Hildburghausen Infantry

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Origin and History

This regiment is one of the oldest infantry regiments of the Austrian Army. Its origins can be traced back to 1630, when Generalissimus Albrecht von Waldstein authorized Colonel Heinrich Holk to raise an infantry regiment of 3,000 men at Lübeck and Pinneberg. However, the Danish King Christian IV did not allow recruiting in his lands. Therefore, Holk had to go to Bohemia where he found the rest of a foot regiment originally raised in 1620 by the Protestant nobility of Upper Austria at Linz. Its commander was Colonel Schiffer. Under the pressure of the Elector of Bavaria Maximilian, the nobility had accepted that its regiment could be incorporated into his own forces. Therefore, in November 1620, Schiffer's regiment had fought in a battle near Prague against the Protestant Army. This regiment continued to distinguish itself under the command of its successive colonels: Schiffer, Knering and Zwilling. The regiment took part in various battles of the Thirty Years' War.

In 1630, the rest of this regiment under Schiffer and Knering formed the cadre for the new regiment raised by Colonel Holk.

In 1631, the regiment took part in the Siege of Magdeburg and in the Battle of Leipzig. In 1632, it was at the Battle of Lützen; and in 1634, at the Battle of Nördlingen.

During the following years, the regiment campaigned in Bohemia, Saxony and Silesia under Waldstein.

Holk died in 1633 of the plague.

In 1634, FM Johann Caspar Count Stadion became the new proprietor of the regiment.

In 1638, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lemgow; in 1642, in the Battle of Breitenfeld; and in 1645, in the Battle of Jankau.

In 1658 and 1659, the regiment campaigned in Holstein and Pomerania. It was then transferred to Hungary to fight against the Turks.

In 1663, the regiment took part in the siege of Neuhäusel; in 1664, in the Battle of St. Gotthard. In 1674, the regiment served in Germany against the French, taking part in the Battle of Seneffe. In 1675, it fought in the Battle of Consarbrück. In 1676, the regiment served in Germany against the French and was at the storming of Philippsburg. In 1678, it took part in the engagement of Rheinfelden.

By 1683, the regiment belonged to Imperial Count (Reichsgraf) Maximilian Lorenz von Stahremberg. In 1684, it was at the siege of Ofen. In 1687, it fought in the Battle of Mohacs.

In 1688, the regiment returned to the Rhine where it took part in the siege of Philippsburg. In 1689, it was at the storming of Mainz.

By 1691, the regiment was back in Hungary where it fought in the Battle of Slankamen. In 1692, it was at the siege of Grosswardein.

From 1693 until the signature of the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699, part of the regiment garrisoned Hungary and the other part was stationed at Herrmanstadt in Transylvania.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment remained in Transylvania. In 1703, it fought against Rákóczi's rebel. In 1705, it took part in the engagement at the “Rothe Turm” Pass; in 1709, in an engagement near Királyhágo.

The regiment remained in Hungary until 1729.

In 1730 and 1731, the regiment garrisoned Cremona and Sabionetta in Italy.

During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738), it campaigned in Italy, taking part in the battles of Parma (June 29, 1734) and Guastalla (September 19, 1734).

After this war, the regiment remained in Italy until 1741.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), in 1742, the regiment was attached to Khevenhüller's Corps. It fought at Linz and took part in the occupation of Bavaria. It then took its winter-quarters at Passau. In 1744, the regiment initially served on the Rhine. It lost one of its grenadier company during the retreat to Bohemia. The following years, it campaigned in Germany.

After this war, the regiment was mainly stationed in Austria.

From 1752 to 1755, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Southern Bohemia.

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).

Portrait of Prince Hildburghausen by Tischbein

The successive chefs of the regiment were:

  • from 1630: Heinrich von Holk
  • from 1634: FM Johann Caspar Count Stadion
  • from 1641 to 1647: vacant
  • from 1647: Johann Reichard Count Starhemberg
  • from 1683: Imperial Count (Reichsgraf) Maximilian Lorenz von Stahremberg (died at the Siege of Maynz in 1689)
  • from 1689: Count Ferdinand Maria Heinrich von Althan
  • from 1689: General Czisla
  • from 1691: General Lapaczeck
  • from 1709: Count Nicolaus von Palfy
  • from 1712: Joseph Friedrich Wilhelm Hollandinus von Sachsen Hildburghausen
  • from 1732 till 1787: Josef Friedrich Prince Hildburghausen

The successive colonel-commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1630: Heinrich Holk (second Colonel Knering)
  • from 1634: Johann Caspar Count Stadion (second Colonel Knering)
  • from 1647: Johann Reichard Count Starhemberg
  • from 1661: Hubert Marchese Pio de Savoya
  • unknown
  • from 1752: Friedrich von Bülow
  • from 1758: Kaspar Reinhard von Trais (second Colonel Martin Friese)
  • from 1769: Elias von Fischer

After the Seven Years' War, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Moravia (Bystřice and Velké Meziříčí).

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 8".

Service during the War

By June 1756, the regiment counted 2,408 men and was stationed in Bohemia. At the beginning of September, its third battalion formed part of the garrison of Olmütz while its 2 field battalions marched to join the Austrian relief army assembled at Budin in Bohemia under field-marshal Browne to repel the Prussian invasion of Saxony. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was initially deployed in the second line of the centre under General C. Kollowrat in Major-General Krottendorf's Brigade. The regiment was then posted on the left wing at Čížkovice (present-day part of Lovosice) supporting the Grenzer of GFWM Drašković. Later on, it was called to re-occupy the Lobosch Hill and defend Lobositz. After a fight of 5 hours, Browne finally ordered to evacuate Lobositz. In this battle, the regiment lost 16 officers and 246 men. It then took its winter-quarters around Saaz (present-day Žatec/CZ).

In 1757, the garrison battalion of the regiment handed over 1 company to the garrison battalion of Thürheim Infantry. Meanwhile, in Spring, the field battalions were deployed in cordon along the Bohemian border. Then, in April, they joined Ahremberg's Corps. On May 6, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the two field battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where they were deployed in count Batthyanyi's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing of infantry under Baron Kheul. Colonel von Bülow and 20 officers were wounded during this battle where the regiment lost 181 men dead and wounded. After Frederick's failure at Kolin, the Prussians slowly retired towards Silesia. The regiment was part of the Austrian troops who followed the Prussians. On October 3, along with Erzherzog Carl Infantry and Moltke Infantry, the regiment took part in a combat near Lissa (present-day Lasow/PL), driving back the Prussians. On November 22, during the Austrian invasion of Silesia, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the Marquis d'Aynse's Brigade, on the extreme left wing of infantry under Count Puebla. In this battle, the regiment lost 20 men dead and 9 officers and 233 men wounded. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, two battalions of the regiment were deployed in Puebla's Brigade in the first line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo. During the retreat of the defeated Austrian army, the regiment was in the rearguard with Pallavicini Infantry and Browne Infantry. Together, they defended the bridge crossing the Schweidnitz River till nightfall. Between December 16 and 20, the regiment with Erzherzog Carl Infantry, Königsegg Infantry, Gaisruck Infantry and Kheul Infantry defended the pass near Landshut, thus enabling the army to reach its winter-quarters in Bohemia. For its part, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Schurz (present-day Žírec/CZ).

In June 1758, during the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment was attached to Daun's main army near Gewitsch (present-day Jevíčko/CZ). When Frederick II lifted the Siege of Olmütz and retreated, the regiment marched through Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ), Gistchin (present-day Jičín/CZ), Turnau (present-day Turnov/CZ), Zittau and arrived at Görlitz on August 20. From there, Daun entered into Saxony. By September 5, Daun was encamped near Stolpen. Afterwards, the Austrian main army followed the Prussian army up to Hochkirch. On October 14, two battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where they were deployed in the right column (under Count d'Arberg) of Ahrenberg's Corps on the Austrian right wing to the east of Rodewitz. The regiment stormed the entrenchments on the Prussian left wing. The regiment lost 6 officers and 144 men (on January 23 1760, Colonel Reinhard Baron Trais would receive the Knight Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Order, in the fifth promotion of this military order, for his conduct during this battle). The regiment took its winter-quarters around Pilsen (present-day Plzeň/CZ) and Elbogen (present-day Loket/CZ).

In January 1759, it was resolved to send an Austrian contingent (Hildburghausen Infantry, Harrach Infantry, Botta Infantry and Thürheim Infantry) to act in conjunction with the Reichsarmee. On January 14, this contingent arrived in Kassel. However, the Reichsarmee was driven back to Eisfeld by superior Prussian forces. On April 1, the regiment, under Colonel Trais, with its grenadiers and 100 volunteers defended the defiles near Wassungen, thus allowing some lost troops to rally with Major-General Guasco's main corps at Eisfeld. Until June 4, the regiment along with other Austrian units, remained with the Reichsarmee. It then marched through Pegnitz and Neustadt to Bohemia. Major-General Plunquet's Brigade (Hildburghausen Infantry, Harrach Infantry and Bretlach Cuirassiers) was sent to the border to stop the incursion of Prince Henri. The brigade later marched to Böhmisch Kamnitz (present-day Česká Kamenice/CZ) as part of G.d.C. Hadik's Corps. On August 11, this corps arrived at Görlitz. From there FML Maquire at the head of an Austrian contingent (including Hildburghausen Infantry) was sent once more to assist the Reichsarmee in Saxony. By mid-August, during the Austro-Imperial campaign in Saxony, the regiment was attached to Zweibrücken's Imperial Corps. On September 21, the regiment took part in the combat of Korbitz where the Austro-Imperials defeated a Prussian force commanded by Generals Wunsch and Finck. In this combat, the regiment lost 19 men dead and 39 wounded. Afterwards, the regiment joined the Austrian main army in the camp of Plauen. It was later sent to G.d.C. O'Donell's Corps posted near Maltern where the regiment took its winter-quarters.

In early June 1760, the regiment formed part of the Austrian Grand Army encamped near Dresden and was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre. However, its garrison battalion formed part of Loudon's Army of Silesia. It was deployed in Draskovich's Corps in Upper-Silesia. In July, the garrison battalion of the regiment took part in the siege of Glatz (present-day Klodsko/PL), forming part of the garrison after the capture of the fortress. Meanwhile, the field battalions marched from one place to another without seeing action. However, on November 3, they took part in the Battle of Torgau where they were deployed in the centre in Migazzi's Brigade. After this battle, the regiment took its winter-quarters near Dresden.

In 1761, one battalion of the regiment occupied an outpost near Frauenstein, while the other battalions were attached to Lacy's Corps near Naundorf. Between October 17 and November 5, these battalions worked on the entrenchments on the “Galgenberg”. On December 6, the regiment took its winter-quarters in the area of Hellwigsdorf, Langenau, Waidmannsdorf and Klein-Hartmannsdorf.

In 1762, the regiment campaigned in Saxony as part of Serbelloni;s Corps. In January, the regiment took part in an expedition against Altenburg. In May, the regiment was encamped near Freiberg. At the end of June, it was directed to the small corps of FML Buttler and remained in the area of Dippoldiswalde until September. The regiment was afterwards sent to the Reichsarmee commanded by Prince Stolberg. It marched by Bautzen into Prussian territory but, at the end of October, returned to Saxony. On October 30, the regiment arrived at Maltern near Dresden. At the end of November, the regiment took its winter-quarters near Töplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ).

In March 1763, after the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment marched by Aussig (present-day Ústí nad Labem/CZ) to Böhmisch Aicha (present-day Český Dub/CZ) and then to Chrudim where it was reviewed.

Uniform

For the moment we have very few information on the uniform in 1756, at the outbreak of the war. Most of our references describe the uniform in 1762. However, Muhsfeldt and Schirmer mention that, in 1756-57, the coat was white lined red, and the waistcoat and breeches were red.

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1762
as per the Bautzener Handschrift

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade; poppy red pompoms in the lateral cornes
Grenadier bearskin with a poppy red bag probably laced yellow and a yellow tassel
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined white with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels poppy red with 7 yellow buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs poppy red with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white attached with a white and red fastener
Waistcoat white with 2 rows of small yellow buttons (3-3-3) and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters one pair of black (for winter) and one pair of white gaiters (for summer and parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black (grenadiers only)
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers). Grenadiers carried a sabre while fusiliers carried only a bayonet.

NCOs

no information found yet

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
  • no turnbacks
  • yellow and black silk sash

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

Sergeants carried a halberd and a wooden stick.

Corporals carried a halberd.

Musicians

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by poppy red swallow nests on the shoulders. However, Donath illustrates drummers with poppy red swallow nests edged with a scalloped yellow braid; poppy red cuffs edged with an identical braid; and white lapels. 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 German infantry regiments carried identical colours: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The hand painted colours were made of silk and measured Size 178 cm x 127 cm. The 260 cm long 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 (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
Leibfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

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 (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) 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: Frédéric Aubert

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, pp. 11-12

Other sources

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

Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 1, Vienna, 1804, pp. 34-38

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 4

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

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

Schweigerd, C. A.: Geschichte des K. K. Linien-Infanterie-Regimentes No. 8 Erzherzog Ludwig, Vienna 1857

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

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 11-12

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

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