I read on https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peter_Tordenskjold&oldid=937200048#Court-martial:

In 1714, Wessel was court-martialled after an indecisive sea battle with a Swedish frigate. The account of the incident is verified by the legal proceedings from November 1714. On 26 July 1714, he encountered a frigate under English flag near Lindesnes, while flying a Dutch flag on the Løvendals Gallej himself. The other frigate was De Olbing Galley carrying 28 guns, which had been equipped in England for the Swedes and was on its way to Gothenburg under the command of an English captain named Bactmann. De Olbing Galley signalled for Løvendals Gallej to come closer, and as Wessel raised the Danish flag, Bactmann fired a broadside at him. In the English captain, Wessel met a tough match. The combat lasted all day, and when De Olbing Galley tried to escape in the evening, Wessel set more sails and continued the duel. The fight was interrupted by nightfall, and renewed again indecisively the following morning. Both ships were badly damaged after around 14 hours of fighting, when Wessel was running out of ammunition. He then sent an envoy to the English ship, cordially thanking the English for a good duel, and asked if he could borrow some of their ammunition in order to continue the fight. His request was denied, and the captains drank to each other's health, before the ships dispersed.

In which other instances in history did an attacker ask the attackee to borrow some of their ammunition in order to continue the fight (aside from conflicts involving just 2 individuals)?

  • 6
    I rather suspect that is the only case, and I suspect that it was tongue in cheek.
    – MCW
    Jan 24, 2020 at 21:05
  • @MarkC.Wallace: in some alternative history forum though, it would have been nice to imagine if this had occurred over and over throughout history. Including, you know, with nuclear bombs. :D Jan 24, 2020 at 22:30
  • Would there be examples of ceremonial warfare that might match?
    – AllInOne
    Jan 24, 2020 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


It is not an exact match, but the closest I found: Frontal pass in WW2-era air combat.

Sometimes, during a fight, pilots went separated from the other fighters and started a one-to-one fight. It was especially true at the beginning of WW2 and during WW1, when group tactics were not widely used.

Sometimes, one of the airplane in a duel could come out of ammunition or fuel. Of course he could flee out of ammunition, but low on fuel, if he flees he could be caught up by the other fighter. So he tried to engage in a frontal pass the other plane.

It is not very clear whether the action was "accepted" by the other pilot, or if the other pilot should be forced to engage the frontal pass. But in the end, it did consist in:

  • Let's go one on the other, face to face
  • Let's fire at will
  • The first one to go out of the line, in order to avoid collision, has a great risk of being slaughtered (and I mean the pilot would be slaughtered: if he goes low, the cockpit will be the first to receive bullets)

So in this example, pilot don't borrow ammunition to the other, but he did ask to end the fight on a "glorious knight duel" rather than "I am short of ammunition".

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