Wietersheim Fusiliers

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Origin and History

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

This fusilier regiment was raised in September 1743 for the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt in Burg where it assumed garrison duty. It levied its troops in the Silesian districts of Lublinitz, Rosenberg and Tost.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1744, the regiment was stationed near Berlin. In April 1745, it joined a Prussian corps assembling at Magdeburg. On December 15 of the same year, it fought in the Battle of Kesselsdorf.

The regiment then assumed garrison duty in Burg, Kalbe an der Saale, Genthin and Stassfurt.

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

  • since August 16 1752: Leopold Friedrich Ludwig von Wietersheim
  • from October 20 1756: Caspar Friedrich von Rohr (died on December 12 1757 from his wounds at the Battle of Leuthen where he had assumed a detached command)
  • from January 5 1758 until January 6 1764: Christoph Heinrich von Grabow

After the war, the regiment garrisoned Burg.

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 47.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulation of Magdeburg.

Service during the War

On the eve of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was garrisoning Burg. On August 26 1756, when a 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. It then took part in the blockade of Pirna until October 15, when the Saxon Army capitulated.

In 1757, the regiment garrisoned Dresden until October 16.

In 1758, the regiment served in Saxony. On November 9, it was part of the Prussian force which successfully reinforced Dresden. It marched by the Freiberg road, crossed the boat-bridge, went through the city and encamped between the “Black Gate” and the “White Gate”.

In 1759, the regiment initially served under the command of Prince Henri in Saxony, participating in an incursion in Franconia from April to June. At the end of July, the regiment joined the army assembled by Frederick II to march against a Russian army conducting operations in Brandenburg. On August 12, the regiment fought in the battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the right centre as part of Grabow's Brigade. The regiment suffered so heavily during this battle (600 dead and wounded) that it was later reorganised as a single battalion. The regiment then retreated to Saxony where it joined Finck's Corps near Torgau. On September 21, this battalion took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under Lieutenant-General Finck. On October 29, it was at the combat of Pretzsch. On November 20, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Mosel's Brigade. Attacked by Siskovics with the 5 Austrian grenadier bns of the vanguard, supported by d'Aynse's and Dombasle's brigades, the battalion retired in confusion, broke through the Prussian line and entered into the village of Maxen. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.

In 1760, a single battalion was reconstituted. It served in Pomerania against the Swedes.

In 1761, the regiment was part of the Prince of Württemberg's Corps which marched to Colberg to participate in the defence of the fortress. Mid November, the regiment followed Württemberg when he broke through the Russian lines and retreated to Stettin. It then took part to the attempt to relieve Colberg and, on December 12, fought in the Combat of Spie where the Russians blocked the Prussian convoy and forced it to turn back. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Mecklenburg. From December 30 to January 6, it took part in an unsuccessful attempt to capture the town of Malchin and, on January 2, fought in the Combat of Neu Kalen.

In 1762, the regiment served in Saxony. In May it took part in the breakthrough across the Mulda. On October 29, it was present at the Battle of Freiberg where it guarded the baggage on the Augustusberg.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Garrison Regiment Nr. VII, forming the 47/G-VII Wangenheim (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier mitre with polished brass front plate; dark lemon yellow headband with brass ornaments; dark lemon yellow cap with brass ornaments; brass spike
Grenadier mitre with polished brass front plate; dark lemon yellow headband edged with a yellow braid decorated with a red central stripe and brass ornaments; dark lemon yellow backing piped with a similar braid; red within dark lemon yellow pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 47/G-VII for an illustration)
Neckstock black
Coat Prussian blue lined red, 2 brass buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar dark lemon yellow
Shoulder Straps dark lemon yellow fastened with a small brass button
Lapels dark lemon yellow
Pockets horizontal pockets edged in red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs dark lemon yellow (in the Swedish pattern) with 2 brass buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
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

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

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

  • black tricorne scalloped gold with black and white quartered pompoms, a black cockade and a gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • black neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • a golden aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • no trimming on the coat
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • 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 white braid decorated in red and blue.

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, lapels, pockets and cuffs edged with the drummer lace (albeit not the collar)


Colours

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with light blue corner flames. Centre device consisting of a light yellow medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold 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 gold.

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

Colonel Colour - Source: Richard Couture 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, 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. 358-361

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

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.