Ludwig Freiherr von Gablenz
Ludwig von Gablenz was born on the 19th of July 1814 at Jena, the son of a Saxon General-Lieutenant. His father, a later Military Governor of Dresden died in 1843. After attending the Ritter-Akademie or Knights Academy in Dresden he entered the Saxon Army at the age of 17 as a Portepée-Junker (officer cadet) in the Garde zu Pferde regiment. Nine months later he was commissioned and on the 16th of April 1833 he transferred into Austrian service as an Unter-Lieutenant. Promoted to Ober-Lieutenant on the 1st of March 1835 he was assigned to the 18th Infantry Regiment. With his promotion to Second-Rittmeister on the 16th of August 1839 he was transferred back to the cavalry in the 6th Cuirassier Regiment and further promoted on the 30th of May 1845 to Premier-Rittmeister. During the war against Piedmont in 1848 he initially served as the adjutant of his regiment's Oberst-Inhaber or Colonel-Proprietor, General der Cavallerie Graf Wallmoden and saw action the battle of Santa Lucia on the 6th of May, at Curtatone and Montanara on the 29th of May, at Goito on the 30th of May and the assault on Monte della Madonna near Vicenza on the 10th of June. Attached to Feldmarschall Graf Radetzky's staff as a general staff officer at Verona he was given the task of acting as a parliamentary at the headquarters of the Royal Sardinian Army. He was officially transferred into the General-Quartermaster-Staff on the 1st of July 1848 where he saw further campaigning on the army staff at Sommacampagna on the 23rd of July, at Salionze and Ponti on the 24th of July, the battle of Custozza on the 25th of July, at Quaderni and Le sei vie on the 25th of July and at Volta on the 27th of July. During the skirmish near Brescia on the 1st of August he was a column commander in the flying column under the command of Oberst Wyss. His final appointment during the fighting in Italy in 1848 was as the general staff officer to the division of Feldmarschall-Lieutenant Edmund Fürst Schwarzenberg where he saw action in the engagement against Garibaldi at Marazzone on the 26th of August 1848.
Promoted to Major in the General-Staff-Corps on the 19th of September 1848 he was transferred to the Hungarian theatre of operations initially on the staff of Feldmarschall Alfred Fürst zu Windischgrätz and then as the chief of staff to General der Cavallerie Graf Schlik's army corps. He saw action at Szikszó on the 28th of December 1848, Kaschau (Kassa) on the 4th of January 1849 where he commanded the right flank column of the corps against an enemy force more than twice the size his own. For his conduct as Kaschau and for his personal bravery he was awarded the Knights Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresia at the 153rd Promotion on the 29th of June 1849. Following the action at Kaschau he went on to participate in the continuing battles of the Hungarian campaign: The assault on Tarczal on the 22nd of January, at Tokay on the 31st of January, Szén on the 13th of February, Pétervására on the 24th of February, Sirok on the 26th of February, Poroszló on the 6th of March, Hort-Hatvan on the 2nd of April, the cavalry engagement at Hatvan on the 5th of April, the battle at Isazeg and Gödöllö on the 6th of April, at the Pascale bridge on the 10th of April, at Rákos on the 11th and 16th of April, at Puszta Harkály and Acs on the 26th of April, at Abda on the 5th of May, Bő-Sárkány on the 13th of June and the capture of Raab on the 28th of June. Promoted to Oberstlieutenant in the 5th Dragoons on the 11th of July 1849 he participated in the battle of near Komorn on that same day and in the reconnaissance engagement there on the 16th of July. During the campaign he was also sent on a diplomatic mission by Minister-President Felix Fürst Schwarzenberg to the Imperial Russian Court and to the headquarters of the the Russian Lieutenant General Grabbe to arrange cooperation against Komorn. This extraordinarily successful year for Gablenz concluded with his promotion to Oberst on the 13th of December 1849 followed by his award of the Military Merit Cross the following January. Furthermore as a consequence of his mission to the Russian court he was awarded the Imperial Russian Order of Saint Anna 2nd Class and the Order of Vladimir 3rd Class.
He returned to general staff service on the 10th of February 1851 and became the chief of staff of General der Cavallerie Graf Schlik's Army Corps in Moravia and later attended the Russian Army manouvres at Warsaw with Feldmarschall-Lieutenant Freiherr von Hess. Promoted to Generalmajor on the 31st of May 1854 he received the command of a brigade in the occupation corps of the Danube principalities and was entrusted with the function as a commanding general in Moldavia from April to October 1856. In 1857 he assumed the command of an infantry brigade in Feldmarschall-Lieutenant Zobel's VII Corps. Raised to an Austrian Barony on the 8th of March 1858 with this command he participated in the war against France and Piedmont in Northern Italy in 1859 where in particular he saw action at Magenta on the 4th and at Solferino on the 24th of June. During the battle of Magenta he replaced the severely wounded Feldmarschall-Lieutenant Freiherr von Reischach in command of that officer's division and was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 2nd Class at the conclusion of hostilities. He was awarded the Commanders Cross 1st Class of the Grand Duchy of Hesse Order of Ludwig on the 14th of December 1859. On the 15th of August 1862 he was attached to the V Army Corps having been promoted to Feldmarschall-Lieutenant on the 1st of the month with seniority of the 21st of August. This was followed by his appointment as the 2nd Colonel-Proprietor of the 6th Uhlan Regiment on the 3rd of October 1863.
On the 12th of December 1863 he appointed to the command of the VI Corps which was slated for the upcoming operation in Denmark as part of the Federal Intervention Force. When hostilities broke out in earnest he commanded the corps against the Danes under overall Prussian command, initially under Generalfeldmarschall von Wrangel and subsequently General der Cavallerie Prinz Friedrich Karl von Preußen. The Austrian contingent performed creditably during the campaign participating in the engagements at Ober-Selk and Jagel on the 3rd of February 1864, the bombardment of Schleswig on the 4th and 5th and in particular at the battle of Oeversee on the 6th of February and the fortifications at Düppel on the 18th of April. For his success in Schleswig-Holstein and in particular his victory at Oeversee, Feldmarschall-Lieutenant Freiherr von Gablenz was awarded the Commanders Cross of the Order of the Military Order of Maria-Theresia at the 161st Promotion on the 15th of March 1864. He was additionally awarded the Prussian Order Pour le Mérite and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Military Merit Cross on the 23rd of March 1864. He was further honored with the Schaumburg-Lippe Military Merit Medal on the 10th of August and the Grand Cross of the Prussian Red Eagle Order on the 17th of October. Appointed a Privy Councilor on the 20th of November 1864 he became the commanding general of the V Army Corps on the 24th of November. Further decorations followed: The Grand Cross of the Saxon Military Saint Henry Order on the 28th of December and the the Order of the Iron Crown 1st Class with War Decoration the next day. Hanover awarded him the Grand Cross of the Guelph Order on the 27th of December 1865. He had in the meantime been appointed the Austrian governor of the Duchy of Holstein since September 1865. He held this appointment until the outbreak of war with Prussia the following year brought his appointment as the commanding general of the X Corps which he led in Bohemia as part of Feldzeugmeister Ludwig Ritter von Benedek's North Army. In one of the rare Austrian successes of that war he defeated the Prussians at Trautenau on the 27th of June and led the corps at the subsequent engagements at Neu-Rognitz on the 28th of June, Königinhof on the 29th and the defeat at Königgrätz on the 3rd of July 1866.
Following the end of hostilities he was placed at disposal on the 9th of September 1866 but was subsequently recalled to active service as the commanding general in Croatia and Slavonia on the 27th of June 1867. Promoted to General der Cavallerie on the on the 22nd of April 1868 he became the commanding general in Hungary on the 3rd of July 1869. Awarded the Ottoman Medschidije Order 1st Class on the 4th of April 1870 he retired on the 28th of November 1871 and was awarded on the occasion of his retirement the Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold. The general's life ended tragically in Zurich. The some what egotistical Gablenz had always maintained a luxurious lifestyle and following the stock market crash of 1873 he was practically ruined. Plagued by debt and fearing the loss of his Emperor's confidence he committed suicide on the 28th of January 1874.
Back to Miscellaneous Biographies