Georg von Derfflinger

Georg Von Derfflinger

Georg von Derfflinger

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Georg von Derfflinger (20 March 1606 – 14 February 1695) was a field marshal in the army of Brandenburg during and after the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648).

Early years

Born 1606 in Neuhofen an der Krems, Upper Austria, into a poor Protestant family, Derfflinger had to leave his home due to religious persecution. He served in the armed forces of various combatant powers, most of the time in that of Sweden. He was an able and daring cavalry leader and gained a reputation for brilliance and bravery, which eventually persuaded the Elector of Brandenburg, the Great Elector Frederick William, to offer Derfflinger a senior position in his army.


Derfflinger was supposedly a notorious drunkard who would constantly drink schnapps, but his fondness for alcohol did not impede his military abilities. His marriage in 1646 to an heiress of Brandenburgian nobility had already secured him a number of possessions, which he was able to augment with estates granted to him for his military exploits. A lifelong soldier, Derfflinger had no formal education, but was entrusted by the Elector with numerous important military tasks and played a central role in the reform of the Brandenburgian cavalry and artillery. He had a very stormy relationship with Frederick William and argued with him incessantly, at one point quitting. In order to gain back the Elector's employ, he wrote down a list of incredible demands, which included a clause stipulating that no man charge into battle...
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