Prussian Kanitz Infantry
Origin and History
The regiment was raised by Bogislaw von Schwerin in Pomerania and Neumark according to a warrant issued by the Elector of Brandenburg Friedrich Wilhelm on December 20, 1655. In 1656, it took part in the Battle of Warsaw. In 1657, it was transferred permanently to East Prussia and took up quarters in Rastgenburg and Gerdauen. In 1659, it took part in the affair of Braunsberg.
In 1672, the regiment formed part of a relief corps sent to Poland.
In 1674, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment campaigned on the Lower-Rhine. In 1675, it was present at the Battle of Turckheim. The same year during the Swedish-Brandenburg War (1675-79), the regiment took part in the storming of Rathenow. In 1676, it campaigned in Pomerania and took part in the siege and capture of Anklam. In 1677, it participated in the siege of Stettin. In 1678, it returned to Prussia.
In 1683, during the Great Turkish War, four companies of the regiment formed part of the relief corps sent to Hungary. In 1686, one battalion was sent to Hungary and took part in the siege of Ofen.
In 1688, during the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), the regiment was stationed in Altmark and Pomerania. In 1689, it campaigned in Westphalia and took part in the siege of Bonn.
In 1691, the second battalion was sent to Hungary where it took part in the victorious Battle of Slankamen and in the siege of Gross-Wardein. In 1692, this battalion returned to Prussia.
In 1693, the first battalion took part in the campaign in the Low Countries. Meanwhile, the second battalion marched once more for Hungary where it took part in the siege of Belgrade.
In 1694, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant where it took part in the siege and capture of Huy. Meanwhile, the second battalion was encircled by the Turks in the camp of Peterwardein during three weeks.
In 1695, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant where it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary.
In 1696, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary.
In 1697, the first battalion campaigned in Flanders. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary where it fought in the Battle of Zenta.
In 1700, the first battalion returned to Prussia.
In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Soanish Succession (1701-13), two companies of the regiment were sent to the Rhine. In 1702, these two companies took part in the siege of Kaiserwerth and in the sieges and capture of Venlo and Roermond. Meanwhile the first battalion was in Memel and the second in Tilsit and Insterburg. In 1705, the second battalion was sent to Frankfurt/Main and took part in the sieges of Drusenheim and Haguenau. The same year, the grenadiers of the regiment were sent to Italy where they fought in the Battle of Cassano. In 1706, the second battalion was recalled from Halberstadt to the Mark while the first battalion operated on the Vistula. Meanwhile, the grenadiers took part in the battles of Calcinato and Turin and in the capture of Pizzighetone. In 1707, the first battalion was sent from Pomerania to East Prussia and the second battalion, to the Low Countries. In 1708, the second battalion took part in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the siege and capture of Lille. In 1709, the first battalion went from Tilsit to Königsberg. The same year, the second battalion took part in the siege of Tournai and in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, the first battalion campaigned in the Neumark while the second battalion took part in the siege of Douai. In 1711, the first battalion marched from the Neumark to Prussia while the second battalion started the campaign in the Low Countries, taking part in the siege of Bouchain before returning to Stargard in Pomerania. In 1711, the first battalion was stationed in Königsberg; and the second, in Berlin.
From 1736, the regiment garrisoned Rastenburg, Schippenbeil and Gerdauen in East Prussia. It recruited in the districts of Insterburg, Rastenburg, Gumbinnen and Sehesten and in the towns of Rastenburg, Schppenbeil and Gerdauen. Its grenadiers garrisoned Angerburg.
During the War of the Austrian Sucession, the regiment served in the battles of Chotusitz (May 17, 1742), Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745), and Soor (September 30, 1745).
During the Seven Years War, the regiment was commanded by:
- from June 12 1750 to November 23 1769: Hans Wilhelm von Kanitz
The 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 2.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment was part of Lehwaldt's Army assigned to the defence of East Prussia against a Russian invasion. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing in Lieutenant-General Kanitz's Brigade. The regiment suffered heavy casualties during this battle, loosing 16 officers and 489 men.
On August 25 1758, the regiment took part in the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the vanguard led by Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel. Its recruiting ground being occupied by Russian troops, the regiment could not easily replenish its ranks. On October 25, the regiment was part of Wobersnow's detachment sent by Dohna to lift the Siege of Colberg. The detachment marched from Stargard to Massow.
On July 23 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Stutterheim's Division deployed on the left in the first line of infantry. During this battle, the regiment suffered heavily, loosing 13 officers and 642 men. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left centre as part of Diericke's Brigade. After this battle, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion. On December 3, this battalion was attached to a small isolated Prussian force under Major-General Dierecke who had taken post at Meissen. This small corps was attacked by a much stronger Austrian force during the Combat of Meissen. On December 4, the battalion, being among the 3 battalions still on the right bank of the Elbe, was overwhelmed and captured.
In 1760, the regiment was re-raised from press-ganged troops of the Duchy of Mecklenburg. For the last campaigns of the war, it operated in Pomerania.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Garrison Regiment No. II forming the Grenadier Batallion 2/G-II (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).
- Uniformen der Preußischen Armee, 1758 (Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden)
- Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee Worinnen zur eigentlichen Kenntniss der Uniform von jedem Regiment ein Officier und Gemeiner in Völliger Montirung und ganzer Statur nach dem Leben abgebildet sind. Nebst beigefügter Nachricht 1.) von der Stiftung. 2.) Denen Chefs. 3.) der Staerke und 4.) der in Friedenszeiten habenden Guarnisons jedes Regiments. Hrsg. u. gezeichnet I.C. v. S.(chmalen), Nürnberg 1770 (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
|Coat||Prussian blue with two red braid loops with white tassels (hidden by the sleeve in our illustration, see insert for details) on each side and a copper button on each side in the small of the back with a red braid loop with a white tassel
|Waistcoat||straw with horizontal pockets, each with copper buttons|
Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white pompoms
- no shoulder strap
- gold braid loops and tassels below the lapels and in the small of the back
- no shoulder straps
- yellowish leather gloves
- black and white sabre tassel
NCOs were armed with a sabre and a brown (some sources mention white) half-pike measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer 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 had tricorne edged with a thin gold lace. They always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers. They also wore a white neck stock and a black and silver sash around the waist. They carried an officer stick and a silver and gold gorget. Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks and had gilt buttons.
Officers' lace was gold foliate edging around the lapels, cuffs, and sleeve flaps.
Officers carried brown spontoons (some sources mention white) measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).
Musicians' lace was red with black and white patterns. Swallow nest with five vertical bars and one horizontal bar. Nine chevrons on each sleeve. Lace along the lapels, on the pockets, on the cuffs and on the front and back of the coat.
Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a black medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a golden crown. The medallion is decorated with a golden eagle surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, Frederick's ciphers) and grenades in gold.
Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Black field. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a golden crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle surmounted by a black scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, Frederick's ciphers) and grenades in gold.
The pikes used as staffs for the colours were brown (some sources mention white) with brass finials.
Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973
Duffy, Chirstopher: The Army of Frederick the Great, Purnell Boook Services Limited, 1974
Engelmann, Joachim, and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, 2000
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
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
Haythornthwaite, Philip: Frederick the Great's Army (2), Osprey Publishing, 1992.
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 18-23
Menzel, Adolph von: Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57
Oelsnitz, Alexander Carl von der: Geschichte des koeniglich preussischen ersten Infanterie-Regiments, Berlin: Mittler & Sohn, 1855
Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 117-123
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.