Sers Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Sers Fusiliers Private - Source: Horvath, C. C., Friedrichs II. König von Preussen Armee-Montirungen…

This regiment was raised in 1741, after the capture of the Fortress of Neisse by the Prussians. It was considered a regiment of pioneers. For this reason, it had no company of grenadiers. These were replaced by 2 companies of miners who acted as an independent unit.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1744, the pioneers took part in the siege of Prague and then occupied the Fortress of Tabor where it was taken prisoners at the capitulation of the place on October 23. In 1745, the miners of the regiment took part in the siege of Cosel.

On November 26 1758, when the regiment was transformed into a Fusilier Regiment, the two companies of miners were detached from it to form a distinct Mineurkorps. The regiment garrisoned Neisse and levied its troops in the Silesian counties of Frankenstein and Grottkau

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • since February 27 1748: Philipp Loth von Sers
  • from November 26 1758 until September 13 1770: Christian Friedrich von Diericke

In 1787, the regiment received 2 companies of grenadiers.

The regimental 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 49.

The regiment was disbanded on November 11 1806, after the capitulation of Magdeburg.

Service during the War

In 1756, the pioneers were part of the Army of Silesia under Field-Marshal Schwerin. During this campaign, this army conducted operations in Eastern Bohemia.

On July 24 1757, during the Austrian invasion of Silesia part of the first battalion of pioneers was captured while attempting to escape from Zittau which was besieged by the Austrians. In August, the second battalion of pioneers 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.

In April 1758, the pioneers joined Frederick's Army and took part in the siege and capture of Schweidnitz. They then followed Frederick in his invasion of Moravia, taking part from May to July in the unsuccessful Siege of Olmütz. After the Prussian retreat to Silesia, they accompanied Frederick in his march to stop the Russian invasion of Brandenburg and fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where they were deployed in the second line of infantry under Forcade. When Frederick quit to relieve Saxony, the pioneers remained with Dohna to observe the Russian Army. On November 26, the unit officially became a fusilier regiment, its miner companies becoming a separate unit.

On July 23 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Hülsen's Division deployed in the centre in the first line of infantry. It suffered heavy losses in this battle. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the bloody Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the left centre as part of Itzenplitz's Brigade. It initially guarded the artillery park in the rear. At the end of the battle, Frederick tried to cover the retreat on the Muhlberg with this regiment which was overwhelmed and captured. The remnants of the regiment joined Manteuffel. In October, the latter launched a counter-offensive in Pomerania against the Swedes.

In 1760, the regiment served in Saxony. On September 17, it fought in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, it took part in the Battle of Torgau.

In 1761, the regiment served in Saxony under Prince Henri.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier pioneer cap with silver plated front plate; dark orange headband edged white with silver plated ornaments; dark orange cap piped white with a white pompom (fusilier mitre cap were issued only in 1763)
Grenadier not applicable the regiment had no grenadiers
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red, 6 pewter buttons grouped 2 by 2 on the chest on each side, 2 pewter buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 pewter buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar none
Shoulder Straps Prussian blue fastened with a small pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs Prussian blue (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat dark orange
Breeches dark orange
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Cross-belts one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes


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

NCOs

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

  • no shoulder strap
  • cuffs edged with silver lace braids
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier 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

Sers Fusiliers Officer - Source: Horvath, C. C., Friedrichs II. König von Preussen Armee-Montirungen…
Lace of the Officer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...
Uniforms of officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:
  • black tricorne scalloped silver with black and white quartered pompoms, a black cockade and a white button (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
  • silver cord loops on the coat:
    • 6 on each lapel arranged 2-2-2
    • 2 at the waist on each side
    • 1 in the small of the back on each side
  • 2 silver cord loops on each pocket
  • 2 silver cord loops on each cuff
  • 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.

Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The laces of the drummers consisted of a 3 cm wide lace (white/blue/dark orange).

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

  • each shoulder decorated with 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace
  • coat, pockets and cuffs edged with the drummer lace


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a mid brown medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver 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 silver.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Mid brown field. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a mid brown scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, “FR” ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from a template by Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

References

Boltze, Eberhard: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 31, Annex III and IV

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000, pp. 108-109

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, p. 130, App. 1

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 368-377

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

Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857

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