East Prussia Land Militia Battalion

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> East Prussia Land Militia Battalion

Origin and History

The East Prussian Land Militia battalion was raised in the District of Gumbinnen in the first half of May 1757. It comprised 2,000 men organised in 6 companies of musketeers (no grenadier). These companies were raised in Johannisburg, Lyck, Oletzko, Goldap, Stallupöhnen and Pillkallen. Each company consisted of  :

  • 1 officer
  • 4 NCOs
  • 1 hornist (bugler)
  • 333 privates
  • 30 jägers (12 dismounted and 18 mounted)

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since May 1757 to January 1758: von Katrezinsky

The battalion was disbanded in January 1758.

Service during the War

Upon its creation in May 1757, the battalion was assigned to the garrisons of Memel and Pillau. At the begginning of August, when the Russians launched their campaign in East Prussia. The battalion who had been initially posted on the border had to retire into the woods where it protected the peasants who had taken refuge there. It was no match for Russian regular and irregular troops in direct confrontattion so it was mainly used in ambushes along the Russian communication lines, raids on baggage train. It also had to stop Cossacks incursions. On September 6, two companies of the battalion, supported by 200 hussars, managed to prevent the landing of 2,000 Russian troops at Schaaken in the Curonian Lagoon.

In January 1758, with virtually no troops left to put a stop to the Russian invasion of East Prussia, the battalion was disbanded to prevent its capture by the Russian Army.

Uniform

Besides the uniforms of the Lithuanian, German and Polish musketeers, there is also mention of a hussar uniform for the jägers. However, the latter uniform is not described.

Privates of the Lithuanian Companies

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Dal Gavan
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne without lace, pompoms of the same colour as the cuffs
hats and fur caps were probably allowed too
Grenadier not applicable, no grenadier in this unit
Neck stock red
Coat grey with 10 to 14 grey buttons on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs Prussian style cuffs without button, the colour of cuffs was different for each company (Prussian blue for Goldap, light olive green for Stallupöhnen, black for Pillkallen)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat supplied by the militiaman
Breeches supplied by the militiaman
Gaiters grey
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt unknown
Waistbelt unknown
Cartridge Box unknown
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard none
Footgear supplied by the militiaman


Privates were armed with a musket. Each militiaman could provide his own sword or sabre.

Privates of the German and Polish Companies

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Dal Gavan
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne without lace, pompoms of the same colour as the cuffs
hats and fur caps were probably permitted too
Grenadier not applicable, no grenadier in this unit
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 10 to 14 Prussian blue buttons on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs Prussian style without button, the colour of cuffs was different for each company (red for Johannisburg, yellow for Lyck, white for Oletzko)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat supplied by the militiaman
Breeches supplied by the militiaman
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt unknown
Waistbelt unknown
Cartridge Box unknown
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard none
Footgear supplied by the militiaman


Privates were armed with a musket. Each militiaman could provide his own sword or sabre.

NCOs

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

  • tricorne with wide silver lace and black and white quartered pompoms

Officers

Officers had tricorne wearing a thin silver lace and a black cockade. Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had silver buttons.

Musicians

Buglers wore uniforms similar to those of the privates but had a wide silver lace on their tricorne

Colours

Colours were not carried by militia units.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1984

Cremer, Peter: Die preussischen Landregimenter & -milizen, die Stettiner Haff-Flotille und das Verpflegungswesen der Armee 1756-1753, KLIO-Arbeitgruppe, Heimbach, 1987

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