Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde

This fusilier regiment was raised June 27 1740 for Prince Friedrich Heinrich Ludwig of Prussia (aka Prince Henri), a brother of Frederick II. Its soldiers came from Garrison Regiment I Memel, Prussian Garrison Regiment II Pillau, from the Leibkompanie of the Grenadier Garde and from volunteers recruited across the empire. Its officers came from various Prussian infantry regiments. The new regiment was stationed in Potsdam.

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1741, the regiment garrisoned the Fortress of Magdeburg. In September 1744, it was part of Frederick's Corps who besieged and occupied Prague before retreating in November. In 1745, the regiment served in Upper Silesia.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the nominal command by:

...and under the effective command of its successive Kommandeure:

  • from 1756: Major von Götze
  • in 1757: Major von Dequede
  • in 1757: Major Binius
  • in 1757: Captain von Thiele
  • from 1757: Major von Ruisch
  • from 1758: Major von Knobelsdorff
  • from 1760 till 1772: Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel, then Colonel) von Puttkamer

From 1763, the regiment garrisoned Spandau and Nauen.

The regimental 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 35.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulation of Erfurt, Magdeburg and Küstrin.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Keith's Corps. The centre column had concentrated at Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe river by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. While the main Prussian army moved forward to engage an Austrian army at Lobositz (October 1), the regiment remained in the Pirna country to maintain the blockade of the Saxon Army which surrendered on October 17.

On January 1 1757, the second battalion of the regiment was attacked in its winter quarters at Ostritz. On April 21, at the Combat of Reichenberg, the regiment was deployed in the second line of Duke of Brunswick-Bevern's force. On May 6, the 2nd Battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the extreme left of the second line of the infantry centre in Kalckreuth's Brigade. It suffered very heavy losses. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Tresckow. At the end of the afternoon, it reinforced Hülsen's Corps which was under heavy pressure near Krzeczhorz Height. Then, a charge of the Saxon cavalry broke its 1st Battalion. On November 22, in the Battle of Breslau, the regiment defended the strong entrenchments in front of Maria-Höfche until it was outflanked. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the first battalion of the regiment was deployed in Oldenburg's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre.

In 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and in the unsuccessful Siege of Olmütz.

On August 12 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the right centre as part of Knobloch's Brigade. At a certain moment during this battle, Frederick II personally led the regiment, holding one of its colours in an attempt to rally routing troops. The regiment was the last to leave the battlefield.

On September 17 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, it fought at the Battle of Torgau where it suffered heavy losses.

In 1761, the regiment remained at the entrenched camp of Bunzelwitz.

From August 8 to October 10 1762, the regiment took part in 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 Fusilier Regiment 36, forming the Grenadier Batallion 35/36 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier
IR35 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with silver-plated front plate; sulphur yellow headband with silver-plated ornaments; sulphur yellow cap with silver-plated ornaments; silver-plated spike
Grenadier mitre with silver-plated front plate; sulphur yellow headband with a red and white braid and silver-plated ornaments; sulphur yellow backing with a similar braid; red within white within red pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 35/36 for an illustration)
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 6 pewter buttons on the chest, 2 pewter buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar sulphur yellow
Shoulder Straps sulphur yellow fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs sulphur yellow (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat sulphur yellow
Breeches sulphur yellow
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
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


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

NCOs

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

  • black and white quartered pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • cuffs edged with a silver braid
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier 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

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

  • black tricorne edged with a silver scalloped lace silver, black and white quartered pompoms and a black cockade fastened with a silver band and a white button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no trimming
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist

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

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The lace of the drummers consisted of a 2.7 cm wide white braid decorated with yellow and blue squares in a checker board 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
  • each shoulder decorated with 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace
  • coat, collar, pockets and cuffs were edged with the drummer lace


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a sky blue 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): Sky blue field. 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 sky blue scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from elements by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from elements by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Boltze, Eberhard: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 27, Annex III and IV

Brauer, M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

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. 278-283

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

Taeglichsbeck, Franz: Das Füsilier-Regiment Prinz Heinrich von Preussen (Nr. 35) 1740-1806, Berlin, 1891

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