15/18 Bülow Grenadiers

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> 15/18 Bülow Grenadiers

Origin and History

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, Frederick II converged the grenadier companies of his infantry into elite battalions. Thus the grenadiers of the wing companies from II. and III. Garde Bataillon (2 coys) and Prinz von Preußen Infantry (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 15/18 counting four companies.

In 1760, after the Battle of Torgau, this grenadier battalion was converged with Grenadier Battalion 3/6.

During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:

  • since June 27 1756: Lieutenant-Colonel D. G. von Bülow (died on July 8 1757 from wounds received at the battle of Prague on May 6 1757)
  • from July 23 1757: Major Primislaus Ulrich von Kleist
  • from October 1758: Lieutenant-Colonel Count Wilhelm von Anhalt (killed in action at the Battle of Torgau on November 3 1760)

N.B.: from November 3 1760, the battalion retained the name of Anhalt under succeeding commanders

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when a Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the battalion was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Keith's Corps. The centre column had concentrated at Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. In October, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the battalion accompanied Frederick to Lobositz to bring back Keith's army to the area of Dresden. On October 22, it was part of the 10 battalions of Frederick's force who left Lobositz for Linai.

In April 1757, the battalion took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it did not take part in the Battle of Prague, being rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's corps. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the battalion was deployed in the first line of the right wing.

In the Spring of 1758, the battalion took part in the invasion of Moravia. On May 1, the battalion was left behind at Troppau to keep communications opened with Silesia. On June 8, it reinforced Mayr's Corps posted on the left bank of the March River. However, on June 10, the battalion was sent back to Troppau. On October 14, the battalion took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in Manteuffel's Corps, en potence towards Lauske, on the extreme left flank of the Prussian positions. Around 8:00 a.m., it stopped the advanced of Arenberg's columns who were trying to move across the defile of Koditz. However, the battalion along with its commander was finally overwhelmed and forced to surrender. The battalion was later re-established after an exchange of prisoners.

On August 15 1760, the battalion took part in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing in Stutterheim's Brigade. On September 17, it was present at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf where it formed part of the rearguard. On November 3, it fought in the bloody Battle of Torgau where it belonged to the first column of Frederick's Army.

In August 1761, the battalion was part of Frederick's Army who encamped in the entrenched camp of Bunzelwitz (present-day Bolesławice) near Schweidnitz in Lower Silesia.

On July 21 1762, the battalion took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf where it was attached to the vanguard. On August 16, it took part in the Battle of Reichenbach. It was also at the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.

Uniform

The grenadiers wore the uniform of their own regiments. For details about these uniforms, please refer to the articles related to regiments II. and III. Garde Bataillon and Prinz von Preußen.

N.B.: For NCOs of the grenadier companies, the long pike (4,10 m long) was introduced in 1756 just before the war. This long pike was not very popular and was often shortened. At the beginning of the Seven Years' War and throughout the conflict, NCOs carried a mixture of M1713 (2,37 m long), M1755 (3 m long) and M1756 (4,10 m long) pikes.

Mitre Caps

II. and III. Garde Bataillon (wing companies): mitre with silver plated front plate, silver plated headband decorated with grenades, red back with silver piping, red within white pompom

Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

In regiments with white metal, the front plates were to be coloured with a water-based silver paste which needed to be re-applied regularly lest the cap plates revert to their original brass colour. Therefore, during campaign, particularly in bad weather, it is possible that the silvering could have worn off and needed to be silvered again.

Prinz von Preußen: mitre with silver plated front plate decorated with a black eagle; rose headband with white braid and decorated with silver plated ornaments; rose backing with white braid, green within rose within white pompom

Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

In regiments with white metal, the front plates were to be coloured with a water-based silver paste which needed to be re-applied regularly lest the cap plates revert to their original brass colour. Therefore, during campaign, particularly in bad weather, it is possible that the silvering could have worn off and needed to be silvered again.

II. and III./IR15 Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
IR18 Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren

Colours

The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

Fiedler, Siegfried: Grenadiermuetzen der Armee Friedrichs des Grossen, Schild Verlag GmbH, Munich, 1981

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, App. 2

Riehn, R.: Linear Tactics Part III - Grenadier Battalions 1756-1763, The Courier Volume 2 No. 6, May-June 1981

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt: 1989, pp. 30-32

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.