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Horse & Musket: Crucible of War» Forums » General

Subject: Crucible of War Commander Biographies Volume III rss

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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach! Erin go Bragh! Remember Limerick! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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James Francis Edward Keith was a Scottish noble who backed the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. He fought at Sheriffmuir. After the battle fled to France and then went to Spain to raise support for the Jacobite rebellion of 1719. After that failed he snuck of Britain but was jailed in France, which at the time was a war with Spain. He became a colonel in the Spanish army but he refused to become a Catholic and went to Russia, becoming a favorite of Peter Lacy. After service there, he went to Prussia in 1747. Frederick II immediately liked him and made him a field marshal. Keith was popular with his men due to his courage and honesty, but his rapid promotion and friendship with Frederick made others envious. He was mocked for his subservience to Eva Merthens, his fat Finnish mistress. He often accompanied Frederick on secret tours of Prussia, where Frederick, often in disguise, listened to commoners to gauge the population. During the Seven Years’ War Keith was victorious at Lobositz, besieged Prague, and held Leipzig during a siege. At Hochkirk he advised Frederick to withdraw but he refused. Keith stated “If the Austrians leave us unmolested in this camp they deserve to be hanged.” Frederick replied, “It is to be hoped they are more afraid of us than of the gallows.” The Austrians did attack and during the battle he was killed, ironically by men led by Franz von Lacy, Peter Lacy’s son. Keith was uncommonly intelligent, brave, calm, and diplomatic. He was among the most talented men in Prussia’s service, and one of Frederick’s few actual friends.


Franz von Lacy was of Irish descendent and grew up in Russia. His father, Peter Lacy, was a Russian field marshal. They were part of the Jacobite diaspora. Lacy studied warfare in Germany and joined the Austrian army. He fought most of the early battles of the Seven Years’ War, receiving several wounds. He was promoted for his actions at Lobositz and he covered the Austrian retreat at Luethen. He became friends with Leopold von Daun and served as his chief of staff. His finest hour was planning the attack at Hochkirk. However, he could be cautious, and his relationship with Daun became strained after the defeat at Liegnitz, which Daun understandably blamed Lacy for. Daun refused to give Lacy command at Torgau despite Daun being wounded. After the war Lacy overhauled the Austrian military and created in effect the first real general staff. Despite this, Lacy’s successors squandered his reformers, which for a time made the Austrian army the best in Europe. Although an indifferent field commander, Lacy was among the most important military reformers and innovators of the era.


Charles Michel de Langlade was the son of a French fur trapper and an Ottawa woman related to several chiefs. The young Langlade associated himself with the Ottawa first and was taught French years later. He joined his father, Augustin, in founding the first European settlements at Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1752 Langlade led an attack on the Miami village of Pickawillany, which was allied to Britain. It was a brutal affair, with dozens executed or enslaved. Langlade led Ottawa warriors at the Monongahela, Fort William Henry, and the Plains of Abraham. He escaped Canada only to surrender Fort Michilimackinac in 1761. He allied with the British during the American Revolution, but was not as active in that war. He resided in Green Bay and acted as a British agent in the area. He is today sometimes called “the Father of Wisconsin” and has a county in the state named in his honor. As a military commander he was a master of forest warfare, and his leadership at the Monongahela was decisive.


Ernst Gideon von Laudon came from a family that historically served Sweden. Laudon instead served in Russia, and despite wide service, was dissatisfied with the experience. He entered Austrian service and led light troops in the War of the Austrian Succession. Although capable, he ended the war as only a captain, apparently having drawn the ire of Wilhelm von Neipperg. To be fair, Laudon was taciturn and lacking charisma. Although he led light troops, he hated plunder and was unpopular with his men. However, he drew the attention of Wenzel Kaunitz and rapidly rose through the ranks. His raids often frustrated Frederick II’s plans. At Kunersdorf, his Austrian detachment played a major role in the victory. Although defeated at Liegnitz, he blamed it rightfully on Leopold von Daun and particularly Franz von Lacy. After the Seven Years; War Frederick tried to secure Laudon’s services, but he demurred. He ended his life as commander of the Austrian army, but held the title only briefly. Laudon was a superb tactician, although there is some evidence he was not as capable with large formations. Nevertheless, he was the only Austrian general Frederick II truly respected.


François-Gaston de Lévis was a minor French noble who did well on the Wars of the Polish and Austrian Succession. He was sent to Canada in 1756 as Louis de Montcalm’s second in command. Lévis was adept at military diplomacy, and remained on good terms with Montcalm and his rival, Governor Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil. Lévis did well at Fort William Henry and Fort Carillon. Although he took part in the early stages of the defense of Quebec, he was sent to Montreal and was not present when the city fell. He gathered every soldier he could find and attacked at Sainte-Foy. Lévis took the field but not the city. Forced back to Montreal, he was forced to accept humiliating terms from Jeffery Amhesrt, and in ager he had his men burn their flags rather than turn them over. He returned to France and took part in the final campaigns on the Rhine. Lévis was a capable fighter and known for his dash and good manners. Sadly, many of his descendants were executed during the French Revolution. Lévis’ never die attitude made him a figure of admiration to French Canadians.


Maurice of Anhalt-Dessau was the son of Leoplod I, “the Old Dessauer.” He rather famously was not taught to read at his father’s instructions, who treated him a kind of project to create the ultimate officer. Maurice was considered brave but dumb. However, his status as heir to his father and good service in the War of Austrian Succession guaranteed him high command. At Kesseldorf he carried the Austrian lines. During the Seven Years’ War he oversaw the siege of Pirna. At Kolin he led the left wing. He was prematurely drawn into action and failed to turn the Austrian flank. Frederick II blamed him for the defeat. He returned to Frederick’s grace with his actions at Leuthen and Zorndorf. He was wounded and captured at Hochkirch. Already suffering poor health, his Hochkirk wound led to blood poisoning and he withered away. Often a subject of ridicule, Maurice was unfairly used as something of a foil by later heroic histories of Frederick II.


Robert Monckton received his first military experience at Fontenoy. In 1752 he was sent to Nova Scotia. In 1754 Monckton planned an attack on Fort Beauséjour, which fell the following year. At this point he favored a conciliatory policy, and his surrender terms to the French and Acadians were generous. However, Governor Charles Lawrence wanted the Acadians removed and in 1755 Monckton rounded up hundreds of them. By war’s end, thousands were exiled, fleeing to such faraway lands as the Caribbean and Louisiana. For the Quebec Campaign, James Wolfe personally requested Monckton as his second in command. He did well in the role, clearing out French camps along the St. Lawrence River. He was wounded at the Plains of Abraham, and despite being in extreme pain, commanded the garrison for a time. He once again showed leniency towards the French during his command of Quebec. He was sent to New York to recuperate and command rear areas before commanding the troops that captured Martinique. After the war he tried to command troops in India, was offered but turned down command in North America, and ended his military career leading troops in defense of Britain during the American Revolution. Monckton is one of the most controversial commanders of the era. He was a competent if not spectacular tactician. He was skilled as an administrator and generally acted with a light hand. However, he oversaw the Acadian deportations and seems to have not opposed them and indeed had their towns burned. While the process was carried out with a lighter hand than other comparable actions, such as the Jacobite repression, it has stained Monckton career. At best, it could be said he was merely following orders, a defense that lost weight after World War II.
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