Markgraf von Brandenburg-Schwedt Fusiliers
Origin and History
This fusilier regiment was established on July 17 1741, after the capture of Brieg, by Colonel von Stechow of the Garrison Regiment VI, from grenadiers originally belonging to the Württemberger Erbprinz regiment and from prisoners recently exchanged with the Austrians. On November 11, Markgraf Heinrich Friedrich von Brandenburg-Schwedt was appointed commander of the regiment.
The regiment levied its troops in the Upper Silesian districts of Beuthen, Gross-Srehlitz and Pless.
Till 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was initially stationed in the Fortress of Brieg. In 1744, it joined Marwitz's Corps who secured Upper Silesia. In 1745, it was part of the Prussian force defending Schweidnitz.
From 1748, the regiment garrisoned Frankenstein with a dteachment in Reichenbach.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the nominal command of Heinrich Friedrich Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt. However, effective command was assumed by the successive lieutenant-colonels:
- since May 28 1753: Balthasar Rudolf von Schenckendorff
- from April 22 1760 to April 2 1764: Heinrich Werner von Kleist
The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 42.
Service during the War
On January 9 1757, the regiment was reinforced with some 300 men. In April, it took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed on the extreme left of the second line of the infantry centre in Kalckreuth's Brigade. After this battle, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful siege of Prague. In the evening of July 19 near the Kaltenbach (present-day Studený), during the Prussian retreat, the rearguard of the Prince of Prussia came to grip with an Austrian force who attacked the Prussian column, capturing 46 wagons with baggage, ammunition and 184 horses. The regiment came to the rescue of the Prussian column and launched a counter-attack but the Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer and Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer, led by Colonel Wenzel Baron Hnogek von Kleefeld, drove back its attack. In this action, the Prussians lost 486 men killed, 264 wounded, 135 taken prisoners and 423 deserters. On July 22, the II. Battalion was captured while attempting to escape from Zittau which was besieged by the Austrians who had invaded Silesia.
In the Spring and Summer of 1758, during the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Olmütz. On July 7, during the Prussian retreat from Moravia, the regiment along with 8 grenadier coys occupied Krenau but in front of a superior enemy, the detachment retired to neighbouring heights. In November, it was part of a force led by Carl Christoph von Goltz and Paul von Werner who came to the relief of Cosel.
On July 23 1760, its first battalion took part in the Battle of Landeshut where it suffered heavy losses. The battalion finally surrendered.
In August 1761, the regiment was attached to Frederick's main army in the entrenched camp of Bunzelwitz (present-day Bolesławice) near Schweidnitz in Lower Silesia. In September, the regiment was part of Platen's Corps who conducted a raid in Greater Poland. On September 15, the regiment was present at the Engagement of Gostyn but was not involved in combat. On September 18, the regiment was part of the detachment of Brigadier Kleist, sent to Buch (present-day Buk) with prisoners, pontoons and artillery. It was then attached to the Prussian corps charged with the relief of Colberg. On October 22, the regiment took part in the Combat of Gollnow where the Russians stopped Platen's relief convoy. At the end of December, the regiment marched by Schwedt and Berlin and took its winter quarters in Saxony.
On August 16 1762, the regiment fought in the Battle of Reichenbach where its second battalion suffered so heavily that it was virtually annihilated. The regiment then took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz.
N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Fusilier Regiment 33, forming the Grenadier Batallion 33/42 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).
Bleckwenn mentions that, when the regiment was being raised in 1741/42, it was given the mitre cap from the 10 squadrons strong Grenadiere zu Pferde Regiment, which had been demoted following its poor performance in protecting the king from Austrian hussars in a skirmish. This horse grenadier regiment thus gave birth to Dragoon Regiment No. 3 and Dragoon Regiment No. 4, uniformed as normal dragoons with tricorne hats. Its grenadier mitre caps, which resembled the early fusilier caps, went to the newly raised Regiment of Brandenburg-Schwedt which is the subject of the present article.
|Coat||Prussian blue lined red with 2 brass buttons on the right side at the waist and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Privates were armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a curved blade sabre.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:
- no shoulder strap
- cuffs edged with golden lace braids
- yellowish leather gloves
- black and white sabre tassel
NCOs were armed with a sabre and a white half-pikes measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.37 m.) in the fusilier companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).
NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).
The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne wearing a golden scalloped lace, black and white quartered pompoms and a black cockade fastened with a golden strap and a gilt button (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
- black neck stock
- no shoulder strap on the coat
- no turnbacks on the coat
- black and silver sash around the waist
- a silver and gold gorget
Officers carried white spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.
The lace of the drummers consisted of narrow (1.9 cm) and wide (2.4 cm) white braids decorated with orange zigzag stripes.
The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:
- 4 vertical drummer laces and 1 horizontal drummer lace on each shoulder
- coat, lapels, pockets and cuffs edged with the drummer lace
Colonel flag (Leibfahne): White field with orange corner wedges. Centre device consisting of an orange medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, "FR" ciphers) and grenades in gold.
Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): Orange field with white corner wedges. Centre device consisting of an orange medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, "FR" ciphers) and grenades in gold.
The pikes used as staffs for the colours were white.
Bleckwenn, Hans, Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973
Bleckwenn, Hans, Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984
Boltze, Eberhard; Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen nach dem Stande von 1785 nebst Rückblick bis 1740, Dresden, November 1927, pp. 28-29, Annex III and IV
Brauer, M.; Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962
Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn, Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000
Funcken, Liliane and Fred, Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986
Guddat, Martin; Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 324-331
Menzel, Adolf v.: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung, Berlin 1851-1857
Schirmer, Friedrich; Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.