KINGDOM OF PRUSSIA
 


 

COLORS OF INFANTRY REGIMENTS  •  1807-15
 

Prussia's catastrophic defeat at the hands of Napoleon in 1806-07 reduced the once-proud kingdom to an abject vassal of the Emperor of the French. The Prussian Army had been practically destroyed: At the twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt alone (14 October 1806) 38,000 Prussian troops were killed, wounded or captured, and more than 300 colors and standards were lost. Thus when the work of military reconstruction began in 1807 many regiments had to be rebuilt from scratch. The military reformers under General Gerhard von Scharnhorst consolidated the remaining units, renumbering many regiments in the process. A Prussian infantry regiment was now to be composed of two musketeer battalions, one fusilier battalion and two grenadier companies. The latter, however, were detached to form composite grenadier battalions, each four companies strong. Later these independent battalions were consolidated into two grenadier regiments, titled in honor of the Austrian and Russian Emperors. The line infantry regiments acquired territorial titles reflective of their recruiting areas. Infantry Regiment Nr. 1, for example, became Infantry Regiment Nr. 1 (East Prussian Nr. 1). The infantry of the Royal Guard, in 1806 consisting of the Liebgarde Regiment (Nr. 15, two battalions) and the Lieb Grenadier Battalion (Nr. 6), was also reconstituted, at first as a single regiment of Foot Guards. By 1815 there were two, along with a Guard light infantry battalion and a Guard rifle battalion. The 2nd Foot Guards Regiment was formed by amalgamating the Guard Grenadier Battalion with two battalions drafted in from the line; the latter continued to carry the colors of their old regiments. The two Guard regiments were organized like the line infantry, with two musketeer battalions, a fusilier battalion and two grenadier companies. The latter were detached to form the Lieb Grenadier Battalion.

The size of the army had been severely restricted by the treaty of peace with France but various subterfuges were employed to build up reserves. These enabled Prussia to field a sizeable army when the moment came in 1813 to denounce the enforced alliance with France and embark on the so-called War of Liberation. Some dozen reserve infantry regiments appeared, along with the Landwehr (militia). The former were eventually taken into the line and numbered as regular infantry regiments; the latter, however, retained its separate identity.

The colors of the reconstituted Prussian Army's infantry regiments are a complex study. Many of the old colors of the Frederician pattern had been lost but those that remained continued in service.  To make up numbers a new model color was introduced, with a different style of eagle and FWR cyphers in the corners. As before there were two colors, now called the Avancierfahne, and Retirierfahne rather than the Leibfahne and Regimentsfahne. The first musketeer battalion received one of each; the second musketeer battalion received two of the latter. At first the fusilier battalions received no colors but eventually they were furnished with two Retirierfahnen. However, only one color was to be carried in the field: the Avancierfahne for the first musketeer battalion and a Retirierfahne for the other two.

Because of the reorganization and renumbering of the infantry regiments, the old-style colors that continued to be carried did not always correspond to the pre-1806 numbering system. In some cases a regiment received new-pattern colors and passed the old ones on to another regiment. Sometimes too, old-pattern colors were modified, as apparently happened in the case of the 7th Infantry Regiment, whose colors up to 1806 were similar but not identical to those depicted below.


 

GUARD INFANTRY REGIMENTS & BATTALIONS


 

1st FOOT GUARDS  •  1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß


 

2nd FOOT GUARDS  •  2. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß

 

GUARD LIGHT INFANTRY BATTALION  •  Garde-Jäger Bataillon

When The Guard  infantry was reconstituted it received new colors with the current FWR cypher and the Frederician-style eagle. Initially there was one guard infantry regiment; its Avancierfahne was white with silver insignia and the eagle on a silver field. The Retirierfahne was the same except that the eagle was on an orange field. The second regiment was raised by merging the old Lieb Grenadier Battalion (Nr. 6) with a battalion each from the 8th and 9th Infantry Regiments. The new regiment received an Avancierfahne identical to the First Foot Guards' Retirierfahne. It received no Retirierfahnen, however. Instead the two battalions from the 8th and 9th continued to carry the colors of those regiments. The Guard Light Infantry Battalion received a new-pattern Avancierfahne but apparently the Guard Rifle Battalion received no color at all.

 

INFANTRY OF THE LINE

 

INFANTRY REGIMENT Nr. 3 (EAST PRUSSIAN Nr. 2)

 

INFANTRY REGIMENT Nr. 7 (SILESIAN Nr. 1)

 

INFANTRY REGIMENT Nr. 8 (BRANDENBURG Nr. 1)

 

INFANTRY REGIMENT Nr. 10 (WEST PRUSSIAN Nr. 2)

 

LIEB GRENADIER BATTALION

 

WEST PRUSSIAN GRENADIER BATTALION

 

EAST PRUSSIAN GRENADIER BATTALION NR. 1

 

EAST PRUSSIAN GRENADIER BATTALION NR. 2

 

POMERANIAN GRENADIER BATTALION

 

SILESIAN GRENADIER BATTALION

 

GRENADIER REGIMENT EMPEROR ALEXANDER I
Lieb Grenadier Battalion  •  East Prussian Grenadier Battalion Nr. 1  •  East Prussian Grenadier Battalion Nr. 2

Three of the six grenadier battalions carried the Retirierfahne of the senior regiment from which its companies were drawn. e.g. the 1st East Prussian Grenadier Battalion carried a Retirierfahne of Infantry Regiment Nr. 1 (East Prussian Nr. 1). The Lieb, West Prussian and Silesian battalions carried a Retirierfahne of the junior regiment. That of the Lieb Grenadier Battion was actually a Retirierfahne of Infantry Regiment Nr. 8 (Brandenburg Nr. 1), which has contributed a battalion for the formation of the Second Foot Guards. When the battalions were consolidated into two grenadier regiments, they continued to carry the colors of their former regiments.



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