Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher (1742–1819) was a Prussian field marshal who led his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, alongside the Duke of Wellington. Nicknamed “Marschall Vorwärts” (“Marshal Forwards!”) because of his rather gung-ho approach to warfare, there’s now an idiom in German – “ran wie Blücher” (“on it like Blücher”) – meaning someone’s taking direct and aggressive action. On one occasion when he was forced to surrender because supplies hadn’t got through to his troops, he had it written into the terms of the capitulation agreement that the only reason his men had stopped fighting was that they’d run out of provisions and ammunition.
As well as being a brilliant commander, he’s remembered for the eccentricities of later life. He became slightly mad, and was said to be under the impression that he was pregnant with an elephant which had been fathered on him by a French infantryman. He was also so suspicious that there were conspiracies everywhere that he used to walk around his room on tiptoes, convinced that the French had heated the floor to a temperature greater than human flesh could endure.