Hasslingen Infantry

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

Origin and History

On 21 October 1630, Colonel Julius Count Hardegg received a patent from the Emperor to raise an infantry regiment of 3,000 men. Five companies from the regiment “Albrecht Eusebius Waldstein, Herzog von Mecklenburg” (raised in 1621 and disbanded1634) formed the kernel of the new regiment. Therefore, it was the eldest infantry regiment of the Imperial army. It remained in service until World War I.

At that time, these five companies garrisoned Kolberg. Their commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Franz de Mers. In addition to the current five companies, de Mers had four additional infantry companies and 6 cavalry companies. In 1631, Swedish troops besieged Kolberg and de Mers surrendered on 2 March, the garrison left “with military honours.”

In 1634, the regiment was increased to ten companies. Franz Baron de Mers was proprietor of the regiment from 1637 to 1667.

After the signature of the Treaty of Westphalia, detachments of the regiment garrisoned Glogau, Liegnitz, Neisse and Schweidnitz.

In 1659, the regiment campaigned against the Swedes in Pomerania and stormed Graudenz.

In 1669, Jobst Hilmar Baron von Knigge became proprietor of the regiment.

On 4 October 1674, the regiment took part in the Battle of Enzheim.

In 1683, Philipp Emerich Count von Metternich became Chef of the regiment, a title which he retained till his death in 1698.

In 1685, during the Great Turkish War, the regiment took part in the siege of Neuhäusel and in the Battle of Gran; in 1686, in the siege of Ofen; in 1687 in the Battle of Mohacs and in the expedition in Slavonia; in 1688, in the storming of Belgrade. In 1691, half the regiment occupied Lippa. In 1697, it fought in the Battle of Zenta.

In 1698, the regiment contributed six companies for the creation of the Thürheimischen Regiment (IR 28).

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:

  • from May 1698 until December 1716: Heinrich Tobias Baron Hasslingen

During the same period, the successive colonel-commanders of the regiment were:

  • from May 1698: the proprietor, Heinrich Tobias Baron Hasslingen
  • from March 1708: Franz Paul Count Wallis
  • from 1717 Ignaz Baron Hasslingen

Service during the War

At the beginning of March 1702, the Vienna War Council decided to send reinforcements to Prince Eugène in Northern Italy. One battalion of the regiment (5 companies with grenadiers) formed part of these reinforcements. On 2 June, this battalion effected a junction with Commercy's Corps near Mantua. On 12 June, Eugène sent 100 men of Hasslingen Infantry to reinforce Guastalla where 150 men of the regiment already formed part of the garrison. General Neipperg secured Borgoforte with 4,000 foot and 100 horse. On the night of 12 August, French troops arrived from Mantua, took position in front of Borgoforte, erected batteries and opened on the city and the bridgehead on the Po which was defended by the regiment. Prince Eugène sent the Hasslingen detachment from Guastalla to Luzzara. On the morning of 15 August, the Maréchal de Vendôme arrived before the place and was welcome by musket fire. On 16 August, the detachment, which suffered from the lively fire of the French heavy guns, surrendered. At the end of August, the battalion went to Ostiglia, where it remained throughout winter.. During that campaign, the battalion, which initially counted 700 men, had been reduced by several diseases and had now only 265 men. 96 men were detached in Tyrol.

In March 1703, the battalion was sent to join Vaubonne’s Corps posted near Lake Garda. In July, supporting troops led by General Solari arrived. Among these troops were 500 men from the regiment led by Major (OWM) Franz Paul Count Wallis. On 17 July, this corps drove back the enemy out of the Brenner Pass and the Lueg Pass. In September, General Solari went to Innsbruck with part of his corps, including the present battalion. On 12 October, Solari began the siege of Kuffstein. On the night of 30 October Solari’s infantry stormed Kuffstein. Lieutenant-Colonel Wallis led the first column, the troops entered into the city, and the Bavarians retired in the castle. FZM Heister raised the siege, when he was informed of the approach of a superior relief force. The troops took up their winter-quarters. In November, six companies of the regiment were sent from Silesia to Hungary to secure the border, part of these companies garrisoned Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK).

At the beginning of June 1704, the battalion and one grenadier company posted in Tyrol contributed to the creation of Wendt Infantry. The part of the regiment stationed in Hungary remained the whole year in its positions and saw no action.

For the campaign of 1705, the regiment had only twelve fusilier companies: six in Silesia, six in Hungary. In September, the six companies posted on the Hungarian/Austrian border were sent to Oedenburg (present-day Sopron/HU), Sárvár and Kaposvár and took part in skirmishes with rebels led by Bercsényi. They successfully defended Oedenburg. At the end of the year, Kaposvár was lost and the two companies, which garrisoned there, went to Styria.

There is no reliable information about the operations of the regiment in 1706. It seems that all six companies of Lieutenant-Colonel Count Wallis garrisoned Sárvár throughout the year.

In 1707, FM Guido Count Starhemberg took the command of the troops stationed in Hungary. In May, six companies of the regiment left Sárvár and joined the main army concentrated at Pressburg. Starhemberg had not enough troops and posted himself between Moravia and Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia). In November, the six companies of the regiment took up their winter-quarter at Güns (present-day Köszeg/HU).

In 1708, FZM Count Heister led the army operating in Hungary. It was reinforced by some cavalry and 6,000 soldiers from Denmark. On 4 August, he defeated Rákóczi’s troops at the Battle of Trencsén (present-day Trenčín/SK). Leutschau (present day Levoča/SK) and Neutra (present day Nitra/SK) opened their gates and Heister occupied the mountain region in the middle of Upper Hungary. Only the grenadier company of the regiment took part in this campaign. The six fusilier company and one grenadier company spent the winter at Neutra.

In 1709, the regiment (16 fusilier companies, 1 grenadier company) was stationed in Hungary. Plague in the country prevented any action. The part of the regiment stationed in Silesia contributed one company to Wendt Infantry and 50 men to Plüschau Infantry.

At the end of July 1710, FZM Heister marched to besiege Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK). Deutschmeister Infantry and 7 companies of Hasslingen Infantry remained on the Ipoly River (present-day Ipeľ/SK). Colonel Wallis received orders to escort the siege artillery from Gran to Neuhäusel with his seven companies. On 10 September, the convoy reached Neuhäusel and Wallis’ companies were immediately sent to the trenches. On 23 September, Neuhäusel surrendered. The seven companies. were then allocated to the army, which was now under the command of the Marchese Cusani. This army captured Szolnok and the city of Erlau (present-day Eger/HU). The castle of Erlau was besieged by Colonel Wallis with his seven companies and surrendered on 29 November. The seven companies of Colonel Wallis then garrisoned Erlau until the signature of the Treaty of Szatmár with the rebels on 26 April 1711. At the end of August 1711, these companies marched to Silesia.

In 1712, Prince Eugène was sent to the Netherlands with an Imperial army to reinforce the army of the “Sea Powers.” On 18 May, one battalion (6 fusilier coys and 1 grenadier coy, for a total of 842 men) of the regiment, led by Colonel Wallis, joined the army of Prince Eugène. It then took part in the Siege of Le Quesnoy. During the siege, the battalion lost 19 men killed and 2 officers and 56 men wounded. On 4 July, Le Quesnoy surrendered. During the ensuing siege of Landrecies, the battalion formed part of the covering army under Prince Eugène. After the Battle of Denain, the French exploited their victory and captured Douai and Bouchain. At the end of October, Imperial troops took up their winter quarters, the battalion of Hasslingen Infantry went to Bruxelles.

In May 1713, the battalion of Hasslingen Infantry was sent with other troops led by FZM Baron Fels to reinforce the Army of the Rhine. Till the end of June, the battalion was posted in the cordon extending from Mannheim to Kostheim. On 20 September, the Maréchal de Villars crossed the Rhine with his army near Breisach and drove FML Vaubonne back to Rotweil. The battalion of Hasslingen Infantry was part of the troops who retired to Rotweil. It then remained there until the end of the campaign, It took up its winter-quarters in Bavaria. During the whole year, the battalion had not been involved in any fight.

In April 1714, the battalion returned to Silesia.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1698 - 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; red hanging bag edged with a yellow braid
Neck stock white or 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 red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat buff (or red according to other sources)
Breeches buff (or red according to other sources)
Stockings red 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 laced white
  • red neckstock
  • white coat with red lining, red cuffs and white cloth buttons
  • red waistcoat with cloth buttons
  • calf leather breeches
  • red 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. Furthermore, they wore a very different uniform:

  • a black tricorne edged silver with a white plumetis
  • a white neck stock
  • a red coat edged with a silver braid; red cuffs edged silver with 3 silver buttons; horizontal pockets edged silver with 3 silver buttons
  • red waistcoat
  • red breeches
  • red stockings

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

Drummers and fifers wore a very different uniform:

  • a black tricorne edged white with a red and white plume
  • a red neck stock
  • a red coat edged with a yellow braid; white cuffs edged yellow with 3 pewter buttons; horizontal pockets with 3 pewter buttons
  • white waistcoat
  • white breeches
  • red stockings

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

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. 45-46

Prochaska: Geschichte des k.k. Infanterie-Regiments Georg Prinz von Sachsen Nr.11, Teschen 1879

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 17-18

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

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of info from Prochaska’s work