53/57 Diezelsky Grenadiers
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Origin and History
In October 1756, after the Prussian invasion of Saxony and the surrender of the Saxon Army at Pirna, Frederick II forcibly incorporated the Saxon regiments into his army. Each Saxon infantry regiment remained intact but received new uniforms and new commanders, and was designated as a fusilier regiment. In the spring of 1757, the grenadier companies of these fusilier regiments were converged into elite battalions. Thus the grenadiers from Manstein Fusiliers (2 coys) and Jung-Braunschweig-Bevern Fusiliers (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion S-53/S-57 counting four companies.
During its short existence, the battalion was commanded by:
- since February 11 1757: Major von Diezelsky
- from August 5 1757: Captain von der Golz
This Saxon grenadier battalion was lost in mid-November 12 1757 at the capitulations of Breslau and Schweidnitz and was not re-raised.
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion first assembled at the end of March 1757 and was instructed to march towards Silesia. So many men deserted during the march that, on July 13, it was resolved to disband the battalion at the first occasion. In August 1757, the battalion was part of the small Prussian force assembled in Silesia by Major-General von Kreytzen to oust the Austrian corps occupying Landshut. On August 5, its commander fell at Stiegau and was replaced by Captain von der Goltz. On August 13, it took part to the first combat of Landshut. During the night of August 13-14, while Austrian light troops harassed the Prussians formed in square, about 100 Saxons who had been forced to enlist into this grenadier battalion took advantage of the situation to desert. On August 14, the battalion along with Grenadier battalion 28/32 assaulted the Austrian positions on the Buchberg. They initially chased away the Austrian light troops from the wood and got close enough to the Austrian battery to fire on it with their battalion guns. They then led the attack on the Austrian breastworks. When the Austrians counter-attacked, the battalion covered the retreat of the Prussian force. Captain von der Goltz finally reached Schweidnitz with the rest of the battalion. This Saxon grenadier battalion was lost in November 12 at the capitulations of Breslau and Schweidnitz and was not re-raised.
The grenadiers wore the uniform of their respective regiments. For details about these uniforms, please refer to the articles related to regiments Manstein Fusiliers and Jung-Braunschweig-Bevern Fusiliers.
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.
Manstein Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate (even though the regiment had white as metal colour); light straw headband with a yellow braid and polished brass ornaments, light straw backing with a similar braid, yellow pompom
Jung-Braunschweig-Bevern Fusiliers: mitre with polished brass front plate; light straw headband with a light blue braid and brass ornaments, light straw backing with a similar braid, light blue pompom
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 125, App. 2