Pomeranian Frei-Grenadier-Corps von Wussow

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Origin and History

In June 1758, two companies of grenadiers were raised in Stettin among the eight existing Pomeranian Land Militia battalions. Each of these companies consisted of:

  • 4 officers
  • 6 NCOs
  • 3 drummers
  • 144 grenadiers
  • 1 surgeon
  • 1 gunner
  • 2 artillerymen
  • 1 light gun

In April 1762, after the ceasefires with Russia and Sweden, these two companies of grenadiers were sent to Silesia where, on June 17 they were combined with the four companies of grenadiers of Freikorps von Schony to form the Freigrenadier-Bataillon Hüllesem.

During the Seven Years' War, this corps was under the command of:

  • from June 1758: Captain J. W. von Wussow (killed in action somewhere between Neustettin and Hammerstein on April 7, 1759) at his death he was replaced at the head of his company by Captain August Wilhelm Ferdinand von Knesewitz (a born Hungarian who came to Stettin with the Duke of Bevern in 1758 and distinguished himself with his company at Pasewalk, Löcknitz, where he was captured, Klempenow, where he was wounded, and fought on several occasions against the Swedes)
  • from April 7, 1759: Stabscapitain Otto Kasimir von Meerscheid(t) aka Hülles(s)em (promoted to captain on September 3, 1761; to major on June 17, 1762 or on November 2, 1763; to colonel on June 6, 1772; commander of the new Fusilier Regiment No. 51; promoted to major-general on May 20, 1782; chief of Garrison Regiment No. IV on September 27, 1784; chief of the Leib-Company of the III. Battalion of the Regiment of Foot No. 9 von Budberg on May 1, 1788)

N.B.: It is not clear, if these two coys were commanded separately by the above mentioned captains, or if those coys formed in fact a converged corps, so that one captain would be subordinated to the other. However, the work of the Grosser Generalstab is constantly referring to these two companies as two separate entities.

After the Seven Years' War, the battalion was disbanded, the foreigners serving in the two Pomeranian companies were incorporated into Garrison Regiment III.

Service during the War

At the beginning of July 1758, the Duke of Bevern sent the two companies (Hüllesem and Wussow) with the Pomeranian Provincial Land Hussars and the Pomeranian Provincial Jägers from Stettin towards Ückermünde and Anklam. On August 15, a Swedish detachment under Major-General Count Horn advanced from Anklam towards the Ücker to reconnoitre the area and collect some provisions. Horn’s detachment engaged Freigrenadier Wussow near Altwigshafen and drove them back. In the night of August 15 to 16, Wussow's company retired to Torgelow while Hüllesem's company evacuated Ückermünde and retired to Ahlbeck because they feared that the Swedish galleys would land troops at Neuwarp (present-day Nowe Warpno). On August 17, Horn’s detachment expelled Wussow's company from Torgelow. The latter rejoined Hüllesem's company and the Pomeranian Provincial Land Hussars at Zerrenthin on the road from Pasewalk to Stettin. On September 10, Lieutenant-Colonel Tettau let the two companies of Pomeranian grenadiers, along with the Kompanie Seebach (1 coy), the hussars of First-Lieutenant von Grabowsky and the Provincial Jägers retire from Löcknitz. On September 15, the two companies of Pomeranian grenadiers took part in an ambush in the forest between Boitzenburg and Lychen. On October 4, Captain von Lehwaldt at the head of the same two companies and of one company of the Grenadier Battalion Köller, and a hussar detachment managed to capture the Swedish garrison guarding the passage of the Peene at Loitz. On December 5, the two companies of Pomeranian grenadiers caught up with Swedish troops retiring from Ückermünde near Grambin. Prussian galleys fired on the Swedish positions from the Stettin Lagoon and the Swedes evacuated them. Bevern threw a strong garrison in Ückermünde and sent his 2 Freigrenadier coys and his Landhussars to follow the retiring Swedes up to Anklam.

On January 10, 1759, the two grenadier companies formed part of a force posted in front of Anklam to observe the place. On March 31, the two Freigrenadier coys arrived at Neustettin where they took part in an engagement against Russian Cossacks. On April 7, they fought in a combat near Hammerstein against Russian light troops under Brigadier Krasnochekov. Captain Wussow was killed during this engagement. In May, the two companies were recalled to Stettin where the Duke of Bevern urgently needed all his troops.

On September 4, 1761, the two companies of the corps successfully defended the Castle and bridge of Klempenow and drove back the attacking Swedes. However, they suffered heavy casualties, losing about 50% of their men.

N.B.: Bleckwenn mentions that, sometimes, this militia unit acted almost too boldly, which led to several lossy setbacks.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Dal Gavan
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer not applicable, this battalion consisted exclusively of grenadiers
Grenadier
Mitre Cap in 1758 - Source: Dal Gavan

light blue mitre cap decorated with a golden flaming grenade, light blue headband piped white, light blue back piped white, cyan blue pompom

Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red, 1 brass buttons on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps Prussian blue fastened with a brass button
Lapels cyan blue, each with 6 brass buttons (arranged 2-2-2)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 brass buttons
Cuffs cyan blue Prussian style cuffs with 2 brass buttons on the sleeve flap above each cuff
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat cyan blue
Breeches cyan blue
Gaiters grey
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 none
Footgear black


Privates were armed with a short musket and a bayonet.

NCOs

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

  • mitre cap with a black and white quartered pompom
  • gold laced cuffs

Officers

Officers had tricorne wearing a scallopped golden lace and a black cockade. Gilt buttons.

Musicians

Drummers wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with a white swallow nest on each shoulder

Colours

Militia units did not carry any colour.

References

Cremer, Peter: Die preussischen Landregimenter & -milizen, die Stettiner Haff-Flotille und das Verpflegungswesen der Armee 1756-1753, KLIO-Arbeitgruppe, Heimbach, 1987

German Wikipedia

Gieraths, Günther: Die Kampfhandlungen der brandenburgisch-preußischen Armee, 1626-1807“, 1964, pp. 341.., 363, 365, 376, 407, 420, 462, 575 [Knesewitz]

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

Naumann, Gottlob: Sammlung ungedruckter Nachrichten, so die Geschichte der Feldzüge der Preußen von 1740. bis 1779. erläutern, Part 2, 1782, pp. 326.., 625..

Stavenhagen, Oskar: Genealogisches Handbuch der kurländischen Ritterschaft, Vol. 1, Görlitz, [1939], p. 107-117