Bethlen Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Bethlen Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in Siebenbürgen (today Transylvania) by Wolfgang count von Bethlen in 1742.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, this newly raised regiment took part in the battle of Kesselsdorf on December 15 1745.

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 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 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 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

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

  • since 1742 until 1763: Wolfgang count von Bethlen

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • in 1759: colonel von Rheinhard
  • from 1760: baron von Tillier

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 52".

Service during the War

In September 1756, two battalions of the regiment were in Bohemia with Piccolomini's covering force in the Königshof-Kolin region.

On May 6 1757, two battalions of the regiment took part in the battle of Prague where they were deployed in baron Wulfen's brigade, in the second line of the left wing of infantry under baron Kheul. On November 22, one battalion of the regiment took part in the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Würben's brigade, in the second line of the infantry centre under baron Kheul. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, one battalion of the regiment was deployed in Haller's brigade in the second line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo.

By August 2 1758, one battalion of the regiment served in the first line of the main Austrian army under the command of Daun near Jarmeritz (actual Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou). Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia.

On August 12 1759, the regiment fought in the battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the reserve of the centre as part of Loudon's infantry corps.

In early June 1760, during the Austrian campaign in Saxony, the regiment was atached to Lacy's corps operating on the east bank of the Elbe. On November 3, the regiment took part in the battle of Torgau.

On July 6 1762, the regiment fought in the combat of Adelsbach.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1762 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details in 1757 and 1762
as per the Delacre and the Raspischen Buchhandlung publication

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener on the right side (white fastener on the left side in 1762) and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade nor pompoms (dark blue within white within yellow cockade; white within dark blue pompoms in each lateral corne in 1762)
Grenadier bearskin probably with a slate grey bag laced white with a white tassel
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined slate grey (lined white in 1762) without buttons (in 1762: 6 dark blue laced buttonholes with tassels arranged 1-2-3, on each side; 6 yellow buttons on the right side)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white fastened by a yellow button (both shoulders)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets without buttons
Cuffs light brown pointed cuffs edged yellow (dark blue cuffs in 1762) without buttons
Turnbacks slate grey (white in 1762)
Waistcoat light brown dolman edged yellow (dark blue edeged yellow in 1762) with 3 rows of small yellow buttons linked with yellow (red in 1762) brandebourgs
Trousers light brown (dark blue in 1762) Hungarian trousers decorated with yellow laces (no laces in 1762)
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white (red and white barrel sash in 1762)
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear short black boots


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers), a bayonet and a sabre.

Other interpretations

In 1748, Morier illustrated a vey different uniform with a white coat with slate grey collar, pointed cuffs, turnbacks and brandebourgs with tassels; a slate grey dolman with red brandebourgs, red cords and white buttons; and white trousers.

Muhsfeldt mentions light green for the dolman, the cuffs and the lining of the coat of the 1757 uniform.

Knötel illustrates a light blue sabretache edged yellow.

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates the 1762 uniform with the following differences:

  • a black tricorne laced white with a light blue within red within white cockade
  • a much lighter shade of blue
  • white coat lined light blue with light blue turnbacks
  • yellow buttons on each side of the coat
  • light blue and red barrel sash

Donath illustrates a white within dark red cockade and light blue tassels in the lateral cornes of the tricorne.

NCOs

Sergeants and corporals carried a short musket and a bayonet.

Officers

As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, the officers wore a different uniform in 1762:

  • tricorne laced silver with a white and green cockade
  • black neckstock
  • light blue waistcoat edged in silver
  • no brandebourgs
  • no turnbacks
  • white waistbelt
  • light blue trousers decorated with a silver lace on the seams
  • yellow Hungarian boots

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Musicians

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All Hungarian infantry regiments were supposed to carry the same colours as the German infantry regiments: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The colours were made of silk. The flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: PMPdeL

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 37

Other sources

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762

Bilderhandschrift Delacre: Militair Etat der Ganzen Kayl., Königl. Armee Wienn 1757

Dihm, Dr. Hermann; Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

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

Friese, Ulf-Joachim, Quellen zur Uniformierung der österreichisch-ungarischen Armee 1740-1763

Funcken, Liliane and Fred; Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Hausmann, Friedrich, Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

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

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Morier, David: paintings in the Royal Collection, 1748-1751

Muhsfeldt, Th.; Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul; Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

User:Zahn for gathering most of the information about this regiment