Wendt Infantry

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1704 from Alt-Daun Infantry and from 5 companies of Hasslingen Infantry for General Johann Adam Count von Wendt.

Upon request of Great Britain, Emperor Joseph I accepted to send two infantry regiments to Spain (Guido Starhemberg Infantry and Carl Joseph Lothringen Infantry). Furthermore, the British promised to pay subsidy for the creation of two new Imperial regiments.

In the Spring of 1708, Ferdinand Albert II Prince von zu Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel in Bevern asked to the Hofkriegsrat (the court war council of the Habsburg Monarchy) for the authorisation to raise one of these two new infantry regiments. The Emperor informed Prince Eugène de Savoie of his intention to allow the Prince von Bevern to become proprietor of a regiment and recommended to use three to four companies from more senior regiments to form the kernel of the new unit. Unfortunately, there were not enough soldiers in the army at that time, and Prince Eugène refused to part with experienced troops. However, negotiations continued to create the new regiment.

Finally, on 13 February 1709, the Prince von Bevern received a decree for the creation of a regiment which should count 12 fusilier companies and one grenadier company, for a total of 1,660 men. The prince planned to enlist his new regiment in Bavaria. However, the Habsburg Monarchy was far from being popular in Bavaria and enlistment proceeded very slowly. The Hofkriegsrat finally accepted that, by the end of June, only one battalion of 5 company and the grenadiers would be reviewed. The Prince of Bevern was not even able to fulfil this more modest requirement and started negotiations with GFWM de Wendt, who was at that time proprietor of a regiment garrisoning in Hungary. De Wendt accepted to transfer 12 fusilier companies and one grenadier company to the regiment of the Prince von Bevern at the condition that the latter would reimburse him enlistment costs. On March 9, Emperor Joseph I accepted this agreement and the Prince of Bevern inspected his new soldiers at Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK). Johann Count Trautson von Falkenstein, formerly general-adjutant and captain of a company in Baden Infantry was appointed as lieutenant-colonel and effective commander of Bevern's regiment while Heinrich Baron Calisius de Calisch, formerly from Salm Infantry was appointed major.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the proprietors of the regiment were:

  • since 1704: Johann Adam Alexander Count von Wendt
  • from 1709 till 1735: Ferdinand Albert Duke zu Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel in Bevern

Colonel-commanders during the War of the Spanish Succession:

  • since 1704: Baron Häckelberg
  • from 1709 to 1716: Lieutenant-Colonel Johann Count Trautson von Falkenstein

After the war, until 1716, the regiment garrisoned various places in Hungary.

Service during the War

At the beginning of 1709, 8 musketeer companies and 1 grenadier company of the regiment were stationed in Hungary to quench Rákóczi Uprising. The regiment was then incorporated into the newly formed Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern Infantry and reviewed at Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK). Immediately after the review, the new regiment was sent to join FM Heister's Army operating in Hungary. Upon arrival, it was attached to GFWM Löffelholz's Corps stationed in the Gran Valley (present-day Hron River/SK). Four companies were sent to support the garrisons of Trencsén (present-day Trenčín/SK) and Árva (present-day Orava/SK). During the following months, the regiment fought the Rákóczi Uprising in Hungary. During winter, the regiment took part in the blockade of Leutschau (present-day Levoča/SK).

At the end of February 1710, the regiment, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Count Trautson was involved in the capitulation of Leutschau and was praised by GFWM Löffelholz in his report to FZM Heister. Afterwards, Löffelholz unsuccessfully besieged Eperies (present-day Prešov/SK) before retiring to Leutschau. A detachment of the regiment remained in Leutschau until November while the main body participated in actions against Bartfeld (present-day Bardejov/SK) and Eperies under the command of GFWM Count Virmond. The regiment then took its winter-quarters in various places in Upper Hungary (Slovakia). Even then, the regiment was incomplete, some companies counting only 50 men instead of 130.

In March 1711, the regiment joined the forces besieging Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK). After the capitulation of this town, the regiment, along with other troops, was placed under the command of FM Pálffy who laid siege to Munkács and Unghvár. In June, Munkács capitulated, putting an end to Rákóczi Uprising. During the same year, the regiment received 678 recruits enlisted by the estates of Lower Austria and two complete companies contributed by Löffelholz Infantry and Sickingen Infantry. In accordance to the new regulation, the regiment now counted 15 fusilier and two grenadier companies. Three years afters its creation, it had finally reached full strength.

Between 1 November 1711 and April 1712 the regiment garrisoned the following places:

  • Munkács (6 coys)
  • Unghvár (1 coy)
  • Leutschau (2 coys and staff)
  • in the surrounding of Leutschau (2 coys)
  • Käsmark (present-day Kežmarok/SK) (1 coy)
  • Bartfeld (2 coys)
  • Eperies (3 coys)

In 1712, the proprietor, Albrecht Prince of Bevern, asked to Prince Eugène to transfer his regiment from Hungary to the Army of the Rhine. Even though he was personally allowed to join this army where he assumed command of a brigade, his regiment remained in Hungary, garrisoning various places and saw no action. At the end of July, the regiment received 413 recruits from Silesia. In then counted 1,738 men (excluding staff).

On 10 May 1713, one battalion (695 men including 94 grenadiers) of the regiment set off from Hungary and marched to the Rhine under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Count Trautson. During the march, Trautson left for Vienna entrusting command to Captain Reichart Count Losberg. On 20 July, this battalion, along with two battalions of Jung-Daun Infantry and Lancken Infantry, arrived at the camp of Grabe. In August, these three battalions were attached to FML Vaubonne's Corps. On 31 August, they reached Hornberg. This corps was afterwards sent to Freiburg which was besieged by the Maréchal de Villars. On 8 October, Lieutenant-Colonel Trautson led a sortie and destroyed some French trenches. Trautson's younger brother, who served as volunteer in the regiment, was then sent to carry a message to FML Harsch about this successful sortie. On 1 November, the defenders of Freiburg were forced to retire into the castle Freiburg. On 17 November, the fortress finally surrendered. Its garrison was allowed to leave with the honours of war. During this siege, the battalion lost a total of 209 men. It then rejoined Vaubonne's Corps at Rottweil. Count Trautson was later promoted colonel. During this campaign, 11 companies had remained in Upper Hungary where they had garrisoned various places.

In mid April 1714, the battalion previously serving on the Rhine marched from the Black Forest to Hungary, embarking aboard boats at Donauwörth to sail on the Danube.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1709 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Donath
Headgear
Fusilier black tricorne laced with a blue and white braid; 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; blue hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zig-zag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey with pearl grey lining; white buttons on the right side and 1 white button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs blue, each with 3 white buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat pearl grey with white buttons
Breeches pearl grey
Stockings white 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.

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 with blue and white lace
  • red neck stock
  • pearl grey coat with French blue lining, French blue collar, French blue cuffs and pearl grey cloth buttons
  • pearl grey waistcoat
  • pearl grey breeches
  • pearl grey 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.

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.

Colours

Finial used on the flagpoles of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Infantry – Source: Illustration in Hödl (see reference)

no information found yet

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

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. 123-128

Hödl, R. von: Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterieregiments Nr. 29 Gideon Ernst Freiherr von Loudon, Temesvár 1906

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 25-26

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

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the revised and improved version of this article