Carl Gustaf Wrangel

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Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1662)
Signature Carl Gustaf Wrangel.PNG

Carl Gustaf Wrangel (* December 5, 1613 at Skokloster Castle near Uppsala ; † June 24, 1676 at his Spycker estate , Rügen ) was a Swedish field marshal and statesman . He was Count of Salmis from 1651 to 1665 , Count of Sölvesborg from 1665 to 1676, from 1654 also Freiherr zu Lindeberg , from 1655 also Freiherr von Ludenhof , also Lord of Skokloster, Bremervörde, Wrangelsburg, Spycker, Rappin, Ekebyhov, Gripenberg and Rostorp . He wrote himself throughout his lifeWrangell .



Wrangel came from the Wrangel family , whose male members traditionally embarked on a military career. He was the son of Hermann Wrangel (1585-1643), Swedish field marshal and governor general of Livonia , and Katharina Gryp.

He entered military service in 1627 and fought in Gustav II Adolf's campaigns in Germany. After the king's death (1632) he served under Bernhard von Sachsen-Weimar and Banér .

In the Thirty Years War he was appointed major general in 1638 . Wrangel was Governor General of Swedish Pomerania from 1648 until his death in 1676 . From 1657 he was Reichsadmiral and in the Swedish-Brandenburg War against the Electorate of Brandenburg he became Commander-in-Chief of the Swedish troops in 1674 . In 1675 his half-brother Wolmar von Wrangel was defeated in the Battle of Fehrbellin by the Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg and Georg von Derfflinger .

Under the company name of the victorious , he was accepted as a member of the Fruitful Society .

In the Thirty Years War

Under Johan Banér

Painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl 1652

Joined Swedish military service in 1627, he was officially mentioned for the first time in 1637 when he took part in the campaign against Imperial Field Marshal Gallas in Pomerania as a colonel in his father's army . After his father was called back to Sweden in 1638, he fought in Germany under the Swedish general Johan Banér , one of the outstanding generals of the Thirty Years' War , who demonstrated his extraordinary talent, especially in spectacular retreat battles. Banér was considered brave, domineering, ambitious, proud, unscrupulous and quick-tempered. Harsh customs prevailed in his immediate vicinity. This environment shaped the young Wrangel.

After Banér's death, Wrangel (with two other generals) took over as major general temporarily until the arrival of the new commander-in-chief Torstenson in command of the Swedish troops. Under Wrangel's orders, an attack by the imperial troops under Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and Piccolomini near Wolfenbüttel was victoriously repulsed in 1641 . Even under Banér, who before his death had paid little attention to the army’s pay , food and discipline, the first signs of mutiny were evident. Now, under Wrangel, mutiny broke out openly in the Swedish army . Mortaigne, a distinguished officer, led the mutineers who demanded immediate payment of the outstanding wages. At the height of the mutiny, the arrival of Torstenson saved the day. He arrived in November 1641 and was able to satisfy the mutineers with the money he had brought with him.

Under General Lennart Torstensson

Wrangel was probably in Sweden in the first half of 1642 to recruit new auxiliaries, with whom he arrived in Germany in the summer of 1642. After his arrival, the Swedish army advanced in a campaign over Silesia and Moravia to the vicinity of Vienna, but then had to retreat to Leipzig before the superior imperial troops . On November 2, 1642, the battle occurred northeast of Breitenfeld . Wrangel commanded the infantry that attacked the left wing of the Imperialists. Although the imperial horsemen had pushed back the Swedes and were already attacking their center, the left wing of the imperial troops collapsed and released the flank of the previously superior center. Whole squadrons of the imperial cavalry threw away their weapons and surrendered to the Swedes.

In 1643 Wrangel roamed the area around the Danube bridges near Vienna with his light cavalry. But soon he withdrew from the imperial city again, as he received the order from the Swedish Chancellor Oxenstierna to invade Holstein without a declaration of war with a Swedish army under Torstenson due to conflicts between Denmark and Sweden . Wrangel arrived at the theater of war in December 1643 and overran all of Jutland by January. Wrangel was to be found in the fighting in Holstein against the Danes and also in naval battles. When the Swedish admiral Clas Larsson Fleming was fatally wounded in the sea battle against Christian of Denmark at Christianpreis in 1644 , he gave Wrangel the command of the fleet. Together with the Dutch fleet, Wrangel was victorious in the naval battle of Fehmarn on October 13, 1644 , conquered the island and tried to attack Copenhagen, but failed.

In January 1645 Wrangel was again as General Feldzeugmeister at Torstenson. At that time Torstenson was on the Elbe , crossed the Ore Mountains at the beginning of 1645 and marched in forced marches on Prague in February . At Jankau, about fifteen kilometers from Tabor, a force consisting of imperial and Bavarian forces cut him off in March. Torstenson did not let it come to a real battle, but delivered the opponent on uneven and wooded terrain a series of tactically extraordinarily skilful skirmishes in which he attacked the opponent individually. The victory of Jankau could not be converted into political success by Sweden, so that the Swedes withdrew to the borders again.

Wrangel as an independent general

At the end of 1645, Wrangel's long-cherished wish was fulfilled: the Swedish government had given in to Torstenson's urgent request to recall him because of his illness. The commander in chief of the Swedish army in Germany was often cuffed to his bed for weeks and the gout lumps on his hands made it impossible to sign orders. Wrangel was named his successor. The attempt to invade Bohemia from Silesia in January 1646 , Wrangel had to give up; the imperial defense was too strong. So he decided to visit Bavaria together with the French. Strategically, the plan was of no importance. It only offered the possibility that his people could easily find prey and thus be deterred from mutiny.

First Wrangel moved to Westphalia and Hesse, conquered Höxter and Paderborn and finally united with Turenne at Giessen . In May 1646, Wrangel was promoted to field marshal and imperial councilor by the Swedish government . In the summer of 1646, the combined armies flooded Bavaria, and Wrangel moved into Rothenstein Castle for a few months . The Bavarian general Johann von Werth was able to lift the siege of Augsburg, but could not prevent Wrangel and Turenne from invading Bavaria a second time. At the end of the year Wrangel had occupied Kempten (Allgäu) and captured Bregenz on January 4, 1647 (see Naval War on Lake Constance 1632–1648 ), thus ostensibly controlling the passes to Italy, Tyrol and Switzerland, but the main benefit was looting of the rich possessions Wrangel found there. In the spring of the following year Bavaria was so ruined that Maximilian urgently asked for an armistice , which he signed in March; but it was not until April that Wrangel ceased hostilities.

Carl Gustaf Wrangel,
copper engraving by Pieter de Jode the Younger

Wrangel's military actions were characterized by often surprising, massive attacks. In mid-1647 he advanced from the Franconia, which he ruled, to Bohemia, took the city of Eger , and in a nocturnal surprise operation he managed to take the imperial camp by surprise. The newly appointed imperial general Peter Melander von Holzappel put Wrangel in an unpleasant manner in Bohemia . When Turenne split up with Wrangel because of French military problems in Flanders, Wrangel was no longer able to stay in Bohemia on his own. Constantly pursued by Melander, he withdrew to Hesse. When Bavaria was persuaded by financial and political offers from the emperor to terminate the not yet ratified armistice agreement in September 1647, the French general Turenne and the Swedish commander-in-chief Wrangel got together despite all the different points of view up to then and started a new one the next year Attack on southern Germany.

Melander, imperial field marshal since the previous year, had had to retreat to the Danube over the winter, weakened by fighting and poor supplies , after an unsuccessful advance against Marburg and Hessen-Kassel, an ally of Sweden . Together with the Bavarian commander Gronsfeld , he tried to defend Bavaria's borders against the allies. During internal quarrels between Melander and Gronsfeld, their troops were surprised by the attacking Swedes and French on May 17, 1648. The rearguard of the Imperial Bavarian Army was defeated in the battle of Zusmarshausen , in which Melander was killed. The battered opposing army then gave up the line of defense on the Lech, for which the Bavarian Elector Gronsfeld arrested. Turenne and Wrangel overran the subsequently unprotected Bavaria and took terrible revenge on the population for the policies of their elector.

The political and military situation became more and more dramatic for the emperor: after the loss of Bavaria, a second Swedish army under Königsmarck invaded Bohemia and besieged Prague. Imperial and Bavarians could only reorganize their defense on the river Inn . The Swedes and French were stopped by the Bavarians under their new commander Hunolstein at Wasserburg and Mühldorf and by the imperial under Johann von Reuschenberg at Vilshofen on the Danube . When the Imperial Bavarian Army received reinforcements and Octavio Piccolomini , appointed as their new Commander-in-Chief, arrived, the Swedish and French armies slowly pushed them back and out of Bavaria in the summer of 1648.

Wrangel and Turenne had become careless after their past victories: When they were hunting deer near Dachau near Munich on October 5, 1648 , they were completely unexpectedly attacked by a part of the troops of General Johann von Werth, who was now in imperial service . While their people were being wiped out, with a lot of luck both of them were able to save themselves from imminent imprisonment. Before their eyes a frightened deer managed to escape through the mud. They followed this deer trail and were able to save their skin if their weapons and sword were lost. The losses of the Swedes and French were considerable. 700 riders alone lost their lives. Wrangel had to retreat hastily across the Lech with the rest of his troops. In the small Franconian town of Feuchtwangen , the news of the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia reached him .

When the courier of the Swedish Chancellor Oxenstierna sent him the peace message, Wrangel is said to have cursed and trampled around on his hat. All imaginable curses were directed at the diplomats who had negotiated peace. At that time, money and property could only be stolen, social recognition achieved and wealth secured through aristocratic titles and property only during war. By the time of this rage fit, the war had already paid off for Wrangel: his private fortune was around one million Reichstaler.

After the Thirty Years War (1648–1656)

In the following years Wrangel stayed with the Swedish heir to the throne as a guest at Piccolomini's in Nuremberg . Only after the details of the peace treaty had been negotiated did Wrangel return to Sweden in October 1650. Before that, the heir to the throne, Karl Gustav , gave a peace banquet for everyone who had participated in the formulation of the treaty, at which Wrangel fired his pistol against the ceiling in joyous excitement and solemnly announced that he no longer needed ammunition.

Wrangel's Count's coat of arms

The negotiators met for the last time in 1650 for a banquet, which this time Piccolomini gave at the gates of Nuremberg. There it came to a dispute that Wrangel had instigated with an imperial general about the seating arrangements. In April 1651, Wrangel was made Count of Salmis by Queen Christine of Sweden for his services.

On this occasion he also received an "improved" coat of arms , that is, with several fields, additional helmets and two shield holders . Apart from the heart shield , which represents the family coat of arms , the new ingredients allude to the warlike successes of the countered. The griffins are the heraldic animal of his mother, a born Gryp. In 1665 he exchanged his county of Salmis for the county of Sölvesborg in Blekinge, owned by the late imperial general Lars Kagg .

In the Second Northern War (1656-1660)

After Queen Christine's abdication in 1654, her cousin, Charles X Gustav, became King of Sweden. This started the Swedish-Polish War in 1654 . Wrangel also took part in this campaign as an imperial general after he had previously re-established Swedish supremacy in the Duchy of Bremen . When Denmark entered the war against Sweden and Brandenburg switched sides, Charles X withdrew troops to Denmark. Wrangel expelled the Danes from the Duchy of Bremen in 1657, then fought in Jutland and Holstein and conquered Friedrichsöde . In 1658 he marched with his troops across the frozen sea to Funen , conquered the island, defeated the Danes in Zealand , occupied Kronborg Castle and besieged and bombarded Copenhagen . But the Danes did not fight alone: ​​Before Copenhagen, Wrangel was attacked by the Dutch and defeated in the sea ​​battle in Oresund , and on November 24th the Danes won a decisive victory against the Swedes.

As early as 1652 to 1655 , a castle was built on his Vorwerk estate, which was renamed Wrangelsburg after him . In the years 1660 to 1665 Wrangel had his Wrangelsches Palais built in Stralsund on Heilgeiststraße there.

1660 to 1674: Reichsmarschall, Reichsfeldherr

When the Swedish King Karl X. Gustav died in 1660, Wrangel became the heir to the throne, Karl XI. Member of the Guardianship Council. As Reichsmarschall and Reichsadmiral, Wrangel not only held the highest military offices, but was also President of the War College and a member of the government. In 1664 the Swedish government appointed him imperial general. Two years later, troops under his command were again in front of Bremen in the Second Bremen-Swedish War in order to bring the city under Swedish control, which ultimately failed.

In the Swedish-Brandenburg War until his death (1674–1676)

Wrangel undertook his last campaign at the end of 1674 with the Swedish invasion of the Mark Brandenburg, in which he advanced to Havelberg by the end of June 1675 . During his illness, his stepbrother Wolmar (or Waldemar) Wrangel took command of the Swedish troops. Under his command, cruel excesses were committed against the population, about which even Carl Gustav Wrangel expresses that "... as long as he is a soldier, (such a thing) did not occur and among Christians it was unheard of ...". After the Brandenburgers severed the lines of communication between the field marshal, who was staying in Havelberg, and the main army in Brandenburg ad Havel at the Battle of Rathenow , he had to withdraw from Brandenburg for good. His illness and old age made it necessary for Wrangel to say goodbye to the army for a short time in the same year - not to look after himself, but to negotiate alliance with the Elector of Bavaria.

In 1676 his strength was exhausted: Wrangel died in his Spycker Castle on the island of Rügen. It was not until November 1680 that he was solemnly buried in Stockholm in the presence of the king. Wrangel served four Swedish kings.

Possession and patronage

Skokloster Castle , Uppland Province, Sweden
Spycker Castle on Rügen

Wrangel was one of the generals who invested a lot of time and money in order to present himself in words and pictures as well as through patronage activities for his contemporaries as well as for posterity. He supported the Merian-Verlag in Frankfurt financially and also with image and text material about his campaigns in order to be presented effectively and positively in the Theatrum Europaeum . From 1647/47 he hired Matthäus Merian the Younger as a court artist , whom he also took with him on his campaigns and by whom he had himself portrayed several times . Wrangel was already regarded by his contemporaries as a lover of splendor, generous and interested in many things. During the war he expanded his art collection with spoils of war , purchases and high-ranking diplomatic gifts. Among other things, he acquired a splendid southern German cabinet from the 16th century, which he gave to his daughter Hedwig and which is now in the Westphalian Art Museum in Münster.

By Jean de la Vallée , Nicodemus Tessin the Elder (of this also Wrangelsches Palace in Stockholm ) and Casper Vogell he settled after the war Skokloster Castle building. The palace with its collections - a list of the estate lists more than 770 paintings - was like a huge art chamber in which the world was summarized like a microcosm. In Western Pomerania he owned Wrangelsburg Castle . As a thank you for his war merit, Queen Christine of Sweden enfeoffed him in 1649 with Spycker Castle on Rügen, where he had today's castle built.

Marriage and offspring

Anna Margareta Wrangel née von Haugwitz (1622–1673)

Carl Gustav Wrangel had been married to Anna Margareta Wrangel Countess von Salmis , daughter of Balthasar Joachim von Haugwitz , since 1640 and had 13 children with her, most of whom died in childhood.

  • Hannibal Gustav Wrangel (1641-1646)
  • Margarete Juliane (November 4, 1642; † 1701) ⚭ December 21, 1660 Nils Brahe the Younger (1633–1699)
  • Margarete Barbara (1643–1643)
  • Achilles (1644-1648)
  • August Gideon (1646-1648)
  • Carl Phillip (* 1648 in Dingolfing near Munich, † April 13, 1668 in London)
  • Hedwig Eleonora Sofia (born August 31, 1651 in Wrangelsburg, † 1687 in Stralsund) ⚭ April 7, 1678 Ernst Ludwig Freiherr von Putbus
  • Charlotta Emilia (1652-1657)
  • Polydora Christiana (born November 6, 1655; † 1675) ⚭ 1673 Leonhard Johann Wittenberg, a son of Arvid Wittenberg
  • Augusta Aurora (January 15, 1658 - January 27, 1699)
  • Hermann (* 1661)
  • Anna Louisa (* 1664)
  • nn (* 1665)

Legends about his death

There were various legends about his death, but all spoke of murder. In one of these variations it was claimed that Count Wrangel refused to command the Swedish army at the Battle of Fehrbellin. He was then secretly sentenced to death. An executioner from Stralsund is said to have entered Spycker Castle on the night of June 24, 1676 with several high-ranking, disguised personalities and beheaded the legendary general.

See also

Web links

Commons : Carl Gustav Wrangel  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Date of birth in literature also: December 13, 1603/1613
  2. ↑ Date of death in literature also: June 14, June 24, July 5; Funeral service: September 21, 1680 Riddarholm Church, Stockholm; Burial on December 1, 1680 in the family vault of the church at Skokloster.
  3. ^ Common acquaintances: Sweden and Germany in the early modern period, ed. Ivo Asmus, Heiko Droste, Jens E. Olesen, pp. 195 and 204 ff. ( Digitized version ). The blazon of the shield is as follows: The heart shield is the ancestral coat of arms of the Wrangel . Field 1: a ski jumping facility on a steep rock on a blue background, field 2: silver unicorn on a red background, 3: black griffin with grenade in the claws on a golden background, 4: silver three-master, broadside firing, on a silver sea on a blue background, 5 : six pikes, three and three crossed and set by a golden crown, on a red background, 6: black eagle head with neck on a golden background.
  4. LWL Museum for Art and Culture: Cabinet cabinet, so-called "Wrangel cabinet"
  5. Klaus Bußmann , Heinz Schilling : 1648 - War and Peace in Europe. Catalog volume and two text volumes, Münster 1998 [Documentation of the Council of Europe exhibition on the 350th anniversary of the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück.] Münster / Osnabrück 1998, ISBN 3-88789-127-9 , pp. 140 f.
  6. ^ Lehmann / Meyer, "Rügen AZ", Wähmann-Verlag, Schwerin, 1976, p. 82