Franz Wenzel, Graf von Kaunitz-Rietberg

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Franz Wenzel Graf of Kaunitz-Rietberg (July 2, 1742 in Vienna - December 19, 1825 ibid) was an Austrian general who saw service in the Seven Years' War and Wars of the French Revolution.

Life[edit]

Kaunitz was the third son of the statesman Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg and Mary Ernestine (née Countess Starhemberg). He remained unmarried.

Franz Wenzel von Kaunitz-Rietberg
Military Career

Kaunitz was given a military education and volunteered to join the Austrian army at the beginning of the Seven Years' War as an ensign in the Trautmannsdorf Cuirassiers. He transferred to the Daun Infantry Regiment in 1759, and under Field Marshal Leopold Joseph von Daun rose to the position of Wing Adjutant, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Torgau, where he was severely wounded. After the peace of Hubertusburg 1763 he was promoted Colonel of the Baden Infantry Regiment (IR) (later IR.23), and then in 1766 of the Emperor Joseph II Infantry Regiment (later IR.1). In 1773 he was promoted General-Major. In the same year he was appointed Inhaber (Proprietor) of IR.38, followed in 1785 by IR.20. Promoted Feldmarschall-Leutnant (FML) in 1783, he served as military commander in Croatia.

At the beginning of the Wars of the French Revolution, he was made Feldzeugmeister (FZM) in the Austrian Netherlands under Prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and served in the Flanders Campaign. Commanding Coburg's 27,000 man left wing, Kaunitz distinguished himself defending the line of the River Sambre in 1794, beating off Jacques Desjardin and Louis Charbonnier at the Battle of Grandreng on 13 May before completely routing the French at the Battle of Erquelinnes on 24 May. However he resigned on 30 May after the Prince of Orange was appointed over his head for political reasons.[1] Kaunitz commanded a column at the Battle of Fleurus on 26 June.

In 1796 he was made commanding general in Galicia and in 1805 in Moravia. The following year he resigned from active service.

Death and Legacy

As the last of the family line of Kaunitz-Rietberg he died in Palais Kaunitz, Mariahilfer and was buried in the family grave in Austerlitz.

Kaunitz was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Brno.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fortescue p.349

References[edit]

  • Fortescue, Sir John (1918), British Campaigns in Flanders 1690-1794 (extracts from Volume 4 of A History of the British Army), London: Macmillan .


Military offices
Preceded by
Carl Merode d'Aynse
Proprietor (Inhaber) of Infantry Regiment Nr. 38
1766–1785
Succeeded by
Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg
Military offices
Preceded by
Anton von Colloredo-Waldsee
Proprietor (Inhaber) of Infantry Regiment Nr. 20
1785–1825
Succeeded by
unknown