Nicolas, Count Luckner (German: Johann Nikolaus, Graf Luckner; 12 January 1722, Cham in der Oberpfalz – 4 January 1794, Paris) was a German officer in French service who rose to become a Marshal of France.
|Birth name||Johann Nikolaus Luckner|
|Born||12 January 1722|
Cham, Electorate of Bavaria
|Died||4 January 1794 (aged 71)|
Paris, French Republic
|Allegiance|| Electorate of Bavaria |
Electorate of Hanover
Kingdom of France
Kingdom of France
|Rank||Marshal of France|
|Commands held||Armée du Rhin |
Armée du Nord
|Awards||Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, Order of the White Eagle|
Luckner grew up in Cham, in eastern Bavaria and received his early education from the Jesuits in Passau. Before entering the French service, Luckner spent time in the Bavarian, Dutch and Hanoverian armies. He fought as a commander of hussars during the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) in the Hanoverian army against the French. Luckner joined the French army in 1763 with the rank of lieutenant general. In 1784 he became a Danish count.
He supported the French Revolution, and the year 1791 saw Luckner become a Marshal of France. In 1791–92 Luckner served as the first commander of the Army of the Rhine. In April 1792, Rouget de Lisle dedicated to him the Chant de Guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin (War Song of the Army of the Rhine), which was to become better known as the Marseillaise.
As commander of the Army of the North in 1792 he captured the Flemish cities of Menen and Kortrijk, but then had to retreat towards Lille. After the flight of Lafayette (August 1792) he was made generalissimo with orders to build a Reserve Army near Châlons-sur-Marne. However, the National Convention was not satisfied with his progress and Choderlos de Laclos was ordered to support or replace him. Luckner, now over 70 years of age, then asked for dismissal (granted in January 1793) and went to Paris.