Frei-Infanterie von Rapin

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Origin and History

The unit was raised on January 2 1758 in Magdeburg from French prisoners taken at the battle of Rossbach.

According to Bleckwenn's classification system, the unit is designated as “Frei-Infanterie Regiment F6”. The unit consisted of one battalion of:

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

At the beginning of 1759, the two 1-pdr guns of the battalion were replaced by 3-pdr guns.

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

  • since January 2 1758: David Salomon von Rapin
  • from January 14 1759 till 1763: Wilhelm Adolf von Lüderitz

In 1763, at the end of the Seven Years' War, the battalion was incorporated into the Garrison Regiment VIII Le Noble in Glatz.

Service during the War

In the spring of 1758, the newly raised battalion marched to join the Prussian army who had proceeded to the invasion of Moravia, suffering many desertions on its way. Upon its arrival, it took part in the siege of Olmütz. On July 16, the battalion saw its first action at Holitz where it fended off an attack against the defeated Prussian cavalry. During the retreat from Moravia to Silesia, the light troops corps was attached to the rearguard where they successfully took part in many engagements. The battalion, now commanded by Lüderitz, was then attached to Fouqué's corps and wintered in Silesia.

At the opening of the campaign of 1759, the unit was attached to the army of the king. On July 13, its commander, at the head of a detachment of 300 light troops from Frei-Infanterie le Noble, Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli and his own battalion, was taken prisoner at Friedland in Silesia. During his captivity, Major Friedrich von Oven assumed command.

At the opening of the campaign of 1760, the unit was attached to Fouqué's operating in Upper Silesia. On June 23, the unit took part in the battle of Landeshut where it was almost completely destroyed. The remnants of the battalion were integrated into battalion Chaumontet. In mid October, this unit belonged to Goltz's corps at Prinkenau. This corps joined the army of the king to relieve Berlin and was captured.

During the winter of 1760-61, a new battalion was raised in Wittenberg to replace the former one.

At the opening of the campaign of 1761, the reformed battalion Lüderitz was attached to the army of Prince Henri. The regiment operated in Thuringia, under the command of Colonel Loelhöffel, observing the movements of the Reichsarmee.

For the campaign of 1762, the battalion was once more attached to the army of Prince Henri. On May 12, the battalion took part in the combat of Doebeln. On October 29, it fought in the battle of Freiberg.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne without lace with 1 brass button, 1 light blue pompom and 1 smaller similar pompom in each lateral corne
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red; with a red patte fastened with a brass button near the collar; 6 brass buttons arranged 2 by 2 on both sides; 2 brass buttons at the waist on the right side; and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none (light blue in 1759 as per Schmalen)
Shoulder Straps light blue fastened with a brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 2 brass buttons
Cuffs light blue “Swedish-style” cuffs with 2 brass buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a small brass button
Waistcoat light blue with one row of brass 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 lateral corne of the tricorne). Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks nor shoulder straps. Their waistcoat and the pockets of their waistcoat were edged woth 2 golden braids.

N.B.: in 1760 Jahnisch illustrated a golden epaulette on the left shoulder

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

Jahnisch 1760

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

Schmalen, Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee Worinnen zur eigentlichen Kenntniss der Uniform von jedem Regiment ein Officier und Gemeiner in Völliger Montirung und ganzer Statur nach dem Leben abgebildet sind., Nürnberg, 1759 and 1762

Acknowledgments

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