Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1672 in Berlin by General Christopher Albrecht Count zu Dohna. Besides new recruits, soldiers were originally drafted from the Küstrin garrison.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment formed part of the Prussian contingent.
In 1715, the regiment served in Pomerania.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served in the Battle of Chotusitz (May 17, 1742), the siege of Prague (September 1744) and the Battle of Soor (September 30, 1745).
From 1746, the regiment garrisoned Preussisch-Holland, Liebstadt and Mühlhausen in East Prussia. It recruited in the western districts of Mohrungen, Marienwerder and Neidenburg and in the towns of Preussisch-Holland, Liebstadt, Mühlhausen, Osterode, Gilgenburg and Soldau.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since October 10 1745: Major-General Carl Erhard von Kalnein.
- from October 14 1757: Major-General Carl Friedrich von Rautter.
- from September 20 1758: Georg Friedrich von Kleist
- from January 27 1761 till June 8 1774: Major-General Georg Reinhold von Thadden
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 4.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment was part of Lehwaldt's Army assigned to the defence of East Prussia against a Russian invasion. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing in Lieutenant-General Kanitz's Brigade. The regiment suffered heavy casualties during this battle, loosing 78 men. At the end of the year, it was at the Siege of Demmin (December 29 - January 1).
At the beginning of 1758, the regiment took part in the Siege of Stralsund (January 10 till June 18) before being transferred to the eastern front. On August 25, the first battalion of the regiment fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the first line of the left division led by Kanitz. It was virtually annihilated during this battle (28 dead, 206 wounded and 176 captured or missing). On September 25, the second battalion of the regiment was part of the detachment of Major-General Wobersnow who was sent by Dohna from Blumenberg to cut off the Russian detachment left at Landsberg by the retreating main army. On September 26, this Prussian detachment captured Landsberg and the battalion was then stationed in this town. On October 3, it took part in an engagement near Passkrug.
From 1759, the regiment, now deprived of its recruiting cantons which had been occupied by the Russian Army, was used very sparingly in combat.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Graf zu Dohna Infantry forming the Grenadier Batallion 4/16 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).
N.B.: this regiment was one of the sole Prussian infantry regiments to change its uniforms after 1753. This change occurred in 1776.
|Coat||Prussian blue with two white braid loops with white tassels on each side at the waist and two brass buttons on the right side at the waist (hidden by the sleeve in our illustration, see insert for details); and, on each side in the small of the back, a brass button with a white braid loop with a white tassel
|Waistcoat||straw (later white, maybe as early as 1756)|
|Breeches||straw (later white, maybe as early as 1756)|
Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
- no shoulder strap
- wide golden lace along the coat edges
- no braid loop on the breast
- only 2 golden braid loops and tassels (corresponding to the 2 lowest buttonholes on the coat of the private) and 1 gold braid loop with a tassel on each side at the small of the back
- 3 golden braid loops with tassels on the sleeve
- gilt buttons
- yellowish leather gloves
- black and white sabre tassel
NCOs were armed with a sabre and a dark 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 had tricorne laced with a thin golden lace. They always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers. They had a white neck stok. They also wore a black and silver sash around the waist and had a black and silver sword knot. They carried an officer stick. Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks and had gilt buttons and a golden embroidered lace edging on the coat, skirts and pockets as well as on the cuffs and sleeve flaps.
Officers carried dark brown spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).
White lace bordered with a red and blue pattern. Swallow nest with five vertical bars and one horizontal bars on the shoulders. 11 horizontal laces with red tassels on each sleeve. Lace along the edge of the coat, the buttonholes, the pockets, the cuffs and on the back of the coat.
Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with yellow flames. Centre device consisting of a red medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in gold.
Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Red field with yellow flames. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle surmounted by a red scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in gold.
The pikes used as staffs for the colours were dark brown.
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
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
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 183
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. 32-37
Letzius, Martin: Das Zeitalter Friedrichs des Grossen, Sturm Zigaretten, Dresden: 1932
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. 124-128
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.