37/40 Manteuffel 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 from Kurssell Fusiliers (2 coys) and Kreytzen Fusiliers (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 37/40 counting four companies.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since June 25 1756: Major P. A. von Manteuffel (replaced from November 22 1757, during his recovery from a wound received at Breslau, by Captain von Leipziger)
- from April 23 1759: Lieutenant-Colonel Primislau Ulrich von Kleist
Service during the War
In 1756, this converged grenadier battalion first assembled in August in Frankenstein in Silesia. It then formed part of the Army of Silesia under Field-Marshal von Schwerin who, from September to November conducted operations in Eastern Bohemia
On May 14 1757, during the invasion of Bohemia, the battalion was involved in a victorious engagement west of Kolin. On June 17, the battalion was left behind at Kaurzim (present-day Kouřim) to guard the baggage of the army while Frederick II prepared to attack the Austrians at Kolin the next day. 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 village of Moys, in front of the Prussian right wing, at the beginning of the combat. On November 22, the battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Kleist's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Brandes. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the battalion was deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank. At the end of the battle, the battalion followed Frederick II to capture the bridge at Lissa intact.
In the spring of 1758, the battalion took part in the invasion of Moravia. By May 20, it was part of a corps (7 bns, 3 sqns) under Margrave Karl, in a camp near Mährisch Neustadt (present-day Uničov) covering the Siege of Olmütz. In the night of June 28 to 29, II. Standing Grenadier Battalion (Unruh) and Grenadier Battalion 37/40 Manteuffel, formerly posted at Bistrowan, were sent to reinforce the Prussian supply convoy arriving from Troppau. The battalion then took part in the Combat of Domstadl, barely escaping capture and returning to Bistrowan. On October 14, the battalion took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in an advanced position of the left flank in the village of Niethen.
From February 24 to March 4 1759, the battalion was part of the small Prussian Corps under the command of Major-General von Wobersnow who made an incursion in Poland against the Russian magazines. During this incursion, Wobersnow's forces destroyed food supply which would have fed 50,000 men for 3 months. On November 20, the battalion took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Mosel's Brigade. When Daun launched his attack at 3:00 p.m., the battalion was soon surrounded but was saved by a charge of the Converged Grenadier Battalion 4/16 Willemey. However, completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.
In December 1761, the battalion was part of a Prussian force who vainly tried to come to the relief of Colberg and, on December 12, was defeated in the Combat of Spie and forced to retire towards Brandenburg. The battalion finally took its winter-quarters in Lusatia in General Thadden's Corps.
During the winter of 1761-62, the battalion was temporarily converged with Grenadier Battalion 21/27 while it was being reconstituted.
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.
|Kurssell Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; red (Scharlachrot) headband with a white/red braid and brass ornaments; red backing with a similar braid; white within red pompom||Kreytzen Fusiliers: mitre with silver-plated front plate; rose headband with a white braid and silver-plated ornaments; rose backing with a white/rose braid; rose within white within rose pompom
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.
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
Fiedler, Siegfried: Grenadiermuetzen der Armee Friedrichs des Grossen, Schild Verlag GmbH, Munich, 1981
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 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.