Leibkompanie – Sovereign’s Company
In the 16th and 17th century, the 1st company of a regiment was known as the Stabs- (staff) or Leibkompanie in Austria-Hungary, Prussia, Bavaria, Hannover, Hesse, Wuerttemberg, and many other German states. The Leibkompanie enjoyed a higher rank than the remaining companies of the regiment, it carried the Leibfahne, marched at the head of the column, and deployed on the honourable right flank position of the regimental line.
The colonel of the regiment was the proprietor of the Leibkompanie. He received the income from this position, but he left the daily command duties of his company to the Kapitänleutnant, who became known as the Stabskapitän. This prestigious position was eventually bestowed on princely persons, and the sovereign himself became the commandant of all life guards in his army.
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