Dossow Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Dossow Infantry Private in 1762 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1762

This fusilier regiment was established on August 1 1743 at Wesel by Friedrich Wilhelm von Dossow. It remained in Wesel as garrison. Each of its companies received 10 soldiers from Varenne Infantry (IR31). From May 1744, its grenadiers were stationed in Minden and later in Magdeburg. From 1747, the regiment had no canton to levy its troops and had to rely only on free recruitment.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment did not take part in any campaign, continuing to assume garrison duties in Wesel.

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

  • since August 1 1743: Friedrich Wilhelm von Dossow
  • from January 8 1757 to March 1 1786: Hereditary Prince (landgrave from February 1 1760) Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel

N.B.: from May 31 1756, when the Hereditary Prince of Hessen-Kassel became commander of the newly raised Erbprinz von Hessen-Cassel Fusiliers, von Dossow assumed effective command of the prince's former regiment, even though the prince was still considered Inhaber of the regiment.

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 45.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulations of Erfurt and Magdeburg.

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, in 1756, the regiment was garrisoning Wesel.

In March 1757, when the French started the invasion of Hanover, the regiment evacuated Wesel and temporarily joined the Allied Army under the command of the Duke of Cumberland at Bielefeld. It later retired to Prussia.

On September 13, during the Austrian campaign in Saxony, the regiment took part in the attack on the outpost of Weissenhirsch near Dresden where it drove out a detachment of the Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer. The regiment was then transferred to serve against the Swedes operating in Pomerania.

In 1759, the regiment took part in several actions during the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony. On September 8 1759, it fought in the Combat of Zinna where it was deployed on the right wing. On September 21, the regiment took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing under Major-General Wunsch. On November 20, the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Wunsch's Brigade, detached on the Heights of Bloschwitz. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.

In 1760, a battalion of the regiment was re-established.

In June 1761, during the Russian campaign in Pomerania, one battalion of the regiment was part of Württemberg's Corps. When the Russians laid siege to Colberg, this corps vainly tried to defend the place. The battalion was initially deployed in the outer works. It later escaped from Colberg. In December, it took part in the attempt to relieve the fortress. On December 11, when Württemberg marched from Treptow, the battalion escorted the supply convoy. On December 12, the battalion was present at the Combat of Spie where the Russians intercepted the relief convoy and forced it to retreat towards Stettin. On December 17, the Prussian rearguard (including one battalion of the regiment) made a stand at Gollnow. They were unable to stop the Russians but gave Württemberg enough time to retire with the main body. The battalion then took its winter-quarters in Mecklenburg.

From August to October 1762, the regiment took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz. On August 16, the Austrians made an attempt to break through the Prussian lines to relieve Schweidnitz. This resulted in the Battle of Reichenbach where the regiment formed part of the troops defending the entrenchments. Schweidnitz finally surrendered on October 9.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Garrison Regiment No. IX and Garrison Regiment No. XIII, forming the Nr. II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (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
IR45 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with polished brass front plate; black headband with brass ornaments; black cap with brass ornaments; brass spike
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; dark blue headband edged red and brass ornaments; white backing piped with a braid consisting of 2 black stripes edged red separated by a central green stripe; green within black within red pompom (see Nr. II. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion for an illustration)
Neckstock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 6 brass buttons and 6 white braid loops with red and white tassels grouped two by two on each side, 2 brass buttons on the right side at the waist, 2 white braid loops with red and white tassels on each side at the waist, 1 white braid loop with red and white tassel on each side in the small of the back, and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps Prussian blue fastened with a small brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs Scharlachrot red (in the Prussian pattern) with 2 brass buttons and 2 white braid loops with red and white tassels on each sleeve
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Cross belts 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
  • no braid loops
  • cuffs edged with golden lace
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a dark brown 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

Dossow Infantry Officer in 1762 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1762

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

  • black tricorne laced gold with black and white quartered pompoms and a gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • golden lace loops instead of the white buttonholes as the privates
    • 2 on each side at the waist
    • 1 on each side in the small of the back
    • 2 on each pocket
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • a silver and gold gorget

Officers carried dark brown 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 laces of the drummers consisted of a 4.6 cm wide lace and a 2.8 cm narrow lace both of the same pattern (white braid with 2 outer red stripes and blue flecks in the centre).

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

  • 5 vertical narrow drummer laces and 1 horizontal wide drummer lace on each shoulder
  • coat, pockets and cuffs edged with the drummer lace
  • each sleeve decorated with 10 horizontal wide drummer laces with white tassels at each extremity
  • no buttonhole on the chest but 2 buttonholes with white tassels decorated with the narrow drummer lace at the waist on each side
  • 1 buttonhole with white tassel decorated with the narrow drummer lace in the small of the back


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with orange corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a cornflower blue 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): cornflower blue field with orange corner wedges. 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 cornflower blue scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were dark brown.

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, pp. 106-107

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

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. 344-351

Letzius, Dr. Martin and Herbert Knötel d. J.: Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images, Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

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.