Claus von Ahlefeldt
|Born||September 2, 1614|
Schloss Gelting, Nieharde, Duchy of Holstein
|Died||15 January 1674(aged 59)|
|Allegiance|| Holy Roman Empire|
|Years of service||1630?-1634|
|Commands held||Commander-in-chief Norway|
|Awards||Order of the Elephant|
Order of the Dannebrog
Claus von Ahlefeldt, born 1614, dead 1674, was a member of the Ahlefeldt noble family of Holstein, who married the King of Denmark's natural daughter, and rose to become a field marshal in Danish service.
Ahlefeldt began his military career by serving as a page and an officer in Imperial service, and as an officer in Wallenstein's army. He later became a groom of the bedchamber to King Christian IV of Denmark. His first wife having died, he was in 1643 betrothed to the King's natural daughter with Vibeke Kruse, Elisabeth Sofie Gyldenløve, although she was only ten; they finally married five years later.
When the war with Sweden began in 1643, Ahlefeldt became first a lieutenant colonel, and soon enough a major general, of cavalry. After the death of Christian IV, he was persecuted by Corfitz Ulfeldt, who had him dismissed from his posts and sent to Glückstadt as commandant. Ahlefeldt supported Frederick III in his struggle with Ulfeldt, and became generalfeldwachtmeister in 1653. In 1659, Ahlefeldt by now a lieutenant general, successfully defended the western front of Copenhagen against desperate Swedish attacks during the siege of Copenhagen. He then commanded all Danish forces in Jutland, and took Frederiksodde from the Swedes. In 1660 Ahlefeldt became commander-in-chief of Norway, as well as amtmann of Bergenhus len. As such he commanded the Danish forces during the Battle of Vågen, having refused the bribes offered him by the English. During the reign of Christian V, he had the rank, but not the command, of a field-marshal, and was in practice retired to the governorship of Nyborg Slot, and the amtmannship of Nyborg amt.
Ahlefeldt was married three times. His first wife, Catharina von Qualen, died in 1639. His second wife, the King's daughter, died in 1654. With her he had a daughter. With his third wife, Anna Hedwig Buchwald, he had five children that reached adult age. He managed his many estates wisely, and acquired great wealth.