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TODLEBEN (or TOTLEBEN), FRANZ EDUARD ...

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 1045 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TODLEBEN (or TOTLEBEN), FRANZ EDUARD IVANOVICH, COUNT (1818-1884)  ,
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Russian engineer general, was born at Mittau in Courland, on the 2oth of May 1818 . His parents were of German descent, and of the mercantile class, and he himself was intended for commerce, but a strong
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instinct led him to seek the career of a military engineer . He entered the school of engineers at St
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Petersburg, and passed into the army in 1836 . In 1848 and the two following years he was employed, as captain of engineers, in the
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campaigns against Schamyl in the
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Caucasus . On the outbreak of war between Russia and
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Turkey in 1853, he served in the siege of Silistria, and after the siege was raised was transferred to the Crimea (see
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CRIMEAN WAR) . Sevastopol, while strongly fortified toward the sea, was almost unprotected on the
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land side . Todleben, though still a junior field officer, became the animating genius of the defence . By his advice the
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fleet was sunk, in order to blockade the mouth of the harbour, and the deficiency of fortifications on the land side was made good before the allies could take
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advantage of it . The construction of earthworks and redoubts was carried on with extreme rapidity, and to these was transferred, in
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great
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part, the artillery that had belonged to the fleet . It was in the ceaseless improvisation of defensive
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works and offensive counterworks to meet every changing phase of the enemy's attack that Todleben's
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peculiar power and originality showed itself . He never commanded a large army in the open field, nor was he the creator of a great permanent
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system of defence like
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Vauban . But he may justly be called the originator of the idea that a fortress is to be considered, not as a walled
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town but as an entrenched position, intimately connected with the offensive and defensive capacities of an army and as susceptible of alteration as the formation of troops in
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battle or manoeuvre .

Until the 2oth of

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June 1855 he conducted the operations of defence at Sevastopol in person; he was then wounded in the
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foot, and at the operations which immediately preceded the fall of the fortress he was not
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present . In the course of the siege he had risen from the rank of
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lieutenant-colonel to that of lieutenant-general, and had also been made aide-de-camp to the
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tsar . When he recovered he was employed in strengthening the fortifications at the mouth of the
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Dnieper, and also those of Cronstadt . In 1856 he visited England, where his merits were well understood . In 1860 he was appointed assistant to the
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grand-duke Nicholas, and he became subsequently chief of the department of engineers with the full rank of general . He was given no command when war with Turkey began in 1877 . It was not until after the early reverses before Plevna (q.v.) that the soldier of Sevastopol was called to the front . Todleben saw that it would be necessary to draw works round Osman
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Pasha, and cut him off from communication with the other
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Turkish commanders . In due time Plevna fell . Todleben then undertook the siege of the Bulgarian fortresses . After the conclusion of preliminaries of peace, he was placed in command of the whole Russian army . When the war was over he became governor of
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Odessa and hereditary count .

But his '

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health was broken, though for some time after 188o he held the
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post of governor of Vilna, and after much suffering he died at
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Bad Soden near
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Frankfort-on-Main, on the 1st of
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July 1884 . His great
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work on the defence of Sevastopol appeared in Russian, French and German (5 vols . 1864-1872) . Besides this, he wrote a letter to General Brialmont on the operations around Plevna; this was printed in the Russian engineer journal, and in German in the Archie fur preussische Artillerie-offiziere (1878) . See Brialmont, Le General comte Todleben (Brussels, 1884) ; Rieger, " Todleben u. seines Wirkens Bedeutung fur die Kriegskunst der Zukunft " (in Mittheilungen fiber Gegenstande
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des Artillerie- and Geniewesens, Vienna, 1885) ; Witzleben, in Internationale Revue uber die gesammten Armeen and Flotten (1879); Schroder, in Archiv fur Artillerie- and Ingenieur-Offiziere (Berlin, 1888) ;
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Life by Schilder (in Russian, St Petersburg, 1885–1887) ; Krahmer, General-Adjutant Graf Todleben (Berlin, 1888) .

End of Article: TODLEBEN (or TOTLEBEN), FRANZ EDUARD IVANOVICH, COUNT (1818-1884)
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