Brandenburg-Bayreuth Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Brandenburg-Bayreuth Infantry

Origin and History

Grenadier of Brandenburg-Bayreuth Infantry - Source: detail from an illustration of Richard Knötel

On 13 January 1701, Emperor Leopold I authorised Christian Ernst Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, Culm und Onolzbach to raise a new infantry regiment of 16 companies, of 150 men each, for a total of 2,400 men. Six companies were already in the margrave's service but the ten others had to be recruited. The new regiment was then sent to Alt-Breisach.

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

  • from 13 January 1701: Christian Ernst Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
  • from 1712 to 18 December 1726: Georg Wilhelm Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth
Did you know that...
Since 1701, Margrave Christian Ernst was also proprietor of the Bayreuth Dragoons and personally led this regiment during first years of the War of the Spanish Succession as its commander. On the other hand, he did not pay much attention to infantry regiment, which he never commanded in the field during all these years. For this reason, nobody made representations in the interest of the regiment with the Vienna authorities, and the unit often suffered from of recruits and funds.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 1701: Lieutenant-Colonel Stefan Thanner von Reicherstorff
  • from September 1705: Jacob Ernst von Gravenreuth
  • from September 1706: Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Ignatius Rumpf (interim)
  • from August 1707 until 1718: Jacob Ernst von Gravenreuth

Service during the War


In 1702, the enlistment of recruits progressed very slowly, only one battalion and 1 grenadier company could take part in the campaign. At the end of April, these 7 companies joined the army of the Margrave Ludwig of Baden. In June, during the Siege of Landau, they were allocated to the corps of FML Count Leiningen-Westerburg. In July, the battalion was deployed in the first line under the command of Major-General Marsigli. On 10 September, the commander of Landau, the French General Comte Mélac, surrendered. After the capture of Landau, the battalion and the grenadiers took up their winter quarters in Alt-Breisach.


In 1703, Stefan Thanner was promoted colonel and remained commander of the regiment. At the end of winter, a French corps under Maréchal Villars attacked the region of the Black Forest. On 9 March, he stormed Kehl. At the end of April, Villars made a junction with the troops of Maréchal Tallard.

From 15 August, the French laid siege to Alt-Breisach. The garrison of the place, led by FML Johann Philipp Count Arco and Major-General Ludwig Ferdinand Count Marsigli consisted of approx. 4,000 men, including 955 men of the present regiment. The French opened the trenches on 22 August and, on 25 August, their batteries opened on the fortress. Meanwhile, another battalion of the regiment (4 companies for a total of 300 men) marched from the Lines of Wissembourg to Freiburg to reinforce the garrison of the place. The artillery of Alt-Breisach was in very poor conditions, and a powder-magazine exploded. On 6 September, Count Arco capitulated, obtaining free withdrawal with the “honours of war.” On 8 September, the garrison (now down to only 3,500 men) marched with 4 guns and 2 mortars under escort to Rheinfeld.

Did you know that...
In February 1704, Count Arco and his officers would be court-martialed by a military court led by FML Thüngen. Count Arco was sentenced to death and beheaded in Bregenz, Count Marsigli and Baron Egkh were degraded. In accordance with this judgment, Colonel Thanner, Major von Stein and some other officers of present regiment should be expelled from the Imperial army, but they were finally pardoned by the Emperor.

After the surrender of Alt-Breisach, the regiment had 911 men, but only 447 were fit for service. One battalion was allocated to the brigade of General Baron Neipperg, and 3 weak companies of the regiment were posted in Freiburg.

By the end of the year, when the Imperial army took up its winter-quarters, the whole regiment was quartered in Freiburg.


At the beginning of 1704, the regiment garrisoned Freiburg with three other Imperial regiments and two Swiss regiments. All these regiments were very weak, they had in total only 2,655 men, led by Major-General Baron Winkelhofen.

On 14 May, the leading French units appeared in front of Freiburg. During the following days, the whole French army bypassed the fortress and reached Villingen on 19 May. During this period, many soldiers of the present regiment deserted, and the new recruits arriving from Eger (present-day Cheb/CZ) had no rifles, and their uniforms were in poor condition.

Prince Eugène decided to recapture Alt-Breisach, he charged the garrison of Freiburg under Major-General of this task. On 10 November, Winkelhofen tried to surprise Alt-Breisach garrison. The surprise attack of Alt-Breisach failed. In this affair, Winkelhofen lost 300 men killed or wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Briglieres from the present regiment was killed, and 16 men taken prisoners. After this unsuccessful attempt, the regiment returned to Freiburg.

Bu the end of the year, the regiment numbered 1,122 men but suffered from lack of provisions. Furthermore, the soldiers had not received a salary since months!


In 1705, disagreement arose between the proprietor of the regiment and Colonel Thanner, who was finally relieved from his command and arrested. On 17 August, in his prison, Thanner committed suicide.

At the end of September, the regiment, now led by Lieutenant-Colonel Jacob Ernst von Gravenreuth, marched to Italy, reaching Pontegatello on 6 November, with only 600 men.

On 20 November, the troops of Prince Eugène encamped along the Chiese River, the present regiment being posted in Carpenedolo. On 24 November, French Maréchal Vendôme crossed the Chiese and marched by way of Medole to Castiglione delle Stiviere. Prince Eugène concentrated his army between Carpenedolo and Montechiaro. Vendôme shied away from battle and retreated to Esenta, while Prince Eugène took position behind Naviglio.

In December, the Imperialist army took up its winter-quarters between Lonato, Castenedolo, Nave, Calcinato Gavardo, Salò and Brescia. At the end of the year, the entire regiment numbered 1,049 men.


At the end of March 1706, one battalion of the present regiment was sent to Gavardo. On 19 April, the French army attacked the Imperialist troops in their winter-quarters and pursued them during their retreat. They crossed the Chiese River and marched to Rezzato, constantly harassed by the French. Prince Eugène decided to retreat from Brescia and, in the night of 23 April, marched to the region of Verona. Eight battalions (including all of the present regiment) marched by way of the Val Sabbia around Lake Garda.

In July, when Prince Eugène left with his army to relieve Turin, the entire regiment remained near Verona with General Wetzel’s Corps (6 infantry and 3 cavalry regiments).

On 7 August, General Wetzel marched to Valeggio. On 14 August, the Prince of Hessen-Kassel arrived at Valeggio with a reinforcement of 9 battalions and 16 squadrons. On 17 August, the Imperialists advanced on Volta and Gioto, the latter surrendered on 19 August. On 27 August, they reached Medole. During a war council held by the Prince of Hessen-Kassel and General Wetzel, it was decided to lay siege to Castiglione delle Stiviere. Due to the lack of siege guns, the siege was unsuccessful. The siege troops led by Colonel Wallis were attacked by superior French forces, which were coming to the relief of Castiglione, and were nearly annihilated. Lieutenant-Colonel Gravenreuth and many officers were taken prisoners, the regiment lost nearly half of his men.

In September, General Wetzel marched against a French corps led by Lieutenant-General Medavi. On 10 September, Wetzel attacked Medavi in the plains of Guidizzolo with his Imperial troops and two Hessian cavalry regiments (25 battalions and 25 squadrons). After a short advantage of the Hessian cavalry (Auerochs Dragoons and the Carabiniers) the French and Spaniards defeated Wetzel’s troops, which lost 2,000 men killed, wounded or taken prisoners. The regiments which suffered the highest losses were: the present regiment, Wetzel Infantry and Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry.

In October, General Wetzel advanced on Modena, which was besieged since 21 October. The remains of the regiment were part of the siege troops.


In the first days of 1707, as Lieutenant-Colonel Gravenreuth, who had been released from captivity, was still ill at Roveredo; the interim commander of the regiment, Major (OWM) Franz Ignatius Rumpf, wrote a letter to Prince Eugène about the poor condition of the regiment. A muster roll was included with this letter, it specified that the regiment numbered 16 fusilier and one grenadier companies, for a total of 838 men, with only 264 of them fit for service. Only the staff and the “prima plana” officers were nearly complete.

According to the Convention of Milan, agreed between Prince Eugène and the French on 13 March 1707, the French evacuated all fortresses in Upper Italy. General Baron Wetzel received the order to occupy Mantua with the present regiment, Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry, Wallis Infantry, Heindl Infantry, Hildesheim Infantry (a regiment of the Lower-Saxony District) and Bagosy Infantry. These troops arrived in Mantua on 2 April. The present regiment had only one weak battalion and one grenadier company.

On 31 May, some sick fusiliers of the regiment remained in Mantua. While the regiment, along with Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry crossed the Po River and marched by way of Gualtieri, Parma, Piacenza, Broni and Candia to Albiano and Tina near Ivrea, where they arrived on 16 June. The entire regiment formed part of the corps of FML Baron Kriechbaum, in the brigade of Major-General Regal.

On 1 July, Prince Eugène and Duke Victor Amadeus marched with their armies towards Toulon. FML Kriechbaum’s Corps got the order to join the troops of G.d.C Marchese Visconti and to march towards Toulon, too.

On 28 August, Major-General Baron Regal with his brigade, acting as vanguard, reached Antibes and blockaded this place. On 29 August, Baron Regal was instructed to return to Piedmont. Prince Eugéne occupied the Citadel of Susa, and part of the regiment remained there as garrison. The rest of the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Mantua. The fusiliers were organized in 5 converged battalions, for a total of 1,544 men.


In 1708, part of the regiment garrisoned various places in Italy. Another part was with Major-General Bonneval. In May, it occupied Commachio. In June, the grenadiers were sent to Albiano.

The field battalions, along with with Königsegg Infantry were allocated to the corps of the Duke of Savoy, led by General Baron von Schulemburg. On 18 July, this corps marched to the Aosta Valley and, on 19 July, occupied the Castle of Sext. On 30 July, General von Schulemburg made a junction with the main army at Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. On 2 August, the army encamped at Bardonnèche (present-day Bardonecchia). On 9 August, it laid siege to Exilles, and the corps of General Schulemburg, including the present regiment, occupied the hills around Exilles. On 13 August, the place surrendered. The regiment with 10 other battalions remained in Exilles. At the end of August, the entire regiment took part in the siege of Fenestrelle, which surrendered on 31 August. During this campaign, the field battalions of the regiment numbered only 347 men!

On 22 September, the army was transported from Turin by ship on the Po River to Revere. The main body took position in the region of Ferrara, while the grenadiers were part of the corps of Field Marshal Count Daun, which drove the troops of the Papal States out of Emilia Romana.

The grenadiers, along with Bagni Infantry, took their winter-quarters in Forli, while the rest of the regiment was quartered in Commachio.


In the spring of 1709, the – still very weak – regiment was in Mantua. The commander's requests to the Court War Council for recruits were unsuccessful. The unpaid salary of the soldiers reached 45,651 fl.

In May, the regiment joined the field army, which was concentrating at Rivalta. After the arrival of new recruits, the regiment numbered 1,389 men: 650 of them in the field battalions, and 739 men (most of them recruits) in Mantua.

The Savoyard General Baron Rehbinder with the present regiment, two other Imperial infantry regiments, two regiments from Sachsen-Gotha, four Prussian regiments and six Savoyard regiments remained between Exilles and Fenestrelle.

At the end of July, Baron Rehbinder marched to Oulx. On 1 September, he attacked La Vachette near Briançon, but then returned by way of Mont Genevre to his original camp.

On 7 September, Jacob Ernst von Gravenreuth was promoted to colonel.

In very cold weather, the army retreated through the Aosta Valley to Italy. The regiment once more took its winter-quarters in Mantua. By the end of the year, it numbered 1,001 men. From them, 102 were sent to Piedmont and 109 to Germany to enlist new recruits. Furthermore, 110 men were reported ill.


In May 1710, 4 officers, 107 fusiliers and some others (feldscher, secretaries a.s.o.) were contributed to the newly raised Browne de Camus Infantry. The field battalions were again allocated to the corps of General Rehbinder and were posted at Susa. This corps then occupied a few hills near Briançon. In August, it was reinforced by 10 battalions – most of them Savoyard – led by General d’Andorno.

On 20 October, the Allied army retreated to the plains of Piedmont, in front of superior French forces.

The regiment (then 1,028 men strong) took up its winter-quarters in Mantua


For the campaign of 1711, new recruits were enlisted in Moravia and Lower Austria. By spring, the regiment numbered 1,234 men. One of its battalion (605 men) formed part of the army concentrated in Piedmont. This army was led by Victor Amadeus Duke of Savoy, wile FM Count Daun led the Imperial contingent.

On 29 July, the Allied army marched to Susa and then, by way of Monte Cenis in very cold weather and deep snow, to Venois. The French retreated to Fort Barreaux, and the Allied army encamped at Chambéry.

At the end of August, very bad weather conditions forced the Duke of Savoy to retreat to the Aosta Valley by the St Bernard Pass.

The regiment spent winter in Mantua. However, the Court War Council decided to initiate a winter expedition into Toscana. FML Johann Hieronymus Baron zum Jungen was appointed as commander of this expedition. One battalion of the present regiment (500 men) led by Lieutenant-Colonel Rumpf took part in this expedition. On 14 November, zum Jungen marched in three columns from Borgo San Donino by way of Fornovo, Bercetto, Pontremoli, Villafranca San Stefano, Viareggia, Pisa, and Pontedra to Colle, where he arrived on 13 December. On 21 December, the regiment reached Pitigliano. FML zum Jungen notified FM Count Daun that his troops had reached they planned quarters on 28 December.


In March 1712, some Imperial troops concentrated at Orbetello for the planned siege of Port´Ercole. Beside troops from Florence and Naples, zum Jungen’s Corps was also present. On 22 March, Imperial troops opened fire on Fort Filippo. On May 3, the garrison of Fort Filippo surrendered, and Ercole did the same on 4 May. The siege corps returned to Upper Italy. At the end of May, it reached Parma.

In April, the part of the regiment which had remained in Mantua, received 500 recruits from Bohemia.

In mid-September, Imperial troops took up their winter-quarters. As usual, the regiment was quartered in Mantua.


For the campaign of 1713, only 20.000 Imperial troops remained in Italy, the rest was sent to Germany. The commander in Italy was G.d.C Marchese Visconti, and FM Count Daun was appointed viceroy of Naples. For the whole year, the regiment garrisoned Mantua.



Uniform in 1701 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Donath and Knötel
Musketeer black tricorne laced white; as field sign, green foliage was attached to the tricorne in summer and a wisp of straw in winter

N.B.: To distinguish soldiers (from corporal down to privates) of each company, a button or rosette at the colour of the company was attached to the tricorne.

Grenadier black mitre cap edged with a white braid; red hanging bag edged with a yellow braid in a zigzag pattern
Neck stock white
Coat blue with pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none (a small red collar as per Knötel)
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red with pewter buttons
Breeches buff leather
Stockings white (red as per Knötel) fastened under the knee with a natural leather strap
Gaiters made of canvas and used only when the soldier wore linen breeches; in this case, the white stockings were replaced by linen socks; the use of gaiters generalized much later
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt a yellow deer or buffalo leather waist-belt worn above the waistcoat
Cartridge Pouch red or black leather pouch containing 24 cartridges, a pewter oil flask, two needles attached to a small chain (to clean the touch-hole of the lock), a tube that held the match for lighting the fuse of grenades, with a wooden peg on a small chain and a roll of fuse. The cartridge box had two cover flaps. The top one was sometimes decorated with a metal badge bearing the cipher or the arms of the Inhaber.

Grenadiers carried two cartridge pouches. The first one, slightly larger than that of fusiliers, was worn on wide cross-belt and contained grenades and a pewter tube that held the match for lighting the fuse of grenades; the smaller second pouch was attached to the waist-belt and contained cartridges for the musket.

Bayonet Scabbard black leather
Scabbard none
Footwear Russia leather shoes

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


NCOs carried a spontoon (half-pike). They were also armed with a Stossdegen (a long two-edged estoc or rapier) carried in a black leather scabbard attached to the waist-belt.

NCOs of grenadier companies carried a flintlock musket instead of the spontoon.

NCOs also carried a cane whose characteristics indicated their precise rank. This cane had the length of a walking stick and was carried in and out of service. In action, to free hands, the cane was hanged to a button of the coat. Grenadier sergeants and fouriers were distinguished from privates by three silver braids on the bag of their bearskin.


Uniforms of officers were always of finer cloth than those of the privates.

Officers wore a black and yellow silk sash across the chest or around the waist.

Lieutenants of the grenadier companies were distinguished from privates and NCOs by four golden braids on the bag of their bearskin; captains by five golden braids on their bearskin.

Officers carried a partisan. The partisan was decorated with a tassel: gold for the colonel, gold with silver fringe for the lieutenant-colonel, gold and silken fringe for captains and silken fringe for lieutenants. In some regiments, the captains' tassel was entirely of silk; in this case the lieutenants' partisan had no tassel. The partisans of staff officers had gilt butt caps.

Officers were also armed with a Stossdegen (a long two-edged estoc or rapier) carried in a black leather scabbard attached to the waist-belt.

Officers carried a cane whose characteristics indicated their precise rank. This cane had the length of a walking stick and was carried in and out of service. In action, to free hands, the cane was hanged to a button of the coat.

Officers of grenadier companies carried a flintlock musket instead of the partisan. Captains, lieutenants and sergeants of these companies always had their bayonet affixed to their musket.

In the field, officers carried a pair of pistols.


In the Austrian Army of the time, musicians often wore uniforms in reverse colours with the distinctive colour of the regiment used for the coat.

The drum belt was usually brown and worn on the right shoulder.


Upon creation of the regiment, the emperor let the choice to the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth to use the colours of the six pre-existing companies or to have new colours made. In the latter case, the colours had to carry the imperial arms.

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This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Formanek, J.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 41, vol. I., Czernowitz 1886
  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 3, Vienna 1876, App. 33
  • Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 22-23
  • Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 1, Vienna, 1804, pp. 180-184

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Knötel, Richard: Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Vol. X, No. 17, Rathenow 1890-1921

Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV, Vol. 3 p. 911-912

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


Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Formanek’s book