Neipperg Infantry

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

Origin and History

In 1690, Emperor Leopold I had to face the Turks in Hungary and the French in Germany, Piedmont, Savoy and Catalonia. During the winter of 1690-91, he tried to raise new regiments and to replenish the ranks of the old ones. In this precarious situation, Major-General Notger Wilhelm Count Öttingen-Baldern asked to the Hofkriegsrat (Court War Council) for the authorisation to raise an infantry regiment of 10 companies (2 battalions, of 5 companies each) in the Holy Roman Empire. The Hofkriegsrat recommended him to the emperor who issued the necessary decree on 12 January 1691. Recruits were mainly enlisted in Franconia and assembled in Nuremberg. Its colonel was initially the Count Öttingen-Baldern, its lieutenant-colonel, Johann Ferdinand Baron von Pfeffershofen (formerly commander of the Infantry Regiment Jörger von Tollet) and its major, Carl Count Zacco.

On 4 March 1691, after the death of Franz Count Jörger von Tollet, proprietor of the Infantry Regiment Jörger von Tollet, Count Öttingen-Baldern was appointed proprietor of this vacant regiment. Meanwhile, Johan Ferdinand Baron von Pfeffershofen offered to the Hofkriegsrat to complete enlistment of the new regiment by raising 400 recruits at his own expenses if the Hofkriegsrat appointed him proprietor. His offer was accepted and Baron Pfeffershofen was promoted to colonel of the regiment while Major Carl Count Zacco was promoted to lieutenant-colonel. At that time, the regiment wore coats with broad blue turnbacks, black baggy breeches, red socks and red neck stock. Once completed, at the end of July 1691, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Ofen (present-day part of Budapest) where it suffered from a plague outbreak.

In 1692, during the Great Turkish War, the regiment was transferred to Transylvania, taking part in the siege of Grosswardein. At the beginning of July, it arrived at Klausenburg (present-day Cluj/RO) where it remained until 1695. On 9 July 1695, the Baron Pfeffershofen was promoted to general (GFWM) but remained commander of the regiment. Captain Carl Joseph Count Fugger was promoted to major. In July 1697, GFWM Baron Pfeffershofen was sent to join the army of Prince Eugène de Savoie. However, his regiment remained in Transylvania. In 1696, the regiment fought in the Battle of Ollasch. At the beginning of 1698, the Baron Pfeffershofen was appointed commander of the Fortress of Ofen; Carl Joseph Count Fugger was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and commander of the regiment; and Hannibal Baron Wellenstein, to major.

After the signature of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the Imperial army was significantly reduced and the regiment was amalgamated with the regiment of Eberhard Friedrich Baron Neipperg which had been raised in 1698. The latter was appointed proprietor of the amalgamated regiment. Effective amalgamation of the two regiments took place in 1700 in Klausenburg. On this occasion, Furthermore, all pikemen were transformed into musketeers. The “new” regiment comprised 12 companies. It was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Carl Joseph Count Fugger and Major Hannibal Baron Wellenstein.

On 26 December 1700, the Baron Pfeffershofen was promoted to Feldmarschall-Lieutenant (FML) and continued to assume command of the Fortress of Ofen.

At the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted only 12 companies.

The successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • since January 1691: Major-General Notger Wilhelm Count Öttingen-Baldern
  • from March 1691: Johann Ferdinand Baron Pfeffershofen
  • from 1698: Eberhard Friedrich Baron Neipperg
  • from 15 March 1717: Wilhelm Reinhard Count Neipperg

The successive colonel-commanders were:

  • since 1691: Johann Ferdinand Baron Pfeffershofen (also proprietor of the regiment from March 1691)
  • from 1698: Lieutenant-Colonel Carl Joseph Count Fugger
  • from 1705: Lieutenant-Colonel Galdenblad
  • from 1709 to 1734: Lieutenant-Colonel Wilhelm Reinhard Count Neipperg (also proprietor of the regiment from March 1717)

Service during the War

From 1700, the regiment garrisoned places in the Comitat of Hunyad in Transylvania as part of Rabutin's Corps (5,600 foot, 1,500 horse).

In March 1702, the regiment received more 556 recruits from Germany, Bohemia and Silesia. They had marched by Vienna and Kaschau to Rhyma-Szombath (present-day Rimavská Sobota/SK). They then remained at Klausenburg until October. With the arrival of these recruits, the regiment could field 3 battalions (the third battalion counting only 4 companies). It was employed to secure the frontier.

In 1703, the regiment was stationed in Klausenburg with detachments at Thorda, Dées and along the frontier.

On 1 January 1704, Count Fugger was promoted to colonel; and Baron Wellenstein, to lieutenant-colonel. Soon afterwards, the regiment (2,050 men) was attached to the army of G.d.C. Rabutin, military governor of Transylvania, who was in a very critical situation. His few, ill paid forces had to withstand not only to the rebels commanded by Paul Orosz operating in the north of Transylvania but also the threat from the Turks goaded by Imre Thököly. The inhabitants of Transylvania, to the exception of the Saxon colonists, had not remained loyal to the Empire. The regiment had to withstand a blockade of nine months in the Castle of Deva. In August, Baron Wellenstein was promoted to colonel of the Infantry Regiment Hochsberg. On 14 September, Baron Neipperg, the regiment proprietor, who had been campaigning in Germany with the Reichsarmee, was promoted to Feldmarschall-Lieutenant (FML).

In August 1705, an ordonnance reduced all Imperial infantry regiments to 2,180 men (1 grenadier company of 100 men, and 16 fusilier companies of 130 men each).

On 11 November 1705, the regiment fought in the Battle of Schibo against Rákóczi's rebels.

In 1706, the regiment was present at the Siege of Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK).

In 1707, the regiment was once more attached to Rabutin's Corps and suffered heavy losses. By Spring, it could field only 400 men in two battalions. Colonel Count Fugger fell ill and resigned his function. Major Galdenblad was promoted lieutenant-colonel; Baron Späth von Zwiefalten and Reinhard Wilhelm Count Neipperg (son of the regiment proprietor) were promoted to major.

In 1708, the regiment campaigned once more under the command of Rabutin (replaced by FML Kriechbaum during the year). The same year, the regiment proprietor, FML Neipperg was appointed commander of the Fortress of Philippsburg, and on 16 March, promoted to Feldzeugmeister (FZM).

At the beginning of the campaign of 1709, the regiment was stationed in Transylvania. On 10 August, it took part in a combat near Királyhágo. The same year, Lieutenant-Colonel Galdenblad died and was replaced by Wilhelm Reinhard Count Neipperg promoted to lieutenant-colonel.

The regiment fought until 1712 in Transylvania and Upper Hungary against Rákóczi's rebels.

In April 1712, the regiment, together with IR Rabutin and IR Althan, was present at the coronation ceremony of Charles VI at Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK). At the end of the year, Lieutenant-Colonel Neipperg was sent to Philippsburg with the grenadiers and one battalion; the other battalion remained in the region of Neutra (present-day Nitra/SK) under the command of Major Späth.

In the Spring of 1713, each Imperial infantry regiment was reorganised in three battalions and comprised two grenadier companies of 100 men each and 15 fusilier companies of 140 men each. Two of these battalions were designated as “Field Battalions”.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1702 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Treuenfest and 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; medium blue hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zig-zag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey with yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs medium blue, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat pearl grey with yellow buttons
Breeches black (pearl grey in 1716 as per Donath)
Stockings red (white in 1716 as per Donath) 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.

N.B.: by 1716, yellow buttons had been replaced by buttons covered with white cloth

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 white lining, blue cuffs and cloth buttons
  • 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. Their tricorne was laced with a golden braid and carried a black and gold cockade.

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

The following descriptions are based on Treuenfest's description of the colours of the regiment at its creation in 1691 and on a book on the history of the regiment. All colours were made of bunting:

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): white field

  • obverse: centre device consisting of an image of the Madonna
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double-eagle
Leibfahne – Copyright: Kronoskaf

Companies colours (Kompaniefahnen): yellow field with various centre devices described below

  • an image of St. Leopold on the obverse and the coat of arms of the House of Habsburg (in honour of Emperor Leopold I) on the reverse
  • an image of St. Eleonora on the obverse and the coat of arms of the House of Pfalz-Neuburg (in honour of Empress Eleonore) on the reverse
  • an image of St. John on the obverse and the coat of arms of the regiment proprietor, Johann Ferdinand Baron Pfeffershofen on the reverse
+ Tentative Reconstructions
Kompaniefahne St. Leopold – Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne St. Eleonora – Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne St. John – Copyright: Kronoskaf

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. 7

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. 31-34

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, pp. 20-21

Treuenfest, Gustav Amon von: Geschichte des kaiserl. und königl. Kärnthnerischen Infanterie-Regimentes Feldmarschall Graf von Khevenhüller Nr. 7, Vienna: St. Norbertus, 1891

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

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for additional information on the history, service and the colours of the regiment