Kratze Infantry

From Project WSS
Jump to: navigation, search

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

Origin and History

Soldiers of Brown Infantry (former Kratze) in 1717 - Source: Richard Knötel's work

The regiment was raised in 1689, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), by Duke Albrecht III von Sachsen-Coburg, who had been granted the necessary patent from Emperor Leopold I on 9 December 1688. It initially consisted of 10 companies for a total of 1,500 men, including staff. In May 1689, the newly raised regiment was sent to Frankfurt am Main. From 30 June, it garrisoned Cochem. The regiment was not yet at its full theoretical strength, counting only 5 companies. It took it winter-quarters in Swabia. At the end of July 1690, it was sent from Heilbronn to Italy by Beilstein, Schorndorf, Adelberg, Geppingen, Blaubeuern on the Danube, then by Memmingen, Kempten and Reutte in Tyrol. Two companies which garrisoned Nuremberg were transported to Burgau on the Danube River. In September, the whole regiment reached Piedmont. By 23 May 1691, the regiment counted 700 men. In July, it had been increased to 958 men and was serving under General Palffy in the region of Pinerolo. In August, three additional companies (274 men) arrived from Germany. In September, the regiment took part in the siege of Carmagnola which surrendered on 8 October. In 1692, Palffy's Corps remained in Piedmont to observe enemy forces. However, it is also possible that some companies had taken part in the campaign in Dauphiné. In 1693, the regiment, as part of the troops of the Duke of Savoy, besieged Fort Brigitta, which surrendered on 13 August. In July 1694, the regiment, who now counted 16 companies, operated in the region of Moncalieri and Rivalta, then in the area of Scalenghe and Araisca. In 1695, it was brought back to its theoretical strength of 1,500 men. It took part in the siege of Casale before being transferred to Catalonia in July. By May 1696, the regiment was encamped near Barcelona. On May 30, it fought in the engagement of Massanet de la Selva before retiring to its camp near Barcelona. In 1697, it took part in the defence of Barcelona which surrendered on 10 August. It left the city with the honour of war and joined the Spanish army near Tarragona.

By 1698, the regiment, which was still stationed in Catalonia, consisted of 12 companies and totalled 1,800 men. On 7 August 1699, Colonel Karl Sebastian von Kratze became Inhaber of the regiment.

By the time of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment counted three battalions.

Since its creation, the regiment had the following proprietors (they also acted as effective commanders):

  • from 9 December 1688: Albrecht III von Sachsen-Coburg
  • from 1 October 1699: Colonel Karl Sebastian Count von Kratze von Scharfenstein (promoted to major-general on 24 July 1701)
  • from 20 October 1704: Philipp Damian Baron von Sickingen (formerly from Thürheim Infantry)
  • from 26 November 1713 till 16 November 1715: Johann Hannibal Baron von Wellenstein

In 1769, when the Imperial regiments were officially ranked and numbered, the present regiment was designated as No. 57.

Service during the War

In July 1702, the regiment (two battalions) joined Arco's Corps and, on 14 October, took part in the Battle of Friedlingen. It then assumed garrison duty in Alt-Breisach.

From 22 August 1703, the regiment (14 companies) took part in the defence of Alt-Breisach which surrendered on September 6. The garrison obtained the honours of war when the fortress capitulated and marched under escort to Rheinfeld which it reached on 15 September. Describing the situation in the besieged Fortress of Alt-Breisach, Colonel Marsigli wrote:

“La Bute on Eckertsberg (endroit ainsi nommé) fut attaqué, et ne pouvant plus etre fortifié á tems, les retranchements entre cet endroit et le Coeur de la place, furent faits par les soldats, lesquels par cet ouvrage précipité, furent mis hors l’etat de se defendre contre les enemies d’autant que pendant l’espace de vingt et un jour, aucun ne fut relevé de son poste.”

In August 1704, the regiment received 2.200 recruits from Bavaria which brought its strength to 17 companies in 4 battalions. On October 20, Philipp Damian Baron von Sickingen (formerly colonel and commander of Thürheim Infantry) became Inhaber of the regiment.

In 1705, the regiment initially garrisoned places in Bavaria (Braunau, Schärding, and its grenadiers in Munich) before being transferred to Hungary to quench the Rákóczi Uprising.

From 1706, the regiment served in Hungary against Rákóczi, but saw no action.

At the beginning of 1707, the regiment operated in the region between Lack and Sarvar. At the end of May, it was with Field-Marshal Starhemberg at Pressburg (present-day Bratislava).

On 3 August 1708, Rákóczi's Confederate force was decisively defeated in the Battle of Trentschin (present-day Trenčín). The regiment (about 2,180 men in 16 fusilier coys and 1 grenadier coy) took its winter-quarters near Silein (present-day Žilina/SK) in the Comitat of Trentschin.

On 22 January 1710, the regiment fought in the engagement of Romhány. FML Baron Sickingen with his small force of 2,500 men defeated the 12,000 men of Rákóczi and Károlyi. In this action, the Kurucs lost 2,000 men killed, and 27 colours and 2 guns captured. At the end of September, it took part in the siege and capture of Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK). A detachment of the regiment then blockaded the Castle of Murany (present-day Muráň/SK).

On 21 February 1711, Rákóczi took refuge in Poland. The same year, the regiment was initially posted at Debreczin (present-day Debrecen). It then moved to N. Kalo, Szoboslo (present-day Szobosló/HU) and Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK) before being sent to Transylvania.

In 1712 and 1713, the regiment remained in Hungary and Transylvania. On November 26 1713, Johann Hannibal Baron von Wellenstein became Inhaber of the regiment.

Uniform

In this section, we depict the uniform worn by the regiment in 1717 when the regiment belonged to Count Brown. The distinctive of the regiment seems to have remained constant since its creation.

Privates

Uniform in 1717 - Copyright: Richard Couture
Uniform Details as per
Knötel and Donath
Headgear
Fusilier black tricorne laced white; 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; black hanging bag edged with a white braid in a zig-zag pattern
Neck stock red
Coat pearl grey with yellow buttons on the right side and 1 yellow button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder Straps none
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs black, each with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat pearl grey with yellow buttons
Breeches pearl grey
Stockings white (black in the early years of the war) 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.

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

Officers of Brown Infantry (former Kratze) in 1717 - Source: Richard Knötel's work

Uniforms of officers were always of finer cloth than those of the privates. They were also distinguished from the uniforms of privates by the following differences:

  • a black tricorne edged gold
  • a pearl grey coat with gilt buttons laced with golden braids
  • black stockings

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

Drummers and fifers wore similar uniforms with the following distinctions:

  • a pearl grey coat edged with a black braid with swallow nests decorated with black braids at the shoulders; cuffs and pocket flaps were also edged and decorated with black braids
  • a pearl grey waistcoat edged with a black braid; pocket flaps were also edged and decorated with black braids

The drum belt was usually brown and worn on the right shoulder.

Colours

The colour illustrated by Knötel (see plate above) is similar to the Leibfahne of the regiment during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Regimentsfahne had the same border and the same centre device but its field was red.

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

Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, Plate 13

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. 243-246

Pillersdorff, Albert: Das 57. Infanterie-Regiment Fürst Jablonowski und die Kriege seiner Zeit: Im Auftrage des Regimentes nach den Quellen des K.K. Kriegsarchives, Vienna: Leopold Sommer, 1857, pp. 1-142

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 20

Acknowledgments

Michael Zahn for information about this regiment

Harald Skala for the translation and integrattion of Pillersdorf’s work