Wilhelm Freiherr Ramming von Riedkirchen

Wilhelm von Ramming in the uniform of the "Oberstinhaber" of Infanterie-Regiment Nr.72Wilhelm von Ramming was born on the 30th of June 1815 at Nemoschitz in Bohemia as the son of  Wilhelm von Ramming who had been raised to the nobility in 1822 and died as an Oberst-Lieutenant in the remount branch. Entering the Wiener-Neustadt military academy on the 27th of October 1827 he was commissioned in October 1834 as an Unterlieutenant in the Heinrich Graf von Hardegg 7th Cuirassier Regiment with which he served for the next five years. Promoted to Oberlieutenant in the general quartermaster staff corps on the 1st of December 1839, Ramming would serve at every rank as a staff officer until promoted to general. Promoted to Hauptmann on the 20th of June 1845 he served in 1848 on the staff of  Feldmarschall-Leutnant Welden's Reserve Corps in northern Italy seeing action at Palmanuova and the fighting against insurgents in the Venetian mountains at Pieve di Cadore. For the successful clearing of the enemy from Monte Mauria on the 3rd and the occupation of Piave di Cadore of the 5th of June 1848 he was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 3rd Class. He saw further action during the capture of Treviso on the 14th of June, the bombardment of Ferrara on the 14th of July and in the engagement before Bologna on the 7th of August. For his participation in the capture of Trevisio he was awarded the Military Merit Cross.

Promoted to Major in the general quartermaster staff corps on the 21st of February 1849, he remained with the Reserve Corps of Feldmarschall-Leutnant Haynau as chief of staff and participated in the assault on Brescia and the siege of Malghera. Feldmarschall-Leutnant Haynau was very  impressed by his energetic chief of staff and recommended him to the Kaiser for the post of chief of staff of the army in Hungary. Serving in this post from May to October 1849 having been promoted to Oberst-Lieutenant on the 4th of June, he took part in the operations at Szered, Raab, Komorn, Szegedin, Szöreg and Temesvár. For Temesvár he received the Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold and for his distinguished service as the army chief of staff throughout the summer campaign in Hungary he was given accelerated promotion to Oberst on the 10th of October 1849 followed by his award of the Knight's Cross of the Military Maria Theresia Order at the 157th promotion on the 26th of March 1850.

With the conclusion of the fighting in Hungary he remained as chief of staff of the 3rd army in Hungary until he took up a new post as chief of the military history bureau in Vienna on the 23rd of November 1850 and wrote a history of the campaign titled "Der Feldzug in Ungarn und Siebenbürgen im Sommer des Jahres 1849". Raised to an Austrian barony on the 4th of June 1851 he was attached to Feldzeugmeister Jellachich's staff until again returning as the chief of staff of 3rd army on the 30th of March 1854. Promoted to Generalmajor on the 17th of May 1854 he was assigned as the commander of a brigade in 2nd Corps on the 6th of November 1855 and on the 16th of November the following year in the same position in 3rd Corps. During the war against Piedmont in the summer of 1859 he commanded his brigade at the battle of Magenta on the 4th of June 1859 in Feldmarschall-Leutnant Adolf Schönberger's division in the 3rd Corps of Feldmarschall-Leutnant Edmund Prinz zu Schwarzenberg. From the 8th of June until the 31st of August he was assigned as the deputy chief of staff at the army headquarters in Italy and as such saw action at the battle of Solferino on the 24th of June. For his conduct at Magenta he was awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 2nd Class in accordance with the imperial decree of the 27th of June 1859 and promoted to Feldmarschall-Leutnant the following day. He was further honoured by being appointed the regimental colonel or "Inhaber" of the 72nd Infantry Regiment on the 17th of January 1860. On the 3rd of February 1860 he was assigned to the staff of Feldzeugmeister Ludwig Ritter von Benedek until posted to the war ministry in Vienna on the 11th of November that year. He retired from service on the 1st of January 1862 but was reactivated on the 25th of November 1864 and given command of the 6th Corps followed by his appointment as a privy councillor (Geheimer Rat) on the 19th of April 1865.

During the ill fated campaign of 1866 in Bohemia, he led the 6th corps as part of Benedek's North Army. During his first engagement against the Prussian General der Infanterie Karl von Steinmetz 's 5th Corps on the 27th of June 1866 at Vysokov his corps was defeated and suffered heavy casualties. Although not lacking in bravery or élan his infantry were severely punished by a combination of their own "storm" tactics and the efficacy of the Prussian "Needle" gun. Ramming was apparently suffering from severe neuralgic facial pains at the time and he was certainly not at his best at Vysokov. Although personally brave his usually fine judgment was lacking and the control over his brigade commanders was not good. 6th Corps casualties amounted to some 232 officers and 5,487 NCOs and men. Following the corp's withdrawal from Vysokov, Ramming rejoined the rest of North Army on the field of Königgrätz where his corps was put at the disposal of the army commander and his troops were involved in the unsuccessful struggle to retake Chlum from units of the Prussian 2nd Army on the 3rd of July. With the defeat of the Austrians at Königgrätz  and the cessation of hostilities that followed, Ramming was appointed as the commanding general in Bohemia on the 3rd of September 1866. Shortly thereafter he was transferred in the same capacity to Hermannstadt in Siebebürgen. Awarded the Grand Cross of the Royal Saxon Albrechts Order with War Decoration on the 20th of November 1866 he was promoted to the brevet rank of Feldzeugmeister on the 22nd of April 1868. Transferred again as the commanding general in Brünn on the 3rd of January 1869, he received his substantive promotion to Feldzeugmeister on the 30th of April 1870.

On the 28th of January 1874 he was appointed a Hauptmann in the Erste Arcierenleibgarde or Archers of the Guard and simultaneously awarded the Order of the Iron Crown 1st Class. During the same year he was appointed a life member of the Austrian house of lords. Feldzeugmeister Wilhelm Freiherr Ramming von Riedkirchen died on the 1st of July 1876 at Carlsbad. In addition to the orders already mentioned in the text he also held the following foreign orders and decorations:

Knight's Cross of the Papal Order of Saint Sylvester (24 August 1843), Prussian Red Eagle Order 3rd Class (6 Nov 1850), Knight's Cross of the Royal Swedish Sword Order (13 January 1851) and the Prussian Red Eagle Order 2nd Class (30 May 1853).

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