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Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins (1780-1840)

On 24 January 1798, the national representatives declared the Pays de Vaud's independence from Bern. Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins enlisted in the Vaud military forces as a lieutenant to join the liberation struggle alongside the French forces. He was promoted to captain within a year, and later, as a general, commanded the Swiss forces in 1831 and 1838.

24.01.2019 | Communication Defence

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Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins, son of Louis-François Guiguer, Baron of Prangins, was born in Prangins on 26 August 1780. This aristocratic family, which originated from St. Gallen, had settled in the Vaud at the beginning of the century. Charles-Jules was an officer in the French military and studied humanities at the Universities of Leipzig and Gottingen.

Commissioned as captain in the first auxiliary brigade of the French army in 1799, he took part in both the First and the Second Battle of Zurich under the orders of French general André Massena. In 1802, he commanded a unit of Swiss hussars, and in 1803, he was appointed battalion commander and joined the General Staff of the Helvetic Republic's army. In 1805, only 25 years old, he became a colonel and was appointed commander of the second brigade. He was also in a commanding position during the occupation of the borders in 1809, 1813 and 1815. On 3 July 1815, in response to the French bombing of the city of Basel, he led the campaign in the Franche-Comté, the last offensive Swiss military operation on foreign territory in Swiss history. In 1817, Louis XVIII appointed him colonel in the King of France's Swiss Guard Regiment. He also worked with Guillaume-Henri Dufour to found the Thun military school in 1819, becoming its first commander.

With the end of the foreign service in France in 1830, he was appointed Federal Commissioner and tasked with repatriating the disbanded Swiss regiments. In December 1830, the Swiss Tagsatzung (legislative and executive council of the Swiss Confederation) promoted him to general and supreme commander of the Swiss military forces, and put him in charge of protecting Switzerland's borders during the July revolution, which had threatened to spread from France into Switzerland. In 1838, Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins, the first French native speaking general, was summoned again to assume the responsibility for defending the Swiss borders from the threat from France, which was demanding the extradition of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. After Napoleon's voluntary departure for England, the troops were demobilised on 16 October.

Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins was also a member of the Grand Council of the Lake Geneva Region (from 1814) and a State Councillor (1827-1830), and actively participated in the revision of the Constitution (1830). He died on 7 July 1840 in Lausanne.

30.08.2019

Joseph Leonz Andermatt
Andermatt

On 31 August 1790, a mutiny within the garrison of Nancy in France was crushed. The uprising broke out on 5 August because the soldiers were convinced that their officers had made unfair deductions from their pay. For his role in suppressing the revolt, Joseph Leonz Andermatt, an officer in the Swiss Châteauvieux regiment that was part of the Nancy garrison, was awarded the title of knight of the Order of Saint Louis.

25.07.2019

Henri Guisan
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On 25 July 1940 General Henri Guisan summoned all Switzerland's military commanders with the rank of major or higher to the Rutli meadow, where he informed them about the military's National Redoubt strategy. France had been defeated in June and Switzerland was surrounded by the Axis powers. In his radio address on 25 June, Marcel Pilet-Golaz, the President of the Confederation at the time, caused confusion among the population by mentioning the New European Order. General Guisan emphasised in his speech the army's willingness to offer unconditional resistance.

27.06.2019

Sebastian Peregrin Zwyer of Evibach
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At the end of June 1630, during the War of the Mantuan Succession, the imperial army besieged the capital city Mantua, which was eventually seized and plundered on 18 July. Lieutenant Colonel Sebastian Peregrin Zwyer of Evibach fought under the imperial ensign as one of commander Matthias Gallas's men.

22.05.2019

Johann Ulrich von Salis Soglio
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On 22 May 1844 Johann Ulrich von Salis-Soglio, colonel in the Swiss General Staff, was in the Valais, where a faction of the Young Europe association was causing unrest. The Federal Council had appointed him commander of the troops and tasked him with disarming Young Switzerland, which was a revolutionary liberal group modelled on the Young Italy movement founded by Giuseppe Mazzini. In August 1847 Johann Ulrich von Salis-Soglio was released from the service on account of his conservative views. Shortly thereafter, however, he was back in military uniform again, having reluctantly accepted his appointment as supreme commander of the Sonderbund army.

18.04.2019

Ulrich of Hohensax
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On 19 April 1512, the Swiss Tagsatzung, the legislative and executive council of the Swiss Confederacy, appointed Ulrich of Hohensax supreme commander of the confederate army, which was preparing to enter Lombardy. The Council of War confirmed the Tagsatzung order on 30 May, making Ulrich of Hohensax the first commander-in-chief in Swiss history. The campaign ended on 31 December, when Ulrich of Hohensax led the Swiss army into Milano and restored Massimiliano Sforza to the throne. With the success of this operation, the Confederates strengthened their position, becoming equal partners with other European powers.

28.03.2019

Augustin Keller
Keller

On 28 March 1799, in the midst of a period of upheaval the commander of the Helvetic Legion, Colonel Augustin Keller, was promoted to brigadier general and appointed commander-in-chief of the Helvetic Republic's army. However, the hurriedly assembled troops proved completely incapable of fighting a battle. Augustin Keller was released from his duties on 24 May 1799 due to failure and the militia army was disbanded on 12 August of the same year.

28.02.2019

Johann Ludwig von Erlach
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The first Battle of Rheinfelden took place on 28 February 1638, during the Thirty Years' War. On one side of the field was the Bernese Johann Ludwig von Erlach, the Chief of Staff to Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and organiser of the High Rhine campaign, which ended with the cession of Alsace to France. Johann Ludwig von Erlach ended his career as Marshal of France, and is regarded as one of the greatest generals in the mercenary service of the 17th century.

24.01.2019

Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins
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On 24 January 1798, the national representatives declared the Pays de Vaud's independence from Bern. Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins enlisted in the Vaud military forces as a lieutenant to join the liberation struggle alongside the French forces. He was promoted to captain within a year, and later, as a general, commanded the Swiss forces in 1831 and 1838.

11.12.2018

Ulrich Wille
Wille

On 11 November 1918, World War I ended when the armistice of Compiègne came into force. Fears sparked by the first general strike from 12 to 14 November, however, led to an extension of mobilisation in Switzerland. Finally, on 11 December 1918, General Wille, commander-in-chief of the Swiss military, handed over command and was discharged from his duties.