II. and III. Garde

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> II. and III. Garde

Origin and History

Grenadier of the II battalion in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759
Grenadier of the III battalion - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung

The regiment was created, on August 1 1688, by Colonel Carl Philipp Baron von Wylich zu Lottum. A large part of its soldiers were French Huguenots (protestant) who had left France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

The regiment was initially stationed at Wesel.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment saw action at the capture of Rheinberg and Geldern, and at the battles of Blenheim (August 13, 1704), Oudenarde (July 11, 1708) and Malplaquet (September 11, 1709).

At the beginning of the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment was transferred to Ruppin and Nauen and the Kronprinz (future Frederick II) obtained its colonelcy.

In 1740, when Frederick II acceded to the throne of Prussia, the regiment became his “Regiment Garde” and the first battalion his “Leibgarde” under his direct command. Its second battalion came mostly from the Grenadier Garde while a third battalion was formed with troops contributed by the entire Prussian army. From that year, the regiment garrisoned Potsdam and filled its ranks from the regiments of the Prussian Army. Draft could also be raised in the “Royal Canton” of the Silesian mountains.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment fought at Chotusitz (May 17, 1742), Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745) and Soor (September 30, 1745).

Since February 29 1732, this regiment belonged to Frederick II, as Kronprinz till 1740, and then as King.

During the Seven Years' War, the II. and III. Battalions of the regiment were under the command of:

  • since July 18 1756: Colonel Carl Ferdinand Baron von Hagen (aka Geist)
  • from May 12 1757: Colonel Friedrich Christoph Baron von Saldern
  • from February 5 1760 to May 7 1771: Wichard Joachim Heinrich von Möllendorff

The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 15.

Line of tradition: In 1914 the 7th and 8th Company of the 1st Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. After WWI in the Reichswehr and later in the Wehrmacht 1st Company Infantery Regiment 9. Today in the Bundeswehr, the tradition is carried by the “Wachbatallion” (Guard battalion). The motto of the batallion is "Semper Talis". Today the "Wachbataillon" is stationed in the Julius-Leber-Kaserne in Berlin-Wedding and in the Brückberg-Kaserne in Siegburg. It has about 1.800 soldiers in eight companies.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Keith's Corps. The centre column had concentrated at Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. While the Prussian main army moved forward to engage the Austrian Army at Lobositz (October 1), the II and III battalions remained in the Pirna Country to maintain the blockade of the Saxon Army which surrendered on October 17. The defeated Saxon Army had to pass between two battalions of Prussian Gardes and were then received by two battalions of the Prinz von Preußen Infantry.

III.Garde at the Battle of Leuthen (December 5, 1757). - Source: Carl Röchling

On May 6 1757, the III. Battalion of the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. At the end of August, the II. And III. Battalions of the regiment were part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to repulse the Franco-Imperial invasion Saxony. On August 30, they accompanied Frederick in the vanguard when the army left Dresden. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, they were deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General Ferdinand Prince of Brunswick. On December 5, at the Battle of Leuthen, the second and third battalions of the regiment were deployed in Prince Francis of Brunswick's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. At about 2:30 p.m., these two battalions along with the Grenadier Garde were hurled against the village of Leuthen. A dreadful and destructive contest of infantry ensued with the Austrians defending the village with extraordinary determination. With the help of the entire infantry left wing, the Prussian elite units finally prevailed. From December 7 to 20, these two battalions were at the siege and capture of Breslau.

From March to July 1758, the second and third battalions took part in the unsuccessful invasion of Moravia. On October 14, they fought in the Battle of Hochkirch where they were initially deployed in the centre of the first line: the second battalion at the village of Wawitz, the third at Rodewitz. Frederick despatched Möllendorf with the third battalion to seize Drehsa Height and secure a line of retreat. The third battalion suffered heavily in this battle, losing 13 officers and 618 men.

In 1760, from July 12 to 19, the second and third battalions took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Dresden. On August 15, they fought in the Battle of Liegnitz. On September 17, they were at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, they took part in the Battle of Torgau.

On July 21 1762, the second and third battalions took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf where they stormed several redoubts. On August 16, they were also present at the Battle of Reichenbach. Finally, till October, they took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infantry Regiment 18 forming the Grenadier Batallion 15/18 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

The uniforms depicted in this section were introduced in 1740 when the regiment became the Regiment Garde.

The guard had no musketeers, regardless of their headgear all soldiers were considered grenadiers.

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Grenadier II. Battalion black tricorne laced silver, one silver button, black cockade on the left side, red within white pompoms
Grenadier III. Battalion
III.Leibgarde Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren

mitre with silver plated frontplate, silver plated metal headband decorated with silver plated grenades, yellow back with white piping, yellow within white pompom

Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin) Original(Kreismuseum Jerichower Land, Genthin)

Grenadier of the wing companies mitre with silver plated frontplate, silver plated headband decorated with silver plated grenades, red back with silver piping, red within white pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 15/18 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 2 silver lace loops on each side under the lapels, 1 silver lace loop on each side in the small of the back and with 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a small pewter button on the left shoulder and a silver and white aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels red, each with 6 pewter buttons and 6 silver lace loops
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 2 pewter buttons
Cuffs red (in the Swedish pattern), each with 2 pewter buttons and 2 silver lace loops
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat lemon yellow with horizontal pockets and with pewter buttons
Breeches lemon yellow
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


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

NCOs

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

  • tricorne with wide silver lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • silver edged collar
  • all silver lace loops with a silver tassel
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a yellow half-pikes measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).

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

Officers

II. Garde Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne edged with a thin silver scalloped lace (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • silver aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • no lapel
  • no turnback on the coat
  • 8 silver embroidery loops with tassels on each side on the chest
  • 2 silver embroidery loops on each pocket
  • 2 silver embroidery loops with tassel on each side in the small of the back
  • 2 silver embroidery loops on each cuff
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • black and silver sword knot

Officers carried yellow spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Musicians

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing (drummer lace consisting of a white lace decorated with one red stripe (narrow lace) or two red stripes (wide lace)) and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • collar edged with the drummer lace
  • red and silver aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • 5 vertical narrow drummer laces on each shoulder
  • each sleeve decorated with 8 horizontal narrow laces arranged in chevrons bordered by 2 vertical wide laces, one on each side of the chevrons

Colours

Since the I. Leibgarde Bataillon carried the colonel colour (Leibfahne) of the regiment, the second and third battalions carried only regimental colours.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Field consisting of alternating white and silver vertical stripes. Centre device consisting of a blue medallion speckled in crimson surrounded by a gold and silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms consisted of a gold crowns, gold and silver laurel wreaths and a golden FR ciphers.

Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were yellow.

References

Anonymous (maybe Karl Wellner): Montierung des Königlich Preussischen Armee

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images of Herbert Knötel d. J., Text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden: 1932

Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Guddat, Martin: Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 130-141

Menzel, Adolph von: Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 32-37

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