Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli

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Origin and History

The unit was raised in Merseburg on December 5 1756. Its recruitment continued in the Spring of 1757 until it reached full strength. It then marched to join the main Prussian army near Prague. According to Bleckwenn's classification system, the unit is designated as “Frei-Infanterie Regiment F4”. The unit consisted of one battalion:

  • 5 musketeer companies, each of:
    • 3 officers
    • 7 NCOs
    • 1 drummer
    • 90 privates
  • 2 x 1-pdr guns.

For the campaign of 1758, the battalion was increased to 21 officers, 35 NCOs, 5 drummers and 750 privates.

During the winter of 1759-60, a second battalion was raised in Halberstadt.

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

  • since December 5 1756: Colonel Ludwig Marquis d'Angelelli de Malvezzi
  • from March 6 1760 till 1763: Colonel Jean-François de Collignon (formerly chef of Frei-Infanterie Nr. 2)

In 1763, the regiment was disbanded and its troops incorporated into Silesian regular regiments.

Service during the War

On Monday May 2 1757, the battalion arrived in Pirna to escort a convoy leaving for Prague. On November 22, the battalion took part in the battle of Breslau where it defended the village of Kleinburg. The Austrian Major-General Wolffersdorf attacked the village with 16 grenadier companies. Angelelli's battalion defended the village for a considerable time. They were at length obliged to yield it, having first set fire to it. They did not retreat far but drew up behind a ditch where they maintained their ground till the prince of Bevern, a brother of the duke, advanced with a battalion to their support. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed on the left in the first line of the infantry centre. Along with Frei-Infanterie le Noble and Frei-Infanterie von Salenmon, the battalion occupied Borne to threaten the Austrian right wing. At about 4:00 PM, this small force, under the command of Colonel Angelelli, supported the attack of the Markgraf Friedrich von Bayreuth Dragoons who defeated the Austrian cavalry of the right wing.

In March 1758, the battalion joined the king's army for the invasion of Moravia where it was attached to Zieten's corps. On April 20 at night, the battalion was attacked at Liebau (today Lubawka) by a detachment of Austrian light troops under the command of Colonel Brentano. The Austrians captured 4 officers, 47 men and the 2 field-pieces of the battalion. During the retreat from Moravia to Silesia, the light troops corps was attached to the rearguard. During Frederick's operations to counter the Austrian invasion of Saxony, the battalion formed part of the vanguard. On October 6, during the march on Hochkirch, this vanguard was surprised by a large cavalry corps as its set out of a forest into the open plain near Bischofswerda. In this action, the vanguard lost 400 men and 3 pieces. On October 14, the battalion then fought in the battle of Hochkirch where, with Frei-Infanterie du Verger, it occupied the bushes at the foot of the Birkenbusch in front of the Prussian the right wing. At 5:00 AM, when the Austrians launched their attack, these 2 battalions fled to the rear.

During the winter of 1758-59, the battalion wintered in Upper Silesia as part of Zieten's corps.

Before the opening of the campaign of 1759, the 1-pdr guns were replaced by heavier 3-pdr guns. The battalion once more served with the king's army.

During the winter of 1759-60, a second battalion was raised.

For the campaign of 1760, the 1st battalion formed part of Fouqué's army in Upper Silesia. On June 23, it fought at the battle of Landeshut where most of its troops were taken prisoners by the Austrians. The remnants of the battalion were grouped with those of Frei-Infanterie le Noble and Frei-Infanterie von Lüderitz to form the Chaumontet Battalion. This battalion was then attached to Werner's corps sent to relieve Colberg. On September 8, Werner forced the Russians to lift the siege of Colberg. The battalion was then attached to Goltz's corps who joined the king's army in mid October to come to the relief of Berlin.

During the winter of 1760-61, the first battalion was re-established in Wittenberg and the converged Chaumontet Battalion disbanded.

For the campaign of 1761, the 2 battalions were attached to the army of Prince Henri. Along with Frei-Infanterie Lüderitz and Frei-Infanterie Wunsch, the regiment formed part of Loelhöffel's detachment who took position in Thuringia to observe the Reichsarmee. On March 27, the second battalion was attacked by a French detachment near Nordhausen and almost entirely destroyed. The second battallion could never be re-established at full strength.

For the campaign of 1762, the unit served once more with the army of Prince Henri in Saxony.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne without lace with 1 yellow button, 1 light blue pompom and 1 smaller similar pompom in each lateral corne
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 6 yellow buttons arranged 2 by 2 on both sides; 1 light blue patte with a yellow button near the collar; 2 yellow buttons at the waist on the right side; and 3 yellow buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none (Wellner and Uniformen Preuß. Armee both show a light blue collar)
Shoulder Straps blue fastened with a yellow button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 2 yellow buttons
Cuffs light blue “Swedish-style” cuffs with 2 yellow buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat light blue with one row of yellow buttons
Breeches light blue
Gaiters tall black gaiters
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black


Privates were armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a curved blade sabres.

NCOs

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

  • tricorne with wide golden lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • gold edged cuffs

NCOs were probably armed with a sabre and a half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.).

NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).

Officers

Officers had tricorne wearing a scalloped golden lace, a black cockade fastened with a small golden button and a golden strap; and 2 black and white pompoms (1 in each side corne of the tricorne). Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks nor shoulder straps.

Officers probably carried spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).

Musicians

no information found yet

Colours

None of the Freikorps units carried official colours or standards to the exception of von Kleist Frei Korps.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 5: Die Uniformen der preußischen Technischen Truppen, Rückwärtigen Dienste und Kriegsformationen 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1984

Cremer, Peter: Die Preussischen Freikorps im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Auflistung der Freikorps, ihrer Einsätze, der Uniformen, der Chefs und deren Geschichte, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin 1901, Anlage 1-2

Jany, Curt: Geschichte der Königlich Preußischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, Zweiter Band: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen 1740-1763, Reprint Osnabrück 1967

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.; Heer und Tradition - Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Vol. 3 Rest der Infanterie, die besonderen Corps und Chargen, Anhang u. Ergänzungen, Berlin 1857

Ritter, Joachim; Der standhafte Zinnsoldat; Leipzig, 1937

Uniformen Preuß. Armee, ca. 1758

Wellner, Carl; Uniform von Sr. Königl: Majestaet in Preussen Armee so Infanterie als Curassier, Dragoner, Husaren und Jäger zu Pferd und zu Fuß, nebst der in Empfang genommenen 10. Regt. Sachsen und Frey Bataillon; Leipzig, November 11 1757 (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Kunstbibliothek)

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

Acknowledgments

Michael Zahn and Digby Smith for the information provided for the creation of the initial version of this article.