Gebhard von Blucher
into a military family, Gebhard von Blucher was split between the
army and life as a farmer.
the Swedish army as a cavalryman in 1742 he took part in three campaigns
against Prussia's Frederick the Great. Captured by his enemy in
1760, he changed sides and became a loyal, but uncontrollable soldier.
untamed behaviour led to his suggested retirement in 1773 and he
took to the plow with gusto.
recall restarted his military career and he served with distinction
against France's revolutionary armies.
dislike of the French grew into an almost psychotic hatred and when
his pleas for war against Napoleon
Bonaparte were finally agreed to, he abandoned farming with
a great desire to spill French blood.
1806 campaign, and particularly
the Prussian disaster of Auerstadt,
led to his enforced retirement and it is said Bonaparte demanded
he be sacked from the army.
Prussia again took up arms against the French in 1813,
Blucher's zeal was tempered with the brains of General
courageous, the old soldier's desire to kill Frenchmen often tainted
reason. Blucher fought with typical ferocity at Lutzen,
Bautzen, Katsbach and Leipzig,
followed by the invasion of France.
that campaign he was defeated by Bonaparte at Champaubert,
Thierry, Vauchamps and Craonne,
before Prussia beat the emperor at Laon.
Bonaparte's abdication, Blucher returned to his estates in Silesia,
but upon the return of his nemesis he was reappointed to command
the black-coat army.
beaten at the battle of Ligny, Blucher
managed to overcome injuries to lead his troops against the French
right wing at Waterloo and helped
seal the Allied victory over Bonaparte.
later years his mental health was suspect - stories say that at
one stage he believed he was pregnant with an elephant to a French
grenadier - but his courage and determination on the battlefield
were never doubted.