Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1

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Origin and History

This Grenzinfanterieregiment (Frontier Infantry Regiment) was raised in 1746 by the Banus (honorary title of the governor of Croatia) Carl Joseph Fürst von Batthyányi in the Banat frontier region in present-day Romania. The regiment was then known as the “Grenzinfanterieregiment Carl Joseph Fürst von Batthyányi ,1. Banal-Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment” and consisted of two companies of grenadiers of 120 men each, and of four battalions, each counting four companies of fusiliers of 240 men each, for a total strength of 4080 men.1

The successive Banus of Croatia assumed the charge of Chef of the regiment.2

In 1751, the regiment was slightly reorganised and then consisted of two companies of grenadiers and four battalions, each counting five companies of fusiliers of 200 men.3

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 20 fusilier coys) for a total of 3,000 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 depot battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

Accordingly, by 1756, the regiment really consisted of two companies of grenadiers, twelve companies of fusiliers and four Landesdefensions (depot) companies. In addition, there were two companies of sharpshooters and two artillery companies. A company counted about 100 men.4

In wartime, the companies of grenadiers were detached from the regiment and converged into a Grenadier Corps (ad hoc battalions). However, these converged battalions seem to have been employed mostly as elite light troops. Only in some extreme cases would they fight among the elite line infantry battalions.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years War, the regiment was organised as follows:

  • Regimental Staff
  • I. Battalion
    • Battalion Staff
    • 1. Grenadier Company
    • 1. Fusilier Company
    • 2. Fusilier Company
    • 3. Fusilier Company
    • 4. Fusilier Company
    • 5. Fusilier Company
    • 6. Fusilier Company
    • 1. Sharpshooter Company
  • II. Battalion
    • Battalion Staff
    • 2. Grenadier Company
    • 7. Fusilier Company
    • 8. Fusilier Company
    • 9. Fusilier Company
    • 10. Fusilier Company
    • 11. Fusilier Company
    • 12. Fusilier Company
    • 2. Sharpshooter Company
  • III. Battalion (Depot)
    • Battalion Staff
    • 13. Fusilier Company
    • 14. Fusilier Company
    • 15. Fusilier Company
    • 16. Fusilier Company

Tactically a Grenz-Husar squadron was assigned to a foot battalion of the same Generalate.5

The regiment recruited in the south-western region of Banat, in the Capitanat of Glina (in present-day Croatia).6 Its regimental staff was located in Glina, its garrison place.7

During the Seven Years' War, the Chefs of the regiment were:

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • since 1753: Christoph Count Orsich
  • from 1756: Johann Baron von Zedtwitz
  • from 1762: Friedrich Görlichich

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 69".

Service during the War8

In 1756, one battalion of the regiment joined the Austrian Reserve Corps led by Count Draskovic in Bohemia. By the end of September, this battalion had joined Field-marshal Browne's Army at Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří). On October 1, during the Prussian invasion of Saxony, this battalion took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was attached to Draskovic's Reserve.

In April 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the regiment was initially attached to Draskovic's Corps. On April 23, this corps was driven out of Aussig by General Zastrow. On May 1, the regiment was left as garrison in Prague. On May 6, it did not take part in the Battle of Prague. On September 7, the regiment was also present at the Combat of Moys. In October and November, both battalions distinguished themselves in the capture of Schweidnitz. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was attached to Nádasdy's Corps.

On April 19 1758, the regiment, under Colonel Johann Baron von Zedtwitz steadfastly defended the post of Reinerz against the Prince of Brunswick, however, it finally had to retire in front of superior Prussian forces. In May, the regiment pursued the cavalry covering Fouqué's retreat towards Glatz. The regiment later took part in the blockade of Neisse.

In 1759, the regiment served in Saxony. By mid August 1759, it was attached to Beck's Corps posted on the Lusatian border. On August 17, it took part in the capture of Grüneberg. On September 2, it was at the Combat of Sorau. By October 1, a battalion was encamped at Tannenberg as part of Brentano's Corps. On December 3 and 4, a detachment of the regiment formed part of Beck's Corps who attacked an isolated Prussian force and captured part of it at the Combat of Meissen. The same year, commander of the regiment, Colonel Johann Baron von Zedtwitz received the Maria-Theresien-Orden in recognition of his earlier achievements.

On February 21 1760, during the Austrian campaign in Saxony, the regiment, attached to Beck's Corps, took part in the attack on Czettritz's Corps at Cosdorf. In July, it participated in the defence of Dresden. On July 19, it captured 2 guns from the the retreating corps of the Duke of Holstein. On August 13, it made an incursion on the right bank of the Elbe. On August 20, part of the regiment fought in the Combat of Strehla. On August 26, it also took part in an attack on Hülsen's positions where its grenadier-company along with Hadik Hussars cut the communication of Hülsen with Torgau. In this action, the Prussians lost their pontoon-bridge and were forced to retire. On September 29, part of the regiment drove back a party of 150 Prussians occupying a bridgehead across the Elbe near Prettau and Wittenberg. On October 2, the regiment served with distinction in the Combat of Jessen. On October 31, a battalion of the regiment covered the retreat from Leipzig. Lieutenant-colonel Rauch, Major Gerliczy and Captain Gabriel von Dessewffy distinguished themselves during this campaign.

In 1761 and1762, the regiment initially served in Saxony and then in Silesia without taking part in any major combat.

Notable names

Batthyányi, Carl Joseph Fürst von9 Fieldmarshal10

Dessewffy, Gabriel von11 Captain12

Gerliczy,13 Major14

Görlichich, Friedrich15 Colonel16

Nádasdy auf Fogaras, Franz Leopold Count von17 Generalfeldwachtmeister and General of Cavalry18

Orsich, Christoph Count19 Colonel20

Rauch,21 Lieutenant-colonel22

Zedtwitz, Johann Baron von23 Colonel24

Uniform

Privates

Uniform during the Seven Years War - Source: Richard Couture from a template by David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details in 1762
as per the Albertina Handschrift of 1762

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Fusilier black felt shako with a black within white cockade
Grenadier bearskin
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue edged yellow with 3 rows of small yellow buttons and with 19 yellow braids
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs red pointed cuffs edged yellow without button
Dolman red edged yellow with 3 rows of small yellow buttons and 19 yellow braids
Cape red
Trousers red Hungarian trousers decorated with an intricate yellow lace
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt dark blue and red barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a large overhanging cover
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings ???
Scabbard black with iron fittings
Footgear short black boots


Privates often wore a mustache.

Privates were armed with a slightly curved 58 cm long brass hilted sabre25 with a white knot and a cord of a different colour for each company; a Model 1754 musket (151 cm long, 112 cm long barrel, 18,3 mm calibre, 4,9 kg); and a bayonet ???. Each trooper carried 36 musket balls and 6 shrapnel bullets.26 Privates also carried a haversack and a canteen. Additional ammunition and kettles were transported in the wagons of each company.

Other interpretations

Raspe illustrates a rather different uniform:

  • a dark blue coat edged and braided pink
  • pink pointed cuffs
  • red dolman with pink braids
  • dark blue trousers with pink lace

Finally, the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762 illustrates a totally different unifom:

  • red coat, dolman and trousers apparantly decorated with golden edging and braids
  • yellow pointed cuffs
  • yellow barrel-sash

NCOs

no information available

Officers

Officers wore uniforms very similar to those of the privates but were distinguished by a black tricorne laced gold.

Officers wore a black and gold sash or a gold sash with tassels at the waist, over the dolman and under the coat. The black and gold sash could be made of strictly separated layers and then intertwined in knots or in a kind of knitwear; while the entirely gold sash was made of heavy knit of fine shiny silk.27

Musicians

no information available

Colours

When the Grenzer Regiments where formed they adopted the yellow 1745 pattern flag, with the black Doppeladler carrying the Imperial shield and edged in black/red/yellow/white flames, which measured 1.8m x 1.4m. The senior company carried a white Leibfahne displaying the Madonna and Christ on the obverse.

From 1756 each battalion carried two yellow Ordinarfahnen, except the first battalion which carried a white Leibfahne and one Ordinarfahne.

However, it seems unlikely that any were carried in the field

Footnotes

1. Ref. Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1. Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986, p. 54, Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 2. Namen und Inhaber der Regimenter aller europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime. Eine Materialsammlung zu den einzelnen Regimentern in alphabetischer Folge, untergliedert nach Territorien, Osnabrück 1993, Kaiser und Reich Nr.2, Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 3. Namensregister der deutschen Regimentsinhaber und Namensregister der Regimenter mit Orts- und Ländernamen aus ganz Europa, Osnabrück 1995, p. 18, Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898-1905, Vol. V, pp. 219, 292 and Kornauth, Friedrich: Das Heer Maria Theresias. Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift „Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I. I. et R. R. de l´année 1762“, Wien 1973, p. 96.

2. Ref. Kornauth, p. 96

3. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 214

4. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92

5. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92

6. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, pp. 219, 292 and Kornauth, p. 96

7. Ref. Kornauth, p. 96

8. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293 and Kornauth, p. 96

9. Ref. Tessin, Part 2, Kaiser und Reich No. 2, Tessin, Part 3, p. 18 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 292

10. Ref. Tessin, Part 3, p. 18 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 292

11. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

12. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

13. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

14. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

15. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293 and Kornauth, p. 96

16. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293 and Kornauth, p. 96

17. Ref. Tessin, Part 2, Kaiser und Reich Nr.17, Tessin, Part 3, p. 225 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 292

18. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 292

19. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

20. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

21. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

22. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293

23. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293 and Kornauth, p. 96

24. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 293 and Kornauth, p. 96

25. Ref. Kornauth, p. 26

26. Ref. Kornauth, p. 25f

27. Ref. Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Part II.), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. Jahrgang 1987, pp. 66-72, 69

References

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Part II), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. 1987, pp. 66-72.

Kornauth, Friedrich: Das Heer Maria Theresias. Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift „Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I. I. et R. R. de l´année 1762“, Wien 1973.

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 73

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1 Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986.

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 2 Namen und Inhaber der Regimenter aller europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime. Eine Materialsammlung zu den einzelnen Regimentern in alphabetischer Folge, untergliedert nach Territorien, Osnabrück 1993.

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 3 Namensregister der deutschen Regimentsinhaber und Namensregister der Regimenter mit Orts- und Ländernamen aus ganz Europa, Osnabrück 1995.

Thümmler, Lars-Holger: Die Österreichische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg. Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993.

Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 402-488

Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898-1905.

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

Acknowledgments

Mathias Kussmann for the initial version of this article