Meyerinck Infantry

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Origin and History

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

The regiment was raised on December 10 1714 from battalions Truchsess and Heyden for Lieutenant-General Baron Curt Hildebrand von Löben.

In 1735, two grenadier companies were added to the regiment.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, on April 10 1741, the regiment took part in the Battle of Mollwitz where it lost about 700 men.

From 1743, the regiment garrisoned Berlin (Cölln and Spittelmarkt). It levied its recruits in the district of Beeskow, Cottbus and Lebus; and in the towns of Fürstenwalde, Mühlrose, Peitz and Seelow.

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

  • since August 24 1749: Dietrich Richard von Meyerinck
  • from January 25 1758: Carl Heinrich von Wedell
  • from December 25 1760 to December 29 1764: Christian Bogislav von Linden

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 26.

The regiment was disbanded in October 1806 after the capitulation of Erfurt, Ratekau and Stettin.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when a Prussian army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the Prince of Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, it then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. The regiment then took part in the blockade of the Saxon Army in Pirna till it surrendered in mid-October.

On May 6 1757, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line in Lestwitz's Brigade. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial Army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General Ferdinand Prince of Brunswick. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank. At about 1:00 p.m., the regiment along with Itzenplitz Infantry advanced against an Austrian battery of 14 guns planted on the heights behind Sagschütz and took it after a short opposition. This threw the whole corps of Nádasdy into confusion. During this battle, the regiment suffered heavy casualties, loosing 464 men, including 14 officers.

From May to July 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and in the failed Siege of Olmütz. On October 14, it fought in the catastrophic Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the centre of the first line, en potence towards the village of Wawitz. It was once more decimated during this battle, only 360 men escaping the disaster.

From July 30 to August 3 1760 the then "Wedell Regiment" took part in the defence of Breslau. On August 15, it fought in the Battle of Liegnitz. On November 3, it was at the Battle of Torgau where it lost of 12 officers and 643 men.

On May 12 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Doebeln where it was deployed in the centre right column under Lieutenant-General Hans Wilhelm von Kanitz. On October 29, it fought in the Battle of Freiberg where it was deployed on the right wing in Dirigshofen's Brigade.

The regiment was considered as one of the best units during the war.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of the Regiment Itzenplitz forming the Grenadier Battalion 13/26 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

The uniforms depicted in this section were first introduced in 1748-1749.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, one brass button, red within white pompoms
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; white headband with a white braid (regimental lace consisting of a white braid decorated with 2 red stripes) and decorated with polished brass ornaments; white backing with white braid (same lace as above), red within white pompom (see Grenadier Battalion 13/26 for an illustration)
Neckstock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 6 yellow braid loops on each side on the chest, 2 larger braid loops on each side at the waist, 2 brass buttons on the right side at the waist, 1 yellow braid loop on each side in the small of the back
Collar red
Shoulder Strap red fastened with a brass button (left shoulder only)
Lapels red with 6 brass buttons and 6 yellow braid loops
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (in the Prussian pattern) with 2 yellow braid loops and 2 brass buttons on the sleeve flap above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a small brass button
Waistcoat white with one row of small brass buttons
Breeches white
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 with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a 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
  • golden lace loops instead of the yellow braid loops of the privates
  • no shoulder strap
  • gilt buttons
  • 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

Uniform of the officers in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

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

  • black tricorne with a thin gold lace and with a small gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • 6 gilt buttons with golden embroidery loops on each side on the chest (arranged 2-2-2)
  • 2 golden embroidery loops on each side at the waist
  • 1 golden embroidery loop on each side in the small of the back.
  • 1 golden embroidery loop on each side between the back and the pocket
  • 2 golden embroidery loops on each pocket
  • open cuffs in the Prussian pattern
  • 4 golden embroidery loops and 4 gilt buttons on the sleeve flap of each cuff
  • no turnback 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 white braid decorated with a complicated red black 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 nest decorated with 5 vertical narrow drummer laces, 1 horizontal narrow drummer lace on each shoulder
  • coat, lapels, pockets and cuffs edged with the narrow drummer lace
  • only the buttonholes under the lapels and those in the small of the back were laced
  • each sleeve decorated with 8 chevrons bordered on each side with a wide drummer lace

Colours

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

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Yellow field with a white flamed cross. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a yellow scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were black.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung; Band 3: Die Uniformen der Infanterie 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1973.

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

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. 208-217

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.