Braunschweig Infantry

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Origin and History

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

The regiment was raised in 1655 by Colonel Jonas Casimir Baron zu Eulenburg. In 1667, Fürst Boguslaw Radziwill took over command. After his death, Electoral Prince Karl Emil lead the regiment against France till his death in Strasbourg in 1674. Colonel Hans Adam von Schöning merged the regiment with Infantry Regiment No. 1 after the capture of Stettin in 1677. It then took part in the campaign against Sweden and Poland in 1685. The following year, in 1686, the regiment fought under Schöning's command in Hungary and on the Rhine in 1689. In 1690, he was dishonourably discharged by the “Great Kurfürst”.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, under the command of the “Old Dessauer”, the regiment took part in the campaigns in Italy from 1705. In 1707, it became independent again as the Leibregiment. In 1708, it campaigned in Dauphiné and in 1709 in Flanders. From 1713, it carried the name of its long standing Chef Lieutenant-General Georg Abraham von Arnim. In the Pomeranian campaign of 1715, it distinguished itself at Stralsund and Wismar and during the crossing over to the isle of Rügen.

From 1716, the Fortress of Magdeburg became the garrison place of the regiment. It recruited in the districts of Luckenwalde and Jerichow and in several towns of the Duchy of Magdeburg: Aken, Calbe, Egeln, Görtzke, Loburg, Luckenwalde, Magdeburg and Stassfurt.

In 1732, Lieutenant-General Christoph Heinrich von der Goltz succeeded Lieutenant-General Jakob von Beschefer as the Chef of the regiment. In 1739, Colonel Johann Heinrich von Wedell took over command of this elite regiment.

During the First Silesian War (1740-1742), only the grenadiers of the regiment came into operation while the regiment was assigned to the Observation Corps of the “Old Dessauer” against the Saxons and Hanoverians. In a night attack the Grenadier Battalion 5/21 under the command of Major Hans Carl von Winterfeldt stormed the “Brostauer Gate” of the Fortress of Glogau. Four weeks later in the Battle of Mollwitz (April 10, 1741) the Grenadier Battalion 5/21 stood on the right wing steadfast between the beaten Prussian cavalry and lost 211 men. At Chotusitz (May 17, 1742) again on the right wing losses were light but the regimental Chef Colonel von Wedell was killed in action. His successor was Colonel Anselm Christoph von Bonin.

During the Second Silesian War (1744-1745), the regiment fought in the second line at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745) as part of the Hertzberg's Brigade. It took part in the last infantry attack of 18 Prussian battalions against 33 Austrian battalions between Thomaswaldau and Günthersdorf. In the winter battle of Kesseldorf (December 15, 1745), the regiment within the Kalnein's Brigade attacked the hill range south west of Zöllmen and broke through the Saxon centre.

During the Seven Years' War, the chef of the regiment was:

  • since June 7 1755 to December 12 1766: Lieutenant-General Prince Ferdinand von Braunschweig (Ferdinand of Brunswick) the regiment was also known as Alt-Braunschweig

In 1763 the Infantery Regiment Herzog von Braunschweig had a nominal strength of 50 officers, 118 NCOs, 12 surgeons, 48 musicians, 274 grenadiers including carpenters and 1,220 musketeers, for a total 1,722 men.

During peacetime, the regiment garrisoned in Magdeburg. It also recruited in the duchy of Magdeburg.

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 5.

In 1806 the Regiment belonged to the main army and disbanded at the capitulation of Magdeburg.

Service during the War

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

In 1755, Ferdinand of Brunswick (brother-in-law of king Frederick II), who had played an important role in the victories of Hohenfriedberg and Soor, took over command.

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army was ordered to enter into Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part to the Battle of Lobositz where it captured three guns but lost 98 men killed, 14 wounded and 16 missing. The king awarded three Pour-le-mérite to the regiment. On October 2, after the battle, the first battalion of the regiment was part of Bevern's force sent to lay hold of Tschischkowitz (present-day Cizkovice) on the road towards Budin. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna, the regiment was part of the right column. On October 28, Keith's army reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and took its winter quarters soon afterwards.

On May 6 1757, the regiment did not take part to the battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's corps. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General Prince Henri where the French tried to break through. The massive Prussian artillery fire along with the fire of the regiment stopped the French 40 paces before the Prussian line. Casualties were light but the regimental commander Colonel Johann Christoph von Prignitz was killed in action. The officer corps received 15 Pour-le-mérite. A month later, on December 5, at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Geist's Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing.

In April 1758, the regiment took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz. On October 14, the regiment took part in the catastrophic Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in Manteuffel's corps on the extreme left flank of the Prussian positions. Around 8:00 AM, Saldern sent the regiment to the heights in front of Rodewitz where it held a stationary position till 9:00 AM. It later covered the retreat of the Prussian army.

On December 3 1759, Frederick sent this regiment (or Prinz Ferdinand regiment) to reinforce the small isolated Prussian force under Major-general Dierecke who had taken post at Meissen. This small corps was attacked by a much stronger Austrian force. This reinforcement took position on the left bank of the Elbe to the north and south of Meissen. Its artillery silenced the Austrian guns planted at Proschwitz and Pellegrini was forced to move them back to Zscheila where they resumed their cannonade. During the ensuing combat of Meissen the Prussians were forced to retire.

In July 1760, the regiment took part in the Siege of Dresden. On August 15, during the Prussian counter-attack at the Battle of Liegnitz, the regiment seized the village of Panten and dislodged the Austrians over the Katzbach River. On November 3, in the Battle of Torgau, the regiment led the third attack under Hülsen but the assault collapsed again. Simultaneously to the night attack, Major von Lestwitz attacked once more with the remaining troops. The losses of the regiment were so severe that Frederick banned their publication.

In 1762, the regiment took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz (August to October).

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Zastrow Infantry forming the Grenadier Batallion 5/20 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Knötel, Richard: Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921, vol. XVIII, no. 53 (Deutsches Historisches Museum) The uniform depicted in this section was introduced in 1752.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with red within white within straw pompoms
Grenadier mitre with brass metal front plate, dark blue headband with brass ornaments, straw backing, white braid with red edges, red within white within yellow pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 5/20 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue with 2 orange braid loops with white tassels on each side under the lapel (hidden by the sleeve in our illustration, see insert for details) with 2 brass buttons on the right side; a brass button with an orange braid loop on each side in the small of the back
Collar straw (more probably white)
Shoulder Straps straw fastened with a brass button (left shoulder only)
Lapels straw (more probably white) with 6 brass buttons (arranged 2-2-2)
Pockets horizontal pockets laced red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs straw (more probably white), in the Prussian pattern, with 2 brass buttons on each sleeve flap
Turnbacks red fastened with a brass button
Waistcoat straw (more probably white)
Breeches straw (more probably 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


The uniform with distinctive paille (straw) colour was taken over from Infantry Regiment 12 (Erbprinz Ludwig von Hessen-Darmstadt; von Finck) in 1752. The paille colour of the distinctive has, in contrast to Infantry Regiment 13 (von Itzenplitz; von Syburg), always a distinct yellow tone.

(cp. Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786: Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984, page 72)

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

NCOs

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

  • tricorne with a narrow golden lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • no tassel at the golden lace braids
  • golden laced cuffs with 2 golden loops
  • gilt buttons
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a cherry brown 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 Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

Officers had tricorne with a thin golden lace and a gilt button. They always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers. They had white neck stock. They also wore a black and silver sash around the waist. They carried an officer stick. Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnback and had three pairs of golden embroidery loops on each lapel and 2 golden embroidery loops underneath on each side; 2 golden embroidery loops on the sleeve flap above each cuff; two on the pockets; and one on each side in the small of the back.

Sword knot.

Officers carried cherry brown spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).

Lace of the officer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755


Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

White drummers lace with light blue rhombuses and yellow border around the rhombuses. Swallow nests on the shoulders with five bars. Ten chevrons on the sleeve. Lace around the lapels, on the pockets and on the front and back of the coat.

Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with red flames. Centre device consisting of a dark yellow medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle 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): Dark yellow field with red flames. 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 surmounted by a dark yellow scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in gold.

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

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were cherry brown and had brass finials.

References

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee Worinnen zur eigentlichen Kenntniss der Uniform von jedem Regiment ein Officier und Gemeiner in Völliger Montirung und ganzer Statur nach dem Leben abgebildet sind. Nebst beigefügter Nachricht 1.) von der Stiftung. 2.) Denen Chefs. 3.) der Staerke und 4.) der in Friedenszeiten habenden Guarnisons jedes Regiments. Hrsg. u. gezeichnet I.C. v. S.(chmalen), Nürnberg 1759

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

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 Bilder von Herbert Knötel d. J., Text und Erläuterungen von Dr. Martin Letzius, hrsg. von der Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen, hrsg. vom Großen Generalstab/Abt. f. Kriegsgeschichte, E.S. Mittler, Berlin 1890-1913

Dorn, Günter; Engelmann, Joachim: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrichs des Großen: 1756-1763, Augsburg 1992

Dorn, Günter; Engelmann, Joachim: Die Schlachten Friedrichs des Großen: Führung - Verlauf - Gefechts-Szenen - Gliederung - Karten, 1986

Funcken, Liliane; Funcken, Fred: Historische Uniformen des 18. Jahrhunderts, München 1978

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

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

Heer und Tradition: Uniformbogen No. 1, 19, 29, 33 und 101, hrsg. von Brauer, Hans und Knötel, Herbert d.J., o.J.

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 38-41

Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57

Merta, Klaus-Peter: Das Heerwesen in Brandenburg und Preußen von 1640 bis 1806, Bd. 2, die Uniformierung, Berlin 1991

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

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. 152-157

Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

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