Franconian District Artillery

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Reichsarmee >> Franconian District Artillery

Origin and History

Uniform in 1782 - Source: Illustration by Raspe, Nürnberg 1782

This article is dealing with the Franconian regimental artillery. Heavy pieces were required only at the level of the Reichsarmee and were provided by the Kreis (circles or districts). Only the Franconian Circle more or less provided its due in full, with pieces lent to the Circle by Würzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg (see Reichsreserveartillerie).

In the 17th century, regimental artillery was lent to the Circle by Nuremberg. The Circle acquired its own guns during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13). Heavy artillery pieces for use in the fortresses of Philippsburg and Landau were cast in 1692. In Nuremberg a special arsenal existed since 1706, where ordnance, ammunition and equipment were kept.

Unlike the cavalry and infantry regiments, the artillery was not provided in form of contingents from all the members of the Circle. Ordnance and requisite supplies were belonging to the Circle as a whole, personnel came from Würzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg and was taken into service and paid by the Circle. In peace-time only officers and few artillerymen (known as Alte Büchsenmeister by the time of the Seven Years’ War) were kept.

Staff and Personnel

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Hannibal von Hartung (promoted to colonel at Nuremberg in 1764) remained in Nuremberg during the war
  • Major Johann Georg Müller (from Würzburg, promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1764, Würzburg engineer) remained in Würzburg
  • Captain Johann Michael Küchel (from Bamberg, promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1769)
  • 1st Lieutenant Wolfgang Nicolaus Schleemilch (from Nuremberg, promoted to lieutenant-colonel in 1774, appointed chief of the Nuremberg arsenal in 1775)
  • 2nd Lieutenant Friedrich Caspar Daumüller (from Nuremberg, promoted to colonel in 1787, appointed as last chief of the Nuremberg arsenal)
  • 2nd Lieutenant Johann Wagner (from June 5, 1762)
  • 3 Feuerwerker (artificers) in 1758
  • 1 Fourier (quartermaster)
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 servant
  • 2 drummers
  • 10 corporals
  • 24 Alte Büchsenmeister (artillerymen) or Constabler
  • 40 Junge Büchsenmeister or Handlanger (number varied during the war, Alte and Junge totalling about 64).
  • 2 grooms per gun and ammunition wagon

According to the infantry regulation, there were 1 corporal, 1 Gefreiter, 4 privates, 2 Zimmerleute (carpenters) for each two guns, forming some sort of a guard. Furthermore 6 to 8 privates were allocated to move the pieces.

Artillery pieces

In 1741, several 3-pdr guns were cast. Four were allocated to each regiment of the Franconian Circle. These guns had a barrel length 19 calibre or 143 cm and a weight of 876 pounds.

Their limbers had the characteristic old-style bifurcated thill, drawn by two or three horses. One ammunition cart (replaced in 1759 by a wagon) per gun.

Three wagons for tents and equipment.

Service during the War

Throughout the war, the Franconian artillery troops served the regimental pieces of the Franconian infantry regiments.


During the Seven Years’ War, the unit lost:

  • on November 5, 1757 at the Battle of Rossbach: 8 guns (4 belonging to Varell Infantry, 1 to Ferntheil Infantry and 3 to Cronegk Infantry) and 10 ammunition-wagons and 6 Büchsenmeister captured.
  • on April 3, 1759 at Suhl: 1 ammunition-wagon
  • on May 11, 1759 at Himmelkron: 2 guns and wagons belonging to Cronegk Infantry
  • on August 1759 at Leipzig: 2 guns and wagons belonging to Hohenlohe Infantry
  • on November 15, 1762 at Kasendorf (southwest of Kulmbach): 1 gun belonging to Cronegk Infantry during the retreat

Losses during the war were replaced by new cannon cast in Nuremberg (8 in 1758, and 4 in 1760) after the Austrian model by the founder Christian Victor Herold:

  • the 8 guns cast in 1758 had a length of 15 calibre and a weight of 560 pounds
  • the 4 guns cast in 1760 had a calibre of 14 and a weight of 525 pounds.

All barrels marked with the monogram “FC” and a number. Carriages were now of the Austrian pattern, but without the characteristic iron bars.

The guns cast during the war also saw service in the Revolutionary Wars and came in the possession of Bavaria in 1806. Some were left in Nuremberg in 1793 and were captured by the French in 1796. None has survived.



Uniform in 1756 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per per Verordnung… 1756 and evidence in connection with the 1793 uniform
Headgear black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade on the left side
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue in Austrian cut
Collar red
Shoulder Straps dark blue fastened with a brass button
Lapels red with 6 brass buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red with 3 brass buttons arranged vertically, in the style of the Austrian German Artillery
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat dark blue
Breeches dark blue
Gaiters black (there is no definite evidence for gaiters or boots)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt black leather
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a brass badge with the initials “FCA” (Fränkischer Crays Artillerie) and guns.
Bayonet Scabbard none
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes

Remark: sound evidences are rather scarce, the Verordnung 1756 being short in reference to artillery (as was the case in 1748). As it seems, the design was following the pattern of the Austrian German Artillery, exchanging brown for blue an adding lapels. The Reichsreserveartillerie probably wore a similar uniform with the exception of white/silver metal instead of yellow/gold.

Gunners were armed with a sabre. Muskets were carried on guard duty only.

The so-called Besteck (artilleryman's tools: pair of compasses, cleaning-pin etc.) or a powder flask was carried on a black-white-red cord (NCO and Alte Büchsenmeister only).


Officers had a golden aiguilette (as in a portrait of Colonel Balthasar Neumann in the 1740s (perhaps other ranks too).

Red waistcoat and breeches (1782).

Waistcoat with gold lace (staff officers).


In 1782, Feuerwerker had red waistcoats and breeches.


Drummers were probably uniformed as their counterparts in the infantry: swallow-nests with silver lace.

The drum barrel was blue and red.


The unit carried no colour.


  • Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D., Die Reichsarmee 1757-63. I. Teil: Zusammensetzung und Organisation, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.
  • Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.; Weirich, W.-D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-63. II. Teil: Die einzelnen Einheiten, ihre Stärke, Zusammensetzung, Uniform und Feldzeichen, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.
  • Brauer, Hans M.; Knötel, Herbert d.J.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen, Berlin 1926-1962, Uniformbogen Nr. 11, Die Reichsarmee 1756-63, die Regtr. des Fränk. Kreises
  • Deutsche Uniformen, Vol. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images from Herbert Knötel d. J., text and explanations from dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden, 1932
  • documents from Bavarian state archives at Nuremberg
  • Helmes, Hermann: Übersicht zur Geschichte der fränkischen Kreistruppen 1664-1714, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 14, München 1905, pp. I-VIII and 1-70
  • Helmes, Hermann: Kurze Geschichte der fränkischen Kreistruppen 1714-1756 und ihre Teilnahme am Feldzuge von Roßbach 1757, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 16, München 1907, pp. I-VIII and 1-116
  • Helmes, Hermann: Die fränkischen Kreistruppen im Kriegsjahre 1758 und im Frühjahrsfeldzug 1759, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 17, München 1908, pp. I-VIII and 137-216
  • Knötel, Richard: Farbiges Handbuch der Uniformkunde: Die Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht der deutschen Staaten, Österreich-Ungarns und der Schweiz. Begründet von Prof. Richard Knötel. Grundlegend überarbeitet und bis zum Stand von 1937 fortgeführt von Herbert Knötel d.J. und Herbert Sieg. Dem Stand der Forschung angepaßt und ergänzt von Ingo Pröper, überarbeitete Neuauflage, Stuttgart 1985
  • Knötel, Richard, Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921, vol. VI, plate 6. Fränkischer Kreis. Die Truppen des Fränkischen Kreises 1781.
  • Muhsfeldt, Th.: Ueber die Truppen des Fränkischen Kreises, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht. Beilagen zum VI. Bande der "Uniformkunde", hrsg. von Richard Knötel (1885), No. 2, pp. 5-6, No. 3, pp. 9-11 and No. 4, p. 13
  • Soden, Karl baron von: Nachricht von den Fränkischen Craistruppen. Nebst einem Anhang von den Schwäbischen Creisregimentern, Nürnberg, by Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe, 1782
  • Verordnung des löblichen fränkischen Kreises, wonach dessen Regimenter zu Ross und zu Fuss gleichförmig montiret, mit Feuer- und Seitengewehr versehen.....werden sollen u.s.w., vom 26. October 1756. Auszug. Nach der Sammlung Würzburgischer Verordnungen im Kgl. Kreis-Archiv Würzburg, mitgetheilt von Th. Muhsfeldt, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht. Beilagen zum XII. Bande der "Uniformkunde", hrsg. von Richard Knötel (1902), No. 3, pp. 9-10


Klaus Roider for a major update of this article