Heister Infantry

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

Origin and History

On 13 February 1682, Sigbert Count Heister received a patent authorising him to raise an infantry regiment. The recruits were raised in the Electorate of Cologne and 500 additional men came from the Freikompanien Maschwandtner at Csakathurn (present-day Čakovec/HR) and Petruzzi at Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK).

From 1686, the regiment was stationed in Hungary.

The successive proprietors of the regiment were:

The successive effective commanders of the regiment during the War of the Spanish Succession were:

  • from 1694: Max Count Sinzendorf
  • from 1705: Johann Georg Arnold
  • from 1708: Rudolph Count Heister
  • from 1717: Albert count Heister

This regiment was disbanded in 1747, in Luxembourg, and its the men were incorporated in various regiments garrisoning the Austrian Netherlands.

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, in 1701, the regiment was still stationed in Hungary.

In 1703, the regiment took part in campaign against Rákóczi’s Uprising in Hungary and Transylvania.

In 1704, 10 companies of the regiment were at the Battle of Tyrnau (present-day Trnava/SK), while the rest of the regiment was operating in Transylvania, where it took part in the Battle of Pata (near Cluj/RO).

In 1705, the regiment was part of the main army, which defended Gyula in Hungary.

In 1706, the regiment formed part of Heister’s (young) Corps, which was posted on the border of Styria.

In 1707, the regiment was allocated to Rabutin’s Corps and was later transferred to Transylvania, without seeing any action.

From 1712, the regiment garrisoned Raab (present-day Györ/HU) and Komorn (present-day Komárom/HU).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details around 1716 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 probably bearskin edged with a white braid; red hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zigzag pattern
Neck stock white
Coat pearl grey with red lining; 11 red cloth buttons on the right side, 11 red buttonholes on the left side and 1 red cloth button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 red cloth buttons and red buttonholes
Cuffs red, each with 4 red cloth buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red
Breeches red
Stockings white stockings striped blue
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.

Note: in 1683, the uniform was red with white lining, red cuffs and tin button; buff leather waistcoat and breeches; green stockings. We do not know when the uniform changed to the standard pearl grey of the Austrian army.

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. The were also distinguished from the uniforms of privates by the following differences:

  • gilt buttons
  • white cuffs
  • white 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

In the Austrian army of the time, drummers often wore uniforms in reverse colours with the distinctive colour of the regiment used for the coat. However, circa 1716, the musicians of this particular regiment wore a red coat with green lining and green cuffs (edged silver); a green waistcoat; green breeches. The sleeves of the coat were decorated with four horizontal green bands and the shoulders with silver epaulettes.

The drum belt was usually brown and worn on the right shoulder. The drum barrels were red decorated with the imperial black eagle, the rims were decorated with a yellow and black band.

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
  • Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1875, pp. 140

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

Wrede, A. v.: Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht, file II. pp. 206ff, Vienna 1898

Kühn/Hall: 'The Imperial Regiments of Foot 1701-1714, Part 21

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article