Kreytzen Fusiliers

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Origin and History

This fusilier regiment was given to Frederick II on October 17 1740 by his uncle the Duke of Sachsen-Eisenach. It entered into Prussian service at Magdeburg but was transferred to Berlin and then to Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and Küstrin in 1741. Its second battalion was completed only in 1742.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment defended Glogau and Breslau in 1742. In 1744, it took part in the siege of Prague. It then assembled at Breslau and Liegnitz where it assumed garrison duty till 1756. It levied its troops in the districts of Goldberg, Hainau and Neumarkt in Lower Silesia.

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

  • since May 1 1750: Johann Friedrich von Kreytzen (aka Alt-Kreytzen from April 4 1758)
  • from April 7 1759 to June 25 1777: Georg Carl Gottlob von der Gabelentz

After the Seven Years' War, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Schweidnitz.

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 40.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulations of Erfurt and Magdeburg.

Service during the War

In 1756, the regiment was part of the Army of Silesia under Field-Marshal Schwerin. During this campaign, this army conducted operations in Eastern Bohemia.

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 on the extreme left of the second line of the infantry centre in Saldern's Brigade. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under the Prince von Bevern. In November, the regiment took part in the defence of Schweidnitz and was taken prisoners when the fortress surrendered. It was later exchanged.

In the Spring of 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and, at the end of June, fought in the Combat of Domstadl. On August 25, the regiment fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the second line under Forcade de Biaix. Its second battalion supported the large battery on the extreme right wing. They were attacked and routed by Horvat Hussars. On October 23, Dohna, who was following up the retreating Russian army, detached the regiment and 200 hussars under the command of Kleist back to Landsberg to check an incursion of the cossacks.

On January 1 1759, the regiment was at Damgarten. It took part in the offensive against the Swedes and in the captures of Demmin and Anklam. In May, it marched to Stargard. At the end of June, the regiment was part of the Prussian force who advanced on Thorn. On July 23, it fought at the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Hülsen's Division deployed in the centre in the first line of infantry. It suffered heavy losses in this battle. A few weeks later, on August 11-12, the depleted regiment did not take part in the Battle of Kunersdorf. It was rather assigned, as part of Flemming's Brigade at the guard of the bridges on the Oder at Görtz.

In July 1760, the regiment was at the Siege of Dresden where it suffered heavy losses in an engagement at Weisser Hirsch. On August 15, the depleted regiment took part in the Battle of Liegnitz. On September 17, the regiment was at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf.

On July 6 1762, the regiment was probably present at the Combat of Adelsbach as part of Neuwied's left column. From August to September, the regiment took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infanterie Regiment 37, forming the Grenadier Batallion 37/40 (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
IR40 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with silver-plated front plate; rose headband with silver-plated ornaments; rose cap with silver-plated ornaments; silver-plated spike
Grenadier mitre with silver-plated front plate; rose headband with a white braid and silver-plated ornaments; rose backing with a white/rose braid; rose within white within rose pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 37/40 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined rose with 6 white buttons on each side, with 2 white buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 white buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar rose
Shoulder Straps rose fastened with a small white button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in rose, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs rose (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 white buttons
Turnbacks rose
Waistcoat rose with white metal buttons and horizontal pockets
Breeches rose
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 white 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

Kreytzen Fusiliers Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung

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
  • rose lapels, each with 3 silver cord loops
  • 2 silver cord loops under each lapels
  • 1 silver cord loop on each side in the small of the back (as per Hohrath)
  • 2 silver cord loops on each pocket flap (as per Hohrath)
  • 2 silver cord loops on each cuff (as per Hohrath)
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist
  • a silver and gold gorget

Officers carried white 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...

The laces of the drummers consisted of a 2.9 cm wide lace and a 1.6 cm narrow lace both of the same pattern (white braid decorated in rose).

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

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


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a rose medallion surrounded by the necklace the Order of the Black Eagle and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts 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): Rose or violet field. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by the necklace the Order of the Black Eagle and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a rose scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, "FR" ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dal from elements by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dal from elements by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

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 ach 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

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

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

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. 310-315

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.