Roth Würzburg Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Reichsarmee >> Roth Würzburg Infantry

Origin and History

On September 16 1756 at Werneck, Adam Friedrich Bishop of Würzburg and Duke of Franconia signed a convention with Empress Maria Theresa by which he would supply two infantry regiments for at least two years: the first regiment would be provided at the bishop's expense while the second would be under Austrian pay (40 fl./man). As soon as December 20 1756, the first of these regiments “Rot-Würzburg”, consisting of with 2 battalions (each of 6 fusilier coys) and 2 grenadier companies for a total of 1,860 men, had already taken service with the Austrian Army and left for Bohemia. It had been raised from troopers of the 3 existing Würzburg infantry regiments (Hutten and Drachsdorff regiments became the first and second battalions respectively and were brought up to strength with 400 men from the third regiment, Kolb).

The regiment was organised similar to the Austrian infantry in 2 Feldbataillone and 2 companies of grenadiers. It fought with the Austrian army from late in 1756 until 1759. In 1760 it joined the Reichsarmee.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was owned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg and Bamberg Adam Friedrich Count von Seinsheim.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive commanders of the regiment were:

  • 1756: Colonel Carl Heinrich Baron von Berlepsch
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Wolf Ehrenreich von Warnsdorf
    • Major Max Wilhelm von Stetten
  • 1757: Colonel Wolf Ehrenreich Warnsdorf
  • 1758: Colonel Max Wilhelm von Stetten

The regiment was disbanded at the end of the war in 1763.

Service during the War

For the campaign of 1757, the regiment was assigned to the Austrian main army under Prince Charles Alexandre de Lorraine. In March, the regiment joined this army. On May 3, the regiment marched to the camp between Prague and Brandýs n. Labem. During the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the regiment formed part of the garrison of Prague. In May and June, it took part in the defence of Prague. After the Austrian victory at Kolin and the lifting of the siege of Prague, the regiment was attached to Maquire's Corps and participated in the occupation of Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) and Zittau. Lieutenant-Colonel von Warnsdorf was promoted colonel and commander of the regiment (Colonel von Berlepsch being promoted to major-general). By November 18, the regiment was near Breslau (present-day Wroclaw/PL). On November 22, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Siskovics' Brigade, in the second line of the infantry centre under Baron Kheul. It lost 60 men dead and wounded in this battle. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen (present-day Lutynia/PL), one battalion of the regiment was deployed in Haller's Brigade in the second line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo. The regiment lost 24 officers and 755 men killed or captured during its vaunted defence of the churchyard in Leuthen. After this battle, the regiment could field only 217 men. On December 21, at the surrender of Breslau, Colonel von Warnsdorf, Major Wallau, 4 NCOs and 127 men which lay in hospital were taken prisoners.

In 1758, the Rot Regiment continued to serve with the Austrian main army. In April, a Prussian army having proceeded to the invasion of Moravia, the regiment marched towards Olmütz. Its third battalion was left behind at Stepanov in Bohemia to serve as depot. By August 2, one battalion of the regiment was part of the reserve of the Austrian main army under the command of Daun near Jaromirs. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Siege of Olmütz. On September 5, the Austrian main army reached Stolpen in Saxony. On October 14, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the left column (under Duke d'Ursel) of Arenberg's Corps on the Austrian right wing to the east of Rodewitz. This corps attacked the Prussian entrenchments near Rodewitz, capturing 36 guns and mortars. Colonel von Stetten distinguished himself during this attack. The regiment lost 21 men dead and 6 NCOs wounded. The Austrian main army then marched on Dresden. However, at the end of November, it had taken its winter-quarters in Bohemia. The contract with the Bishop of Würzburg was renewed for another year.

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment received new recruits from the Bishopric of Würzburg. By March, it counted a total of 1,128 men. Its commander was Colonel von Stetten because Colonel von Warnsdorf was still prisoner). The regiment was attached to the corps of Lieutenant-General von Beck posted near Braunau (present-day Broumov/CZ) and Politz (present-day Police nad Metují/CZ). In June, FZM Harsch took command of this corps which then consisted of 33,000 men, including the regiment (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys for a total of 1,072 men). Till the end of the year, this corps manoeuvred in the region of the Riesengebirge (present-day Krkonoše/CZ) but saw no action. The contract with the Bishop of Würzburg and the Habsburg had now come to an end and long negotiations were undertaken .

In March 1760, the regiment counted 1,441 men; its depot battalion (114 men) was stationed at Nienburg, to the East of Prague. In July, the regiment was part of the garrison who assumed the defence of Dresden, losing 5 men dead and 38 wounded. It then joined the Reichsarmee and, on August 20, took part in the 1760-08-20 - Combat of Strehla. It later marched towards Torgau and Wittenberg. On November 10, after the defeat of Torgau, the regiment returned to the camp of Dippoldiswalde. Even though Rot Würzburg Infantry and Blau Würzburg Infantry both served in the same army during this campaign, there were no contact between them. The relations between the staffs of the two regiments were not very good. Heavy losses had placed an increasing strain on Würzburg's limited resources, and the Bishop of Würzburg pressed the Austrians into amalgamating his two regiments into a single regiment entitled Kaiserlich Würzburg consisting of 3 bns and 2 grenadier coys. The reorganisation was made official on December 7.

In 1761, the remaining battalion of Blau Würzburg Infantry and its grenadier coys were attached to FML Guasco posted at Eger. According to the new decision, the 2 battalions of Rot Würzburg Infantry were also attached to the corps stationed at Eger and combined with the former Blau Würzburg Infantry. The reorganisation of the regiment was confided to Commissioner Egermann and Count Guasco. The task was difficult due to the tense relations between the staffs of the two former regiments. The field battalions (first and third) counted a total of 1,573 men while the garrison battalion (second) had 572 men. The new regiment had the following staff:

  • Colonel Commander von Stetten
  • Lieutenant-Colonel von Wurmb
  • Major von Thannhausen

Colonels Moser von Filseck, Wolfgang Baron von Warnsdorf, majors Siegmund von Wittern, Karl Drachendorf and Wilhelm Ambotten along with 32 other officers were still in Prussian prisons. They would eventually be freed under parole by the Prussians under the condition that they would not fight against Prussian troops for the rest of the war.

On January 20 1761, Wurmb received the decree making him a colonel. However, the decree was not published. In March, the two field battalions were sent from Eger to the Bohemian-Bavarian border. Desertions were rather high (260 to 300 men for the year). Meanwhile the garrison battalion remained at Eger. The field battalions belonged to Guasco's Corps (12 bns and 12 cavalry rgts) posted along the Eger River. In May, Guasco's Corps marched to Saxony to join the main army. It spent the whole Summer behind the Weiseritz River. By the end of November, the regiment was posted between the Freiberger Mulde and the Grosser Striegis rivers. By December, the regiment was at Zwickau.

On January 6 1762, the regiment was part of Campitelli's Corps posted in the region of Altenburg. By the end of January, the first battalion garrisoned Altenburg and the third Pegau. Colonel von Stetten received the command of a grenadier corps (18 grenadier coys) and marched at its head as vanguard to Borna. Meanwhile, the second battalion still stationed in Eger as depot was reduced by 2 coys. At the end of March, the field battalions left Altenburg and marched to Rochlitz. On May 9, they marched to Hainichen. On May 12, as Prussians troops surprised the troops of FZM Zedtwitz in the Combat of Doebeln, another Prussian detachment attacked the Austrian outposts in front of Hainichen and annihilated De Ville Cuirassiers. Würzburg Infantry defended an advantageous position and was able to retreat in good order to the entrenchments near Freiberg. On May 13, the regiment marched to Dippoldiswalde. It then remained in the mountainous region near the source of the Weiseritz along with Jung-Colloredo Infantry (2 bns), Salm Infantry (1 bn), Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer (1 bn), a converged grenadier battalion of 6 coys, a regiment of Saxon chevauxlegers, some Austrian hussars and a pulk of uhlans. FML Hadik planned to drive back the Prussian troops of Prince Henri. Accordingly, he marched in two columns (Duke Löwenstein and Campitelli). Würzburg Infantry was in the second column. The action was successful and Prince Henri was forced to retreat behind the Mulde River to Freiberg. On October 15, Würzburg Infantry took part in an engagement near Weissenborn. On October 29, the regiment took part in the Battle of Freiberg where it lost 10 officers, 27 NCOs and 447 men taken prisoners. In November, the rest of the regiment remained in its mountain positions. On November 28, the regiment marched towards Franconia where it took its winter-quarters around Kulmbach. On December 17, it was decided to send the field battalions of the regiment to the Austrian Netherlands (modern day Belgium and Luxembourg) to seize Prussian territory in Westphalia.

On January 7 1763, the regiment marched through Miltenberg, Erbenheim towards Roermond. On February 5, it reached the region of Roermond. On February 15, the Peace of Hubertusburg put an end to all attempts against Westphalia. On February 24, the regiment was formally discharged from the Austrian service. In March, when the field regiment was reviewed, it consisted of 2 battalions (each of 6 fusilier coys) and 2 grenadier coys for a total of 1,614 men. On March 26, the regiment set off from Roermond and marched through Westphalia and Hesse towards Würzburg where it arrived on May 2. From the regiment, 300 soldiers joined the garrison of Würzburg while the other were disbanded, receiving 36 florins each.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white and three white pom poms
Grenadier Austrian style bearskin with a red bag piped white
Neckstock red
Coat white wool (Austrian style)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white wool fastened with a pewter button
Lapels red with 7 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a musket and carried brown haversack and a canteen.

Officers

Officers wore a fancier uniform with silver buttons instead of pewter. They wore straw gloves and had a yellow waist sash.

Musicians

Drummers wore the same uniform as the infantry but had a swallows nest in red on the shoulder.

The drum pattern is speculative but would have been brass rimmed in red, the facing color, with white drum cords. This is a recurring pattern of the period.

Colours

The colors are speculative but based on the pattern common to the Reichsarmee troops of the period.

Colonel Flag: White field, Imperial eagle bearing the Würzburg old coat-of-arms with white and red waves as a trim on the flags edge.

Regimental Flag: Red field, Imperial eagle bearing the Würzburg old coat-of-arms with white and red waves as a trim on the flags edge.

Leib Flag - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Flag – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 I. Teil. Zusammensetzung und Organisation, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, 1979

Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D., Weirich, W.-D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 II. Teil. Die einzelnen Einheiten, ihre Stärke, Zusammensetzung, Uniform und Feldzeichen, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, o.J.

Brabant, Arthur: Das heilige römische Reich teutscher Nation im Kampf mit Friedrich dem Großen, vol. I, II Berlin 1904, vol. III Dresden 1931

Hagen, Eduard: Die Fürstlich Würzburgische Hausinfanterie von ihren Anfängen bis zum Beginne des Siebenjährigen Krieges (1636-1756), in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 19, München 1910

Hagen, Eduard: Die Fürstlich Würzburgische Hausinfanterie vom Jahre 1757 bis zur Einverleibung des Fürstbistums in Bayern 1803, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 20, München 1911

Henke, Julius: Über das Heerwesen des Hochstifts Würzburg im 18. Jahrhundert, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 7, München 1889

Knötel, Herbert: Rot- und Blau-Würzburg (Vor 200 Jahren "Leuthen"), in Zeitschrift für Heeres- und Uniformkunde, No. 156, Jg. 1957/VI, page 102-103

Thüna, Baron von: Die Würzburgischen Hilfstruppen im Dienste Österreichs 1756 – 1763, Würzburg, 1893

Wilson, P.: Wurzburg and Bamberg in the Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No.2