General Laudon came from a poor noble family, which originated in Scotland and settled in Livonia, in what is now Latvia. When he was fifteen he became a soldier in the Tsar’s Army, during which time he also fought the Crimean Tartars. He served several rulers until he finally swore loyalty to the Habsburgs. He was exceptionally capable and during the Seven Years’ War (1756 – 1763) he was promoted from lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general and then field marshal over a period of four years. He was respected by his soldiers and ordinary people alike. At the end of his successful career Emperor Leopold II. appointed him generalissimo of the army.