Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers Private in 1762 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1762

This fusilier regiment was raised in July 1741 for Ferdinand of Brunswick who had been appointed chef of the regiment on June 29 1740. Its fusiliers came from regiment Sommerlatte, a unit in the Reich service who had served against the Turks in Hungary; and its grenadiers from the garrisons of Memel and Pillau.

The regiment had no recruiting canton in Prussia, its troops being recruited in the Duchy of Brunswick.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was part of Frederick's army when he invaded Bohemia in 1744. In September, it was at the siege and capture of Prague where it then assumed garrison duty. At the end of the year, during its retreat towards Silesia, the regiment lost about half of its troops. In April 1745, it was sent to Upper Silesia. On May 22, it took part to the breakthrough from Jägerndorf to Neustadt.

From 1755, the regiment was designated as "Jung-Braunschweig" to differentiate it from Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 5 von Braunschweig. At this period, it garrisoned Königsberg in Neu Mark, Pyritz and Soldin.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since December 26 1745: Prince Friedrich Franz von Braunschweig-Lüneburg-Wolfenbüttel
  • from October 14 1758 to July 29 1763: vacant

The regimental 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 39.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulation of Magdeburg.

Service during the War

In July 1756, the regiment was part of the reinforcements sent to East Prussia. By August, it had made a junction with the army of Field-Marshal von Lehwaldt, charged to observe the Russian army.

In April 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry centre in Prince Franz von Braunschweig's Brigade. In October, the second battalion of the regiment took part in the defence of Schweidnitz which surrendered on November 14, the battalion becoming prisoners of war. On November 22, the first battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Bornstaedt's Brigade, in the first line of the left wing. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the first battalion of the regiment was deployed in Bülow's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre.

From May to July 1758, during the invasion of Moravia, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Olmütz. On October 14, one battalion of the regiment fought in the Battle of Hochkirch where it formed part of Retzow's Corps near Weissenberg and covered the retreat. Its colonel, Prince Friedrich Franz von Braunschweig, was killed in action during this battle.

On September 2 1759, the regiment, as part of Zieten's Corps, fought in the Combat of Sorau.

On September 17 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf.

In 1761, the regiment initially served in Saxony before being dispatched to Pomerania to relieve Colberg. On December 12, it was at the Combat of Spie against the Russians. When the attempts of the Prussians to relieve Colberg were repulsed, the regiment marched by Schwedt and Berlin and took its winter-quarters in Saxony.

In 1762, from April, the regiment was stationed at Neisse.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infanterie Regiment 12, forming the Grenadier Batallion 12/39 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier
IR39 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with silver-plated front plate; dark lemon yellow headband with silver-plated metal ornaments; dark lemon yellow cap with silver-plated ornaments; silver-plated spike
Grenadier mitre with silver-plated front plate; dark lemon yellow headband with a white braid and silver-plated ornaments; dark lemon yellow backing with white braid; white pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 12/39 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 6 pewter buttons on each side, with 2 pewter buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar dark lemon yellow
Shoulder Straps dark lemon yellow fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs dark lemon yellow (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat dark lemon yellow
Breeches dark 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 short musket, a bayonet and a curved blade sabre.

NCOs

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

  • no shoulder strap
  • cuffs edged with a silver lace braid
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a yellow half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier 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

Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers Officer in 1762 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1762

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

  • black tricorne wearing a silver scalloped lace, black and white quartered pompoms and a black cockade fastened with a silver strap and a white button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • a silver and gold gorget
  • fine leather black boots

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

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...
Uniform of the drummers - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The laces of the drummers consisted of a 3 cm wide lace and a 1.7 cm narrow lace both of the same pattern (white braid decorated with yellow rhombuses and triangles).

Uniforms of drummers were similar to those of privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • swallow nests with 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace on each shoulder
  • coat, collar, pockets and cuffs edged with the drummer lace


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with yellow corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a yellow 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 white scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Yellow field with white 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 yellow scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were yellow.

References

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

Boltze, Eberhard: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 28-29, Annex III and IV

Brauer, M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

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

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

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 1

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. 302-309

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857

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

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