Kleist Infantry

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Origin and History

Uniform in 1770 (unchanged since the SYW) - Source: Anonymous work of 1770

The regiment was raised on November 25 1715. It was initially composed of German soldiers formerly in the Swedish service and taken prisoner during the Pomeranian campaign. Its officers and NCOS came mostly from the rank of the Grenadier Garde and Anhalt-Dessau Infantry.

From 1723, the regiment garrisoned Stendal and Gardelegen. It recruited in the districts of Arendsee, Salzwedel, Stendal and Tangermünde; and in the towns of Apenburg, Beetzendorf, Bismarck, Gardelegen, and Stendal.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1741, the regiment took part in the storming of Glogau and in the Battles of Mollwitz (April 10). On May 17 1742, it fought in the Battle of Chotusitz where it suffered heavy casualties. On December 14 1745, it took part in the Battle Kesseldorf.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since April 22 1747: Franz Ulrich von Kleist (Alt Kleist)
  • from January 20 1757: Moritz Wilhelm von der Asseburg
  • from March 18 1759 to July 26 1764: Daniel Georg von Lindstedt

At the end of the war in 1763, the regiment consisted of 1,738 Prussians, 67 Saxons and 165 foreigners.

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 27.

The regiment was disbanded in 1806 after the capitulations of Ratekau and Hameln.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army was ordered to enter into 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 to the battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the brigade of major-general Zastrow in Kleist Division. During this battle, the regiment saw intense fighting and lost 13 officers (including its colonel) and 277 men. For their conduct in this battle, all captains of the regiment received the “Pour le Mérite”. 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.

In the spring of 1757, the regiment took part to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6 1757, the regiment did not take part to the battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's corps. On November 22, the regiment took part to the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Ingersleben's brigade, in the first line of the infantry centre. During this battle, the regiment suffered heavily, loosing 13 officers and 687 men. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, its 400 remaining men, organised in a single battalion, were deployed in the vanguard which successfully attacked the Austrian left flank.

Asseburg Infantry on fast march from Moravia to Cüstrin in August 1758 - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

In the Spring of 1758, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful invasion of Moravia. In August, the regiment was part of the corps who accompanied Frederick II when he marched from Silesia to join Dohna to contain the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On August 19, Frederick's corps marched from Crossen to Ziebingen (actual Cybinka) where the whole corps encamped except Asseburg Infantry which remained in the village to protect the headquarters. On Tuesday August 22, this corps made a junction with Dohna at Manschnow. On August 25, it fought at the battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the first line of the right division led by count zu Dohna. It lost 12 officers and 623 men during this bloody battle. On September 2, when it became clear that the Russian army was slowly retiring towards Landsberg, Frederick assembled the corps that he had brought with him from Silesia and left for Saxony where his help was badly needed.

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment took part in the blockade of Stralsund. On September 2, as part of Zieten's Corps, it fought in the combat of Sorau. During the retreat, the regiment formed part of the vanguard.

On September 17 1760, the regiment fought in the Combat of Hochgiersdorf.

On July 21 1762, the regiment was present at the Battle of Burkersdorf. At the end of the Summer, it took part in the siege and capture of Schweidnitz where it was attached to Manteuffel's Corps posted at Barsdorf.

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Hülsen Infantry forming the Grenadier Batallion 21/27 (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).



Uniform in 1756 - Source: Dal
Uniform Details
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, one brass button, yellow within red pompoms
Grenadier mitre with brass front plate; white headband with a white braid and brass ornaments; red backing with white braid, yellow within red pompom (see Grenadier Batallion 21/27 for an illustration)
Neck stock red
Coat Prussian blue lined red with 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar red
Shoulder Straps red fastened with a brass button
Lapels red laced edged with a white waved braid, each with 9 brass buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red (in the Prussian pattern) edged with a white waved braid with 2 brass buttons laced white on the sleeve flap above each cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a small 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 a sabre with a curved blade.


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

  • tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white quartered pompoms
  • lapels and cuffs edged with a golden lace braid
  • no shoulder strap
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a brown or black 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).


Uniform of the officers in 1770 (unchanged since the SYW) - Source: Anonymous work of 1770

The uniforms of the officers were very similar to those of the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne with a thin gold lace with a golden pompom. (officers always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding musketeers, fusiliers or grenadiers)
  • white neck stock
  • no shoulder strap on the coat
  • coat edged with golden embroideries
  • lapels edged with golden embroideries, each with 9 gilt buttons and 9 golden embroidered buttonholes
  • pockets and cuffs edged with golden embroideries
  • 2 golden embroidered buttonholes and 2 gilt buttons on the sleeve above each cuff.
  • no turnbacks on the coat
  • black and silver sash around the waist

Officers carried brown or black spontoons measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.) and an officer stick.


The drummer lace consisted of a simple white braid.

The uniforms of the drummers were similar to those of the privates but had much more elaborate lacing and other peculiarities:

  • no shoulder strap
  • red swallow nests with vertical drummer laces on each shoulder
  • coat bordered with the drummer lace below the lapels
  • two white laced buttonholes under each lapel
  • drummer lace around the buttons in the small of the back
  • pockets edged with the drummer lace
  • each sleeve decorated with two vertical drummer laces and with 10 horizontal white chevrons between the two vertical bands


Colonel colour (Leibfahne): White field with a yellow and red flamed cross. Centre device consisting of a blue medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Regimental colours (Kompaniefahnen): Blue field with a yellow and red flamed cross. Centre device consisting of a white medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and surmounted by a gold crown. The medallion is decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a blue scroll bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Corner monograms (crowns, laurel wreaths, ciphers) and grenades in gold.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were brown or black.


Anonymous (maybe Karl Wellner), Montierung des Königlich Preussischen Armee

Brauer, M., Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926 -1962

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

Bleckwenn, Hans, Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Bd. I Infanterie I, Osnabrück 1984

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 images of Herbert Knötel d. J., Text and explanations by Dr. Martin Letzius, published by Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden: 1932

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

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

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763.

  • Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, App. 1

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. 218-225

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

Montierung der Königlich Preußischen Armee - Nummerierung nach der altpreußischen Stammliste durch Cabinets-Ordre vom 1.10.1806 mit den Chefs von 1753-1786

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

Schmalen, Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee Worinnen zur eigentlichen Kenntniss der Uniform von jedem Regiment ein Officier und Gemeiner in Völliger Montirung und ganzer Statur nach dem Leben abgebildet sind., Nürnberg, 1759

Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

Uniformes Prussien et Saxonne, Bilderhandschrift, 1758 (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin)

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