Leopold Josef Graf Daun
Count Leopold Joseph von Daun (or Dhaun) (September 24, 1705 – February 5, 1766), later Prince of Thiano, Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

n field marshal, was born at Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, as son of Count Wirich Philipp von Daun
Count Wirich Philipp von Daun
Count Wirich Philipp von Daun was an Austrian Field Marshal in the War of Spanish Succession, and father of the better known Leopold Josef Graf Daun....



He was intended for the church, but his natural inclination for the army, in which his father and grandfather had been distinguished generals, proved irresistible. In 1718 he served in the campaign
Military campaign
In the military sciences, the term military campaign applies to large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plan incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles forming a distinct part of a larger conflict often called a war...

 in Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, in his father's regiment. He had already risen to the rank of Oberst
Oberst is a military rank in several German-speaking and Scandinavian countries, equivalent to Colonel. It is currently used by both the ground and air forces of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway. The Swedish rank överste is a direct translation, as are the Finnish rank eversti...

(Colonel) when he saw further active service in Italy and on the Rhine in the War of the Polish Succession
War of the Polish Succession
The War of the Polish Succession was a major European war for princes' possessions sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II, King of Poland that other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests...

 (1734-35). He continued to add to his distinctions in the war against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 (1737-39), in which he attained the rank of Feldmarschallleutnant (Major-General).

War of the Austrian Succession

In the War of the Austrian Succession
War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession  – including King George's War in North America, the Anglo-Spanish War of Jenkins' Ear, and two of the three Silesian wars – involved most of the powers of Europe over the question of Maria Theresa's succession to the realms of the House of Habsburg.The...

 (1740-48), Daun distinguished himself by the careful leadership which was afterwards his greatest military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...


He was present at Chotusitz
Battle of Chotusitz
The Battle of Chotusitz, or Chotusice, sometimes called the Battle of Czaslau, was fought on May 17, 1742 in Bohemia between the Austrians under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine and the Prussians under Frederick the Great. The battle was a part of the War of the Austrian Succession sometimes...

 and Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, and led the advanced guard of Khevenhüller's army in the victorious Danube campaign of 1743. Field Marshal Count Traun, who succeeded Khevenhüller in 1744, thought equally highly of Daun, and entrusted him with the rearguard of the Austrian army when it escaped from the French to attack Frederick the Great. He held important commands in the battles of Hohenfriedberg
Battle of Hohenfriedberg
The Battle of Hohenfriedberg or Hohenfriedeberg, also known as the battle of Striegau, now Dobromierz, was one of the crowning achievements of Frederick the Great...

 and Soor
Battle of Soor
The Battle of Soor saw Frederick the Great's Prussian army defeat an Austro-Saxon army led by Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine during the War of the Austrian Succession...

, and in the same year (1745) was promoted to the rank of Feldzeugmeister (Lieutenant General). After this he served in the Low Countries, and was present at the Battle of Val. He was highly valued by Maria Theresa
Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma...

, who made him commandant of Vienna and a Knight of the Golden Fleece, and in 1754 he was elevated to the rank of Feldmarschall (Field-Marshal).

Seven Years' War

During the interval of peace that preceded the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

 he was engaged in carrying out an elaborate scheme for the reorganization of the Austrian army, and it was chiefly through his efforts that the Theresian Military Academy
Theresian Military Academy
The Theresian Military Academy is an academy, where the Austrian Armed Forces train their officers. The Academy is located in the castle of Wiener Neustadt in Lower Austria.- History :...

 was established at Wiener-Neustadt in 1751. He was not actively employed in the first campaigns of the war, but in 1757 he was placed at the head of the army which was raised to relieve Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. On June 18, 1757 Daun defeated Frederick for the first time in his career in the desperately fought Battle of Kolin
Battle of Kolin
-Results:The battle was Frederick's first defeat in this war. This disaster forced him to abandon his intended march on Vienna, raise his siege of Prague, and fall back on Litoměřice...

. In commemoration of this brilliant exploit the queen immediately instituted a military order bearing her name, and Daun was awarded the first Grand Cross of that order. The union of the relieving army with the forces of Prince Charles at Prague reduced Daun to the position of second in command, and in that capacity he took part in the pursuit of the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

ns and the victory of Breslau
Battle of Breslau (1757)
The Battle of Breslau was a battle fought on November 22, 1757 during the Seven Years' War. A Prussian army of 28,000 men fought an Austrian army of 84,000 men. The Prussians held off the Austrian attack, losing 6,000 men to the Austrians 5,000 men. But one day later the Prussians beat a retreat...


Frederick now reappeared and won the most brilliant victory of the age at Leuthen
Battle of Leuthen
In the Battle of Leuthen or Lissa, fought on 5 December 1757, Frederick the Great's Prussian army used maneuver and terrain to decisively defeat a much larger Austrian army under Charles of Lorraine, thus ensuring Prussian control of Silesia during the Seven Years' War.- Background :While Frederick...

. Daun was present on that field, but was not held accountable for the disaster, and when Prince Charles resigned his command, Daun was appointed in his place. With the campaign of 1758 began the war of manoeuvre in which Daun, though he missed, through over-caution, many opportunities of crushing the Prussians, at least maintained a steady and cool resistance to the fiery strategy of Frederick. In 1758 Major-General Laudon
Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon
Baron Ernst Gideon von Laudon Baron Ernst Gideon von Laudon Baron Ernst Gideon von Laudon (German: Ernst Gideon Freiherr von Laudon (originally Laudohn or Loudon) (Tootzen, now Latvia, February 2, 1717 – July 14, 1790 in Nový Jičín, now Czech Republic) was an Austrian field marshal, one of the most...

, acting under Daun's instructions, forced the king to raise the siege of Olmütz
Olomouc is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. The city is located on the Morava river and is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Nowadays, it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic...

 (Battle of Domašov), and later in the same year Daun himself surprised Frederick at the Battle of Hochkirch
Battle of Hochkirch
The Battle of Hochkirch was a battle fought on October 14, 1758 during the Seven Years' War between a Prussian army of 30,000-36,000 commanded by Frederick the Great and an Austrian army of 80,000 commanded by Marshal Leopold Josef Graf Daun...

 and inflicted a severe defeat upon him (October 14th). In the following year the war of manoeuvre continued, and on the 20th and 21st of November he surrounded the entire corps of General Finck
Friedrich August von Finck
Friedrich August von Finck was a Prussian soldier and writer.Finck was born in Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He first saw active service in 1734 on the Rhine, as a member of the suite of Anton Ulrich, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel...

 at Maxen
Battle of Maxen
The Battle of Maxen was a battle at Maxen, Saxony in present-day Germany during the Seven Years' War. It resulted in surrender of prussian corps....

, forcing the Prussians to surrender. These successes were counterbalanced in the following year by the defeat of Loudon at Liegnitz
Battle of Liegnitz (1760)
The Battle of Liegnitz on August 15, 1760 saw Frederick the Great's Prussian Army defeat the Austrian army under Ernst von Laudon.The armies collided around the Prussian Silesian city of Liegnitz . Frederick split his army in 2, one part commanded by Field Marshal Zieten. Frederick heard the sound...

, which was attributed to the dilatoriness of Daun, and Daun's own defeat in the great Battle of Torgau
Battle of Torgau
In the Battle of Torgau on 3 November 1760, King Frederick the Great's Prussian army fought a larger Austrian army under the command of Field Marshal Leopold Josef Graf Daun. The Prussians won a costly victory in one of the bloodiest battles of the Seven Years' War.-Background:In August, Daun...

. In this engagement Daun was so severely wounded that he had to return to Vienna to recuperate.

He continued to command until the end of the war, and afterwards worked with the greatest energy at the reorganization of the imperial forces. In 1762 he had been appointed president of the Hofkriegsrath. By order of Maria Theresa a monument to his memory was erected by Balthasar Ferdinand Moll
Balthasar Ferdinand Moll
Balthasar Ferdinand Moll 4 January 1717 - Vienna 3 March 1785) was one of the most famous sculptors in Vienna during the height of the Baroque era...

 in the church of the Augustinians, with an inscription describing him as the "saviour of her states." In 1888 the 56th Regiment of Austrian Infantry was named after him. As a general Daun has been criticized for the dilatoriness of his operations, but wariness was not misplaced when one faced a general like Frederick, who was quick and unpredictable. His inability to exploit a victory, on the other hand, might not be so easily excused.

His cousin married the Marquis of Pombal, the noted Portuguese statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...


Further reading

See Der deutsche Fabius Cunctator, oder Leben und Thaten seiner Excellentz, des Herrn Leopold Joseph Maria Reichsgrafen von Daun ... (S.l.: s.n., 1759-1760), and works dealing with the wars of the period.
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