Michael Melas

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Melas, Michael


Born May 12, 1729, in Radeln, near Schässburg, now Sighisoara; died May 31, 1806, in Elbeteinitz, Bohemia. Baron; Austrian lieutenant field marshal (1796).

Melas began his service in the Seven Years’ War (1756–63) as adjutant to Field Marshal L. Daun. He participated from 1796 in the wars of the first anti-French coalition in Italy and was appointed in 1799 commander of the Austrian troops in Italy in the allied army under the command of A. V. Suvorov. After the Russian troops left for Switzerland, he commanded the Austrian troops in Italy. Defeated by Napoleon Bonaparte at Marengo in 1800, Melas then commanded troops in Bohemia. In 1806 he was chairman of the Hofkriegsrat (the court war council). Melas proved to be an incompetent and indecisive military commander.