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BENNIGSEN, Levin, Count

(1735-1826), Russian general

A German officer who entered the Russian service in 1773, he attracted the attention of Catherine the Great and he forged himself a reputation during the Polish campaign. He was commander of the Russian forces in 1806 and 1807. Despite a good strategic sense and generally combative attitude, he was beaten at Eylau (8 February, 1807) and Friedland (14 June, 1807). At Borodino (7 September, 1812), he commanded the centre of Kutuzov's army. On 18 October, 1812, he overcame Murat at Taroutino. Disagreements with Kutusov led to his temporary dismissal. On Kutusov's death, he returned to the Russian army as its head. His actions at Leipzig in 1813 led to his being made a Count, a title which was awarded to him on the battlefield by Czar Alexander I.

Jacques GARNIER: Bennigsen, Mémoires, Paris, 1907-1908.
(c) Fayard, with permission, trans. P.H.


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