Gschwind Infantry

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

Origin and History

On 8 January 1683, Georg Friedrich Duke Württemberg-Stuttgard received a decree to raise an infantry regiment of 10 companies, each of 204 men. The soldiers were enlisted in the territory of the “Reich”. At the beginning of May, 5 companies, for a total of 1,000 men, were ready for service. They concentrated at the camp of Kittsee in Austria.

In 1683, during the Great Turkish War (1683-99), 5 companies (499 men, under command of Duke Württemberg) of the regiment took part in the defence of Vienna. The 5 other companies arrived later under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ferdinand Baron von Kuckländer, accompanying the relief force. After the victory before Vienna, the whole regiment took up its winter-quarters at Freiburg im Breisgau.

In 1685, the regiment took part in the sieges of Eperies (present-day Prešov/SK). In September, the proprietor of the regiment, the Duke Württemberg, was promoted to major-general (GFWM). He was killed during siege of Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK). Colonel Johann Dominik, Marquis de Spinola was appointed as new proprietor and commander of the regiment.

In 1686, the regiment took part in the siege of Munkács and Ofen (present-day part of Budapest/HU). On September 2, the new proprietor, the Marquis de Spinola, was killed during the attack. Guido Count Starhemberg succeeded him at the head of the regiment.

Until 1695, the regiment fought against Turks in Hungary. In 1688, Count Starhemberg, who had been appointed commander of Belgrade, was replaced by Ludwig Archinto, Comte de Tayna. Unfortunately, this new proprietor was mortally wounded on 5 September during siege of Belgrade and died on 7 September. On 31 December, GFWM Martin Gschwind, Baron von Pöckstein was appointed as the new proprietor of the regiment.

In 1695, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the whole regiment was sent to Italy and, from June 26 to July 9, took part in the siege of Casale. In 1697, it returned to Bosnia and took part in the unsuccessful siege of Bihać. In 1699, after the signature of the Treaty of Karlowitz, which put an end to the Great Turkish War, the regiment returned to Freiburg im Breisgau where it remained until July 1701.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted only three effective battalions.

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

  • from 31 December 1693 till 1721: Johann Martin Gschwind, Baron von Pockstein

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the effective commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1702: Lieutenant-Colonel Albert Baron Scherzer von Kleinmühlen
  • from 1703: Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Adam Baron Wetzel (promoted to major-general in 1705)
  • in 1705: Lieutenant-Colonel Siegfried Baron Ehr
  • from 1705: Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Baron Samnitz
  • from 1707: Cosa von Radisch
  • from 1708 until 1716: Colonel Johann Goldacker

Service during the War

In March 1701, the regiment was instructed to march from Freiburg by Landau, Reutte, Landeck, Finstermünz and Botzen (present-day Bolzano) to Rovereto to reinforce the Army of Prince Eugène who would soon proceed to the invasion of Northern Italy. On 27 August, Eugène was informed that Gschwind Infantry and Lothringen Infantry could not reach Rovato before the end of August. On 29 August, when the Franco-Spanish army passed the Oglio, Eugène sent messages to these two regiment to hasten and to march all night if necessary. On 2 September, they finally reached Palazzolo, too late to take part in the Battle of Chiari. On 3 September, they arrived at Eugène's camp. They were not at full strength and each was organized in only 3 bns. At the beginning of December, the regiment took part, along with Mansfeld Infantry, Guido Starhemberg Infantry and Guttenstein Infantry, in the siege and capture of Canneto on the Oglio. In December, the regiment took its winter-quarters at Ostiano and Canneto.

In 1702, the regiment took part in the campaign in Northern Italy. On 1 February, a detachment of 500 men of the regiment took part in the failed attempt to capture Cremona. Even though the theoretical strength of the regiment was supposed to be 2,500 men, by 30 April, it counted only 1,236 men including 3 men commandeered in various detachments and 7 absent. In May, one battalion (350 men) led by Lieutenant-Colonel Scherzer, with 100 men from Fürstenberg Infantry and 100 horse were besieged in Canneto by the French Maréchal Vendôme. Scherzer was forced to capitulate on 20 May. The whole garrison surrendered as prisoners of war. The remaining 3 battalions of the regiment were with the main army near Curtatone-Borgoforte. They took up their winter-quarters in Revere.

In 1703, the regiment proprietor, FML Martin Gschwind, was appointed military commander of Tyrol. As early as January, the regiment received 1,362 recruits led by Baron von der Ehre. In June, 300 of these recruits took part in the defence of the Fortress of Kufstein. After the explosion of a powder magazine, the garrison capitulated. Kufstein was occupied by the Bavarians. On 29 October, the town of Kufstein was stormed by 2,000 Imperial troops (including one battalion of the present regiment). Throughout the year, the regiment opposed a stubborn resistance to the Bavarian troops trying to penetrate into Tyrol.

In 1704, the regiment received 400 recruits from Bohemia, reaching a strength of 2,331 men. In July, all four battalions of the regiment took part in the campaign against Bavaria. In August, Colonel Wetzel with 500 men from various regiments and 200 horse was sent to Traunstein on requisition. During the retreat of Guttenstein’s Corps the third battalion formed part of the rearguard, which drove back a bayonet attack by the Bavarian grenadiers. In September, the regiment was sent back to Italy: the first and second battalion, to Lombardy. On 15 October, the remaining battalions joined the main army, which was posted between Paitone and Goglione. The regiment took up its winter-quarters between Sopramonte, Gavardo and Maderno. Colonel Wetzel was appointed military commander of North Tyrol, and Johann Baron Samnitz assumed command of the regiment.

In May 1705 the regiment (3 battalions for a total of 1,514 men) was with the main army at Gavardo. On 16 August, the regiment (now organised in 2 battalions) took part in the Battle of Cassano, where it was posted on the extreme right of the first line of the infantry centre. On 20 November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters at Carpendole.

On 28 April 1706, Prince Eugène concentrated his army between Riva and Torbole. The same day, the French attacked the entrenchments on Monte Baldo but were driven back. One battalion of present regiment took part in the defence of this position. On 7 September, three battalions of the regiment took part in the Battle of Turin, where they were deployed in the first line, in the brigade of GFWM Baron Isselbach (one battalion had been left behind at Carpi). After the victory, the army marched towards Milan, where it arrived on 26 September. The regiment, now part of the corps of FZM Heinrich Count Daun, took part in the siege of Alessandria, which surrendered on 21 October. One battalion of the regiment was present at the capture of Casale on 15 November. The entire regiment then assembled in the vicinity of Modena. On 20 November, Colonel Wetzel occupied Modena. The regiment then garrisoned Quastalla.

In 1707, two battalions of the regiment were allocated to the corps of FZM Heinrich Count Daun. On 16 May, this corps crossed the border of the Kingdom of Naples, to the northwest of Bologna. On 7 July, Prince Eugéne entered in Naples with the whole corps and took quarters in the king’s palace. At the end of August, Gaeta was besieged. The garrison consisted of 3,500 men with 50 heavy guns. On 30 September, the grenadiers of the regiment, along with those of Daun Infantry, stormed the breach in the wall, then the Sant Andrea Bastion. After an explosion inside the fortress, the garrison of Gaeta capitulated, 250 officers and 2,000 surrendering as prisoners of war, while 109 guns, 10 mortars and big supplies of ammunition and provisions were captured. In this action, the present regiment lost Major Johann von Gasser and 330 men.

In 1708, the regiment garrisoned Gaeta for the whole year.

In April 1709, the regiment (3 bns with 1.974 men) was sent to Spain to join the army commanded by Count Starhemberg. On 21 August, Starhemberg encamped between Villanueva de la Barca and the Hermitage of Grinan. The enemies camped between Lérida and Menargues. On 27 August, Starhemberg occupied Balaguer after a short combat, taking 800 men prisoners.

In 1710, the regiment served in Spain. On 27 July, it took part in the Battle of Almenar. On 2 August, it was at the capture of Monzon. On 20 August, it fought in the Battle of Saragossa, where it was attached to Albuquerque’s Brigade, in the middle of the first line. After the victory, Starhemberg marched by way of Calatayud, and Siguenza to a camp at el Pardo, north of Madrid. Starhemberg marched in five columns and, on 10 December, engaged the Franco-Spanish army in the Combat of Villaviciosa. The three battalions of the regiment were once more deployed in the middle of the first line. In the evening after the battle, the Imperial army retired by way of Algora, Used, Daroca and Muel, to Saragossa.

On 21 and 22 December 1711, the regiment (2 battalions and one grenadier company) distinguished itself in the relief of Cardona. At the end of the year, the regiment received two companies from Browne Infantry (unidentified unit).

In 1712, Imperial troops evacuated Spain. On 1 July, the regiment embarked and was transported to Lombardy.

In 1714 and 1715, the regiment remained in Northern Italy.

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 edged with a white braid; hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zig-zag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey 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 pearl grey, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat pearl grey with pewter buttons
Breeches pearl grey
Stockings pearl grey 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 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 hand grenades.

Other interpretations

According to Czegka, in 1716 the Hofkriegsrat enquiried to all regiments to know how to accoutre recruits with the proper uniform before sending them to their unit. For the present regiment, the following uniform is described:

  • black tricorne without lace
  • red neck stock
  • white coat with white lining, white cuffs, white shoulder strap and 6 buttons arranged 1-2-3
  • white waistcoat
  • white breeches
  • white stockings

NCOs

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.

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.

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

Colors

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
  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1877, p. 655, App. 22a

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

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. 155-161

Lindenbüchel, R. : Geschichte des K. u. K. Infanterie-Regimentes No. 35, file II. Vienna, Prague 1897

May, J. : Geschichte des K. u. K Infanterie-Regimentes No. 35, Pilsen 1901

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 16-17

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Lindenbüchel’s and May’s books