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The Royal Danish-Norwegian Navy or The Common Fleet also known simply as the Danish Navy was the naval force of the united kingdoms Denmarkmarker and Norwaymarker from 1509 to 12 April 1814. The fleet was established when the Royal Danish Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy was combined by King Hans, when he ordered the ships Engelen and Maria. The common fleet was dissolved when Prince Christian Fredrik 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 and secure control in the Baltic seamarker. The fleet was one of the largest in Europe under King Christian IV with 50-60 larger battle ships and a large number of defensive ships. In the 1600s and 1700s during the period of absolutism its primary aim was to control the strait of Øresundmarker against Swedenmarker. In this period it consisted of 20 ships of the line with an average of 60 guns, plus 20-40 frigates, 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 Islandsmarker, Icelandmarker and Greenlandmarker, large parts of the Baltic, the waters east of the North Cape and off Spitsbergenmarker. For the entire period of its existence its main base was Holmenmarker in Copenhagenmarker, but on different occasions smaller task forces was stationed in Fredriksvernmarker in Norwaymarker and in Glückstadtmarker close to the mouth of the river Elbe.

Navy personnel

In 1679 the fleet's regular officers corps consisted of 217 men. Of these 31 % were Dutchmarker, 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 made his famous raid at Dynekil 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 1700s. 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 1600s and 1700s 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 nationalromantic vein, using names from the history of Denmark and from the Old Norse mythology.


This list is not complete.


  1. Ole Feldbæk, Gyldendal og Politikens Danmarkshistorie, volume 9, 2003. pp. 133. ISBN 87-89068-30-0.
  2. Ole Feldbæk, Gyldendal og Politikens Danmarkshistorie, volume 9, 2003. pp. 135. ISBN 87-89068-30-0.

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