Bavarian Line Infantry Organisation

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The organisation described below has been extracted from the Bavarian Infantry Manual of 1754 (see the Reference section for details). The manual is notable for being quite thorough, with the instructions given out concisely and to the point, though the manual is slightly disorganized, and manual shows clear signs of having been adopted from an original 4-rank system of deployment with strict processional deployment into line.

As a result, it is surprisingly easy manual to follow, even with the passage of three centuries, and the at times difficult form of the language. Where translation posed a challenge, a likely interpretation will be given, and a note provided to indicate the confusion.

Composition and Organisation of a Regiment

Each regiment, excluding guards, was to have a senior and junior regimental staff, and comprised two battalions. The total regimental strength was 1,620 men, with 700 officers and men in each fusilier battalion, of whom 600 had muskets as part of the firing line when on parade or drill, but 645 muskets when in combat.

Regimental Staff

N.B. Names given in English, followed by original Bavarian names, as they appear in the regulations. Note the non-standard spelling.

The senior or "greater" regimental staff comprised:

  • 1 colonel (Obrist(er))
  • 1 lieutenant-colonel (Obrist-Lieutenant)
  • 2 majors (Obrist-Wachtmeister)

The junior or "lesser" regimental staff comprised:

  • 1 regimental quartermaster (Regiments-Quartiermeister)
  • 1 Catholic padre (Feld-Pater)
  • 1 auditor (Auditor; only for two regiments: the Leib-Regiment, and Kurprinz Infantry)
  • 2 adjutants (Adjutant)
  • 1 regimental surgeon (Regiments-Feldscherrer)
  • 1 wagon-master (Wagenmeister)
  • 1 regimental drum-major/drummer (Regiments-Tambour)
  • 6 oboists (Hautbois) N.B. not all regiments had oboists
  • 1 master pioneer (Zimmermeister)
  • 1 provost (Provos) N.B. The provost was to have "stick-servants" (Stecken-Knechte) attached, though no official nuymber is given

Organisation of a Battalion

As mentioned above, each regiment comprised two battalions. In wartime, each battalion comprised one grenadier company and five fusilier companies.

The fusilier companies were numbered, with the odd-numbered companies given to the first battalion, and the even numbered companies given to the second battalion. The first battalion would thus contain the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th companies. The second battalion would then contain the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th companies (Page 4). The companies were ordered based on the seniority of the captain.

Fusiliers Companies

A fusilier company totalled 140 officers and men and consisted of:

  • 1 captain (Hauptmann)
  • 1 lieutenant (Lieutenant: actual spelling)
  • 1 ensign (Fändrich)
  • 2 sergeants (Feldwebel)
  • 1 Quartermaster Sergeant (Fourier)
  • 1 surgeon (Feldscherrer)
  • 6 corporals (Corporal)
  • 1 fifer (Pfeifer)
  • 3 drummers (Tambour)
  • 11 lance-corporals (Gefreiter)
  • 1 Pioneer--with rank of Lance corporal (Zimmermann)
  • 2 sharpshooters (Fourier-Scütze)
  • 109 fusiliers (Fusilier)

Ideally, the companies were subdivided into two or three Züge, depending on the size of the company; the Zug was used when forming into columns.

N.B.Corporals were issued the Kurzgewehr for use on parade. When deployed during wartime, they would be issued muskets. They were to also carry a sword, of the same model that the sergeants and fouriers were to carry.

Fourier-riflemen were supposed to be recruited based on a combination of good military record, and skill with firearms; to this end, hunters were preferred for this post. They would drill in the ranks, but in battle could be detached as needed. While the wording was unclear, it seems that they might also have been excused fatigue duties.

Grenadier Companies

A company of grenadiers totalled 100 officers and men and consisted of:

  • 1 captain
  • 1 first-lieutenant
  • 2 sub-lieutenants
  • 1 sergeant
  • 1 surgeon
  • 4 corporals
  • 8 lance-corporals
  • 1 fifer
  • 3 drummers
  • 78 grenadiers

As with the fusiliers, the corporals were issued muskets when deployed to combat.

Bavarian army ranks, and their function


As was common in German armies of the time, every regiment was to have a Regiments-Inhaber, who legally owned and ran the regiment, and was directly and ultimately responsible for the running of the regiment. As in other German armies, the Inhaber was not necessary the regiment's actual Colonel: in regiments that had a separate colenel, ownership of the regiment was to be given to either a general or a non-serving colonel.

The regulations forbade the regimental officers under the Inhaber from performing any major administrative actions without his knowledge or consent, when he was in country (p. 155). Lower officers did normally have independence in minor matters, but if the Inhaber demanded to intervene, the officers had to oblige to him.

Additionally, the Inhaber was to receive his written orders from the electoral residence or war council, and sign off on major reports to and from these two institutions. The Colonel under the Inhaber only handled these responsibilities if the Inhaber was not available. But even when the Inhaber was out fo the country, all orders and ordnances were to be addressed directly to him, and not his subordinates.

The Inhaber was also required to send monthly muster rolls to the war council.

When on campaign, the Inhaber was to receive daily reports from the Major, or if not available, the senior available captain. The Colonel or lieutenant-Colonel were to also report to and attend on him daily, accompanieed by a number of officers. When abesent, arrangements had to be made so that the Colonel would take over most of the responsbilities, without emabarrasement to the chain of command.


Where applicable, the regiment had not only its Inhaber, but also a substantive Colonel who worked under him, in a manner not to dissimilar to a lieutenant colonel in other armies. Accordingly, he commanded the regiment in a manner that directly reflected the will and policy of the Inhaber himself (p. 158) and was to consult the Inhaber on all important matters before they are undertaken, and was to send the inhaber detailed reports on all happenings in the regiment of note.

Unless ordered otherwise, every month the Colonel was required to send to the Inhaber a signed, pre-printed certificate, and two tables (muster rolls), by way of a report on the condition of the regiment. He was also to forward reports by the Regimental quartermaster and adjutants to the War Commissariat to the same schedule.

As with the Inhaber, the Colonel was ultimately responsible for all those under him, and was required to be an impartial arbiter of all matters in the unit, so that any necessaruy investigations into wrong doing, public or private, was ot be supported, if ordered by the authorities. Absent the Inhaber, the Colonel had sole command of the regiment, which cannot be overriden save by superior miltary rank. This was emphasized in the regulations so that princely characters wouldn't pull rank. Similarly, all matters of discipline, unless of a particularly serious matter, were to be handled by the Colonel. Thus, he handled pardons and punishments in the ranks, and any proposed changes in the regiment (e.g., promotions, demotions, reports concerning specific soldiers) had to be reported to and approved by the Colonel. In this, nothing was to be left unknown. In return, the Colonel was to submit to the Inhaber the names of those proposed for positions as NCO's in the regiment, for the Inhaber's approval.

The Colonel also handled discharges and leaves, so long as the soldier requesting had the approval of his commanding officer (i.e., captains). Similarly, he was entitled to a daily report by the Obrist-Wachtmeister, regardless of whether anything substantial took place or not. He was also expected to be an impartial arbiter of regimental affairs, so that any necessary investigations are not hindered.


Verordnung Nach welcher die Churfürstl. Bayrische Infanterie die Exercitien zu machen, und sich sowohl im Feld, als in Besatzung zu verhalten hat


Ibrahim90 for the translation and integration of the Bavarian Infantry Manual of 1754.