Cronegk Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Reichsarmee >> Cronegk Infantry

Origin and History

Uniform in 1782 - Source: Illustration by Raspe, Nürnberg 1782

The regiment had two battalions each with 6 musketeer companies and 1 grenadier company, two 3-pdrs guns and an authorised strength of 1,940 men.

In August 1757, the regiment had an effective strength of 1,573 men, in May 1758, its strength was 1,731 men.

The regiment was created in 1691. The successive regimental inhaber were:

  • from 1691: Adam Heinrich von Schönbeck
  • from 1701: Friedrich Wilhelm Margrave von Brandenburg-Onozbach
  • from 1703: Johann Friedrich Mohr von Waldt
  • from 1704: Georg Friedrich von Boyneburg
  • from 1732: Hellmuth Otto von Bassewitz
  • from 1736: vacant
  • from 1738: Friedrich Wilhelm von Gudenus
  • from 1757 to 1765: Friedrich Johann Karl Baron von Cronegk 1757-65

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

  • from 1757: Colonel Leopold Christian Wilhelm von Streithorst (Brandenburg-Ansbach) (resigned in early 1758)
  • from 1758: Colonel Carl Joseph von Eptingen (Eichstätt) (captured at Himmelkron May 11, 1759, resigned in 1765)
  • from 1759: Colonel Dominicus von Kerpen (Würzburg).

The regiment took part in the following campaigns:

  • War of the Holy League (1683 relief of Vienna, 1686, 1687, 1688 in Hungary)
  • War of the League of Augsburg (1691-97 on the Rhine)
  • War of the Spanish Succession (1702-14 on the Rhine)
  • War of the Polish Succession (1733-35 on the Rhine)

Service during the War

The regiment Cronegk is the Franconian unit that has seen least action during the war.

1757

From May to July 1757, parts of the Franconian regiments and Blau Würzburg Infantry under command of the Würzburg Major-General Kolb were engaged in fighting the Prussian incursion into Franconia. On June 9, they hunted down Mayr’s Corps at the town of Vach near Nuremberg. A short skirmish of about 90 minutes ensued, where the regiment lost one man killed. As Mayr had burned a bridge, further pursuit was not possible.

Late in the autumn of 1757, the Lieutenant-General Prince de Soubise reported in his "Mémoire raisonné sur l'armée de l'empire," that he rated this regiment as "poor," specifying that it was "completely Prussian minded".

Source: Brodrück, Karl: Quellenstücke und Studien über den Feldzug der Reichsarmee von 1757. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte im 18. Jahrhundert, Leipzig: Dyck, 1858

By 1858, the original French "mémoire" could be found in the "Paris War Archive" (Carton 3433, No. 17).

N. B.: Soubise’s comments about the performance of the units of the Reichsarmee have to be taken cum grano salis: he had to put the blame somewhere, as French regiments did not live up to expectations. It has to be taken into consideration, that, depending on the contingents, between 11 (Brandenburg-Ansbach grenadiers) and nearly 80 (Würzburg, Eichstätt) percent (average 50 percent) of the regiment’s personnel had been recruited only after October 1756, whereas Prussians and Austrians already had at least one year of battlefield experience in late 1757.

In August, this army combined with a French contingent under the Prince de Soubise for the planned reconquest of Saxony. By August 5, the regiment counted 1,430 men fit for duty out of a book strength of 1,573 men.

On November 5, the regiment was present at the Battle of Rossbach with probably 1,136 men, the grenadier company Oberkamp being the only Franconian grenadiers present. The regiment was brigaded with Kurtrier Infantry and Ferntheil Infantry under von Ferntheil. Immediately after the battle, 431 men were registered missing, 11 had been captured and 4 killed – the lowest rate of losses from all the three Franconian regiments of infantry. The low number of men killed in action is rather typical for the Franconian infantry during the war, desertions making nearly two thirds of all the losses, including the discharged, invalided etc. (judging from the Nuremberg contingent).

1758

On June 17, 1758, a company of grenadiers of the regiment, supported by the Pfalzgarde, three other grenadier companies and Grenzer light troops, captured a Prussian detachment at Mauersberg in Saxony.

1759

During a rearguard action near Suhl on April 3, 1759, the Franconian regiments were attacked by Hanoverian troops (Bückeburg Jaeger, grenadiers and hussars with one gun), but managed quite well after the present regiment and the grenadiers occupied some passes. One of the regiment’s ammunition waggons had to be blown up, as it was not possible to move it further on the bad road.

On May 11, during the Prussian incursion in Franconia, the regiment was part of Riedesel's rearguard during the retreat of the Austro-Imperial Army towards Kulmbach. One battalion was escorting the baggage when it was overpowered by Prussian cavalry (Szekely Hussars and Meinicke Dragoons under General Platen, according to Major Egloffstein also Jaeger, summing up to about six squadrons) near Himmelkron (10 km north of Bayreuth) at the hamlet of Leitsch (Oberlaitsch). It is reported, that rank and file continued fighting after their officers had surrendered. They in consequence were plundered of their belongings afterwards. 18 officers and some 650 men had to wander to Magdeburg into captivity, some are reported to have taken Prussian service and some of these deserted from the Prussians to return home. Most of the few Pfalz-dragoons, who had been supporting the battalion and some 20 musketeers managed to escape the defeat. The greater part of the prisoners were freed after the capture of Leipzig.

By mid-August, during the Austro-Imperial campaign in Saxony, the 2 grenadier companies of the regiment were attached to Zweibrücken's Corps.

On September 8, the grenadiers took part in the Combat of Zinna.

On September 21, these companies probably took part in the Combat of Korbitz where they would have been deployed in Stolberg's Division. The regiment is known to have lost 4 men wounded.

In the winter of 1759/60, the regiment garrisoned at Königshofen.

1762

The next action into which the regiment was involved was during the retreat of Kleefeld's Corps from Hof to Münchberg from July 21 to 23, 1762. Once more, the regiment lost nearly all the baggage which it had to buy back from Austrian hussars, who had retrieved it from the Prussians, but most of the lost items already had been sold in Saxon villages. Accordingly, the first battalion was detached to guard the magazines at Kulmbach, and the second (and grenadiers) did guard duty at headquarters.

On November 15, during the Reichsarmee’s retreat from Mönchsberg to Kulmbach, another defeat occurred near Kasendorf, when the second battalion was attacked by Prussian hussars near Forchheim. In the chaos of waggons and guns stuck on a steep road, the regiment lost all the baggage once more, one regimental gun and two ammunition carts. The commanding Colonel Pez succeeded only in saving one last regimental gun.

On October 29, at the Battle of Freiberg. the regiment lost about 15 prisoners. The Franconian regiments were not engaged significantly during the battle. Most losses occurred during the retreat and were due to Prussian artillery.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Ibrahim90
Uniform Details as per the Verordnung des löblichen fränkischen Kreises...
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white-blue-white pompoms
Grenadier Austrian style grenadier cap with brown fur, golden front plate and white bag
Neckstock black or red
Coat dark blue in Prussian cut
Collar white
Shoulder Straps probably white
Lapels white with 6 brass buttons arranged 2-2-2, 3 underneath
Pockets horizontal pockets with brass buttons
Cuffs white with 3 brass buttons
Turnbacks white (later red)
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard brown
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a brown musket and a sabre.

Officers

Officers wore a black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade with metallic clip. Partly silver Ringkragen (gorget) with gold. Sash and sword knot silver with black and red. Golden aiguillette, partisan with fringes, scabbard brown with gold.

Musicians

Drummers (and NCO's) initially wore white vests, swallow nest white.

The colour of the drums was white with white-blue stripes.

Colours

As per Roider, the colours depicted hereafter had been issued at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War. However, for religious reasons, they were never handed out to the regiments. In Germany it was customary that the colours were nailed to the staff with additional religious symbols. As the regiment comprised Protestants as well as Catholics there was a grave dispute between them. So the regiment retained its old colours for which, besides the fact that their distinctive colour was green, we found no description.

Franconian Colonel Colour (Leibfahne) - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Colours(Regimentsfahne) - Source: PMPdeL

References

  • Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760
    • Original (Stiftung Weimarer Klassik - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar)
    • Copy (Bibliothèque nationale de France, De Ridder collection)
  • Bleckwenn, Hans: Reiter, Husaren und Grenadiere - die Uniformen der kaiserlichen Armee am Rhein 1734, Dortmund 1979
  • Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-63. I. Teil: Zusammensetzung und Organisation, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.
  • Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.; Weirich, W.-D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-63. II. Teil: Die einzelnen Einheiten, ihre Stärke, Zusammensetzung, Uniform und Feldzeichen, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.
  • Brauer, Hans M.; Knötel, Herbert d.J.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen, Berlin 1926-1962, Uniformbogen Nr. 11, Die Reichsarmee 1756-63, die Regtr. des Fränk. Kreises
  • Deutsche Uniformen, Vol. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images from Herbert Knötel d. J., text and explanations from dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden, 1932
  • Helmes, Hermann: Übersicht zur Geschichte der främkischen Kreistruppen 1664-1714, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 14, München 1905, pp. I-VIII and 1-70
  • Helmes, Hermann: Kurze Geschichte der fränkischen Kreistruppen 1714-1756 und ihre Teilnahme am Feldzuge von Roßbach 1757, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 16, München 1907, pp. I-VIII and 1-116
  • Helmes, Hermann: Die fränkischen Kreistruppen im Kriegsjahre 1758 und im Frühjahrsfeldzug 1759, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayerischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, No. 17, München 1908, pp. I-VIII and 137-216
  • Knötel, Richard: Farbiges Handbuch der Uniformkunde: Die Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht der deutschen Staaten, Österreich-Ungarns und der Schweiz. Begründet von Prof. Richard Knötel. Grundlegend überarbeitet und bis zum Stand von 1937 fortgeführt von Herbert Knötel d.J. und Herbert Sieg. Dem Stand der Forschung angepaßt und ergänzt von Ingo Pröper, überarbeitete Neuauflage, Stuttgart 1985
  • Knötel, Richard: Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921, vol. VI, plate 6. Fränkischer Kreis. Die Truppen des Fränkischen Kreises 1781.
  • Koch, A. Ulrich: Die Reichsarmee VIII: Die Uniformierung der drei Infanterie-Regimenter des Fränkischen Kreises 1735. in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, vol. XXXIX, (1975) no. 260/261, pp. 145-153
  • Kühlmann, Hermann: Kurze Geschichte der fränkischen Kreistruppen und ihrer Feldzeichen, in: Die Zinnfigur, Neue Folge, vol. 9 (1960), no. 6, pp. 88-91 and no. 7, pp. 100-101
  • Muhsfeldt, Th.: Ueber die Truppen des Fränkischen Kreises, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht. Beilagen zum VI. Bande der "Uniformkunde", hrsg. von Richard Knötel (1885), No. 2, pp. 5-6, No. 3, pp. 9-11 and No. 4, p. 13
  • Muhsfeldt, Th.: Einige Angaben über die Reichsarmee vom Jahre 1757, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht. Beilagen zum IX. Bande der "Uniformkunde", hrsg. von Richard Knötel (1889), No. 4, pp. 15-16 and No. 5, pp. 17-20
  • Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
  • Roider, Klaus: Die fränkischen Kreistruppen im Siebenjährigen Krieg, 2009
  • Soden, Karl baron von: Nachricht von den Fränkischen Craistruppen. Nebst einem Anhang von den Schwäbischen Creisregimentern, Nürnberg, by Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe, 1782
  • Tessin, Georg: Die Inhaber der Fränkischen und Schwäbischen Kreisregimenter, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, vol. IL, (1985), No. 319, Mai/Juni, pp. 81-83
  • Verordnung des löblichen fränkischen Kreises, wonach dessen Regimneter zu Ross und zu Fuss gleichförmig montiret, mit Feuer- und Seitengewehr versehen.....werden sollen u.s.w., vom 26. October 1756. Auszug. Nach der Sammlung Würzburgischer Verordnungen im Kgl. Kreis-Archiv Würzburg, mitgetheilt von Th. Muhsfeldt, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht. Beilagen zum XII. Bande der "Uniformkunde", hrsg. von Richard Knötel (1902), No. 3, pp. 9-10

Acknowledgements

Klaus Roider for a major overhaul of the article