Kleber's first taste of military life came in the Bavarian army
but, in 1789, the lack of promotional opportunity saw him go back
to his native Alsace and join the National Guard in time for the
years later he was a lieutenant-colonel and, after heroics at Mainz
in 1793, he was promoted to general of brigade.
same year he served against rebels in La Vendee and drew more attention
with his performances there.
1794 he took command of a division and fought at Fleurus. Kleber
soon became angry at not being given similar acclaim as his peers
- generals Hoche, Moreau and Pichegru
- and rejected further offers of command.
belief in the ability of Napoleon
Bonaparte swung him back into the fold when the young general
asked him to join the expedition to Egypt
shone during the campaign fighting well at Alexandria, El Arish,
Jaffa, Acre and in independent command
at Mt Tabor, where he held off vastly
the honour of taking command of all French forces when Bonaparte
returned to France, Kleber held together his isolated troops in
the face of an increasingly hostile native population and a large
won a key action at Heliopolis, retook Cairo but, when on the verge
of stabilising the situation, was assassinated by a knife-wielding