Kolowrat Infantry

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1674 in the region of Erfurt, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), as per an Imperial decree dated February 13 of the same year by Heinrich Count von Reuss-Plauen. It was supposed to count 10 companies for a total of 2,040 men but the estates of Count Reuss-Plauen were too small, it was impossible to raise the whole regiment there. By October 10, it totalled only 1,375 men and was sent to Frankfurt am Main where it arrived on November 18. Many men deserted there. At the beginning of 1675, the regiment counted only 299 men. On March 10 1675, Count Reuss-Plauen resigned from his function and title and recommended Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand Baron Stadl as his successor. On August 1 1675, the regiment received his baptism by fire at the combat of Goldscheuer. By September 8, the regiment counted 720 men including 110 men on the sick list. On October 18 1675, FM Montecuccoli having supported Reuss-Plauen's recommendation, Stadl received his decree as new owner of the regiment. He was able in a short time to increase the regimental strength to 802 men. From June to September 1676, it took part in the siege and capture of Philippsburg. It then took its winter-quarters in Fulda.

In September 1679, the regiment marched from Philippsburg to Eger in Bohemia to assume garrison duties where it was reduced to 12 companies. On October 17, the emperor ordered Stadl to return to Philippsburg with his regiment. In 1680, Stadl was appointed commander of Konstanz. The regiment accompanied him and remained there till 1689. On November 26 1683, Baron Stadl was promoted to general (GFWM); on September 10 1685, to Feldmarschall-Lieutenant (FML); and on February 28 1689, t0 Feldzeugmeister (FZM).

From July to September 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Mainz. In April 1691, 5 companies of the regiment were sent to Szathmar in Hungary. In July, 9 other companies were sent to Northern Italy. Only 2 companies remained in Konstanz.

In 1692, the regiment contributed 4 companies to the newly raised Zweibrücken Infantry.

Stadl suffered from several diseases and asked the Emperor for the post of president of the Hofkriegsrat (War Council) in Graz. on On September 17 1692, he got the relevant decree. On February 21, he was promoted to field-marshall (FM).

On 1 July 1694, Carl Egon Reichsgraf (Imperial Count) von Fürstenberg-Möskirchen became proprietor of the regiment.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1702, the regiment took part in the siege of Landau and in the Battle of Friedlingen (October 14) where its proprietor, the Count Fürstenberg-Möskirchen was killed in action. He was succeeded on January 10 1703 by Duke Philipp Longueval, Count Buquoy, Baron de Vaux, but he died a few months later on March 4 1703. The same year, the regiment was stationed in Konstanz and Freiburg im Breisgau. On May 1, the young Carl Alexander Prince von Würtemberg-Stuttgart (then only 19 years old) became proprietor of the regiment. In 1704, the regiment took part in the second siege of Landau. On February 21 1705, it was sent to Northern Italy where it stormed the French entrenchments on a naviglio (small canal); it then fought in the Battle of Cassano where Colonel Baron Wilstorff, Lieutenant-Colonel Kopenhagen and 102 men were killed, 130 men wounded. In February 1706, the regiment could field only 400 men only but was soon increased with new recruits. Later the same year, it took part in the relief of Turin and, from October 6 to 21, in the siege of Pizzighetone; in 1707, in the unsuccessful expedition against Toulon. In 1711, it was transferred from Mirandola to Mantua and took part in the offensive on Montméliant in France. It took up its winter-quarters at Susa and Mirandola.

Until 1719, two battalions of the regiment garrisoned Belgrade and the third, Temesvár.

During the War of the Quadruple Alliance, in 1719, the regiment served in Sicily where it fought in the Battle of Francavilla (June 20).

Did you know that...
Since 1723 until 1737, the uniform of the regiment consisted of a white coat and yellow cuffs. Under Kajetan Reichsgraf Kolowrat the distinctive colour of the regiment was changed from yellow to red. It was not until 1767 that yellow (sulfur yellow) was reintroduced as the distinctive colour of the regiment.

Indeed, after the death of Count Kolowrat in 1769, Prince Wenzel von Fürstenberg applied for this regiment. However, it remained without owner until 1773 when Johann Baron von Koch became its proprietor. In place, Fürstenberg received Infanterie Regiment No. 41 in 1770, but he was determined that his regiment would have yellow distinctive. The Hofkriegsrat (War Council) finally agreed to the exchange of distinctive colours between the present regiment and IR 41 under the condition that Fürstenberg would bear the costs of these changes. Accordingly, in 1770, the present regiment changed its distinctive colour to light brown while IR 41 received the yellow distinctive so much desired by Fürstenberg!

This funny anecdote shows how petty-minded and vain some noblemen of the era could be!

Acknowledgement: Harald Skala for this interesting anecdote

During the War of the Polish Succession, in 1734, the regiment served on the Rhine. On August 1 1737, it became the property of Colonel Cajetan Franz Xaverius Reichsgraf von Kolowrat Krakowski. In 1738, it campaigned in Hungary.

In October 1740, two battalions were posted at Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ) while the third was stationed at Glatz (present-day Klodsko/PL).

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served in several campaigns. On April 10 1741, it took part in the Battle of Mollwitz where it lost 18 men killed, 214 wounded and 247 missing. Its proprietor, Count Kolowrat-Krakowski, was wounded during the engagement. On June 4 1745, it was at the Battle of Hohenfriedberg where it held its post till the end of the engagement, suffering heavy casualties. Colonel Sincère, 10 officers and 165 men were wounded, 12 officers and 547 men were taken prisoners of war or missing. The regiment also lost ten of its flags. Due to losses, it was temporarily reorganised in a single battalion. On September 30 of the same year, it fought in the Battle of Soor where it was attacked by the Prussian Bernstädt Cuirassiers and lost 25 men killed, 15 wounded and 133 prisoners of war.

From 1746 to August 2 1748, the regiment garrisoned Vienna. It was then transferred to Transylvania.

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 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 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 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

During the Seven Years' War, the chef of the regiment was:

  • since August 1 1737 till 1773: Cajetan Franz Xaverius Reichsgraf von Kolowrat Krakowski

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • since 1747: Colonel Franz Aulock (from 1756 commander of the garrison battalion)
  • from July 1756: Colonel Alois Count Naselli (promoted to general in 1759)
  • from February 9 1759: Colonel Lorenz Baron von Rasp (promoted to colonel of IR No. 53 at the end of 1764)
  • from 1764: Colonel Johann von Steinbach (since February 1759 he was already colonel-commander of the third battalion in Olmütz)

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 17".

From 1770 to 1798, the regiment garrisoned Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice/CZ)-

Service during the War

On October 1 1756, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was deployed in the second line of the centre under General C. Kolowrat in the brigade of Major-General Krottendorf. In this battle, it lost 25 men killed, 43 wounded and 14 as prisoners of war.

On May 6 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, two battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where they were deployed in Count Peroni's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing of infantry under Baron Kheul. In this battle, the regiment lost 18 men killed, 67 wounded and 55 missing. After the battle, it managed to take refuge within the walls of Prague. Two companies of the regiment later took part in the siege of Schweidnitz which surrendered on November 12. Less than two weeks later, on November 22, two battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where they were deployed in Kinsky's Brigade, in the second line of the infantry centre under Baron Kheul. In this battle, the regiment lost 16 men killed and 75 wounded. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, two battalions of the regiment were deployed in Starhemberg's Division in the second line of the infantry right wing under Kheul. Once more, the regiment suffered heavy casualties, losing 33 men killed, 8 wounded and captured and 645 taken as prisoners of war. After, the battle, the regiment counted only 44 grenadiers and 372 fusiliers. These were completed with some soldiers from the Blau Würzburg regiment , later on it was completed by new recruits. Overall, during the campaign of 1757, the two field battalions lost a total of 1,707 men! Meanwhile, the third (garrison) battalion had been stationed in Olmütz (present-day Olomouc/CZ).

By August 2 1758, one battalion of the regiment served in the first line of the main Austrian army under the command of Daun near Jarmeritz. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia. On June 30, the two field battalions led by Colonel Naselli took part in the Combat of Domstadl where an Austrian force attacked a large Prussian convoy destined to the army who had laid siege to Olmütz. In this combat, the regiment lost 25 men killed and 106 men wounded. On October 14, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed behind Loudon's Corps, to the south-west of Hochkirch. In this battle, the regiment lost 23 men killed, 39 wounded and 178 missing. The regiment greatly distinguished itself in the battle, and Empress Maria Theresia exceptionally authorized the regiment to have two colonels. Lorenz Baron von Rasp was promoted to colonel and regiment commander to succeed to Colonel Naselli who had been promoted to general. Furthermore, Colonel Johann von Steinbach was appointed commander of the third battalion in Olmütz. The regiment took up its winter-quarters in Teplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ).

At the beginning of March 1759, the regiment was sent from Teplitz to Olmütz. During winter, 334 men deserted, maybe due to very bad accommodations. By mid August, the regiment was part of Buccow's Corps posted in Lusatia. On September 2, it took part in the Combat of Sorau. On November 20, both grenadier companies took part in the Battle of Maxen.

During the winter of 1759-60, another 218 men and one officer deserted.

After the surrender of Glatz on June 23 1760, the third battalion was sent there to reinforce the garrison. It would remain in Glatz, under the command of Colonel Steinbach until the end of the war. On November 3, the regiment fought in the Battle of Torgau where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre in Sincere's Division. In the darkness on the end of the battle lead FZM Sincère the regiment to an attack. At close range received it a volley fire. In this battle, the regiment lost 62 men killed, 127 wounded and 292 taken as prisoners of war. Among the company commanders, 2 were killed, 3 wounded and one lost as prisoner of war.

For the campaign of 1761, the regiment was deployed in Loudon's Corps. Loudon vainly tried to persuade the Russian commander, General Buturlin to launch a combined attack on the Prussians. Buturlin returned to Russia and Loudon went to Schweidnitz. On October 1, the regiment, which had at that time only one field battalion led by Colonel Rasp, took part in the storming of Schweidnitz where it was attached to the fourth column under Lieutenant-Colonel Baron de Vins. Colonel Rasp with his detachment was the first to enter into the Bogenfort. After the surrender of Schweidnitz the regiment there as garrison.

On August 7 1762, Frederick II started to the Siege of Schweidnitz. On August 16, Daun vainly tried to relieve the fortress. Colonel Rasp led the troops during the sorties of August 8 and August 14. During the siege, Colonel Rasp was responsible for food provision. After the explosion of the powder magazine of the main fortress, FML Guasco entrusted Colonel Rasp with the negotiations of the terms of capitulation with the Prussian General Tauentzien. Schweidnitz surrendered on October 9, 218 officers and 8,964 men of the garrison were taken prisoners of war. The officers were placed under arrest at Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad/Russia). By then, the regiment counted less than 600 men, On October 21, at the occasion of the eighth promotion, Colonel Rasp received the Knight Cross of the Maria-Theresia-Order.

In April 1763, Rasp returned from the Prussian prisons. The same year, the regiment garrisoned Saaz (present-day Žatec/CZ).

Uniform

For the moment we have very few information on the uniform in 1756, at the outbreak of the war. Most of our references describe the uniform in 1762. However, Muhsfeldt and Schirmer mention that, in 1756-57, the coat was white lined poppy red (therefore poppy red turnbacks), the distinctive colour was poppy red and the waistcoat and breeches were poppy red.

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1762
as per the Bautzener Handschrift

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener and a small yellow button on the left side; yellow within red within yellow rosette; yellow within red within yellow pompoms in the lateral cornes
Grenadier bearskin with a poppy red bag probably laced white and a white tassel
Neck stock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined white with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps poppy red with a white central stripe fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels poppy red with 7 yellow buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs poppy red with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white attached with a poppy red fastener edged white and 2 small yellow buttons
Waistcoat white with 2 rows of small yellow buttons (3-3-3) and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters one pair of black (for winter) and one pair of white gaiters (for summer and parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black (grenadiers only)
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers). Grenadiers carried a sabre while fusiliers carried only a bayonet.

NCOs

Corporal of Kolowrat Infantry in 1762 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli


Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neckstock
  • no turnbacks
  • yellow and black silk sash

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Sergeants carried a halberd and a wooden stick.

Corporals carried a halberd.

Musicians

As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by poppy red swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All German infantry regiments carried identical colours: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The hand painted colours were made of silk and measured Size 178 cm x 127 cm. The 260 cm long flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: PMPdeL

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Strobl von Ravelsberg, Ferdinand: Geschichte des k. und k. Infanterie-Regiments Ritter von Milde Nr. 17, 1674 - 1910, Vol.: 1, Laibach, 1911
  • Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 13-14
  • Hirtenfeld: Der Militär-Maria-Theresien-Orden und seine Mitglieder, Vienna, 1857, p. 160

Other sources

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

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

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

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

Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 1, Vienna, 1804, pp. 71-74

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.: Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul: Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 13-14

Thümmler, L.-H.: Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the information on the orginin, history and service of this regiment

Michael Zahn for gathering most of the information about the uniform of this regiment

Dr. Marco Pagan and Franco Saudelli for the plates