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Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars  1793-1815

Prussian Generals of the Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815: Schwerin, Kurt Christoph, Graf von

Schwerin, Kurt Christoph, Graf von

Prussian general field marshal (1740-57); born October 26, 1684, Löwitz, Pomerania, died May 6, 1757, Prague, Bohemia

In 1700, Schwerin joined the Schwerin regiment of his uncle, the lieutenant-general Dettlof von Schwerin, in the company of his brother, the lieutenant-colonel Bernd Detlof von Schwerin as Frch. In 1701, at the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, this regiment was transferred to Holland. In 1703, he was commissioned as Lt, and on 2 July 1704, he fought in the battle of Schellenberg (Donauwörth) and at Blindheim (Blenheim) on 13 August thet same year. In 1705 he was promoted to Kpt and Kiech., and in 1707 to Obstlt He fought in the battles of Ramillies (23 May 1706), Malplaquet (11 September 1709) and Gadebusch, south of Lübeck  (9 December 1712), under the Swedish commander, General Magnus Stenbock. This action was Sweden`s last victory in this war).

He then accompanied the Swedes on their invasion of Russia in 1707, and fought at the battle of Poltava, in the central Ukraine, on 8 July 1709. King Charles had been wounded prior to the battle, and Swedish FM Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld commanded the army. Peter the Great commanded a superior Russian army, which had been reformed and retrained since previous battlefield debacles, and the outcome was a crushing Swedish defeat. The king and the survivors (including Schwerin) fled down into the Turkish-controlled city -fortress of Bender, in Moldova, on the River Dniestr. The Turks tolerated (and paid for) the Swedes for four years, but then turned against King Charles and attacked him on 1 February 1713, he was captured at the `Kalabalik` (crowd or mob) of Bender, in Moldova, on the River Dniestr, together with king Karl. In 1708, Kurt von Schwerin had been promoted to Obst, and on 3 September 1713, he was promoted to GM by Herzog Friedrich Wilhelm von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In 1719, he conducted a brilliant action on 6 March at Walsmühlen, in Mecklenburg on 6 March, against the invading Hanoverian army. As a reward, he was promoted to GL two days later. The Great Northern War ended very soon after the death of Charles XII of Sweden (on 11 December 1718); in the subsequent Treaty of Stockholm of 1720 (between Sweden on the one side and Prussia and Hanover on the other), part of Mecklenburg-Strelitz fell to Prussia. Graf Kurt Christoph thus transferred into Prussian service, as GM, under King Friedrich Wilhelm I. Initially,  he was employed on diplomatic missions for his new ruler, but, in 1722, he was appointed Chef of IR Nr 24. In 1730, he was a member of the court-martial, which tried the future Frederick the Great and his friend, Hans Hermann von Katte, and condemned von Katte to death. That same year, he was appointed governor of Peitz, a town in eastern Brandenburg, near the confluence of the Rivers Spree and Neisse. In 1731, Kurt Christoph was promoted to GL. On 8 March 1733, he was awarded the HOSA. In 1739, he was promoted GoI, and on 30 June 1740m to GFM; he was ennobled Graf a month later. On 10 April 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession, he won the battle of Mollwitz against the Austrians, which secured Prussia`s grip on Silesia.

In 1742, after the conclusion of the First Silesian War, Schwerin was governor of the important fortresses of Brieg on the Oder and Neisse, on the river of the same name. In the Second Silesian War (1744-1745), Schwerin commanded part of the Prussian army which, marching from Glatz, met Frederick the Great`s section of the army under the walls of Prague and took the Ziskaberg fortress. Schwerin then played an important role in the siege and capture of Prague (16 September 1744). When Frederick II was compelled to retreat from Bohemia, Schwerin again distinguished himself. He then retired to his estate during the years of peace.

In 1757, Schwerin led of the Prussian columns who invaded Bohemia, operating successfully against the superior Austrian army.   He then joined King Frederick, who was laying siege to Prague. On 6 May, leading an assault on the left wing, with the colour of an infantry regiment in his hands, he was killed by a musket ball.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: April 2012


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