Karl Mack von Leiberich

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Karl Mack von Leiberich
Karl Mack von Leiberich.jpg
Karl Mack von Leiberich
Born(1752-08-25)25 August 1752
Nennslingen, Principality of Ansbach
Died 22 December 1828(1828-12-22) (aged 76)
St. Pölten, Lower Austria
AllegianceBanner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg  Holy Roman Empire
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg  Austrian Empire
Years of service 1770-1807
Rank Feldmarschall-leutnant
Battles/wars

War of the Bavarian Succession (1778–1779)
Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791)
War of the First Coalition (1793–1797)
War of the Second Coalition (1799–1801)
War of the Third Coalition (1803–1806)

Contents

Awards Military Order of Maria Theresa

Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich (25 August 1752 – 22 December 1828) was an Austrian soldier. [1] He is best remembered as the commander of the Austrian forces that capitulated to Napoleon's Grande Armée in the Battle of Ulm in 1805. Mack makes a brief appearance as a character in book two of Volume I of Tolstoy's War and Peace .

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

The Grande Armée was the army commanded by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1805 to 1809, the Grande Armée scored a series of historic victories that gave the French Empire an unprecedented grip on power over the European continent. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, it suffered terrible losses during the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and never recovered its tactical superiority after that campaign.

Battle of Ulm battle

The Battle of Ulm on 16–19 October 1805 was a series of skirmishes, at the end of the Ulm Campaign, which allowed Napoleon I to trap an entire Austrian army under the command of Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich with minimal losses and to force its surrender near Ulm in the Electorate of Bavaria.

Early career

Karl Leiberich was born at Nennslingen, in the Principality of Ansbach. In 1770 he joined an Austrian cavalry regiment, in which his uncle, Leiberich, was a squadron commander, becoming an officer seven years later. During the brief War of the Bavarian Succession he was selected for service on the staff of Count Kinsky, under whom, and subsequently under the commander-in-chief Field Marshal Count Lacy, he did excellent work. He was promoted first lieutenant in 1778, and captain on the quartermaster-general's staff in 1783. Count Lacy, then the foremost soldier of the Austrian army, had the highest opinion of his young assistant. In 1785 Mack married Katherine Gabrieul, and was ennobled under the name of Mack von Leiberich. [2]

Nennslingen Place in Bavaria, Germany

Nennslingen is a municipality in the Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen district, in Bavaria, Germany.

Principality of Ansbach State of the Holy Roman Empire, in the Franconian Circle

The Principality or Margraviate of (Brandenburg-)Ansbach was a free imperial principality in the Holy Roman Empire centered on the Franconian city of Ansbach. The ruling Hohenzollern princes of the land were known as margraves, as the principality was a margraviate.

War of the Bavarian Succession war

A Saxon–Prussian alliance fought the War of the Bavarian Succession against the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy to prevent the Habsburgs from acquiring the Electorate of Bavaria. Although the war consisted of only a few minor skirmishes, thousands of soldiers died from disease and starvation, earning the conflict the name Kartoffelkrieg in Prussia and Saxony; in Habsburg Austria, it was sometimes called the Zwetschgenrummel.

In the Turkish War he was employed on the headquarters staff, becoming in 1788 major and personal aide-de-camp to the emperor, Joseph II and in 1789 was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He distinguished himself in the storming of Belgrade in 1789 [3] . Shortly after this, disagreements between Mack and Ernst Gideon von Laudon, now commander-in-chief, led to the former demanding a court-martial; Mack left the front but received a colonelcy (1789) and the Order of Maria Theresa. In 1790 Laudon and Mack, reconciled, were again on the field together. During these campaigns Mack received a severe head injury from which he never fully recovered. In 1793 he was made quartermaster-general (chief of staff) to Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg, commanding in the Netherlands and he enhanced his reputation by the ensuing campaign. The young Archduke Charles of Austria, who won his own first laurels in the action of March 1, 1793, wrote after the battle, "Above all we have to thank Colonel Mack for these successes". [2]

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor Holy Roman Emperor

Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from August 1765 and sole ruler of the Habsburg lands from November 1780 until his death. He was the eldest son of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Emperor Francis I, and the brother of Marie Antoinette. He was thus the first ruler in the Austrian dominions of the House of Lorraine, styled Habsburg-Lorraine. Joseph was a proponent of enlightened absolutism; however, his commitment to modernizing reforms subsequently engendered significant opposition, which resulted in failure to fully implement his programmes. He has been ranked, with Catherine the Great of Russia and Frederick the Great of Prussia, as one of the three great Enlightenment monarchs. His policies are now known as Josephinism. He died with no sons and was succeeded by his younger brother, Leopold II.

Siege of Belgrade (1789)

In the Siege of Belgrade a Habsburg Austrian army led by Feldmarschall Ernst Gideon von Laudon besieged an Ottoman Turkish force under Osman Pasha in the fortress of Belgrade. After a three-week leaguer, the Austrians forced the surrender of the fortress. During the campaign which was part of the Austro-Turkish War, the Austrian army was greatly hampered by illness. Austria held the city until 1791 when it handed Belgrade back to the Ottomans according to the terms of the peace treaty. Several Austrian soldiers who distinguished themselves during the siege later held important commands in the subsequent French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Belgrade is the capital of modern Serbia.

Ernst Gideon von Laudon Austrian general

Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon was an Austrian generalisimo, one of the most successful opponents of the Prussian king Frederick the Great, allegedly lauded by Alexander Suvorov as his teacher. He served the position of military governorship of Habsburg Serbia from his capture of Belgrade in 1789 until his death, cooperating with the resistance fighters of Koča Anđelković.

French Revolutionary Wars

Mack distinguished himself again on the field of Neerwinden and had a leading part in the negotiations between Coburg and Dumouriez. He continued to serve as quartermaster-general, and was now made titular chief ( Inhaber ) of a cuirassier regiment. He received a wound at Famars, but in 1794 was once more engaged in active service, having at last been made a major-general. But the failure of the coalition allies, due though it was to political and military factors and ideas, over which Mack had no control, was ascribed to him, as their successes of March–April 1793 had been, and he subsequently fell into disfavour in military circles. The Emperor, now Francis II, remained his supporter and in 1797 Mack was promoted Feldmarschall-leutnant, and in the following year he accepted, at the personal request of the emperor, the command of the Neapolitan army. He could do nothing with the unpromising material of his new command against the French revolutionary troops, and before long, being in actual danger of being murdered by his men, he took refuge in the French camp. Initially, he was promised a free pass to his own country, but Napoleon ordered that he should be sent to France as a prisoner of war. [2]

Battle of Neerwinden (1793) 1793 battle between the French and the First Coalition

The Battle of Neerwinden saw a Republican French army led by Charles François Dumouriez attack a Coalition army commanded by Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. The Coalition army's Habsburg Austrians together with a small contingent of allied Dutch Republic troops repulsed all French assaults after bitter fighting and Dumouriez conceded defeat, withdrawing from the field. The French position in the Austrian Netherlands swiftly collapsed, ending the threat to the Dutch Republic and allowing Austria to regain control of her lost province. The War of the First Coalition engagement was fought at Neerwinden, located 57 kilometres (35 mi) east of Brussels in present-day Belgium.

Charles François Dumouriez French general

Charles-François du Périer Dumouriez was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. He shared the victory at Valmy with General François Christophe Kellermann, but later deserted the Revolutionary Army, and became a royalist intriguer during the reign of Napoleon as well as an adviser to the British government. Dumouriez is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.

A Proprietor, or Inhaber, was a term used in the Habsburg military to denote special honors extended to a noble or aristocrat. The Habsburg army was organized on principles developed for the feudal armies in which regiments were raised by a wealthy noble, called the Inhaber (proprietor) who also acted as honorary colonel. Originally, he raised the regiment, funded its needs, and received a portion of its revenue, which might be plunder or loot. He also shared in its shame or its honors. The Prussian and Imperial Russian military adopted a similar system.

War of the Third Coalition

General Mack surrenders his army at Ulm, 20 October 1805. Boutigny-Surrender at Ulm.jpg
General Mack surrenders his army at Ulm, 20 October 1805.

Two years later he escaped from Paris in disguise. There were allegations that he broke his parole, a severe allegation that reflected on his honor as a gentleman and an officer (in the opinion of the anonymous author of his biography in the 1911 Eleventh edition of Encyclopædia Britannica this allegation was false). [2]

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

Parole is a permanent release of a prisoner who agrees to certain conditions before the completion of the maximum sentence period, originating from the French parole. The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of prisoners who gave their word.

He was not employed for some years, but in 1804, when the war party in the Austrian court needed a general to oppose the peace policy of the Archduke Charles, Mack was made quartermaster-general of the army, with instructions to prepare for a war with France. He did all that was possible within the available time to reform the army, and on the opening of the war of 1805 he became quartermaster-general to the titular commander-in-chief in Germany, the Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este, who was himself inexperienced in military command. Consequently, Mack held the real responsible commander of the army that opposed Napoleon in Bavaria, but his position was ill-defined and his authority treated with minimal respect by the other general officers. Furthermore, the restructuring of the Habsburg military had been incomplete; Mack chose to initiate some of Charles' innovations, while ignoring others. His own insecurities and vagaries did not encourage the confidence of the staff; in the campaigning that led up to the Battle of Ulm, Mack's frequent reversals of Viennese policy, and even his own decisions, further undermined an already fragile command structure. [2]

War of the Third Coalition war

The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war, France and its client states under Napoleon I defeated an alliance, the Third Coalition, made up of the Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Britain and others.

Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este Austrian archduke

Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph of Austria-Este was the third son of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este and of his wife Princess Maria Beatrice Ricciarda d'Este, last member and heiress of the House of Este. For much of the Napoleonic Wars he was in command of the Austrian army.

Bavaria State in Germany

Bavaria, officially the Free State of Bavaria, is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres, Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich and Nuremberg.

At Ulm in October 1805, he surrendered the entire army to Napoleon. A few of his officers, including Prince von Schwarzenberg, broke through the French defenses in a massed cavalry charge and escaped, but most of the Austrian high command was captured with 25,000 men, 18 generals, 65 guns, and 40 standards. The general officers received a parole that required them to abstain from combat with France, removing the bulk of Habsburg commanders from the possibility of service in the upcoming campaign of the Upper Danube.[ citation needed ]

After Austerlitz, Mack was convicted of cowardice by a court-martial. He was deprived of his rank, his regiment, and his honors, chiefly the Order of Maria Theresa, and imprisoned for two years. Upon his release in 1808, he lived in relative obscurity until 1819, when the ultimate victory of the allies had obliterated the memory of earlier disasters, he was, at the request of Prince Schwarzenberg, reinstated in the army as Feldmarschall-leutnant, and a member of the Order of Maria Theresa. He died on 22 October 1828 at S. Pölten. [2]

Notes

  1. Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron ). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin .
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chisholm 1911, p. 260.
  3. Bruce, Robert Bowman; Schneid, Frederick S.; Pavkovic, Michael (2008-04-15). Fighting Techniques of the Napoleonic Age: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics. Macmillan. ISBN   978-0-312-37587-4.p. 132

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References

External sources

Ph.D thesis: Gramm, E.R.: "Der unglückliche Mack - Aufstieg und Fall des Karl Mack von Leiberich" http://othes.univie.ac.at/480/1/02-05-2008_7500647.pdf