Saxon Line Infantry Organisation

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Saxon Army >> Saxon Line Infantry Organisation

Introduction

By 1745, the Saxon infantry was mostly composed of foreigners.

Yearly, troops participated in training camps. In 1753, this camp was held at Uebigau.

In 1754, the Saxon Army was reorganised in two Generalate under the overall command of Field-Marshal Duke von Sachsen-Weissenfels. He was succeeded at the head of the army by Count Brühl who immediately reduced the size of the army.

By 1756, the Saxon infantry was mostly composed of Saxon soldiers and of soldiers recruited in countries neighbouring Saxony. Infantry training had not evolved significantly. Companies were paid irregularly and were rarely at full strength.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, the Saxon Army counted :

  • 12 infantry regiments totalling 24 battalions
  • 1 standing grenadier battalion
  • peacetime establishment of 4 regiments for the Reichsarmee (only 180 men each)

There were also garrison companies in Wittenberg, Königstein, Sonnenstein, Stolpen and Pleissenburg and Invalids in Waldheim. Altogether, these troops formed 8 companies for a total of 1,150 men.

Composition and Organisation

By 1753, an infantry regiment (55 officers, 118 NCO, 8 oboists, 36 drummers, 4 fifers, 14 carpenters, 152 grenadiers, 700 musketeers, 12 surgeons, a junior staff of 6 men for a total of 1,105 men) consisted of:

  • a regimental staff of 17 men
  • 2 battalions, each of:
    • 5 musketeer coys, each of 95 men
    • 1 grenadier coy, each of 97 men

Exceptionally, the Grenadierbataillon Kurprinzessin counted only 5 companies for a total of 539 men; while the Leibgrenadiergarde had 14 companies organised in 2 battalions for a total of 1,684 men.

For campaigns, the grenadiers of each regiment were combined into 6 converged grenadier battalions who, together with the standing grenadier battalion were organised in two brigades.

Battalion guns

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, each Saxon infantry battalion could rely on two quick firing guns (mostly 6-pdrs but still including a few 3-pdrs).

Train

Each infantry regiment had 29 wagons and 140 horses.

Drill

By 1752, new and well-elaborated service and drill regulations had been introduced. They included Austrian and, more often, Prussian elements. The infantry battalion was formed 3 deep, and divided into 4 divisons, 8 half-divisions or 16 platoons.

Battle tactics called for a slow and continued advance while employing a 'rolling' fire by the battalions sub-divisions from a distance of 250 to 100 paces. At this distance, the battalion was to fall into a faster pace and to approach the enemy to 20 paces, its advance interrupted by 3 halts to deliver a general battalion volley by its second and third rank. Assuming the opponent would still hold its ground, the first rank would then fire followed by the entire battalion charging home with the bayonet.

If charged by cavalry, the battalion was to hold its fire until the horses approached to 10 paces.

References

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, pp. 152-155