Carl Heinrich von Wedel

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Carl Heinrich von Wedel
Reiterstandbild - Friedrich der Große - Südansicht ( Details - unten 4 ).jpg
Wedel's name is included on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great
Born12 July 1712
Uckermark, Margraviate of Brandenburg
Died2 April 1782
Allegiance Prussia
RankLieutenant General

Carl Heinrich von Wedel (also spelled Wedell; 12 July 1712 – 2 April 1782) was a Prussian lieutenant general in the War of Austrian Succession (1740–1748), the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), and the War of Bavarian Succession (1778–1779). He fought most notably in the Battle of Tornow in 1758, and the Battle of Kay in 1759. He was instrumental in Frederick the Great's victory at Leuthen in December 1757.

In 1760, Wedel was appointed as Frederick's first Minister of War. He came out of retirement to serve in the War of Bavarian Succession in 1778. Wedel received the Pour le Mérite and his name was inscribed on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great in 1851.


The family Wedel belongs to the Pomeranian nobility. Carl Heinrich Von Wedel was born on 12 July 1712 in the Uckermark, Brandenburg. His father, Georg Wilhelm, was the Uckermark's Superior Court, and owner of the Goritz manor—his mother was Marie Salome of Eichstedt. At fifteen years of age Wedel joined the Prussian military, enlisting as a corporal in the King's Leibregiment (Nr. 6). In 1730 he was promoted to ensign, on 1 March 1735 to second lieutenant. On 23 June 1740, Frederick II appointed him captain and company commander of the Grenadier Guards Battalion (Nr. 6).[1]

Wars of Austrian Succession[edit]

Wedel took part in the Silesian Wars, though his regiment did not see battle. Nevertheless, Wedel received on 14 August 1743 a promotion to major in the Infantry Regiment von Kleist (Nr. 26), to which be belonged for the following 14 years. He was wounded in the Battle of Soor in 1745.[1]

Wedel was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 8 September 1751, and awarded the Pour le Mérite on 31 May 1752. He was promoted on 17 June 1755 to the rank of colonel.[1]

Seven Years' War[edit]

The first battle experience Wedel's regiment had in the Seven Years' War occurred at the Battle of Prague on 6 May 1757. Six days later, he was appointed regimental commander. He was present at the Battle of Rossbach. At Leuthen, he led his regiment on the difficult march to flank the Austrian left; by 1 p.m. his regiment was in place, and launched its attack. This regiment fulfilled their role with such success that 14 members were awarded the Pour le Mérite.[1][2]

On 5 January 1758 Wedel took over the Infantry Regiment Schultze (Nr. 29), though he moved to the head office of his prior regiment only three weeks later. In the spring he joined the siege corps before Olomouc. Wedel repulsed Laudon's attacks in Littau on 20 June, and in Gundersdorf on 28 June. In September, he was transferred to a corps in the Uckermark to free it from Swedish control.[1]

Frederick II promoted Wedel to lieutenant general on 22 February 1759. In July, he was transferred command of the Dohna Corps, Frederick deciding the Christoph von Dohna was too ill to continue. Frederick sent Wedel to thwart the Russian advance into Brandenburg with 28,000 men; these were not enough. Due to Wedel's poor management and aggressiveness—he was ordered to attack a Russia army twice his size—they were crushed at the Battle of Kay.[3] This loss left the road to Berlin open, and Frederick was forced to hurry north to Frankfurt an der Oder to repel the Russian and Austrian allied armies.[4] At the subsequent Kunersdorf, Wedel was severely wounded. Health problems forced him to retire from active service in 1760.[5]

Last years[edit]

Wedel subsequently served as Frederick's minister of war.[6] Wedel was recalled to service for Frederick's last war with Austria over the Bavarian succession. He died 2 April 1782 in Göritz.[1]

Frederick's heirs considered Wedel one of the key generals in the establishment of the Prussian state and included his name on the Equestrian statue of Frederick the Great in 1851.[7]


In 1747, Wedel married Friederike Auguste von Bröcker. Their marriage produced four daughters and a son. Two daughters survived to adulthood and married the sons of Wilhelm Gustav von Anhalt-Dessau.[1]

  • Caroline Friederike (19 February 1748 – 5 June 1780)[8] ∞ 10 February 1768 to Heinrich Wilhelm von Anhalt (1735–1801)
  • Friederike Albertine (17 September 1751 – 8 October 1825) ∞ Karl Philipp von Anhalt (1732–1806)



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Poten, Bernhard von (1896), "Wedell, Karl Heinrich von", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 41, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 410–413
  2. ^ Szabo, Franz A.J. (2013). The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763. Routledge. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-317-88696-9.
  3. ^ Lindemann, Mary (2007). Liaisons dangereuses: Sex, Law, and Diplomacy in the Age of Frederick the Great. JHU Press. p. 165. ISBN 9780801889202.
  4. ^ Blanning, Tim (2016). Frederick the Great. Random House. p. 257. ISBN 978-1400068128.
  5. ^ Rospond, Vincent W. (2013). Frederick's Orders: Frederick the Great's Orders to His Generals and His Way. Winged Hussar Publishing. p. Appendix III. ISBN 978-0615754710.
  6. ^ Diest, Johann von (2016). Wirtschaftspolitik und Lobbyismus im 18. Jahrhundert.Eine quellenbasierte Neubewertung der wechselseitigen Einflussnahme von Obrigkeit und Wirtschaft in Brandenburg-Preußen und Kurhannover. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 114. ISBN 9783847006039.
  7. ^ Denkmal König Friedrichs des Großen. Enthüllt am 31. Mai 1851. Berlin: Verlag der Deckerschen Geheimen Ober-Hofbuchdruckerei. 1851. p. 7.
  8. ^ Fischbach, Friedrich Ludwig Joseph (1781). Historische politisch-geographisch-statistisch- und militärische Beyträge, die königlich-preußischen und benachbarte Staaten betreffend. 1. Pauli. p. 274.


  • Engelmann, Joachim (1988). Friedrich der Große und seine Generale. Friedberg: Podzun-Pallas. ISBN 9783790903409.