Deutschmeister Infantry

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Origin and History

At the end of the XVIIth century, Emperor Leopold I was still involved in conflicts with the Turks in Hungary and with the French in Germany, Netherlands and Italy. Some German electors offered to raise regiments at their own expenses to support him in this difficult situation. One of them was Johann Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuenburg, brother of Empress Eleonora. The Capitulation (contract) between Leopold I and Johann Wilhelm was signed on March 15 1695. Johann Wilhelm had to raise an infantry regiment of 2,000 men in 12 coys. As per a decision of the Hofkriegsrat (war council) dated June 10, Infanterie Regiment Thüngen contributed 4 coys on August 11 to form the kernel of the new regiment. IR Thüngen was one of the best regiments of the army, known for the defence of Vienna in 1683 and for the attack on Neuhäusel in 1685.

Recruiting went slowly and the 4 initial coys were sent to Peterwardein to serve as garrison. Recruitment was finally completed in the winter of 1695-96 and the regiment was assembled at Donauwörth. Franz Ludwig, Duke of Bavaria and “Hochmeister” (grand master) of the Teutonic Order, brother of Elector Johann Wilhelm Pfalz-Neuenburg, became proprietor and colonel of the regiment. Thus the regiment received the name of “Deutschmeister”.

On June 3 1696, the regiment was reviewed in Donauwörth. Effective command was assumed by Lieutenant-Colonel Damian Hugo Count Virmond. The 8 new coys were transported by ship on the Danube River to Hungary: 2 coys were stationed at Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK), the others at Szolnok, Szegedin and Eger in Hungary. The 4 initial coys, then posted at Peterwardein, marched to Buda under Count Virmond.

On September 11 1697, the Leib-Bataillon fought under Prince Eugène de Savoie in Rabutin's Corps against the Turks in the Battle of Zenta. Meanwhile, the remaining 8 coys garrisoned various places in Transylvania.

In 1698, the regiment saw once more action in Hungary.

The regiment drew its replacements from the Rhenish Palatinate and from the Teutonic Orders numerous and widespread dominions in southern Germany.

During Rákóczi's War of Independence, on August 3 1708, the regiment took part in the Battle of Trencsén in Slovakia against Rakoczy's rebels. In 1709, it was present at the siege of the Castle of Arva (present-day Orava/SK) and, in 1710, at the siege of Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK).

In 1712, towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was sent to the Netherlands were it was involved in actions at Quesnoy and Landrecy.

In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment was sent to Italy where it fought at Parma, Quistello and Guastala.

The regiment remained in Italy until 1748. Afterwards it garrisoned various places in Bohemia and Hungary.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 4 battalions (2 grenadier coys and 16 fusilier coys) for a total of 2,300 men. This was the administrative organisation of the regiment. However, the tactical organisation differed: 2 field fusilier battalions, each of 6 companies; 2 grenadier companies (usually converged with grenadiers from other battalions into an ad hoc unit); and 1 garrison battalion of 4 companies (see Austrian Line Infantry Organisation for more details).

Elector Clemens August, proprietor of the regiment - Source: Castle of Langenselbold, photo by H. Skala

The colonel proprietor was always the reigning Grand Master of the Teutonic Order:

  • since 1695: Franz Ludwig Duke of Bavaria, and Elector of Mainz and Trier
  • from April 1732: Grand Master Prince Clemens August von Wittelsbach (Bavaria), Prince Elector of Cologne
  • from February 1761: Charles Alexander Duke of Lorraine (brother of the Roman Emperor Franz Stephan)

The successive colonel-commanders of the regiment were (since 1736):

  • since 1736: Josef Baron Heydorf
  • from 1739: Anton Count Colloredo
  • from 1744: Wilhelm Baron von Lestwitz
  • from 1750: Karl Count Colloredo
  • from 1753: Karl Ludwig Baron von Lestwitz
  • from 1756: Karl Mohr von Waldt (killed in the battle of Kolin)
  • from 1757: Franz Count Callenberg
  • from 1760: Johann Christoph Baron von Meichsner zu Alekhofen
  • from 1768: von Mayer (interim)
  • from 1770: Joseph Christoph Baron Meichsner zu Alekhofen

On March 5 1763, after the Seven Years War, both field battalions of the regiment marched to Bohemia, arrived in Ellbogen (present-day Loket/CZ) on March 14. It remained in Ellbogen until May. Afterwards, the regiment marched to Lohr in Württemberg where it embarked abroad ships who transported it on the Rhine up to Cologne and then to Bruxelles where it arrived on June 19. Meanwhile, the third battalion, formerly garrisoning Vienna, also went to the Austrian Netherlands (present-day Belgium), arriving at Mons on July 21. After several years, the regiment was finally reunited. On October 17, Archduke Charles de Lorraine, proprietor of the regiment, reviewed it at Mons.

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 4".

Service during the War

At the beginning of the war, in 1756, the regiment was garrisoning Ofen/Buda (present-day Budapest) in Hungary. At the end of September, 8 coys and the grenadiers marched towards Bohemia to join FML Piccolomini's Corps assembling near Königgrätz, while 4 coys remained in Esseg in Hungary. By the end of the year, the regiment was posted in Northern Moravia, on the Silesian border.

Did you know that...
Major Soro - Source: Treuenfest
Count Johann Soro was born 1730 in Buda in Hungary. His father was FML Johann Sebastian Count Soro who raised an Italian Freikompanie during the War of the Austrian Succession. Johann Soro served in this company. After the war, when this Freikorps was disbanded, Count Soro joined Infanterie Regiment Deutschmeister. He lost a leg at the Battle of Kolin in 1757. Once recovered he returned to his regiment and served until February 9 1759. Afterwards, he was appointed commander of Temesvár in Transsylvania where he improved the organization in the Banate. In 1788, he was promoted to lieutenant-field-marshal (FML) and commanding general in the Banate. In 1805, he was promoted to Feldzeugmeister (FZM). Count Soro died on February 15 1809 in Lugos, Transsylvania after 66 years of service in the army.

Anecdote contributed by Harald Skala

At the end of April 1757, 2 bns and the grenadiers were sent to join Field Marshal Daun's reserve army at Böhmisch Brod (present-day Český Brod/CZ), the Leib-Bataillon was at Litovel/CZ. On June 18, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed on the left of the second line in Plonquet's Brigade. Along with Baden-Baden Infantry and Botta Infantry, deployed behind Bříství, it repulsed the first Prussian. Major Johann Count Soro of the regiment, commanded a battalion of grenadiers and distinguished himself. Despite receiving a musket shot in a leg, he remained at the head of his grenadiers for two hours and repeatedly counter-attacked the advancing Prussians till he finally fainted. His soldiers brought him back to the field-hospital. However, when Soro was informed that the situation was deteriorating, he returned to lead his grenadiers in a bayonet attack. Together with Colonel Kinsky of Botta Infantry, they drove the Prussians back. During this attack a cannonball crushed his right leg. The total losses of the regiment in this battle: 31 staff officers including colonel Mohr, 33 NCOs and 466 men. All grenadier officers have been lost. Due to these heavy losses, the regiment could now field a single battalion and only one grenadier coy. For their outstanding courage, the regiment received 6,203 guldens from Maria Theresa, furthermore all wounded received double monthly pay. Later, on July 15, during the retreat of the Prussian army towards Saxony, the regiment was part of FML Maquire's Corps and was involved in the storming of Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí). Its grenadiers attacked a gate but were driven back. The regiment also took part in an action against Zittau. On August 24, Major Soro was promoted second lieutenant-colonel. Afterwards, the regiment remained idle for nearly two months in the neighbourhood of Breslau. Its grenadiers were attached to Sprecher's Grenadier Corps. Meanwhile in September, the third battalion, who had been left behind at Esseg in Hungary, was transferred to Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ). In October and November, 300 men of the regiment led by Captains Quanne and Spurlati were at the siege and capture of Schweidnitz in General Nàdasdy's Corps. On November 22, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Siscovicz's Brigade, in the second line of the infantry centre under FZM Baron Kheul while its grenadiers were with Sprecher's Corps. The grenadiers stormed the village Gräbschen while the regiment fought near Pilsnitz. Around 6:00 p.m., after four attacks the Prussians were finally driven out of the village. The regiment stormed two entrenchments, and captured 9 canons 1 howitzer and 1 mortar. It lost 37 men killed, 8 officers and 117 men wounded. During this battle, the regiment was under the command of the Obristwachtmeister Baron Haack who had temporarily replaced the sick Colonel Callenberg. On December 5, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Leuthen where it was deployed in Haller's Brigade in the second line of the infantry left wing under Colloredo. Towards the end of the battle, this battalion was ordered to defend the bridge near Lissa. After this defeat, FM Daun concentrated the remnants of the army around Breslau and then marched through Schweidnitz and Landshut to Bohemia. On December 18, his troops passed the border. During the retreat, the regiment had lost all of its baggage. On the way, 300 men under Captain Horle had been left in Schweidnitz to form part of the garrison. Another 100 men under Captain Count Artz had been thrown into Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ). The regiment took its winter-quarters around Königgrätz. On December 21, when Breslau surrendered to the Prussians, 5 officers and 62 men of the regiment were taken prisoners.

In 1758, the regiment formed part of FM Daun's army of Northern Bohemia posted around Königsgrätz. On April 18, when the Fortress of Schweidnitz, Captain Horle and 205 men of the regiment became prisoners. At the beginning of the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment was still part of Daun's army now posted at Leitomischl (present-day Litomyšl/CZ). On May 23, when Daun advanced to Zwittau (present- Svitavy/CZ), the grenadiers were in Lacy's Corps forming the vanguard while the regiment was placed in the first line. On June 17, Daun's army encamped at Prödlitz (present-day Předlice/CZ) and Eywanowitz (present-day Ivanovice/CZ). In July, during the retreat of the Prussian army after the unsuccessful siege of Ölmütz, the grenadiers were once more attached to Lacy's Corps in the vanguard of the Austrian army. They were involved in heavy fighting near Krönau (present-day Křenov/CZ), losing 5 men killed and 9 wounded. By August 2, the regiment was serving in the first line of Daun's main army near Jaromirs. Later in August, the regiment (including its grenadiers) was sent to join a corps under FZM Prince Baden-Durlach, posted on the Silesian border near Schönberg (present-day Sulików/PL) to defend Silesia and Upper Lusatia. In September, this corps marched by Löbau to Wilthen. In October, even though the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Hochkirch, it occupied the former Prussian entrenchments after the battle. In October, the regiment, as part of FZM Harsch's Corps, was present at the Siege of Neisse (present-day Nysa/PL). On October 9, Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Meichsner arrived at Neisse with the third battalion of the regiment who was escorting the heavy artillery from Brünn/CZ to Neisse. At the beginning of November, the siege was lifted and the regiment took its winter-quarters around Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí). The third battalion returned to Brünn. Obristwachtmeister Mayer with his battalion was posted near Zittau till the end of the year. On December 4, Major Johann Count Soro, who had lost his right leg at the Battle of Kolin the previous year, received the Knight Cross in the third promotion of the Military Order of Maria-Theresa.

On February 2 1759, Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Soro was promoted to colonel and appointed commander of Temesvár. In mid-March, the regiment joined FML Wolffersdorff's Corps near Freudenthal (present-day Bruntal/CZ). On April 15, Wolffersdorf made a junction with FML Marquis de Ville near Hotzenplotz (present-day Osoblaha/CZ). At the end of April, de Ville retreated to Freudenthal and later to Hermannstadt (present-day Heřmanovice/CZ) where he remained till the end of June. In July, de Ville went to Lissa (present-day Lasow/PL). At the beginning of September, de Ville made a junction with FML Beck's Corps near Görlitz. However, the prussians forced de Ville to abandon his camp. De Ville then went to Bautzen to defend the magazines there. On September 24, the regiment was transferred to Loudon's Corps and marched to Grünberg (present-day Zielona Gora/PL) where Loudon made a junction with the Russians. On November 2, Loudon left the Russians and marched through Krakau to Teschen (present-day Český Těšín/CZ). The regiment then took his winter-quarters near Leipnik (present-day Lipník/CZ). On December 27, the regiment received order to march immediately to Prague. Colonel Callenberg captured some sledges to speed up his movement. On its way, the regiment received new orders instructing it to také new winter-quarters around Eisenbrod (present-day Železný Brod/CZ).

On January 6 1760, the regiment arrived to its assigned winter-quarters around Eisenbrod. On March 13, the regiment was directed to Reichenberg (present-day Liberec/CZ) and later joined FML Beck's Corps. By April 15, the regiment was at Albersdorf near Zittau where it was joined by Colonel von Meichsner zu Alekhofen and its third battalion arriving from Brünn. The regiment was sent to Loudon's Corps and accompanied it to Frankenstein in Silesia. On June 23, the regiment and its grenadiers took part in the Battle of Landeshut: the grenadiers under FML Campitelli in the first line, the regiment in the second line under FML Müffling. At 2:00 a.m., four howitzers planted on the Steinberg gave the signal to engage combat. A heavy thunderstorm with rain began but Loudon didn't stop the attack of his four columns. Loudon Infantry and Joseph Esterházy having failed to capture the Kirchberg, FZM Loudon sent Deutschmeister Infantry to attack this hill. The regiment went orderly forwards, drove the Prussians back at the point of the bayonet, captured their guns and pursued them. The next hill was conquered at the first attack. The battle was a resounding success for Loudon. On August 15, Loudon's Corps was surprised and defeated in the Battle of Liegnitz. The combat lasted for three hours but Loudon finally retreated in good order. During this battle, the regiment was repeatedly attacked by the Prussian cavalry but managed to retreat behind the artilery positioned at Binowitz. The regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Schumann and 184 men killed, Colonel Meichsner, 11 officers and 62 men wounded. Loudon made a junction with the Austrian main army and marched to Freiburg. At the beginning of September, the Prussians marched to Landeshut, Loudon and his corps were directed to Giessmannsdorf (present-day Gościszów/PL). In October, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Cosel. The regiment took its winter-quarters around Glatz (present-day Klodsko/PL).

On March 22 1761, the regiment was instructed to Silberberg (present-day Srebrna Gora/PL) to join Loudon's Corps for operations in Silesia. By May, it was part of General Ellrichshausen's detachment. On December 3, the regiment marched to Hausdorf (present-day Jugow/PL) while its third battalion marched towards Vienna where it arrived on December 24.

In May 1762, the regiment was initially attached to Hadik's Corps, later to FML Brentano's Corps. In June, FM Daun sent Major Baron Hautzenberg, 3 officers and 200 men of the regiment to Schweidnitz to reinforce the garrison. At the beginning of June, Frederick II took position at Bunzelwitz. On June 6 in early morning, a large Prussian corps (26 bns, 50 sqns) surprised Brentano's little corps but were finally driven back, retreating to Baumgarten. Brentano then retreated to Dittersbach (present-day Walbrzych Glowny/PL). On June 14, Maria Theresa sent a letter to Brentano, congratulating him for the excellent behaviour of his troops in this action. On August 16, the regiment (now part of Lacy's Corps) fought in the Battle of Reichenbach. Afterwards FM Daun retired to Glatz with his army. The Prussians then lay siege to Schweidnitz. The commander of the fortress, FML Guasco defended the fortress well. On October 8, a powder magazine in the Jauernick fort exploded. On October 11, Guasco surrendered. The aforementioned detachment of Major Hautzenberg was taken prisoners. On October 20, the regiment marched towards to Saxony, arriving at Dresden on December 2. There, he joined Hadik's Corps and took its winter-quarters around Dresden.



Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture.
Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a template made by Richard Couture
Uniform Details
as per the Albertina Handschrift of 1762

completed with other sources where necessary
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener, a small yellow button and 2 yellow/blue pompons
Grenadier bearskin with a small brass frontplate and a white bag laced blue
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white with 3 yellow buttons under the right lapel and 1 yellow button in the small of the back on each side
Shoulder Straps blue (white in 1757) fastened by a yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels blue with 7 yellow buttons (2 groups of 3 and an isolated one at the top)
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs blue with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks white (blue until 1760) with yellow fasteners
Waistcoat white (blue until 1760) with 2 rows of 9 yellow buttons (3-3-3) and with horizontal pockets (each with 3 yellow buttons)
Breeches white (blue in 1757)
Gaiters one pair of black (for winter) and one pair of white gaiters (for summer and parade)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black shoes

Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers). Grenadiers carried a sabre while fusiliers carried only a bayonet.

Other interpretations The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift shows a white shoulder strap.


The officers (according to the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762) wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a green and white cockade
  • black neckstock
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellow and black silk sash

Senior officers carried sticks identifying their rank:

  • lieutenant: bamboo stick without knob
  • captain: long rush stick with a bone knob
  • major: long rush stick with a silver knob and a small silver chain
  • lieutenant-colonel: long rush stick with a larger silver knob without chain
  • colonel: long rush stick with a golden knob

Sergeants carried a halberd and a wooden stick.

Corporals carried a halberd.


As per a regulation of 1755, musicians were now distinguished from troopers only by blue swallow nests on the shoulders.

N.B.: Donath illustrates 4 horizontal laces on each sleeve and a wide yellow lace edging the cuffs.

The drum had a brass barrel decorated with black flames at the bottom and with a black double headed Eagle on a yellow field. Rims were decorated with red and white diagonal stripes. The bandolier was white.


All German infantry regiments carried identical colours: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The hand painted colours were made of silk and measured Size 178 cm x 127 cm. The 260 cm long flagpoles had golden finial and were decorated with black and yellow spirals of cloth.

The colonel colour was carried by the first battalion.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne):

  • field: white
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): the Immaculate Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud, crushing a snake under her foot and surrounded by rays
  • reverse (left): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
Leibfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

Regimental flags (Regimentsfahne):

  • field: yellow
  • border: alternating white and yellow outer waved triangles pointing inwards, red and black inner waved triangles pointing outwards
  • obverse (right): crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the "Lothringen-Toscanian" arms on a shield and the initials of the Emperor CF (Corregens Franciscus) on the left wing and IM (Imperator Magnus) on the right
  • reverse (left): unarmed and crowned Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Hungaria and Bohemia on a shield and the initials M on the left wing and T on the right
Regimentsfahne – Source: Frédéric Aubert

In fact, the situation on the field was slightly more complex than this, since colours were usually replaced only when worn out. It is fairly possible that some regiment who had been issued colours of the 1743 pattern were still carrying them at the beginning of the Seven Years' War. For more details, see Austrian Line Infantry Colours.


Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762

Bilderhandschrift Delacre: Militair Etat der Ganzen Kayl., Königl. Armee Wienn 1757

Bleckwenn, Hans; Die Regimenter der Kaiserin, Gedanken zur "Albertina Handschrift" 1762 des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien, Köln: 1967

Funcken, Liliane and Fred , Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Dihm, Dr. Hermann; Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Duffy, Christopher; "By Force of Arms." Volume II of The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War. Emperor's Press, Chicago 2008

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Hausmann, Friedrich, Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias, Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums, vol. 3, Vienna: 1967

Kessel, Eberhard; Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, comissioned by the (German Army) Research Departement of Military History [Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt – MGFA], edited by Thomas Lindner, Paderborn 2007 – the recent reedit of the missing volumes of the early 20th c. Großer Generalstab publications above

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called „Brauer-Bogen"), Berlin 1926-1962, Österreich-Ungarn – 1756-63

Kornauth, Friedrich, Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Muhsfeldt, Th.; Abzeichenfarben der K. und K. Regimenter zu Fuss im Jahre 1757 und früher, in Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des militärischen Tracht, No. 12, 1904

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Seidel, Paul; Nochmals österreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Clio

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 26

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Treuenfest, A. v.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regimentes Hoch- und Deutschmeister Nr. 4, Vienna 1879

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.


User:Zahn for information about this regiment and Harald Skala for reviewing the entire article