Bentheim Infanterie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Bentheim Infanterie

Origin and History

This German regiment was raised on February 2, 1668 by Guillaume Egon, Landgrave of Fürstemberg. In 1670, this regiment came to France where, on March 27, it was incorporated in the army as a foreign regiment. It consisted of twelve companies under the command of Comte Ferdinand de Fürstemberg, the landgrave’s brother.

In 1670, the regiment campaigned in Lorraine where it contributed to the capture of Épinal.

In 1672, in preparation for the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment was increased to 18 companies. The same year, it took part in the siege of Wesel and Emerich; in 1673, in the siege of Maastricht; in 1674, in the combat of Seneffe. In 1675, the regiment was transferred to Catalonia where it contributed to the capture of Figuières, Girona, Ampurias, Bellegarde and the Castle of La Chapelle. In 1677, it fought in the Battle of Espouilles. In 1678, it took part in the siege of Puigcerdà. After this siege the regiment incorporated the disbanded English Hamilton Infanterie (raised in 1671). It now counted 26 companies. In 1679, the regiment joined the Army of the Rhine and took part in the Battle of Minden.

In 1680, the regiment was reduced to 14 companies. In 1684, it was sent back to Catalonia where it took part in the crossing of the Ter and in the storming of Girona.

In 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment was organised in two battalions. It fought in the Battle of Walcourt. In 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus; in 1691, in the capture of Mons, in 1692, in the siege of Namur and in the Battle of Steenkerque; in 1693, in the Battle of Landen and in the siege of Charleroi; in 1695, in the bombardment of Bruxelles, in 1697, in the covering of the siege of Ath.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment served in Flanders. In 1702, it took part in the affair of Nijmegen. In 1703, it was transferred to the Rhine and took part in the sieges of Alt-Breisach, Landau and Speyer. In 1704, it campaigned in Bavaria and fought in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim where it surrendered (most of the regiment managed to escape). In 1705, the regiment was stationed on the Moselle where it replenished its ranks. In 1706, it took part in the capture of Drusenheim, Lauterbourg and of the Marquisat Island before being transferred to Flanders. In 1708, it was at the Battle of Oudenarde where it formed part of the Reserve. During the siege of Lille, it was attached to a corps under the Comte de La Mothe, charged of a diversionary attack in Western Flanders. In 1709, the regiment took part in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, it garrisoned Cambrai. In 1711, it participated in the attack upon Arleux. In 1712, it fought in the Battle of Denain and took part in the sieges of Douai, Le Quesnoy and Bouchain. Finally, in 1713, it regiment served on the Rhine, taking part in the sieges of Landau and Freiburg.

In 1720, the regiment became the property of Maurice, Comte de Saxe (the future maréchal) who, with the introduction of training, transformed the regiment into a model unit. In 1727, the regiment made demonstrations at the training camp of the Sambre. In 1732, it did the same at the camp of the Moselle.

In 1733, at the outbreak of the War of the Polish Succession (1733-350, the regiment served on the Rhine where it took part in the siege of Kehl. In 1734, it was at the capture of Trier and Trarbach and at the blockade of Koblenz; took part in the attack on the Lines of Ettlingen and in the siege of Philisbourg. In 1735, it fought in the Combat of Klausen.

On January 8, 1737, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion.

In 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was re-established to two battalions. The same year, it contributed to the capture of Walseck, Kaaden, Elnbogen and Budweis and took part in the siege of Prague. In 1742, the regiment participated in the Combat of Sahay, in the capture of Falkenau, in the relief of Kaaden and Elnbogen, and in the defence of Egra. In 1743, it initially served on the Isar and later took part in the Combat of Rheinweiler. In 1744, it defended Weissembourg, participated in the recapture of the lines, in the affair of Augenheim and in the siege of Freiburg, before being transferred to Bavaria. In 1745, it took part in the Combat of Pfaffenhofen. In 1746, the regiment campaigned in Alsace, before being transferred to Antwerp in Flanders where it was increased to four battalions. In 1747, it took part in the capture of Sluys, Sas van Ghent and Fort Philippine and in the siege of Berg-op-Zoom. In 1748, it was at the capture of Maastricht and then occupied Bruxelles. On December 26, 1748, the regiment , now at Strasbourg, was reduced to two battalions.

On the eve of the Seven Years' War,, the regiment counted two battalions.

In 1759, the regiment was renamed Anhalt. On January 18, 1760, when the German Infantry was reorganised, the regiment was increased to three battalions by the incorporation of the first battalion of the disbanded Lowendahl Infanterie.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment ranked 46th and was under the command of:

  • from January 5, 1751: Frédéric-Charles, Comte de Benthheim
  • from March 10, 1759 till March 13, 1783: Frédéric-Hermann, Prince de Anhalt-Coëthen (Köthen)
    • assisted, from April 21, 1759 to December 26, 1768, by a colonel-commandant: Françcois-Guillaume de Courvoisier

On December 21, 1762, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.

Service during the War

In October 1756, “Bentheim Infanterie” was selected to form part of the auxiliary corps that Louis XV planned to send to the assistance of Austria. But the project did not materialize.

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine, commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées, for the planned invasion of Hanover. Early in June, it was in the area of Taklemburg. It finally took its winter-quarters in the first line in the area of Bremen.

At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. However in February, when Ferdinand of Brunswick launched his winter offensive in West Germany, the regiment retired on the Rhine with the rest of the French army. From March 30 to April 4, it was in the second line of Clermont's Army in the camp of Wesel on the Lower Rhine. By July, it had been transferred to the Army of the Prince de Soubise assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. In the morning of September 27, the regiment entered into Kassel to prevent its capture by an Allied army under the command of Oberg.

On Tuesday January 2, 1759, at about 5:00 AM, Nassau Prince Louis Infanterie presented itself before the Sachsenhausen Gate of Frankfurt and was admitted as previously agreed. As soon as it had entered the town, the regiment ordered the town-guard to deposit arms and to admit 5 other regiments (Beauvoisis (2 bns), Rohan Montbazon (2 bns), Rohan Rochefort (2 bns), Bentheim (2 bns) and Royal Deux-Ponts (4 bns)). These regiments then seized the artillery on the walls and all the other gates, easily capturing the city of Frankfurt. This very important town remained under French control for the last four years of the war. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of reserve of the left wing deployed in regimental columns behind the Warthberg. Captain de Nardin was killed during this battle. In June, during the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades where it was deployed in the second line, on the right wing of the infantry centre. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under the command of the Comte de Saint-Germain. As part of the Anhalt Brigade, it covered the retreat of the defeated French army but was driven back by Prussian dragoons. On August 8, the regiment distinguished itself at the combat of Einbeck while covering the retreat of the main army. In this affair, the regiment lost the colonel-commandant de Courvoisier, the aide-major Freytag, Captains Vanaltz and Culmann and four lieutenants, all wounded.

On January 18, 1760, the regiment was increased to three battalions by the incorporation of the first battalion of the disbanded Lowendahl Infanterie. By the end of January, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the first line of the French Army. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Nauheim (present-day Bad Nauheim), in the first line of the French Army. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Prince Xavier. In the night of July 7 to 8, Glaubitz left with Anhalt Brigade and Bercheny Hussards for Amöneburg to cover Marburg and the convoys coming from Giessen. On July 14, Glaubitz's detachment (Anhalt Infanterie (3 bns), Royal Bavière Infanterie (3 bns), Bercheny Hussards and some light troops) marched from Marburg towards Ziegenhain, encamping at Vasbeck for the night. On July 16, it was attacked by surprise by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick in the Engagement of Emsdorf where the regiment occupied the centre of Glaubitz's positions. The regiment was forced to surrender as prisoners of war. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Ziegenhain.

During the campaigns of 1761 and 1762, the regiment assumed garrison duties.

On December 21, 1762, the regiment was reduced to two battalions.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Etrennes Militaires 1756 and 1758, Etat Militaire 1758, 1760 and 1761, Abrégé du Dictionnaire Militaire 1759

completed when necessary with information from H. Boisselier, L. Mouillard, Taccoli and the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced silver
Grenadier black tricorne laced silver

towards 1759, bearskins with a yellow flame edged white became increasingly common among grenadiers

Neckstock black (as per Boisselier)
Coat blue lined yellow with 4 pewter buttons below the lapel
Collar small blue collar (yellow in 1758)
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels yellow, each with 8 small pewter buttons
Pockets vertical double pockets, each single pocket with 3 pewter buttons and 3 buttonholes
the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757 does not show white buttonholes on the pockets
Cuffs yellow, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks yellow
the manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757 does not show turnbacks
Waistcoat yellow with pewter buttons (white waistcoat with 12 white buttons in 1758 and horizontal pockets, each with three white buttons)
Breeches yellow (probably white in 1758)
Gaiters white (as per Boisselier)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white (as per Boisselier)
Waistbelt white (as per Boisselier)
Cartridge Box natural leather
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard n/a


Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet. Fusiliers carried a sword (brass hilt) while the grenadiers had a sabre.

Officers

n/a

Musicians

n/a

Colours

The colonel flag was white with a golden sun in its centre surmounted by a red scroll bearing the motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” and with a blue imperial globe and a golden cross beneath. The white field was semée with golden fleurs de lys.

The ordonnance flags had a white field with a blue frame in its centre. This frame contained three golden fleurs de lys surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a red and gold crown. The white field was decorated with 6 blue transversal bands originating from each corner. These bands changed to black in 1759 when the regiment changed its name to Anhalt.

Colonel Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour in 1759 - Source: PMPdeL

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Susane, Louis: Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, J. Corréard, Paris, 1849-1856, Tome 6, pp. 124-136, 139-140

Other sources

Anon.: Manuscript Troupes du Roi, Infanterie française et étrangère, année 1757, tome I"; Musée de l'Armée, Paris

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé a website which is unfortunately not online anymore

Mouillard, Lucien: Les Régiments sous Louis XV, Paris, 1882

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Service historique de l'armée de terre: Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23

Taccoli, Alfonso: Teatro Militare dell' Europa, Part 1, vol. 2; Madrid, March 1760

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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