HOHENZOLLERN-HECHINGEN, Friedrich Franz Xaver von and zu, Austrian Prince

Share it

Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver von and zu Hohenzollern-Hechingen, Burggrave of Nurnberg, Graf zu Sigmaringen and Währingen, Privy Councillor and Chamberlain, Feldmareschall, Commander of the Order of Maria Theresa (1809), member of the Order of the golden Fleece (1826), and Grand Croix of the order of Leopold (1830).
Friedrich Franz Xaver followed in his father's footsteps becoming an Austrian Feldmarschal and soldier. He was born in Geulle castle near Maastricht on 31 May, 1757.

When he was 18, he joined the Dutch army, going over to the Austrian army a year later joining the Kürassier-Regiment Nr. 4. With this unit he took part in the War of Bavarian Succession or “Potato War” 1778/1779 between Austria, Saxony, Bavaria and Prussia. After the Treaty Teschen he became Major in the Nassau-Kürassiere. During the Turkish War from 1787 to 1792 he took part in the siege of Belgrade. On becoming Oberstleutnant and then Oberst in 1793 in the Kürassiere und Graf Kavanagh regiment, he led these men into the Netherlands and as their commander took part in the Battle of Neerwinden.

In 1796, on being promoted to the rank of General-Major, he came to join Beaulieu's army in northern Italy facing Napoleon during the First Italian Campaign. On 12 November, 1796, he inflicted upon Napoleon a tactical setback at Caldiero alongside the Feldmarschal Provera.

He then linked up directly with Provera's advanced guard in an attempt to lift the siege of Mantua, though he thought the action unlikely to succeed. Crossing the Adige on the second attempt, he faced four enemy divisions near San Giorgio (Saint-Georges). After a two-hour struggle he was finally forced to capitulate. Despite the defeat, Friedrich von Hohenzollern-Hechingen was awarded the Ritterkreuz (knight's cross) of the Order of Maria Theresa on 29 April, 1797, for his bravery.
Following the Treaty of Campoformio in 1797, he was appointed commander of Austrian troops in Treviso and Belluno (Venetia) and, from 1799, he commanded Feldmarschal Kray's troops in Venetia. He covered the retreat after the battle of Verona and later took back Milan (circa 24 May, 1799). He then prevented Macdonald and Moreau from joining forces thus ensuring the allied victory at Mantua led by Melas and Suvarov. Furthermore, as a direct result of Hohenzollern's preventing the concentration of French forces, Marshal Suchov was -able to defeat Macdonald at the appallingly costly battle of Trebbia (17-20). Frederick Franz Xaver was then promoted from General to Feldmarschalls-Leutnant.

After the treaty of Lunéville, he was posted to Cracow, and in the autumn of 1804 he was made privy councillor. During the battle of Ulm he was commander of General Werneck's advanced guard (11 battalions of foot and 10 squadrons of horse) of the Army of Swabia. Before the complete encirclement of Ulm, on 13 October, 1805, Hohenzollern was able to escape with some of his units beyond the frontier with Bohemia and to return to Cracow.

In 1809, as Feldmarschal-Leutnant he commanded the III corps (25 battalions of foot, 8 squadrons of horse and 96 cannon, circa 23,600 men) under Archduke Charles, he took part (unsuccessfully) in the battle of Tengen (19 April, 1809) and Eckmühl (22 April, 1809). However for his bravery he was to be awarded the Kommandeurskreuz (Commander's cross ) of the Order of Maria Theresa.

During the battle of Aspern he and his son Oberleutnant Friedrich Anton fought in the front line. As a result of his bravery, he was given control of the centre during the Battle of Wagram. On 31 July, 1809, he was promoted to General der Kavallerie. After Wagram he was sent back to be an administrator in Galicia.

During the Hundred Days he was Commander of the Second German Army Corps for the theatre in Baden, Württemberg and Switzerland. His last battle was the siege of Strasbourg in 1815, where General Rapp was holed up with 24,000 men.
He later moved to Graz and from 1825 to 1830 was President of the Hofkriegsrat. Prinz Friedrich von und zu Hohenzollern-Hechingen died at the age of 87 on 6 April, 1844, in Vienna.
– Freiherr von Karl Smola, Das Leben des Feldmarschalls Prinzen Friedrich Franz Xavier zu Hohenzollern, 1845
– Jaromir Hirtenfeld, J Lukeš, Der Militär-Maria-Theresien-Orden und seine Mitglieder: Kaiserlich-Königliche Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1857, p. 846 f.
– Napoleon Online De

Share it