Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny
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Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny (Hungarian: Bercsényi László) (August 3, 1689 in Eperjes, Sáros County, Kingdom of Hungary - January 9, 1778 in Luzancy, France) was a Hungary-born soldier who became Marshal of France.
Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny was born in 1689, the son of the Hungarian noble Miklós Bercsényi who was a friend of Francis II Rákóczi. Count Bercheny started his military career, as all well-bred Hungarian nobles did at that time, in the "Chavallerie Hongroise". The French army in the early 18th century was in dire need of the dashing Hungarian light cavalrymen that were sweeping through Europe. In 1720, Count Bercheny, an exiled Hungarian noble in Turkey, was given permission by Louis XIV to raise a regiment of hussards under his name, thus the first French hussar regiment, as well as the traditions of all Napoleonic Hussards were born.
Count Bercheny was promoted to the rank of general for his heroism in the War of the Polish Succession where the Bercheny Hussards, as well as the other famous Hungarian hussar regiments, gained a lasting reputation. During the War of the Austrian Succession, it was the Bercheny Hussards that covered the retreat of the French Army from Bohemia.
His splendid service and use of light cavalry during this campaign earned him the title of Inspector General of the Hussars under Louis XV. Finally in 1756 and at 67 years of age, Count Bercheny became a Marshal of France.
He died in 1778 after firmly establishing the Hussars as an independent arm of the French cavalry.
The Hungarian military special forces, 34th László Bercsényi Special Operations Battalion, is named in his honour.