Broglie, Victor-François de

b. 19 October 1718

d. 30 March 1804, Munster

One of France's most famous soldiers. He fought in Italy in 1734 as a captain of cavalry and ADC to his father, and was at the battles of Parma and Guastalla. He then commanded the Luxembourg infantry regiment in Italy until 1736. In 1741 he served at Prague, under Saxe, and on 1 March of that year he was made aide-major general of the infantry. He was promoted brigadier general on 26 April 1742. On 1 April 1743 he was promoted major general of infantry, having been twice wounded. During this period he had served variously in the armies of Bavaria, Haute Alsace, and the Rhine. He was promoted maréchal de camp on 1 May 1745. On his father's death, he succeeded to the title of Duke de Broglie (his previous title had been Count de Broglie). He then served in Flanders, and when peace came, he was made lieutenant-general, on 10 May 1748.

At the beginning of the Seven Years War, he fought under Estrées at Hastenbeck. He was then detached to Soubise's army, and had the misfortune to be caught up in the disaster of Rossbach, but kept his troops together, and was able to retire to Hanover. In 1758, he commanded in Hesse, then took command of Soubise's advance guard, as senior lieutenant-general. The following year he had a number of successes, but received no command of an army due to the enmity of Belle-Isle. Instead, he served under Contades in Germany, gaining a victory at Minden on 9 July 1759. In a second battle at Minden, Contades was defeated, and the King decided to replace him with Broglie, who was created marshal on 16 December. However, after further successes in 1760, Broglie was defeated with Soubise at Willinghausen on 13 July 1761, and was disgraced. During the 1770s, Broglie was governor of Trois-Évêchés, then Alsace.

On 11 July 1789, he was made commander of the troops around Versailles, but resigned a few days later. He retired to Luxembourg, and then became involved in counter-revolutionary activities, commanding the army of Condé and a member of the council of the Count of Provence. In 1797 he went to Russia, then retired to Riga in 1798, and finally to Münster, where he died having refused to return to France. Sources: Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933-, vol. 7, pp. 411-12; Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol. 5, pp. 594-6.

No biography in Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, 1899.

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