Kurmainz Infantry

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

Origin and History

Kurmainz Infantry Grenadier - Source: Richard Knötel in his Uniformkunde

The Archbishop (Erzbischof) of Mainz (Kurmainz) Johann Friedrich Karl von Ostein (1689-1763) was one of the four biggest contributors of the District (indeed after the war the cost of reparations for supporting Austria bankrupted Mainz). Being one of the closest Allies of the Emperor, this Prince-Elector provided two regiments from his own household troops:

  • the Mainz Infantry Regiment (aka Lamberg Infantry Regiment) which was in Austrian pay and fought for the entire war along with the Austrian armies;
  • the Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (aka Wildenstein Infantry Regiment) which is the object of the present article

In March 1757, Mainz armed forces amounted to 7 battalions: Wildenstein (1751-1770), Riedt (1752-1757; from 1758 to 1775 Lamberg), Preyss (1752-1770) garrisoning Mainz and Hagen (formed in 1733 from Ried, 4-5 half-strength coys under the command of Colonel von Hagen, 1754-1772), garrisoning Erfurt, 1 company of dragoons, and a smallish artillery and miner corps with a total of some 5,202 men.

The Kurmainz regiment was drafted from companies of Infantry Regiments Riedt, Wildenstein and Hagen to join the Reichsarmee (Brabant states instead that the regiment was formed with two battalions from Riedt and two from Hagen). This new regiment comprised 4 battalions, 2 grenadier companies and 8 x 3-pdr guns for a total strength of some 2,246 men. Some uncredited sources states that a battalion remained in Erfurt and that only three battalions took the field.

The company commanders were (incomplete list): Major-General Baron von Wildenstein (Leib Company), Lieutenant-Coloenl Baron von Brencken, Major Baron von Harstall, Major von Hettinger, Captain Molitor, Captain Hartmann, Captain Müller, Captain Vogt, Captain von Schliederer, Captain Eickemayer, Captain von Göhler, Captain Weingärtner, Captain Seyberth (Grenadier Company), Captain Faber (Grenadier Company).

Inhaber:

  • from March 1757: Colonel Johann Georg Baron von und zu Wildenstein (promoted to lieutenant-general in 1757 and assumed command of the Kurrheinischer Contingent)
  • from 1757: Major-General Philipp Franz Baron von Gudenus (took leave in December 1758)
  • from December 1758 to 1763: Lieutenant-Colonel von Brencken

The regiment was disbanded in 1763.


Service during the War

On August 1 1757, the regiment is mentioned in the order of battle of the Reichsarmee where it was listed as the first regiment from the right of the first line, a post of hanour. By August 5, tt had a book strength of 2,488 men and an effective strength of 2,363 men. In November, the regiment was detached on the Saale River and did not take part in the Battle of Rossbach. Its quality gradually decreased with replacement of the original "Hausstruppen" with raw recruits. The overall performances were accordingly erratic.

Late in the autumn of 1757, the Lieutenant-General Prince de Soubise reported in his "Mémoire raisonné sur l'armée de l'empire," that he rated this regiment as good.

Source: Brodrück, Karl: Quellenstücke und Studien über den Feldzug der Reichsarmee von 1757. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte im 18. Jahrhundert, Leipzig: Dyck, 1858

By 1858, the original French "mémoire" could be found in the "Paris War Archice" (Carton 3433, No. 17).

In 1758, 3 battalions were part of the Reichsarmee in Bohemia and later in Saxony while 1 battalion was garrisoning Erfurt.

On September 8, 1759, the regiment performed badly in the Combat of Zinna.

On September 21, 1759, the regiment took part in the Combat of Korbitz. On November 20, it fought in the Battle of Maxen.

On August 20 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Strehla. It later took part in the defence of Dresden.

In 1761, the regiment operated in Saxony.

On October 29, 1762, the regiment fought in the Battle of Freiberg where it was deployed on the extreme left wing in Mayern’s Division.

Uniform

The only contemporary source for the Kurmainz uniform is the Becker Handschriftt, which depicts a "Ein Kur Mainzische Grenadier" with green facings. This is probably the source of the well-know card in the Sturm-Zigarettenbilder-Alben "Deutsche Uniformen" by Knotel and Letzius which depicts a grenadier of Wildenstein regiments and of the Knotel illustration 53, Band V of Uniformenkunde. Uncredited sources states that a battalion remained in Erfurt during the war and that such a battalion had red facings in place of green.

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white pompom
Grenadier bearskin with a brass front plate and with a green bag probably laced white and a white tassel
Neck stock black
Coat white lined green with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Collar small green collar
Shoulder Straps probably white fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels green, each with 10 yellow buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs green, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks green
Waistcoat green with 1 row of small yellow buttons and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches straw
Gaiters probably 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


Officers

n/a

Musicians

n/a

Colours

As far as colours of this temporary infantry regiments are concerned, neither pictorial nor written evidence by primary sources has been found. Therefore, any attempt of reconstruction would be pure speculations.

References

Anon.: A Tour Through Germany, containing full directions for travelling in that Interesting Country : with Observations on the State of Agriculture and Policy of the different States : very particular descriptions of the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, and Coblenz and Mentz : with the banks of the Rhine, the present Theatre of War, London: C. and G. Kearsley, 1794; reprinted by Forgotten Books, 2017

Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760.

  • Original (Stiftung Weimarer Klassik - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar)
  • Copies (Bibliothèque nationale de France, De Ridder collection)

Blanning, T(imothy) C(harles) W(illiam): Reform and Revolution in Mainz, 1743 – 1803. (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History) New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974

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.

Brabant, Artur: Das Heilige Römische Reich teutscher Nation im Kampf mit Friedrich dem Großen], Vol. 1: Joseph Friedrich, Herzog zu Sachsen-Hildburghausen, des Heiligen Römischen Reichs teutscher Nation Generalissimus'. Reprint of the Dresden 1904 edition by LTR-Verlag, Bad Honnef 1984

Brodrück, Karl: Quellenstücke und Studien über den Feldzug der Reichsarmee von 1757. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte im 18. Jahrhundert. Leipzig: Dyck, 1858

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 Bilder von Herbert Knötel d. J., Text und Erläuterungen von Dr. Martin Letzius, hrsg. von der Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

Dreyfus, François: Sociétés et Mentalités à Mayence, Paris, 1968

Duffy, Christopher: Instrument of War. Vol. I of The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, Chicago/Ill.: Emperor’s Press, 2008

Duffy, Christopher: By Force of Arms. Vol. II of The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, Chicago/Ill.: Emperor’s Press, 2000

Geisler, Michel and Michela: [ http://www.ahnenforschung-hessen.de/deutsch.html Ahnenforschung in Hessen]

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
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Harms, Richard: Landmiliz und Stehendes Heer in Kurmainz namentlich im 18. Jahrhundert. Dissertation, Göttingen 1909

Huschberg, Johann (Ed.): 00009.html Die drei Kriegsjahre 1756, 1757, 1758 in Deutschland. Aus dem Nachlasse von Johann Ferdinand von Huschberg. Mit Ergänzungen herausgegeben von Heinrich Wuttke. Nach bisher unbenutzten Archiven, Leipzig: J. C. Hinrich, 1856

Kahlenberg, Friedrich Peter: Kurmainzische Verteidigungseinrichtungen und Baugeschichte der Festung Mainz im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert, vol. 19 of “Beiträge zur Geschichte der Stadt Mainz”. Mainz: Stadtbibliothek, 1963

Kissel, Clemens: Die alten Festungswerke von Mainz sowie kurze Geschichte der kur-Mainzer Truppen, Mainz: Wilkens 1899

Knötel, Richard: Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921

Lautzas, Peter: Die Festung Mainz im Zeitalter des Ancien Regimes, der Französischen Revolution und des Empire (1736 – 1814). Ein Beitrag zur Militärstruktur des Mittelrhein-Gebietes. (= Geschichtliche Landeskunde, Bd. VIII) Wiesbaden 1973

Lübcke, Christian: Kurmainzer Militär und Landsturm im ersten und zweiten Koalitionskrieg, Dissertation: Helmuth-Schmidt-Universitär/Universität der Bundeswehr, Hamburg 2014; published: Eltville: RWM-Verlag, 2016

Schnellenkamp, Werner: Kurmainzer Uniformen in Erfurt, in: Beiträge zur Kunst und Geschichte des Mainzer Lebensraumes, Festschrift für Ernst Neeb, Mainz, 1936 pp. 159-170

Störkel, Arno: Zur Uniformierung der Kurmainzer Truppen in den Jahren vor der Revolution, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LII. Jahrgang, Nr. 335 (Jan, Feb 1988),pp.88-1 – 88-4

Störkel, Arno: Das Kurmainzer Militär beim Ausbruch der Französischen Revolution, in: Mainzer Zeitschrift 84/85 (1989/90), pp. 143–166

Störkel, Arno: The defenders of Mayence in 1792: A Portrait of a Small European Army at the Outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, in: War & Society, vol. 12, number 2, (October 1994), pp. 1-21, The University of New South Wales Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancien Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts, Teil 1 Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück: Biblio-Verlag, 1986, cited as Tessin (1986)

Weber, Sascha: Die kurmainzische Heeresreform von 1773, Zeitschrift Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit des Arbeitskreises Militär und Gesellschaft in der Frühen Neuzeit e. V., Heft 2, Band 17 (2013), Universitätsverlag Potsdam, pp. 44–72

Acknowledgements

Harald Howe for his research which allowed us to produce a new version of this article