Johan Baner - Encyclopedia


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JOHAN BANER (BANNER, BANIER) (1596-1641), Swedish soldier in the Thirty Years' War, was born at Djursholm Castle on the 23rd of June 1596. Entering the Swedish army, he served with distinction in the wars with Russia and Poland, and had reached high rank when, in 1630, Gustavus Adolphus landed in Germany. As one of the king's chief subordinates, Baner served in the campaign of north Germany, and at the first battle of Breitenfeld he led the right wing of Swedish horse. He was present at the taking of Augsburg and of Munich, and rendered conspicuous service at the Lech and at Donauworth. At the unsuccessful assault on Wallenstein's camp at the Alte Veste Baner received a wound, and, soon afterwards, when Gustavus marched towards Liitzen, his general was left in command in the west, where he was opposed to the imperial general Aldringer. Two years later, as Swedish field-marshal, Baner, with 16,000 men, entered Bohemia, and, combined with the Saxon army, marched on Prague. But the complete defeat of Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar in the first battle of NOrdlingen stopped his victorious advance. After this event the peace of Prague placed the Swedish army in a very precarious position, but the victories won by the united forces of Baner, Wrangel and Torstensson, at Kyritz and Wittstock (4th Oct. 1636), restored the paramount influence of Sweden in central Germany. Even the three combined armies, however, were decidedly inferior in force to those they defeated, and in 1637 Baner was completely unable to make headway against the enemy. Rescuing with great difficulty the beleaguered garrison of Torgau, he retreated beyond the Oder into Pomerania. In 1639, however, he again overran northern Germany, defeated the Saxons at Chemnitz and invaded Bohemia itself. The winter of1640-1641Baner spent in the west. His last achievement was an audacious coup-de-main on the Danube. Breaking camp in mid-winter (a very rare event in the 17th century) he united with the French under the comte de Guebriant and surprised Regensburg, where the diet was sitting. Only the break-up of the ice prevented the capture ' of the place. Bauer thereupon had to retreat to Halberstadt. Here, on the 10th of May 1641, he died, after designating Torstensson as his successor. He was much beloved by his men, who bore his body with them on the field of WOlfenbuttel. Baner was regarded as the best of Gustavus's generals, and tempting offers (which he refused) were made him by the emperor to induce him to enter his service. His son received the dignity of count.

See Baners Bref till Axel Oxenstjerna (Stockholm, 1893); B. P. von Chemnitz, Koniglichen Schwedscher in Deutschland gefiihrten Kriegs; Martin Veibull, Sveriges Storhedsted (Stockholm, 1881); Lundblad, Johan Bane? . (Stockholm, 1823); Ardwisson, Trittioariga Krigets, maerkvaerdigaste personer (Stockholm, 1861).

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