Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer

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Origin and History

This Grenzinfanterieregiment (Frontier Infantry Regiment) was raised in March 1746 by Carl Joseph Count von Herberstein as the “Karlstädter Otocaner Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment”.1 The regiment was then known as the “Carl Joseph Graf von Herberstein ‚Karlstädter Otocaner Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment” and consisted of four battalions totalling 5,000 men.2

In 1751, the regiment was reorganised and then consisted of two companies of grenadiers and four battalions, each counting five companies of fusiliers of 200 men.3

From 1753, the regiment had no Chef' and was only known as the “Otocaner Grenz-Infanterie-Regiment”.4

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 3 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 18 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,800 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 depot battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

Accordingly, by 1756, the regiment really consisted of two companies of grenadiers, twelve companies of fusiliers and four Landesdefensions (depot) companies. In addition, there were two companies of sharpshooters and two artillery companies. A company counted about 100 men.5

In wartime, the companies of grenadiers were detached from the regiment and converged into a Grenadier Corps (ad hoc battalions). However, these converged battalions seem to have been employed mostly as elite light troops. Only in some extreme cases would they fight among the elite line infantry battalions.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years War, the regiment was organised as follows:

  • Regimental Staff
  • I. Battalion
    • Battalion Staff
    • 1. Grenadier Company
    • 1. Fusilier Company
    • 2. Fusilier Company
    • 3. Fusilier Company
    • 4. Fusilier Company
    • 5. Fusilier Company
    • 6. Fusilier Company
    • 1. Sharpshooter Company
  • II. Battalion
    • Battalion Staff
    • 2. Grenadier Company
    • 7. Fusilier Company
    • 8. Fusilier Company
    • 9. Fusilier Company
    • 10. Fusilier Company
    • 11. Fusilier Company
    • 12. Fusilier Company
    • 2. Sharpshooter Company
  • III. Battalion (Depot)
    • Battalion Staff
    • 13. Fusilier Company
    • 14. Fusilier Company
    • 15. Fusilier Company
    • 16. Fusilier Company

Tactically a Grenz-Husar squadron was assigned to a foot battalion of the same Generalate.6

The regiment recruited in the mountainous region of the Dinaric Alps around Otocac and Zengg in the Generalate of Karlstadt .7 Its first and second battalions recruited in the Capitanates of Zengg and Bründl, and its third and fourth in the Capitanate of Otocac.8 Its regimental staff was located in Otocac in Croatia.9

During the Seven Years' War, the Chefs of the regiment were:

  • since 1753: vacant

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • since 1756: Joseph Dietrich von Adelsfels
  • from 1762: Peter Vukassovich

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 61".

Service during the War10

In 1756, one battalion of the regiment joined the Austrian Reserve Corps led by Count Draskovic in Bohemia. On October 1, this battalion took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was attached to Draskovic's Reserve.

In April 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the regiment was initially attached to Draskovic's Corps. On April 23, this corps was driven out of Aussig by General Zastrow. On May 1, two battalions were left as garrison in Prague. On May 6, a grenadier company of the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague. On July 3, a detachment took part in an engagement near Welmina. Later on, detachments also took part in a surprise attack on Gottleuba in Saxony.

N.B.: from their absence on any other theatre of operation after July 1757, it seems that the battalions of this regiment were the one who took part in the operation of 1757 in Saxony with Loudon.

On April 20 1758, during the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment formed part of the light troops under the command of Colonel Brentano who attacked Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli at Liebau (present-day Lubawka). The expedition succeeded and the Austrians captured 4 officers, 47 men and 5 guns.

At the beginning of the campaign of 1759, part of the regiment was attached to de Ville's Corps who was protecting Moravia. On May 1, this detachment was attacked and partly captured at Arnoldsdorf (present-day Gmina Głuchołazy). On May 6, part of the regiment successfully repulsed a Prussian force who had attacked Graf Renard Uhlanen at Hennersdorf (probably Dolní Branná). On July 5, the battalion of Lieutenant-colonel Kalinić distinguished itself in the defence of Reichenstein (present-day Złoty Stok). During the Russian campaign in Brandenburg, this battalion formed part of Loudon's Corps who reinforced the Russian Army and, on August 12, fought alongside with it in the bloody battle of Kunersdorf where this battalion was deployed in the first line of the right wing. At the beginning of November, this battalion followed Loudon who retired to the camp of Neutitschein. In December, this battalion was attached to Draskowitz's Corps.

In 1760, as part of Loudon's Corps, a battalion of the regiment took part in the campaign of Silesia. On June 23, it fought in the Battle of Landeshut where it was attached to the first (rightmost) column under Loudon's direct command to attack the redoubt at Vogelsdorf. On July 26, the battalion of Lieutenant-colonel Baron von Schirnding took part in the storming of the fortress of Glatz (present-day Kłodzko). On August 15, the regiment took part in the Battle of Liegnitz. On September 12, a detachment of the regiment engaged Zieten Hussars near Hohenfriedberg, losing about 100 men taken prisoners. On September 17, two battalions were at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. In October, the regiment was attached to an observation corps in the area of Kunzendorf.

In 1761, a battalion of the regiment occupied the post of Leutmannsdorf (present-day Lutomia) in Silesia.

In 1762, the regiment campaigned in Saxony. In the night of January 20 to 21, Lieutenant-colonel Zizka von Trocnov led a successful attack on Prussian outposts near Meissen. The regiment then served with the Reichsarmee till September.

Notable names

Adelsfels, Joseph Dietrich von11 Colonel12

Kallinic13 Lieutenant-colonel14

Schirnding, Baron von15 Lieutenant-colonel16

Trocnov, Zizka von17 Lieutenant-colonel18

Vukassovich, Peter19 Colonel20

Uniform

Privates

Uniform during the Seven Years War - Source: Richard Couture from a template by David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details in 1762 as per the Albertina Handschrift
Headgear
Fusilier black felt shako with a light blue within red cockade
Grenadier bearskin
Neckstock black
Coat red edged yellow with 3 rows of small brass buttons and 18 yellow braids
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs light blue pointed cuffs edged yellow without button
Dolman light blue edged yellow with 3 rows of small brass buttons and yellow braids
Cape red
Trousers red Hungarian trousers decorated with an intricate yellow lace (Schoitasch)
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt red and light blue barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a large overhanging cover
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear sandals or short black boots


Privates often wore a mustache.

Privates were armed with a slightly curved 58 cm long brass hilted sabre21 with a white knot and a cord of a different colour for each company; a Model 1754 musket (151 cm long, 112 cm long barrel, 18,3 mm calibre, 4,9 kg); and a bayonet. Each trooper carried 36 musket balls and 6 shrapnel bullets.22 Privates also carried a haversack and a canteen. Additional ammunition and kettles were transported in the wagons of each company.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762 illustrates a very different uniform, the differences were:

  • black felt shako without cockade
  • no coat but a red dolman with light blue pointed cuffs edged yellow
  • light blue barrel-sash

Richard Knötel illustrates light blue Hungarian trousers without any lace decoration and a yellow and red barrel sash

Raspe illustrates the following differences:

  • red Hungarian trousers without any lace decoration

Donath illustrates white Hungarian trousers without any lace decoration and a yellow and red barrel sash.

NCOs

no information available

Officers

Officers wore uniforms of the same colour as those of the privates but were distinguished by a black tricorne laced gold with a green and white cockade; a Western style coat with vertical pockets, square cuffs; and black cavalry boots.

Officers wore a black and gold sash or a gold sash with tassels at the waist, over the dolman and under the coat. The black and gold sash could be made of strictly separated layers and then intertwined in knots or in a kind of knitwear; while the entirely gold sash was made of heavy knit of fine shiny silk.23

Musicians

no information available

Colours

When the Grenzer Regiments where formed they adopted the yellow 1745 pattern flag, with the black Doppeladler carrying the Imperial shield and edged in black/red/yellow/white flames, which measured 1.8m x 1.4m. The senior company carried a white Leibfahne displaying the Madonna and Christ on the obverse.

From 1756 each battalion carried two yellow Ordinarfahnen, except the first battalion which carried a white Leibfahne and one Ordinarfahne.

However, it seems unlikely that any were carried in the field

Footnotes

1. Ref. Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1. Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986, p. 53, Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 2. Namen und Inhaber der Regimenter aller europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime. Eine Materialsammlung zu den einzelnen Regimentern in alphabetischer Folge, untergliedert nach Territorien, Osnabrück 1993, Kaiser und Reich Nr. 10, Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 3. Namensregister der deutschen Regimentsinhaber und Namensregister der Regimenter mit Orts- und Ländernamen aus ganz Europa, Osnabrück 1995, p. 128, Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898-1905, Vol. V, p. 261

2. Ref. Tessin, Part 1, p. 53, Tessin, Part 2, Kaiser und Reich Nr. 10, Tessin, Part 3, p. 128 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 215, 261 and Kornauth, Friedrich: Das Heer Maria Theresias. Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift „Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I. I. et R. R. de l´année 1762“, Wien 1973, p. 98.

3. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 214

4. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 261 and Kornauth, p. 98

5. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92

6. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92

7. Ref. Kornauth, p. 98

8. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 215, 261

9. Ref. Kornauth, p. 98

10. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

11. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 261 and Kornauth, p. 98

12. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 261 and Kornauth, p. 98

13. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

14. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

15. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

16. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

17. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

18. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 262 and Kornauth, p. 98

19. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 261 and Kornauth, p. 98

20. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 261 and Kornauth, p. 98

21. Ref. Kornauth, p. 26

22. Ref. Kornauth, p. 25f

23. Ref. Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Part II.), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. Jahrgang 1987, pp. 66-72, 69

References

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, p. 43

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

Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Part II), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. 1987, pp. 66-72.

Knötel, R.: Farbiges Handbuch der Uniformkunde: Die Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht der deutschen Staaten, Österreich-Ungarns und der Schweiz. Begründet von Prof. Richard Knötel. Grundlegend überarbeitet und bis zum Stand von 1937 fortgeführt von Herbert Knötel d.J. und Herbert Sieg. Dem Stand der Forschung angepaßt und ergänzt von Ingo Pröper, überarbeitete Neuauflage, Stuttgart 1985

Kornauth, Friedrich: Das Heer Maria Theresias. Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift „Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I. I. et R. R. de l´année 1762“, Wien 1973.

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 70

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1 Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986.

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 2 Namen und Inhaber der Regimenter aller europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime. Eine Materialsammlung zu den einzelnen Regimentern in alphabetischer Folge, untergliedert nach Territorien, Osnabrück 1993.

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 3 Namensregister der deutschen Regimentsinhaber und Namensregister der Regimenter mit Orts- und Ländernamen aus ganz Europa, Osnabrück 1995.

Thümmler, Lars-Holger: Die Österreichische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg. Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993.

Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 402-488.

Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898-1905.

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

Acknowledgments

Mathias Kussmann for the initial version of this article