Wied Fusiliers

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Origin and History

Uniform circa 1757 - Source: Anonymous work circa 1757

This fusilier regiment was acquired by Frederick II on January 14 1741 from the Duchy of Württemberg. The regiment existed since 1716 and was formerly designated as “Erbprinz”.

In May 1741, during the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was initially stationed at Wesel. In October of the same year, it ceded two of its companies for the establishment of the Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers (IR42). The regiment levied its troops in the districts of Cleves, Guelder and Moers.

In 1755, the regiment was transferred from Wesel to Minden. Its recruiting canton then became the districts of Hausberge, Levern, Petershagen, Rahden, Reineberg and Schlüsselburg; and the cities of Hausberge, Lübekke, Minden, Petershagen

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

  • since July 27 1746 until November 24 1765: Franz Carl Ludwig Count von Wied zu Neuwied

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 41.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. By the end of September, its first battalion was garrisoning Dresden and its second, Torgau.

In April 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the right of the second line of the infantry centre in Kannacher's Brigade. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the second line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Tresckow. During this battle, the regiment lost more than 1,000 men.

In 1758 April 1758, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Schweidnitz. It also participated to the invasion of Moravia and to the Siege of Olmütz in June. During the retreat from Moravia, the regiment drove an Austrian force out of Krönau. On August 23, when Frederick's army crossed the Oder to put a stop to the Russian invasion of Brandenburg, the regiment was left behind to garrison Cüstrin. On August 26, after the bloody Battle of Zorndorf, the regiment escorted a supply of bread and ammunition destined to the Prussian army. On August 28, the regiment formed part of a detachment under the Prince of Brunswick which was sent to Lower Lusatia to prevent the incursions of Austrian light troops under Loudon. On September 28, as part of Wedel's force, the regiment took part in the failed attempt to capture Fehrbellin from the Swedes.

In 1759, the regiment was attached to the Prussian army of Saxony who launched an offensive in Franconia. In August, the regiment was dispatched towards Brandenburg where, on August 12, it fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf. It was deployed in the first line of the left centre as part of Diericke's Brigade and suffered heavy losses (522 dead and wounded). On December 3 and 4, one battalion of the regiment was attached to a small isolated Prussian force under Major-General Diericke who had taken post at Meissen. This small corps was attacked by a much stronger Austrian force and forced to retire after the Combat of Meissen.

On August 15 1760, the regiment took part in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was attached to the reserve deployed behind the centre of the Prussian lines. On September 17, it was at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau.

In August 1761, the regiment was part of Frederick's army encamped in the entrenched camp of Bunzelwitz (present-day Bolesławice) near Schweidnitz in Lower Silesia.

On August 16 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Reichenbach where it successfully defended the Prussian entrenchments. It was then present at the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Fusilier Regiment 44, forming the III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (41/44 Gemmingen) (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

A new uniform was introduced in 1756.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier
IR41 Fusilier Mitre Cap - Source: Digby Smith and rf-figuren
mitre with polished brass front plate; light carmine red headband with polished brass ornaments; light carmine red cap with polished brass ornaments; brass metal spike
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; light carmine red headband with a white/red/white braid and polished brass ornaments; light carmine red backing with white/red/white braid; red within white within red pompom (see III. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (41/44 Gemmingen) for an illustration)
Neckstock black
Coat Prussian blue lined light carmine red with 2 yellow braid loops under each lapel and 3 yellow buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks; 1 yellow braid loop on each side in the small of the back
Collar light carmine red
Shoulder Straps light carmine red fastened with a small yellow button
Lapels light carmine red with 6 yellow buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs light carmine red (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 yellow buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat straw
Breeches straw
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
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 a golden lace braid
  • 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

Wied Fusiliers Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung

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

  • black tricorne trimmed with a golden scalloped lace with black and white pompoms and a black cockade fastened with a golden band and a yellow 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
  • loops under the lapels and in the small of the back embroidered in gold
  • velvet collar, lapels and cuffs in a darker shade of carmine red
  • 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...
Uniform of the drummers - Source: E. Boltze Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen...

The laces of the drummers consisted of a 1.7 cm yellow lace.

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

  • collar and cuffs edged with the drummer lace
  • 2 buttonholes under each lapel trimmed with the drummer lace
  • buttons in the small of the back trimmed with the drummer lace
  • no shoulder strap
  • 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace on each shoulder


Colours

Colonel flag (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a light straw 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 flags (Kompaniefahnen): Light straw 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 light straw 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 Hanoverdidi elements
Regimental Colour - Source: Dawid from Hanoverdidi elements

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.

References

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

Boltze, Eberhard; Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 28-29, Annex III and IV

Brauer, M.; Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

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

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

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

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. 316-323

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

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

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