Prussian Garrison Regiment VIII
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in Minden in September 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession, to garrison the recently captured fortress of Neisse (actual Nysa) in Silesia. It initially counted 2 battalions and was trained at Müncheberg in Brandeburg and then sent to Silesia.
On July 8 1754, the regiment was increased to 4 battalions (the 2 new battalions had no grenadier company). From 1755, the regiment garrisoned the fortress of Glatz (actual Kłodzko), Bolkenhain, Freiburg, Habelschwerd and Neisse.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- since November 25 1748: Georg Ernst von Nettelhorst
- from June 10 1757 to February 11 1763: Friedrich Baron Quadt von Wickeradt
After the war, the regiment was re-established with four battalions coming from Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch, I./Frei-Infanterie le Noble and Frei-Infanterie Lüderitz. It then garrisoned the places of Glatz (15 coys) and Reichenbach (5 coys). Its uniform changed drastically.
Service during the War
In 1756, at the outbreak of the war, the regiment was garrisoning Glatz, Neisse, Habelschwerdt, Falkenhain, Freiburg and Bolkenhain.
In August 1757, the first battalion of the regiment was part of the small Prussian force assembled in Silesia by Major-General von Kreytzen to oust the Austrian corps occupying Landeshut. On August 13, it took part in the first combat of Landeshut. On August 14, after the failed attempt against the Austrian positions on the Buchberg, the entire battalion was captured.
In July 1760, the regiment defended the Fortress of Glatz besieged by the Austrians. On July 26, the Austrians stormed the fortress and the regiment became prisoners of war. It was not re-established during the war.
On March 18 1763, the regiment was re-established at Glatz, counting 4 battalions.
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier company were put together with the grenadiers of Garrison Regiment VI, forming the Standing Grenadier Battalion Nr. VI (G-VI/G-VIII Plötz) (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 Standing Grenadier Battalion Nr. VI (G-VI/G-VIII Plötz).
|Coat||Prussian blue lined red with 6 pewter buttons on both sides on the chest, 2 pewter buttons at the waist on the right side and 3 pewter 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 silver lace and a black and white quartered pompom
- silver 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 silver 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 trimming 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 similar 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 silver “FR” monogram surrounded by silver palm leaves and surmounted by a silver crown. Grenades in silver.
Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): Dark blue field. Centre device consisting of a silver “FR” monogram surrounded by silver palm leaves and surmounted by a silver crown. Grenades in silver.
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, 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. 430-435
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.