Leopold Joseph von Daun

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Leopold Joseph Count von Daun Signature Leopold Joseph von Daun.PNG
Field Marshal Daun, full-length portrait in the Army History Museum .

Leopold Joseph Graf von Daun , Prince of Teano (born September 24, 1705 in Vienna ; † February 5, 1766 there ) was an Imperial and Austrian field marshal and general in the Seven Years' War .


Leopold Joseph Maria, Imperial Count von und zu Daun, came from the Daun family . His mother was Countess Maria Barbara von Herberstein . According to the wishes of his father Wirich Philipp Graf Daun , he was to become a clergyman , but then decided to join the military and experienced the war against Spain in Sicily in 1718 , then ( 1734 and 1735 ) the one in Italy and on the Rhine and, as major general, the Turkish War of 1737 until 1739. Promoted to field marshal lieutenant, he fought in the War of the Austrian Succession initially against the Prussians in Silesia, then against the French under Prince Karl Alexander of Lorraine . During the Second Silesian War he attended the battles at Hohenfriedberg and Soor and was appointed Feldzeugmeister in 1745. In this capacity, after the Peace of Dresden had been concluded in the Netherlands , he commanded the unfortunate campaigns of 1746 and 1747 for the Allies through no fault of his own.

Around the same time he married Maria Josefa Countess Fux (or Fuchs), widowed Countess Nostitz and thereby secured himself in the favor of his monarch, since her mother ( Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard ) enjoyed the trust of the Empress. Daun had Donato Felice d'Allio redesign the Ladendorf Castle in Ladendorf in the Weinviertel in Lower Austria with a two-story ballroom.

After the Peace of Aachen (1748) he was entrusted with the design and introduction of a new army organization and drafted the so-called Daun Regulations of 1749 - one of his most ambitious projects. He also had the Theresian Military Academy built in Wiener Neustadt in 1751 . It was here that the good relationship that the Daun couple had with the monarchs was shown for the first time. Shortly after the opening, the latter inspected the institution and then ate a meal in Daun's official apartment.

Seven Years War

Field Marshal Daun as military leader

Appointed Field Marshal in 1754 , he stood in Moravia at the beginning of the Seven Years' War , then turned against Frederick II , who kept this city enclosed after the Battle of Prague , and delivered him the victorious Battle of Kolin on June 18, 1757, whereupon Frederick Had to evacuate Bohemia.

When, after the victory of the Prussians at Leuthen, Prince Karl of Lorraine resigned from the army at the insistence of the imperial couple, the Empress placed the supreme command in Daun's hands, whereupon he attacked the king on October 14, 1758 at Hochkirch and won a victory which he won but did not take advantage of his own caution and deliberation. Daun intended to end the campaign by quickly taking away Dresden; but his project failed due to the vigilance of the local commander, General von Schmettau. Daun concluded the campaign of 1759 victoriously with the battle near Maxen , in which the 11,000-strong Prussian corps of General Friedrich August von Finck was captured. In 1760 Daun observed the king from his permanent camp not far from Pirna until he was drawn to Silesia by Laudon's operations, then followed him to Saxony, where Friedrich besieged Dresden, and in late summer 1760 to Silesia, where he was defeated by his hesitation Laudons at Liegnitz .

In the battle of Torgau on November 3, 1760, victory was snatched from him by Zieten's boldly renewed attack and his own wound. To make it, he went to Vienna, where he received the greatest distinction. In 1762 he again took over the supreme command in Silesia. As favorable as the position of the King of Prussia had become as a result of the Russian change of the throne, he could not drive Daun from his permanent position on the Zobtenberg , nor could it prevent the loss of Schweidnitz ( siege of Schweidnitz ). During the war, Daun had taken on the presidium of the Court War Council and in this sphere of activity was eager to apply all the experience from seven campaigns to the reforms he had already started.

Relationship with the imperial couple

The relationship with the Empress represents a key position in the assessment of Daun's actions. It was completely contrary to his former commander, Karl von Lothringen, who described him at the end of his own career as a cross driver. With increasing influence Daun made it a habit to write to the Empress at least once a day. However, he only did this directly when he had good news to report. If he wanted to express criticism, he always wrote to the secretary, who then passed it on indirectly. The order to found the above-mentioned military academy also testifies to the particular trust in Daun's outstanding attention to detail and his organizational talent. At that time there were field marshals at the Theresian court who could have taken on this honorary task.

In retrospect, however, it was precisely this close bond with the Empress that was his undoing. From the intensive correspondence with Vienna it emerges that his greatest fear was to disappoint the trust of the imperial couple and to lose again what he had achieved through daring operations. His actions are therefore always seen under a great fear of failure.

Evaluation and aftermath

Count Daun - contemporary engraving

In popularity the Austrian Fabius Cunctator , as Daun was called, was superior to his comrade-in-arms Laudon, while Daun, not without jealousy of Laudon's successes, preferred the same Lacy . Daun was a good general; however, he had the mistake of being too deliberate, which is why he did not pursue the victories vigorously enough. He was therefore no match for his quick opponent. Daun was a master at selecting and filling positions; Frederick the Great mockingly called him “la great excellence de Kolin”, but nevertheless saw him as a serious opponent.

The barracks of the Austrian Armed Forces in Wiener Neustadt was named Daun barracks after Daun . Johann Nepomuk Fuchs dedicated the Field Marshal-Daun March to him .


Daun was married to Countess Maria Josefa Fuchs vom Bimbach and Dornheim (April 4, 1711 - January 19, 1764). She was the daughter of Christoph Ernst Graf von Fuchs zu Bimbach and Dornheim (1664–1719) and Karoline von Fuchs-Mollard († 1754) and the widow of Anton Christoph Karl von Nostitz-Rokinitz (* November 18, 1708; † 7. April 1740). The couple had two children:

  • Maria Theresia (* November 24, 1745; † October 19, 1777) ⚭ 1762 Leopold Pálffy von Erdöd (* October 24, 1739; † October 4, 1799)
  • Franz Karl (* November 25, 1746; † April 17, 1771) ⚭ 1768 Maria Franziska von Auersperg (* July 30, 1745; † October 2, 1818)

Count Leopold Daun was buried in the St. George's Chapel in the Augustinian Church (Vienna) ; his tomb has been preserved.

Museum reception

The attack near Hochkirch on October 17, 1758
The Prussian Corps Fink holds out its weapons after the Battle of Maxen on November 21, 1759

Through the imperial resolution of Franz Joseph I on February 28, 1863 Daun was added to the list of the “most famous warlords and generals of Austria worthy of perpetual emulation” , in whose honor and memory a life-size statue was also erected in the general hall of the then newly erected kk Hofwaffenmuseums (today: Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien) was built. The statue was created in 1871 by the sculptor Johann Silbernagl (1836–1915) from Carrara marble and was dedicated by Emperor Franz Joseph himself.

Before the end of the Seven Years' War, Daun commissioned the Flemish battle and vedute painter Hyacinth de La Pegna to produce two large battle pictures , which were to perpetuate the general's successes. These are the "attack on the Prussian camp near Hochkirch on October 14, 1758" and the "finch catching at Maxen" . Daun can be seen in both paintings, at Hochkirch in a victory pose on a climbing white horse, at Maxen he takes the sword from the defeated General Finck. The paintings are in the permanent exhibition of the Army History Museum in Vienna.


Web links

Commons : Leopold Joseph von Daun  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ DEHIO: Lower Austria. North of the Danube. Herrleis. Anton Schroll Verlag, Vienna 1990, p. 628.
  2. So to Prince Heinrich on September 8, 1758, in: Oeuvres de Frédéric le Grand. Vol. 26 (= Correspondance , Vol. 11), Berlin 1855, p. 185; German: the fat Excellency von Kolin .
  3. Johann Christoph Allmayer-Beck : The Army History Museum Vienna. The museum and its representative rooms . Kiesel Verlag, Salzburg 1981, ISBN 3-7023-0113-5 , p. 34
  4. ^ Manfried Rauchsteiner , Manfred Litscher (Ed.): The Army History Museum in Vienna. Graz / Vienna 2000, p. 29.
predecessor Office successor
Johann Philipp Harrach President of the Court War Council
1762 - 1766
Franz Moritz von Lacy