Hessen-Darmstadt Erbprinz Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Darmstadt Army >> Hessen-Darmstadt Erbprinz Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on March 21, 1621 as the Fuerstliche-Leibkompagnie.

During the Thirty Years' War, the regiment soon saw action, fighting against Sweden from 1626 to 1637. From 1630 to 1632, it was attached to the Infanterie Regiment von Leien. In 1636, at the second siege of Magdeburg and on February 6, 1636 at Jena. From 1644 to 1647, the regiment fought in the Hessian War. In 1646, it became the Leib-Regiment zu Fuss. From August 25 to 28 of the same year, they were at Kirchenhain and on November 10 at Frankenberg. In 1647, they fought in the siege of Darmstadt by marshall Turenne, which forced Hessen to withdraw from the war against France. The same year, the unit was reduced to a single company.

In 1666, colonel vom Baumbach took command of the unit as well as of the Leibgarde zu Pferde. In 1667, it was renamed once more, becoming the Leib-Garde-Bataillon. In 1672, the unit was reinforced and retitled the Leibgarde zu Fuss. There were 3 infantry companies in Giessen, the Leibkompagnie was in Darmstadt and 1 company of infantry each in Marsburg and Russelsheim.

Form 1689 to 1696, the regiment again fought against France, on the rivers Rhine and Saar. On September 9 1689, they took part in the capture of Mainz. In 1691, the regiment became the Schrautenbachsches Regiment (aka “Red Regiment”). In 1693, they were in the relief of Heidelberg and from 1693 to1694, they were in the defence of the armed camp at Heilbronn. In 1693, two companies were in action at the Zwingenberg fortress and on August 30 1695, they were in the storming of Namur.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was again in action against France. On September 8 and 9, 1702 they were at the storming of the fortress of Landau. On October 14, the grenadier company was at Friedlingen. Then from October 14 to 15, they were in the defence of Landau. On November 15, 1703 they fought at the Speierbach. From September 12 to November 25, 1704 they were in the blockade and capture of Landau. In July 1705, they were in action at the lines of Weissenburg, and on October 6 at Hagenau.

During the War of the Polish Succession, from 1734 to 1735, the regiment was in action against France. In 1738, it became the Regiment Prinz Louis.

In 1739, the regiment became the Regiment Erbprinz, a name that it would retain throughout the Seven Years War until 1768.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, from 1747 to 1749, the regiment was in the Netherlands, fighting against France.

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

  • since 1739: colonel Erbprinz Ludwig von Hessen (became landgrave Ludwig IX in 1768)
  • from 1790: landgrave Ludwig X

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • since 1749 until 1765: major-general von Driesch

In 1768, when the Erbprinz succeeded to the throne, the regiment was renamed Leib-Regiment zu Fuss. It then consisted of 2 battalions, each of 1 grenadier and 4 musketeer companies.

Service during the War

The regiment saw no action during the Seven Years' War.

Uniform

Uniform of the Regiment Schrautenbach 1691:

  • Officers: red feather edging to the tricorne; dark blue full-skirted coats with same coloured collar and no lapels; red cuffs, silver buttons and buttonholes, white neck stock, silver gorget with gilt crowned `EL`, white silk waist sash with red and blue stripes, silver sword strap with red and blue stripes. They were armed with halberds, on the silvered blades of which, was the gilt crowned cipher `EL`. Red stockings.
  • Soldiers: dark blue coats, white-edged tricorne, with black cockade, white loop and button. Red collar and cuffs, edged in white, no lapels, red lining. Red aiguilette on the right shoulder, red shoulder strap on the left. Red neck stock. Dark blue waistcoat and breeches, the former edged white. White shirt, white lace buttonholes to front of coat, dark blue cuff flap (3 on each) and rear of waist (two rows of three). Three white lace buttonholes to side of knee breeches. Long white gaiters, buff bandolier and waist belt, plain black cartridge pouch, brown, matchlock musket and straight, leather scabbard, brass, basket hilt with red and white sword knot.
  • NCOs were armed with pikes.

Pigtails were introduced for all ranks in 1718.

N.B.: in 1695, von Plato`s company was armed with grenades and had a brass match case on their bandoliers. Instead of the tricorne, they wore dark blue tasseled caps. As the hand grenades proved to be very unreliable and often exploded prematurely, they were abandoned in about 1714 (after the war of the Spanish succession), but the grenadiers continued to wear their caps and match cases. Grenadier officers carried short, silver-mounted carbines and bayonets and had a small waist pouch, decorated with gilt grenades. At about this time, the matchlock was replaced by the flintlock. A metal ramrod replaced the wooden item in 1733.

Uniform of 1739

In 1739, a new uniform was introduced. Tricorne as before, edged now in silver for officers; grenadier caps in the national colours (red, white and blue) with the Hessian lion on the front. All lace buttonholes and edging were now silver. The officers wore their sashes over the right shoulder. The gorget was now gilt and they carried swords and spontoons. Dark blue coat with red facings and lining, red lapels with silver button holes, two such buttonholes on each sleeve over the cuff and two on each hip pocket flap. Buff waistcoats and breeches, long white gaiters. Officers had white neckstocks, the men had red. Men`s sabres were now worn under the coat. Corporals were now equipped with hazelnut canes as a sign of office. Hair was powdered, clubbed and queued and tied with a black bow.

In 1750 in Pirmasens, the Erbprinz introduced a new completely Prussian style uniform and a new grenadier cap.

Privates

Uniform of the grenadiers from 1750 as per Darmstädter Grenadierbilder 1750 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details from 1750
as per Darmstädter Grenadierbilder 1750
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne edged white with a black cockade and with red and white pompoms in the corners and above the cockade
Grenadier
Erbprinz Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap in 1750 - Source: Digby Smith and Richard Couture
mitre cap with red front carrying the Hessian lion on a blue field surrounded by white trophies of arms; red headband edged and decorated in white; blue backing with white braid; red within white within red pompon

N.B.: in 1768, when the regiment became the Leib-Regiment zu Fuss, it received silver-fronted parade caps, with the Hessian lion over the star of the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle

Pioneer brass-fronted caps, like Prussian fusiliers, the plate shorter than that of the grenadiers, with the Hessian lion over the star; black leather headpiece with brass top spike, bands and headband
Neckstock red
Coat dark blue lined red with 2 white buttons under the right lapel and 2 white twisted loop buttonholes with white tassels under each lapel; 1 white button and 1 twisted loop buttonhole on each side at the small of the back; coat hooked together only at the top of the chest
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red edged white and fastened by a white button (left shoulder only)
Lapels red with 6 white buttons and 6 white twisted loops buttonholes with white tassels grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets with white buttons
Cuffs red Prussian style cuffs with 2 white buttons and 2 white twisted loop buttonholes on each sleeve
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat buff with 1 row of yellow buttons and with horizontal pockets
Breeches buff
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard no information available
Scabbard brown with brass ornaments
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre (Prussian pattern sabre with red, white and blue straps and tassels).

Pioneers wore red leather aprons and were armed with carbines on brown slings. They carried axes and saws.

NCOs

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

  • buff gauntlets
  • silver, red and white sword knots were.

Grenadier NCOs had small black waist pouches, decorated with four brass grenades and a round central plate.

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne edged in scalloped silver lace
  • gorget (silver from 1766)
  • silver twisted loop buttonholes with silver tassels
  • no turnbacks
  • white silk sash with red and blue stripes worn around the waist, under the coat
  • buff gauntlets

Grenadier officers had no carbines nor waist pouches.

All company officers carried spontoons and gilt-topped Spanish canes.

Musicians

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

  • coat, lapels, pockets and cuffs edged with a white braid decorated with red wavy stripes
  • white buttonholes decorated with a red wavy stripe
  • sleeves decorated with 6 chevrons (same pattern as above)
  • swallow nests decorated with 3 vertical and 1 horizontal braids (same pattern as above)

Colours (1739-1768)

The finials bore the crowned double “L”. The staffs were black, the cordons and tassels were red, white and blue.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne): white field; centre device consisting of the crowned Hessian crest, held by two lions.

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): field consisting of 8 groups of blue, white and red flames; centre device consisting of the crowned, red and white Hessian lion on a blue field within a golden laurel wreath.

Colonel Colour - Source: PMPdeL
Ordonnance Colour – Source: PMPdeL

The finials bore the crowned double “L”. The staffs were black, the cordons and tassels were red, white and blue.

References

Beck, Fritz: Geschichte der Grossherzoglich Hessischen Fahnen und Standarten, Berlin 1895.

Bredow-Wedel: Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deutschen Heeres three volumes, Verlag August Scherl, Berlin 1905.

Diersburg, baron Roeder von: Geschichte des 1. Grossherzoglisch Hessischen Infanterie-(Leibgarde-) Regiments Nr 115 1621-1899, E S Mittler und Sohn, Berlin 1899.

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.