Anhalt-Dessau Infantry

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Origin and History

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Engraving by von Schmalen, Nürnberg 1759

The regiment was raised on December 16, 1665 by Colonel Johann von Fargell in Frankfurt am Main, Regensburg and Nuremberg.

By 1688, the regiment consisted of 10 companies.

In 1698, the regiment was reduced to one battalions but in 1699, it received six additional companies.

In 1695, during the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), the regiment campaigned in Brabant where it took part in the siege and capture of Namur.

In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment took part in the siege of Kayserwerth; in 1703, in the siege and capture of Bonn; in 1704, in the Battle of Blenheim; in 1705, in the Battle of Cassano; in 1706, in the Battle of Calcinato and in the Battle of Turin; in 1707, in the expedition against Toulon; in 1708, in the siege of Lille; in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet; and in 1710, in the sieges of Douai and Aire.

In 1719, the regiment received a third battalion.

From 1722, the regiment was stationed at Halle an der Saale. It recruited in the Duchy of Magdeburg and in the Principality of Dessau.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment served in the battles of Glogau (March 9, 1741), Mollwitz (April 10, 1741), Prague (1744), Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745), Soor (September 30, 1745) and Kesselsdorf (December 15, 1745).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment exceptionally counted 3 battalions and was commanded by:

  • from December 23, 1752: Colonel Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz von Anhalt-Dessau
  • from January 5, 1758: Major-General Henning Alexander von Kahlden (died on October 22 1758 after the Battle of Zorndorf)
  • from March 31, 1759 till April 28, 1784: Major-General Franz Adolf Prince von Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg

The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present infantry regiment was attributed number 3.

The regiment was disbanded after the capitulation of Magdeburg on November 8 1806.

Service during the War

King Frederick with IR3 Anhalt-Bernburg after the battle of Liegnitz - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army was ordered to proceed to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz. It was assigned to the brigade of Lieutenant-General Ferdinand of Brunswick. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna, the regiment was part of the right column. On October 28, Keith's army reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and took its winter-quarters soon afterwards.

On May 6 1757, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line in Prince Heinrich's Brigade. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the infantry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Tresckow. It lost an entire battalion in this battle.

In 1758, the regiment was part of the Army of Prince Heinrich who tried to stop the Austrian invasion of Saxony. On July 25, when Prince Heinrich was informed of the departure of the Austro-Imperial Army from Saatz, he left the regiment to defend Zwickau.

In July 1759, the missing battalion was re-raised, bringing back the strength of the regiment to 3 battalions. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Manteuffel's Division deployed on the right in the first line of infantry. A few weeks later, on August 12 during the Battle of Kunersdorf, the regiment formed part of Flemming's Brigade guarding the bridge of Goritz. On December 3, 2 battalions of the regiment were attached to a small isolated Prussian force under Major-General Dierecke who had taken post at Meissen. This small corps was attacked by a much stronger Austrian force during the Combat of Meissen. On December 4, one battalion (counting 7 coys), being among the 3 battalions still on the right bank of the Elbe, was overwhelmed and captured.

In the July 1760, the regiment served in the Siege of Dresden where several of his pickets were surprised by the enemy, attracting Frederick's wrath: all officers had to remove their hat lace, drummers their cords and sleeve lace, NCOs and privates their hat lace, coat lace and side arms. On August 15, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Liegnitz, recovering Frederick's esteem.

On July 21 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf.

To do:more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of the Grenadier Garde forming the Grenadier Batallion 3/6 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).



Uniform in 1756 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, white with black dots pompoms
Grenadier The front plate was silver-plated, with brass crown and centre part, black eagle with brass sword, beak, talons and thunderbolts. The pompom was white with black dots, backing and headband were white, the braid was yellow with narrow black lines across it. The rear grenade was pewter, the side flames were brass. (see Grenadier Batallion 3/6 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue with 7 brass buttons on each side, 2 brass buttons on the right side under the lapel, two black and white cord loops under the lapel (hidden by the sleeve in our illustration, see insert for details) on each side, and a brass button and a black and white cord loop with white tassel on each side in the small of the back
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red with a brass button (left shoulder only) for musketeers, white with a brass button (left shoulder only) for grenadiers
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (in the Prussian pattern), each with 2 brass buttons on the sleeve flap
Turnbacks red fastened with a brass button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters black
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt one white belt over the left shoulder for the cartridge box and one narrower white belt over the right shoulder for the haversack
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard brown
Scabbard brown
Footgear black shoes

Privates were armed with a musket, a bayonet and exceptionally a straight bladed "pallash" instead of the usual sabre.

As an exception, this regiment used light brown for the wooden parts of its arms: muskets, officers spontoons, NCO half-pikes, as well as flagpoles.


NCOs wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following distinctions:

  • tricorne with narrow gold lace and black and white pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • black and silver cord loops and silver tassels below each lapel
  • gilt buttons
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a light brown half-pike measuring 10 Rhenish feet (3.06 m.) in the musketeer companies and 13 Rhenish feet (4.10 m.) in the grenadier companies (carried by the 3 most senior NCOs while other grenadier NCOs were armed with rifled muskets since 1744).

NCOs also carried canes (normally attached to a button at the top of the right front while carrying the half-pike).


Anhalt-Dessau Infantry Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen

Officers had tricorne wearing a thin golden lace. They always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers. They also wore a black and silver sash around the waist. They carried an officer stick and a silver and gold gorget. They wore white neck stock. Their coats were similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • no turnback
  • 12 gilt buttons on each side on the breast
  • no lace nor button loop on the coat
  • red cuffs and red collar.

Officers carried light brown spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).


Plain white drummer lace with white tassels. White swallow nest with six red vertical bars and one white horizontal bars. 14 white horizontal laces with white tassels on each sleeve. Wide white lace on the cuffs.


Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field. Centre device consisting of a yellow medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle surmounted by a white scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Yellow field. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and surmounted by a silver crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle surmounted by a yellow scroll bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, FR ciphers) and grenades in silver.

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were light brown with brass finials.


Die Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung der Armee Friedrichs des Großen: Eine Dokumentation aus Anlaß seines 200. Todesjahres, 2 erw. Auflage, Raststatt 1986

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Uniformen der Preußischen Infanterie 1753-1786, Teil III/Bd. 3, Osnabrück 1973

Duffy, Christopher: "The Army of Frederick the Great", Emperor's Press, Chicago, 1996

Engelmann, Joachim and Günter Dorn: Die Infanterie-Regimenter Friedrich des Grossen, Podzun-Pallas, 2000

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Guddat, Martin: Grenadiere, Musketiere, Füsiliere: Die Infanterie Friedrichs des Großen, Herford 1986

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 24-31

Letzius, Martin: Das Zeitalter Friedrichs des Grossen, Sturm Zigaretten, Dresden: 1932

Menzel, Adolph von: Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, Neuauflage 1989

Seyfart, F.: Kurzgefassete Geschichte aller königlichen preussischen Regimented, welche bis in dem September 1760 fortgesetzet, Nuremberg, 1760, pp. 4-6

Summerfield, Stephen: Prussian Musketeers of the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War: Uniforms, Organisation and Equipement of Musketeer Regiments, Ken Trotman Publishing: Huntingdon, 2012, pp. 146-151

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