MASSENBACH, CHRISTIAN KARL AUGUST LUDWIG VON (1758-1827), Prussian soldier, was born at Schmalkalden (1758), and educated at Heilbronn and Stuttgart, devoting himself chiefly to mathematics. He became an officer of the Wurttemberg army in 1778, and left this for the service of Frederick the Great in 1782. After serving through the campaigns of 1793 and 1794 as a staff officer he published a number of memoirs on the military history of these years. He was chiefly occupied however with schemes for the reorganization of the then neglected general staff of the Prussian army, and many of his proposals were accepted. Bronsart von Schellendorf in his Duties of the General Staff says that "the organization which he proposed and in the main carried out survived even the catastro phes of 1806-1807, and exists even at the present moment in its original outline." In 1805 came threats of the war with Napoleon, which Massen bach had strongly opposed. He was made quartermaster-general (chief of staff) to Prince Hohenlohe, over whom he soon obtained a fatal ascendancy. War was averted for a moment by the result of the battle of Austerlitz, but it broke out in earnest in October 1805. Massenbach's influence clouded all the Prussian operations.
The battles of Jena and Auerstadt were lost, and the capitulation of Prince Hohenlohe's army was negotiated. Even suggestions of disloyalty were not wanting. He retired to his estate in the Posen province, and occupied himself in writing pamphlets, memoirs, etc. When his estates passed into the grand duchy of Warsaw, he chose to remain a Prussian subject, and on the outbreak of the war of liberation he asked in vain for a post on the Prussian staff. After the fall of Napoleon he took part in Wiirttemberg politics, was expelled from Stuttgart and Heidelberg, and soon afterwards arrested at Frankfurt, delivered over to the Prussian authorities and condemned to fourteen years' fortress imprisonment for his alleged publication of state secrets in his memoirs. He was re leased in 1826. He died on Nov. 21, 1827, at his estate of Bialo koscz, Posen.
See a life by L. G. von Knesebeck (1924).