He was born in Haapsalu, the son of Reinhold Wrangel, father of Georg Gustaf Wrangel af Adinal, and nephew of Didrik Wrangel af Adinal. Wrangel entered military service at the age of 15 and participated in several of the Charles XII's campaigns during the Great Northern War, in the process of which he was promoted to captain of Livgardet and Lieutenant Colonel of Skånska ståndsdragonerna, but was captured in 1709 after the battle of Poltava. After returning from captivity in 1722, he was promoted to colonel of Nyland calvalry regiment and in 1727, was made colonel of Tavastehus regiment, 1729 för Nyland dragoon regiment, September 4, 1732 major-general and 1739 colonel of Skaraborgs regemente. The same year, he offered the position of riksråd, but demurred in favour of remaining with the Army.
At the outbreak of the Russo-Swedish War in 1741, he led one of the two divisions of the Swedish Army in Finland, with a strength of 4,000 men. On August 23, 1741, he was ordered by General Henrik Magnus von Buddenbrock to lead his force into battle against General Peter Lacy's more than twice as strong Russian force in order to defend Villmanstrand, without waiting for the arrival von Buddenbrock's division. The numerarily superior Russians won the battle and took Villmarstrand, whereupon Wrangel, who lost his right arm during the battle, was captured.
Upon his return from captivity in 1742, he received precious gifts from the king and the burghers of Stockholm and was made lieutenant-general in 1743 and colonel for Närkes och Värmlands regemente. In 1754, he was promoted to Field Marshal.
During the Dalecarlian Rebellion in 1743, he was assigned the task of dissuading or diverting the march of the Dalecarlians on Stockholm, but despite his popularity he achieved neither. Politically he was a moderate "Cap", but did not participate much in the debates of the Riksdag.
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