In addition to all the new Seven Years War armies and units recently mentioned, I’ve also been building up my Prussian army with a load of new infantry units from Eureka Miniatures. My existing Prussian army was built for a couple of show demo-games we did in the 1990s of the Battles of Lobositz and Kolin, where on both occasions, the Prussian Army was relatively small when compared to Frederick’s other battles, so needed expanding for other historical refights. I worked out that for the Battle of Leuthen I’d need to add another ten Musketeer/Füsilier Battalions (especially Füsiliers, of which I only had four battalions), three Grenadier Battalions, two Cuirassier Regiments and two Freikorps Battalions.
Six months later, I’ve managed to paint six Musketeer Battalions (3 regiments), eight Füsilier Battalions (4 regiments), three Grenadier Battalions and some other bits and pieces. The Cuirassiers are still waiting to be painted and I still need to find some decent Freikorps figures.
I could still do with painting some more… The Battle of Prague would require an additional eight Füsilier Battalions, four Musketeer Battalions, three Grenadier Battalions and two Dragoon Regiments…
As previously discussed, my original SYW collection consisted of Lancashire Games (Mk 1 & Mk 2 – the Austrians also have Mk 3!) and Old Glory 15s figures, with a few bits and pieces by Freikorps 15. A couple of very nice ranges by Blue Moon and Eureka have appeared since the 1990s and I really liked the look of the Eureka figures (an added attraction being that you can buy them individually, so no waste due to packing policy). In theory these latter two ranges are 18mm, while the others are 15mm, but from experience I know that ’15mm’ and ’18mm’ figures often turn out to be no different. I was collecting and selling AB Napoleonics when they were still 15mm and they’re still the same figures now the kewl kidz call them ’18mm’. They also stand next to Old Glory 15mm perfectly well on the wargames table, so I was perfectly happy to buy Eureka 18mm figures unseen, even though I had dark warnings of them being ‘too big’…
Above: Here’s a comparison of Prussian Musketeer figures by (Left to Right) Old Glory 15s, Eureka, Lancashire Games Mk 1 and Mk 2. Bear in mind that the cast-on Eureka bases are actually a little thicker than the others – as much as 1mm thicker compared to Old Glory 15s. Also note that the Old Glory are in a sort of lunging-forward/crouched pose. Height-wise they’re all much the same. The Lancashire Mk 1 figures are the skinniest, while the Mk 2 are the chunkiest. Eureka and Old Glory 15s are very close in terms of build, with the Old Glory figures having somewhat oversized heads and hats.
Above: Here’s a comparison of Prussian Füsiliers. Lancashire Mk 1 on the left, Eureka in the centre and Lancashire Mk 2 on the right (I don’t have any Old Glory 15s Füsiliers). Again, the height to eye-level is virtually the same for all three and the ‘build’ is the same as for the Musketeers. The Füsilier caps are quite radically different for all three, however and does accentuate the height-difference.
Above: Lastly, here’s a comparison of Prussian Grenadiers. Old Glory 15s on the left, Eureka in the centre and Lancashire Mk 1 on the right (I don’t have any Lancashire Mk 2 Grenadiers). again, the Old Glory 15s and Eureka figures are very close in size, though the Lancashire Mk 1 figures in this instance are very weedy and un-Grenadier-like! However, the Eureka figures have clearly been modelled using British grenadier heads, as the cap has the upturned false ‘peak’ above the eyes and the pompom is more of a British-style tassel than the Prussian ‘mushroom’ shape. The cap is also generally smaller than the Füsilier cap shown above, when it should be larger! These are therefore, definitely the weakest of the Eureka Prussians (I absolutely love the Musketeers and Fusiliers).
Above: Although I’ve already got a King Frederick army command group, it suddenly occurred to me that I could do with having another Prussian army commander for those occasions when the King wasn’t present. I still have quite a few spare Old Glory 15s generals, so picked out this map-reading officer (I think he’s actually an Austrian figure, as the same chap appears among my Reichsarmee generals) and three other Prussian officers to accompany him.
There are a number of independent Prussian army commanders I could have chosen, but I decided to go for August Wilhelm, Duke of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern (more often known as the ‘Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern’ or simply ‘Bevern’). A competent enough commander and an excellent subordinate commander to Frederick, Bevern had a mixed record as an independent army commander, first winning an astonishing victory at Reichenberg, but later being defeated at Breslau, where he was captured by Grenzer. He was freed after six months and redeemed himself in operations against the Swedes and Russians before finally distinguishing himself at Reichenbach.
Above: There was no officially-designated uniform for Prussian general officers during this period, so generals wore a version of their own regimental uniform. In Bevern’s case, this was Musketeer Regiment ‘Braunschweig-Bevern’ (IR 7), whose distinguishing features were rose pink facings, poppy red linings, straw-coloured small-clothes and silver buttons without buttonhole lace.
Judging from his expression, he appears to be shocked by something he’s just read, so instead of a map, I decided to have him reading his favourite Berliner red-top, ‘Die Sonne’. The headline ‘HAB DICH!’ presumably refers to King Frederick’s capture of the Saxon Army.
Above: I’ve wanted some Prussian Horse Artillery ever since I started my SYW collection, but ‘back in the day’ Old Glory sold them as bags of fifteen guns and crew, but I only wanted three guns max! Consequently, these were included in my first test order of Eureka figures and were the very first Eureka figures I painted. The gun is taken from my massive stash of spare Old Glory 15s guns.
Legend has it that at the Battle of Zorndorf in 1758, Frederick observed mounted Russian gunners moving their guns rapidly in support of cavalry and immediately ordered the creation of such a corps. This tale is curious, as the Russian Army had no horse artillery establishment, so perhaps it was a local idea or perhaps an emergency idea? Who knows…? In any case, the ‘Brigade’ (a battery of 10 guns) was formed on 1st May 1759 and in August of that year was in action at the titanic Battle of Kunersdorf… Where it was captured by the Russians…
Undaunted, Frederick immediately reformed the Brigade of Horse Artillery and it went into action again in November at the Battle of Maxen… Where it was captured by the Austrians…
So Frederick raised the Brigade a THIRD time and this time it wasn’t captured… Chiefly because he was extremely reluctant to risk it in battle after the previous experiences! However, by 1761 small detachments of horse artillery were being used to good effect in support of cavalry raids and the like, which served to give the horse gunners excellent experience in this new field of warfare.
By 1762, the carefully-husbanded Brigade of Horse Artillery had grown to 22 guns; six were taken to Pomerania with Prince Henry’s army, while the remaining sixteen remained with the King’s army. Then, at the Battle of Reichenbach, all sixteen guns were allocated to the Prussian cavalry corps which was riding to the relief of Bevern’s beleaguered corps. There at long last, a large force of cavalry was closely supported by rapid, accurate and powerful artillery and finally showed what horse artillery could achieve on the battlefield. Every army in Europe suddenly paid attention…
Above: The initial uniform of the Prussian Horse Artillery was essentially unchanged from their original Artillery uniform; a plain dark blue coat with poppy red linings and piping on the pockets and cuff-flaps, brass buttons, straw small-clothes, white belts, red neck-stocks, white hat lace and pompoms coloured yellow/blue/red/white. Only their tall heavy cavalry boots (replacing the usual shoes and gaiters) and straw-coloured gauntlets marked them out as mounted troops.
Above: As mentioned above, the Horse Artillery initially wore the same pompoms on its hats as the rest of the Artillery branch. However, in 1762 there was a general order for Prussian mounted troops to adopt a short white feather plume as a national field-sign in order to aid battlefield recognition (the Austrians adopted their yellow & black plume at much the same time). This order probably wasn’t carried out until just AFTER the Seven Years War, but what the hell, as they look lovely… 😉
Above: The Musketeer Regiment ‘Braunschweig’ (IR 5) was named for its Chef (colonel-proprietor), Prince Ferdinand von Braunschweig. It was often known as ‘Alt-Braunschweig’ (Old Brunswick) to differentiate it from the ‘Jung-Braunchweig’ (Young Brunswick) Regiment (IR 39 – see the next article).
Note that at this time Prussian regiments were known by their title and not by a number. While there was an order of seniority, the regimental numbering system was not actually formalised until 1806. However, with changes of Chef and title, it can be very difficult to track regiments through history, so almost all histories will refer to the later regimental numbering system (it’s the same with the Austrians and Hanoverians, though the British were actually using numbered regiments by this time).
The regiment’s grenadiers were detached and spent the duration of the war with Grenadier Battalion 5/20.
Above: The ‘Alt-Braunschweig’ Regiment’s uniform had straw-coloured cuffs, collar, shoulder-strap, lapels and small-clothes, though some sources suggest that this colour had changed to white. The linings and piping on cuff-flaps and tail-pockets were poppy red. The junior ranks had a pair of orange lace buttonholes below the lapels. The ‘metal’ colour was yellow and officers had gold ‘Brandenburg’ buttonhole lace on the lapels and cuff-flaps. Pompoms were coloured (from top to bottom) red/white/straw. The flag-staves were cherrywood (not that Prussian officers’ and NCOs’ pole-arms were always coloured the same as the flag-staves).
The flags are by Fighting 15s. As discussed here before, I used to paint all my own Prussian flags freehand (out of necessity), but life is now far too short to be painting them when there are so many lovely printed flags available and if all else fails, I have my own laser-printer. Again as previously discussed, Prussian battalions in reality each had five flags, with one of the 1st Battalion’s flags being the Leibfahne, which had a white field. Long after the Seven Years War, the Prussian Army rationalised this to two flags per battalion and in mid-1813 reduced this to one flag per battalion, as shown here. If I was starting this army again today, I would probably use two flags per battalion, as I’ve done with my new French army. However, I’m in no mood to go right through the army, adding standard-bearers and flags (particularly as that would mean getting rid of my lovely old painted flags), so I’ll stick with the existing theme.
Above: The Musketeer Regiment ‘Itzenplitz’ (IR 13) was named for its Chef, General August Friedrich von Itzenplitz. The regiment was regarded as an élite corps, not least by Frederick himself, who rated them third-best after the two Guard regiments (IR 6 & IR 15). This superb battlefield performance was undoubtedly down to the guidance of their Chef, an enlightened and humane officer who expected a great deal from his men, but took interest in their welfare and a very dim view of brutal officers. This approach was quite at odds with the typically brutal Prussian approach to training and discipline and puts me in mind of Sir John Moore’s humane approach when he created the 95th Rifles.
Sadly, General von Itzenplitz was mortally wounded at the Battle of Kunersdorf in 1759 and ownership of the regiment changed to Friedrich Wilhelm von Syburg, with the regiment being known as ‘Syburg’ from that point forth. The regiment’s title changed again in 1762 to ‘Kaiser Peter III’, when the Tsar of Russia was made Chef in honour of their new alliance.
Above: The ‘Itzenplitz’ Regiment’s uniform was very similar to that of the ‘Alt-Braunschweig’ Regiment above, except that the straw colouring was distinctly more pale in shade and the ‘metal’ colour was white. The lace buttonholes below the lapels were white and there were an additional two lace buttonholes on the cuff-flaps. The officers had no lace on the lapels. Pompoms were yellow. The flags are again by Fighting 15s and the flag-staves were light brown wood.
Above: The Musketeer Regiment ‘Markgraf Karl’ (IR 19) was named for its Chef, Karl Friedrich Albrecht, Markgraf von Brandenburg-Sonnenburg. Markgraf Karl also happened to be Grand-Master of the Johanniter Order, which is the Brandenburg/North German Protestant offshoot of the Knights Hospitaller of St John and consequentially, the regimental flags featured the Maltese Cross of the order. The regiment put in a solid performance throughout the war and curiously included a lot of Irish soldiers.
The regiment’s grenadiers were detached and served with Grenadier Battalion 19/25.
Above: The ‘Markgraf Karl’ Regiment’s uniform had poppy red cuffs, collar, linings and piping on pockets and cuff-flaps. The coat didn’t have lapels, but the breast and cuff-flaps were decorated with buttonhole lace. The lace was made of mixed orange and white threads, so I’ve depicted it as pale orange. The ‘metal colour was yellow, the neck-stocks were red, the small-clothes were straw and the pompoms were coloured orange/white. The officers’ coats were heavily decorated with gold buttonhole lace.
The flags are again by Fighting 15s. The flag-staves were simply described as brown.
Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ll leave the new Füsilier Regiments and Grenadier Battalions for next time, but here’s a taste: