Toscana Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Toscana Infantry

Origin and History

On September 20, 1756, Emperor Francis Stephen, acting as Grand-Duke of Tuscany, ordered the formation of a regiments on 3 battalions, one from each regiment of the Tuscan army, as a contribution to the Austrian army in the war against Prussia. Each battalion was composed of 6 fusiliers and 2 grenadiers companies, 1,040 men per battalion for a total of 3,120 men for the regiment.
 The regiment was commanded by a colonel, a lieutenant-colonel and a major. The soldiers were selected among the best of each regiment. As soon as it was in marching order it would receive marching orders from the War Secretary. After a long exchange of complaints and repeated orders between the Regency Council in Florence and the Court of Vienna, the regiment left Tuscany for Halla di Roveredo in Tyrol in February 1758.

The regiment, as stated by an eight-point convention between the emperor (acting as grand-duke) and the empress, dated January 31, 1758, was formed by three battalions (each of 6 fusilier and 2 grenadier coys) with staff and "prima plana", altogether 3,199 men. The first battalion came from the "Reggimento Guardie" (from 1753 "1° Reggimento"), the second from the "Reggimento di Toscana" (from 1753 "2° Reggimento") and the third from the "Battaglione di Marina" (from 1753 "3° Reggimento"). The regiment was armed and dressed in the Austrian manner, and the battalions organization followed the Austrian pattern except for the following changes: there were two majors in place of one, the second appointed by the empress; there were two adjutants; the ensigns were attached to the companies rather than to the staff and accordingly there were 18 ensigns in place of 6 ( however there were only 6 colours); there was a surgeon for each company.

Interestingly enough, the fourth article of the convention stated that "The Regiment will be in the Emperor pay (i.e. in Tuscany pay) till the boundary of Tyrol", whereas the fifth and sixth articles stated that they will be thereafter in Austrian pay with the same treatment as Austrian troops.

The regiment has no Inhaber, only commandants. During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 1758: Colonel Goundrecourt
  • from ? To 1760: Colonel Bretton (killed in action at Leignitz)
  • from 1760 to 1763: Colonel Theilliers

Service during the War

The regiment arrived at Halla di Rovereto between March 18 and March 22, 1758. The regiment swore the oath of allegiance to the empress and then was reviewed by the Austrian Commissar. In a letter of March 24, 1758 sent by the Colonel de Goundrecourt to the Marschall Botta-Adorno, however, the low morale of the troops was recorded: the reason was that the regiment was put on a lower pay than the Austrian troops. The colonel complained about the lack of equipments and suggested that it "would be better to maintain the full pay till Linz, where the equipments could be collected to improve the soldiers morale". Unsurprisingly, the soldiers began to desert, 55 from the third battalion alone.

For the campaign of 1758, the regiment was assigned to the corps that operated around Olmütz for defence of Moravia opposing the Prussians in Upper Silesia. It was also present at the siege of Neisse where it suffered heavy casualties in action and from disease.

In July 1759 the regiments participated to the ill-conceived campaign in Upper Silesia. At the end of 1759 it was short of 957 recruits to fill the losses (340, 304 and 305 respectively for the 3 battalions).

In 1760, a grenadier company was at the storming of Glatz. On August 15, the regiment formed part of Loudon corps at the battle of Leignitz where it fought with distinction when attacked by the Prussian Seidlitz Cuirassiers, Colonel Bretton being killed in action. The regiment ended the campaign with Loudon corps, taking part in the campaign in Silesia.

In the 1761 campaign, the regiment was in Bethlen corps in Upper Silesia under the orders of Loudon. The regiment spent the 1761/62 winter-quarters in Upper Silesia. The military service was becoming increasingly unpopular in Tuscany (more than 4,000 subjects on a population of 800,000 escaped to the Papal States to avoid military service), and on 31 December 1761 Francis Stephen converted the request for 850 further recruits in a contribution of 60,000 florins, renouncing to further Tuscan drafts.

In the 1762 campaign, the regiment was under Beck in Upper Silesia. The regiment took again its winter-quarters in Upper Silesia under Bethlen.

At the end of the war, on April 14, 1763, Francis Stephen in recognition to the services granted by the regiment allowed the Tuscan Army to be armed, dressed and drilled as the Austrian army.

According to Duffy, throughout the war, the total losses of the regiment amounted to 3,011 men: 62 prisoners, 142 killed in action, 1719 died in hospitals, 857 deserters, 231 missing or discharged as invalids.

Uniform

The three battalions came from three different regiments. A document of 1753 kept in the Italian State Archive in Florence depicting the uniforms of the three regiments who contributed these battalions. Their Austrian-style uniforms were almost identical but presented some differences. In the following table, these differences are noted.

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture.
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white (I bn) or yellow (II and III bns) and a black cockade, French style (other sources mention yellow/black cockade)
Grenadier black, Austrian-style grenadier cap with a red bag trimmed in the button colour. The front of the cap had a brass grenade.
Neckstock black
Coat white, Austrian cut, scarlet lining (according to some sources, during the war the coat changed to the blue one which was later adopted by the Tuscan army in 1769)
Collar none (other sources give a low white or scarlet collar )
Shoulder Straps white on the left shoulder
Lapels scarlet with: 10 equally-spaced white metal buttons (I bn); 8 in pairs yellow metal buttons (II bn); 7 yellow metal buttons arranged 1-3-3 (III bn)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with: 5 white metal buttons (I bn); 4 yellow metal buttons (II bn); 3 yellow metal buttons (III bn)
Cuffs scarlet with: 4 equally-spaced white metal buttons (I bn); 4 in pairs yellow metal buttons (II bn); 3 yellow metal buttons (III bn)
Turnbacks white (none depicted in the 1753 document)
Waistcoat white with: 13 equally-spaced white metal buttons (I bn); 10 yellow metal buttons in pairs (II bn); 9 yellow metal buttons in three groups of 3 (III bn)
Breeches white
Gaiters white (Pengel & Hurt gives black)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff, worn over the left shoulder
Waistbelt buff
Cartridge Box black with a brass plate with the double-headed Imperial eagle; the grenadiers had also a black cartridge box on the

waistbelt (belly box) with button color grenade and bordering.

Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard brown or black, brass hilt
Footgear black, squared type


A calfskin or canvas knapsack was worn in the field, over the left hip, suspended from a thin leather belt. Privates were armed with musket and bayonet; only grenadiers and NCO carried a short curved sword called "paloscio".

Non-commissioned officers' wore the same uniform as the fusiliers but their tricornes were trimmed in silver or gold according to the button colour. They were armed with halberd or spontoon, and a sword.

"Anspezzate" (Corporals) wore the same uniform as the men, but their tricornes were trimmed in silver. They were armed with musket and bayonet, as well as a sword.

The bearded sappers were dressed as grenadiers, and in addition carried axes and wore buff leather aprons.

Officers

Officers had the same uniform as the fusiliers, but of better quality fabric with silver or gold buttons and tricorne trim. The vest also had lace trim along the edges and pockets in the button colour. White stockings in place of gaiters, gold yellow sash with black dots and fringed knots, lace jabot in place of stock, gorget.

They carried the partisan that had a fringe of mixed black silk and gold. Sword with black scabbard, silver or yellow hilt, yellow swordknot. Grenadier officers probably carried fusils.

Musicians

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Kronoskaf

Drummers wore a yellow coat with black cuffs and lining and black "swallow nests" on the shoulders trimmed in yellow and silver. An illustration shows black lapels, but the text indicates no lapels for service dress. The coat and vest also had trim along the leading edges, pockets and buttonholes in yellow and silver. Vest were also yellow and breeches yellow or whitish. White gaiters.

The drum barrel was yellow with the Imperial, double-headed eagle with the arms of Tuscany on its chest. The rims were white with red, diagonal stripes (other sources: rims divided in two rows of opposite triangles, the outer ones being black and white, the inner ones being yellow and red).

Colours

As far as we know, upon his accession to the Imperial throne in 1745, Francis Stephen adopted the Imperial flags for its Grand-Duchy, the first Tuscan flag being introduced by his son in 1765. The army was reorganized in 1753 on Austrian lines and could be that also new flags, of Austrian type, were given. We may therefore assume that the Tuscan Regiment had the same flags as the Austrian Regiments.

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 on the left wing and IM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

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 on the left wing and IM 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: PMPdeL

However, according to the article of Crociani and Brandani, the regiment flag had an unique design:

  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): white field, the Immaculate Mother of God on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): yellow field crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield

Other sources gives:

  • obverse (right): yellow field with a "device".

References

  • G. Spadolini - "Gli Eserciti Italiani dagli stati preunitari all' unita nazionale" in Rivista militare, Roma, 1984
  • P. Crociani and M. Brandani - "The "Reggimento di Toscana" in the Seven Years War", Tradition, 52.
  • M. Brandani , P. Crociani and M. Fiorentino - "Uniformi Militari Italiane del Settecento", Roma 1976.
  • R.D. Pengel and G.R. Hurt - "Austro-Hungarian Infantry 1740-1762", Birmingham 1982.
  • L. and F. Funcken, Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle, vol. 2, Casterman 1976.
  • P. Haythornthwite and B. Younghusband - The Austrian Army 1740-80: 2 Infantry, Men-At-Arms Series 276, Osprey Publishing 1994.
  • J. Engelmann and G. Dorn - Die Schlachten Friederichs des Grossen. Podzun Pallas, 1986.
  • C. Duffy: By Force of Arms, Vol. II of the Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, Emperor's Press 2008
  • "Sommario di documenti officiali a dimostrazione delle memorie economico-politiche o sia dei danni arrecati dall'Austria alla Toscana dal 1737 al 1859, raccolti e compilati dal Cav. Antonio Zobi, vol. II, Firenze 1860". Invaluable source of original documents: contains the Convention and the correspondance between the Emperor and the Tuscan Regency Council.
  • Corpi armati e ordine pubblico in Italia (XVI-XIX sec.): Seminario di studi, Castello Visconti di San Vito, Somma Lombardo, 10-11 novembre 2000, a cura di Livio Antonielli, Claudio Donati, Rubbettino Editore srl, 2003.

Acknowledgements

Fabrizio Davi as author of the article.

Dr Marco Pagan for the information about a document of 1753 kept in the Italian State Archive in Florence depicting the uniforms of the three regiments who contributed battalions to this regiment.