Schack Carl Rantzau

Schack Carl, rigsgreve (von) Rantzau or Carl Schack Rantzau-Ascheberg (11 March 1717, Ascheberg estate, Holstein – 21 January 1789, Menerbes, France[1]) was a Holstein-born Danish-Norwegian officer and statesman. He was the commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army in 1766, but lost the position the next year. He is notable for his friendship with Johann Friedrich Struensee and his role in the coup which led to Struensee's fall from power in 1772.[2][3]

Schack Carl Rantzau
Schack Carl Rantzau.jpg
Commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army
PredecessorWaldemar Hermann Schmettau
SuccessorClaus Jørgen Schnell
Born(1717-03-11)11 March 1717
Ascheberg estate, Holstein
Died21 January 1789(1789-01-21) (aged 71)
Menerbes, France
Noble familyRantzau
FatherHans zu Rantzau
OccupationOfficer and Statesman

Commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armyEdit

In the 1760s he befriended Claude Louis de Saint-Germain, one of the most powerful men in Denmark-Norway at the time. In 1766 he was promoted to lieutenant general, and on the initiative of Saint-Germain he was sent as Commander-in-chief of the Norwegian army, April 4 of the same year. Norway was not the right place for a man like Rantzau. He found it indescribably boring to live in the country, and in a letter he wrote; ..this Land of the Devil, where there is not even a tree strong enough for a man to hang himself. He insulted the people of Norway, with his manner of behaviour. The stay in Norway was a short one. When Saint-Germain got deposed at the end of 1767. Rantzau was ordered to immediately resign, and go to Holstein and stay there. When he left Christiania, stones were thrown at him by the city's inhabitants.[4]

Under Struensees ruleEdit

In Holstein, Rantzau became friend with Johann Friedrich Struensee. When Stuensee became regent of Denmark and Norway, in December 1770, he gave Rantzau a sentral role in the new regime. But Struensee sidelined Rantzau and they became enemies, and 17 January 1772 he was involved in deposing and arresting Struensee.[5]


  1. ^ (in French) Le séjour et la mort d'un homme d'État danois en Provence. By Axel Linvald. Annales du Midi : revue archéologique, historique et philologique de la France méridionale, 1928. Volume 40 nº 157 pp. 286-296]
  2. ^ "Rantzau Rigsgrever af Ascheberg. Ranzau-slægten". (in Danish). Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  3. ^ (in Danish) H.R. Hiort-Lorenzen, "Om Grev Rantzau-Aschebergs sidste Dage", s. 731-34 i: Historisk Tidsskrift, Bind 6. række, 3 (1891 – 1892) 1.
  4. ^ Dansk biografisk leksikon
  5. ^ Dansk biografisk leksikon