41/44 Gemmingen 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 Graf von Wied zu Neuwied Fusilier (2 coys) and Jungkenn Müntzer Fusiliers (2 coys) infantry regiments were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 41/44 counting four companies.
From September 12 to the end of October 1757, the battalion was temporarily converged with Grenadier Battalion 45/G-XIII/G-IX von Unruh.
After the Battle of Maxen, on November 20 1759 where the battalion was captured, 2 new companies were raised and temporarily converged with Grenadier battalion 4/16 until Winter 1761-62 when the battalion was re-established at full strength.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since 1756: Lieutenant-Colonel E. von Gemmingen (died on July 6 1757)
- from August 9 1757: Major Johann Friedrich von Benckendorff (wounded at the combat of Moys on September 7 1757)
- Captain von Wallenrodt as interim commander during Benckendorff's convalescence
Service during the War
On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the battalion was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On September 12, the battalion occupied the Castle of Gross-Cotta. On September 18, Ferdinand threw the Grenadier Battalion Kleist and the III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen into the town of Aussig. By September 21, the battalion was part of Keith's Army of Observation posted near Aussig. On Thursday September 30, Frederick also gave orders to Lieutenant-Colonel Kleist (II./Zastrow and III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen) to prevent any attack from the direction of Aussig where the heavy baggage was sent. By October 21, Keith's Army was still in its camp at Lobositz with various outposts. The battalion was in Aussig.
In 1757, the battalion took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On Wednesday May 4, it left Keith's Corps to protect the field bakery at Welwarn near Prague. It later accompanied the King's Corps to the right bank of the Moldau. On June 18, the battalion took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under the Duke of Bevern. 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 on the Jäkelsberg in front of the Prussian right wing and was the target of the initial assault. From September 12 to the end of October (some sources mention that they were combined until 1758), the battalion was temporarily converged with Grenadier Battalion 45/G-XIII/G-IX von Unruh with Unruh acting as effective commander of the combined battalions.
In the Spring of 1758, the battalion took part in the invasion of Moravia and in the unsuccessful Siege of Olmütz. On October 14 in Saxony, the battalion took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed en potence in the first line of the infantry right wing, to the right of Hochkirch. It was among the 3 grenadier battalions who tried to oppose Daun's first attack. The battalion suffered heavy losses, being charged by Loudon's squadrons while retreating.
On November 20 1759, 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. After its capture at Maxen, 2 new companies were raised and temporarily converged with Grenadier battalion 4/16 until Winter 1761-62 when the battalion was re-established at full strength.
On December 12 1762, during the unsuccessful attempt to resupply the Fortress of Colberg, the battalion took part in the Combat of Spie. The battalion took its winter-quarters in Lusatia as part of Thadden's Corps.
From August to October 1762, the battalion took part in the Siege and recapture of Schweidnitz. During this siege on August 16, it fought in the Battle of Reichenbach where an Austrian relief army was repulsed.
The grenadiers wore the uniform of their respective regiments. For details about these uniforms, please refer to the articles related to regiments Graf von Wied zu Neuwied Fusilier and von Jungkenn Müntzer Fusiliers.
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.
|Graf von Wied zu Neuwied Fusilier: mitre with polished brass front plate; red headband with a white/red/white braid and brass ornaments; red backing with white/red/white braid; red within white within red pompom||von Jungkenn Müntzer Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; red headband with a black/sky blue/black braid and brass ornaments; straw backing with black/sky blue/black braid; sky blue within black pompom|
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, App. 1 and 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.