Philipp Graf Grünne

Graf Grünne pictured as a Generalmajor circa 1880Philipp Graf Grünne was born on the 4th of November 1833 in Vienna as the son of the later Adjutant-General of Kaiser Franz Joseph, Karl Graf Grünne. He entered military service on the 7th of June 1850 as a cadet in the Pioneer Corps and was commissioned on the 1st of August 1852 as a Lieutenant 2. Classe in the Tyrolean Kaiserjäger-Regiment. He was promoted to Oberlieutenant on the 1st of March 1854 in Infantry Regiment Graf Khevenhüller Nr. 7 and to Hauptmann 2. Classe on the 16th of February 1855 in Infantry Regiment Reichsgraf Browne Nr. 36. Assigned to the Adjutants Corps on the1st of May 1856, he was promoted to Rittmeister 1. Classe on the 19th of December of that year.

In 1859 he was assigned to the staff of Erzherzog Albrecht and in September of the same year to the fortress government in Mainz. The following year he was appointed as the Aide de Camp to the Archduke and in this appointment was promoted to Major on the 25th of January 1861. Although functioning as the Archduke's personal adjutant, during this period Graf Grünne was held on the rolls of Infantry Regiment Erzherzog Albrecht Nr. 44. Assigned to Infantry Regiment König Albert von Sachsen Nr. 11 on the 15th of September 1863, he served with distinction during the campaign in the South Tyrol, especially at Bezzecca on the 21st of July 1866 as a half-brigade commander. During the the Seven Weeks War against Prussian and Italy in the summer of 1866, Graf Grünne was part of the Austrian force defending the South Tyrol commanded by Generalmajor Franz Freiherr von Kuhn against Garibaldi's insurgents. Major Graf Grünne under the command of Oberst Bruno Freiherr von Montluisant commanded a mixed force including five battalions of Jäger, two companies of Infantry Regiment Nr. 14 and some assorted Landesschützen companies initially with the assignment to clear the Consei Valley of Italian forces. In short succession Graf Grünne's force, in conjunction with those of Major Julian Ritter von Krynicki took the village of Lenzumo and then Bezzecca (about ten kilometres west of Riva on the northern tip of Lake Garda). At the conclusion of the sharp and hard fought engagements the Austrian force had expelled the Italian forces, killed about a hundred of the enemy, wounded another two hundred and fifty and captured over 1100 including two field officers. The Austrian losses amounted to 6 officers and 19 NCOs and men killed and a further 82 wounded. Graf Grünne was promoted to Oberstlieutenant on the 26th of July and was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class with War Decoration on the 16th of October of that year. 

Whilst still serving with Infantry Regiment Nr. 11 Graf Grünne was promoted to Oberst on the 31st of October 1870 and transferred as the regimental commander to Infantry Regiment Grossfürst von Russland Nr. 26 on the 1st of January 1872. He would spend the next five years commanding this regiment until appointed to the command of the 6th Infantry Brigade, initially still in the rank of Colonel, on the 24th of March 1877. Promoted to Generalmajor on the 1st of November 1877, he assumed command of the 12th Infantry Division on the 8th of April 1882 with a further promotion to Feldmarschall-Lieutenant on the 1st of May of that year. On the 3rd of March 1878 he married Klothilde Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein at Prague with whom he had 2 sons, Philipp Oswald (born 15th June 1889 at Prague) and Rudolf Ferdinand (born 11th April 1891 at Prague). He was transferred to the command of the 27th Infantry Division on the 2nd of September 1882 and to his final divisional command appointment, that of the 19th Infantry Division on the 3rd of October 1884.

Graf Grünne was honored with the appointment as the Regimental-Proprietor or "Inhaber" of  Infantry Regiment Nr. 43 on the 25th of April 1887 before being promoted to a corps command the following year. He assumed command of the IX Corps on the 18th of March 1888 until September of the following year. Reassigned as the commanding general of the VIII Corps, he  promoted to the rank of Feldzeugmeister on the 1st of November 1889 with seniority of the 28th of October and served in this position until his retirement from active service in April 1889. In addition to being a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Graf Grünne also held the Order of the Iron Crown 1st Class with War Decoration and the Military Merit Cross with Brilliants. On his retirement, the General settled at Dobersberg in Lower Austria where he died on the 25th of March 1902.

Many thanks to Freddy von Reibnitz for the superb portrait of the General.

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