Topics of military history


Commander-in-Chief of the Swiss Army

Guillaume-Henri Dufour, Ulrich Wille and Henri Guisan. Of the eighteen generals who have served as the head of the Swiss Armed Forces, these are the three most notable in Switzerland's military history. Appointed by Parliament to the highest level of command over the armed forces, their task was to protect the Swiss Confederation in times of crisis and war. The series 'Chiefs of the Swiss Armed Forces' will shine a spotlight on all of Switzerland's highest-ranking generals throughout its military history, with profiles to be published periodically in the coming months.


Johann Ludwig von Erlach

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.


Charles-Jules Guiguer de Prangins

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.


Ulrich 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.