The Bavarian Army of the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

Leibregiment Kurfürst in Bayern

Leib-Regiment Kurfürst in Bayern. These 40 mm semi-round miniatures are cast from commercially available Prince August rubber moulds. A modeller's dream come true, important standard poses may be reproduced again and again, whereas drummers and other specialist types need to be cast only occasionally. The ensign is a conversion of the dismounted cavalryman from Prince August mould PA46, who has had his pistol removed and a pianowire flagstaff placed into his hand.

The Bavarian army was uniformed, armed and organized following the Austrian pattern. Infantry regiments consisted of 2 battalions with 4 Füsilier and 1 Grenadier company, and two 4-pounder battalion guns each. The Leib-Regiment had 3 battalions, only two of which campaigned with the army. Grenadier companies usually fought alongside the parent regiment, though they may have been detached occasionally, to form an elite battalion of converged grenadiers.

The Bavarian army consisted of eight infantry regiments, two cavalry regiments, and an artillery brigade. Ten infantry battalions and their attached artillery served with the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army. These units fought at Schweidnitz, Breslau and Leuthen in 1757, Troppau, Oelmutz and Neiße in 1758. Infanterie-Regiment Kurprinz, and Infanterie-Regiment Preysing had only one battalion in the field, they formed the combined Infanterie-Regiment Kurprinz/Preysing. At the Battle of Leuthen, the Bavarian and Württemberg contingents of the Auxiliar-Korps bore the brunt of the Prussian attack against the extreme left flank of the line.

Bavaria also contributed the 1st Bavarian Kreis-Regiment, a.k.a. Infanterie-Regiment Kurbayern, for service with the Reichsarmee. This unit consisted of I. Battalion Infanterie-Regiment von Pechmann, II. Battalion IR von Pechmann (without grenadiers), I. Battalion IR von Holnstein, and six 4-pounder battalion guns. Füsilier companies had a total strength of 130 all ranks, grenadier companies only 100 all ranks. Nominal strength of the regiment would have been 1760 all ranks, plus regimental staff, but the unit mustered only 1373 men in May 1758. IR Kurbayern was detached to Freiberg in Saxony when Frederick the Great defeated the French and Imperial army at the Battle of Rossbach.

Uniforms in the Seven Years' War

It is not known with certainty, if the infantry wore a dark blue or corn-flower blue coat during the Seven Years' War, but the following items of dress were common to all infantry regiments:

  • Collar, cuffs, lapels, and coat lining in the regimental facing colour
  • Red stock.
  • Black gaiters, tricorne hat, cartridge box, and bayonet scabbard
  • White & blue cockade on the tricorne
  • Brass grenade badge on grenadier cartridge boxes.
  • Grenadiers also had a small cartouche box on the waist-belt
  • Red-brown calfskin straps on tin water-bottle and musket (red or white after 1740s).
  • Brown-black Austrian pattern grenadier fur caps with red bag, white lace & tassel
  • Cowhide knapsacks until 1757, subsequently made from white or grey ticking
  • Brass drums with white & blue striped hoops.
  • Mounted officers had shabraques and pistol covers in the facing colour, trimmed in the button colour. Exceptions: The Leib-Regiment had blue shabraques edged in silver, Infanterie-Regiment Kurprinz had dark blue shabraques edged in gold.
  • Regimental staff officer wore lace in the button colour.
  • The Leibkompanie of the I. Battalion of each regiment carried the Leibfahne, a white flag with the Madonna painted on in various designs.
  • Füsilier companies carried white and blue checked regimental colours. For reasons of economy, the madonna, and the electoral cyphers in the corners of these flag were often omitted. Grenadier companies did not carry flags.

Musicians seem to have worn the blue coat with white & Bavarian blue checked lace in horizontal stripes, unless otherwise noted below.

Bavarian Army Command of the Seven Years' War

Bavarian Infantry of the Seven Years' War

Regiment Coat Facings Buttons Waistcoat Breeches
Leib-Regiment
Kurfürst in Bayern
blue white white white white
Until 1760, drummers wore reversed colours with black & blue checked diagonal lace. The Leib-Regiment adopted black facings with white lace in 1760. The drummers wore this new uniform as well, not reversed, but with the same lace as before. The Füsiliers of the Leib-Regiment had grenadier-style brass grenade badges on their cartridge boxes. Garrisoned at Munich, the II. and III. Battalion of the Leib-Regiment served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army.
Infanterie-Regiment
Kurprinz in Bayern
blue white yellow white white
Drummers wore blue uniform, except that their horizontal lace stripes were black & blue checked. Garrisoned at Amberg i. d. Oberpfalz (I. Btl.) and Rottenburg a. d. Laaber (II. Btl.) in 1756, Straubing (1757), Ingolstadt (1758), and Amberg (1759), the II. Battalion served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army. The unit formed a combined regiment with I. Battalion IR von Preysing, known as Infanterie-Regiment Kurprinz/Preysing.
Infanterie-Regiment
Herzog Clemens in Bayern
blue red yellow white white
Garrisoned at Straubing, the regiment served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army.
Infanterie-Regiment
Graf von Minucci
Oberst von La Rosee (59)
blue yellow white yellow or red? yellow
Ownership of the regiment changed in 1759. The redesignated Infanterie-Regiment von La Rosee received permission to clothe its drummers in reversed colours, with blue waistcoats. Garrisoned at Braunau am Inn, the regiment served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army.
Infanterie-Regiment
Freiherr von Morawitzky
blue straw white straw straw
Garrisoned at Munich (1756) and Ingolstadt (1759), the regiment served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army.
Infanterie-Regiment
Graf von Preysing
blue red white straw straw
Musicians wore the livery of the Inhaber, yellow coats with red lapels, red vests, and white breeches. Garrisoned at Ingolstadt, the I. Battalion formed a combined regiment with II. Battalion IR Kurprinz in Bayern, which served in the Auxiliar-Korps of the Austrian army.
Infanterie-Regiment
Freiherr von Pechmann
Freiherr von Meinders (59)
Freiherr von Herold (61)
blue straw yellow white? white?
Garrisoned at Neumarkt i. d. Oberpfalz (1757), and Rottenburg a. d. Laaber (1761), the regiment was combined with I. Battalion IR von Holnstein to form the 1. Bayerische Kreis-Regiment (IR Kurbayern). The unit served with the Reichsarmee at Weissenfels (1757), Sebastiansberg and Sonnenstein (1758), Dresden, Meissen and Dippoldiswalde (1759), Strehla, Torgau and Wittenberg (1760), Plauen (1761), and Freiberg (1762).
Infanterie-Regiment
von Holnstein
blue,
with straw lining
red yellow straw straw
The straw lining of the coat would show on the turnbacks; the collar, cuffs and lapels were faced red. The I. Battalion and 1. Grenadier Company IR von Holnstein formed the 1. Bayerische Kreis-Regiment (IR Kurbayern) together with 1. Grenadier Company, I. and II. Battalion IR von Pechmann. The unit missed the Battle of Rossbach in 1757, because it was on detached duty at Freiberg, Saxony.

Bavarian Cuirassiers and Dragoons of the Seven Years’ War

Regiment Coat Facings Buttons Waistcoat Breeches
Kürassier-Regiment Graf Törring
Kürassier-Regiment Graf Minucci, 1763
Kürassier-Regiment Prinz Taxis white med. blue white straw
Cuirasses were blackened. Shabracks and pistol covers were red with white trim. The service record of the unit is not known.
Kürassier-Regiment Graf Frohberg
By electoral decree of 30 April 1757, the Frohberg Cuirassiers, established 1682, were incorporated into the other Bavarian cavalry regiments. The younger officers, NCOs and men were transferred to the infantry and served as grenadiers. Those men who were unfit for duty joined the garrison company at Burghausen.
Dragoner-Regiment Graf Preysing
Johann Kaspar La Rosée, 1758
red blue yellow straw straw
Blue shabracks and pistol covers edged in the button colour
Dragoner-Regiment Hohenzollern red straw white straw straw
Shabracks and pistol covers were straw-coloured with black? trim. The service record of the unit is not known.

Bavarian Hussars of the Seven Years’ War

Regiment Pelisse Lining Braid Dolman Breeches
Husarenkorps Piosasque red black white? bleu-mourant ?
Straw-coloured shabracks and pistol covers with trim in the button colour

Bavarian Artillery of the Seven Years’ War

Regiment Coat Facings Buttons Waistcoat Breeches
Artillerie Brigade light grey med. blue yellow straw straw
Garrisoned at Ingolstadt and Rottenburg a. d. Laaber, the artillery served alongside the Bavarian army in all of the above engagements. Each infantry battalion had two guns which were served by artillerists and infantry Handlanger. Artillery officers wore silver hat lace. Gun carriages were painted blue-grey with black fittings. However, in 1760 Infanterie-Regiment Salzburg (2. Bayerisches Kreis-Regiment) received battalion guns with red carriages. Bavarian ammunition wagons and carts were painted red. Packhorses had red saddle cloth. The artillery brigade was responsible for 34 battalion guns, one division of 6 field guns and 2 howitzers, attendant field forges, ammunition and supply wagons which took the field during the Seven Years' War.

Fortifications

It is important to remember that rivers present a serious obstacle to civilian, commercial, and military traffic. Historically, small groups of travellers crossed major rivers by boat or ferry, known as a flying bridge (fliegende Brücke), but large military formations needed regular bridges to cross a river with minimal delay. Permanent bridges are expensive, they take a long time to build, and require regular maintainance, only major population centers could afford them. To protect their investment, these cities were heavily fortified.

Major waterways like the Rhine river had no permanent bridges at all, not since Roman times. There were four boat-bridges (Schiffsbrücken) on the Rhine at Basel, Straßburg, Mainz-Kastel (1661) and Cologne; a fifth was built at Koblenz in 1819. Boat-bridges were a heavier civilian type of pontoon-bridge, using river barges instead of small military pontoons. Other strategic crossing points along the Rhine had fortified bridgeheads which could be connected by pontoon-bridges. The Bavarian army maintained fortified bridgeheads on the Rhine and Danube:

  • Ingolstadt, Regierungsbezirk Oberbayern, situated at the confluence of Schutter and Danube. The city was fortified in 1539, and it withstood its first siege in 1546. The Swedish army under Gustavus Adolf, too, besieged Ingolstadt unsuccessfully in 1632, while Tilly died of his wounds inside the fortification. The Austrian army occupied Ingolstadt in 1703, and again in 1742. French General Moreau reduced the fortress in 1800, and reconstruction did not begin until 1828. Infanterie-Regiment Kurprinz, IR von Morawitzky, IR von Preysing, and Bavarian artillery were garrisoned here during the Seven Years' War.
  • Germersheim, Regierungsbezirk Pfalz, situated at the confluence of Queich and Rhine. The fortified bridgehead at Germersheim-Philipsburg had much greater importance than the fortification at Ingolstadt, because it dominated a strategic road between France and Germany. Turenne captured and reduced the fortifications in 1674, and the French army again occupied Germersheim in 1688, when Louis XIV made claims to the Palatinate. French occupation ended in 1702, and the fortification was rebuilt in 1715. Austrian forces under Wurmser and Hohenlohe defeated the French under Beauharnais here in 1793.
  • Festung Rothenberg above Schnaittach, built 1729 to ca. 1750 on the ruins of a 13th century castle, was a Bavarian stronghold against Franconia and Nuremberg. The bastioned fortress of French design is the last Rococo fortification in Europe. During the Seven Years' War, infantry battalions and grenadier companies of the Bavarian army were detailed to garrison the Rothenberg on a rotational basis.

Bibliography

  • (SGBH) Staudinger, Karl: Geschichte des kurbayerischen Heeres unter Kurfürst Karl Albrecht – Kaiser Karl VII. – und Max III. Joseph 1726–1777 (Geschichte des bayerischen Heeres 3). Verlag J. Lindauer, München 1909.
  • Bezzel, Oskar: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres von seinen Anfängen bis zur Vereinigung von Kurpfalz und Kurbayern 1777, nebst Geschichte des Heerwesens in Pfalz-Zweibrücken (Geschichte des Bayerischen Heeres 4/1). Bayerisches Kriegsarchiv, München 1925.
  • (MGBA) Münich, Friedrich: Geschichte der Entwicklung der bayerischen Armee seit zwei Jahrhunderten (1618–1818). Neudruck der Ausgabe München 1864. (Biblio-Verlag, ISBN: 3764811781, Osnabrück 1984)
  • Knötel-Sieg: Handbuch der Uniformkunde, pp. 50-52

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Seven Years' War Miniatures