1/23 Bandemer 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 von Winterfeldt (2 coys) and von Forcade (2 coys) infantry regiments were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 1/23 counting four companies.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
- since June 25 1756: Major Peter Henning Erdmann von Bandemer (died on March 30 1757)
- March 30 1757: Major Ernst Sigismund von Wedell (killed at the Battle of Zorndorf)
- August 25 1758: Major Joachim Friedrich von Rathenow
- March 16 1762: Major Karl Heinrich von Poseck
Service during the War
On August 28 1756, this converged grenadier battalion assembled in Berlin. At the end of August, when a Prussian army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Margarve Karl's Corps. The centre column had concentrated in the area of Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. In October, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the battalion accompanied Frederick back to Lobositz to bring Keith's Army back to Dresden. On October 22, it was part of the 10 battalions of Frederick's force who left Lobositz for Linai.
In the Spring of 1757, the battalion took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in Manstein's Brigade to cover the right flank of the infantry. It was among the grenadier battalions who plunged into the gap opened in the Austrian lines near Kyge-Hlaupetin. At the end of August, the battalion was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the battalion was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General Ferdinand of Brunswick. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the battalion was deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank. At the end of the battle, the battalion followed Frederick to capture the bridge of Lissa intact.
In the Spring of 1758, the battalion took part in the invasion of Moravia
On August 10 1758, the battalion was part of the corps who accompanied Frederick when he marched from Silesia to join Dohna to contain the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On Tuesday August 22, this corps made a junction with Dohna at Manschnow. On August 23, the battalion was the first Prussian unit to cross the Oder, accompanying Frederick. On August 24, the battalion along with Forcade Infantry occupied Darmietzel to secure the crossing of the Mietzel. On August 25, the battalion fought at the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the first line of the right division led by Count zu Dohna. On September 2, when it became clear that the Russian army was slowly retiring towards Landsberg, Frederick assembled the corps that he had brought with him from Silesia and left for Saxony where his help was badly needed. On October 14, the battalion took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in Manteuffel's Corps on the extreme left flank of the Prussian positions. Around 8:00 a.m., Saldern sent the regiment to the Heights of Pommritz to reinforce Frederick's main line.
On August 15 1760, the battalion took part in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was deployed on the Wolfsberg. On September 17 at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf, it formed part of the rearguard under Major-General von Stutterheim. On November 3, the battalion took part in the bloody Battle of Torgau where it was attached to the first column of Frederick's Army.
On May 12 1762, the battalion took part in the Combat of Doebeln where it was attached to the right column under the command of Lieutenant-General Seydlitz. On October 29, it fought in the Battle of Freiberg where it was deployed on the right wing of the main body.
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 Winterfeldt: mitre with silver plated front plate, white headband with silver plated ornaments, dark blue backing with white piping, white pompom||von Forcade: mitre with silver plated front plate, white headband with silver plated ornaments, dark blue backing with red piping, white pompom dotted red|
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.