Bavarian Leibregiment

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Bavarian Army >> Bavarian Leibregiment

Origin and History

The unit was established on 29 June 1682 under the name of Regiment "Berlo zu Fuß" by Elector Max Emanuel for the Bavarian Army. It was formed from the Ingolstadt Governor's company of Generalfeldzeugmeister Johann Adolf Count Berlo de Coquier, who was also the first owner of the regiment until his death on 6 March 1683, the company of Oberwachtmeister Ferdinand Franz de St. Jure Chevalier de Mercy et Marange, who was the first colonel commander (the name became common only in 1872) of the regiment until 14 July 1683, the company of Captain Johann Albrecht Baron von Notthaft auf Weißenstein, who succeeded de Mercy as Colonel Commander and held the command until 1688, as well as three newly established companies. Its strength was 1,200 men and 22 horses.

In 1683 the regiment was increased to 8 companies of 200 men. On 12 September 1683, it participated in the battle of Kahlenberg near Vienna against the Ottoman army besieging the city. Within three weeks it lost half of its men due to combat, but above all to illness. In December 1683 Colonel de Mercy also died of a fever. After that Max Emanuel became the owner of the regiment until his death on 26 February 1726. On 5 July 1684, it was renamed "Kurfürstliches Leibregiment zu Fuß". The regiment took part in the sieges of Ofen. For the first siege from 11 September to 1 November 1684, only his combat strength (1,200 men and 57 horses) is known; during the second (17 June to 12 September 1686) it lost 101 killed, 110 wounded and 100 men on sick leave, of which 50 succumbed to their illnesses. After the siege and storming of Belgrade from 10 August to 6 September 1688, the regiment was still 674 men strong.

Since 1685, the unit was always called "Leibregiment". The owners of the regiment were the successive electors or emperors.

In 1688 at the beginning of the Palatinate War of Succession, the regiment was divided into 2 grenadier and 12 fusilier companies with a total strength of 2,100 men. During the war, the regiment played a major role in the shelling and siege of Mainz (26 July to 11 September 1689). After the campaigns in northern Italy (1691 to 1693) a third battalion was established. On 1 April 1699, with the incorporation of the Grenadier companies of the Lützelburg, Maffei and Haxthausen regiments, the regiment had 532 grenadiers in a distinct battalion, and 1,045 fusiliers organised in two battalion..

Since its creation, the successive owners of the regiment were:

  • from 29 June 1682: Johan Adolf Berlo de Coquer
  • from 1683: Ferdinand Franz de St. Jure Chevalier de Mercy et Marange
  • from 1684 to 1726: Elector Max Emanuel

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment numbered one grenadier and two fusilier battalions with a total of 2,100 men.

On 20 September 1703, the grenadier battalion of the regiment was most heavily involved in the Battle of Höchstädt. In this battle, the regiment lost about 500 men, but captured some 4,000 prisoners and 37 cannon, four colours, nine standards and the entire imperial baggage.

In January 1704, the regiment could muster 2,125 men. The same month, it took part in the capture of Passau. On 2 July, it fought in the Battles of Schellenberg. On 13 August, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Blenheim. After these two battles, it was decimated. In September, it was at the defence of Ulm. The regiment then accompanied the Elector to the Spanish Netherlands, where it still counted 8 grenadier and 16 fusilier companies with a total strength of about 1,500 men.

On 23 May 1706, the regiment took part in the Battle of Ramillies, where it suffered a heavy defeat and lost all but one of its colours and 32 officers as well as 465 men taken prisoner. The grenadier battalion and companies were then disbanded or disarmed.

In 1707, one battalion went to the Rhine and joined the army of the Maréchal de Villars. During the Winter 1707/1708, it was in Strasbourg.

On 11 September 1709, the regiment participated in the Battle of Malplaquet, but it was not heavily engaged and suffered only minor losses.

On 1 September 1710, the regiment was again increased to two battalions of one grenadier and five fusilier companies.

After the Peace of Rastatt, the regiment returned to Munich.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1700 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details as per
Anton Hoffmann
Headgear
Fusilier black tricorne laced white; cornflower blue cockade edged white fastened to the left side of the tricorne with a small brass button
Grenadier fur bonnet with no front plate.
Neck stock black
Coat cornflower blue with white lining, edged white around the neck and in front; white buttons with white laced buttonholes and 1 white button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Cuffs white, each with 3 white buttons and 3 white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat cornflower blue with white buttons
Breeches cornflower blue
Stockings cornflower blue fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters no information available
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt brown leather
Waist-belt brown leather
Cartridge Pouch black leather pouch The cover flap was decorated with a brass badge.
Bayonet Scabbard black leather
Scabbard black leather
Footwear brown leather shoes


Armaments consisted of a musket, a bayonet and a sword. Grenadiers were also armed with hand grenades.

NCOs

no information available yet

Officers

Officers wore a uniform similar to that of the privates but it was often of reversed colours. They also wore a blue and white striped sash.

Musicians

Musicians often wore reversed colours.

The drums were painted in a blue and white 'flame' pattern.

Colours

Initially every company of infantry had its own colour. The Leibfahne had to be white with the image of the Mother of God on one side, some times on both. The colours of the lieutenant-colonel and major companies were supposed to be blue. However, there was no general regulation pattern and the owner of the regiment could express his wishes as to the exact design. Most companies carried a simple rhombic patterned colour, the number of rows could vary.

In 1694 the "Leibregiment" received five colours with rhombic pattern in addition to its Leibfahne.

Tentative reconstruction
Leibfahne- Copyright: Kronoskaf
Company Colour- Copyright: Kronoskaf
Company Colour- Copyright: Kronoskaf
Company Colour- Copyright: Kronoskaf

In 1702, colours with completely different designs were issued to the regiments that were to invade Tyrol. These colours were decorated with laurel wreaths or depictions of animals accompanied by a martial motto. The remnants of one such flag belonging to the present regiment are kept in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum (BAM Inv.-Nr. A1649) and show a laurel wreath crowned by a ribbon with the motto "QUO PROPRIOR EO ACRIOR" on a white field; the borders decorated by a pattern of blue waves. The central device is no longer visible and may have been an electoral hat, initials or a coat of arms.

Tentative reconstruction
Example of a colour issued in 1702- Copyright: Kronoskaf


References

This article is mostly an abbreviated version of the following article, translated by Jörg Meier:

Other sources

Berry, Peter: The Bavarian Army of the War of the Spanish Succession, Bacchus 6mm

Cantler, D.: Einiges über die Uniformierung der bayrischen Armee, in: Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, No.11, November 1895, p.44

Hoffmann, Anton: Das Heer des blauen Königs. Die Soldaten des Kurfürsten Max II. Emanuel von Bayern 1682 - 1726, Munich 1909

Kraus, Jürgen: Bayerische Fahnen ... vom 16. Jahrhundert bis 1918, Vienna 2018

Münich, Friedrich; Verfasser: Geschichte der Entwicklung der bayerischen Armee seit zwei Jahrhunderten, München 1864

Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Einleitung zur Darstellung der Feldzüge, Vienna 1876

Acknowledgments

Jörg Meier for the initial version of this article