Sunday, June 17, 2012

Louis Lazare Hoche (1768-1797), One of the Best of the Revolutionary Generals

"Portrait of General Louis-Lazare Hoche (1768-97)" by Francois Gerard

Oil on canvas "Portrait of General Louis-Lazare Hoche (1768-97)" by Ary Scheffer (1795-1858). Paris, Musee de l'Armee

In "End of the Irish Invasion" ; — or — "the Destruction of the French Armada" (20 January 1797), James Gillray caricatured the failure of Hoche's Irish expedition. French warships, labeled "Le Révolutionaire", "L'Egalité" and "The Revolutionary Jolly Boat", being tossed about during a storm blown up by Pitt, Dundas, Grenville and Windham, whose heads appear from the clouds. Charles Fox is the figurehead on Le Révolutionaire which is floundering with broken mast. "The Revolutionary Jolly Boat" is being swamped, throwing Sheridan, Hall, Erskine, M.A. Taylor and Thelwall overboard.

Bust of Louis-Lazare Hoche, général en chef

Statue of Hoche commemorating his victory in Quiberon, by Jules Dalou, 20 July 1902

AKA Louis-Lazare Hoche

Born: 24-Jun-1768
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: 18-Sep-1797
Location of death: Wetzlar, Nassau, Germany
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military

Nationality: France
Executive summary: French General

Military service: French Army (1784-97)
Wife: Anne Adelaide Dechaux (m. 11-Mar-1794)

Louis Lazare Hoche (24 June 1768 – 19 September 1797) was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army and often considered one of the best of them.

Born of poor parents near Versailles, he enlisted at sixteen as a private soldier in the Gardes Françaises. He spent his entire leisure in earning extra pay by civil work, his object being to provide himself with books, and this love of study, which was combined with a strong sense of duty and personal courage, soon led to his promotion.

When the Gardes françaises disbanded in 1789 he had reached the rank of corporal, and thereafter he served in various line regiments up to the time of his receiving a commission in 1792. In the defence of Thionville in that year Hoche earned further promotion, and he served with credit in the operations of 1792 - 1793 on the northern frontier of France, including the Battle of Wissembourg. At the Battle of Neerwinden (1793) he served as aide-de-camp to General le Veneur, and when Charles Dumouriez deserted to the Austrians, Hoche, along with le Veneur and others, fell under suspicion of treason. But after being kept under arrest and unemployed for some months he took part in the defence of Dunkirk, and in the same year (1793) he was promoted successively chef de brigade, general of brigade, and general of division. In October 1793 he was provisionally appointed to command the Army of the Moselle, and within a few weeks he was in the field at the head of his army in Lorraine. He lost his first battle at Kaiserslautern on 28–30 November 1793 against the Prussians, but even in the midst of the Reign of Terror the Committee of Public Safety retained Hoche in his command. Pertinacity and fiery energy, in their eyes, outweighed everything else, and Hoche soon showed that he possessed these qualities.

On 22 December 1793 he stormed the lines of Fröschweiler, and the representatives of the National Convention with his army at once added the Army of the Rhine to his sphere of command. On 26 December 1793 the French carried by assault the famous lines of Weissenburg, and Hoche pursued his success, sweeping the enemy before him to the middle Rhine in four days. He then put his troops into winter quarters.

Before the following campaign opened, he married Anne Adelaide Dechaux at Thionville (11 March 1794). But ten days later he was suddenly arrested, charges of treason having been preferred by Charles Pichegru, the displaced commander of the Army of the Rhine, and by his friends. Hoche escaped execution, however, though imprisoned in Paris until the fall of Maximilien Robespierre. Shortly after his release he was appointed to command against the Vendéans (21 August 1794). He completed the work of his predecessors in a few months by the peace of Jaunaye (15 February 1795), but soon afterwards the war was renewed by the Royalists. Hoche showed himself equal to the crisis and inflicted a crushing blow on the Royalist cause by defeating and capturing de Sombreuil's expedition at Quiberon and Penthièvre (16–21 July 1795). Thereafter, by means of mobile columns (which he kept under good discipline) he succeeded before the summer of 1796 in pacifying the whole of the west, which had for more than three years been the scene of a pitiless civil war.

After this Hoche was appointed to organise and command the troops sent to assist the United Irishmen in their rebellion against British rule. A tempest, however, separated Hoche from the expedition, and after various adventures the whole fleet returned to Brest without having effected its purpose. Hoche was at once transferred to the Rhine frontier, where he defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Neuwied in April 1797, though operations were soon afterwards brought to an end by the Preliminaries of Leoben. Later in 1797 he was minister of war for a short period, but in this position he was surrounded by obscure political intrigues, and, finding himself the dupe of Paul Barras and technically guilty of violating the constitution, he quickly laid down his office, returning to his command on the Rhine frontier. But his health grew rapidly worse, and he died at Wetzlar on 19 September 1797 of consumption. The belief spread that he had been poisoned, but the suspicion seems to have had no foundation. He was buried next to his friend François Marceau in a fort on the Rhine.

He is commemorated by a statue in Place Hoche, a gardened square not far from the main entrance to the Palace of Versailles. Another statue, the last major work by Jules Dalou, is in Quiberon, Brittany. In Les Invalides where Napoleon's tomb is enshrined, there is also a memorial to Hoche. A station on the Paris Metro is also called 'Hoche.'

Napoleon once said that Hoche was a true man of war and one of the best generals that France had ever produced.

Hoche's motto was Res non verba, which is Latin for "Deeds, not words."

Sources :

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friedrich Karl von Preußen (1828-1885), Prussian Generalfeldmarschall

Prinz Friedrich Karl von Preußen (1828–1885), Kgl. Preuß. Generalfeldmarschall, from "Krieg gegen Frankreich 1870-71" von Th. Lindner, Berlin 1895

Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia (Prinz Friedrich Karl von Preußen) wearing Hussar uniform

Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia (Prinz Friedrich Karl von Preußen) by Richard Brend'amour, 1895-1896. Source from "Krieg und Sieg 1870-71, Herausgeber Julius von Pflugk-Harttung" , self scanned

Opening of the monument of Friedrich Karl of Prussian. The picture was taken by Albert Bode in 1899

Prinz Friedrich Carl Nikolaus von Preußen (Prince Frederick Charles Nicolaus of Prussia) (20 March 1828 – 15 June 1885) was the son of Prince Charles of Prussia (1801–1883) and his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1808–1877). Prince Frederick Charles was a grandson of King Frederick William III of Prussia and a nephew of Frederick William IV and William I. He was born at Schloss Klein in Berlin.

From 1842 to 1846, Frederick Charles was under the military tutelage of then major Albrecht von Roon, who accompagnied the Prince to the University of Bonn in 1846. After his studies, the Prince served as a captain on Wrangel's staff during the Schleswig campaign of 1848. Promoted to major on the general staff, he partook in a campaign in Baden during which he was wounded. During the following peace years he was promoted to colonel in 1852, major general in 1854 and lieutenant general in 1856. In 1860, the Prince published a military book, titled, "Eine militärische Denkschrift von P. F. K.". Promoted to General der Kavallerie, the Prince took part in the Second Schleswig War of 1864 against Denmark, where he held command over the Prussian troops in the Austro-Prussian expeditionary force.

He served with distinction in the Austro-Prussian War, where he commanded the First Army; consisting of 2nd, 3rd and 4th corps. Arriving first at Königgrätz, he held the numerically superior Austrians at bay until his cousin Crown Prince Frederick William and his Second army came up and attacked the Austrians in the flank.

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, the Prince was given command of the Second Army, with which he distinguished himself at the Battle of Spicheren and the battles of Vionville-Mars le Tour and Gravelotte-St.Privat and the following Siege of Metz. After the fall of Metz, his army was sent to the Loire to clear the area around Orléans, where French troops, first under Aurelle de Paladines, then under Chanzy, were trying to march north to relieve Paris. He won battles at Orleans and Le Mans. For his services he was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. After the war, the Prince was made Inspector-General and was given the rank of Field Marshal of Russia by Alexander II of Russia.

In 1878 he was created an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.

He died at Jagdschloss Glienicke.

Family and Children
On 29 November 1854 at Dessau he married Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau (1837–1906), daughter of Leopold IV, Duke of Anhalt. They had five children amongst which:
  1. Princess Marie Elisabeth Luise Friederike of Prussia (1855-1888),
  2. Princess Elisabeth Anna of Prussia (1857-1895),
  3. Princess Anna Victoria Charlotte Augusta Adelheid of Prussia (1858-1858),
  4. Princess Luise Margarete Alexandra Victoria Agnes of Prussia (1860-1917),
  5. Prince Joachim Carl Wilhelm Friedrich Leopold of Prussia (1865-1931).

Friday, June 15, 2012

Nogi Maresuke (1849-1912), The Conqueror of Port Arthur

Portrait of Nogi Maresuke (乃木希典, 1849 – 1912) standing before his house in Nogizaka, Tokyo

Two admirals and six generals surrounding YAMAGATA Aritomo, on his inspection tour to Mukden, Manchuria (fourth from left is OYAMA Iwao) (from L to R, KUROKI Tamemoto, Commander of 1st Army, NOZU Michitsura, Commander of 4th Army, YAMAGATA Aritomo, General Chief of Staff, OYAMA Iwao, OKU Yasukata, Commander of 2nd Army, NOGI Maresuke, Commander of 3rd Army, KODAMA Gentaro, Manchurian Army General Chief of Staff, KAWAMURA Kageaki, Yalu River Army Commander) 26 July 1905 (Meiji 38) Papers of OYAMA Iwao, #62-18

The Russo-Japanese front: The man in the center is Maresuke Nogi(乃木希典) — photographed in his travel from from Dalny to Port Arthur (Russian Empire), on January 2 1905, by Ernesto Burzagli (1873-1944), Italian naval attaché in Tokio, who sailed from Yokohama (Japan) on a diplomatic mission to Port Arthur, during the Russo-Japanese War. The original picture, scanned by Emiliano Burzagli, belongs to the Private archive of Burzaghi family, Italy.

The Japanese general 乃木希典 (Nogi Maresuke) and the Russian general Aнатолий Михайлович Стессель (Anatolii Mikhailovich Stoessel) (both in the center) after the capitulation of the Russian forces in the Chinese city 旅順口區 / 旅顺口区 (Lǚshùnkou qu), (European name: Port Arthur),(Japanese name: Ryojun) on 2 January 1905. (Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905). This picture taken from the Japanese book "國の光" (The light of our nation) published in 1909, foto first published by 朝日新聞 (Asahi Newspaper)

General Nogi Maresuke and his wife relaxing at their Aoyama home

Count Nogi Maresuke, GCB (乃木 希典?), also known as Kiten, Count Nogi, (25 December 1849–13 September 1912) was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army, and a prominent figure in the Russo-Japanese War.

Nogi was born as the son of a samurai at the Edo residence (present day Tokyo), of the Chōfu clan from Chōshū (present day Yamaguchi Prefecture). He was born on 11 November 1849, according to the old Japanese lunar calendar, or Christmas day, according to the new one. His childhood name was Mujin, literally "no one", to prevent evil spirits from coming to harm him! On turning 18, he was renamed Nogi Bunzō.

In November 1869, by the order of the Nagato domain's lord, he enlisted in Fushimi Goshin Heisha (lit. the Fushimi Loyal Guard Barrack) to be trained in the French style for the domainal Army. After completing the training, he was reassigned to the Kawatō Barrack in Kyoto as an instructor, and then as Toyōra domain's Army trainer in charge of coastal defense troops.

In 1871, Nogi was commissioned as a major in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. Around this time, he renamed himself Maresuke taking a kanji from the name of his father. In 1875, he became the 14th Infantry Regiment's attaché. The next year (1876), Nogi was named as the Kumamoto regional troop's Staff Officer, and transferred to command the 1st Infantry Regiment, and for his service in the Satsuma Rebellion, against the forces of Saigō Takamori in Kyūshū, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In a fierce battle at that time, he lost the 14th Infantry Regiment’s regimental banner to the enemy, which was considered an extreme disgrace. Nogi considered this such a grave mistake that he listed it as one of the reasons for his later suicide.

On 27 August 1876, Nogi married Shizuko, the fourth daughter of Satsuma samurai Yuji Sadano, who was then 20 years old. As Nogi was 28 years old, it was a very late marriage for that time, considering that the average age to marry was in the early 20s. On 28 August 1877, their first son Katsunori was born, and Nogi bought his first house at Nizakamachi, Tokyo. In 1878, he became a colonel. The next year, his second son, Yasunori, was born.

In 1887, Nogi went to Germany with Kawakami Soroku to study European military strategy and tactics.

In 1894, during the First Sino-Japanese War, Nogi served as major general in command of the First Infantry Brigade, which penetrated the Chinese defenses and successfully occupied Port Arthur in only one day of combat. The following year, he was promoted to lieutenant general and assigned to the Second Infantry Brigade, tasked with the invasion of Taiwan. Nogi remained with the occupation forces in Taiwan until 1898. In 1899, he was recalled to Japan, and placed in command of the newly formed 11th Infantry Brigade, based in Kagawa.

After the war, he was elevated to danshaku (baron); and he was conferred with the Order of the Golden Kite, 1st class.

Nogi was appointed as the third Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan from 14 October 1896 to February 1898. When moving to Taiwan, he moved his entire family, and during their time in Taiwan, his mother contracted malaria and died. This led Nogi to take measures to improve on the health care infrastructure of the island.

However, unlike many of his contemporary officers, Nogi expressed no interest in pursuing politics.

In 1904, Nogi was recalled to active service on the occasion of the Russo-Japanese War, and was promoted to army general in command of the Japanese Third Army, with an initial strength of approximately 90,000 men and assigned to the capture of the Russia port of Port Arthur on the southern tip of Liaodong Peninsula, Manchuria. Nogi's forces landed shortly after the Battle of Nanshan, in which his eldest son, serving with the Japanese Second Army, was killed. Advancing slowly down the Liaodong Peninsula, Nogi encountered unexpectedly strong resistance, and far more fortifications than he had experienced ten years earlier against the Chinese.

The attack against Port Arthur quickly turned into the lengthy Siege of Port Arthur, an engagement lasting from 1 August 1904 to 2 January 1905, costing the Japanese massive losses, including Nogi's second son. Due to the mounting casualties and failure of Nogi to overcome Port Arthur's defenses, there was mounting pressure within the Japanese government and military to relieve him of command. However, in an unprecedented action, Emperor Meiji spoke out during the Supreme War Council meeting, defending Nogi and demanding that he be kept in command.

After the fall of Port Arthur, Nogi was regarded as a national hero. He led his 3rd Army against the Russian forces at the final Battle of Mukden, ending the land combat phase of operations of the war.

British historian Richard Storry noted that Nogi imposed the best of the Japanese samurai tradition on the men under his command such that "...the conduct of the Japanese during the Russo-Japanese War towards both prisoners and Chinese civilians won the respect, and indeed admiration, of the world."

At the end of the war, Nogi made a report directly to Emperor Meiji during a Gozen Kaigi. When explaining battles of the Siege of Port Arthur in detail, he broke down and wept, apologizing for the 56,000 lives lost in that campaign and asking to be allowed to kill himself in atonement. Emperor Meiji told him that suicide was unacceptable, as all responsibility for the war was due to imperial orders, and that Nogi must remain alive, at least as long as he himself lived.

After the war, Nogi was elevated to the title of count and awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon, 1917.

As head of the Peers' School from 1908–1912, he was the mentor of the young Hirohito, and was, perhaps, the most important influence on the life of the future emperor of Japan.

Nogi spent most of his personal fortune on hospitals for wounded soldiers and on memorial monuments erected around the country in commemoration of those killed during the Russo-Japanese War. He also successful petitioned the Japanese government to erect a Russian-style memorial monument in Port Arthur to the Russian dead of that campaign.

General Nogi is significant to Scouting in Japan, as in 1911, he went to England in attendance on Prince Higashifushimi Yorihito for the coronation of King George V. The General, as the "Defender of Port Arthur" was introduced to General Robert Baden-Powell, the "Defender of Mafeking", by Lord Kitchener, whose expression "Once a Scout, always a Scout" remains to this day.

Nogi and his wife committed respectively seppuku and jigai shortly after the Emperor Meiji's funeral cortege left the palace. The ritual suicide was in accordance with the samurai practice of following one's master to death (junshi). In his suicide letter, he said that he wished to expiate for his disgrace in Kyūshū, and for the thousands of casualties at Port Arthur. He also donated his body to medical science.

All four members of the Nogi family are buried at Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo. Under State Shinto, Nogi was revered as a kami and Nogi Shrine, a Shinto shrine in his honor, still exists on the site of his house in Nogizaka, Tokyo. His memory is also honored in other locations such as the Nogi Shrine in Kyoto.

Nogi's seppuku immediately created a sensation and a controversy. Some writers claimed that it reflected Nogi’s disgust with the profligacy and decline in moral values of late Meiji Japan. Others pointed to Nogi's own suicide note, calling it an act of atonement for mistakes in his military career. In either case, Nogi's suicide marked the end of an era, and it had a profound impact on contemporary writers, such as Mori Ōgai and Natsume Sōseki. For the public, Nogi became a symbol of loyalty and sacrifice.

1897 - Order of the Sacred Treasure, 1st class.
1906 - Order of the Golden Kite, 1st class.
1906 - Order of the Rising Sun with Paulownia Flowers, Grand Cordon.
1906 - Pour le Mérite.
1907 - Legion of Honour.
1911 - Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order.
1911 - Order of the Bath, Knight Grand Cross, Military Division (UK).

Sources :


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Raimondo Montecuccoli

General Raimondo Montecuccoli continues to accompany us on our virtual journey both in and around Modena and across Europe. Churches, museums, archives and libraries conserve the memory of this great condottiere who had a major influence on the story of the 1600s and who became so European that Italians almost forgot about him.

The importance of this personality can also be deduced from the vast iconography that carries his likeness in the portrait style of the full-blown 1600s school to be found right across Europe. One interesting portrait is on show at Pavullo’s Palazzo Comunale, the town hall: painted by an unknown local artist in the late 1600s, it portrays Raimondo in the martial and peremptory guise of a fully-armed condottiere. In Modena, at its Palazzo Comunale, is one of the best known paintings of Montecuccoli, the one by Girolamo Vannulli, a brilliant interpreter of the Italian figurative style of the 1700s.

Instead, in the Paradisino church, we find the altar of Sant'Antonio, bestowed in the 1670s as a votive offering by Raimondo Montecuccoli to the Church of Santa Margherita, the original location of the work, while Raimondo’s parents, Galeotto and Anna Bigi, were buried in the monumental Church of San Pietro, finished in 1506.

There are also several works showing Raimondo’s life as a condottiere at the Imperial court. At Vienna’s Kunsthistorishes Museum is a remarkable painting, cut down to an oval, in which Raimondo is wearing armour with on top the Golden Fleece, the symbol of the prestigious order of chivalry that reproduces the ram’s fleece of legend, granted by the royal houses of Austria and Spain. Raimondo was awarded this decoration by the King of Spain in 1666.

Another full-length portrait is to be found at the Museum Hafnerbach, again in Austria, where a white marble bust and various paintings portray other members of the Montecuccoli family including Princess Margarethe, Raimondo’s wife.

At Vienna’s Military History Museum, in the majestic atrium that serves as the “Room of the Condottieri” are marble statues representing General Montecuccoli and other illustrious military heads of the Hapsburg Empire and the Austro-Hungarian reign. This museum also keeps the field marshal’s baton used by Raimondo at the Battle of Saint Gotthard against the Turks.

Of enormous value are the literary works the General left us – including the important Treatise on War, written during his long imprisonment in Sweden and his On the War Against the Turks in Hungary from 1670, with much studied and highly appreciated translations produced in Germany, France and Spain. The manuscripts of his works are kept in various places around Europe: in Vienna’s War Archives and National Library, where we can find the original manuscript of his Military Tables and Axiomatic Tables of War, and in Modena’s Este Library which keeps On Battles. Other writings are kept at the Vatican Apostolic Library, while the state archive of Brno in the Czech Republic keeps important correspondence from Raimondo, his wife and his family.

During Raimondo Montecuccoli’s long life his diplomatic activities at the courts of the Central European and Scandinavian capitals were far from negligible. His acute observations, his descriptions of personalities, his insight into political machinations, all of this in his writings which was particularly successful in his volume Aphorisms, revealed the rich cultural milieu which inspired Montecuccoli.

In 1680, when Raimondo died in Linz – having followed the Imperial Court which had fled Vienna because of an outbreak of plague – his viscera were interred in the Church of the Cappuccini, while his corpse was taken to Vienna, where, on the 4 November, it was buried at a solemn funeral in the presence of the Emperor and the whole of the Court at the Am Hof Church.

Thanks to his acute political sensitivity, intellectual finesse and a shrewdness born of the grand strategy, Raimondo had lived enough to take in just what Europe and the sweeping changes of the 17th century really meant. His writings constitute an extraordinary, abundant testimony of this.

Raimondo dei conti di Montecuccoli, 17th century artwork

The Castello Montecuccoli in Modena

Raimondo, Count of Montecúccoli or Montecucculi (German: Raimondo Graf Montecúccoli) (21 February 1608 or 1609 – 16 October 1680) was an Italian military general who also served as general for the Austrians, and was also a prince of the Holy Roman Empire and Neapolitan Duke of Melfi.

Montecuccoli was born in the castle of the same name in Pavullo nel Frignano, near Modena. His family was of Burgundian origin and had settled in north Italy in the 10th century.

At the age of sixteen Montecuccoli began as a private soldier under his uncle, Count Ernest Montecuccoli, a distinguished Austrian general (d. 1633). Four years later, after much active service in Germany and the Low Countries, he became a captain of infantry. He was severely wounded at the storming of New Brandenburg, and again in the same year (1631) at the first battle of Breitenfeld, where he fell into the hands of the Swedes.

He was again wounded at Lützen in 1632, and on his recovery was made a major in his uncle's regiment. Shortly afterwards he became a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry. He did good service at the first battle of Nordlingen (1634), and at the storming of Kaiserslautern in the following year won his colonelcy by a feat of arms of unusual brilliance, a charge through the breach at the head of his heavy cavalry.

He fought in Pomerania, Bohemia and Saxony (surprise of Wolmirstadt, battles of Wittstock and Chemnitz), and in 1639 he was taken prisoner at Melnik and detained for two and a half years in Stettin and Weimar. In captivity he studied military science, and also geometry in Euclid, history in Tacitus, and architecture in Vitruvius, and planned his great work on war.

Returning to Italy and to the field in 1642, Montecuccoli commanded mercenaries loyal to the Duke of his native Modena during the First War of Castro but when that conflict ground to an unproductive stalemate he departed. His involvement, though understandable given his allegiance to Modena, was nonetheless unusual in that his service pitted him against the papal forces of Pope Urban VIII.

In 1643 he was promoted to lieutenant-field-marshal and obtained a seat in the council of war. In 1645-46 he served in Hungary against Prince Rákóczy of Transylvania, on the Danube and Neckar against the French, and in Silesia and Bohemia against the Swedes. The victory of Triebel in Silesia won him the rank of General of Cavalry, and at the battle of Zusmarshausen in 1648 his stubborn rearguard fighting rescued the imperialists from annihilation.

For some years after the Peace of Westphalia Montecuccoli was chiefly concerned with the business of the council of war, though he went to Flanders and England as the representative of the emperor, and to Sweden as the envoy of the pope to Queen Christina, and at Modena his lance was victorious in a great tourney.

In 1657, soon after his marriage with Countess Margarethe de Dietrichstein, he was ordered by the Emperor to take part in the Hapsburg expedition (as agreed between King of Poland and Emperor) against prince Rákóczy, Charles X Gustav of Sweden and the Cossacks, who had already, in 1655, attacked the Kingdom of Poland in the war known in Poland as The Deluge or elsewhere as the Second Northern War. During the conflict he was promoted to commanding officer of the division.

He became field-marshal in the imperial army and his division, along with Stefan Czarniecki's division, Frederick William's army and Danish forces, participated in the struggle in Denmark against the invading Swedes. Eventually the war ended with the Peace of Oliva in 1660 and Montecuccoli returned to his sovereign.

From 1661 to 1664 Montecuccoli, with inferior numbers, defended Austria against the Turks but at St. Gotthard Abbey, on the Rába, he and Carl I. Ferdinand Count of Montenari defeated the Turks so comprehensively that they entered into a twenty-year truce. They were given the Order of the Golden Fleece, and Montecuccoli became president of the council of war and director of artillery. He also devoted much time to compiling his various works on military history and science. He opposed the progress of the French arms under Louis XIV, and when the inevitable war broke out he received command of the imperial forces. In the campaign of 1673 he completely out-manoeuvred his rival Turenne on the Neckar and the Rhine, captured Bonn and joined his army with that of the prince of Orange on the lower Rhine.

He retired from the army when, in 1674, the Great Elector was named command in chief, but the brilliant successes of Turenne in the winter of 1674 and 1675 brought him back. For months the two famous commanders manoeuvred against each other in the Rhine valley, but on the eve of a decisive battle Turenne was killed and Montecuccoli promptly invaded Alsace, where he engaged in another war of manoeuvre with the Great Condé. The siege of Philipsburg was Montecuccoli's last achievement in war.

The rest of Montecuccoli's life was spent in military administration and literary and scientific work at Vienna. In 1679 the emperor made him a prince of the empire, and shortly afterwards he received the dukedom of Melfi from the King of Spain.

Montecuccoli died in an accident at Linz in October 1680.

With the death of his only son Leopold Philip Montecuccoli in 1698 the principality became extinct, but the title of count descended through his daughters to two branches, Austrian and Modenese. As a general, Montecuccoli shared with Turenne and Condé the first place among European soldiers of his time. His Memorie della guerra profoundly influenced the age which followed his own; nor have modern conditions rendered the advice of Montecuccoli wholly valueless.

The Memorie della guerra was published at Venice in 1703 and at Cologne in 1704. A French edition was issued in Paris in 1712 and a Latin edition appeared in 1718 at Vienna, and the German Kriegsnachrichten des Fürsten Raymundi Montecuccoli was issued at Leipzig in 1736. Of this work there are manuscripts in various libraries, and many memoirs on military history, tactics, fortification, written in Italian, Latin and German, remain still unedited in the archives of Vienna. The collected Opere di Raimondo Montecuccoli were published at Milan (1807), Turin (1821) and Venice (1840), and include political essays and poetry.

In 1934 the Italian navy launched the Raimondo Montecuccoli, a Condottieri class light cruiser named in his honour which served with the Regia Marina during World War II.

Montecuccoli noted one of the obvious problems of military conflict:
“ For war, you need three things; 1. Money. 2. Money. 3. Money. ”

Wars became much more expensive to fund as armies grew larger; they required more training and state investment to be effective. Warfare of Montecuccoli's time also involved significant numbers of mercenaries loyal to differing fiefdoms. Paying them became exceptionally expensive.

Sources :

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne (1611-1675), Marshal of France

Henri de la Tour d'Auverge, Vicomte Turenne

Henri de la Tour d'Auverge, Vicomte Turenne

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, 17th century oil on canvas painting by Circle of Philippe de Champaigne

Battlefield death of Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne, who was killed by a cannon shot on July 27, 1675

Grave of Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne (1611-1675), better known as Turenne, Marshal General of France under Louis XIV and one of France's greatest military leaders inside La cathédrale Saint Louis des Invalides at Hôtel des Invalides, Paris. (23/2/07)

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, often called simply Turenne (11 September 1611, Sedan, Ardennes – 27 July 1675) was the most illustrious member of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. He achieved military fame and became a Marshal of France. He was one of six marshals who have been made Marshal General of France.

The second son of Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne, duc de Bouillon, sovereign Prince of Sedan, by his second wife Elizabeth, daughter of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, he was born at Sedan. He received a Huguenot education and the usual training of a young noble of the time, but physical infirmity, and particularly an impediment of speech (which he never lost), hampered his progress, though he showed a marked partiality for history and geography, and especial admiration of the exploits of Alexander the Great and Caesar. After his father's death in 1623, he devoted himself to bodily exercises and in a great measure overcame his natural weakness. At the age of fourteen he went to learn war in the camp of his uncle, Maurice of Nassau the Stadtholder of Holland and Prince of Orange, and began his military career (as a private soldier in that prince's bodyguard) in the Dutch Revolt.

Frederick Henry of Nassau, who succeeded his brother Maurice as Stadtholder and Prince of Orange in 1625, gave Turenne a captaincy in 1626. The young officer took his part in the siege warfare of the period, and won special commendation from his uncle (one of the foremost commanders of the time) for his skill and courage at the celebrated siege of 's-Hertogenbosch (Bois-le-Duc) in 1629. In 1630 Turenne left the Netherlands and entered the service of France, motivated not only by the prospect of military advancement but also by his mother's desire to show the loyalty of the Bouillon dominions to the French crown.

Cardinal Richelieu at once made him colonel of an infantry regiment. He still continued to serve at short intervals with the prince of Orange, who at the time had an alliance with France, and his first serious service under the French flag occurred at the siege of La Mothe in Lorraine by Marshal de la Force (1634), where his brilliant courage at the assault won him immediate promotion to the rank of maréchal de camp (equivalent to the modern grade of major-general). In 1635 Turenne served under Louis de Nogaret, Cardinal de la Valette in Lorraine and on the Rhine. The French and their allies raised the Imperial siege of Mainz (8 August 1635), but the French army had to fall back on Metz for want of provisions. In the retreat Turenne measured swords with the famous imperial General Gallas, and distinguished himself greatly by his courage and skill. The reorganised army took the field again in 1636 and captured Saverne (Zabern), at the storming of which place Turenne suffered a serious wound. In 1637 he took part in the campaign of Flanders, including the capture of Landrecies (26 July). In the latter part of 1638, serving under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar (1608–1639), he directed the assault on Breisach (reputedly the strongest fortress on the upper Rhine), which surrendered on December 17. He had now gained a reputation as one of the foremost of the younger generals of France, and Richelieu next employed him in the Italian campaign of 1639–1640 under "Cadet la Perle", Henri de Lorraine, count of Harcourt (1601–1666). On 19 November 1639 he fought in the famous rearguard action called the battle of the "Route de Quiers", and during the winter re-victualled the citadel of Turin, held by the French against the forces of Prince Thomas of Savoy. In 1640 Harcourt saved Casale Monferrato and besieged Prince Thomas' forces in Turin, which meanwhile besieged in their turn another French force in the citadel. The latter held out, while Prince Thomas had to surrender on 17 September 1640, a fourth army which had invested Harcourt's lines being at the same time forced to retire. Turenne, who had by now become a lieutenant-general, played a major role in achieving the favourable result of these complicated operations. He himself commanded during the campaign of 1641 and took Coni (Cuneo), Ceva and Mondovì.

In 1642 he served as second-in-command of the French troops which conquered Roussillon. At this time Richelieu discovered the conspiracy of Cinq Mars in which Turenne's elder brother, the duc de Bouillon, had become implicated.

The relations of the principality of Sedan to the French crown markedly influenced the earlier career of Turenne; sometimes it proved necessary to advance the soldier to conciliate the ducal family, at other times the machinations of the ducal family against Richelieu or Mazarin prevented the king's advisers from giving their full confidence to their general in the field. Moreover his steady adherence to the Protestant religion provided a further element of difficulty in Turenne's relations with the ministers. Cardinal Richelieu nevertheless entrusted him with the command in Italy in 1643 under Prince Thomas (who had changed sides in the quarrel). Turenne took Trino in a few weeks before his recall to France towards the end of the year. He gained the rank of Marshal of France (19 December 1643) and soon departed to Alsace to re-organize the "Army of Weimar" (the remnant of the late Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar's troops) which had just suffered a severe defeat at Tuttlingen (November 24/25, 1643). At this time, having reached thirty-two years of age, Turenne had served under four famous commanders. The methodical prince of Orange, the fiery Bernhard, the soldierly Cardinal de la Valette and the stubborn and astute Harcourt had each contributed much to the completeness of Turenne's training, and he took the field in 1644 prepared by genius and education for the responsibilities of high command.

The work of re-organization over, Marshal Turenne began the campaign in June 1644 by crossing the Rhine at Breisach, but almost instantly an army under the duc d'Enghien (afterwards the great Condé) joined him. The Duke, as a prince of the royal house, took the chief command of the united armies of "France" and "Weimar". The four famous campaigns which followed brought to an end the Thirty Years' War. The desperately fought battle of Freiburg against Franz von Mercy's Bavarians (3, 5 and 9 August 1644) proved the chief event of the first campaign, after which the French successfully besieged Philippsburg. Before the capitulation Enghien withdrew and left Turenne in command. The marshal opened the campaign of 1645 with a strong forward movement, but Mercy surprised and defeated him at Mergentheim (Marienthal) on 2 May. Enghien again came to the front with the army of France, and Turenne's army received substantial reinforcement with the arrival of a Swedish force and of a contingent from Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). The Swedes soon departed, but Enghien commanded 20,000 men when he met the Bavarians in a battle even more stubbornly contested than Freiburg. The French forces killed Mercy and decisively defeated his army at Allerheim (3 August 1645).

Ill-health forced Enghien to retire soon afterwards, leaving Turenne for the third time left in command of the French army. Again he did not fare well against the larger forces of the imperialists, but the campaign ended with a gleam of success in his capture of Trier (Trèves). In the following year (1646) he obtained more decided successes, and, by separating the Austrians from the Bavarians, compelled Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria to make peace (signed on 14 March 1647). In 1647 he proposed to attack the thus weakened army of the emperor, but the strategists ordered him into Flanders instead. Not only did France thus lose an opportunity, but a serious mutiny broke out amongst the Weimar troops, who had not received their pay for many months. The marshal showed great tact and firmness in his treatment of the disaffected regiments, amongst whom in the end he succeeded in restoring order with little bloodshed. He then marched into Luxembourg, but soon received orders to switch to the Rhine, for in 1648 Bavaria had returned to her Austrian alliance and had taken up arms again. Turenne and his Swedish allies made a brilliant campaign, crowned by the decisive action of Zusmarshausen (17 May). Troops subsequently wasted Bavaria with fire and sword until a second and more secure armistice was obtained. This devastation, for which many modern writers have blamed Turenne, appeared no more harsh a measure than the spirit of the times and the circumstances of the case permitted.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648) brought little peace to France, which soon became involved in the civil war of the Fronde (1648–1653). Few of Turenne's actions caused sharper criticism than his adhesion to the party of revolt. The army of Weimar refused to follow its leader and he had to flee into the Spanish Netherlands, where he remained until the treaty of Rueil (March 1649) put an end to the first war of the Fronde. The second war began with the arrest of Condé and others (January 1650). Turenne, intended for arrest with them, escaped in time, and with the duchesse de Longueville held Stenay for the cause of the "Princes" — Condé, his brother Conti, and his brother-in-law the duc de Longueville. Love for the duchess seems to have ruled Turenne's action, both in the first war, and, now, in seeking Spanish aid for the Princes. In this war Turenne sustained one of his few reverses at Rethel (15 December 1650); but the second conflict ended in the early months of the following year with the collapse of the court party and the release of the Princes.

Turenne became reconciled and returned to Paris in May 1651, but the trouble soon revived and before long Condé again raised the standard of revolt in the south of France. In this, the third war of the Fronde, Turenne and Condé stood opposed to each other, the marshal commanding the royal armies, the prince that of the Frondeurs and their Spanish allies. Turenne displayed the personal bravery of a young soldier at Jargeau (28 March 1652), the skill and wariness of a veteran general at Gien (7 April), and he practically crushed the civil war in the Battle of the Faubourg St Antoine (2 July) and in the re-occupation of Paris (21 October). He still needed to deal with Condé and the Spaniards, however, and the long drawn-out campaigns of the "Spanish Fronde" gave ample scope for the display of scientific generalship on the part of both the famous captains. In 1653 Turenne had the advantage: he captured Rethel, Sainte-Menehould and Mouzon, while Condé succeeded only at Rocroi. The short campaign of 1654 again favoured the French; on 25 July 1654 they defeated the Spanish at Arras. In 1655 French armies gained more ground, but in 1656 Turenne suffered a serious defeat at Valenciennes, and though the causes of the defeat had been largely outside his control, he again showed his ability to recover from an outcome that would have overwhelmed lesser generals. The war eventually concluded soon after Turenne's victory at the Battle of the Dunes near Dunkirk in 1658, in which a corps of English veterans sent by France's ally Oliver Cromwell played a notable part (3–14 June); a victory which, followed by another successful campaign in 1658, led to the peace of the Pyrenees in 1659.

On the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661 Louis XIV took the reins of government into his own hands, and as one of his first acts appointed Turenne "marshal-general of the camps and armies of the king". He had offered to revive the office of connétable of France (suppressed in 1627) in Turenne's favour if the marshal would become a Roman Catholic. Turenne declined. Born of Calvinist parents and educated a Protestant, he had refused to marry one of Richelieu's nieces in 1639 and subsequently rejected a similar proposal from Mazarin.

Turenne married in 1652 Charlotte de Caumont, a daughter of the Protestant Marshal de la Force, to whom he remained deeply attached. But he sincerely deplored the division of Christianity into two hostile camps. He had always distrusted the influence of many dissident and uncontrolled sects; the history of independence in the English army and people made a deep impression on his mind, and the same fear of indiscipline which drove the English Presbyterians into royalism drew Turenne more and more towards the Roman Catholic Church. The letters between him and his wife show how closely both studied available evidence on the matter, and in the end, two years after her death, the eloquence of Bossuet and the persuasions of his nephew, the Cardinal de Bouillon prevailed upon him to give his adhesion to the Roman Catholic faith (October 1668). In 1667 he had returned to the more congenial air of the "Camps and Armies of the King", directing (nominally under Louis XIV) the famous Promenade militaire in which the French overran the Spanish Netherlands. Soon afterwards Condé, now reconciled with the king, rivaled Turenne's success by the rapid conquest of the Franche-Comté, shortly before the end the War of Devolution in February 1668.

In Louis XIV's Dutch War of 1672 Turenne accompanied the army commanded by the king which overran the Dutch United Provinces up to the gates of Amsterdam. The terms offered by Louis to the Prince of Orange only aroused a more bitter resistance. The Dutch opened the dikes and flooded the countryside around Amsterdam. This measure completely checked Turenne, whom the king had left in command. News of this event roused Europe to action, and the conflict spread to Germany. Turenne fought a successful war of manoeuvre on the middle Rhine while Condé covered Alsace. In January 1673 Turenne assumed the offensive, penetrated far into Germany, and forced the Great Elector of Brandenburg to make peace; later in the year, however, the famous imperial general Montecuccoli completely out-manoeuvred Turenne: Montecuccoli evaded his opponent, joined the Dutch and took the important place of Bonn. In June 1674, however, Turenne won the battle of Sinzheim, which made him master of the Palatinate. Under orders from Paris the French wasted the country far and wide, and this devastation with the sack of Türckheim usually counts as the gravest blot on Turenne's fame. In the autumn the anti-French allies again advanced, and though they again outmanoeuvered Turenne, the action of the neutral city of Strasbourg occasioned his failure by permitting the enemy to cross the Rhine by the bridge at that place. The battle of Enzheim followed; this proved a tactical victory, but hardly affected the situation, and, at the beginning of December, the allies remained in Alsace. The old marshal now made the most daring campaign of his career. A swift and secret march in mid-winter from one end of the Vosges to the other took the allies by surprise. Sharply following up his first successes, Turenne drove the enemy to Turkheim, and there inflicted upon them a heavy defeat (5 January 1675). As revenge for the active resistance the inhabitants of the city had shown, he let his troops loot it and massacre the remaining population during two weeks. In a few weeks he had completely recovered Alsace. In the summer campaign he once more faced Montecuccoli, and after the highest display of "strategic chess-moves" by both commanders, Turenne finally compelled his opponent to offer battle at a disadvantage at Salzbach. There, on 27 July 1675, one of the first shots fired killed him. The news of his death produced universal sorrow.

Turenne's most eloquent countrymen wrote his éloges, and Montecucculi himself exclaimed: "II est mort aujourd'hui un homme qui faisait honneur à l'homme !" (A man is dead today who did honour to Man!) His body, taken to St Denis, was buried with the kings of France. Even the extreme revolutionists of 1793 respected it, and, while they ignominiously reburied the bodies of the monarchs in a mass grave, they preserved the remains of Turenne at the Jardin des Plantes until 22 September 1800, when Napoleon had them removed to the church of the Invalides at Paris, where they still rest.

Napoleon recommended all soldiers to "read and re-read" the campaigns of Turenne as one of the great captains. His fame as a general rivaled that of any other in Europe at a period when the populace studied war more critically than ever before, for his military character epitomized the art of war of his time (Prince de Ligne). Strategic caution and logistic accuracy, combined with brilliant dash in small combats and constancy under all circumstances - of success or failure - perhaps emerge as the salient points of Turenne's genius for war. Great battles he avoided. "Few sieges and many combats" he used as his own maxim. And, unlike his great rival Condé, who appeared as brilliant in his first battle as in his last, Turenne improved day by day. Napoleon said of him that, his genius grew bolder as it grew older, and a later author, the duc d'Aumale (Histoire des princes de la maison de Condé), took the same view when he wrote: "Pour le connaître il faut le suivre jusqu'à Sulzbach. Chez lui chaque jour marque un progrès."

In his personal character Turenne showed little more than the nature of a simple and honorable soldier, endowed with much tact; but in the world of politics and intellect he seemed almost helpless in the hands of a skilful intriguer or casuist. His morals, if not beyond reproach, were at least more austere than those prevalent in the age in which he lived. He operated essentially as a commander of regular armies. He spent his life with the troops; he knew how to win their affection; he tempered a severe discipline with rare generosity, and his men loved him as a comrade no less than they admired him as a commander. Thus, though Condé's genius appeared far more versatile, Turenne's genius best represents the art of war in the 17th century. For the small, costly, and highly trained regular armies, and for the dynastic warfare of the age of Louis XIV, Turenne functioned as the ideal army leader.
In fiction

Marshal of France Turenne is depicted in several alternative history novels written by Eric Flint and David Weber. These include 1633 and 1634: The Baltic War. Vicomte de Turenne is also written about in a historical fiction novel by G.A. Henty called "Won by the Sword".

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