Kurköln Wildenstein Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Reichsarmee >> Kurköln Wildenstein Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment consisted of 1 battalion counting 6 fusilier companies, 1 grenadier company, and 2 guns for a nominal total of 820 men. Indeed the regiment strength varied widely during the war, from an initial strength of 710 on August 1757 to a maximum strength of 714 on January, 1760 and a minimum of 585 in Spring, 1758.

Soubise rated both Cologne regiments, as "mediocre". Indeed they were filled up almost exclusively with recruits, whose quality could be improved only with better training and battle experience. These regiments were used, together with the Münster troops, as a reserve corps of the Reichsarmee.

Inhaber:

  • GFWM Carl Wilhelm Friedrich Baron von Wildenstein

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

  • Colonel von Kleist


Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment was with the Reichsarmee operating in Thuringia and Saxony. In August, this army combined with a French contingent under the Prince de Soubise to form the Franco-Imperial army for the planned invasion of Saxony. By September, the regiment counted some 600 men fit for duty. On November 5, when this combined army suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Frederick II in the battle of Rossbach, both the Cologne regiments were in the Kosen area guarding the Saale river line.

By mid-August 1759, during the Austro-Imperial campaign in Saxony, the regiment was attached to Zweibrücken's Corps. On September 21, it probably took part in the combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in Stolberg's division.

On August 20 1760, during the campaign in Saxony, the regiment took part in the combat of Strehla.

In March 1761, a Prussian corps (7 bns with 3 cavalry and hussar rgts) conducted an incursion in Franconia. In March, along with Mengersen Infantry, it occupied the heights of Saalfeld, to guard the Saale river crossing at the village of Schwarza. On April 2, it was attacked by the Prussian Corps. A 5 hours long combat ensued the regiment finally surrendered and were taken prisoners.

Uniform

The main sources for the Cologne infantry uniforms are the Becher Handschrift and Emmerich Herter: Richard Knotel used Becher as his main source for his Uniformenkunde Plate, n.53, Band V and Herbert Knotel use the same source for his ZFG Card No. 221 which depicts the Wildenstein regiment with white facings. It is not clear which Cologne regiment is described in these plates and there is also a conflict between Becher and Herter about the number of buttons on the cuffs and their colour. Indeed Herter gives silver/white buttons/lace whereas Becher gives brass/yellow. According to Herter both the Nothaft and the Wildenstein regiments had the same uniforms, the first with silver, the second with brass buttons. The analysis given by Martin Lange, quoted in the Pengel & Hurt booklet on Bavaria, Saxony and Palatinate, give credits to Herter. As far as ZFG Card No.221 is concerned Lange is doubtful about the date of that uniform, which could be before or after the Seven Years' War.

If we choose to follow Herter, the uniform of Regiment Wildenstein should be the following:

Privates

A grenadier of Kurköln Wildenstein Infantry in 1757. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde
Uniform in 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a blue and white cockade
Grenadier brown bearskin with a brass frontal plate and with red bag laced white and a white tassel
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue “Austrian style” coat lined red with 3 brass buttons under the right lapel and 1 brass button in the small of the back on each side
Collar red
Shoulder Straps probably red fastened by a brass button (left shoulder only)
Lapels dark blue with 8 brass buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets probably horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 brass buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white with 1 row of small brass buttons and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black (grenadiers only)
Footgear black shoes


Officers

no information found yet

Musicians

Drummers had yellow laces on their sleeves.

Colours

Colonel flag (Leibfahne): White field; centre device consisting of the crowned arms of the Bishopric of Cologne surrounded by a golden laurel wreath tied with a red ribbon; the motto “PER ASPERA AD ASTRA” under the centre device.

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): Field consisting of six alternating blue and white horizontal bands (topmost band was blue); centre device consisting of the crowned arms of the Bishopric of Cologne on a white field (top left: white with black cross (Koln); top right: white rampant horse with red field (Westfalen); below left: three golden hearts on red (Engern); below right: white eagle on blue field (Arrnsberg); central device with gold crowned lion on black-top left, below right- and blue/white bavarian motif - top right, below left-. A smaller escutcheon in the centre gives the blue and gold orb on a red field, the central medallion and wreath gold, sceptre and bishop crozier gold, bishop mitre gold, orb above furnished in red and ermine with black spots at the bottom) within a golden laurel wreath tied with a red ribbon; the motto “PER ASPERA AD ASTRA” under the centre device.

Note: these colours are illustrated in Gisby's website at Flags of the Reichsarmee during the Seven Years' War.

References

Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 I. Teil. Zusammensetzung und Organisation, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, 1979.

Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D., Weirich, W.-D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 II. Teil. Die einzelnen Einheiten, ihre Stärke, Zusammensetzung, Uniform und Feldzeichen, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, o. J.

Gisby: Flags of the Reichsarmee during the Seven Years' War

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, Appendix 8

Herter, E.: Geschichte der Kurkolnischen Truppen in der Zeit von Badener Frieden bis zum Beginndes Siebenjährigen Krieges Rhenania-Verlag, Bonn, 1914.

Pengel, R.D. and G.R. Hurt: Uniform of Swedish and German States, Line and Cannon of the Seven Years war, Birmingham 1978.

Pengel, R.D. and G.R. Hurt: The Reichsarmee. Organisation, Flags and Uniform supplement 1756-1762, Birmingham 1983.

Pengel, R.D. and G.R. Hurt: Bavaria, Saxony and the Palatinate Supplement: Uniforms and Flags of the Seven Years War, Birmingham 1981.

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar