29/31 Östenreich 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 Schultze Infantry (2 coys) and Lestwitz Infantry (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 29/31 counting four companies.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since June 25 1756: Major J. F. von Östenreich (died in September 1759 from wounds received at the Battle of Kunersdorf in August)
- from September 1759: Major F. C. von Falkenhayn
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion was first assembled in August 1756 in Breslau. For the campaign of 1756, the battalion was part of the Army of Silesia under Field-marshal von Schwerin. During this campaign, this army conducted operations in Eastern Bohemia.
In the spring of 1757, the battalion took part in the invasion of Bohemia. It was attached to Schwerin's Corps. On May 6, the battalion fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the extreme left of the first line of the infantry centre in Winterfeldt's Brigade. On November 22, the battalion took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed en potence as right flank guard under Major-General von Rohr. On December 4, the battalion was in the rearguard when the Prussian Army under Frederick II advanced straight towards the Austrian camp in the area of Leuthen. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the battalion was deployed in Bülow's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre. During the battle, it was assigned to the guard of the Prussian bakery.
On September 28 1758, as part of Wedel's force, the battalion took part in the failed attempt to capture Fehrbellin from the Swedes.
On August 12 1759, the battalion fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the vanguard as part of Lindstedt's Brigade. The battalion suffered so heavily that it was later combined with Grenadier Battalion 35/36 to form a single battalion. On September 21, this combined battalion took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under Lieutenant-General Finck. 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.
On August 15 1760, the battalion took part in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was attached to the Reserve who came to the rescue of isolated units on the left of the line. On September 17, the battalion fought at the Combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, it took part in the bloody Battle of Torgau where it was attached to Syburg's Brigade.
In August 1761, the battalion was part of of Frederick' Army encamped in the entrenched camp of Bunzelwitz (present-day Bolesławice) near Schweidnitz in Lower Silesia. At the beginning of December, the battalion was attached to the corps of Prince Eugen von Württemberg who tried to relieve Colberg. On December 12, the battalion took part in the Combat of Spie where the Russians stopped the relief columns and forced them to retreat. At the end of December, the battalion was attached to Schenckendorff's Corps who marched by Schwedt and Berlin and took its winter-quarters in Saxony.
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 Schultze: mitre with yellow metal front plate; red headband with a white/red/blue braid (see illustration for detail) and yellow metal ornaments, white backing with white/red/blue braid, blue within red within white pompom||von Lestwitz: mitre with yellow metal front plate; rose headband with a red within yellow within white braid and yellow metal ornaments, rose backing with a similar braid, rose within yellow within white 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.