Anhalt-Zerbst Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Anhalt-Zerbst Infantry

Origin and History

This regiment was established 1677 by the Elector of Brandenburg (Kurfürst) Frederick Wilhelm from garrison troops of Pomerania and Mark Brandenburg. Its first colonel was Johann von Zieten, who had previously served in the Imperial Army as lieutenant- colonel. The Elector’s decree was dated 20 February 1679, but the official year of foundation was later determined as 1677.

The regiment had at this time one battalion of 8 companies, each counting 90 musketeers, 45 pikemen and 15 grenadiers, for a total of 1,200 men. The monthly salary of the colonel was 100 talers; of the lieutenant-colonel, 45 talers; of the major, 31 talers; and of a private musketeer, 3 talers.

Its not sure, whether the regiment took part in the campaign against Sweden in 1677–1679. It was probably present at siege of Stettin. On 20 February 1679, Lieutenant-Colonel Johann von Zieten was promoted colonel and “Chef” of the regiment.

In 1687, the regiment garrisoned Minden. In 1688, it was divided into two parts. One part remained as cadre for the original regiment, the second was given to Colonel Magnus Friedrich von Horn. Each battalion had 5 companies of 727 men.

In 1688, one battalion (probably Horn) which was in the Dutch service took part in the campaign in England.

From 1689 to 1697, during the Nine Years' War, the regiment was engaged in the war against France. In May 1690, Johann von Zieten died at Hamm. In November 1690, Elector Frederick III appointed Anton Günther Duke of Anhalt-Zerbst as the new “Chef” of the regiment (now No. 8). The Duke Anhalt-Zerbst was also commander of the first battalion, the other being led by Colonel Horn. Each of these battalions had 5 companies. Since 1690, the regiment was once more in the Dutch service. On 1 July 1690, it took part in the Battle of Fleurus. He also fought in other battles of that war. After the signature of peace at Ryswick, in 1698, the regiment left the Dutch service and returned to its garrison at Minden. The first battalion was reduced to 4 companies; the second, to only one company.

In 1699, the first battalion garrisoned Osterwieck; the second, Minden. The latter had now 2 companies.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regimental Chefs were:

  • from November 1690: Anton Günther Duke of Anhalt-Zerbst

Service during the War

In 1702, the Duke of Anhalt-Zerbst led a corps of 5.000 Prussians (incl. one battalion of his own regiment, now consisting of 12 weak companies) which had been sent by King Frederick I to the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the second battalion (Horn) was part of another corps under Leopold Duke Anhalt-Dessau which also fought in the Netherlands. The regiment remained in the Dutch service until 1713.


From 1700, each Prussian unit started to wear a distinguishing uniform. A regulation was issued in 1709 to standardize the uniform and equipment.


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Mach, A. v.: Geschichte des Königlich-Preußischen Zweiten Infanterie-genannt Königs- Regiments 1677 – 1840, Berlin, Posen and Bromberg, 1843


Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Mach’s book on history of this regiment