Happy Bavarianuary!

Bavarian troops at the Battle of Leuthen, 5th December 1757. The straw-coloured facings and white hat-lace identify these man as belonging to the ‘Morawitzsky’ Infantry Regiment.

Well it’s Groundhog Month here at Fawr Towers and without any prospect of games to provide a spur to painting, I’ve been setting myself challenges to keep the painting mojo going and to finish off wargaming projects.  The first of these was my ‘Württember Challenge‘, where I set myself the task of completing the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps for the Seven Years War (13x 12-figure battalions, 1x gun and 1x general) within the month of November.  Then I allowed myself to paint whatever I wanted before the start of ‘Bavarianuary’ on 1st January.

You’ve probably already guessed, but my ‘Bavarianuary Challenge’ is to complete the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps for the Seven Years War before the end of January and the start of ‘Frogruary’…  This was nowhere near as much of a challenge as ‘Württember’, as the Bavarian Corps only consisted of ten battalions and I’d already painted four of these around 20 years ago!  I also got a little carried away during December and jumped the gun by painting the Bavarian general and artillery a little early… So with only six 12-figure battalions left to paint I actually completed it on 12th January! 🙂 

The Bavarian Army at the start of the Seven Years War was a shadow of its former self, due to Bavaria having ruined its finances during the War of Austrian Succession during the 1740s.  Following the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1740, Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria had allied himself with France to pursue his claim on the Imperial throne.  This was initially successful and in 1743 Charles Albert was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII.  However, Bavaria was repeatedly ravaged by Austrian armies and in 1745, the gouty Charles VII died before he could really start enjoying himself as Emperor (or perhaps he partied too hard in his first year, who knows…?). 

Charles’ death was followed very quickly by the decisive defeat of the Franco-Bavarian army at the Battle of Pfaffenhofen.  Following this defeat, the new 18 year-old Elector Maximillian III Joseph of Bavaria sued for peace with Austria, relinquishing any claim on the Imperial throne.  With the resumption of peace, Maximillian III Joseph concentrated his efforts and meagre funds on renewing and reforming the civil, agricultural and commercial heart of Bavaria, at the expense of the army.  The army was severely downsized in 1753 and the four remaining cavalry regiments were largely dismounted, existing only as cadre squadrons.  The penny-pinching even led to the removal of buttonhole lace from coats and the characteristic Bavarian cornflower blue infantry coats being changed for cheaper dark blue cloth.

When the Seven Years War started in 1756, Maximillian did his best to keep Bavaria out of it, though standing Imperial commitments meant that Bavaria had to provide a regiment of three infantry battalions (the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment) plus artillery to the Imperial Reichsarmee.  A further ten infantry battalions were also then provided as a Bavarian Auxiliary Corps to serve with the Austrian Army in Bohemia, being maintained at French expense and bringing vital income into Bavarian coffers.  This was meant to be 10,000 strong, but in the event remained woefully understrength, with only 6,000 men.  Four infantry battalions and the four cavalry regiments (which were now fully-mounted) were left at home to garrison Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate and protect against raids by Prussian Freikorps.

Thanks undoubtedly to the neglect of the once-powerful Bavarian army, the performance of Bavarian troops during the Seven Years War was decidedly underwhelming and the nadir of Bavarian military prowess came at the Battle of Leuthen, on 5th December 1757, when the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps was swept away along with the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps by Frederick the Great’s assault.  However, I need ’em if I want to play Leuthen properly…

Above:  Generalfeldwachtmeister Johannes Claudius Graf Seyssel d’Aix commanded the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps for the duration of the war.  I painted him based on the description of Bavarian general officers’ uniform provided in the Pengel & Hurt uniform guides; namely a cornflower blue coat with black cuffs, thickly edged with silver lace, straw ‘smallclothes’ (i.e. breeches and waistcoat), red horse furniture with silver lace, sash of mixed silver and light blue threads and a hat edged with silver lace and split white ostrich feathers.  This figure is an Austrian general by Old Glory 15s and he’s also wearing a cuirass under his coat.

However, according to Kronoskaf, there was no stipulated uniform for Bavarian generals until the 1770s and in common with generals of the Prussian army and others, they would usually wear a version of their regimental uniform.  The problem is that I can find absolutely no information on Seyssel d’Aix’s background; there is no regiment with his name and I can’t find him listed anywhere as colonel of a Bavarian regiment (though relatives are listed with the French and Austrian armies).  I’ve therefore stuck with the uniform described by Pengel & Hurt, which in any case, closely resembles the pre-austerity uniform of the Bavarian ‘Leib’ Regiment.

Above:  The artillery element of the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps comprised little more than a single company of light guns, providing close support to the infantry battalions.  Bavarian arsenals did however, hold large stocks of heavy artillery guns which were made available to the Imperial Artillery Reserve (which I will cover in a future article). 

Above:  The Bavarian Artillery uniform was a light grey coat with blue facings (including lapels), brass buttons, straw smallclothes, white belts and ‘false gold’ hat lace (like the French, the Bavarians used ‘false gold/silver’ hat lace, which was made with silk threads and to be honest, didn’t look all that metallic, so I just use plain yellow or white paint).  The hats also had pompoms in the national colours of white & light blue.  Guns were polished brass and carriages were painted light blue, with metal fittings painted black [Edited to add that I got this wrong.  They were red until 1762, so this will be corrected before they go into action!].  These models are Prussian artillerymen by Old Glory 15s.

Above:  I painted my first two Bavarian regiments over 2o years ago, when I started building my Reichsarmee corps.  As a result, I painted the two regiments that provided battalions to the composite ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment that was sent to the Reichsarmee.  This therefore, is the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment, which provided its 1st Battalion to the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment (the other two battalions were provided by the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment).  Of course, the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment didn’t serve with Bavarian Auxiliary Corps, but the uniform is very close to that of the ‘Herzog Clemens’ Regiment, which did.

Above:  Pengel & Hurt described the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment as having red facings, straw turnbacks, straw smallclothes, brass buttons, ‘false gold’ hat-lace and white belts, which is what I’ve painted here.  However, Kronoskaf describes the facing colour as ‘light red’ or ‘old rose’, being more of a dark pink or light crimson shade.  Kronoskaf also shows the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment’s turnbacks as light red, though the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment as having light red facings with straw turnbacks.  The regiment’s drummers wore the same uniform, though heavily decorated with mixed white & light blue lace.

The ‘Herzog Clemens’ regiment of the Auxiliary Corps had a very similar uniform to that shown above, except with white smallclothes.

Above:  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment, as mentioned above, provided two battalions to the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment with the Reichsarmee and did not serve with the Auxiliary Corps.  However, its uniform was very similar to that of the ‘Morawitzsky’ Regiment, which did serve with the Auxiliary Corps (the only difference being the colour of buttons and hat-lace), so they can happily do double-service.  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment was renamed to the ‘Meinders’ Regiment in 1759 and to ‘Herold’ in 1761.

Above:  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment initially had the uniform shown here, with straw-coloured facings and matching smallclothes, with brass buttons, white belts and ‘false gold’ hat-lace.  However, Kronoskaf suggests that the facing colour changed in Spring 1757 to ‘light red’ or ‘old rose’ to match that of the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment, which was also serving in the Reichsarmee contingent.  However, the turnbacks of the ‘Pechmann’ contingent remained straw.  The regiment’s drumemrs wore the same uniform, though heavily decorated with yellow lace.

Above:  When I first painted them, these two regiments were equipped with flags by Grubby Tanks, as shown here.  I’ve now replaced them with the rather nicer (and larger) flags by Wargames Designs.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the new flags are a definite improvement!  However, note that the Wargames Designs flags are bubblejet printed, so need a coat of varnish to clearly define the details and make the colours pop. 

On the subject of flags, each Bavarian battalion in reality had two flags; the 1st Battalion of a regiment carried the Leibfahne (white flag with Virgin Mary) and a single Kompaniefahne (blue & white chessboard design), while the other battalions in the regiment carried two Kompaniefahnen.  As with most of my armies, I give each battalion a single flag – a Leibfahne for the 1st Battalion and a Kompaniefahne for the other battalions.  It’s also worth mentioning that in 1757 the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment added the Bavarian coat of arms to the corners of its Leibfahne (not shown here).

Above:  The regiments of the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps do not appear to have detached their grenadier companies in the manner of most other nations.  Probably because they were around 1/3rd understrength and couldn’t afford to detach any further manpower.  However, the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment with the Reichsarmee did detach its grenadiers and these would be massed with other Reichsarmee grenadier companies to form ad hoc grenadier battalions.  I’ve therefore painted two separate bases of Bavarian grenadiers for the ‘Holnstein’ and ‘Pechmann’ Regiments.

Above:  The ‘Minucci’ Regiment provided both of its battalions to the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps.  It was renamed to the ‘La Rosée’ Regiment in 1759.

Above:  The ‘Minucci’ Regiment had yellow facings with straw smallclothes, white belts, white metal buttons and ‘false silver’ hat-lace.  Some sources suggest that the facings were ‘yellow-buff’ and that the waistcoats were a darker shade of straw/buff.  Note that all Bavarian regiments had red neck-stocks, dark red leather musket-slings and blue & white pompoms on their hats.

Above:  A rear view of the ‘Minucci’ Regiment.  Note that this regiment’s drummers had yellow coats with light blue facings.

Above:  The 1st Battalion of the ‘Preysing’ Regiment served with the Auxiliary Corps, while the 2nd Battalion remained on garrison duty at home.

Above:  The ‘Preysing’ Regiment had red facings with straw smallclothes, white metal buttons, ‘false silver’ hat-lace and white belts.  The regiment’s drummers are known to have had yellow coats with red facings and red waistcoats.

Above:  The 2nd Battalion of the ‘Kurprinz’ Regiment served with the Auxiliary Corps, while the 1st Battalion remained on garrison duty at home.

Above:  The ‘Kurprinz’ Regiment had white facings, smallclothes and belts, with brass buttons and ‘false gold’ hat-lace.  The regiment’s drummers wore the same uniform, though with the addition of mixed white & light blue lace. 

If you’re wondering why I’ve included the odd grenadier command figure in these units, the primary reason is that Old Glory 15s now only supply them in packs of 25, which includes only 1 officer, 1 NCO, 1 standard bearer and 1 drummer, which is a massive pain in the arse for those of us who like smaller units and/or more standard-bearers!  They used to supply them in massive bags of 100, with enough command figures to make 12-figure units.  Consequently, I’ve got a massive stash of spare Austrian grenadier command figures, so I’m using them to beef up these units, using the excuse that they kept their grenadiers attached… 😉 

Above:  The ‘Leib’ Regiment uniquely had three battalions, but only supplied its 2nd & 3rd Battalions to the Auxiliary Corps, while the 1st Battalion stayed home on garrison and ceremonial duty, hence the absence of a Leibfahne.

Above:  The ‘Leib’ Regiment had white facings and smallclothes, with white metal buttons and ‘false silver’ hat-lace.  Most unusually, its belts were ‘natural leather’.  In 1760 they were ordered to change their facings to their traditional (expensive) black with white bastion-shaped buttonhole lace loops (turnbacks remained white).  In 1761 the coat colour was officially changed back to the traditional (expensive) cornflower blue, retaining the black facings and white lace.  However, the coats were only to be replaced as they wore out, so the change took place gradually, over a number of years. 

Above:  A rear view of the ‘Leib’ Regiment.  The regiment’s drummers initially had white uniforms with blue facings, though in 1760 adopted the same dark blue uniform with black facings as the rest of the regiment, though heavily decorated with lace.  From 1761 the drummers’ coats also began to change to cornflower blue.

So that’s it for ‘Bavarianuary’!  I’m painting some SYW Prussian infantry and Napoleonic Russian artillery and jägers at the moment, but ‘Frogruary’ will soon be here…

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Minor German States, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules). Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Happy Bavarianuary!

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Hi Mark

    Another great read. Although I am currently building up my 10mm Pendraken Austrian and Prussian armies (to go along with my French and ‘Allied’ armies), I do really like the units from the ‘minor states’ that fought in the war. I do already have a few battalions of Saxon’s infantry and some Palatinate so maybe after the Austrians and Prussians….

    Looking forward to seeing some Frenches.

    Cheers Paul

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Paul! Yeah, the whole point of getting the Wurttembergers and Bavarians done is to do Leuthen ‘properly’, so there is method in my madness! One day we’ll be able to do big games again… 🙂

      The Frogs might take a while, but I will be posting my Reichsarmee chaps sometime soon.

  2. Keith says:

    What a beautiful collection of 15mm Bavarians – lovely painting skills once again.

  3. Jason says:

    Great work Mark – very much looking forwards to seeing les français!.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Jase!

      I’m restraining myself at the moment, while researching (which reminds me – I need to email you about drummers’ liveries…). I’m just doing a couple of Prussian regiments and some Napoleonic Russians and will then start ‘Frogruary’ with a vengeance on 1st February. ‘Frogruary’ will be followed by ‘Marsch!’, when I’ll finish off the Reichsarmee cavalry and some more Prussians.

      Thus far in the Froggy painting pile, I have the entire First Line for Rossbach: sixteen infantry battalions (four of them Swiss) and 4 cavalry ‘brigades’ (the regiments are so small that a 12-figure unit equates to a brigade of three regiments), plus a regiment each of dragoons and hussars to break up the monotony. All Eureka Miniatures.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      I’ve decided to go with two flags per battalion with the French. With 12 figure battalions it’ll look rather ‘flag-heavy’, but I remember when you did yours, the 1st Battalion in each regiment looked rather ‘bare’ with just a single plain white Colonel’s flag. The 1st Battalions will therefore have a Colonel’s flag and an Ordnance flag, while the other battalions will each have two Ordnance flags. The same will happen when I get around to the British and Hanoverians – British HAVE to have two colours per battalion… 🙂

  4. James Fisher says:

    What a marvellous array of beautiful and colourful units!
    Regards, James

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