Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy
The Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy or The Common Fleet also known simply as the Danish Navy was the naval force of the united kingdoms Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 from 1509 to 12 April 1814. The fleet was established when the Royal Danish Navy
Royal Danish Navy
The Royal Danish Navy is the sea-based branch of the Danish Defence force. The RDN is mainly responsible for maritime defence and maintaining the sovereignty of Danish, Greenlandic and Faroese territorial waters...

 and the Royal Norwegian Navy
Royal Norwegian Navy
The Royal Norwegian Navy is the branch of the Norwegian Defence Force responsible for naval operations. , the RNoN consists of approximately 3,700 personnel and 70 vessels, including 5 heavy frigates, 6 submarines, 14 patrol boats, 4 minesweepers, 4 minehunters, 1 mine detection vessel, 4 support...

 was combined by King Hans, when he ordered the ships Engelen and Maria. The common fleet was dissolved when Prince Christian Fredrik
Christian VIII of Denmark
Christian VIII , was king of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, king of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born in 1786 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen...

 established the separate Royal Norwegian Navy on 12 April 1814.

The task of the navy

The primary task of the fleet in the first period of its existence was to counter the power of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 and secure control in the Baltic sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The fleet was one of the largest in Europe under King Christian IV
Christian IV of Denmark
Christian IV was the king of Denmark-Norway from 1588 until his death. With a reign of more than 59 years, he is the longest-reigning monarch of Denmark, and he is frequently remembered as one of the most popular, ambitious and proactive Danish kings, having initiated many reforms and projects...

 with 50-60 larger battle ships and a large number of defensive ships. In the 17th and 18th centuries during the period of absolutism
Absolutism (European history)
Absolutism or The Age of Absolutism is a historiographical term used to describe a form of monarchical power that is unrestrained by all other institutions, such as churches, legislatures, or social elites...

 its primary aim was to control the strait of Øresund against Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. In this period it consisted of 20 ships of the line
Ship of the line
A ship of the line was a type of naval warship constructed from the 17th through the mid-19th century to take part in the naval tactic known as the line of battle, in which two columns of opposing warships would manoeuvre to bring the greatest weight of broadside guns to bear...

 with an average of 60 guns, plus 20-40 frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

s, large enough to counter the Royal Swedish Navy at the time. The number of guns on the ships of the line was smaller than the average number of the great sea powers of the time, but it was partly a deliberate decision of the admiralty, in order to make the ships able to navigate in the countless narrow waters around the Danish isles.

The navy was considered to be the King's personal property, and "the King's waters" consisted of the sea off Norway, Denmark, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, large parts of the Baltic, the waters east of the North Cape
North Cape, Norway
North Cape is a cape on the island of Magerøya in Northern Norway, in the municipality of Nordkapp. Its 307 m high, steep cliff is often referred to as the northernmost point of Europe, located at , 2102.3 km from the North Pole. However, the neighbouring point Knivskjellodden is actually...

 and off Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the western-most bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea...

. For the entire period of its existence its main base was Holmen
Holmen naval base
Naval Station Holmen is one of several naval stations of the Royal Danish Navy, supplementing the two Danish naval bases in Frederikshavn and Korsør....

 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, but on different occasions smaller task forces was stationed in Fredriksvern in Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 and in Glückstadt
Glückstadt is a town in the Steinburg district of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located on the right bank of the Lower Elbe at the confluence of the small Rhin river, about northwest of Altona...

 close to the mouth of the river Elbe
The Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia , then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg...


Navy personnel

In 1679 the fleet's regular officers corps consisted of 217 men. Of these 31% were Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, 27% were Norwegian, 19% were Danish and the rest were from other nations.

In 1709 there were about 15,000 personnel enrolled in the common fleet. Of these 10 000 were Norwegian. When Tordenskjold
Peder Tordenskjold
Peter Jansen Wessel Tordenskiold , commonly referred to as Tordenskjold , was a Norwegian nobleman and an eminent naval flag officer in the service of the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy. He rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral for his services in the Great Northern War...

 made his famous raid at Dynekil
Battle of Dynekilen
The naval Battle of Dynekilen took place on 8 July 1716 during the Great Northern War.-Background:On 28 October 1709 Frederik IV of Denmark, the Danish-Norwegian king declared the war against Sweden...

 in 1716, over 80% of the sailors and 90% of the soldiers were Norwegian.

During peace time most of the navy personnel served in the merchant fleet, which was of a considerable size in the 18th century. The main problem for Denmark-Norway in case of war was thus often to round up the required number of skilled sailors for the navy.

The navy was for a large part funded by Norwegian means as a royal resolution dictated that the income from Norway was to be used towards its construction and upkeep.

The majority of the ships of the line in the 17th and 18th centuries was named after the royalty of Denmark-Norway, as well as the lands of the kingdoms. At the end of the 18th century it became more common to name them in a national romantic vein, using names from the history of Denmark and from the Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....



This list is not complete.
  • Engelen, (1504-?)
  • Maria, (1504-?)
  • Tre Kroner, orlogsskib (1601–1624)
  • Sancte Sophia, orlogsskib (1624–1645)
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1634–1653)
  • Frederik, orlogsskib (1649–1673)
  • Sophia Amalia
    HDMS Sophia Amalia
    The Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy ship Sophia Amalia was named after Sophia Amalia, the wife of King Frederick III. The ship was built at Hovedøen in Oslo under the direction of James Robbins and launched in 1650. She was 51.8 meters long and at that time one of the largest naval vessels in the world...

    , orlogsskib (1650–1687)
  • Prins Christian, aka. Prinsesse Charlotte Amalie and Enigheden, orlogsskib (1651–1679)
  • Trefoldighed, orlogsskib (1652–1676)
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1654–1666)
  • Prins Christian aka. Christianus Quintus, (1665–1708) Orlogsskib
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1665–1679)
  • Hummeren, orlogsskib/frigate (1666–1700)
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1680–1715)
  • Elephanten, royal yacht (1687–1721)
  • Dannebrog, orlogsskib (1692–1710)
  • Fredericus Quartus aka. Store Christianus Quintus (1699–1732) orlogsskib
  • Hjælperinden, artillery pram (1718-?)
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1735–1764)
  • Fridericus Quintus, orlogsskib (1753–1775)
  • Søridderen, frigate (1758–1785)
  • Norske Løve, orlogsskib (1765–1798)
  • Christian den Syvende, orlogsskib (1767-?)
  • Den Prægtige, orlogsskib (1768–1799)
  • Dristigheden, bomb vessel (1771-?)
  • Holsteen
    HDMS Holsteen
    HolsteenThis ship's name appears as Holsteen or Holsten in Danish records, and as Holstein in English. She was renamed Nassau in 1805 was a 60-gun ship of the line in the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy. She was commissioned in 1775 and the British Royal Navy captured her in the Battle at Copenhagen...

    , ship of the line (1775–1801)
  • Disco, frigate (1778-?)
  • Friderichsværn, frigate (1783–1807)
  • Speideren, cutter (1783–1799)
  • Søehesten
    HDMS Søehesten
    The Søehesten was an 18 gun barge in the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy commissioned in 1785. During the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801, this barge was commanded by Lieutenant B. U. Middelboe with a complement of 178 sailors. Of the ship's crew, 12 were killed and 21 wounded in the battle. The...

    , gun barge (1785–1801)
  • Aggershuus, cavalry pram (1786–1805)
  • Indfødsretten
    HDMS Indfødsretten
    The Indfødsretten was a 64 gun ship of the line in the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy commissioned in 1787. During the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801, this blockship was commanded by Captain A. de Thurah with a complement of 394 sailors. The ship suffered heavy casualties in the battle; 21 were...

    , ship of the line (1787–1801)
  • Hielperen
    HDMS Hielperen
    The Hielperen was a 16-gun defence frigate in the Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy. Commissioned in 1787, she took part in the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801 against the British Royal Navy. During the battle, the ship had a crew of 269 sailors, six of whom wounded in the battle, and was...

    , frigate (1787–1806)
  • Lærken, lugger (1788–1797)
  • Neptunus, orlogsskib (1789–1807)
  • Najaden
    HDMS Najaden (1796)
    HDMS Najaden was a frigate of the Royal Dano-Norwegian Navy, which she served from 1796 to 1807 until the British captured her in 1807. While in Dano-Norwegian service she participated in an action at Tripoli, North Africa. She served the Royal Navy as the fifth rate HMS Nyaden from 1808 until...

    , frigate (1796–1807)
  • Waldemar, orlogsskib (1797–1807)
  • Prinds Christian Frederik, orlogsskib (1804–1808)
  • Najaden
    HDMS Najaden (1811)
    HDMS Najaden was a frigate in the Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy. She was commissioned in 1811 and originally carried 36 guns, later being upgraded to 42. She served briefly during the Gunboat War only seeing action once, when on 6 July 1812 the British ship of the line and the sank her during the...

    , frigate (1811–1812)


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