Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815: Pirch, Georg Dubislav Ludwig von (Pirch I)

By: Digby Smith

Pirch, Georg Dubislav Ludwig von (Pirch I) (1210)

Major General. Commander, 10th Brigade, II Corps in 1813.

Born on 13 December 1763 in Magdeburg; died on 3 April 1838 in Berlin. Pirch entered Prussian military service on 1January 1775 as Gfkpl in the IR Hessen-Kassel Nr 45. On 10 July 1777, he was promoted to Pfrch; from 1778 – 1779, he served in the war with Austria. On 6 July 1780, he was promoted to Frch, and on 11 December 1786, he was commissioned as Sklt in the IR von Ekartsberg Nr 45. In 1787, he served in the war in the Netherlands, against the republicans, as Gen Adj to Gen von Eckartsberg. On 30 June 1792, he was appointed Adj to the Inf Insp in Bayreuth. He served in the war against France on the Rhine and in 1793 saw action at the siege of Mainz. On 8 February 1795, he was promoted to Stkpt, and on 1 September 1797, was appointed 1st Adj to Fürst von Hohenlohe in the  Niederschlesische Inf Insp. On 19 November 1797, he was promoted to Maj. On 14 October 1806, he fought at Jena and was captured at the capitulation of Prenzlau on 28 October. He was interned in Chalons then Nancy and returned from France on 14 October 1808. On 20 May 1809 he was promoted to Obst Lt. From 22 – 26 May 1809, he was appointed to be a member of the court of enquiry into the Schill case under GL von Stutterheim. On 18 January 1812, he was awarded the RAO III. From 10 February 1812 to 11 April 1813, he commanded the Oberschlesische Bde; he fought at Gross-Görschen (where he won the EK II), Bautzen and Haynau. On 29 June, he was promoted to GM and appointed to command the 10th Bde, II Corps. He then fought at Dresden, Kulm (where he won the EK I) and Leipzig. Here, on 18 October, he set himself at the head of the 2nd West Prussian IR and took the village of Probstheida despite heavy losses in his brigade of 21 officers and 477 NCOs and men killed and wounded. For this he was awarded the Russian OStA I. He also fought at the blockade of Erfurt. On 24 December 1813, he was awarded the PLM with oakleaves for his actions at Leipzig. In 1814, he fought at Laon, where he was awarded the RAO II with oakleaves. On 9 May 1815, he was appointed acting GOC, II Corps; he fought at Ligny and Waterloo. After this battle Gneisenau gave him the task of stopping Grouchy`s 18,000 French at Wavre; due to the tiredness of his troops and lack of reconnaisance, he failed in his assault on Namur on 20 Jun. He handed over command of II Corps to Prinz August von Preussen. On 11 July, he was promoted to GL and on 27 October, was awarded a gift of Thr 4,000. On 18 June 1816, he was awarded the RAO I with oakleaves. On 21 September 1816, he retired due to increasing deafness. On 23 November 1816, he was awarded the French Military Service Order, and on 10 December of that year, was awarded the Russian OStG III. On 27 October 1817, he was awarded the LdH GC. Graf Nostitz, von Blücher`s then ADC, wrote of Pirch:

`Er ist mehr geeignet, auf untergeordneten Stellen erhaltene Befehle richtig aufzufassen und auszuführen, als auf einem höheren Platze selbständig und aus eigener Ansichten den Ansprüchen des Augenblicks in Verbindung mit dem grossen Ganzen zu genügen.` (He is more apt for command at a lower level, correctly interpreting and executing the orders he receives, than at more senior level, where he would be required to act independently, in the light of the requirements of the moment, and in the spirit of the great aim of things.)


Placed on the Napoleon Series: August 2011


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