Dead as a Dodo

Dodo von Knyphausen

11 January 1636

On this day three hundred and seventy-seven years ago, Field Marshal Dodo von Knyphausen was killed in a minor engagement of Swedish regiment and Imperial troops little known to history as the Battle of Haselünne. While issuing orders to his troops, he was shot by a stray ball and fell from his horse, "dead as a dodo" at the age of fifty-two.
He had played a historically significant part in the Thirty Years War fought by most of the countries of Europe (it was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history). Although he was a German professional soldier from Lütetsburg, East Frisia he rose to his high rank as a reward for his remarkable service to the Swedes at the Battle of Lützen. Royal secretary Philipp Sattler wrote that Knyphausen had contributed greatly to the final victory, having "done the most to sustain the wavering battleline". Also, he raised several German regiments for the Swedish crown. Because of these well-regarded contributions, he was transferred from the Ems country on a ship and buried in copper splendour.

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