The Army of the Electoral Palatinate during the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

The Army of the Electoral Palatinate during the Seven Years' War, 1756–1763

With the death of Prince-Elector Karl II., on 26 May 1685, the Palatinate-Simmern line of the Palatinal House of Wittelsbach ceased to exist, and the Palatinate fell to the secondary line of Palatinate-Neuburg, founded by Count Palatine Ottheinrich. Philipp Wilhelm, Count Palatine and Duke of Palatinate-Neuburg, Duke of Jülich and Berg, now became Prince-Elector of the Palatinate. The Palatinate-Neuburg line died out with Karl III. Philipp, in 1742, and fell to the branch of Palatinate-Sulzbach II. As a result, Count Palatine Karl Philipp Theodor of Sulzbach became Karl IV. Philipp Theodor Prince-Elector of the Palatinate in 1742. The Electoral Palatinate and its duchies of Palatinate-Neuburg, Jülich, and Berg resembled a geographic patchwork quilt. Accordingly, when war came in 1756, the palatinal army was widely dispersed in its garrisons from Neuburg on the Danube, to Mannheim, Heidelberg on the Neckar, as well as Düsseldorf and Jülich in the Rhineland.

Count Palatine Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken, palatinal Generalfeldmarschall (general field marshal) and, from 1751, governor of Mannheim, became Imperial Generalfeldmarschall und supreme commander of the combined Imperial and Reichs Executions Armée fighting the Prussian army in Saxony. Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken was considered one of the most attractive men of his time. He had married Maria Franziska Dorothea, Countess Palatine of Palatinate-Sulzbach in 1746, a younger sister of Elisabeth Auguste Electress Palatine, whose idol and lover he soon became.

Infantry Proprietor Year Garrison
1.) Infanterie-Regiment von Isselbach Freiherr Friedrich von Isselbach 1750–1763 Düsseldorf
2.) Infanterie-Regiment von Osten Freiherr Christian Georg von Osten 1750–1763 Düsseldorf
3.) Infanterie-Regiment von Effern Graf Joseph von Effern 1755–1769 Neuburg an der Donau,
Saldenburg
4.) Infanterie-Regiment Pfalzgraf von Birkenfeld Pfalzgraf und Herzog Johann von der Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Gelnhausen 1755–1769 Jülich
5.) Garde-Grenadier-Regiment Pfalzgraf Prinz Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld 1751–1757 Mannheim
5.) Garde-Regiment zu Fuß Pfalzgraf Prinz Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld 1757–1767 Mannheim
6.) Infanterie-Regiment von Baaden Freiherr Reinhard von Baaden 1752–1778 Düsseldorf
7.) Infanterie-Regiment Pfalzgraf von Zweibrücken Pfalzgraf und Herzog Karl III. August Christian von der Pfalz-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken 1751–1775 Mannheim
8.) Infanterie-Regiment von Preysing Freiherr Joseph Philipp von Preysing 1755–1762 Heidelberg
8.) Infanterie-Regiment von Rodenhausen Freiherr Carl von Rodenhausen 1762–1790 Heidelberg
9.) Infanterie-Regiment von Nassau-Weilburg Fürst Carl Christian von Nassau-Weilburg 1755–1759 Mannheim
9.) Infanterie-Regiment von Fürstenberg Freiherr Wilhelm von Fürstenberg 1759–1766 Mannheim
Cavalry Proprietor Year Garrison
Kurpfalz Garde du Corps
(Leibgarde zu Pferd)
Pfalzgraf Prinz Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld 1751–1775 Mannheim
Reiter-Regiment
Prince Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken
Count Palatine Frederick Michael of Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld 1751–1775 Mannheim
Cavalry Squadron of the Upper Rhenish Circle ? 1712–1770 Oberamt Oppenheim
Leib-Dragoner-Regiment
Frau Kurfürstin von der Pfalz
Elisabeth Augusta Kurfürstin von der Pfalz 1756–1763 Mannheim
Husaren-Kompagnie von Hauzenberg von Hauzenberg 1756–1763 ?
Husarenkorps Merckel von Merckel 1760–1764 Neuenburg an der Donau?
Artillery & Engineers CO Year Garrison
Artillerie-Kompanie Mannheim Kapitän Major Peter Armann 1756–1763 Mannheim
Artillerie-Kompanie Jülich Hauptmann Michael Joseph Laub 1756–1763 Jülich
Artillerie-Kompanie Düsseldorf Obristleutnant Johann Mayer 1756–1763 Düsseldorf
Ingenieurcorps - Engineer Corps Obristleutnant Karl Maximilian von Pfister 1756–1763 ?
Invalidencorps - Invalid Corps ? 1756–1763 ?

The Electoral Palatinate fulfilled its obligation to the Electoral Rhenish Circle of the Imperial Army with Infanterie-Regiment von Effern, the II. battalion of Kurpfalz Garde zu Fuß, and two squadrons of Reiter-Regiment Prinz Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken. Infantry regiments Nassau-Weilburg, and Pfalzgraf von Zweibrücken, as well as the Oberrheinische Kreis-Eskadron of Kürassier-Regiment Kurpfalz served in the Upper Rhenish Circle.

From 1757 the Electoral Palatinate received a subsidy to supply an additional 10 battalions of infantry regiments von Osten, von Birkenfeld, von Baaden, and von Preysing for service with the French army. The subsidy agreement was not renewed by the Electoral Palatinate, and remnants of the corps of 6.000 men returned to the Palatinate on 1 January 1759. When Count Palatine Friedrich Michael von Zweibrücken became supreme commander of the combined Imperial and Reichs Executions Armée in 1758, he brought the 800 strong Leib-Dragoner-Regiment Frau Kurfürstin von der Pfalz with him. Three squadrons of Kurpfalz Dragoons were captured by the Prussians on 11 May 1759.

Bibliography

  • 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.

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Seven Years' War Miniatures