Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry

Origin and History

Uniform in 1770 (unchanged since the SYW) - Source: Anonymous work of 1770

The unit was formed in 1676 from the Garde.

From 1716, the garrison place of the regiment was Stettin. It recruited in the districts of Pyritz, Randow, Greifenhagen and Saatzig and in the towns of Stettin, Damm, Poelitz, Bahn, Werben, Freyenwalde, Jacobshagen and Zachan.

From 1741, Prinz von Braunschweig-Bevern commanded the regiment for much of the Age of Reason. During his 40 years tenure (1741-1781), his emphasis was on drill over leadership. This was seen as one of the underlying reasons for the near collapse of the unit at Zorndorf.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the battles of Mollwitz (April 10, 1741), Chotusitz (May 17, 1742) and Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745).

During the Seven Years War the regimental inhaber was:

  • from October 31 1741 to August 4 1781: Duke Augustus Wilhelm of Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Bevern (also designated as “Alt-Bevern” from 1757)

The 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 7.

In 1806, the regiment was disbanded after the capitulation of Ratekau.

Service during the War

Uniform circa 1757 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan

The regiment began the war as an elite unit but became a regular unit after nearly collapsing at Zorndorf.

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army was ordered to proceed 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. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz. It was assigned to the brigade of Lieutenant-General von Bevern. During this battle, the regiment advanced on the left flank, along with the regiments Itzenplitz, Alt-Kleist and the Grenadier Battalion 3/6 Kleist, to engage the Grenzers stationed on Lobosch Hill. The attempt to advance through the skirmish screen proved difficult, however, with ammunition running low, the Prussians adapted to the conditions of the terrain, abandoning closed formations and picking and choosing their targets using individual fire. Gradually the Austrians, despite reinforcements, were pushed off the Lobosch Hill and forced back through the burning streets of Lobositz. After an hour of intense fighting led by this unit and the Grenadier Battalion, the Austrians were forced out. They retreated in good order. A couple of weeks after the battle, on October 23, when Keith's Army left Lobositz to return to Pirna, the regiment was part of the left column. On October 28, Keith's Army reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and took its winter-quarters soon afterwards.

In April 1757, during the invasion of Bohemia, the regiment was part of the column led by the Duke of Brunswick-Bevern. It was detached from the main column before the Combat of Reichenberg and did not take part in this action. On May 6, the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Prague, it was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. It then participated in the Siege of Prague. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Tresckow. At the end of the afternoon, it reinforced Hülsen's Corps which was under heavy pressure near Krzeczhorz Height. The regiment then attacked the Austrian Deutschmeister Infantry positioned atop this height. In the ensuing rout, the two infantry battalions were overrun and shattered into the nearby village of Bristvi. On July 27, the regiment, which had suffered so much at Kolin, was detached under General Manteuffel to reinforce the Prussian forces defending Pomerania against the Swedes. By September, it had joined the small Prussian corps in Pomerania.

On August 25 1758, the regiment fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it was brigaded with Dohna Infantry under the command of Major-General Diericke, forming part of the first line of the left division led by von Kanitz.

From January to May 1759, the regiment was present at the Siege of Stralsund. On July 23, it took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Manteuffel's Division deployed on the right in the first line of infantry. The brigade joined the third assault on the Russian centre. In furious close combat, in heat, powder smoke and dust, it managed to break through the first Russian line. Manteuffel was seriously wounded and his adjutant was struck down. However, with ammunition low, the brigade had to retreat and the assault collapsed. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left centre as part of Diericke's Brigade which formed part of the initial attack along the Kleiner Spitzberg. Later during the battle, it routed along with the East Prussian regiments, incurring Frederick's permanent disfavour.

In July 1760, the regiment was present at the Siege of Dresden. On November 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau in Hülsen's second column, it attacked twice the Suptitz Heights from the north-west suffering heavy losses.

On October 29 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Freiberg. Now considered a second line troop, it was brigaded under Stutterheim with various Freikorps, including Frei-Infanterie le Noble, on the left wing. The brigade supported the Prussian attack on the weakest part of the allied position, namely the heights held by the Reichsarmee. As planned, the Reichsarmee position collapsed allowing the regiment to capture five cannon and a standard.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infantry Regiment 30 forming the Grenadier Batallion 7/30 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with 3 pink pompoms
Grenadier mitre with silver-plated front plate, white headband with white metal ornaments, pink backing with white piping, pink pompom (see Grenadier Battalion 7/30 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat blue lined red with 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar pink
Shoulder straps pink fastened with a pewter button (left shoulder only)
Lapels pink, each with 6 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets with pink piping, each with 2 pewter buttons
Cuffs pink (in the Swedish pattern), each with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat straw with 2 horizontal pockets
Breeches straw
Gaiters white during summer, black during winter
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


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

Other interpretations

The manuscript Uniformes Prussien et Saxonne, 1756/57 and Schultz both illustrate red neck stocks, but Hohrath identifies this as an error.

Several sources (Wellner 1757, Jahnisch 1760, Schroeder 1765, Horvath 1789) also depict white breeches and waistcoats.

The Koenigl. Preuss. Generalstab 1780 and Fehr 1786 seem to show no collar, in fact the lapels and collar were arranged differently, giving the impression that the uniform had no collar.

From the contemporary sources only the Darmstaedter Grenadierbilder 1745/56 and Horvath confirm the shoulder strap. This shoulder strap is also described by XIXthth century sources (Bleckwenn, Boltze and Brauer). It seems that they followed Menzel who had copied an original coat from 1786 from the Zeughaussammlung.

Most sources show a pink pompom or none. Only (the often unreliable) Schmalen 1759, 1760, 1762, 1770 and Wellner 1764 show a white-pink pompom!

NCOs

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

  • tricorne edged with a thin silver braid and black and white quartered pompoms
  • silver edging on the cuffs
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel
  • silver buttons

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a brown (maybe black) half-pike measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer 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

Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

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

  • black tricorne laced silver with a black cockade fastened with a silver strap and a silver button. (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black stock (as the privates)
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • silver buttons

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

Musicians

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

  • no shoulder strap
  • pink swallow nests with 5 white vertical laces on each shoulder
  • coat bordered with a white lace below the lapels
  • two white button braid loops under each lapel
  • white lace around the buttons in the small of the back
  • pockets laced white
  • each sleeve decorated with two vertical white bands and with 9 horizontal white chevrons between the two vertical bands

Colours

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

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

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were brown (maybe black).

References

Anon.: Uniformes Prussien et Saxonne, 1756/57, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin

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

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

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

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. 50-55

Knötel, Richard: 'Uniformkunde. Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, 18 vols., Rathenow 1890-1919

Letzius, Martin: Das Zeitalter Friedrichs des Grossen, Sturm Zigaretten, Dresden: 1932

Prittwitz, Christian Wilhelm von: "Ich bin ein Preuße..." Jugend und Kriegsleben eines preußischen Offiziers im Siebenjährigen Krieg; M. Hüttemann, Paderborn 1989

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

Schultz, Johann Gottfried: Abbildung Preußischer Kayser und Französischer Soldaten aus dem siebenjährigen Kriege ca. 1757/1760

Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 170-174

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

Acknowledgements

Michael Zahn for the variants of the uniforms.