Osten Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Palatine Army >> Osten Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1688, his first proprietor was Philipp Prince Sulzbach. In 1690, Ernst Ludwig Duke von Sachsen-Meiningen became proprietor of the regiment.

During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was under the command of Anton Ulrich Duke von Sachsen-Meiningen.

From 1745, Prince Johann von Birkenfeld was proprietor of the regiment.

Since 1756, the regiment enlisted its recruits in the County of Heidelberg.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was not at full strength, totalling only some 1,000 men. It consisted of 2 battalions. Theoretically, each of these battalions should number 1 grenadier coys (100 men) and 5 musketeer coys (each of 140 musketeers). The regimental artillery consisted of 1 gun per battalion, each served by 20 artillerymen detached from the Palatine Artillery.

While campaigning, its grenadiers were usually formed into converged grenadier battalions.

During the Seven Years' War, the chef of the regiment was:

  • from June 12, 1753 until May 28, 1767: Christian Georg Baron von der Osten

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • from 1757 to 1767: Karl Joseph Baron von der Osten

Service during the War

1757

In 1757, the regiment was part of the 6,000 men strong Subsidienkorps (Palatine Auxiliary Corps) hired by France to serve in Germany. On May 1, the regiment, which was garrisoning Heidelberg, was transported to Düsseldorf. It was deployed with Birkenfeld Infantry and Prinz Karl infantry in the brigade of Christian Georg Baron von der Osten.

On May 17, the regiment made a junction with other Palatine infantry regiments in the camp of Derendorf. The regiment, led by Colonel Karl Joseph Baron von der Osten, numbered 1,201 men.

At the end of June, the Palatinate Auxiliary Corps, led by Franz Fortunat Baron Isselbach, advanced through Westphalia to join the French Army of the Lower Rhine, commanded by Maréchal d'Estrées.

On July 6, the Palatine Auxiliary Corps reached the camp of the French Army of the Lower Rhine near Bielefeld.

On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it supported the leading columns of the left wing (several Palatine battalions were deployed in the second line under General de Souvré). After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the French Army of the Lower Rhine from July 31 to August 2.

On September 6, the regiment with other other Palatine battalions led by General von Osten was assigned to Contades's Corps, which marched to Rotenburg an der Wämme. On September 14, Osten<s Brigade (including the present regiment) marched by way of Wittdorf, Celle, Meinersen and Braunschweig to Wolfenbüttel.

On October 27, the Palatine Auxiliary Corps was supposed to march to its winter quarters. On November 16, it was stopped at Hamm and Lippstadt, where it remained until December 8. On that day, the entire corps was recalled to the main army. It marched by way of Herzfeld, Gütersloh, Bielefeld and Herford, and reached Minden on December 18. One battalion remained in Minden, while the 7 other battalions of the corps marched to Celle.

On December 27, the Palatine Corps reached its final winter-quarters, and the present regiment was quartered in Hoya. This position was in the fourth line of the French Army.

1758

In February 1758, the Comte de Clermont, the new commander of the French army, ordered to evacuate Verden and Hoya and the regiment marched to Hameln.

On March 17, the regiment with the other seven Palatine battalions, which were now part of the corps of Lieutenant-General de Villemur, retreated by way of Bielefeld, Warendorf and Münster, and reached Wesel on March 30. Clermont's Army concentrated near Wesel.

In April, when the Comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was sent to Düsseldorf to recover. It remained in this town even during the Allied campaign on the west bank of the Lower Rhine in June.

At the end of June, as part of the garrison of Düsseldorf, the regiment defended the place which was besieged by Allied troops under General von Wangenheim. On July 9, after the ignominious capitulation of Düsseldorf two days before, the regiment marched with the other Palatine troops (with the exception of Isselbach Infantry, which marched to Mannheim) marched by way of Opladen to join Clermont's Army in Cologne.

After this disastrous campaign, the Comte de Clermont was replaced by the Marquis de Contades as commander-in-chief of the Army of the Lower Rhine.

On July 17, the French mistrusting the Palatinate Auxiliary troops, individual battalions were intermingled with French regiments. The present regiment was subordinated to Maréchal de Camp Baron von Osten and Brigadier Count von Harscamp.

By August 20, the regiment was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the second line of Contades's Army.

On September 29, the regiment, along with [[Baaden Infantry}}, was assigned to the corps of Lieutenant-General Chevert (22 battalions), which was sent by way of Unna, Soest and Büren to Kassel to reinforce the Prince Soubise. This corps made a junction with Soubise's Army near Kassel on October 8.

In the night of October 9 to 10, Osten's Brigade and the Dauphin Cavalry Brigade Dauphin reinforced the light troops posted at Dahlheim and drove the enemies back. On October 10, the regiment was at the Battle of Lutterberg, where it was part of Chevert's Corps which won the day by turning the Allied left flank.

On October 12, Chevert<s Corps took the road to return to the main army. On October 17, it reached Büren, and two days later Arnsberg.

On October 23, Chevert's vanguard reached Unna and Werl.

On November 13, the Palatine Auxiliary Corps took up its winter-quarters.

On January 1, 1759, French subsidies not being renewed because the Palatine troops had proven to be quite unwilling allies to the French, the regiment returned to Palatinate where it garrisoned Heidelberg and Mannheim.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform in 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne scalloped white with blue within white pompoms
Grenadier
Osten Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template
Austrian style bearskin with pewter shield and a yellow bag laced white with a white tassel
Neckstock black
Coat blue coat with pewter buttons on the chest and 1 in the small of the back

N.B.: during summer, a linen smock was worn instead of the coat

Collar none
Shoulder Straps yellow with 1 pewter button (left shoulder)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs yellow with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks yellow fastened with a small pewter button
Waistcoat white with 15 pewter buttons
Breeches white
Gaiters black with 22 pewter buttons
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt paille (straw) or white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with 4 little yellow grenades, grenadiers wore an additional little cartridge box at their waistbelt, it was black with one yellow grenade
Bayonet Scabbard natural leather
Scabbard natural leather with brass fittings only at the beginning of war, later none
Footgear black shoes


Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and a curved sword.

NCOs

no information available yet

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • scalloped tricorne with a black cockade and no pompoms
  • silver gorget (since 1755)
  • silver buttons and laces
  • white and blue striped sash (silver and blue for staff officers)
  • white and blue sword frog (silver and blue for staff officers)
  • buff gloves
  • black cane

Grenadier officers used a musket instead of a spontoon. Therefore, they wore a little cartouche (laced gold with a golden front plate) at the waistbelt.

Musicians

no information available yet

Colours

For more details on the various patterns of Palatine colours used during this period, please refer to our article on the Palatine Line Infantry Colours.

Warning: we are still working on the graphical representations of the colours and some details may change during the week of July 16 to 22.

Colours before 1760

Colonel flag (Leibfahne): white field; border consisting of with white and blue flames with golden decorations; centre device consisting of an image of the Madonna standing on a snake, surmounted by a red scroll carrying the motto “Sub Tuum Praesidium Virgo Gloriosa”; each corner monogram consisting of the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor and golden decorations.

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): blue field decorated with golden floral patterns; centre device consisting of the golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor surmounted by a red and gold Electoral cap; each corner monogram consisting of the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor.

Leibfahne - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne - Copyright: Kronoskaf

Colours from 1760

Each battalion carried 2 colours: the first battalion carried the Leibfahne and a 'Kompaniefahne, while the second battalion carried two 'Kompaniefahnen. A red and a yellow variants of the Kompaniefahne seem to have cohabitated.

Colonel flag (Leibfahne): white field; border consisting of with white and blue flames with golden decorations; centre device consisting of an image of the Madonna standing on a snake, surmounted by a red scroll carrying the motto “Sub Tuum Praesidium Virgo Gloriosa”; each corner monogram consisting of the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor and golden decorations.

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen)

  • red variant: red field bordered with a light blue and white lozenges pattern; centre device consisting of the crowned arms of the Elector of Palatinate within a rococo frame, flanked by a trophy of arms and a golden couchant lion, a collar of the Order of Saint Hubertus beneath, the whole resting on a white cloud the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor; each corner monogram consisting of the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor with a cross of Saint Hubertus beneath.
  • yellow variant: yellow field bordered by three rows of white and light blue lozenges; centre device consisting of the crowned arms of of Pfalz-Sulzbach within a rococo frame, flanked by a trophy of arms and a golden couchant lion, the Collar of the Order of St. Hubertus beneath, each corner monogram consisting of the crowned golden cypher of Karl IV Theodor with a cross of Saint Hubertus beneath.
Leibfahne - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne (red variant) - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne (yellow variant) - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

Bezzel, Oskar; Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres ..., Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, V. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925

Pengel, R.D. And G. R. Hurt; Bavaria, Saxony & the Palatinate Supplement: Uniforms and Flags of the Senen Years War, Hopewell: On Military Matters, 1981

Rogge, Christian; The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

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

Acknowledgments

rf-figuren for the initial version of this article.

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Bezzel's work