Ludwig Freiherr von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen

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Ludwig von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen
General von der Tann.jpg
Born(1815-06-18)18 June 1815
Died26 April 1881(1881-04-26) (aged 65)
Allegiance Kingdom of Bavaria
 German Empire
Service/branchBavarian Army
Imperial German Army
RankGeneral of the Infantry
Commands heldI Royal Bavarian Corps
Battles/warsFirst Schleswig War
Austro-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
AwardsGrandcross of the Military Order of Max Joseph
Pour le Mérite
Order of the Crown (Prussia)
Order of the Red Eagle

Ludwig Samson Heinrich Arthur Freiherr[1] von und zu der Tann-Rathsamhausen (18 June 1815 – 26 April 1881) was a Bavarian general.

Early life[edit]

Born at Darmstadt, on the day of Waterloo, Ludwig von der Tann was a descendant from the old family of von der Tann, which had branches in Bavaria, the Alsace and the Rhine provinces, and attached his mother's name (she being the daughter of an Alsatian nobleman, Freiherr von Rathsamhausen) to his father's in 1868 by licence of the king of Bavaria. Ludwig I, the second king of Bavaria, stood sponsor for the child, who received his name and also "Arthur", in honour of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. He received a careful education, and in 1827 became a page at the Bavarian court, where a great future was predicted for him. Entering the artillery in 1833, he was after some years placed on the general staff. He attended the manoeuvres of the Austrian army in Italy under Radetzky and, in a spirit of adventure, joined a French military expedition operating in Algiers against the Tunisian frontier. [2]

First Schleswig War[edit]

On his return he became a close personal friend of the Bavarian Crown Prince Maximilian (afterwards King Maximilian II). In 1848 he was promoted to major, and in that year he distinguished himself greatly as the leader of a Schleswig-Holstein light corps in the First Schleswig War between Denmark and a coalition of German states. At the close of the first campaign he was awarded the Order of the Red Eagle by the king of Prussia, and his own sovereign awarded him the Military Order of Max Joseph and promoted him to lieutenant-colonel. In 1849 he served as chief of staff to the Bavarian contingent at the front and distinguished himself at the lines of Dybbøl. He then visited Haynau's headquarters in the Hungarian War before returning to Schleswig-Holstein to serve as von Willisen's chief of staff in the Idstedt campaign.[2]

Austro-Prussian War[edit]

Then came the threat of war between Prussia and Austria, and von der Tann was recalled to Bavaria. The crisis ended with the surrender of Olmütz (November 1850), and he saw no further active service until 1866, rising in the usual way of promotion to colonel (1851), major-general (1855), and lieutenant-general (1861). In the earlier years of this period he was the aide-de-camp and constant companion of King Maximilian. In the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 he served as chief of staff to Prince Karl Theodor of Bavaria, who commanded the South German contingents. The almost entirely unfavorable outcome of the military operations led to vehement attacks on him in the press, but the unreadiness and ineffectiveness of the troops and the general lack of interest in the war on the part of the soldiers had foredoomed the South Germans to failure in any case.[2]

Franco-German War[edit]

He continued to enjoy the favour of the king and was promoted to the rank of general of the infantry (1869), but the bitterness of his disappointment of 1866 never left him. He was grey-haired at forty-two, and his health was impaired. In 1869 von der Tann-Rathsamhausen, as he was now called, was appointed commander of the I. Bavarian Corps. This corps he commanded during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, and it was in this war that he secured his reputation as one of the foremost of German soldiers. His gallantry was conspicuous at the battles of Wörth and Sedan. Transferred in the autumn to an independent command on the Loire, he conducted the operations against d'Aurelle de Paladines, at first with marked success, and forced the surrender of Orléans. He had, however, at Coulmiers to give way before a numerically larger French force; but reinforced, he fought several successful engagements under the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin near Orléans.[2]

After the end of the war he was reappointed commander-in-chief of the I. Bavarian Corps, a post which he held until his death in 1881 at Meran. He received the Grand Cross of the Bavarian Military Order, and from the King of Prussia the first class of the Iron Cross and the Pour le Mérite. In 1878 the German emperor named von der Tann honorary colonel of a Prussian infantry regiment, gave him a life pension, and named one of the new Strassburg forts after him.[2]


Decorations and awards[edit]

  • Order of the Red Eagle, 3rd class with Swords (awarded according to letter from the King of Prussia on 19 September 1848)
  • Commander's Cross of the Order of St. Michael (Bavaria, 25 August 1858)
  • Commander of the Merit Order of the Bavarian Crown (1 January 1862), Knight's Cross (17 April 1853)
  • Duppel Storm Cross (18 April 1864)
  • Grand Cross of the Military Order of Max Joseph (22 December 1870), Commander's Cross (9 October 1870) and Knight's Cross (8 May 1854)
  • Iron Cross of 1870, 2nd class (30 August 1870) and 1st class (October 1870)
  • Pour le Mérite (Prussia, 22 December 1870)
  • Grand Cross of the Albert Order with war decoration (Saxony, 1870/1871)
  • Military Merit Cross, 1st class (Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 1870/1871)
  • Two crossed swords on ribbon of the princely lip-schaumburg'schen Military Merit Medal, awarded for 1870/1871
  • Order of the Crown, 1st class (Prussia) with enamel band of the Red Eagle Order and with swords, awarded on 16 June 1871
  • Appointment as Chancellor of the Military Order of Max-Joseph-highest hand according to the letter of 22 August 1876
  • Cross of Honour of Ludwig Order (Bavaria, 24 July 1878)
  • Presentation à la suite of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment "Prince Leopold" on 24 July 1878
  • Appointment as Chief of the Royal Prussian 2 Lower Silesian Infantry Regiment No. 47 on 8 August 1878
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
  • Grand Commander of the Order of the Redeemer (Greece)
  • Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order (Hanover)
  • Commander of the Wilhelm Order, 2nd class (Hessen-Kassel)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Grand Duke Ludwig of Hesse
  • Commander, First Class of the Grand Duke of Hesse Merit with Swords
  • Holder of the Cross of Honor, First Class of the princely lippe'schen total house-Order
  • Grand Cross of the House Order of the Wendish Crown (Mecklenburg)
  • Commander's Cross of the Order of the Eagle of Este (Duchy of Modena and Reggio)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Oak Crown (Luxembourg)
  • Order of the Iron Crown, 1st class (Austria)
  • Grand Cross of the Red Eagle Order, with swords on rings
  • Order of the White Eagle (Russia)
  • Order of St. Anna, 1st class (Russia)
  • Order of Saint Stanislaus, 1st class (Russia)
  • Commander's Cross of the Order of the Sword (Sweden)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of St. Olav (Norway)
  • Order of the Medjidie, 2nd class (Ottoman Empire)
  • Military Merit Cross, 1st class (Waldeck)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown (Württemberg)
  • Steam gunboat Von der Tann (1849)
  • Battlecruiser SMS Von der Tann
  • Naming of "Fort Tann" Fort No. 8 at Strasbourg by Kaiser Wilhelm I (1873)
  • Honorary Citizen of the City of Munich (1871)
  • Monument on Marktplatz von Tann (Rhön) (1900)
  • Naming of Von-der-Tann-Straße in Erlangen (1900), Munich, Dortmund, Wuppertal (1901), Hamburg, Nuremberg, Neustadt and Regensburg (1901)
  • Composer Andreas Hager wrote in 1880 in his homage to "General von der Thann march", as the parade of his regiment (Royal Bav. 11th Infantry Regiment "Von der Thann") has been assigned.


Regarding personal names: Freiherr is a former title (translated as Baron). In Germany since 1919, it forms part of family names. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.


  1. ^ {{German title Freiherr}
  2. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tann-Rathsamhausen, Ludwig Samson Arthur". Encyclopædia Britannica. 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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