Prussian Kanitz Infantry

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Origin and History

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

The regiment was raised by Bogislaw von Schwerin in Pomerania and Neumark according to a warrant issued by the Elector of Brandenburg Friedrich Wilhelm on December 20, 1655. In 1656, it took part in the Battle of Warsaw. In 1657, it was transferred permanently to East Prussia and took up quarters in Rastgenburg and Gerdauen. In 1659, it took part in the affair of Braunsberg.

In 1672, the regiment formed part of a relief corps sent to Poland.

In 1674, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the regiment campaigned on the Lower-Rhine. In 1675, it was present at the Battle of Turckheim. The same year during the Swedish-Brandenburg War (1675-79), the regiment took part in the storming of Rathenow. In 1676, it campaigned in Pomerania and took part in the siege and capture of Anklam. In 1677, it participated in the siege of Stettin. In 1678, it returned to Prussia.

In 1683, during the Great Turkish War, four companies of the regiment formed part of the relief corps sent to Hungary. In 1686, one battalion was sent to Hungary and took part in the siege of Ofen.

In 1688, during the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), the regiment was stationed in Altmark and Pomerania. In 1689, it campaigned in Westphalia and took part in the siege of Bonn.

In 1691, the second battalion was sent to Hungary where it took part in the victorious Battle of Slankamen and in the siege of Gross-Wardein. In 1692, this battalion returned to Prussia.

In 1693, the first battalion took part in the campaign in the Low Countries. Meanwhile, the second battalion marched once more for Hungary where it took part in the siege of Belgrade.

In 1694, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant where it took part in the siege and capture of Huy. Meanwhile, the second battalion was encircled by the Turks in the camp of Peterwardein during three weeks.

In 1695, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant where it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary.

In 1696, the first battalion campaigned in Brabant. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary.

In 1697, the first battalion campaigned in Flanders. Meanwhile, the second battalion continued to operate in Hungary where it fought in the Battle of Zenta.

In 1700, the first battalion returned to Prussia.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Soanish Succession (1701-13), two companies of the regiment were sent to the Rhine. In 1702, these two companies took part in the siege of Kaiserwerth and in the sieges and capture of Venlo and Roermond. Meanwhile the first battalion was in Memel and the second in Tilsit and Insterburg. In 1705, the second battalion was sent to Frankfurt/Main and took part in the sieges of Drusenheim and Haguenau. The same year, the grenadiers of the regiment were sent to Italy where they fought in the Battle of Cassano. In 1706, the second battalion was recalled from Halberstadt to the Mark while the first battalion operated on the Vistula. Meanwhile, the grenadiers took part in the battles of Calcinato and Turin and in the capture of Pizzighetone. In 1707, the first battalion was sent from Pomerania to East Prussia and the second battalion, to the Low Countries. In 1708, the second battalion took part in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the siege and capture of Lille. In 1709, the first battalion went from Tilsit to Königsberg. The same year, the second battalion took part in the siege of Tournai and in the Battle of Malplaquet. In 1710, the first battalion campaigned in the Neumark while the second battalion took part in the siege of Douai. In 1711, the first battalion marched from the Neumark to Prussia while the second battalion started the campaign in the Low Countries, taking part in the siege of Bouchain before returning to Stargard in Pomerania. In 1711, the first battalion was stationed in Königsberg; and the second, in Berlin.

From 1736, the regiment garrisoned Rastenburg, Schippenbeil and Gerdauen in East Prussia. It recruited in the districts of Insterburg, Rastenburg, Gumbinnen and Sehesten and in the towns of Rastenburg, Schppenbeil and Gerdauen. Its grenadiers garrisoned Angerburg.

During the War of the Austrian Sucession, the regiment served in the battles of Chotusitz (May 17, 1742), Hohenfriedberg (June 4, 1745), and Soor (September 30, 1745).

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

  • from June 12 1750 to November 23 1769: Hans Wilhelm von Kanitz

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 2.

Service during the War

N.B.: During the war the grenadiers from the wing grenadier companies were put together with the grenadiers of Garrison Regiment No. II forming the Grenadier Batallion 2/G-II (please refer to this article for the details of the service of the grenadiers during the war).

1756

In September 1756, eight companies of the regiment were in Angerburg, four in Nordenburg. They remained in these places until April 1757.

In December, both grenadier companies went to Tilsit.

1757

In April 1757, the regiment was part of Lehwaldt's Army assigned to the defence of East Prussia against a Russian invasion. In May, the grenadiers were assigned to Converged Grenadier Battalion Manstein which assembled near Ragnit, while the rest of the regiment was posted between Tilsit, Insterburg and Nordenburg.

On July 14, the army led by Field Marshal von Lehwaldt encamped near Wehlau. On August 29, Lehwaldt reconnoitred the positions of the Russian army led by Field Marshal Apraxin. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the infantry right wing in Lieutenant-General Kanitz's Brigade. The regiment broke through the first line of the Russian infantry at the point of the bayonets and attacked the second line. Unsupported, it was forced to withdraw with heavy losses (the commander of the first battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Kannacher, First Lieutenant von Langheim, along with 2 officers, 5 NCOs and 95 men were killed; 11 officers, 9 NCOs and 278 men were wounded; and 1 officer and 97 men were missing). Lehwaldt followed the retiring Russians with his army up to Georgenburg. However, Apraxin withdrew to Stallupöhnen.

At the end of October, the Russians completely evacuated Prussian territory, and FM Lehwaldt received the order to march to Pomerania against the Swedes with his army. On December 12, the regiment arrived at Stettin.

1758

By April 1758. the entire regiment was at Richtenberg near Stralsund.

FM Lehwaldt was replaced by Lieutenant-General Count Dohna. When the army blockaded Stralsund, the regiment was posted west of Voigtshagen. On 18 June, because of the approach of a Russian army, the Prussians abandoned the blockade of Stralsund. Both armies marched back and forth for the next few weeks.

On August 2, Dohna’s Army was posted near Frankfurt/Oder. On 23 August, it marched to Zellin. The Russian army led by General Fermor was posted near Cüstrin. On August 25, the regiment took part in the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the vanguard led by Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel. The regiment distinguished itself in the battle but lost 24 officers, 33 NCOs and 951 men. These losses seriously impaired the regiment because, its recruiting ground being occupied by Russian troops, it could not easily replenish its ranks.

In the night of August 27, the Russians moved to Tamsel. Both armies then faced each other until the end of August. On September 1, the Prussian army marched to Blumberg, the present regiment was assigned to the small detached corps of General Forcade, which took position at Hohenwalde.

On October 25, the regiment was part of Wobersnow's detachment sent by Dohna to lift the Siege of Colberg. The detachment marched from Stargard to Massow.

1759

Since the end of the previous year, the entire regiment was attached to Lieutenant-General Manteuffel’s avant-garde.

Between January 11 and 18, 1759, the regiment took part in the Siege of Demmin.

In April, the second battalion of the regiment was assigned to the corps of Major-General von Diericke which besieged Peenemünde which capitulated an April 14. Meanwhile the first battalion was near Stralsund. Since another Russian army was approaching, Lieutenant-General Manteuffel had to cancel further operations against the Swedes and to retreat to Stargard.

On June 26, the entire regiment marched, along with General Wobersnow’s avant-garde by way of Schwerin and Birnbaum to Kähme (present-day Kamionna/PL). On June 27, it reached Zirke (present-day Sierakow/PL). On July 2, the main army was near Obornik, and the avant-garde at Murowanna-Goslina, 22 km north of Posen (present-day Poznan/PL).

Early in the morning of July 23, Lieutenant-General Wedel reconnoitred the positions of the Russian army. The entire regiment was in General Wobersnow’s avant-garde on the north side of Züllichau. The same day, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig (aka Kay) where it was attached to Stutterheim's Division deployed on the left in the first line of infantry. During this battle, the regiment suffered heavily, losing 13 officers, 28 NCOs and 642 men. After the battle, Wedel’s Army crossed the Oder River near Tschicherzig.

In the order of battle of August 9, the regiment formed part of Major-General Diericke’s Brigade. On August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left centre as part of Diericke's Brigade. The regiment stormed the Spitzberg twice during the battle and lost 3 officers, 12 NCOs and 191 men killed; and 7 officers, 17 NCOs and 299 men wounded. Also Lieutenant-Colonel Botho Albrecht von Lehwaldt was killed. After this battle, the regiment was reduced to a single battalion. The Prussians retreated to Fürstenwalde, the Russians with Loudon went to Mühlrose and, on August 29, to Lieberose. The Prussians encamped near Waldau in the Spreewald region. Both armies remained in these positions until mid-September.

On December 3, the remaining battalion of the regiment was attached to a small isolated Prussian force under Major-General Diericke 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, the battalion (only 400 men), being among the 3 battalions still on the right bank of the Elbe, was overwhelmed and captured. Colonel Joachim Friedrich von Leckow and Major Johann Friedrich von Laßberg were among the officers of the regiment who had been taken prisoners.

In December, King Frederick ordered that the regiment should be re-established in Western Pomerania with convalescents, men who escaped from captivity, and press-ganged recruits from Mecklenburg.

1760

In 1760, the regiment was re-raised and assembled in Pasewalk in Pomerania. Now under the interim command of Major von Lehwaldt, the regiment was re-established to two battalions, but its companies were very weak and it remained near Berlin.

In early June, the regiment formed part of Major-General Stutterheim's small corps operating in Western Pomerania.

From August 5, the regiment was posted in two groups on the heights south of Anklam and near Kagenow to support the Prussian right wing. By August 17, the first battalion was in Anklam and the second in Gutzkow near Stolpe.

On September 30, Lieutenant-General Friedrich Eugen Prince von Württemberg assumed command of the Prussian corps in Western Pomerania. The present regiment was assigned to this corps which marched to Templin. As a Russian corps led by Major-General Count Tottleben marched on Berlin, the corps of the Prince of Württemberg hastily marched to the relief of the capital. This Prussian force reached Berlin on October 4, the infantry had undertaken a 30-hours long march. However, facing mush superior forces, it was forced to evacuate the capital during the night of October 8 to 9 and to retire to Spandau.

On October 17, the Prince of Württemberg received from King Frederick the order to march to Saxony towards the Elbe River. However, in Treuenbrietzen, new orders reached him, instructing him that he should turn back immediately and march against the Swedes. On October 22, the prince’s corps reached Magedeburg, where the present regiment was left. The prince then proceeded to Aken with the rest of his corps.

By October 28, the present regiment had been allocated to Hülsen’s Reserve Corps.

On November 3, during the Battle of Torgau, one battalion of the regiment formed part of the detachment guarding the army train. After the battle, the entire regiment was assigned to the corps of the Prince of Württemberg which marched by way of Prenzlau to Mecklenburg. The Prince of Württemberg established his headquarters at Rostock, while the first battalion of the regiment was posted at Sülze, and the second at Enkendorf and Tuhlendorf.

1761

In February 1761, the second battalion of the regiment was sent to Eastern Pomerania to reinforce Courbières's Corps. By February 15, it covered the rear and flanks of Courbières's positions at Belgard and Körlin.

In mid-May, the first battalion formed part of the corps of the Prince of Württemberg, who set out from Stettin and marched towards Colberg. On June 4, the regiment was reunited as part of the corps of the Prince of Württemberg, which entrenched itself in the Bullenwinkel camp.

The corps of the Prince of Württemberg remained in the camp of Bullenwinkel to cover Colberg for five and a half months in which the "Little War" was fought very lively in the Colberg area. On August 19, captured the Russians Körlin and, from August 24, the Russian fleet anchored in the roadstead in front of Colberg.

By November 17, the regiment was still part of Württemberg's Corps, posted at Greiffenberg.

On December 8, the regiment occupied Treptow. On December 12, it was present at the Combat of Spie, where it was part of the rearguard which escorted the convoy. In the last few nights the temperature had been so cold that 200 men froze to death and many wounded had to be left behind on the return march. Within 48 hours, Württemberg had lost a total of 1,100 men!

After the capitulation of Colberg (December 16), the Prince of Württemberg evacuated Stargard on December 22 and undertook a retreat towards Mecklenburg by way of Stettin under terrible conditions. On December 31, his almost annihilated corps reached Malchin in Mecklenburg where it took its winter-quarters. The present regiment was quartered in Rostock, the headquarter of the Prince of Württemberg. Of the 1,200 men the regiment had at the beginning of the campaign, barely 300 remained.

1762

At the beginning of April 1762, the regiment marched from Mecklenburg by way of Templin, Berlin, and Guben and reached Freystadt in Silesia o April 30. There it was assigned to the corps of Lieutenant-General von Krockow. The regiment, which now numbered 900 men, marched to Fredrick’s camp near Breslau (present-day Wroclaw/PL). It remained in this entrenched camp until June 16.

At the end of June, the regiment was assigned to the Duke of Bevern's Corps, which marched to Troppau (present-day Opava/CZ). On July 23, Bevern moved into a fortified camp near Kosel (present-day Kozle/PL) where he remained until August 9.

On August 12, Bevern reached Münsterberg and, after an arduous night march, reached the Middle Peilau area. On August 16, the regiment took part in the Battle of Reichenbach, where it formed part of the infantry defending the entrenchments between the Kuh-Berg and the Spitz-Berg. In this battle, the regiment lost 16 men killed and 27 wounded. It remained in the camp of Peilau until September 1. The regiment had now 1,567 men (incl. officers). It was assigned, along with the Wied Fusiliers, to the brigade of Major-General von Thiele and marched to Nieder-Giersdorf. It then took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz, where it was deployed on the Fischerberg.

After the surrender of the Fortress of Schweidnitz, the regiment encamped near Reichenau until the end of October. It was then assigned to the brigade of Major-General von Zeuner. On December 1, the regiment took up its winter-quarters Grottkau.

1763

In 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment left its quarters in Grottkau, marched to Prussia and arrived at Rastenburg in mid-April.

During the Seven Years’ War, the regiment had lost a total of 34 officers, 112 NCOs, 45 musicians and 3,680 men.

Uniform

  • Uniformen der Preußischen Armee, 1758 (Sächsische Landesbibliothek - Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden)
  • 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. Nebst beigefügter Nachricht 1.) von der Stiftung. 2.) Denen Chefs. 3.) der Staerke und 4.) der in Friedenszeiten habenden Guarnisons jedes Regiments. Hrsg. u. gezeichnet I.C. v. S.(chmalen), Nürnberg 1770 (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white, green and red pompon
Grenadier mitre with a polished brass front plate and bright red headband with brass ornaments, straw back, white piping, red within black pompon (see Grenadier Batallion 2/G-II for an illustration)
Neck Stock red
Coat Prussian blue with two red braid loops with white tassels (hidden by the sleeve in our illustration, see insert for details) on each side and a copper button on each side in the small of the back with a red braid loop with a white tassel
Collar none
Shoulder Strap blue fastened with yellow button (left shoulder only)
Lapels red each with 6 copper buttons (with six red braid loops as per "Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee, 1758") arranged 2-2-2
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with three copper buttons
Cuffs red Prussian cuffs with two copper buttons
Turnbacks red fastened with a copper button
Waistcoat straw with horizontal pockets, each with copper buttons
Breeches straw
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

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

  • tricorne with wide gold lace and black and white pompoms
  • no shoulder strap
  • gold braid loops and tassels below the lapels and in the small of the back
  • no shoulder straps
  • yellowish leather gloves
  • black and white sabre tassel

NCOs were armed with a sabre and a brown (some sources mention white) 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).

Officers

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

Officers had tricorne edged with a thin gold lace. They always wore tricornes notwithstanding if they were commanding fusiliers or grenadiers. They also wore a white neck stock and a black and silver sash around the waist. They carried an officer stick and a silver and gold gorget. Their coats were similar to those of the privates but had no turnbacks and had gilt buttons.

Officers' lace was gold foliate edging around the lapels, cuffs, and sleeve flaps.

Officers carried brown spontoons (some sources mention white) measuring 7 ½ Rhenish feet (2.36 m.).

Lace of the officer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755


Musicians

Lace of the drummer uniform in 1755 - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

Musicians' lace was red with black and white patterns. Swallow nest with five vertical bars and one horizontal bar. Nine chevrons on each sleeve. Lace along the lapels, on the pockets, on the cuffs and on the front and back of the coat.

Colours

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

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

Colonel Colour - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Regimental Colour - Copyright Kronoskaf

The pikes used as staffs for the colours were brown (some sources mention white) with brass finials.

References

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

Duffy, Chirstopher: The Army of Frederick the Great, Purnell Boook Services Limited, 1974

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

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. 1
  • Vol. 13 Torgau, Berlin, 1914, Anhang 8

Haythornthwaite, Philip: Frederick the Great's Army (2), Osprey Publishing, 1992.

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 18-23

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

Oelsnitz, Alexander Carl von der: Geschichte des Königlich Preußischen Ersten Infanterie-Regiments seit seiner Stiftung im Jahre 1619 bis zur Gegenwart, Berlin: Mittler & Sohn, 1855

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. 117-123

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of Oelsnitz’s work