Ernst II. Herzog von Sachsen-Altenburg H.
(31.08.1871 - 22.03.1955)
place of birth: Schloss Altenburg, Herzogtum Sachsen-Altenburg
Reign: 07.02.1908 - 13.11.1918
General der Infanterie
final reigning Duke of Saxony-Altenburg, Ernst was the only
son born to Prince Moritz von Sachsen-Altenburg and Princess Augusta.
He took charge of his Duchy upon the death of his uncle Ernst I, who
died in February 1908 without surviving male issue. During the
Great War, Ernst II saw action in France's Somme
Valley region, and also served as commander of the 8th
Infantry Division in 1915 and again in 1916.
As the German Empire marched to War on 2
August 1914, Duke Ernst II. requested and received command of his
Duchy's infantry regiment, IR.153. He was soon promoted to
the rank of General der Infanterie, although he kept a reputation of
wisely subordinating his decision making to the military experience of
lower-ranking officers in his headquarters. His regiment first saw
action at the end of August during the Battle of Mons.
In September, the regiment moved north to fight in support of Sixth
Army during the Battle of Arras. After
briefly replacing the KIA commander of 15th Brigade, Ernst II. took
charge of 16th Brigade on 7 October 1914. After the hostilities at
Arras settled in mid-October, the Duke's troops remained entrenched
there through May 1915. Ernst II. had meanwhile been selected to
command 8th Division in March, but soon requested from the Kaiser to be
relieved of that command in order to take care of other pressing duties
back in Saxen-Altenburg. The Kaiser simultaneously acknowledged the
Duke's military leadership with the presentation of the Pour
The following April 1916, however, Ernst II.
was asked to return to France and once again lead 8th Infantry
Division, which was still entrenched in the Artois region in support of
Sixth Army Headquarters. The division was soon plunged into the Battle
of the River Somme during the summer of 1916. After the
battle died down, however, General der Infanterie Ernst II. took ill
and was forced once again to relinquish his divisional command. As
social unrest reached his Duchy in November 1918, Ernst II. abdicated,
changed his name to Baron von Rieseneck, and eventually settled at an
estate in Trockenborn-Wolfersdorf near Kahla. He was given the legal
right in 1923 to once again carry the title Ernst Herzog von
Sachsen-Altenburg, and in the same year was remarried to the
singer Marie Triebel. By
1935, they had moved into Schloß Fröhliche
Wiederkunft bei Neustadt am Orla. He
also became a member of the NSDAP in 1937. Duke Ernst II. passed away
in 1955 and was interred at Trockenborn-Wolfersdorf.
Ritter (Komtur II:
d.1.GardeR.z.F., Chef d.Sächs.Jäg.B.12 u. àls d.1.SeeBn.