Prinz Gotha Infantry

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Origin and History

Grenadier of Prinz Gotha Infantry in 1756 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli

The regiment was raised in 1682. It took part to the relief of Vienna in 1683. In 1686, it served in Hungary. In 1697, it operated on the Rhine and the Moselle. Then, until 1717, it saw action in Poland, Brabant and Pommerania.

During the War of the Polish Succession, from 1734 to 1735, the regiment served in Poland. From 1737 to 1739, it then operated in Hungary.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took parts to the campaigns of 1741, 1742, 1744 and 1745, in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Saxony. In 1748, it was augmented by 4 coys of the disbanded Allnbeck regiment. In 1749, 6 coys were disbanded.

In 1756, the regiment became prisoner at Pirna and turned over into Prussian service becoming the regiment of Major-general von Saldern.

In 1757, the regiment reformed in Hungary with a single bataillon and fought with the French armies till 1763. After the Treaty of Hubertusburg it was reorganised in 3 battalions in 14 coys.

In 1778, the regiment was reduced to 2 battalions in 10 coys.

Seven Years' War Organisation

The État of 1756 mentions 2 battalions with 10 coys of musketeers and 2 coys of grenadiers. Each musketeer coy had 95 men, grenadier coy 97 men, while the regimental staff counted 17 men. The regiment totalled some 1,160 men.

In 1757, the regiment reformed in a single battalion of 4 coys plus 1 coy of former gunners serving as grenadiers. This coy was disbanded in 1758 when a Saxon artillery detachment was raised. Thereafter, the regiment had no grenadier until 1761, when 1 coy of grenadiers was craated in each Saxon battalion.

Chef of the regiment:

  • 1744: colonel Johann Adolf, Prinz von Sachsen-Gotha (later general)

Kommandeur of the regiment:

  • 1751: colonel von Uetterodt
  • 1757: colonel Leqoc
  • 1763: colonel von Uetterrodt (died as major-general in 1781)


Service during the War

At the end of August 1756, when Frederick II proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment retired to Pirna with the rest of the Saxon army. At Pirna, the regiment was deployed on the left wing under von Harthausen, as part of von Risckwitz's brigade. The Prussians blockaded the Saxon army in Pirna from September 9 until October 15 when the Saxons finally had to surrender. The regiment was then forcefully incorporated into the Prussian Army as Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 54 Saldern.

In 1757, a new regiment was raised in Hungary. It consisted of a single battalion of 4 musketeer companies. A 5th company of grenadiers was also added, it was formed from former gunners. The new regiment was included into the Saxon Auxiliary contingent serving with the French.

In 1758, the grenadier company was disbanded and its troopers incorporated into the newly formed artillery companies. The same year, to avoid further contact with the Prussians, the contingent marched through southern Germany and had, by July, assembled in Strasbourg. On September 3, the regiment was part of the Saxon contingent, under the command of Prince Xaver, who encamped at Castrop, 15 km from Recklinghausen, on his way to make a junction with the French army of the Marquis de Contades in Westphalia. This contingent made a junction with Contades' army around mid September. As part of Chevert's division, it reinforced the army of the Prince de Soubise in Hesse. On October 10, the contingent first saw action at the battle of Lutterberg where its determined attacks decided the day for the French army. On October 20, the Saxon regiments rejoined Contades at Werl.

On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the battle of Bergen where it formed part of the first line of the left wing under the command of the baron de Dyherrn. In June, during the French offensive in West Germany, the regiment was part of the main army under the command of the Marquis de Contades where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry centre. On August 1, the regiment took part in the battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry left wing under the command of the comte de Lusace.

To do: description of the actions of the regiment from 1760 to 1763.

Uniform

Besides the uniform worn at the beginning of the war in 1756, the regiment also changed uniform in 1760.

Privates

Uniforms - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with white/sky blue pompons
Grenadier mitre (Prussian style) in 1756 with ??? frontplate and headband, ??? back with ??? piping, ??? pom pom

black tricorne laced white from 1757 to 1761
bearskin (Austrian style) with ??? bag from 1761

Neckstock red
Coat white with a white button in the small of the back, and until 1761:
  • 6 white buttons on the chest
  • 3 white buttons at waist level (right side only)

from 1761:

  • 2 white buttons below the lapel
Collar sky blue
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none (in 1756) sky blue with 6 white buttons (in 1760)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs sky blue with 3 white buttons
Turnbacks sky blue fastened with a small white button
Waistcoat sky blue with horizontal pockets and white buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box ???
Bayonet Scabbard ???
Scabbard ???
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sword.

Officers

Officers and NCOs wore a black tricorne laced ???silver/gold??? with a white cockade.

Officers wore ??? breeches.

Musicians

no information available yet

Colours

Leibfahne: white field wearing the Saxon-Polish coat of arms surrounded by rich white and red embroideries with a sky blue border

Kompaniefahne: sky blue field with rich white and red embroideries wearing a gold AR cipher on a stone pedestal surrounded by a green wreath and surmounted by a red and gold crown

Leibfahne - Source: Hannoverdidi
Kompaniefahne - Source: Hannoverdidi

References

Friedrich, Wolfgang, Die Uniformen der kurfürstlich Sächischen Armee 1683-1763, Dresden 1998

Müller, Reinhold, Die Armee Augusts des Starken: Das Sächische Heer von 1730-1733, Berlin 1984

Origin and History: editors translation from "Geschichte und gegenwärtiger Zustand der Kursächsischen Armee." (History and present state of the Saxon Army.) 2nd edition, part IX, Dresden 1793.

Rogge, Christian, The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Wagner, Siegbert, Die Uniformen des kursächischen Armee im Jahre 1745, unpublished manuscript, Hannover 1979

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.