Palatine Leibregiment zu Fuss

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Palatine Army >> 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

1701

In 1701, the regiment garrisoned city of Köln. At the end of the year, one battalion was transferred to the Upper Rhine.

1702

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.

1703

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.

1704

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 he 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.

1705

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

1706

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.

1707

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.

1708

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.

1709

The two battalions of the regiment saw no action during the campaign of 1709 and spent the winter at Figueras.

1710

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.

1711

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.

1712

In 1712, the regiment (only 428 men) saw no action, and once more took up its winter-quarters at Tarragona.

1713

On 10 July 1713, the regiment (a single battalion) embarked aboard British ships with other Allied units and left Spain.

1714

In 1714, the remnants of several Palatine infantry regiments (Coppé, La Marck, Bentheim, Schönberg, Neu-Effern, Haxthausen, Freudenberg, Sulzbach) were incorporated into the Leibregiment.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform circa 1703 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per Bezzel and Robert Hall
Headgear
Fusilier black felt hat laced white
Grenadier silver front plate decorated with the cypher "JWC", with a dark blue bag

from 1703: cloth mitre cap
from 1708: bearskin

Neck stock white
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
Collar none
Shoulder Straps braided dark blue aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 silver buttons with white laced buttonholes
Cuffs dark blue, each with 3 silver buttons with white laced buttonholes
Turnbacks none (it seems that the basques of the coat could be turned back if needed but this was a rare practice during this period)
Waistcoat dark blue with silver buttons from top to bottom
Breeches dark blue
Stockings white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff leather
Waistbelt buff leather, worn above the coat
Cartridge Pouch buff leather
Bayonet Scabbard no information found
Scabbard buff leather with brass tip
Footwear black shoes fastened with a strap


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

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

Officers carried spontoons and had white and blue sashes.

Musicians

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.

Colours

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.

Tentative Reconstruction
Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

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

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala the initial version of this article