4/16 Polentz 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 von Kalnein (2 coys) and Graf zu Dohna (2 coys) infantry regiments were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 4/16 counting four companies.
From November 21 1759 (after its capture at Maxen) to the beginning of 1762, this grenadier battalion was converged with the "Standing" Grenadier Battalion III. (41/44).
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since June 25 1756: Major J. F. von Polentz (died on September 7 1757 from his wounds at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf)
- from September 7 1757: Major Erdmann Gottlieb von Kleist (died on August 27 1758 from his wounds at the Battle of Zorndorf
- from August 27 1758: Major K. L. von Willemey
- from November 21 1759: von Beneckendorff of the Grenadier Battalion 41/44
- from the beginning of 1762: Major K. F. F. von Thielau
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion was first assembled in the first days of February 1757. Later the same year, it was attached to Lehwaldt's Army initially assigned to the defence of East Prussia against a Russian invasion. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under the Count zu Dohna. On November 22, the battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Wietersheim'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 refused right flank protecting the Prussian infantry.
On August 25 1758, the battalion fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the vanguard led by Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel.
On September 8 1759, the battalion took part in the Combat of Zinna where it was deployed on the right wing. At about 2:00 p.m., the battalion along with the I./Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch stormed the Ratsweinberg at the point of the bayonet, driving back the Grenzer light troops and the Austro-Imperial grenadiers from the gardens they occupied. On September 21, the battalion took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing under Major-General Wunsch. On November 20, the battalion took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Rebentisch's Brigade. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.
In December 1761, the battalion formed part of the Prussian corps who tried to break the Siege of Colberg. On December 12, this corps was defeated by the Russians at the 1761-12-12 - Combat of Spie where the battalion was deployed in the right column under the command of Prince Eugen von Württemberg. At the end of December, the battalion took its winter-quarters in Lusatia with General Thadden's Corps.
In 1762, the battalion took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.
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.
|von Kalnein: mitre with polished brass front plate, red headband with brass ornaments, lemon yellow backing with red piping edged royal blue, pompom was royal blue with a red ring||Graf zu Dohna: mitre with polished brass front plate, red headband with white, red and black piping and decorated with brass grenades and ornaments, straw back with white, red and black piping, red with white with black dots pompom
Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
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.