38/43 Burgsdorff Grenadiers
Origin and History
At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, Frederick II converged the grenadier companies of his infantry into elite battalions. Thus the grenadiers from Brandes Fusiliers (2 coys) and Kalsow Fusiliers (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 38/43 counting four companies.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since June 25 1756: Major K. E. von Burgsdorff (killed in action at Strehla on August 20 1760)
- from August 20 1760: Major G. C. von Heilsberg
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion first assembled in August 1756 in Frankenstein in Silesia. For the incoming campaign, the battalion was part of the Army of Silesia under Field-Marshal von Schwerin who, from September to November conducted operations in Eastern Bohemia.
In 1757, the battalion was part of the Prussian army who proceeded to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, the battalion fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed to cover the left flank of the infantry in Amstell's Brigade. On November 22, the battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Kleist's Brigade, in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Brandes. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the battalion was deployed in Geist's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. It was detached to occupy the Castle of Neumarkt.
In July 1758, Frederick ordered a detachment previously stationed in the neighbourhood of Glogau to join Dohna to contain the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. Only the Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Burgsdorf was left behind at Glogau. On August 25, the battalion fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the vanguard led by Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel.
On September 8 1759, the battalion took part in the Combat of Zinna where it was deployed on the left wing. On September 21, it took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in column on the right flank of the first line of the right wing. When Hadik advanced Brentano's Corps against the Prussian right, Finck replied by sending Rebentisch with 4 grenadier battalions, including this one, and Markgraf Carl Infantry against Brentano who was driven back.
For the campaign of 1760, the battalion served with the Prussian Army of Saxony. On August 20, the battalion fought at the Combat of Strehla where its commanded was killed in action, defending the field fortifications on the plateau. On November 3, it took part in the Battle of Torgau where it was deployed in the second column of Frederick's army.
On February 15 1761, the battalion took part in the Allied raid on Langensalza where they surprised a Franco-Saxon corps who suffered heavy casualties.
In 1762, the battalion took part in the campaign in Saxony. At the end of July, it was part of Major-General Kleist's detachment who departed from Berthelsdorf and marched by Chemnitz to make a junction with Seydlitz. On August 2, the battalion fought at the Combat of Teplitz where it lost 150 men. On October 29, it took part in the Battle of Freiberg where it was attached to the Reserve.
N.B.: For NCOs of the grenadier companies, the long pike (4,10 m long) was introduced in 1756 just before the war. This long pike was not very popular and was often shortened. At the beginning of the Seven Years' War and throughout the conflict, NCOs carried a mixture of M1713 (2,37 m long), M1755 (3 m long) and M1756 (4,10 m long) pikes.
|von Brandes Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; light blue headband with an orange/white braid (see illustration for details) and brass ornaments; light blue backing with a similar braid; orange within white within orange pompom
Original NCO (black/white pompom) grenadier cap (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
|von Kalsow Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; dark orange headband with a dark orange/white/dark orange braid and brass ornaments; white backing with a similar braid; white within dark orange pompom|
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
Fiedler, Siegfried: Grenadiermuetzen der Armee Friedrichs des Grossen, Schild Verlag GmbH, Munich, 1981
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. 2
Riehn, R.: Linear Tactics Part III - Grenadier Battalions 1756-1763, The Courier Volume 2 No. 6, May-June 1981
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt: 1989, pp. 30-32
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.