7 Infamous Warhawks: Turenne
WARHAWK #3: HENRI DE LA TOUR D’AUVERGNE, VICOMTE DE TURENNE
“Read and reread the campaigns of the great captains.”
Napoleon Bonaparte on the Viscount of Turenne
By 1648, Turenne had laid waste to Bavaria by ‘fire and sword’ after a brutal series of relentless campaigns across the Rhine since 1644 in the Thirty Years’ War. In the courts of Europe, the Viscount of Turenne needed no introduction.
He was born to the Prince of Sedan and the daughter of the Prince of Orange, and it was with his mother’s kin that he learned the trade of war. He served in the bodyguard of Maurice, Prince of Orange, from 1625-30, after which he moved to France in search of military advancement. Chief Minister Cardinal Richelieu gave him command of an infantry regiment, and he won several notable campaigns in Flanders, Lorraine, Mainz, and Breisach, gaining a reputation as a promising young general.
However, his career was threatened by Cardinal Mazarin, who was concerned about the growing power of aristocratic princes at the expense of the Crown. His machinations led to the arrest of several powerful princes, sparking the Fronde (civil war) between Louis XIV and the princes. Turenne at first fought with the princes, but eventually allied with the King and was instrumental in turning the tide, decisively crushing star general Prince Condé in 1652.
Turenne ended up as Louis XIV’s most loyal and valuable marshal in the wars against the Spanish and the Dutch, where he also ultimately met his fate in the form of a cannonball at Salzbach in 1675.
In the Sabaton History episode about their epic song “A Lifetime of War”, Indy talks more about how the Thirty Years’ War impacted the lives of people in Northern Europe.
Watch it here: https://youtu.be/CN47IMBYesk
Written by Samir Mechel