Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Holtzendorff, Karl Freiherr von

By: Digby Smith

Holtzendorff, Karl Freiherr von (1238)

Born on 17 August 1764 in Berlin, the son of Georg Ernst, a Prussian general. He entered Prussian military service as a gunner in the field artillery on 11 March 1778; in1780 he was promoted to Kpl; on 21 April 1781 he was commissioned Sklt in the 1. Artillery Regt; served in the War of the Bavarian Succession in 1778/9. During this campaign, the king saw that the Prussian guns often became stuck on the narrow mountain roads and he ordered von Holtzendorf senior to investigate the possibilites of building narrower gun carriages. The general involved his son in this design project. Von Hotzendorff junior served in the war in Poland in 1794/5 at the siege and capture of Warsaw and the clashes at Wawrcice and the Rawka river. On 29 August 1794 he was awarded the PLM for his actions at Warsaw. On 9 May 1797 he was promoted to Prlt in the Horse Artillery; on 13 December 1798 he was promoted to Stkpt and on 18 September 1805 to Kpt and Kiech.

In the war of 1806/7 he fought in the clash at Halle, where he was wounded and then escaped with 180 gunners to Danzig where he was distinguished in the defence of that city at the Hagelberg. For this action, he was awarded the OStG IV. On 21 June 1807 he was promoted to Major and appointed ADC to Prinz August von Preussen, Chef of the artillery. On 29 January 1808 he was appointed a member of the Untersuchungskommission. On 6 July 1808 he took command of the artillery in Graudenz fortress. On 21 February 1809 he was appointed commander of the Brandenburg HA brigade. On 4 December 1809 he was again a member of  the Untersuchungskommission; on 24 July 1811 he was praised by the king for the high standard of artillery training that he had achieved. On 4 June 1813 he was promoted Obstlt. In the war of 1813 he fought at the clashes of Luckau, Vehlitz (awarded the EK II), Möckern on 5 April, and the battles of Gross-Beeren (awarded the EK I), where he opened the battle commanding a battery of 66 pieces. He also fought at Dennewitz, Leipzig (awarded the Swedish Order of the Sword III) and the storm of Arnhem. On 4 December 1813 he was promoted Obst. In 1814 he fought at the siege of Antwerp and the battle of Laon (awarded the Russian OV III). On 4 December 1814 he was appointed CO of the artillery of the guard. On 26 April 1815 he was appointed CRA, I Corps. In 1815 he was badly wounded at Ligny. On 2 October 1815 he was awarded the RAO III and oakleaves to his PLM. On 27 October 1815 he received a gift of Thlr 2,000. On 16 March 1816 he was appointed GOC of the artillery of the guard and of that of the brigades of the Mark and Saxony. On 10 December 1816 he was awarded the Russian OStA I; on 18 January 1818 he was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. On 30 March 1818 he was promoted to GL; on 3 April 1820 he was awarded the RAO I with oakleaves. On 13 June 1825 he was appointed Insp Gen of the Militärisches Erziehungs-und Bildungswesen (Military Youth Training and Education System). On 22 August 1825 he was awarded the Dienstkreuz. He died on 29 September 1828 in Berlin.

Von Holtzendorff`s brother, Georg Friedrich, also entered the Prussian artillery and was soon ADC to his father in Berlin. He soon fell foul of Frederick the Great who took exception to his mixing too much with the foreign diplomats in the capital. On 6 December 1785 the king posted him off to the provinces; he died on 8 July 1793 in Treuenbrietzen, southwest of Berlin.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2011


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