Prince Kraft zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen
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Kraft Karl August zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was born at Koschentin in Upper Silesia. He was the son of Prince Adolf zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (1797–1873), and a grandson of Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen (1746–1818), who commanded the Prussians at Jena.
Educated with great rigour, owing to the impoverishment of the family estates during the Napoleonic Wars, Kraft was sent into the Prussian army. There, he was commissioned to the artillery as the least expensive arm of the service. He joined the Prussian Guard artillery in 1845, and it was soon discovered that he had unusual aptitudes as an artillery officer. For a time his fellow officers resented the presence of a prince, until it was found that he made no attempt to use his social position to secure advancement.
After serving as a military attaché in Vienna and on the Transylvanian frontier during the Crimean War, Kraft was made a captain on the general staff, and in 1856 personal aide-de-camp to the king, remaining, however, in close touch with the artillery. In 1864, having become major and then lieutenant colonel, he resigned the staff appointments to become commander of the new Guard Field Artillery regiment. In the following year, he became colonel.
Kraft saw his first real active service in 1866. In the hold advance of the Guard corps on the Austrian right wing at Königgrätz during the Austro-Prussian War, he led the Guard reserve artillery with success, and after the short war ended he turned his energies, now fortified by experience, to the tactical training of the Prussian artillery.
In 1868 Kraft was made a major-general and assigned to command the Guard artillery brigade. In this capacity he gained great distinction during the Franco-Prussian War, especially at Gravelotte and Sedan. He was in control of the artillery attack on the fortifications of Paris. In 1873 he was placed in command of an infantry division, and three years later was promoted to lieutenant-general. While he retired in 1879, he was made general of infantry in 1883 and then general of artillery in 1889.
Kraft's military writings were numerous, and amongst them several have become classics. These are Briefe über Artillerie (English translation Letters on Artillery, 1887); Briefe über Strategie (1877; Letters on Strategy, 1898); and Gespräche über Reiterei (1887; Conversations on Cavalry). The Briefe über Infanterie and Briefe über Kavallerie (Letters on Infantry, Letters on Cavalry, 1889) are of less importance, though interesting as a reflection of prevailing German ideas.
Kraft's memoirs (Aus meinem Leben) were prepared in retirement near Dresden, and the first volume (1897) created such a sensation that eight years were allowed to elapse before the publication was continued. Kraft died near Dresden in 1892.
- Kurt von Priesdorff: Soldatisches Führertum. Band 8, Hanseatische Verlagsanstalt Hamburg, ohne Jahr, pp. 76-79.
- Bernhard von Poten: Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, Kraft Prinz zu. In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Band 50, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1905, pp. 444-446.
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