from this gun smith, and visited several local gun smiths in order to have it rifled. As time went by he learnt to rifle his own barrels, and after that, no was allowed near his barrels. In the beginning he didn't quite manage to turn out good rifled barrels, and he rifled and tested, rifled and tested, but never gave up until he reached the accuracy he wanted. Even though few believed in him, he was not satisfied until he could place two bullets in the same hole on the target. Not all rifles performed equally well. While some didn't have the 'kill' in them, some did only perform well at short ranges. Such rifles were disposed of.
Jo had the reputation of being a crack shot, and the practiced every day by taking a shot or two with one or more of his guns. He won most of the shooting competitions in which he participated. In 1860, when a new shooting society was established in his local community, Jo was persuaded to participate in the prize shooting. Not surprisingly, he won the competition and secured a nice Kongsberg rifle as a prize.
He didn't make much money on the hunting, but he had made some money in his youth as a travelling cattle dealer. Most of what he earned was spent on powder and lead – or rifles, which were sold or traded away as he grew tired of them.
According to Jo, the two rifles he had made from the steel barrels purchased from the regimental gun smith were unequalled to anything else in Norway – in his opinion they were superior reindeer rifles – especially the long rifle, which was fitted with an engraved flintlock. Already starting to grow old at the time he got this rifle, he believed it would have saved him a lot of hard work if had a rifle like than when he was at his most active as a reindeer hunter. If the range was too far he could double the powder charge without loss of accuracy.
Jo Gjende with friends.
In his older days he damned the percussion lock, claiming he couldn't get accuracy out of the caplocks anyway because the lock ignited the powder too fast. It was almost as if the ball leaped out of the barrel. The old buffer's theory was that unless a small amount of powder gases was allowed to escape out of the flash hole, the ball would not fly true.
Neither was he enthusiastic about breech-loading rifles with conical bullets, because the trajectory was far too curved. He argued that hunters shot at ranges that were too long, which only served to scare or maim the reindeer.
The great reindeer hunter lived to be an old man. He was active to the last, and was a keen observer of the current dramatic events in Norwegian politics – events that finally lead to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. He regarded the Bible as a fairy-tale, and hated everything connected to clergymen and the church.
Jo Gjende died in 1884, 90 years old.