13/26 Finck Grenadiers
Origin and History
At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, Frederick II converged the grenadier companies of his infantry into elite battalions. Thus the grenadiers from Itzenplitz Infantry (2 coys) and Meyerinck Infantry (2 coys) were converged into the Grenadier Battalion 13/26 counting four companies.
In the Summer of 1757, after the Battle of Prague, this grenadier battalion was temporarily converged with Grenadier Battalion 12/39 from May 12 to June 16. These two combined grenadier battalions were then further combined with Grenadier Battalion 33/42 from June 18 to July 3 1757.
During the Seven Years' War, the battalion was commanded by:
- since August 13 1756: Major F. A. von Finck (during his absence, from January 20 to February 4 1757, Major Dieringshofen commanded the battalion)
- from November 10 1757: Major N. V. von Bornstädt (died on August 11 1759 from wounds received at the Battle of Paltzig on July 23 1759)
- from August 1759: von Kreckwitz
- from September 1759: von Homboldt
- from October 1759: von Billerbeck
- from November 1759: Karl Magnus von Schwerin
- from December 1761: L. K. von Kalckstein
Service during the War
This converged grenadier battalion first assembled on August 20 1756 in Berlin. On August 26, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, it was part of the left column led by the Prince of Bevern. This column, which had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. In October, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the battalion accompanied Frederick back to Lobositz to bring back Keith's Corps to the region of Dresden. On October 22, the battalion was part of the 10 battalions of Frederick's force who left Lobositz for Linai.
In 1757, the battalion was attached to the army who proceeded to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, the battalion took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed to cover the right flank of the infantry in Manstein's Brigade. It was among the grenadier battalions who plunged into the gap opened in the Austrian lines near Kyge-Hlaupetin. On June 18, the battalion took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the van at the extreme left under Hülsen. Around 2:00 p.m., this corps assaulted and took the Krzeczhorz Height. At the end of the afternoon, it managed to capture a nearby oak-wood but, being totally unsupported, soon lost it. Fierce attacks of the Austrian cavalry then forced Hülsen to retreat with heavy losses. On July 3, the battalion, as part of Prince Moritz's detachment, marched to make a junction with Frederick's Army at Leitmeritz. At the end of August, the battalion was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial Army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the battalion was deployed in the second line of the infantry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Forcade.
On July 23 1759, the battalion was at the Battle of Paltzig but was initially posted at Züllichau to guard the field bakery. A few weeks later, on August 12, the battalion fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the vanguard as part of Schenckendorff's Brigade. The battalion suffered so heavily that it was later combined with Grenadier Battalion 19/25 to form a single battalion. On September 21, this combined battalion took part in the Combat of Korbitz where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under Lieutenant-General Finck. When Hadik advanced Brentano's Corps against the Prussian right, Finck replied by sending Rebentisch with 4 grenadier battalions, including this one, and Markgraf Carl Infantry against Brentano who was driven back. The combined battalion captured 11 guns. On November 20, the battalion took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Rebentisch's Brigade. When Daun launched his attack at 3:00 p.m., the battalion was soon surrounded but was saved by a charge of the Converged Grenadier Battalion 4/16 Willemey. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war. The battalion had then to be reconstituted with 4 companies from 4 different regiments.
On August 29 1760, the battalion was part General Werner,'s force posted at Glogau (actual Głogów) in Silesia which was ordered by Frederick to march to the relief of Colberg. On September 5, Werner left Glogau and marched towards Colberg. On September 18, Werner arrived near the Russian entrenchments. He had marched 320 km in 13 days. Upon his arrival, he immediately attacked a small Russian detachment (about 300 men and 1 gun) on the Kauzberg hill near Sellnow (actual Zieleniewo). The unexpected arrival of Werner's force created panic in the Russian camp. All the infantry was immediately evacuated. Part of it re-embarked while another retired towards Koslin (actual Koszalin). All siege tools, supply, ammunition and several artillery pieces were abandoned on the spot. The Prussians thus captured 15 heavy guns (from 24 to 36-pdrs), 5 howitzers, two mortars and 2 3-pdrs guns.
On January 31 1761, the battalion was part of Werner's detachment posted at Rega in Pomerania. It then marched to Colberg. In August, the Russian lay siege to Colberg. In mid-November, Prince Eugen of Württemberg managed to escape from Colberg with his corps (including the battalion). He intended to come back with a relief convoy. On December 12, the battalion took part in the Combat of Spie where the Russians forced this convoy to turn back. Württemberg then retreated by Treptow, Świerzno, Buk and Stargard. The battalion was supposed to take its winter-quarters in Mecklenburg. However, Württemberg decided to launch an offensive against the Swedes and to attack Malchin.
On January 2 1762, the battalion took part in the Combat of Neu Kalen where the Swedes put a stop to Württemberg's offensive. After the engagement of Neukalen, Prince Eugen abandon his plan to capture Malchin. The Prussian army retired and the Swedes cleared up Mecklenburg and then withdrew behind the Trebel-Peene line, leaving a garrison in Demmin. On July 29, the battalion was part of Seydlitz's force who quit Zwickau and advanced towards Bohemia by Geyer, Annaberg and Sebastiansberg (present-day Hora Svatého Šebestiána). On August 2, the battalion fought in the Combat of Teplitz where it was deployed in the first line under Major-General Kleist.
N.B.: For NCOs of the grenadier companies, the long pike (4,10 m long) was introduced in 1756 just before the war. This long pike was not very popular and was often shortened. At the beginning of the Seven Years' War and throughout the conflict, NCOs carried a mixture of M1713 (2,37 m long), M1755 (3 m long) and M1756 (4,10 m long) pikes.
|von Itzenplitz: mitre with silver plated front plate; straw headband with a white braid and silver plated ornaments; dark blue backing; yellow pompom
N.B.: Until recently there was no record of the front plate of the mitre cap of this regiment. However, an original grenadier cap (most likely from an NCO) has been identified at the Suvorov Museum in Kobrin/Belarus. According to an article in the German "Zeitschrift fuer Heereskunde", Mr. W. N. Malyshew published an article in the Russian journal “War and Weapons” about Prussian grenadier and fusilier caps in the Seven Years' War. The shield of the mitre cap was silver plated and of a pattern identical to the one of Infantry Regiment no. 16.
In regiments with white metal, the front plates were to be coloured with a water-based silver paste which needed to be re-applied regularly lest the cap plates revert to their original brass colour. Therefore, during campaign, particularly in bad weather, it is possible that the silvering could have worn off and needed to be silvered again.
|von Meyerinck: polished brass front plate; white headband with a white braid bordered red and brass ornaments; white backing with a white braid bordered red; red within white pompom|
The converged grenadier battalions did not carry any colour.
Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973
Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000
Fiedler, Siegfried: Grenadiermuetzen der Armee Friedrichs des Grossen, Schild Verlag GmbH, Munich, 1981
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, App. 2
Riehn, R.: Linear Tactics Part III - Grenadier Battalions 1756-1763, The Courier Volume 2 No. 6, May-June 1981
Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt: 1989, pp. 30-32
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.