Lestwitz Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Lestwitz Infantry

Origin and History

Lestwitz Infantry Private - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

The regiment was raised in Wesel on February 1 1729 for Colonel von Dossow.

From 1729 to July 1743, the regiment was stationed in Wesel.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, on January 26 1743, the regiment was transformed into a Musketeer Regiment. In July 1743, it was transferred to Breslau (present-day Wrocław). In September 1744, it took part in the siege of Prague. On June 4 1745, it fought in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg. For the rest of the war, it garrisoned various fortresses in Silesia.

After the war, the regiment was part of the garrison of Breslau. Its recruits came from the districts of Breslau and Namslau in Lower Silesia and from the towns of this region to the exception of Breslau.

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

  • since February 12 1746 until June 25 1763: Johann Georg von Lestwitz

The 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 31.

The regiment was disbanded in February 1807 after the capitulation of Schweidnitz.

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 1757, the regiment took part to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6 1757, it was at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line in Hautcharmoy's Brigade. It suffered heavily in this battle, losing about 33% of its total strength. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the centre under Major-Generals Wied and Kannacher. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Prince Carl von Bevern's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry centre. It lost 3 officers and 474 men in this battle. After the surrender of Breslau, the remnants of the regiment dispersed.

On July 23 1759, during the Russian campaign in Brandenburg, the regiment fought in the Battle of Paltzig. A few weeks later, on August 12, it took part in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left centre as part of Jung-Stutterheim's Brigade. At the end of the battle, Frederick from the Muhlberg tried to cover the retreat with this regiment which was overwhelmed and captured. It lost 431 men in this bloody battle.

On August 15 1760, the regiment fought in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing. On September 17, it took part in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf and, on November 3, distinguished itself at the Battle of Torgau losing 200 men.

On July 6 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Adelsbach where it was deployed in the right column. From August, the regiment was at the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Infanterie Regiment 29, forming the Grenadier Batallion 29/31 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

The uniform depicted in this section was given to the regiment when it was transferred to Silesia in 1743.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with one brass button and rose within yellow within white pompoms
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; rose headband with a red within yellow within white braid and polished brass ornaments, rose backing with a similar braid, rose within yellow within white pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 29/31 for an illustration)
Neckstock black
Coat Prussian blue lined rose with 8 brass buttons and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar rose
Shoulder Straps rose fastened with a brass button (left shoulder only)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in rose, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs rose (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 brass buttons
Turnbacks rose
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with curved blade.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • gilt buttons
  • cuffs edged with a golden lace braid
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a black half-pike measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer 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

Lestwitz Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne scalloped gold (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • gilt buttons
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist

Officers carried black spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Musicians

The drummer lace consisted of a rose braid bordered white and decorated with a yellow and white pattern.

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

  • no shoulder strap
  • swallow nests at the shoulder, decorated with drummer laces (4 vertical and 1 horizontal)
  • front and skirt of the coat edged with the drummer lace
  • drummer lace around the buttons in the small of the back
  • pockets edged with the drummer lace
  • no chevron on the sleeves

Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with blue corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a blue medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath 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): Blue field with white corner wedges. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a blue scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were black.

References

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

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. 250-255

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857

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.