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Gebhard von Blücher, Prince von Wahlstatt

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Blücher was a Prussian commander of the Napoleon Wars, and one of the victorious alliance at Waterloo.

Career

Born in 1742 in Mecklenburg, Blucher joined the Swedish army in 1756, where he served in the cavalry. He was captured in 1760 by a Prussian force, and he then fought for them, rising through the ranks. His contribution in the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars was especially noted, and by Jena in 1806 he was in charge of the rear guard, and was among the last of the Prussian commanders to surrender after the Prussian defeat.

After France and Russia agreed an alliance at Tilsit in 1807 Blucher worked in the government, and then retired. However, when Prussia went to war with France again in 1813 the 71 year old Blucher resumed command, being given a German army. He fought battles at Lützen, Bautzen and elsewhere, and captured Macdonald and his army later than year. He commanded an army at Leipzig, and victory there saw him promoted to Field Marshall. He was promoted again after the armies of the seventh coalition entered Paris, to Prince of Wahlstatt.

He again retired, but only until 1815 when Napoleon returned; Blucher did too, taking charge of an army of German troops. Despite being defeated by Napoleon at Ligny he was able to withdraw to work with Wellington’s allied force, and he forced his troops through a march to reach Waterloo in the final stages of the battle and win it. He wanted to execute Napoleon, but was thwarted; Blucher died in 1819.

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