Brandes Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Brandes Fusiliers Private in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

This fusilier regiment was raised June 23 1740 for Count zu Dohna. Its soldiers came from Prussian Garrison Regiment I (Memel) and Prussian Garrison Regiment II (Pillau), and from volunteers recruited across the kingdom. Its NCOs initially came from the Grenadier Garde.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was initially sent to garrison Breslau in August 1741. In 1742, it was stationed at Neusalz, Neustädtel ang Glogau before returning to Breslau to garrison the town. In 1743, it was stationed in Schweidnitz. In 1744, it retired towards Troppau. On June 4 1745, the regiment fought at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg. The same year, it took part in the capture of Cosel in August.. In 1746, it was stationed in Liegnitz which it garrisoned till 1756.

The regiment levied its troops in the Upper Silesian districts of Cosel and Leobschütz.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since August 24 1749: Johann Christoph von Brandes
  • from December 20 1758 to September 5 1766: Carl Anton Leopold, Baron von Zastrow

After the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed in Breslau.

The regimental numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I, Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 38.

The regiment was disbanded in 1807 after the capitulation of Neisse.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the Prince of Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. It then took part in the blockade of the Saxon Army in Pirna until its capitulation on October 16.

In April 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the right of the second line of the infantry centre in Prince Franz von Braunschweig's Brigade. It then took part in the siege of Prague which was lifted after the defeat of Frederick II at Kolin. The regiment followed the Prussian army in its retreat towards Silesia. On November 22, the regiment took part in the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Wietersheim's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Brandes. The regiment suffered so heavily that its two battalions together could only muster 600 men after this battle. After the surrender of Breslau, most of its men deserted.

In the spring of 1758, the regiment was re-established in Berlin.

In July 1759, the regiment was at Bautzen. It then joined Frederick and, on August 12, took part in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the infantry reserve of the centre as part of Klitzing's Brigade. The regiment suffered so heavily during this battle that it was later reorganised as a single battalion. On September 21, this battalion took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under Lieutenant-General Finck. On November 20, this battalion took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Mosel's Brigade. Attacked by Sisckowitz with the 5 Austrian grenadier bns of the vanguard, supported by d'Aynse's and Dombasle's Brigades, the battalion retired in confusion, broke through the Prussian line and entered into the village of Maxen. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.

In 1760, a single battalion was re-established at Schweidnitz.

In 1761, the regiment took part in the defence of Scwheidnitz where it was captured when the Austrians stormed the fortress on October 1.

The regiment was not re-established until February 1763.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Fusilier Regiment 43, forming the Grenadier Batallion 38/43 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier
IR38 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with polished brass front plate; light blue headband with polished brass ornaments; light blue cap with polished brass ornaments; polished brass spike
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; light blue headband with a orange/white braid and polished brass ornaments; light blue backing with a similar braid; orange within white within orange pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 38/43 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 2 brass buttons on the right side under the lapel and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar red (Scharlachrot)
Shoulder Straps red (Scharlachrot) fastened with a small brass button
Lapels red (Scharlachrot) with 6 brass buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (Scharlachrot) (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 brass buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a curved blade sabre.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • no shoulder strap
  • cuffes edged with golden lace braids
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).

NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).

Officers

Brandes Fusiliers Officer in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne scalloped gold, black and white quartered pompoms and a black cockade fastened with a golden band and a yellow button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • a silver and gold gorget

Officers carried white spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The lace of the drummers consisted of a wide lace (2.8 cm wide white braid decorated with 3 red stripes) and a narrow lace (1.8 cm wide white braid decorated with 3 red stripes).

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • swallow nest with 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace on each shoulder
  • coat, pockets, lapels and cuffs edged with the drummer lace


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a scarlet medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Scarlet field. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a scarlet scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from elements by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from elements by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans, Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Bleckwenn, Hans, Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Boltze, Eberhard; Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 28-29, Annex III and IV

Brauer, M.; Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn, Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

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

Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 1

Guddat, Martin; Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 294-301

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857

Schirmer, Friedrich; Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

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