Maximilian Ulysses Browne

Maximilian Ulysses Browne

Maximilian Ulysses, Reichsgraf von Browne, Baron de Camus and Mountany (October 23, 1705 – June 26, 1757) was an Austrian military leader during the middle of the 18th century, and a scion of the Irish "Wild Geese".



Born in Basel, von Browne was the son of Count Ulysses von Browne (b. Limerick, Ireland; 1659 d. Frankfurt am Main 1731) by his wife Annabella Fitzgerald, a daughter of the House of Desmond. Both families had been exiled from Ireland in the aftermath of Tyrone's Rebellion.

Early career

Browne's early career was helped by family and marital connections. His father and his father's brother, George (b. Limerick 1657 d. Pavia 1729), were created Counts of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsgraf) by Emperor Charles VI in 1716. The brothers enjoyed a lengthy, close friendship with John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, who was primarily responsible for their establishment in the Imperial Service of Austria. His wife, Countess Marie Philippine von Martinitz, had valuable connections at court and his sister, Barbara (b. Limerick 1700 d. Mantua 1751), was married to Freiherr (Baron) Francis Patrick O'Neillan (b. Dysert 1671 d. Mantua 1734) a Major General in the Austrian Service. (See Dysert O'Dea Castle). So, by the age of 29 von Browne was already colonel of an infantry regiment.

But he justified his early promotion in the field, and in the Italian campaign of 1734 he greatly distinguished himself. In the Tirolese fighting of 1735, and in the Turkish war, he won further distinction as a general officer.

War of the Austrian Succession

He was a lieutenant field marshal in command of the Silesian garrisons when in 1740 Frederick II and the Prussian army overran the province. His careful employment of such resources as he possessed materially hindered the king in his conquest and gave time for Austria to collect a field army (see War of the Austrian Succession). He was present at Mollwitz, where he received a severe wound. His vehement opposition to all half-hearted measures brought him frequently into conflict with his superiors, but contributed materially to the unusual energy displayed by the Austrian armies in 1742 and 1743.

In the following campaigns von Browne exhibited the same qualities of generalship and the same impatience of control. In 1745 he served under Count Traun, and was promoted to the rank of Feldzeugmeister. In 1746 he was present in the Italian campaign and the battles of Piacenza and Rottofreddo. Von Browne himself with the advanced guard forced his way across the Apennines and entered Genoa. He was thereafter placed in command of the army intended for the invasion of France, and early in 1747 of all the imperial forces in Italy instead of Antoniotto Botta Adorno. At the end of the war, von Browne was engaged in the negotiations on troop withdrawals from Italy, which led to the convention of Nice (January 21, 1749). He became commander-in-chief in Bohemia in 1751, and field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) two years later.

Seven Years' War

He was still in Bohemia when the Seven Years' War opened with Frederick's invasion of Saxony (1756). Von Browne's army, advancing to the relief of Pirna, was met, and, after a hard struggle, defeated by the king at Lobositz, but he drew off in excellent order, and soon made another attempt with a picked force to reach Pirna, by wild mountain tracks. The field marshal never spared himself, bivouacking in the snow with his men, and Carlyle records that private soldiers made rough shelters over him as he slept.

He actually reached the Elbe at Schandau, but as the Saxons were unable to break out, von Browne retired, having succeeded, however, in delaying the development of Frederick's operations for a whole campaign. In the campaign of 1757 he voluntarily served under Prince Charles Alexander of Lorraine who was made commander-in-chief, and on the 6th of May in that year, while leading a bayonet charge at the Battle of Prague, von Browne, like Schwerin on the same day, met his death. He was carried mortally wounded into Prague, and there died on the 26th of June, his last days embittered by the knowledge that he was unjustly held responsible for the failure of the campaign.


From 1888 to 1918, the 36th Austrian infantry was named after von Browne.

See also


Regarding personal names: Reichsgraf is a title, usually translated Count of the Empire, not a first or middle name. The female form is Reichsgräfin. Titles using the prefix Reichs- were not created after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire.

  • See Zuverlässige Lebensbeschreibung U.M. Reichsgrafen, v. B. K-K. Gen.-Feldmarschall (Frankfurt and Leipzig, 1757); Baron O'Cahill, Gesch. der grossen Herrführer (Rastadt, 1785, v. ii. pp. 264-316).
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links

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