Sprecher Infantry

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Origin and History

Private of Sprecher Infantry in 1762 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli

In 1709, Emperor Joseph I decided to raise two new infantry regiments. OFWM Engelhard von Plischau (sometime written “Plüschau”) was appointed proprietor of one of these regiments. On February 13, 1709, he received the relevant decree (the other regiment, the future I.R. 29, was created by GFWM Prince Albert von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel). The recruits were raised in Bavaria, around Ingolstadt, in addition, Plischau received two companies from Guttenstein Infantry and two from Du Saix d’Arnant as cadre. The regiment was supposed to count twelve fusilier companies and one grenadier company, for a total of 1,600 men. Count Hohenfeld was appointed lieutenant-colonel; and Johann Franz von Leeuven (written also “Löwen”), major (OWM). The grenadiers and four fusilier coys were reviewed in Straubing, four fusilier coys in Landshut and four in Ingolstadt.

At the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1713, the regiment took part in the defence of Freiburg.

In 1716, the regiment took part in the war against the Turks.

During the War of the Polish Succession, on June 29 1734, the regiment took part in the battle of Parma.

During, the regiment served in many campaigns.

In October 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), GFWM Moritz Wilhelm von Roth was appointed proprietor of the regiment (3 battalions and 2 grenadier companies) which was stationed in Italy. In May 1742, the regiment counted 1,392 men, 590 of them detached in various forts as garrison. Initially, the three battalions were concentrated into only two battalions. On February 8, 1743, the regiment took part in the Battle of Camposanto. On June 16, 1746, it fought in the Battle of Piacenza. At the end of the year, it accompanied FZM Ulysses Browne’s Corps to Provence and later took part in the siege of Genoa.

From the end of 1748 until 1751, the regiment garrisoned Mantua. It was then transferred to Cremona, Pizzighetone and Bozzolo.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

Salomon Sprecher von Bernegg - Source: Hubka's work

Since the creation of the regiment, its successive chefs were:

  • from 1709: Engelhard von Plischau
  • from 1718: Franz Carl Baron Laimpruch zu Epurg
  • from 1723: Albrecht W. Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (killed in action at the Battle of San Pietro in 1734)
  • from 1734: Heinrich Jacob Baron von Suckow
  • from 1741: Wilhelm Moritz Baron Roth
  • from September 1, 1748: Jacob Joseph Ignatz Baron Hagenbach
  • from December 1756: vacant
  • from January 17, 1757: Salomon Sprecher von Bernegg
  • from October 3, 1758: Franz Moritz Count Lacy

During the Seven Years' War, its successive colonels-commanders were:

  • from 1750: Colonel Valentin Baron Browne
  • from 1757: Colonel Carl Baron Ellrichshausen
  • from 1759 to 1764: Colonel Joseph Maria Count von Colloredo-Waldsee

After the Seven Years’ War, from April 1763 to 1778, the regiment (3 battalions and the grenadiers) garrisoned Znaim (present-day Znojmo/CZ). However, between May 1765 and the beginning of 1767, two battalions and the grenadiers were briefly posted in Vienna.

During a review, on July 1, 1763, the regiment had 66 officers (excluding 9 “aggregierte”) and 2,088 men.

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 22".

Service during the War

By the end of 1756, the regiment was stationed at Lodi. One field-battalion and the grenadiers, led by Major Count Pappenheim, were sent from Italy to Bohemia. From November, they garrisoned Budweis (present-day České Budějovice/CZ). The other field-battalion and the companies of the garrison-battalion garrisoned the Castle of Milan.

In January 1757, Pappenheim’s Battalion went to the region of Reichenberg (present-day Liberec/CZ). On February 20, the grenadier company of Captain O’Neillan took part in surprise attack on a Prussian detachment at Hirschfelde. O’Neillan was killed during the fight. On April 21, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, this field battalion and the grenadiers took part in the Combat of Reichenberg where they were posted west of the Neisse in the entrenchments in front of Reichenberg. On May 6, the same field-battalion took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in Count Peroni's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing of infantry under baron Kheul. In this battle, the regiment lost 2 officers and 24 men killed; Colonel Baron Ellrichshausen, 7 officers and 45 men wounded; and 76 men missing or taken prisoners of war. After the battle, the battalion and the grenadiers took refuge into Prague and took part in the defence of Prague where they were posted at the “Korn-Tor” Gate. On September 7, when General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, this field-battalion and the grenadiers of the regiment were deployed in the second line of the infantry right division under the command of Lieutenant-general Wied. Two grenadiers were killed; and Colonel Baron Ellrichshausen, Major Baron Patrik Olivier Wallis and 41 men, wounded. On November 22, this field-battalion and the grenadiers of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was part of the Reserve Corps in Baron Otterwolf's Brigade. They stormed the Prussian entrenchments near Klein-Mochbern and Gräbschen. After the surrender of the Prussians in Breslau, the battalion and the grenadiers were assigned to the garrison of the place and FML Sprecher von Bernegg was appointed commander of the fortress. In December, Frederick II laid siege to Breslau which surrendered on December 21. The entire battalion and all grenadiers (to the exception of Colonel Ellrichshausen, who was at that time at the headquarters of Prince Charles de Lorraine were taken prisoner of war. By the end of the year, the garrison-battalion of the regiment was stationed at Pavia.

In May 1758, the officers and soldiers captured at Breslau the previous year were exchanged. With some new recruits, the regiment (one field-battalion and the grenadiers) was re-established at 592 men. In August, they were deployed in FZM Harsch’s Corps in Silesia. After the unsuccessfull siege of the Fortress of Neisse, this corps took up its winter-quarters, the regiment being quartered in Jaromir (present-day Jaroměř/CZ) and Smiritz (present-day Smiřice/CZ).

At the beginning of 1759, the two batallions of the regiment (1,214 men) previously stationed in Italy were sent to Bohemia. In March they arrived at Prague. The garrison-battalion remained in Prague while the field-battalion marched join to the main army where it was reunited with the other field-battalion. By mid August, the field-battalions and the grenadiers were part of Daun's Corps posted in Silesia. On September 2, they were present at the combat of Sorau but were not involved in any fighting. In November, the grenadiers of the regiment were converged with others in a grenadier battalion and, on November 20, took part in the Battle of Maxen under the command of Major-General Siskovics. Both battalions and the grenadiers spent the winter in a suburb of Dresden.

In June 1760, the two field-battalions and the grenadiers were allocated to the corps of FZM Count Lacy near Boxdorf in Upper Lusatia. On July 7, they took part in a combat near Bautzen. On September 28, Lacy marched with 15,000 men (including the present regiment) towards Berlin where he arrived on October 1 and effected a junction with a Russian corps. The grenadiers spent some days at Friedrichstadt (part of Berlin) while the two field-battalions were posted in tents outside the city despite the rainy weather. Lacy then retired towards Torgau. On November 3, the regiment took part in the battle of Torgau where it was in the “Corps de Reserve” and saw no action. The regiment spent the winter in villages around Dresden.

In March 1761, the garrison-battalion was transferred from Prague to Dresden, only the “Depositorium”, in which the recruits were trained and baggage of the regiment stored, was left in Prague. It consisted of 5 officers and 133 men. Since May, the two field-battalions and the grenadiers were deployed in FZM Count Lacy’s Corps in a camp near Boxdorf in Upper Lusatia. They were later transferred to a camp near Radeberg. In December, they took up their winter-quarters around Grossenhain in Saxony. The regiment was not involved in any action during that year.

In 1762, a detachment of 4 officers and 300 men was assigned to the garrison of Schweidnitz. Meanwhile, the grenadiers were converged with those of Thürheim Infantry and Baden-Durlach Infantry to form a grenadier battalion which was allocated to the corps of FML O’Kelly. The two field-battalions were in Lacy’s Corps. On August 16, the regiment was present at the Battle of Reichenbach but was not involved in any fighting. After the surrender of Schweidnitz on October 10, the detachment of the regiment which formed part of the garrison, was taken prisoners of war. During siege, it had lost 18 men, killed; and 27 who died from diseases.

Uniform

For the moment we have very few information on the uniform in 1756, at the outbreak of the war. Most of our references describe the uniform in 1762. However, Muhsfeldt and Schirmer mention that, in 1756-57, the coat was white lined red (therefore red turnbacks), the distinctive colour was red and the waistcoat and breeches were blue.

N.B.: in his work, Gustav Ritter Hubka, mentions that, from 1714 till 1767, the uniform of this regiment had ponceau red lapels and cuffs, and yellow buttons. Furthermore, from 1757 to 1767, he mentions a blue waistcoat and blue turnbacks with white breeches. Even though, this description seems very surprising, it must be pointed out that Hubka has been Oberlieutenant and Regiments-Adjutant in this regiment, so he might have had access to privileged sources. Nevertheless, in the present section we follow the Bautzener Handschrift.

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture.
Uniform in 1762
as per the Bautzener Handschrift

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a small yellow button on the left side; white within red within yellow cockade and red within white pompoms in the lateral cornes
Grenadier bearskin with a scarlet bag probably laced white and a white tassel
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined white with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Collar none
Shoulder Straps scarlet fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels scarlet with 7 yellow buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs scarlet with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white attached with a scarlet fastener
Waistcoat white with 2 rows of small yellow buttons (3-3-3) and with horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters one pair of black (for winter) and one pair of white gaiters (for summer and parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black (grenadiers only)
Footgear black shoes


Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers). Grenadiers carried a sabre while fusiliers carried only a bayonet.

NCOs

no information found yet

Sergeants carried a halberd and a wooden stick.

Corporals carried a halberd.

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • no shoulder strap
  • black neckstock
  • no turnbacks
  • yellow and black silk sash

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Musicians

Until 1760, despite the new regulation of 1755, the musicians probably wore coats of reversed colours with white swallow nests and white turnbacks. From 1760, they wore uniforms identical to those of the privates with scarlet swallow nests on the shoulders.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.

Colours

All German infantry regiments carried identical colours: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The hand painted colours were made of silk and measured Size 178 cm x 127 cm. The 260 cm long flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
Leibfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.

References

This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Hubka, Gustav Ritter, Geschichte des k. und k. Infanterie-Regimentes Graf von Lacy Nr. 22, Zara, 1902
  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 27

Other sources

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Muhsfeldt, Th.: Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul: Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Thümmler, L.-H.: Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Hubka’s work

Michael Zahn for initial information about this regiment