Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick
(Drawing by Menzel)

Prince Ferdinand von Braunschweig-Lüneburg, brother-in-law to King Frederick, had a long career in the Prussian Army. During the 1730s he was one of a group of young officers around Crown Prince Frederick. He served at Mollwitz in 1740, and in the subsequent campaigns of the 1740s. At Soor in 1745, one of his brothers, Prince Albert, was killed on the Prussian left wing.

In 1756 he led one of the Prussian columns moving into Saxony, and fought later at Lobositz. In 1757 he fought at Prague, and was one of the commanders of the Prussian force besieging the city at the time of the Battle of Kolin. In November he served at Rossbach, then in response to a request from King George II. of England that he be appointed commander of the Hanoverian Army (and therefore of the allied army) in Western Germany, he took command of the army at Stade, arriving there on November 23rd.

Initially both Ferdinand and King Frederick were reluctant to proceed with the appointment, but the victory at Rossbach made the decision easier and there was also the need for the Prussian right flank to be covered after the French successes in Western Germany had led to the Allies being driven to the North Sea coast at Stade. He quickly improved the overall condition of the army, with frequent inspections, more intensive training, stricter discipline, increased pay and better supply. King George II. gave Ferdinand full freedom in exercising command. The army was henceforth "His Britannic Majesty`s Army, under the orders of His Serene Highness, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and of Lüneburg".

As early as February 1758 the Ferdinand began offensive operations. For the remainder of the war the army under Ferdinand campaigned actively and successfully against the French, fully protecting the Prussian right flank and allowing Frederick to concentrate on the struggle against the Austrians and Russians.

On 8th December 1758 Ferdinand was appointed Feldmarschall by Frederick. He eventually left the Prussian service in 1766 after a disagreement with the King.


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