Prinz Birkenfeld Infantry

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1693. It garrisoned Jülich.

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 count 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:

  • since July 12 1753 until February 5 1780: prince Johann von der Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • since 1752 until 1763: von Reusch

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment was part of the 6,000 men strong Subsidienkorps (Palatine Auxiliary Corps) hired by France to serve in Germany. At the end of June, the Palatinate Auxiliary Corps, the regiment advanced through Westphalia to join the French Lower Rhine Army commanded by maréchal d'Estrées. On July 26, the regiment took part in the battle of Hastenbeck where it supported the leading columns of the left wing. After the victory, it encamped at Grosselsen near Hameln with the main body of the French Lower Rhine Army from July 31 to August 2. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the town of Detmold, Hamm, and Gütersloh; with the other regiments of the Palatine Auxiliary Corps. This position was in the fourth line of the French Army.

In April 1758, when the comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was probably stationed in Düsseldorf or Julich. It remained in these towns even during the Allied campaign on the west bank of the Lower Rhine in June. On August 20, the regiment had joined the Army of the Lower Rhine and was encamped near Wesel where it was placed in the centre of the first line.

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 Jülich.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: rf-figuren from a Not By Appointment template
Uniform in 1757
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne scalloped white with blue within white pompoms
Grenadier
Prinz Birkenfeld 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 3 pewter buttons under the lapels 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 yellow with 7 pewter buttons grouped 1,2,2,2
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

Colours before 1760

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

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): blue field; centre device consisting of the yellow cypher of Karl IV Theodor surmounted by a red and gold Electoral cap; each corner monogram consisting of the yellow cypher of Karl IV Theodor surrounded by laurel branches bound with a red ribbon.

Colours from 1760

Each battalion carried 2 colours.

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

Regimental flags (Kompaniefahnen): blue or yellow field bordered with blue and white squares in a checker pattern; centre device consisting of the Electoral arms on a shield resting on clouds and flanked by a lion passant holding a sword and by a cannon and a flag; each corner monogram consisting of the yellow cypher of Karl IV Theodor surrounded by laurel branches bound with a red ribbon.

References

Bezel, Oskar; Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres ..., Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, München, 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.