Johann Pálffy Infantry

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Origin and History

Preysach Infantry - Copyright: Harald Skala

On December 15 1756, Johann Leopold (János Lipót) Count Pálffy ab Erdöd was appointed colonel and, on the same day, received a decree to enlist a Hungarian infantry regiment of 2,410 men (2 field battalions of 6 companies each and one garrison battalion of 4 companies). The recruits should be raised in Croatia, Slavonia and several Hungarian Komitats (counties). The new regiment was built around 250 men contributed by already existing Hungarian regiments, in addition 916 recruits came from the Portal-Rekruten (Hungarian militia). Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand von Ujházy was transferred to the new regiment from Joseph Esterházy Infantry. The regiment had to be completed for April 1757 but, due to several obstacles, Pálffy was only able to present a single battalion (the Leibbataillon) and one grenadier company in June 1757. Lieutenant-Colonel Ujházy had died in April and had been replaced by Josef Baron Formentini from Bethlen Infantry.

N.B.: There were two regiments named Pálffy: this one, designated as Johann Pálffy, and Leopold Pálffy Infantry.

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).

During the Seven Years' War, the chefs of the regiment were:

  • since December 15 1756: Johann Leopold Count Pálffy ab Erdöd
  • from March 17 1758: Jacob von Preysach, GFWM

During the Seven Years' War, its colonel-commander was:

  • since December 15 1756: Colonel Johann Leopold Count Pálffy ab Erdöd
  • from March 17 1758: Josef Baron Formentini
  • from May 8 1760: Johann von Komka

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 39".

Service during the War

On July 16 1757, The “Leibbattailon” and the grenadiers left Ofen. On July 31, they arrived at Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ) and went from there to Olmütz where Count Pálffy took command. In September, the regiment was allocated to the corps of GFWM Count Krottendorf at Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ). The regiment was later used as guard for the heavy artillery placed in Eastern Bohemia. Count Pállfy urged with the Hofkriegsrat (War Council) to transfer his regiment (still consisting of only one battalion of 854 men) to the field army. His request was finally accepted and at the end of October the regiment was sent to Nádasdy's Corps who had laid siege to Schweidnitz who surrendered on November 14. On November 22, the regiment fought in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry centre of Nádasdy's corps.. In this battle, the battalion lost here 21 men killed , 80 wounded and 25 taken prisoners. On November 23, the second grenadier company arrived from Ofen. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, still part of Nádasdy's Corps, was deployed in the second line of the Reserve of the left wing under Marshal Forgách. The regiment lost 47 men killed, 4 officers and 54 men wounded, one officer and 62 men taken prisoners. Only 105 men managed to retire towards Königgrätz while 120 men led by Captain Guretzky formed part of the garrison of Schweidnitz. Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel Formentini had been trying to complete the enlistment of recruits for another battalion in Hungary and Croatia. By October 1, three companies were sent to Brünn but were soon redirected to Esseg. Together with a fourth company, these four companies now formed the “garrison battalion”.

In January 1758, the regiment had 344 men fit for duty in the field, and 219 men wounded or ill in hospitals. Several other regiments were quite weak too. The remaining men from Johann Pálffy Infantry were combined with some men from Leopold Pálffy Infantry, Forgách Infantry and Batthyányi Infantry to form a temporary battalion led by Lieutenant-Colonel Faber. This battalion went to Prague where it arrived on January 16. In March, the two companies of Johann Pálffy Infantry marched from Prague to Brünn. There, they received new recruits from Hungary. On March 11, Colonel Johann Pálffy resigned from his function as proprietor of the regiment because of his unending quarrels with the Hofkriegsrat. The same day, GFWM Jakob von Preysach was appointed as new proprietor of the regiment even though he still was imprisoned in Prussia (he would be freed on May 21 1758). On March 17, Lieutenant-Colonel Formentini was promoted to colonel and commander of the regiment. By the end of March, the regiment counted two field battalions, one garrison battalion and two grenadier companies. On April 18, Colonel Formentini at the head of the “Leibbattailon” and both grenadier companies was sent to Olmütz. From May to July, during the siege of Olmütz, the regiment took part in the defence of the fortress. After the relief of Olmütz, Lieutenant-Colonel Count Kálnoky arrived there with three newly raised companies and the companies previously left at Brünn. The regiment had now two field battalions and two grenadier companies, for a total of 1,503 men. It was allocated to FML de Ville's Corps. This corps marched to Neisse and, from August 4, blockaded the fortress. The siege started on October 15 after the arrival of FZM Harsch with the heavy artillery. However, the siege was not successful. At the beginning of November, Harsch returned to Bohemia. By November 7, de Ville's Corps was at Zuckmantel (present-day Zlaté Hory/CZ). The regiment spent the winter with de Ville's Corps at Troppau (present-day Opava/CZ). and Grätz (present-day Hradec nad Moravicí/CZ). Due to his valour Johann von Komka was promoted to second lieutenant-colonel. The same year, the garrison battalion was transferred from Esseg to Peterwardein.

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment counted a total of 1,513 men and was still attached to de Ville's Corps. On April 17, this corps was attacked near Troppau by 8,000 Prussians under General Fouqué. After heavy fight, the Austrians retreated. In this action, the regiment lost one officer and 60 men wounded brought to a hospital as prisoners of war, the Prussians also captured the baggage of the regiment. The regiment later camped at Weidenau (present-day Vidnava/Moravia). It remained in this region until July 4. On July 13, as part of de Ville's Corps, it arrived at Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ). On 18 July, as part of the advance guard under GFWM Jahnus von Eberstädt, the regiment took part in the combat of Lindenau where it lost 6 men. The regiment then marched to Grüssau (present-day Krzeszow/PL) and, on July 22, was involved in a combat against Prussian forces under General Fouqué. The regiment, led by Colonel Formentini, also distinguished itself in another combat near Gottesberg (present-day Boguszow/PL). Later on, it marched to Friedland (present-day Miroszow/PL) and, on July 28, it stormed a Prussian redoubt. GFWM Jahnus then retreated with his troops to Dittersbach (present-day Walbrzych Glowny/PL). On August 28, the regiment marched to Schatzlar (present-day Žacléř/CZ). On August 30, it arrived at Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ). On October 10, the regiment was posted at Reichenberg (present-day Liberec/CZ) to support General Beck's Corps at Zittau. On October 25, it returned to Trautenau. On November 23, it was once more sent to Silesia with Simbschen Infantry to support General Drašković's light troops. By the end of the year, the two field battalions had only 836 men fit for service while the garrison battalion at Peterwardein counted 1,100 men. After some weeks without action, the regiment returned to Trautenau where it arrived on January 10 1760.

In 1760, the grenadiers had their winter-quarters in Trautenau; and the battalions at Starkstadt (present-day Stárkov/CZ), Eipel (present-day Úpice/CZ) and Polic (present-day Police nad Metují/CZ). At the end of April, some recruits arrived from the garrison battalion thus increasing the total strength of the field battalions to 1,503 men. The same month, due to his bad health conditions, Colonel Formentini was appointed military commander of Gratz in Austria. On May 8, he was replaced by Johann von Komka as colonel of the regiment. In early June, during the operations in Silesia, the regiment was part of the Austrian army under Field-Marshal Ernst Gideon Baron Loudon. More precisely, it was attached to Wolfersdorf's Corps posted near Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ). On June 23, the regiment was at the Battle of Landeshut where it formed part of a detachment (including also 3 Grenzer bns, 5 cuirassier sqns and 5 hussar sqns) under Major-General Saint-Ignon, charged to outflank the Prussian positions and to cut their line of retreat. In this battle, the regiment lost a total of 182 men. Until July 15, it was then posted near Schweidnitz. By the end of July, it had joined General Harsch's troops who had laid siege to Glatz and was used as trench guards. On July 26, the regiment distinguished itself during the storming of the fortress. FZM Loudon praised Lieutenant-Colonel Josef von Erös, Major Baron Splényi and Grenadier Captain Johann von Zappini in his relation of the events. During the siege, the regiment had lost 15 men killed and 36 wounded. At the end of July, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful siege of Breslau. On August 15, it fought in the Battle of Liegnitz where it was deployed in the second line. It suffered heavy losses (50 men killed,8 officers and 52 men wounded, and 97 men missing, most of them had been abandoned on the battlefield wounded and had been taken prisoners). After some manoeuvres in Silesia and Upper Lusatia the regiment took up its winter-quarters at Bischofswerda on December 17. It then counted 1,908 men (279 of them wounded or sick).

In 1761, the regiment was allocated to the corps of FML Beck and Major-General Vogelsang and saw no great action. After a short period spent in Zittau the regiment was sent to Liegnitz (present-day Legnica/PL) and Jauer (present-day Jawor/PL) and took up its winter-quarters at the end of October near Hochkirch. By then, it counted 1,737 effective men.

In January 1762, the regiment guarded the passes between Bohemia and Upper Lusatia near Friedland (present-day Frýdlant/CZ), Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) and Zittau. The “Obrist-Battailon” was at Görlitz. On March 8, the entire regiment was concentrated there. In April, as part of Daun's main army, it went to Silesia. Daun concentrated his army near Schweidnitz, the regiment (now 1,413 men) was with Modena Cuirassiers and Anspach Cuirassiers in the brigade of Generals Gourzy and Ellrichshausen which belonged to Loudon's Corps de Reserve. At the beginning of June, two companies (Captain Terney and Count Berényi) counting a total of 330 men were sent to Schweidnitz to support the garrison. From July 21 Schweidnitz was blockaded by the Prussians. The detachment contributed by the regiment was converged with detachments from Baden-Baden, Sincère, Alt-Colloredo (Anton), Leopold Pálffy, Waldeck and Deutschmeister to form an ad hoc battalion commanded by Major von Hausenberg from Deutschmeister Infantry for the defence of Schweidnitz. The detachment of Preysach Infantry was placed in the “Bögenfort”. Captain Count Berényi had the function of “tranché-major”. After the capitulation of the fortress, on October 11, some 8,000 Austrians became prisoners of war. Meanwhile, the two field battalions had spent the whole time in their positions near Charlottenbrunn (present-day Jedlina Zdrój/PL). On October 3, they had taken part in a successful attack led by Major-General Botta on some Prussian outposts. In November, the regiment camped around Lomnitz (present-day Lomnica/PL). It took up its winter-quarter in Bohemia around Schwadowitz (present-day Svatoňovice/CZ).

In 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the military governor of Slavonia, FZM Mercy, suggested to disband Preysach Infantry and Simbschen Infantry but this proposal was not accepted by the Hofkriegsrat. The regiment was rather sent to Lombardy where it arrived on July 28. His garrison place was Pavia, the regiment proprietor FML Preysach was military commander of that city. Meanwhile, the garrison battalion was transferred to Stuhlweißenburg (present-day Székesfehérvár/HU)



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 in 1757 and 1762
as per the Delacre, Bautzener and Albertina Handschriften and the Raspischen Buchhandlung publication

completed with other sources where necessary
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white fastener on the right side (white fastener on the left side in 1762) and a small yellow button on the left side; no cockade nor pompoms (black within yellow pompoms in each lateral corne in 1762)
Grenadier bearskin probably with a red bag
Neckstock one red and one black (for parades the regimental commanders agreed before on the colour of the neckstocks)
Coat white lined white (lined red in 1762) without buttons (in 1762: 6 white laced buttonholes arranged 1-2-3, on each side; 6 white buttons on the right side)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps white edged red fastened by a red button (both shoulders)
Lapels none
Pockets vertical pockets without buttons
Cuffs white pointed cuffs edged yellow (red cuffs in 1762) without buttons
Turnbacks white (red with white points in 1762)
Waistcoat red dolman edged yellow (white in 1762) with 3 rows of small yellow buttons linked with yellow (white in 1762) brandebourgs
Trousers red Hungarian trousers decorated with yellow (white in 1762) laces
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white and red barrel sash
Cartridge Box black with a small brass plate carrying the initials “MT”
Bayonet Scabbard black with brass fittings
Scabbard black with brass fittings
Footgear short black boots

Troopers were armed with a musket (Model 1745 for fusiliers, Model 1754 for grenadiers), a bayonet and a sabre.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates the 1762 uniform without pompoms in the lateral corne, without shoulder straps, with a white within red cockade at the tricorne and with yellow buttons on each side of the coat. The barrel sash is red and yellow.

Donath illustrates red tassels in the lateral cornes of the tricorne, medium blue laced buttonholes on the coat, a red dolman edged medium blue and a yellow and red barrel sash.


Sergeants and corporals carried a short musket and a bayonet.


As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, the officers wore a different uniform in 1762:

  • tricorne laced gold with a white and green cockade
  • black neckstock
  • red waistcoat edged in gold
  • no turnbacks
  • white waistbelt
  • red trousers decorated with a gold lace on the seams
  • yellow Hungarian boots

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


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

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 Hungarian infantry regiments were supposed to carry the same colours as the German infantry regiments: a white Leibfahne (colonel) and yellow Regimentsfahne. The colours were made of silk. The 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 on the left wing and JM on the right
Leibfahne – Source: PMPdeL

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 on the left wing and JM 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: PMPdeL

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.


This article contains texts from the following sources, which are now in the public domain:

  • Mayer, F.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regimentes Nr. 39 gegenwärtig Großfürst Alexis von Russland, Vienna 1875
  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 41

Other sources

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

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

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

Friese, Ulf-Joachim, Quellen zur Uniformierung der österreichisch-ungarischen Armee 1740-1763

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Harald Skala for the regimental history and Michael Zahn for gathering most of the information about the uniform.