Forgách Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Forgách Infantry

Origin and History

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, on October 30 1741, a letter patent authorised Colonel Ignáz Count Forgách to raise a Hungarian infantry regiment: (Forgách Infantry). The lieutenant-colonel of the regiment was Nikolaus Medyánszky from Vettes Infantry, and its Obristwachtmeister (major), Josip Count Drašković who was also appointed commander of the third battalion. Recruitment proceeded very fast and Forgách Infantry was the first of the Hungarian regiments established in 1741 who could be reviewed. In December, Forgách received the order to send a battalion to Moravia. Meanwhile, Drašković's third battalion was sent to Pressburg (present-day Bratislava) to complete its armament. However, weapons arrived from Vienna only after 4 weeks. This battalion was then instructed to join the garrison of Brünn (present-day Brno).

In March 1742, General Andrássy reviewed the entire regiment. Drašković's third battalion took part in the defence of Brünn, the commander of the place was General Seherr von Thoss. On March 14, during a sortie, Beleznay Hussars engaged a large Prussian unit. Drašković with 180 men of his battalion came to the rescue of the hussars, the Prussians were defeated and General Truchssess captured. By May, the first and second battalions of Forgách Infantry were attached to the corps of Count Khevenhüller in Bavaria while the third battalion was sent to Vienna where it assumed garrison duty till 1744.

In July 1743, Captain Szülay replaced Drašković as commander of the third battalion which was sent to Olmütz (present-day Olomouc). In October, Forgách Infantry distinguished itself at the siege of Ingolstadt in Bavaria before taking its winter-quarters in Breisgau.

In the campaign of 1744, Forgách Infantry, now including its third battalion, was attached to the division of Field-Marshal Bärenklau, operating on the Rhine. On July 1, when the Imperials passed the Rhine, Forgách Infantry was at the head of the vanguard. The French were driven out of Oppenheim. On July 4, the regiment fought in an engagement near Lauterburg and then took part, under FML Nádasdy, in the siege of Weissenburg who capitulated after a few days. Colonel Forgách occupied the fortress with one of his battalion. In the following days, the French tried to reconquer Weissenburg . Forgách could not defend the place against such a superior enemy for long and finally gave order to evacuate Weissenburg. However, his men were not ready to abandon the fortress without a fight. After a desperate combat of two hours, the defenders and their colonel were taken prisoners (they were soon exchanged against French prisoners). On July 30, all three battalions of the regiment were present at the capture of the town of Zabern. It then garrisoned the place. On August 13, a French force appeared in front of Zabern. Faced by such a superior force, Forgách evacuated the town. However, when FML Bärenklau arrived with reinforcements, the town was retaken. The regiment lost 280 men in this action. After the entry of the Prussian Army in Bohemia, Prince Charles de Lorraine redirected his army towards Southern Bohemia. During the march, Forgách Infantry was attached to the corps commanded by FML Daun. On August 23, the regiment took part in an encounter between Daun's Corps and a French force under Coigny and Noailles. Major Drašković distinguished himself in this combat and received an honourable mention in the order of the day. The regiment was then assigned to the garrison of Ingolstadt and Drašković was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. After the conclusion of peace with Prussia on December 25 1745, most of the regiments, including Forgách Infantry, were sent to Italy under FZM M. U. Browne. On June 16 1746, Forgách Infantry took part in the Battle of Piacenza against the Franco-Sardinian Army. It was later present at the capture of Genoa. From November 1746 to February 1747, Forgách Infantry took part in the campaign in Provence. Later on, it was attached to Nádasdy's Light Corps and fought in the combat of Campo Freddo which was defended by Genoese troops. After some initial success, Nádasdy was finally forced to retire.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

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

  • since 1742 until 1773: Count Ignaz von Forgách

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • Friedrich Baron von Altkirchen

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 32".

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed in Lombardy.

On April 21 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, one battalion of the regiment took part in the combat of Reichenberg where it was deployed behind the entrenchments between Rosenthal and Franzesdorf.

On September 7 1757, when general Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's corps isolated during the combat of Moys, one battalion of the regiment was part of the Reserve under lieutenant-general Forgách kept behind the three columns of infantry destined to the attack. On November 22, one battalion of the regiment took part to the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre of Nádasdy's Corps. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, one battalion of the regiment was deployed in the second line of the Reserve of the left wing under marshal Forgách as part of Nádasdy's Corps.

By August 2 1758, the regiment served in the second line of the main Austrian army under the command of count Leopold Daun near Jarmeritz (today Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou). Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia. On October 10, two battalions of the regiment took part to the battle of Hochkirch where they were deployed in the right column (under count d'Arberg) of Arenberg's corps on the Austrian right wing to the east of Rodewitz.

In early June 1760, 2 battalions of the regiment were part of the corps under the command of general Beck on the upper Queis river, on the borders between Lusatia, Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia.

On August 16 1762, 2 battalions of the regiment took part in the battle of Reichenbach in Beck's corps.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1762 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details in 1757 and 1762
as per the Delacre, Bautzener and Albertina Handschriften and the Raspischen Buchhandlung publication

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener on the right side (left side in 1762) and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade nor pompoms (a sky blue cockade and white within sky blue pompoms in each lateral corne in 1762)
Grenadier bearskin probably with a sky blue bag
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined sky blue without buttons (6 white laced buttonholes with tassels, arranged 1-2-3, on each side in 1762)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps sky blue fastened by a yellow button (both shoulders)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets without buttons
Cuffs sky blue pointed cuffs edged red (without edging in 1762) without buttons
Turnbacks sky blue with a white fastener
Waistcoat sky blue dolman edged red with 3 rows of small yellow buttons linked with red brandebourgs
Trousers sky blue Hungarian trousers decorated with red laces
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt red and sky blue barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear short black boots


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers), a bayonet and a sabre.

Other interpretations

Friese's reproduction of Delacre's illustration shows a much darker shade of blue (a kind of turquin blue) instead of the sky blue of later illustrations. The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates the 1762 uniform with white brandebourgs on the dolman, white laces on the trousers and a white and sky blue barrel sash.

NCOs

Sergeants and corporals carried a short musket and a bayonet.

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neckstock
  • gold cords and laces
  • no lace at the buttonholes
  • no turnbacks
  • white waistbelt
  • a brick red sabretache bordered sky blue
  • yellow Hungarian boots

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Musicians

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All Hungarian infantry regiments were supposed to carry the same colours as the German infantry regiments: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The colours were made of silk. The flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF on the left wing and JM on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: PMPdeL

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 37

Other sources

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762

Bilderhandschrift Delacre: Militair Etat der Ganzen Kayl., Königl. Armee Wienn 1757

Dihm, Dr. Hermann; Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Friese, Ulf-Joachim, Quellen zur Uniformierung der österreichisch-ungarischen Armee 1740-1763

Funcken, Liliane and Fred; Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Hausmann, Friedrich, Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Kornauth, Friedrich, Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.; Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

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

Seidel, Paul; Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

User:Zahn for gathering most of the information about this regiment