Ditmarsk-raid in year 1500
the year 1500 king Hans and Frederik wanted to be serious about conquering
Ditmarsken, which the emperor had allowed their father to do. Ditmarsken had
since the battle at Bornhøved 1227 by name been subject to the archbishop of
Bremen, but in reality governed itself under supervision of 48 men elected by
They had no nobility, but many of them had by cattle farming in their fertile
meadows gathered so huge wealth, that they could compare with the Holstenske
squires. Several times before the Holstenske nobility had been defeated by the
liberty-loving small people (thus “Den Kullede Greve” and Gerhard 6th
about 1400). So the Slesvig Holstenske knighthood armored to revenge the
defeats of their fathers.
The princes recruited many hired-troops. Among them a large, booty-urged gang
of thiefs, “the Sachsian guard” who had already joined king Hans in Sweden
They took off, and behind the crowd of riders a long row of empty wagons
followed, which should be filled up by goods, which they would rob from the
rich Ditmarskere’s farms.
Quickly a town was conquered, and the army stayed still and waited a couple of
days. They expected, that the peasants would come and give away their land,
but it did not happen. It was in the wintertime, and there came thaw. People,
who knew the mose-areas, said to the king and the princes, that the states of
the roads would make them almost impassable, and that it might be best to
But that they did not liked, they would raid the next town.
The army marches on. The road goes direct westwards, and there is headwind.
Rain and snowflakes hit the riders in their faces, so that they can hardly
look ahead of themselves. The road becomes soft and muddy, the legs of the
horses get stuck in the mud, and the canons get stuck. They cannot give way
from the road, because there are deep ditches at both sides.
At Hemmingsted shots can be heard ahead. They come from an entrenchment
“Dusent Düvels Warff”, which the people from Ditmarsken have build across
the road, and behind stands 500 peasants let by Wolf Isebrand.
Junker Schlentz and his guard advance to raid the entrenchment. But as the
road in narrow, only a few can advance at a time, and the peasants fight them
back again, the huge army can not at all move.
Now it happens, that the water in the ditches raises, and becomes full. The
people from Ditmarsken have opened the sluices to the North Sea, and soon the
water reaches higher than the meadows, but across the wet fields come new
flocks of Ditmarskere. They have long sticks in their hands, and by the help
of those they jump the ditches, and now they raided the guards and the entire
The king and the princes see that it goes wrong, they want to turn around
together with the army and flee, but the army cannot turn around. The empty
wagons blocked the narrow road, and one third of the huge army was slaughtered,
while the rest fleed. In this fight the old Dannenberg (flag) was lost.
It was not the princes nor the noblemen, who brought home loots from the
Ditmarsken raid. On the other hand the peasants from Ditmarsken could gather
gold chains and treasures, which the dead knights had worn.