Prussian Garrison Regiment VII
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in February 1741 to garrison Stettin (present-day Szczecin in Poland). It initially counted 2 battalions, each including a grenadier company. Until 1754, the garrison places of the regiment were Neustadt-Eberswalde, Bernau, Templin, Oderberg, Angermünde and Liebenwalde. In 1754, it retired from Liebenwalde but continued to assume garrison duties in the other places till 1756. Its grenadiers garrisoned Beelitz.
On August 15 1756, the regiment received 2 additional battalions without grenadier company. These 2 new battalions garrisoned Müncheberg and Strausberg east of Berlin. At the beginning of 1757, the third and fourth battalions garrisoning Berlin were doubled to form a fifth and a sixth battalion (without grenadier company) with recruits coming from Saxony. These two new battalions were assigned to garrison duty in Berlin and Dresden.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since April 13 1754: Christian Henning von Lange
- from February 20 1760 to April 20 1766: Joachim Christian Friedrich von Itzenplitz
After the war, the fifth and sixth battalions were disbanded while the remaining four battalions garrisoned the places of Neustadt-Eberswalde (3 coys), Templin (4 coys), Angermünde (3 coys), Bernau (3 coys), Cüstrin (3 coys), Spandau (3 coys) Reppen (1 coy) and Straussberg (1 coy).
Of all garrison regiments, this one was the closest to the residence cities of Berlin and Potsdam. It was well known as some kind of punishment unit for officers of the regiments of the cities. "Go to Kowalsky!" (Kowalsky was chef of the regiment in 1771) was a popular expression.
Service during the War
On July 28 1756, just before the outbreak of the Seven Years War, the regiment received orders to prepare itself to relieve regular field infantry regiments in the places they were currently garrisoning. Accordingly, its first battalion was sent to Glogau (present-day Głogów); and its second to Breslau (present-day Wrocław); while its third and fourth battalions remained in Berlin.
At the beginning of 1757, battalions III and IV garrisoning Berlin were doubled to form battalions V and VI. The fifth battalion was sent to Dresden while the sixth remained in Berlin to strengthen its garrison while the third battalion was sent to Saxony to assume garrison duties. On October 14, during the Austrian raid on Berlin, 6 companies of the regiment were sent under major von Tesmar to stop the advance of the superior Austrian forces. Tesmar was killed in action and his small detachment defeated. On October 17, these companies behaved bravely in another encounter. In November, when Breslau surrendered, battalion II was allowed to freely retire.
In 1758, battalions III and V served in the Prussian army of Saxony while battalion VI was sent to relieve the siege of Cüstrin surrounded by the Russians.
In 1759, battalions III and V served once more with the Prussian army of Saxony. They both defended Dresden during the short siege and surrendered with count Schmettau on September 4. On September 8, they retired to Wittenberg.
From August to October 1762, the first battalion of the regiment took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier company were put together with the grenadiers of IR47 von Rohr Fusiliers, forming the Converged Grenadier Battalion 47/G-VII Wangenheim (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).
As was the case for most garrison regiments, the musketeers and grenadiers of this regiment wore different uniforms. The present article describes the uniform of the musketeers. For the uniform of the grenadiers, please refer to the article dedicated to the Converged Grenadier Battalion 47/G-VII Wangenheim.
|Coat||Prussian blue lined red with 6 brass buttons on both sides on the chest, 2 brass buttons at the waist on the right side and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Privates were armed with a short musket and a bayonet.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- tricorne with wide gold lace and a black and white quartered pompom
- gold laced cuffs
- no shoulder strap
- yellowish leather gloves
- black and white sabre tassel
NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white light half-pike measuring 7,5 Rhenish feet (2.37 m.).
NCOs also carried wooden canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).
Uniforms of officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne wearing a thin gold lace and 2 black and white tassels: 1 in each side corne of the tricorne (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
- black neck stock
- no shoulder strap on the coat
- no turnbacks on the coat
- no trimmong on the coat
- black and silver sash around the waist
- a silver and gold gorget
Officers carried white spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.
Drummers wore uniforms to those of the privates with the following differences:
- no shoulder strap
- shoulders decorated with white swallow nests (4 vertical and 1 horizontal braids)
Drummers carried a side-arm.
The drum pattern had ???.
Colonel flag (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a golden “FR” cipher surrounded by golden palm leaves and surmounted by a gold crown. Grenades in gold.
Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): Red field. Centre device consisting of a golden “FR” cipher surrounded by golden palm leaves and surmounted by a gold crown. Grenades in gold.
N.B. the reverses of all colours were mirror images of the obverses
Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderizianischen Uniformen 1756-1783, Bd. II., Infanterie II, Osnabrück 1984
Duffy, Christopher: Friedrich der Große und seine Armee, Stuttgart, 2. Auflage 1983
Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000, pp. 146-147
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 127, App. 1
Guddat, Martin: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986
Haythornthwaite, Philip: Frederick the Great (2), Men-at Arms-Series No. 240, Osprey
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 426-429
Horvath, Carl Christian: Friedrichs II. König von Preussen Armee-Montirungen, Potsdam 1789. Vierte Sammlung
Merta, Klaus-Peter: Das Heerwesen in Brandenburg und Preußen von 1640 bis 1806 - Die Uniformierung, Berlin 1991
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Martina Hager for the initial version of this article.