Schwerin Infantry

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Origin and History

IR24 von Schwerin in 1757. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde

The battalions which would eventually form the new regiment were assembled in June 1713. Their troops originally came from the Füsilier-Garde and some garrison units initially stationed at Spandau, Frankfurt and Colberg. In 1715, these two field battalions were finally merged into a new regiment under the command of von Schwendy. It levied its recruits in Neumark (Beeskow, Bobersberg, Cottbus, Crossen, Frankfurt an der Oder, Rotenburg and Züllichau).

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the invasion of Silesia in 1740 and fought at Mollwitz on April 10, 1741. In 1742, a battalion took part in the campaign of Moravia while another garrisoned Olmütz and fought at Chotusitz (May 17). In 1744, the regiment took part in the campaign of Bohemia. In 1745, it fought at Hohenfriedeberg (June 4) and Hennersdorf (November 23).

From 1743 till 1756, the regiment garrisoned Frankfurt an der Oder and its grenadiers, Cottbus.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since January 13 1723: Kurt Christoph Count von Schwerin
  • from May 11 1757: Carl Christoph Baron von der Goltz
  • from June 30 1761 to April 8 1763: vacant (not attributed to any commander)

After the Seven Years' War, the regiment garrisoned Frankfurt an der Oder and its grenadiers, Fürstenwalde.

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 24.

The regiment was disbanded in October 1806 after the capitulation of Erfurt and Pasewalk.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the Prince of Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, and then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. From September 11 to October 16, the regiment took part in the blockade and capture of the Saxon Army in the area of Pirna.

Death of Count Schwerin at the head of his regiment at Prague in 1757 - Source: Richard Knötel, 1895

On May 6 1757, during the invasion of Bohemia, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line in Fouqué's Brigade. It was among the forces led by Winterfeldt who vainly assaulted Sterboholy around 1:00 p.m. During this battle, the regiment lost 13 officers and 522 men as well as his colonel killed while trying to rally the regiment. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick II to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial Army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the regiment was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Forcade.

On May 31 1758, the regiment was at the action of Bamberg.

On July 23 1759, during the Russian campaign in Brandenburg, 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. It suffered heavily during this battle, losing 37 officers and 933 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 Jung-Stutterheim's Brigade. During this battle, it was involved in the bloody infantry combat on the Kuhgrund, losing 425 men.

In July 1760, the regiment took part in the Siege of Dresden. On August 15, it fought in the Battle of Liegnitz; on September 17, in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf; and, on November 3, in the Battle of Torgau where it lost 10 officers and 699 men.

In 1761, the regiment campaigned in Saxony, being stationed on the Mulde.

On May 15 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Doebeln. On October 29, it fought in the Battle of Freiberg where it stormed the heights of St. Michael.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Prinz Ferdinand Infantry, forming the Grenadier Batallion 24/34 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, one brass button, yellow/blue/white/red pompons
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; red headband with white braid (regimental lace consisting of a white braid decorated with 2 thin red lines on each side and a thin red zig-zag in the centre) and with polished brass ornaments, blue backing with white braid (same lace as above), red within white within blue within yellow pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 24/34 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 2 white rounded loops (same lace as above) below each lapel, 1 white rounded loop (same lace as above) on each side in the small of the back and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps Prussian blue edged in red and fastened with a small brass button
Lapels red edged white (same lace as above) with 6 brass buttons and 6 white rounded loops (same lace as above)
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (in the Prussian pattern) edged white (same lace as above) with 2 white rounded loops (same lace as above) and 2 brass buttons on the sleeve flap above each cuff; the sleeve flaps were edged white (same lace as above)
Turnbacks red fastened with a small brass button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black decorated with a tombac plate
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • 6 golden cord loops on each unlaced lapel (none below the lapels, in the small of the back and on cuffs)
  • gilt buttons
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a black 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

Schwerin Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne with a thin golden lace with a gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • 6 gilt buttons on each unlaced lapel
  • 2 golden embroidery loops under each lapel
  • 2 golden embroidery loops on each pocket
  • 2 golden embroidery loops (side by side) on each side in the small of the back
  • 2 golden embroidery loops and 2 gilt buttons on the sleeve flap above each unlaced cuff
  • black and silver sash around the waist

Officers carried black spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.

Lace of the officer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755


Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

The drummer lace consisted of a white braid decorated with complex yellow and black pattern with a central white line and red rhombuses.

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • a swallow nest consisting of 5 vertical narrow laces and 1 horizontal narrow lace on each shoulder
  • 9 chevrons between the 2 vertical wide laces on each sleeve
  • coat, lapels, pockets, and cuffs edged with the narrow lace
  • only the buttonholes under the lapels and those in the small of the back were laced


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with a green flamed cross. Centre device consisting of a green medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Green field with a white flamed cross. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a green scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold. The central medallion inside each of these laurel wreaths was green.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were black.

References

Anonymous (maybe Karl Wellner): Montierung des Königlich Preussischen Armee

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images of Herbert Knötel d. J., Text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden: 1932

Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

Guddat, Martin: Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 194-201

Knötel, R.: Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921

Menzel, Adolph von: Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

Schmalen: 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., Nürnberg, 1759

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. 88-89

Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

Uniformes Prussien et Saxonne, Bilderhandschrift, 1758 (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.