54/56 Köller Grenadiers
Origin and History
In October 1756, after the Prussian invasion of Saxony and the surrender of the Saxon Army at Pirna, Frederick II forcibly incorporated the Saxon regiments into his army. Each Saxon infantry regiment remained intact but received new uniforms and new commanders, and was designated as a fusilier regiment. In the spring of 1757, the grenadier companies of these fusilier regiments were converged into elite battalions. Thus the grenadiers from Saldern Fusiliers (2 coys) and Loen Fusiliers (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion S-54/S-56 counting four companies.
During its existence with the Prussian Army, the battalion was commanded by:
- since October 22 1756: Major von Köller
- around 1761: Friedrich Aleksander von Rothkirch
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion first assembled on March 27 1757 in Berlin on its march towards Stettin where it joined the small force under Manteuffel to contain the Swedish invasion of Pomerania. In mid-September, the Swedes took Demmin and Anklam and advanced upon the Island of Usedom. In mid-November, with the return of the Prussian army of Lehwaldt, the Swedes retreated from Prussian-Pomerania, redeploying behind the Peene and, in December, to Stralsund. By the end of the year, this battalion was the only Saxon grenadier battalion still in the Prussian service.
In January 1761, the battalion was part of Lieutenant-Colonel Courbières' covering corps in Pomerania, stretching from the Wipper river (present-day Wieprza river) through Rügenwalde (present-day Darłowo), Bublitz (present-day Bobolice) to Bärwalde (pesent-day Barwice) and Draheim (present-day Drahim). It then took part in the campaign in Pomerania. On October 22, the battalion fought against the Russians in the Combat of Gollnow.
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.
Saldern Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; white headband with an orange braid and polished brass ornaments, white backing with a similar braid, orange pompom
Loen Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; light straw headband with a green braid and brass ornaments, light straw backing with a similar braid, green pompom
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 125, App. 2