Itzenplitz Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Itzenplitz Infantry

Origin and History

Itzenplitz Infantry Private - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, : Heerschau der Soldaten Friedrich's des Großen

The original regiment was formed in 1685 from French refugees after the Edict of Nantes. However, in 1687, it was incorporated into the newly formed Infanterie Regiment Nr. 15. In 1702, a new regiment was raised to occupy the rank left vacant by the former regiment.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was in the Dutch service.

From 1724, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Berlin. Its levies came from the districts of Glien, Havelland, Löwenberg, Niederbarnim, Oberbarnim and Priegnitz and from the towns of Friesack, Plaue and Rhinow.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the battles of Mollwitz (April 10, 1741), Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745) and Kesselsdorf (December 15, 1745).

During the Seven Years War, the regiment consisted of two battalions and its successive Chefs were:

  • since November 7 1750; August Friedrich von Itzenplitz
  • February 8 1760: Friedrich Wilhelm von Syburg
  • June 19 1762: Tsar Peter III of Russia (the regiment was then designated as Kaiser)
  • from April 8 1763 to December 18 1774: Friedrich Wilhelm Count von Wylich-Lottum

In 1768, the regiment was ranked as the third best unit after the Garde (Grenadier Garde, I. Leibgarde Bataillon, II. and III. Garde Bataillon) and Zeuner.

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 13.

The regiment capitulated to the French in 1806 and was never re-established.

Service during the War

The regiment was usually considered an elite unit, it was a tightly run regiment, known as the "Donner und Blitzen" under the regime of Major-General von Itzenplitz who was mortally wounded at Kunersdorf. The unit saw heavy usage being present at eight major battles.

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the brigade of Major-General Itzenplitz in Kleist's Division. The regiment advanced on the left flank, along with the regiments Alt-Kleist and Alt-Bevern, to engage the Grenzers stationed on Lobosch Hill. The attempt to advance through the skirmish screen proved difficult, however, with ammunition running low, the Prussians adapted to the conditions of the terrain, abandoning close formations and picking and choosing their targets using individual fire. Gradually the Austrians, despite reinforcements that included Joseph Esterházy Infantry, were pushed off the Lobosch Hill and forced back through the burning streets of Lobositz. After an hour of intense fighting, the Austrians were forced out. They retreated in good order. To maintain his contact with the Elbe and to buttress his right flank, the Austrian commander, Browne, shifted his uncommitted left wing around to the plains behind Lobositz and Sullowitz. On October 23, when Keith's Army left Lobositz to return to Pirna, the regiment was part of the left column. On October 28, Keith's Army reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and took its winter-quarters soon afterwards.

Prince Henri and IR13 von Itzenplitz at the battle of Prague - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

On May 6 1757, during the invasion of Bohemia, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the far right of the second line of the infantry centre in Rohr's Brigade. Led by Prince Henri of Prussia, the unit, along with Manteuffel Infantry, waded across the Rocketnitzer Bach and attacked the flank causing the Austrians to give ground. It then supported the breakthrough of the Prussian grenadiers near Kyge-Hlaupetin. This action combined with the similar assaults on the left resulted in the defeat of the Austrians. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick II to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial Army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General Prince Henri. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank. The regiment brushed aside the Grenzers and smashed a Württemberger regiment. At about 1:00 p.m., the regiment along with Meyerinck Infantry advanced against an Austrian battery of 14 guns planted on the heights behind Sagschütz and took it after a short opposition. This threw the whole corps of Nádasdy into confusion.

In April 1758, the regiment took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz. It then participated in the failed invasion of Moravia. On October 14, it fought in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the centre of the first line. Around 7:00 a.m., the regiment, supported by Kannacher Infantry attacked the village Hochkirch and, after taking heavy canister casualties, managed to momentarily retake the village edge. However, it was soon forced to retire by the Austrian cavalry. The regiment suffered heavily during this battle, loosing 820 men (about 75% of its effective strength).

In 1759, the regiment took part in engagements at Pretsch and Hoyerswerda.

On August 15 1760, the regiment was present at the Battle of Liegnitz but was not engaged. Then from August to September, the regiment was at the Siege of Dresden. On September 17, it fought in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau where it was part of the vanguard.

On July 21 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf where, along with Finck and Braun Fusiliers, it advanced up a slope enfiladed by Grenzers who were finally driven off. The same year, the regiment's inhaber became Peter III of Russia in a political gesture by Frederick in recognition of the miracle of the House of Brandenburg - effectively the death of Elizabeth Petrovna and the Russian realignment, under Peter III, with Prussian. From August, the regiment 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 26 forming the Grenadier Batallion 13/26 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

The uniform depicted in this section was introduced in 1741/42.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, one white metal button and yellow pompoms
Grenadier mitre with silver-plated front plate; light straw headband with white lace and silver-plated ornaments; dark blue backing laced white; yellow pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 13/26 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 2 white braid loops with tassels below the lapels (on both sides), a white braid with tassel on each side in the small of the back and with 3 white metal buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar light straw
Shoulder Strap Prussian blue piped red fastened with a small white metal button (left shoulder only)
Lapels light straw, each with 6 white metal buttons arranged 2-2-2
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 3 white metal buttons
Cuffs light straw (in the Prussian pattern) with 2 white metal buttons and 2 white braid loops with tassels on the sleeve flap above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a white metal button
Waistcoat light straw with horizontal pockets, each with white metal buttons
Breeches light straw
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

Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760, Copy (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

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

  • tricorne with wide silver lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • silver braid loops and tassels replacing the white braid loops of the uniform of the privates
  • silver buttons
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a light brown half-pike 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

Itzenplitz Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen
Lace of the officer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

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

  • black tricorne laced with a narrow silver braid; a small silver buttons on the left side (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat (a silver aiguillette on the left shoulder from 1762 when the regiment was renamed Kaiser in honour of Tsar Peter III)
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • silver buttons
  • 1 pair of silver embroidery loops on each side under the lapel
  • 2 silver embroidery loops on each pocket
  • 2 silver embroidery loops on the sleeve flap above each cuff
  • 1 silver embroidery loop on each side in the small of the back
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • black and silver sword knot

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

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing (drummer lace consisting of a red braid decorated with two superimposed rows of hollow white rhombuses) and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • 5 vertical narrow laces on each shoulder
  • coat bordered with a drummer lace below the lapels
  • all button loops made with the drummer lace
  • two white braid loops under each lapel
  • drummer lace on each side in the small of the back
  • lapels edged with the drummer lace
  • cuffs laced with the drummer lace
  • pockets laced with the drummer lace
  • each sleeve decorated with horizontal narrow laces arranged in chevrons (8) bordered by 2 vertical wide laces, one on each side of the chevrons

The drum had a brass barrel and white rims decorated with alternating large blue dots and groups of 5 small red dots disposed in a 2-1-2 pattern.

Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with red corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a black medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a silver eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Black field with red corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a black scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were light brown.

References

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

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

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

Dorn, Günter and Joachim Engelmann: 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. 94-97

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. 64-69

Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

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