21/27 Lengefeld 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 Hülsen Infantry (2 coys) and Kleist Infantry (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 21/27 counting four companies.
After the action of Greiffenberg in March 1759, the battalion was converged with Grenadier Battalion 37/40 during the winters of 1759-60 and 1761-62.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since June 27 1756: Major Johann Christian Karl von Lengefeld (died on January 25 1757 in Dresden)
- from April 12 1757: Major Bernhard Aleksander von Dieringshofen (captured at the Combat of Moys on September 7 1757)
- from December 25 1761: Major Alexander von Budberg
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion was first assembled on August 25 1756 in Quedlinburg. On August 26, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the battalion 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 September 23, the battalion was detached from Ferdinand's Corps and sent to Torgau to garrison the town. In October, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the battalion accompanied Frederick II back to Lobositz to bring back Keith's Corps 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 did not take part in the Battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked the isolated Prussian Corps of Winterfeldt in the Combat of Moys, the battalion was deployed on the Jäkelsberg in front of the Prussian right wing and was the target of the initial assault. After this combat, the battalion was temporarily converged with Grenadier Battalion 24/34. On September 22, these combined grenadiers battalions arrived in Glogau where they were brought back to full strength. In October, each of the two grenadier battalions became autonomous again. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the battalion was deployed in the refused left flank, protecting the infantry centre.
In the Spring of 1758, the battalion took part in the unsuccessful invasion of Moravia. On October 14, the battalion fought at the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed en potence in the first line of the infantry right wing, to the right of Hochkirch. It was among the 3 grenadier battalions who vainly tried to oppose Daun's first attack.
In the night of March 25-26 1759, an Austrian force of 8,000 men led by General Beck stealthily marched from Bohemia by several roads and completely encircled the battalion led by Major Dieringshofen at Greiffenberg (present-day Gryfów Śląski). Most of the battalion had to surrender as prisoners of war.
In 1760 and part of 1761, the remnants of the battalion were combined with Grenadier Battalion 3/6.
On December 12 1761, the battalion, then converged with Grenadier Battalion 37/40, took part in the Combat of Spie where it was deployed in the right column. The Prussians were repulsed and forced to retire. The battalion took its winter-quarters in Lusatia as part of General Thadden's Corps.
From August to October 1762, the battalion, now operating independently, took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.
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 Hülsen: mitre with polished brass front plate; red headband with black braid laced white and brass ornaments; straw backing with black braid laced white; black within white within black within red pompom
Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
|von Kleist: mitre with polished brass front plate; white headband with a white braid and brass ornaments; red backing with white braid, yellow within red pompom
Original (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)
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.