Josias von Rantzau

Josias Rantzau (Bothkamp, near Kiel, 18 October 1609 – Paris, 14 September 1650) was a Danish military leader and Marshal of France.

Josias Rantzau
Alaux - Josias Rantzau (1609-1650) - MV 1002.jpg
Josias Rantzau, by Jean Alaux
Born(1609-10-18)18 October 1609
Died14 September 1650(1650-09-14) (aged 40)
RankMarshal of France
Other workGovernor of Dunkirk

Josias was the grandson of Paul, the youngest son of Johann Rantzau. He married his Cousin Hedwig Margarethe Elisabeth vor Rantzau, but had no children.

As a young man, he served Prince Maurice of Orange and King Christian IV of Denmark. Later he fought for Sweden, then the Holy Empire, again for Sweden and finally since 1635 for France, where he was noticed at Court for his blond beauty.

He commanded troops in the Franche-Comté, on the Rhine, and in Flanders. In 1633, he successfully defended Andernach against the Spanish, but is in general better remembered for his bravery than for his military skills.

He was taken prisoner by the Spanish in 1642 at the Battle of Honnecourt, and again in 1643 by Imperial troops at the Battle of Tuttlingen. On 30 June 1645, he became Marshal of France and in 1646 Governor of the newly conquered Dunkirk Fortress.

During the Fronde, he was arrested by Mazarin and locked up in the Bastille. He was acquitted, but died shortly after being released.


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