Fürstenberg Infantry

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1674 in the region of Erfurt in Germany, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672–78), as per an Imperial decree dated 13 February of the same year by Heinrich Count von Reuss-Plauen, who received 24.480 talers. The regiment was supposed to count 10 companies for a total of 2,040 men. On 10 October, at its first review, it totalled only 1,375 men. During the following winter, when the regiment was quartered in Frankfurt/Main, several recruits deserted.

At the beginning of 1675, the regiment had only 299 men! For this reason, on 10 March, Count Reuss-Plauen resigned from his function. On 1 August, the regiment received his baptism by fire at the combat of Goldscheuer. By 8 September, the regiment counted 720 men including 110 men on the sick list. On 18 October, Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand Baron von Stadl of the regiment was appointed proprietor and promoted to colonel. He immediately sped up enlistment of new recruits.

From June to September 1676, it took part in the siege and capture of Philippsburg. It then took its winter-quarters in Fulda. At the end of 1677, Stadl was appointed commander of Phillipsburg.

In September 1679, the regiment marched from Philippsburg to Eger in Bohemia to assume garrison duties. On 17 October, the emperor ordered Stadl to return to Philippsburg with his regiment. In 1680, Stadl was appointed commander of Konstanz and his regiment accompanied him. In following years, Stadl raised 2,000 recruits, but part of them were transferred to other regiments. Stadl did not accompany his regiment in any campaign and remained all these years in Konstanz.

From July to September 1689, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment took part in the siege of Mainz. In April 1691, 5 companies of the regiment were sent to Szathmar in Hungary. In July 9 other companies were sent to Northern Italy. Only 2 companies remained in Konstanz.

In September 1692 Stadl applied for the post of president of the Hofkriegsrat (War council) in Graz. On 17 September, Emperor Leopold I accepted his application. Stadl also retained his charge of proprietor of the present regiment. In 1692, the regiment contributed 4 companies to the newly raised Zweibrücken Infantry. In February 1693, Stadl was promoted to field-marshal (FM).

On 28. May 1694, FM Stadl died and, on 1 July, Carl Egon Reichsgraf (Imperial Count) von Fürstenberg-Möskirchen became proprietor of the regiment.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted four battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the proprietors of the regiment were:

  • since 1 July 1694: Carl Egon Reichsgraf (Imperial Count) von Fürstenberg-Möskirchen (killed in action at the Battle of Friedlingen)
  • from 10 January 1703: Carl Emanuel Fürst von Longueval and Count von Buquoy (formerly colonel of Hasslingen Infantry, died on 4 March 1703)
  • from 1 May 1703 to 1737: Carl Alexander zu Württemberg-Stuttgart

Colonel-commanders during the War of the Spanish Succession:

  • in 1705: Colonel Baron Wilstorff (killed in action at the Battle of Casano in 1705)
  • from 20 December 1705: Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Neustein (died in November 1706 from wounds received at Turin)
  • from 12 March 1711: Colonel Baron Rudolphin

Regimental numbers were introduced only in 1769 when this regiment was designated as "I.R. 17".

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment took part in the Siege of Landau and, on 14 October, in the Battle of Friedlingen where its proprietor was killed in action (hit by two bullets in the head and breast). The new proprietor, Carl Alexander zu Württemberg was only 19 years old, but had already remarkable experiences in the war against the Turks and had also taken part in this battle.

In 1703, one battalion of the regiment was stationed in Konstanz; one in Freiburg im Breisgau. In June, Captain Copenhagen with 80 men of the regiment distinguished himself in Tyrol. With some 4,000 Tyrolean peasants, he surprised a Franco-Bavarian detachment at Landeck. He then proceeded by way of Imst and Nassereit to the main road leading from Bavaria to Innsbruck. His aim was to interdict this road to Bavarian troops. Copenhagen’s troops then besieged the Castle of Ehrenberg. On 8 August, the Bavarian garrison surrendered. Meanwhile, from 16 to 22 July, Colonel Baron Wilstorff with 400 fusiliers of his regiment, 50 horse and 500 armed citizens defended Villingen against Tallard’s troops. By 4 September, 16 companies of the regiment were in Freiburg im Breisgau and only 2 companies in Konstanz, totalling approx. 1,000 men.

From September to November 1704, the two battalions of the regiment took part in the second siege of Landau. It then recruited in Bavaria, bringing its effective to four battalions. However, most of the Bavarians deserted at the first occasion.

From 1705 to 1714, the regiment recruited almost exclusively in Bohemia. Exceptionally, it recruited in Krain (in present-day part of Slovenia) in 1708.

On 21 February 1705, the regiment set off from Bavaria for Northern Italy. In the night of 31 May to 1 June, after a march of three hours, at 1:00 a.m., Duke Carl von Württemberg, the proprietor of the regiment, at the head of four battalions (not from his regiment!) launched an assault on the French entrenchments at Naviglio (the present regiment was not involved). On 16 August, the regiment fought at the Battle of Cassano where it was deployed in the second line. In this action, the regiment lost Colonel Wilstorff and Lieutenant-Colonel Copenhagen as well as 102 men dead and 130 wounded (including Duke Carl von Württemberg). During the winter-quarters, the regiment lost several men to sickness.

In February 1706, the regiment counted only 400 men. In September, it took part in the relief of Turin. On 7 September, two battalions fought in the first line under the command of its proprietor, at the Battle of Turin, launching three assaults on the enemy entrenchments. Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Neustein was severely wounded (he would die of his wound in November). From 6 to 21 October, the regiment took part in the siege of Pizzighetone.

From May to August 1707, part of the regiment participated in the unsuccessful expedition against Toulon while another part remained in Cremona. By 21 September, the regiment was back to Susa in Italy. It then took its winter-quarters, part in Susa, part in Mirandola. Troops quartered in Mirandola were soon transferred to Comacchio because of the unhealthy conditions in their former quarters. After a few weeks, they returned to Mirandola.

On 10 April 1708, Carl Alexander Duke Württemberg was promoted to General-Feldzeugmeister and appointed commander of the Fortress of Landau.

During the winter of 1710/1711, the regiment ceded 6 companies to form the kernels of new regiments.

In March 1711, the regiment was transferred from Mirandola to Mantua. In June, it accompanied the Imperial corps who launched an offensive on Montmélian in France (part of the regiment remained in Mantua). On 13 September, one battalion of the regiment distinguished itself in the defence of an outpost at Valon. After this unsuccessful offensive, it returned to Mantua.

When the French recaptured Landau, Duke Württemberg was imprisoned until 1714.

From 1712 to 1714, the regiment garrisoned Comacchio.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Donath
Headgear
Fusilier 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 bearskin; red hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zig-zag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey with a pearl grey lining and with pewter buttons on the right side and 1 pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
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 pearl grey
Stockings grey-white 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 stockings were replaced by linen sox; the use of gaiters generalized much later
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt natural leather
Waist-belt 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 hand grenades.

NCOs

Sergeant of Würtemberg Infantry in 1703 - Courtesy of The New York Public Library

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.

N.B.: in 1703 (as per Knötel) and 1716 (as per Donath), sergeants wore a reverse colours uniform (white neck stock, red coat with white lining and silver braids on the pockets and the red cuffs, red waistcoat, white breeches, pearl grey stockings).

Officers

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.

Musicians

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. Indeed, in 1716, the musicians of this regiment wore such a uniform (white neck stock, red coat with white lining and red cuffs, black laced red swallow nest at the shoulders, red waistcoat, white breeches)

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

Colours

no information found yet

References

Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 1, Vienna 1875, pp. 212-218, 222-227

Czegka, Eduard: Uniformen der kaiserlichen Infanterie unter Prinz Eugen. in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde 49-51, 1933, pp. 459-473

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, Bl. 1, 4 and 8

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. 71-74

Knötel, R.: Farbiges Handbuch der Uniformkunde: Die Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht der deutschen Staaten, Österreich-Ungarns und der Schweiz. Begründet von Prof. Richard Knötel, Vol. X, Plate 17

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

Ravelsberg, F. v.: Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterie-Regiments Ritter von Milde Nr. 17, vol. I. Laibach 1911

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 13-14

Strobl von Ravelsberg, Ferdinand: Geschichte des k. und k. Infanterie-Regiments Ritter von Milde Nr. 17, 1674 - 1910, Vol.: 1, Laibach, 1911, pp. 1-30

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Ravelsberg’s work