Palatine Leibregiment zu Fuss
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1685. It was formed from selected soldiers of disbanded regiments. Its first colonel was Baron von Lybeck
In 1703 and 1704, the regiment was among the auxiliary units in the Imperial service. From 1704 to the end of the war, it was in Dutch pay.
The regiment was organised in two battalions, each of five companies. Its theoretical strength was 1,000 men.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:
- from 28 April 1687: Colonel Ernst Philipp von Aubach (died in December 1707)
- from 1707: Major-General Count von Lescheraine (aka Lecheraine, general-adjutant)
- since 1 January 1714: Erbprinz Joseph Karl Emanuel von Sulzbach
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive commanders of the regiment were:
- in 1703: Brigadier Johann Stephan von Coppé
- in 1705: Colonel Maximilian von Renesse
- in 1706: Major Alexander Baron Coudenhove
- in 1711: Colonel Ernst Heinrich von Essen
- in 1712: Colonel Dominik de Violette
Service during the War
In 1701, the regiment garrisoned city of Köln. At the end of the year, one battalion was transferred to the Upper Rhine.
In 1702, when the Electoral Palatinate Army was reorganised, the Leibregiment was increased to 16 companies as the other infantry regiments. Two battalions were assigned to the defence of Kaiserslautern and spent the winter in Kaiserslautern and St. Wendel.
On 4 March 1703, the second battalion of the regiment was surprised in St. Wendel by the Maréchal de camp des Varenne with 2 battalions and 4 squadrons. In this affair, 15 officers and 452 men of the regiment were taken prisoner of war.
In June and July, two battalions were posted in the Lines of Stollhofen. In October, these battalions camped at Mühlberg.
On 15 November, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Combat of Speyerbach, where it was almost entirely taken prisoners together with the Garde Grenadiers during the rout.
In 1704, one battalion of the regiment was once more posted in Lines of Stollhofen.
On 7 September, Brigadier Coppé, commander of regiment, was ordered to cover the crossing of the rest of the army to join the troops already posted on the left bank of the Rhine. At 8:00 a.m., Coppé marched to Germersheim where he engaged French troops and drove them back. However, Germersheim was defended by a strong French garrison, and Coppé had to retire to the line between Lingenfeld and Schwegenheim.
From 13 September to 26 November, both battalions took part in the siege of Landau.
The regiment took up its winter-quarters in Neustadt an der Haard.
In 1705, both battalions were in Dutch pay and were allocated to General Dopff's Palatine/Dutch corps which camped at Lauterburg and Trier.
At the end of June, Aubach learned that a strong French corps led by Generals Du Bourg and de Druys had arrived in front of Saarburg, he decided to evacuate Trier. He retreated by Veldenz to Trarbach, burning his boat-bridge before leaving. Aubach was to be court-martialled, but the Elector prevented this. However, Aubach was deprived of command. On 7 July, Aubach was replaced by Lieutenant-General Baron Rehbinder
The regiment took up its winter-quarters in Kaiserslautern
In 1706, the two battalions (1,006 men) led by Major Coudenhove were transferred to Italy. In August, they camped near Carpi.
On 8 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Turin. In November, they were at the siege of Casale. On 8 December, during a review at Casale, the regiment numbered 675 men fit for service, 10 men taken prisoners, 211 men sick and 268 men absent.
In June 1707, the two battalions of the regiment were encamped at Saluzzo.
From 28 July to 22 August, the regiment took part in the Siege of Toulon. During a review on 29 July, the regiment numbered 929 men, including 187 new recruits. After the siege, the regiment encamped at Scalenghe.
Between 17 and 26 December, the regiment embarked for Spain. Major-General Johann Stephan von Coppé was appointed General-in-chief of the Palatine Corps in Spain.
On 25 January 1708, the regiment reached Barcelona aboard British ships It later skirmished near Figuerola.
On 3 June, the regiment formed part of a detachment under the Imperial Colonel O'Dwyer, which was posted at Falset, where 81 men were taken prisoners.
The regiment (610 men fit for service) then camped at Cervera and Monroig.
On 23 September, the battalion took part in the raid of the Prince of Hessen against the Castle of Conca, but the attempt failed.
On 28 October, the battalion took up its winter-quarters at Gerona.
The two battalions of the regiment saw no action during the campaign of 1709 and spent the winter at Figueras.
At the beginning of the campaign of 1710, a battalion of the regiment was allocated to FML Wetzel's Corps, who assembled most of his troops at Puente de Molins. When a British fleet arrived off the south coast of France and landed troops at Cette, the threat on the frontier disappeared and Wetzel marched with his troops to Balaguer where he made a junction with Starhemberg.
On 20 August, the battalion took part in the Battle of Saragossa, where it was deployed in the first line in Albuquerque’s Brigade. After the victory, it accompanied the Allied army in its march on Madrid.
On 10 December, the same battalion took part in disastrous Combat of Villaviciosa, where it was deployed in the first line in Saint-Amant's Brigade. In this combat, the battalion lost 9 officers and 104 men.
The regiment took up its winter-quarters at Balaguer.
The same year, the Chef of the regiment, Count Lecheraine was commander of the Palatine troops posted in Gerona.
In 1711, the very weak battalion of the regiment occupied Tarragona.
On 25 October, the battalion was part of FML Wetztel's toops, which tried to capture Tortosa. The battalion crossed the palisades, and then deployed between the bastions of St. Charles and St. Croix under the heavy fire of the defenders. In this affair, the battalion lost 33 men killed, 19 wounded and 12 taken prisoners.
The battalion took up its winter-quarters at Espluga de Francoli.
In 1712, the regiment (only 428 men) saw no action, and once more took up its winter-quarters at Tarragona.
On 10 July 1713, the regiment (a single battalion) embarked aboard British ships with other Allied units and left Spain.
In 1714, the remnants of several Palatine infantry regiments (Coppé, La Marck, Bentheim, Schönberg, Neu-Effern, Haxthausen, Freudenberg, Sulzbach) were incorporated into the Leibregiment.
|Coat||dark blue with dark blue lining and with silver buttons from top to bottom on the right side, one silver button on each side in the small of the back
|Waistcoat||dark blue with silver buttons from top to bottom|
Armaments consisted of a musket and a bayonet; and a sword.
In 1708 in Catalonia, the regiment, as several other Palatine regiments, received dark blue uniforms with red as its distinctive colour.
NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the rank and file but with the following distinctions:
- cuffs bordered with a braid
- absence of the large ammunition pouch
Corporals and sergeant-majors carried a stick and a halberd or a pike.
Officers carried spontoons and had white and blue sashes.
The uniforms of the musicians were identical to those of the rank and file but decorated with lace.
The shell of the drums were decorated with alternating white and blue flames and carried the cypher of the Electorate of Palatinate.
In 1703, the French captured a regimental colour of the regiment at the Combat of Speyerbach. This colour and many others from various origins had long been on display at Notre Dame de Paris and reproduced in "Les Triomphes de Louis XIV", a collection of five books now kept at the Cabinet des Estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris.
Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925
Goldberg, Claus-Peter and Robert Hall: War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714 – Electorate Palatine under Elector Johann Wilhelm 1690-1716, s.l., 2003
Harald Skala the initial version of this article