Blau Würzburg Infantry
Origin and History
On September 16 1756 at Werneck, Adam Friedrich Bishop of Würzburg and Duke of Franconia signed a convention with Empress Maria Theresa by which he would supply two infantry regiments for at least two years: the first regiment would be provided at the bishop's expense while the second would be under Austrian pay (40 fl./man). As soon as December 20 1756, the first of these regiments “Rot-Würzburg”, consisting of with 2 battalions and 2 grenadier companies, had already taken service with the Austrian Army and left for Bohemia.
The second regiment, Blau-Würzburg, was raised during the following months. Its recruitment took some time, by the beginning of April 1757, two companies still had to be raised. The regiment took service in the Austrian Army on May 20 1757 and was completed May 25. It consisted of 2 battalions of 6 fusilier coys (136 men per coy) and one grenadier coy (100 men) for a total of 1,860 men including officers and NCOs. Its first battalion was mainly made up of the 500 men of the Kolb Infantry Regiment who had not already been incorporated into the Rot Würzburg Regiment. The second battalion included infantry of the Imperial District and many new recruits.
By the summer of 1757, the regiment had joined the Reichsarmee. In 1759, one battalion was made prisoner, the remaining battalion was incorporated into Rot Würzburg Regiment early in 1761.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was owned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg and Bamberg, Adam Friedrich Count von Seinsheim. However, his title of colonel was purely honorific and he did not accompany his regiment in campaigns.
During the Seven Years' War, the successive commanders of the regiment were:
- since 1756: Colonel Gottfried Ludwig Baron Moser von Filseck (from Thalheim/Swabia) assisted by:
- Lieutenant-Colonel Wilhelm Sigismund Baron Stetten (from Kocherstetten, formerly major in “Rot-Würzburg“)
- Major Johann Friedrich von Wurmb (from Oberurff/Hessen)
- from 1759: Johann Friedrich von Wurmb
- from 1760: Max Wilhelm von Stetten
The regiment was disbanded at the end of the war in 1763.
Service during the War
In May 1757, the regiment joined a corps (3,000 men) of the Reichsarmee, under Major-General Johann Ferdinand Balthasar Baron Kolb, sent to put a stop to a Prussian raid in Franconia. The regiment received its baptism of fire on June 9 near Vach an der Regnitz against Prussian troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Mayer, losing 5 men dead. Kolb's Corps then remained in a camp near Fürth. On June 23, the regiment, along with 300 horse, marched through Bamberg to Staffelstein to drive Mayer's troops out of Franconia. On July 12, the regiment returned to Fürth. On July 27, the regiment was reviewed at Fürth, it counted 1,690 men. On July 28, the regiment marched towards Erfurt in Thuringia where it would join the Reichsarmee then commanded by Joseph Prince Hildburghausen. On August 17, it arrived in Erfurt. On August 25, a French contingent under the command of the Prince de Soubise made a junction with the Reichsarmee at Erfurt. On September 6, the regiment left Erfurt and, on September 13, rejoined the Reichsarmee near Eisenach. When a Prussian army entered into Saxony and reached Grimma, the regiment was sent to Buttelstädt, detachments occupied the bridge near Kösen and Kössnitz. On September 19, the grenadiers of the regiment were part of the detachment who briefly occupied Gotha. On September 28, the Prussians marched from Erfurt to Buttelstädt. On October 1, the vanguard of the Reichsarmee occupied Erfurt while its main body encamped near Gotha. On October 8, the regiment was replaced at his post of Buttelstädt by Colonel Loudon and his troops. On October 9, the regiment returned to Erfurt. On October 10, the French contingent and the regiment made a junction with the Reichsarmee near Waltershausen. This Franco-Imperial army counted some 50,000 men. Even if it was stationed in allied territory, this army made depredations. The regiment was attached to the brigade of the Prince von Hessen (assisted by Major-General Rosenfeld and Major-General Roth). On October 10, the Reichsarmee marched to Langensalza where it remained till October 17. The weather was very bad, cold, snowy and rainy. Soldiers spent two days without bread. On October 17, the Reichsarmee marched to Erfurt again. On October 19, it marched to Naumburg and Weissenfels. Hildburghausen wanted to march against the Prussians at Leipzig but Soubise refused to follow with the French. Therefore, on October 27, Hildburghausen returned to Teuchern. Only Loudon with his troops and 11 Imperial grenadier coys. (including the two grenadier coys of the regiment) marched to Leipzig. On October 29, Loudon captured a Prussian convoy transporting money for the Prussian army. On October 30, Hildburghausen retreated from Teuchern to Weissenfels and crossed the Saale River. By November 3, the regiment (now counting only 1,168 men) was part of a corps deployed on the right wing in the forest near Banderode. Troops suffered from the bad weather and lack of food, soldiers had to eat rape and radish taken in the fields. On November 5, the regiment took part in the Battle of Rossbach. The broken Franco-Imperial cavalry passed through the lines of the Imperial infantry, disorganizing it just before it was hit in flank and rear by the Prussian cavalry. Ferntheil Infantry, Varell Infantry, Cronegk Infantry and Kurtrier Infantry immediately broke and fled. Only “Blau-Würzburg” and Darmstadt held the line and retreated in good order. The regiment was praised by FZM Rosenfeld in his relation to Prince Hildburghausen. Similarly, Soubise mentioned the excellent behaviour of the regiment in his letter to Versailles. In this battle, the regiment lost 27 men dead, and 5 officers and 259 men missing. The defeated Franco-Imperial army fled till Freiburg a. d. Unstrut. On November 6, the troops assembled at Freiburg resumed their hasty retreat without tent, food and nearly frozen to death. On November 10, the rest of the defeated army finally stopped at Teichel. Within the following days, the regiment rallied at Königshofen and, after re-assembling, marched to Schwarzenbach a. d. Saale near Hof where it arrived on November 25. It was reduced to 1,323 men, having lost 541 men during the last months. On December 30, the regiment received some recruits and was ordered to march to Eger (present day Cheb/CZ).
On January 7 1758, Lieutenant-Colonel Wurmb arrived at Eger with the second battalion (6 fusilier coys) of the regiment while the other battalion was posted nearby along the border. According to the order of battle, the regiment belonged to Count Batthyányi's Corps (19 infantry rgts and 8 regular cavalry rgts). Since the Bishop Würzburg feared a new Prussian raid into Franconia, the Duke of Zweibrücken left a detachment under Major-General von Rosenfeld near Lichtenfels. This detachment consisted of Ferntheil Infantry, Varell Infantry, Württemberg Dragoons (Kreisregiment Württemberg Dragoons or Herzog Württemberg Dragoons) and Szechényi Hussars. On May 15, Zweibrücken then marched with his army to Bohemia. At the end of May, Batthyányi's Corps made a junction with the Reichsarmee near Saaz (present day Žatec/CZ). The Reichsarmee, including Blau-Würzburg, remained in the area of Saaz until July 20. On this day, the army marched to a new camp between Brüx (present-day Most/CZ) and Bilin (present-day Bílina/CZ), passed Teplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ) and Kulm (present-day Chlum/CZ) and Saxon border. By August 27, the Reichsarmee had reached the region of Pirna which General Maquire had already reached the previous day with his Corps de Reserve. Meanwhile, the Grenadier Corps (including 2 coys of Blau-Würzburg) commanded by General Guasco was near Schandau. On September 1, Zweibrücken threw a bridge across the Elbe near Wehlen. On September 5, he attacked the Fortress of Sonnenstein which surrender after a brief bombardment. Colonel Grape and 1,442 men (most of them Saxons forcibly incorporated into the Prussian Army) were taken prisoners. Blau-Würzburg under Colonel von Moser then occupied Sonnenstein and Pirna. During the rest of September, the Reichsarmee remained between Pirna and Dippoldiswalde harassing the Prussians. Around mid-October the left wing and the centre of the Reichsarmee marched to Giesshübel, the Grenadier Corps arrived there on October 16 and, on October 22, the Corps de Reserve (Kurköln (5 bns), Gyulay Infantry (2 bns), Blau-Würzburg (1 bn), cavalry (2 rgts)), now under the command of FML Nikolaus Count Esterházy, arrived at Giesshübel. On October 25, Esterházy at the head of Prinz Savoyen Dragoons and Blau-Würzburg (1 bn) passed on the right side of the Elbe where he rejoined Colonel Török's expedition. Esterházy then marched to Bischofswerda without meeting opposition. He then returned to the camp of Pirna. On November 2, the Reichsarmee left Giesshübel and marched to Freiberg. By November 11, the Grenadier Corps was at Nossen. Zweibrücken managed to drive the Prussian troops of Itzenplitz and Fink back on Dresden. However, with Frederick II marching on Dresden, FM Daun and the Reichsarmee decided to take their winter-quarters. The Reichsarmee marched through Chemnitz, Zwickau, Plauen to Hof where it was joined by the Grenadier Corps. The battalion of Blau-Würzburg serving with Reichsarmee and the 2 grenadier coys of the regiment took their quarters in Schauenstein.
For the campaign of 1759, the two battalions of the regiment were attached to Hadik's Corps. At the end of February, one battalion of the regiment was near Hof. A Prussian corps under General Lindstedt (4 bns and some hussars) attacked Hof. Campitelli, commanding in Hof, retired from the city and took position behind it with his troops (Blau-Würzburg Infantry, Marschall Infantry, Gyulay Infantry and about 100 Grenzer light troops and hussars). On March 26, the Prussians occupied Hof and advanced on Campitelli's positions. The latter retreated to Münchberg, leaving only a detachment entrenched near Pirk. On March 30, Frei-Infanterie de Collignon drove this detachment out of its entrenchments. Meanwhile, on March 31, between Stockheim and Mellrichstadt, 2 squadrons of Ruesch Hussars (aka Prussian Black Hussars) belonging to the Allied vanguard led by the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick charged sword at hand an Imperial detachment consisting of the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers and of 1 battalion of the Blau-Würzburg Infantry. They first routed the cuirassiers, then charged the infantry, taking most of them prisoners. On April 1, Lindstedt returned to Plauen with his troops. On April 2, taking advantage of Lindstedt' s retreat, Campitelli reoccupied Hof with 5 bns. After a few days, the remains of Blau-Würzburg returned to Eger. On June 11, Hadik arrived at Eger with the Grenadier Corps and the vanguard, joining Blau-Würzburg Infantry and its 2 grenadier coys. Hadik was now had at the head of 18 bns, 19 grenadier coys, 4 heavy cavalry rgts and 2 hussar rgts. On June 22, Hadik sent the remaining battalion of Blau-Würzburg (968 men) to Komotau (present-day Chomutov/CZ) as support to Gemmingen's Corps posted at Annaberg/Saxony. The battalion marched by Brüx and Leitmeritz towards Grosshennersdorf/Saxony where, on July 22, it rejoined Hadik's Corps (32,000 men). During the Austro-Imperial campaign in Saxony, Hadik had been ordered to make a junction with a Russian army who had just won the Battle of Paltzig. Accordingly, he marched from Grosshennersdorf to Löbau, Hochkirch, Malschwitz, making a junction with Loudon's Corps at Priebus. By July 30, Hadik was at Triebel while Loudon effected a junction with the Russian army at Sommerfeld. Hadik then retired southwards from Guben along the Neisse River up to Horno in the direction of Spremberg. On August 2, during this retreat, the remaining battalion of Blau-Würzburg was in the rearguard with one sqn of Modena Cuirassiers, protecting the army baggage. Prussian troops caught up with this rearguard and captured most of the battalions. Losses were heavy: 6 men dead, 22 officers (incl. Colonel Moser, Major Wittern and Major von Amboten), 899 men and 170 horses captured; furthermore, 4 guns and a large quantities of provisions fell in Prussian hands. Prisoners were brought to Magdeburg. By mid-August, after this new disaster, only the two grenadier coys of Blau-Würzburg under Captain Thüna and Captain Reitzenstein were still operational. They were attached to Hadik's Corps. On September 10, Hadik made a junction with the Reichsarmee of Prince Zweibrücken who now intended to liberate the entire Saxony from the Prussians. On September 21, the two grenadier coys of the regiment took part in the Combat of Korbitz where they were deployed on the right wing of Hadik's Corps. They lost only 2 men dead and 2 men wounded in this engagement. On October 1, Hadik made a junction with Daun's main army at Tanneberg. On November 20, the grenadiers of the regiment (194 men in two coys) were present at the Battle of Maxen. These grenadiers were then sent to the Bohemian border and made a junction with the remains of the second battalion arriving from Eger under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Wurmb (the rest of the first battalions remained in Eger). On December 20, Wurmb marched with 825 men (including the grenadiers) to make a junction with GFWM Ujházy who was posted between Zschopau and Flöha. Wurmb received the order to defend the road between Marienberg and Komotau (present-day Chomutov/CZ). On December 28, Ujházy transferred Blau-Würzburg Infantry and Luzzara Infantry (2 bns) to GFWM von Ried's Corps. During this disastrous year, the regiment had lost a total of 29 officers and 1,303 men.
In 1760, the regiment (then consisting of two weak battalions and two grenadier coys for a total of only 956 men) was attached to Loudon's Corps and marched to Komotau. At the beginning of January, the regiment marched to Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora svatého Šebestiána/CZ) to support Major-General Ried who had been pushed back by Allied troops. The regiment followed Ried's Corps to Neuberg. When the Allies evacuated Marienberg, the regiment received orders to return to Komotau. At the end of January, Loudon was replaced by GM Campitelli as commander in Bohemia. During this campaign, the garrison battalion of the regiment (290 men) remained at Eger. By March 29, the regiment was at Kralupy (CZ) while its grenadiers remained in Komotau. Throughout April, the Würzburg troops remained in this region. By mid-May the regiment was in Freiberg an der Mulde, together with 2 battalion of Grenzer light troops. This detachment remained in Freiberg until August. On June 18, the regiment, along with Nikolaus Esterházy Infantry, launched an attack on Nossen, destroying the ravelins before returning safely to Freiberg. By the end of June, the regiment belonged to Major-General von Kleefeld's Corps attached to the Reichsarmee. When Frederick II lifted the siege of Dresden and marched for Silesia, he was closely followed by the Reichsarmee under the Duke of Zweibrücken. On July 31, Kleefeld marched from Freiberg to Nossen with his troops. On August 13, the Austro-Imperial main army left Plauen and marched to Grossröhrsdorf, establishing its headquarters at Wilsdruff. Meanwhile, Kleefeld drove the Prussians out of their position at Katzenhäusern. On August 14, he followed the retreating Prussians through Soppen and Miltitz to Lothain. The Prussians retreated from Meissen to Strehla. By August 16, Blau-Würzburg Infantry was at Nossen under Lieutenant-Colonel Wurmb. On August 20, the regiment took part in the Combat of Strehla where it attacked the Prussian right flank and distinguished itself in the attack on the Dürrenberg hills. After this combat, Blau-Würzburg Infantry was detached from Kleefeld's Corps and sent back to the Reichsarmee. The two grenadier coys were so depleted that they were reorganised into a single coy. On October 10, Blau-Würzburg Infantry along with Luzzara Infantry (1 bn), Clerici Infantry (1 bn) and Macquire Infantry (1 bn) were sent to Dresden where they arrived on October 16. After the disaster at Torgau on November 3, the defeated units gradually arrived at Dresden and the original garrison (including the regiment) was sent to Dippoldiswalde under Maquire. In mid-December, the regiment was attached to FML Guasco's Corps posted around Eger and along the Eger River.
In 1761, the heavy losses placed an increasing strain on Würzburg's limited resources, and the Bishop of Würzburg began pressing the Austrians to amalgamate the two regiments into a single regiment entitled Kaiserlich Würzburg. At the beginning of February, the remaining battalions of both Würzburg regiments were finally combined into a single regiment under Colonel von Stetten.
For the service of the new regiment in 1761 and 1762, please refer to our article on Roth Würzburg Infantry.
|Coat||white wool (Austrian style)
Troopers were armed with a musket and a pallasch (sword) and carried brown haversack and a canteen. The pallasch was a quite unusual weapon for infantrymen and was soon replaced by a bayonet.
Officers wore a fancier uniform with silver buttons instead of pewter. They wore straw gloves and had a yellow waist sash.
Drummers wore the same uniform as the infantry but had a dark blue swallow nests on the shoulders.
The drum pattern is speculative but would have been brass rimmed in dark blue, the facing color, with white drum cords. This is a recurring pattern of the period.
The colours are speculative but based on the pattern common to the Reichsarmee troops of the period. The regiment carried six colours (1 Leib and 5 regimental colours).
Leib Colour: White field, Imperial eagle bearing the Würzburg old 1757 coat-of-arms (based on recent research by Volker Scholz) with white and blue waves as a trim on the flags edge.
Regimental Colour: Blue field, Imperial eagle bearing the Würzburg old 1757 coat-of-arms (based on recent research by Volker Scholz) with white and blue waves as a trim on the flags edge.
Becher, Johann Christian: Wahrhaftige Nachricht derer Begebenheiten, so sich in dem Herzogthum Weimar by dem gewaltigen Kriege Friedrichs II., Königs von Preußen, mit der Königin von Ungarn, Marien Theresen, samt ihren Bundesgenossen zugetragen, Weimar, ca. 1757-1760
- Original (Stiftung Weimarer Klassik - Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar)
- Copy (Bibliothèque nationale de France, De Ridder collection)
Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 I. Teil. Zusammensetzung und Organisation, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, 1979
Boehm, E.; Rottgardt, D., Weirich, W.-D.: Die Reichsarmee 1757-1763 II. Teil. Die einzelnen Einheiten, ihre Stärke, Zusammensetzung, Uniform und Feldzeichen, Manuskript, KLIO - Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, o.J.
Brabant, Arthur: Das heilige römische Reich teutscher Nation im Kampf mit Friedrich dem Großen, vol. I, II Berlin 1904, vol. III Dresden 1931
Hagen, Eduard: Die Fürstlich Würzburgische Hausinfanterie von ihren Anfängen bis zum Beginne des Siebenjährigen Krieges (1636-1756), in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 19, München 1910
Hagen, Eduard: Die Fürstlich Würzburgische Hausinfanterie vom Jahre 1757 bis zur Einverleibung des Fürstbistums in Bayern 1803, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 20, München 1911
Henke, Julius: Über das Heerwesen des Hochstifts Würzburg im 18. Jahrhundert, in: Darstellungen aus der Bayrischen Kriegs- und Heeresgeschichte, hrsg. vom K.B. Kriegsarchiv, Heft 7, München 1889
Knötel, Herbert: Rot- und Blau-Würzburg (Vor 200 Jahren "Leuthen"), in Zeitschrift für Heeres- und Uniformkunde, No. 156, Jg. 1957/VI, page 102-103
Rogge, Christian, The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Thüna, Baron v.: Die Würzburgischen Hilfstruppen im Dienste Österreichs 1756 – 1763, Würzburg, 1893
Wilson, P.: Wurzburg and Bamberg in the Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. IX No.2
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.