Wied Infantry

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on May 29 1698 from half of the Metternich Regiment for Reichsgraf (Imperial Count) Franz Joseph Sebastian von Thürheim. It counted 1,800 men in 12 companies.

From 1700 to 1703, half the regiment garrisoned places in the Comitat of Hunyad in Transylvania as part of Rabutin's corps, while the other half was stationed in Hungary (at least in 1702). In 1703, the regiment contributed two companies for the creation of the Virmond Infantry. In the spring of 1704, 500 men of the regiment were still attached to Rabutin's corps stationed in Transylvania. An entire battalion of the regiment seems to have deserted and joined the Hungarian insurgents. Most of them were killed on October 8 in the Battle of Páta. In 1705, 1 battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Schibo against the Hungarian insurgents. In June 1707, some companies of the regiment were sent to Oedenburg to join the corps of G.d.C. N. Pálffy, Banus of Croatia. At the beginning of 1709, 16 musketeer companies and 1 grenadier company of the regiment were deployed in Hungary. At the beginning of 1710, the regiment had one grenadier company and 16 fusilier companies for a total of 2,180 men. In July 1713, another grenadier company was added and the regiment was organized in 3 battalions, now counting 2,300 men. At the death of Count Thürheim, in 1713, Field Marshal Friedrich Ludwig von der Lanken was appointed as the new proprietor of the regiment. In July 1713, one battalion, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Schmiedinger was sent to the Rhine. From September, this battalion was part of the garrison of Freiburg. The fortress was besieged by French troops and surrender on November 16.

In January 1720, the battalions stationed in Hungary were transferred to the Rhine. The whole regiment was concentrated at Freiburg.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in several campaigns. Its proprietor was at that time Feldzeugmeister Duke von Aremberg.

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 companies and 16 fusilier companies) 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).

During the Seven Years' War, the chef of the regiment was:

  • from June 29 1754 until 1779: Friedrich Georg Heinrich, Count von Wied-Runkel

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • from 1755 to 1759: Colonel Baron Sigmund von Burmann
  • from 1759: Colonel Sigmund Baron von Gemmingen

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 28".

Service during the War

In 1756, the two battalions of the regiment garrisoned Antwerp while the two others were in Luxembourg. As most other Austrian infantry units, the regiment was reorganized into two field battalions of 6 companies each (2 x 816 men) and one garrison battalion of 4 companies (540 men) which remained in the Austrian Netherlands (Bruxelles and Termonde). The two field battalions marched to Bohemia.

On May 6 1757, two battalions of the regiment took part in the battle of Prague where they were deployed in Baron Unruhe's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing of infantry under Baron Kheul. In this battle, the regiment lost 33 men killed; 5 officers and 60 men wounded; and around 300 men missing. After the battle, 7 officers, 24 grenadiers and 753 fusiliers took refuge in Prague while Captain Baron Burmann rallied among the missing men 2 officers, 111 grenadiers and 173 fusiliers around Beneschau (present-day Benešov/CZ) and marched with them and 700 men from various regiments to Olmütz. On September 7, when General Nádasdy attacked the isolated corps of Winterfeldt in the Combat of Moys, the first battalion of the regiment was deployed in the second line and the second battalion in the third line of the infantry centre division under the command of Lieutenant-General Nicolaus Esterházy. Captain Peter Franz Piza and the grenadiers distinguished themselves. At the beginning of November, a detachment of 200 men led by Major Fischer participated in the siege of Schweidnitz. After the capture of the fortress, 50 men remained at Schweidnitz while the regiment (only one battalion with 1,200 men) returned to the main army of Prince Charles de Lorraine. On November 22, this battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was part of the Reserve Corps in Baron Otterwolf's Brigade. In this battle, it lost 4 men killed; and Lieutenant-Colonel Gemmingen, 3 officers and 32 men wounded. The regiment then formed part of the garrison of Breslau. In December, it took part in the defence of Breslau. At the capitulation of the fortress, the garrison became prisoners of war. At the end of the year, the regiment only consisted of its third battalion posted at Termonde in the Austrian Netherlands and of some 200 untrained recruits stationed at Königgrätz.

By mid-1758, the two field battalions had been re-established and were part of Daun's Army. By August 2, they were part of the reserve of the main Austrian army under the command of Daun near Jarmeritz. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia. At the end of the year, the regiment counted 1,750 men. It took up its winter-quarters at Adler-Kostelec (present-day Kostelec nad Orlicí/CZ), Potenstein (present-day Potštejn/CZ), Castolowic (present-day Častolovice/CZ) and Doudleb (present-day Doudleby/CZ).

On April 1 1759, the regiment was allocated to FZM Harsch's Corps posted near Skalic (present-day Skalice/CZ). In July, it set off from Skalic and marched to Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ). In August, a part of this corps (including Wied Infantry) was allocated to the main army posted near Marklissa. On October 28, as part of the Corps de Reserve of FZM Duke Aremberg, the regiment marched to Wittenberg and – after a skirmish with Prussians near Sackwitz – on October 30 to Eilenburg. On November 20, the two field battalions and the grenadiers took part in the Battle of Maxen where they were deployed in the first line of the second column of Sincère's Corps under the command of Lieutenant-General Dombasle. In this battle, the regiment lost 16 men killed; 6 officers and 58 men wounded; and 8 men missing. The commander, Colonel Sigmund Baron von Gemmingen received the Maria-Theresia-Order for his conduct. The regiment initially took up its winter-quarters near Dippoldiswalde, but on January 19 1760, it was relocated at Ober-Nauendorf, Rabenau, Eckertsdorf and Klein-Oelsa.

At the beginning of June 1760, still attached to FZM Aremberg's Corps, the regiment (now 1,137 men) left its winter-quarters and joined Daun's Army at Plauen. On July 18, Daun arrived near Dresden which was besieged by Frederick II. On July 19, one battalion and the grenadiers participated in an attack against a Prussian corps near Loschwitz. The Prussian were driven behind the Elbe River and 1;000 Prussians were taken prisoners of war. On July 28, the Prussians lifted the siege of Dresden and marched towards Silesia. Daun with his army followed them through Bautzen. On November 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau where it was posted on the right wing next to Puebla Infantry. When 6,000 Prussians attacked, both regiments initially retreated, but – supported by Kaiser Infantry, Neipperg Infantry and Gaisruck Infantry – they counter-attacked and drove the Prussians back. Afterwards, the Austrian infantry was charged by the Prussian cavalry and Wied Infantry suffered heavy losses (3 officers and 108 men killed; 16 officers and 168 men wounded; 8 officers and 272 men taken as prisoners of war). The regimental colours were captured by a Prussian cuirassier regiment. The Austrian army retired to Plauen and the regiment (now only 560 men) took up its winter-quarters at Geising and Lauenstein near the Bohemian border. On April 23, the third battalion, led by Major Piza, had left the Austrian Netherlands and had marched to Prague and then to Linz where it guarded Prussian prisoners of war.

On May 8 1761, the regiment (now counting 1,500 men) went to the camp of Plauen where it remained until October. In November, several detachments of the regiment operated from Freiberg. Colonel Gemmingen was sent by Prince Albrecht von Sachsen against Döbeln, occupied by a Prussian force under Colonel Kleist, to persuade them to give up the city. On November 16, Kleist left Döbeln. The second battalion and the grenadiers spent the winter at Brand while the first battalion was quartered at Gersdorf near Rosswein.

At the beginning 1762, the regiment was at Dippoldiswalde, allocated to FML Buttler's Division. On September 27, Buttler attacked the Prussian positions at Cunnersdorf and Häckendorf. Then, on September 29, he attacked the Prussians near Pretschendorf. The entire regiment distinguished itself in this combat (Major Peter Piza and Captain Emanuel Fassignies de Gaillard later received the Maria-Theresia-Order for their conduct) but lost 10 men killed, 50 wounded and 92 missing. On October 14 and 15, the regiment fought in engagements near Freiberg. On October 29, the regiment took part in the Battle of Freiberg where it was surrounded and taken prisoners (5 officers and 385 men) by the Prussians during its retreat.

In 1763, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Moravia: its field battalions and its grenadiers were at Nikolsburg (present-day Mikulov/CZ). In 1766, the regiment was transferred to Vienna.

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 white (therefore white turnbacks), the distinctive colour was green and the waistcoat and breeches were white. Therefore, the uniform at the beginning of the war seems to have been almost identical to the uniform of 1762.

Privates

Private of Wied Infantry in 1762 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli
Uniform in 1762 - Copyright: 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 scalloped white with a small yellow button on the left side; red within white within green cockade (simply white within green as per the Bautzener Handschrift) and white within green pompoms (white within orange as per Knötel) in the lateral cornes
Grenadier bearskin with a green 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 green fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels green with 7 yellow buttons (1-3-3)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs green with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white
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 scalloped gold with a white and green cockade
  • white epaulette on the left shoulder
  • 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, white lapels, white cuffs and white turnbacks. From 1760, they wore uniforms identical to those of the privates with green 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:

  • Schmedes, E.: Geschichte des k. k. 28. Infanterie-Regimentes FZM Ludwig Ritter von Benedek, Vienna 1878
  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 21

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

Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 1, Vienna, 1804, pp. 119-122

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

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 21

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

Michael Zahn for gathering information about this regiment

Harald Skala for additional information on the origin, history and service of this regiment