Origin and History
The unit was raised in Magdeburg in 1689 from seven companies of Colonel de Hutton, two from the Magdeburg Regiment and a free-company. In 1713, it became a regular infantry regiment.
From 1716, the regiment garrisoned the fortress of the City of Magdeburg. Its levies came from the three “Forest Districts” of the Duchy of Magdeburg and from the town of Oebisfelde.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment fought in the Battle of Mollwitz (April 10, 1741) and took part in the Siege of Brieg (April 11 to May 4). In 1744, it was present at the siege of Prague. In 1745, it took part in the battles of Hohenfriedberg (June 4) and Kesselsdorf (December 15).
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since July 20 1756: Berend Asmus von Zastrow
- May 12 1757: August Gottlieb von Bornstedt
- from April 7 1759 to April 2 1778: Otto Ludwig von Stutterheim (Jung-Stutterheim)
The 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 20.
The regiment was disbanded in November 1806 after the capitulation of Magdeburg.
Service during the War
On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army was ordered to proceed to the Prussian 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. On October 1, the first battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the brigade of Major-General Itzenplitz in Kleist's Division. On October 2, the first battalion of the regiment was part of Bevern's force sent to lay hold of Tschischkowitz (actual Cizkovice) on the road towards Budin.
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On Wednesday May 4, it joined Keith's Corps near Prague. On May 6, it did not take part to the Battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. During an engagement near Aussig, the colonel-in-chief of the regiment was killed by a musket shot. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under the Prince of Bevern. This corps was continuously harassed by Grenzer musketry fire during their advance on the highway. Mannstein ordered the 2nd battalion of the regiment to face right and attack these Grenzer light troops. These skirmishes fatally delayed the regiment and proved ruinous. The regiment now blocked the way to those following it who successively fell on to support it. The whole Prussian right wing to the west prematurely became engaged in fighting against the Austrians precisely at a place where their positions were considered too strong to be attacked frontally. During this bloody battle, the regiment lost approx. 800 men. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Ingersleben's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry centre. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the single remaining battalion of the regiment was deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank. At the end of the battle, the battalion followed Frederick II to capture the bridge at Lissa intact.
In April 1758, the regiment was present at the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz. From April to July, it then took part in the failed invasion of Moravia and Siege of Olmütz. On October 14, the regiment fought in the catastrophic Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the centre of the first line, in front of Rodewitz covering the headquarters. It lost more than 500 men in this battle.
From February 24 to March 4 1759, one battalion of the regiment was part of the small Prussian corps under the command of Major-General von Wobersnow who made an incursion in Poland against the Russian magazines. During this incursion, Wobersnow's forces destroyed provisions which would have supplied 50,000 men for 3 months.
On November 3 1760, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau.
In 1761, the regiment took part in an engagement near Saalfeld.
On October 29 1762, the regiment fought in the Battle of Freiberg.
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were converged with the grenadiers of Infantry Regiment 5 to form the Grenadier Batallion 5/20 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).
|Coat||Prussian blue lined red with 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
|Waistcoat||white with horizontal pockets and brass buttons|
Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
- 2 golden lace loops on the sleeve flap above each cuff
- gilt buttons
- gold lace on cuffs (no lace around the lapels)
- no shoulder strap
- yellowish leather gloves
- black and white sabre tassel
NCOs were armed with a sabre and a brown or black half-pikes measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer 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).
The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne with a thin gold lace (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers or grenadiers)
- a white neck stock
- 8 golden cord loops and 8 golden buttons on each lapel and 2 golden cord loops below each lapel (unlaced lapels)
- 2 golden cord loops on each pocket
- 2 gold cord loops on the sleeve flap above each cuff (unlaced cuffs)
- 1 golden cord loop sidewise on each side in the small of the back
- gilt buttons
- no shoulder strap on the coat
- no turnbacks on the coat
- a black and silver sash around the waist
Officers carried brown or black spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.
The narrow lace of the drummers consisted of a white braid decorated with a three rows checker pattern in red, blue and white. The wide lace was of a similar design but with two bands of the checker pattern.
The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:
- no shoulder strap
- swallow nests consisting of 4 vertical narrow laces and 1 horizontal narrow lace on each shoulder
- coat, lapels, buttonholes, pockets and cuffs edged with the narrow lace
- each sleeve decorated with 9 horizontal narrow laces with tassels
Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a green 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, ciphers) and grenades in gold.
Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Green field. 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 green scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold.
The pikes used as staffs for the colours were brown or black.
Anonymous (maybe Karl Wellner), Montierung des Königlich Preussischen Armee
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
Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images of Herbert Knötel d. J., Text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden: 1932
Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986
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
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. 170-175
Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57
Schirmer, Friedrich; Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989
Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 158-162
Tressenmusterbuch von 1755
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.