Prinz Wilhelm Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Kassel Army >> Prinz Wilhelm Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1687 as the Prinz Carl von Hessen Regiment of Foot with subsidies of the Republic of Venice to fight against the Turks. It initially consisted of 10 companies in two battalions, which were formed from the levies of the Leib Regiment and the regiments Ufm Keller, Hanstein and Wartensleben. In 1688, it was sent to Morea (Greece), where it first occupied Corinth in August and later besieged and captured Athens in September of the same year. Here it distinguished itself during the siege of Negroponte. At the end of March 1689 it returned to its homeland, where it was again made complete.

In 1692, during the Nine Years' War (1688-97), 8 companies of the regiment took part in combats at Rheinfels and Ebernburg. In 1698, the regiment was reduced to 5 companies in a single battalion.

In 1702, the regiment was increased to ten companies in two battalions.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:

  • from 1701: Prince Wilhelm von Hessen-Kassel (the future Landgrave Wilhelm VIII)
  • from 1705: Major-General Ernest Ludwig von Wilcke
  • from 1709 to 1722: Colonel Count Alexander Dönhoff

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive effective commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1687: Colonel Dumont
  • from 1704 to 1709: Major-General E. L. von Wilcke (Chefs of the regiment from 1705)

In 1789, the regiment was amalgamated with the Infanterieregiment Nr. 3.

Service during the War

In the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment took part in campaigns in the Netherlands, on the Rhine, as well as Bavaria and Italy.

In the spring of 1702, parts of the regiment were at the Siege of Kaiserswerth. By July, one battalion of the regiment was encamped near Nijmegen. In October, parts of the regiment were at the siege of Liège.

In 1703, the regiment was also involved in the sieges of Bonn, Andernach and Limburg. Later the same year, it was also stationed on the Stollhofen lines.

Note: some sources mention the regiment at the Combat of Speyerbach, but we found no trace of this unit in the order of battle.

On 2 July 1704, one battalion of the regiment took part in the Battle of Schellenberg. On 13 August, this battalion took part in the Battle of Blenheim, where it was deployed in the second line of the extreme left wing. In November, the regiment besieged Trarbach and Saarburg.

In mid-July 1705, the regiment was involved in a skirmish near Eliksem during the passage of the Lines of Brabant. The regiment took its winter-quarters in its homeland, in Hesse.

For the campaign of 1706, the regiment was transferred to Italy. It was at the capture of Goito and Mondovia. On 8 September, it took part in the Battle of Castiglione. Another part of the regiment seems to have campaigned in the Netherlands where it participated in the siege of Ostend.

In April 1707, the regiment took part in the capture of the Citadel of Milan. In July and August, it was at the unsuccessful Siege of Toulon. At the end of September, it took part in the siege and capture of Susa.

In 1708, the regiment was transferred to the Low Countries. From August to December, it took part in the siege and capture of Lille. At the end of December, it was at the capture of Ghent.

From July to September 1709, the regiment took part in the Siege of Tournai. In the same year, it also took part in the Battle of Malplaquet. On 11 September, it fought in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet. It took its winter-quarters in Hesse.

In April and May 1710, part of the regiment was at the Siege of Douai. In July and August, one battalion was at the Siege of Béthune. From September to November, part of the regiment was at the Siege of Aire-sur-la-Lys.

In 1711, the regiment defended the camp of Hordain.

In June and July 1712, the regiment took part in the Siege of Le Quesnoy.

Uniform

In 1687 and 1688, the regiment had a grey uniform with yellow as its distinctive colour. In 1689, it changed to a blue uniform with yellow as its distinctive colour.

Privates

Uniform - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Fusilier black felt tricorne probably laced yellow (the metal colour of the regiment)
Grenadier no information found
Neck stock white cravate, later black
Coat blue with yellow lining and with copper buttons from top to bottom on the right side, and one copper button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets low on the coat, each probably with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs yellow, each probably with 3 copper buttons
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 blue with small copper buttons
Breeches leather
Stockings grey woollen stockings
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt wide natural leather bandolier
Waist-belt natural leather worn above the coat
Cartridge Pouch large cartridge pouch
Bayonet Scabbard black with a brass tip
Scabbard black with a brass tip
Footwear black shoes with buckles fastened with a strap


Armaments consisted of a flintlock musket and a bayonet; and a sword. As early as 1699, the firearms had consistently been converted to new flintlocks, so that the outdated muskets with matchlocks and the pike to repel the cavalry had to be removed. Each man also had a satchel made of calfskin, a powder horn a tin canteen was carried over the shoulder on a strap, and a pair of yellow leather gloves.

In the Hessian infantry, the hair was worn loose and down to the shoulders, unlike the French, who tied the hair in a braid.

Colours

no information found yet

References

Army Hesse-Kassel: Grundlage zur Militär-Geschichte des Landgräflich Hessischen Corps. Cassel 1798, pp. 340-343

Böhm, Uwe Peter: Hessisches Militär: Die Truppen der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1672-1806, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Beckum 1986

Goldberg, Claus-Peter and Jean Belaubre: Hessen-Kassel 1701-1714. Kaltenkirchen 1995, p. 16

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007, pp. 91-93

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

Acknowledgements

Björn Wiegand for a major overhaul of the article