Rheingraf Infantry

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

Origin and History

The regiment was created on 13 January 1682 in Silesia. Its first proprietor was Johann Baron von Dieppenthal; and its first commander, Christian Andreas Count Jörger von Tollet. The kernel of officers came from Grana Infantry (disbanded 1690), Mansfeld Infantry, Starhemberg Infantry and Kaiserstein Infantry (disbanded 1748). In 1685, the regiment received 250 men from the disbanded Derbey Infantry.

From 1682 to 1697, during the Great Turkish War, the regiment campaigned in Hungary and Transylvania. In 1683, five companies of the regiment took part in the relief of Vienna, which was besieged by the Turks. In 1688, the regiment was at the siege and storming of Belgrade, four companies were at the blockade of Kanizsa. In 1691, the regiment fought in the battle of Szlankamen. In 1692, four companies took part in the siege of Grosswardein. In 1697, the whole regiment fought at Zenta.

The successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • from 1700: Wilhelm Florentin Rheingraf zu Salm-Neufville
  • from 1704 until 1746: Georg Olivier Count Wallis

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

  • from 1697: Maximilian Count Regal
  • from 1704: Count Wallis (the proprietor)
  • from 1708: Cosa von Radisch
  • from 1710: Count Stubenberg
  • from 1715: Adolph von Bingen

In 1748, at the end of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was very weak and was therefore incorporated in Roth Infantry.

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment was sent to Northern Italy. On 15 August, it took part in the Battle of Luzzara.

At the beginning of 1703, the regiment was posted on the Po River. It was later allocated to the corps of FZM Guido Starhemberg.

In 1704, the regiment was once more allocated to Starhemberg’s Corps and it took part in the combat of Castelnuovo di Bormida. From October, it took part in the defence of Verrua. A detachment under FML Guttenstein took part in the occupation of Bavaria.

In 1705, the detachment operating in Piedmont suffered heavy losses and was taken prisoners of war after the surrender of Verrua. On 16 August, two newly raised battalions fought under Prince Eugène at the Battle of Cassano.

In 1706, the regiment was allocated to the corps of the Prince Hessen-Cassel (Wetzel) in Lombardy. On 8 September, it fought in the Battle of Castiglione.

In 1707, the regiment took part in the campaign against Naples and in the ensuing occupation of this kingdom.

From 1708 to 1718, the regiment garrisoned various places in the Kingdom of Naples and saw no action.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform circa 1700 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details around 1700 as per
Donath, and Kühn & Hall
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; light blue hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zigzag pattern
Neck stock white
Coat light blue with light blue lining; 11 tin buttons on the right side and 1 tin button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 tin buttons
Cuffs light blue, each with 3 tin buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat buff leather
Breeches buff leather
light blue orange stockings
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.

From 1705, the regiment adopted a new uniform:

  • black tricorne laced white
  • white neck stock
  • white coat with white lining and without buttons; white cuffs without buttons
  • light blue waistcoat, breeches and stockings

According to Czegka, in 1716 the Hofkriegsrat queried all regiments to know how to dress recruits with the proper uniform before sending them to their unit. For the present regiment, the following uniform is described:

  • black tricorne laced white
  • pearl grey coat with pearl grey lining and cloth buttons
  • blue waistcoat
  • blue breeches
  • blue 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. In 1700, they were also distinguished from the uniforms of privates by the following differences:

  • black tricorne laced silver
  • crimson coat edged silver with silver lace on the seams of the sleeve; slit crimson cuffs edged silver
  • silver buttons
  • light blue waistcoat
  • light blue breeches
  • light blue 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.

The drum belt was usually brown and worn on the right shoulder.

Colors

Colonel colour (Leibfahne): white field with a white horizontal band in its centre, bordered with alternating light blue and white flames (white flames pointing inwards, light blue flames pointing outwards); centre device consisting of a crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the initials of Emperor Leopold I LI (Leopold Imperator) on its breast; the arms of Wallis in a circle in the third canton

Leibfahne – Copyright: Richard Couture

Battalion colours (Bataillonsfahne): light field with a white and crimson horizontal band in its centre (white on the fly side, crimson on the other), bordered with alternating light blue and white flames (white flames pointing inwards, light blue flames pointing outwards); centre device consisting of a crowned and armed Imperial double-eagle with the initials of Emperor Leopold I LI (Leopold Imperator) on its breast; the arms of Wallis in a circle in the third canton

Bataillonsfahne – Copyright: Richard Couture

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. 214ff, Vienna 1898

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

Acknowledgments

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article