Brunswick Leib-Regiment

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Brunswick Army >> Brunswick Leib-Regiment

Origin and History

The first battalion of the regiment originated from Leib-Batallion Anton Ulrich raised in 1685. In 1703, the regiment became known as regiment "Herzog von Bevern". In 1735, this regiment formed the first battalion of the newly created Leibregiment.

The second battalion of the regiment originated from Regiment Stauffen raised in 1666. In 1714, this regiment formed the second battalion of the Garde. In 1737, the second battalion of the Garde was incorporated into the newly formed Leibregiment. In 1748. when the Leibregiment was subdivided into 2 distinct regiments, the unit became known as Regiment Kniestedt. In 1750, Regiment Kniestedt was re-incorporated into the Leibregiment.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 2 battalions. Each battalion consisted of 1 grenadier and 5 musketeer companies. Each grenadier company counted 141 men while musketeer companies counted 119 men.

The grenadiers of the regiment were converged with those of the Imhoff Infantry to form the Grenadier Battalion von Stammer.


The regimental inhaber was:

  • since 1692: Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel
  • from 1703: August Ferdinand von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern
  • from 1704: Ferdinand Albrecht von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern
  • from 1735 to 1768:
    • Commander since 1756: Christoph Heinrich von Harling

The unit was disbanded in 1806.

Service during the War

The regiment was in British service during the Seven Years' War.

On July 26 1757, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the first line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General Imhoff.

On February 23 1758, at 7:00 a.m., during the Allied winter offensive in West Germany, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of the Hereditary Prince who advanced on Hoya on the Weser. Part of the 2nd battalion passed the river and stormed Hoya. On May 26, the regiment was with the main force of Ferdinand of Brunswick in the camp of Nottuln. On May 31, it accompanied Ferdinand in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. On June 12, during the aborted attack on the French positions at Rheinberg, the regiment was in the second vanguard of the first column of attack under Major Scharnhorst. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed on the right wing under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Behr's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the first column under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. In June, the regiment was still part of the Allied main army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On July 27 in the afternoon, the Hereditary Prince set off from Petershagen, near Minden, with 6 bns, including this regiment, and 8 dragoon sqns, totaling some 6,000 men, and marched south-westward towards Lübbecke to threaten the French left flank and the supply line between Minden and Paderborn. On August 1, the regiment was part of the right wing of the corps of the Hereditary Prince who attacked and defeated Brissac's French corps at the engagement of Gohfeld. On November 30, the regiment took part in the attack on Fulda where the Hereditary Prince surprised the Württemberger contingent in the service of France. It was attached to Bevern's column.

On November 29 1760, a skirmish took place at Hedemünden on the Werra between Major-General Breitenbach's detachment (Hanoverian Gardes (2 bns), Brunswicker Leib-Regiment with some cavalry and artillery) and the French garrison under Monfort who was forced to abandon the place and to take refuge in the woods of Münden. Part of the garrison entrenched itself in a redoubt along the river while the other part passed it by boats. The French then resisted all attempts to dislodge them from their entrenchments. The Allied finally retired into the town before retreating during the night. In this action, the Allies lost about 150 men, including 5 officers killed and 6 wounded.

During the war, the unit was also engaged at Roehrmonde, Soest, Embeck, Corbach, Fritzlar, Ziegenhain, Vellinghausen and Wilhelmsthal.

To do: campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760

  • Original (Stiftung Weimarer Klassik - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar)
  • Copy (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
  • Copy (Bibliothèque nationale de France, De Ridder collection)

Privates

Uniform - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne scalloped white; red pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre cap: brass front plate; blue bag; white headband decorated with brass grenades; red pompom
Neck stock red at the beginning of the war but soon changed to black
Coat dark blue with 8 yellow buttons on the chest with double laced white buttonholes
Collar red
Shoulder Straps probably blue
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs red Swedish cuffs with 2 yellow buttons and 2 double laced white buttonholes
Turnbacks red fastened with a yellow button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black with brass ornaments
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre.

Officers

The Erbprinz wearing the officer uniform of the Leib-Regiment - Source: Schloss Wilhelshöhe, Kassel, Germany

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of privates with the following distinction:

  • a black tricorne scalloped in gold
  • white neckstock
  • gilt buttons
  • golden embroidered buttonholes on the chest, pockets and cuffs
  • a silver gorget with an inner red metal disc charged with a galloping white horse
  • a silver sash interwoven with yellow
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • an officer stick

Officers carried spontoons.

The officers of the grenadier companies wore tricornes and carried spontoons since 1754.

NCOs

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

  • golden laced tricorne
  • cuffs and lapels edged gold
  • no shoulder strap

NCOs carried halberds (Kurzgewehr).

Musicians

Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760

  • Original (Stiftung Weimarer Klassik - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar)
  • Copy (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
  • Copy (Bibliothèque nationale de France, De Ridder collection)

The drummers of the Leib regiment wore a yellow coat edged white with 7 double laced white buttonholes and with red collar, cuffs and turnbacks. The swallow nests on the shoulders were also red and there were 5 white horizontal braids bordered by a white vertical braid on each sleeve.

The drum had a brass base carrying the Brunswick coat of arms with a rim decorated with red and white diagonal stripes and with white cords.

Colours

New colours were introduced in 1754 when the army of Brunswick was reorganised. These colours were of the the Prussian pattern with flames and corner monograms.There are no known surviving examples of the colours used during the Seven Years' War.

Here is a tentative reconstruction based on the colours used in 1776 during the American War of Independence with the notable exception that metal is gold instead of silver. This change has been done to match the colour of the buttons and of the grenadier mitre front plate.

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with blue flames, red central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath surmounted by a golden ducal crown and decorated with a springing white horse surmounted by a golden scroll bearing the motto "Nunquam Retrorsum". Golden corner monograms: crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers (two intertwined C's). Golden grenades superimposed on the flames.

Regimental colours (Regimentsfahne): Blue field with white flames, red central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath surmounted by a golden ducal crown and decorated with a springing white horse surmounted by a golden scroll bearing the motto "Nunquam Retrorsum". Golden corner monograms: crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers (two intertwined C's). Golden grenades superimposed on the flames.

Colonel Colour - Source: Richard Couture from elements contributed by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour – Source: Richard Couture from elements contributed by Hannoverdidi

References

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 illustrations by Herbert Knötel d. J., with text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

Ortenburg, Georg von, Braunschweigisches Militär, Elm Verlag, Cremlingen, 1987

Pengel & Hurt, German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Scharf, Friedrich Ludwig: Buntes Tuch. Zweierlei Tuch. o.O., o.Jg.

Schirmer; Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

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