Monday, 1 October 2007


This fasinating little article on Duelling came from Christopher Duffy's book, 'The Army of Frederick the Great."

"Duels in the Prussian Army at the time of Frederick the Great were serious affairs. A typically bloody set-to was staged in August 1762 when Lieutenant-General v. Platen and the quarrelsome Major-General v. Meier hacked each other about messily in the head. General v. Hulsen stepped in to break up the fight and received a stab wound for his pains.

Sometimes the formalities were dispensed with altogether. Thus in January 1746 Major v. Chazot of the Bayreuth Dragoons found himself fighting for his life against Bronikowsky, an officer whom he had once had occasion to reprimand. Chazot was able to draw his sword before he could come to serious harm and

“Now the battle took a more favourable turn, and with one of my cuts. I slashed the eguillettes from his uniform. So they were scatted around the room in shreds. Since he was bigger than I was, and considered himself more powerful, my real aim was to disarm him.
I drove him across the room as far as the stove, where I intended to snatch his sword, but I lost my footing and a major blow in the right arm which bit to the bone. The pain of my wound increased my violence, and I was unlucky enough to give him a cut which split his skull. He collapsed on the floor just in front of the door where he had first attacked me.”

Bronikowsky died of the wound, and Chazot was sentenced to one year’s fortress arrest in Spandau, of which he served only a few weeks."

1 comment:

Rob Campbell said...

In George Bernard Shaw’s 1898 play Arms and the Man, a dispute in Act III between Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary and Sergius, a Bulgarian noble, illustrates the impracticality of ‘the duel’ in the age of modern warfare.

SERGIUS [gravely, without moving] Captain Bluntschli.


SERGIUS. You have deceived me. You are my rival. I brook no rivals. At six o'clock I shall be in the drilling-ground on the Klissoura road, alone, on horseback, with my sabre. Do you understand?

BLUNTSCHLI [staring, but sitting quite at his ease] Oh, thank you: that’s a cavalry man's proposal. I'm in the artillery; and I have the choice of weapons. If I go, I shall take a machine gun. And there shall be no mistake about the cartridges this time.

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