Prussian Army

The Royal Prussian Army (German: Königlich Preußische Armee) served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.

Prussian Army
War ensign of Prussia
Active1701–1919
Country Kingdom of Prussia
AllegianceHouse of Hohenzollern
BranchArmy
TypeLand forces
SizeRanging between 70,000 and 700,000 during the period.
Garrison/HQPotsdam
PatronKing of Prussia
EngagementsWar of the Spanish Succession
Great Northern War
War of the Austrian Succession

Seven Years' War
War of the Bavarian Succession
French Revolutionary Wars

Napoleonic Wars

First Schleswig War
Second Schleswig War
Austro-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
World War I
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Frederick William I
Frederick the Great
Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz
Gerhard von Scharnhorst
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg
Carl von Clausewitz
Kaiser Wilhelm I
Moltke the Elder
Albrecht von Roon
Friedrich Karl
Paul von Hindenburg
August von Mackensen
Erich Ludendorff
Erich von Falkenhayn
Attack of Prussian Infantry, 4 June 1745, by Carl Röchling

The Prussian Army had its roots in the core mercenary forces of Brandenburg during the Thirty Years' War of 1618–1648. Elector Frederick William developed it into a viable standing army, while King Frederick William I of Prussia dramatically increased its size and improved its doctrines. King Frederick the Great, a formidable battle commander, led the disciplined Prussian troops to victory during the 18th-century Silesian Wars and greatly increased the prestige of the Kingdom of Prussia.

The army had become outdated by the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, and France defeated Prussia in the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806. However, under the leadership of Gerhard von Scharnhorst, Prussian reformers began modernizing the Prussian Army, which contributed greatly to the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte during the War of the Sixth Coalition. Conservatives halted some of the reforms, however, and the Prussian Army subsequently became a bulwark of the conservative Prussian government.

In the 19th century the Prussian Army fought successful wars against Denmark, Austria and France, allowing Prussia to unify Germany, aside from Austria, establishing the German Empire in 1871. The Prussian Army formed the core of the Imperial German Army, which was replaced by the Reichswehr after World War I.