1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Finck, Friedrich August von

FINCK, FRIEDRICH AUGUST VON (1718–1766), Prussian soldier, was born at Strelitz in 1718. He first saw active service in 1734 on the Rhine, as a member of the suite of Duke Anton Ulrich of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Soon after this he transferred to the Austrian service, and thence went to Russia, where he served until the fall of his patron Marshal Münnich put an end to his prospects of advancement. In 1742 he went to Berlin, and Frederick the Great made him his aide-de-camp, with the rank of major. Good service brought him rapid promotion in the Seven Years’ War. After the battle of Kolin (June 18th, 1757) he was made colonel, and at the end of 1757 major-general. At the beginning of 1759 Finck became lieutenant-general, and in this rank commanded a corps at the disastrous battle of Kunersdorf, where he did good service both on the field of battle and (Frederick having in despair handed over to him the command) in the rallying of the beaten Prussians. Later in the year he fought in concert with General Wunsch a widespread combat, called the action of Korbitz (Sept. 21st) in which the Austrians and the contingents of the minor states of the Empire were sharply defeated. For this action Frederick gave Finck the Black Eagle (Seyfarth, Beilagen, ii. 621–630). But the subsequent catastrophe of Maxen (see Seven Years’ War) abruptly put an end to Finck’s active career. Dangerously exposed, and with inadequate forces, Finck received the king’s positive order to march upon Maxen (a village in the Pirna region of Saxony). Unfortunately for himself the general dared not disobey his master, and, cut off by greatly superior numbers, was forced to surrender with some 11,000 men (21st Nov. 1759). After the peace, Frederick sent him before a court-martial, which sentenced him to be cashiered and to suffer a term of imprisonment in a fortress. At the expiry of this term Finck entered the Danish service as general of infantry. He died at Copenhagen in 1766.

He left a work called Gedanken über militärische Gegenstände (Berlin, 1788). See Denkwürdigkeiten der militärischen Gesellschaft, vol. ii. (Berlin, 1802–1805), and the report of the Finck court-martial in Zeitschrift für Kunst, Wissenschaft und Geschichte des Krieges, pt. 81 (Berlin, 1851). There is a life of Finck in MS. in the library of the Great General Staff.