Thursday, 28 May 2020

Flags of French Compagnies Franches de la Marine

This is another stray which I said I'd add to my (long) list of flags to do many years ago. I've never been entirely convinced that these flags were ever carried despite the document of 1737 which describes them. Pierre Charrié, the noted French authority on flags, says in his book Drapeaux et Étendards du Roi that the central design was probably originally two crossed anchors. I've followed Michel Petard's famous reconstruction which is well-known and an attractive design.

This is a plate I did many years ago showing the probable summer dress of an infantryman of the Compagnies Franches de la Marine:

Kronoskaf has a long article on the Compagnies Franches de la Marine here:

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Flags of French Irish Infantry Regiment Bulkeley

These are the flags of Bulkeley from 1733-1775:

Bulkeley was another Irish emigré unit that entered French service in 1690.  As with so many French regiments there were various changes of name throughout its history, usually reflecting the name of a new colonel. It was Bulkeley from 1733 to 1775 when the regiment was amalgamated with Dillon.

For the first years of the Seven Years War Bulkeley was guarding the coasts. The regiment was sent in 1760 under the command of the chevalier de Jerningham, Charles Louis de Barfort, to join the army of Germany and it was at the combats of Corbach and Warburg. It was very distinguished in the defence of Marburg the 14th February 1761, where, according to Susane "it repulsed three attacks by the enemy, killed their commander General Breidembach and seven other officers, and took three cannons". In July it was in the battle of Vellinghausen "where the Irish captured the village and the redoubt of Schedingen". Its last act in the war was taking part in the attack on the castle of Sabbaborg. After the peace of 1763 the regiment was in garrison at Bouchain and it absorbed the remainder of the regiment of Royal-Écossais by an order of 21st December 1762.

These flags are the same as those carried by Dillon from 1690-1730.

And this is the uniform at the beginning of the Seven Years War:

This is the last French Irish regiment for now and next it's back to Prussians.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Flags of French Irish Infantry Regiment Clare

These are the flags carried from 1691-1775 (when Clare was absorbed into the Irish regiment Berwick):

Clare was another Irish emigré unit that entered French service in 1690.  As with so many French regiments there were various changes of name throughout its history, usually reflecting the name of a new colonel.

For the first years of the SYW Clare was guarding the coasts of Normandy with its quarters at Valognes. On the 7th August 1758 "it made glorious if ineffectual efforts, with the Liege regiment Horion, opposing the landing of a corps of 10,000 English [i.e. British], which seized Cherbourg" (my translation from Susane, Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française, Volume 7). It was this attack which made France aware of the importance of this part of the coast, and led to the transformation of Cherbourg into one of its most redoubtable war ports (again, according to Susane).

Clare's single battalion was sent in 1760 to join the army of Germany and performed well at the combats of Corbach and Warburg. It contributed to the defence of Marburg in 1761 and fought bravely at Vellinghausen. It took part in the camp of Dunkirk in 1762 and on 21st December of that year incorporated the remains of the Scottish regiment of Ogilvy which had been raised in 1747.

At the peace of 1763 it went into garrison at Valenciennes, then Gravelines in May 1763.

And this is the uniform at the beginning of the Seven Years War (there were changes in 1758 with, for example, the addition of yellow lapels):

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Flags of French Irish Infantry Regiment Dillon

I promised some of the French Irish flags a long time ago but here are some at last, those of the regiment Dillon, as carried from 1739-1791:

First raised 1690 from Irish refugees from the campaign in Ireland. In the Irish Brigade in Germany from 1757-1762, according to Susanne's History. Distinguished in the defence of Marbourg February 1761 and at the battle of Vellinghausen July 16th 1761. In various garrisons in France after the war ended.

And here is the uniform during the Seven Years War:

(I shall post the flags of Clare and Bulkeley soon; they followed the same pattern but with different colours. I shall eventually post the flags of all the French Irish units at the time of the Seven Years War.)

Monday, 11 May 2020

Rossbach Prussian Flags Project - Flags of Prussian Infantry Regiment 19 Markgraf Karl

And here at last are the strikingly different flags of IR 19 Markgraf Karl:

First raised 1702. During the Seven Years War the chef was Colonel Karl Friedrich Albrecht, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt 1705-1762 (who passed on his dissolute ways to von Seydlitz, the famous cavalry commander, who was his page; von Seydlitz was with the Margrave from the ages of 14 to 19, and there acquired a passion for tobacco, womanising and crazy feats of horsemanship (Duffy, Army of Frederick the Great, 2nd Edition)). The Margrave was also Master of the Knights of St John 1731-62, as his father had been before him, and this was reflected in the unusual flags with their Maltese cross design; that cross was also shown on their grenadier caps and drums. After the death of the Margrave from wounds in June 1762 the flag design changed to a more traditional Prussian design.

In 1756 it was with the force that encircled the Saxons in Pirna. At Prague May 6th 1757 it had the good fortune to be in the second line of the attack and suffered light casualties. At Rossbach on 5th November it had no losses at all, apparently. By contrast, at Leuthen on December 5th the regiment attacked the churchyard and was "under small arms fire from beginning to end and almost completely ruined". Having participated in the siege of Breslau, which fell on December 19th, the King said the regiment had "worked wonders" but gave no awards. (Frederick was a hard man to please...)  In 1758, after serving at the capture of Schweidnitz and the siege of Olmutz, it finally rejoined the King's forces in September. The entire regiment was badly clobbered in the surprise Austrian night attack on the Prussian camp at Hochkirch on October 14th. The grenadiers lost 209 dead and 50 prisoners defending the battery at Rodewitz; the 1st battalion defended the battery at the south-east corner of the town; and the 2nd battalion, under Major Simon Moritz von Langen, defended the churchyard. They held the churchyard for two hours before the remnants tried to break out of the back gate of the cemetery wall, using their bayonets as they had run out of ammunition. They were wiped out in the so-called Blutgasse outside the churchyard and von Langen died in Austrian captivity some days later from eleven bayonet wounds.

At Kunersdorf on 12th August 1759 the 1st battalion and grenadiers were in the advance guard and stormed the Russian batteries on the Spitzberg, losing 276 men; the 2nd battalion was on the right flank near the Kudenberg and lost heavily. Losses followed at Korbitz on September 21st. In 1760 it was at Strehla and Wittenberg, and at Torgau on November 3rd the 2nd battalion was with the Queiss Brigade under the King's command and the 1st with Zieten.

Christopher Duffy says that "after the Seven Years War Frederick failed to do justice to this remarkable regiment". He expressed dissatisfaction with its conduct at Kunersdorf as late as 1774, saying most of the regiment "did not want to behave properly in the field". In contradiction, he is also supposed to have said: "If I place myself at the head of my Markish troops, even if I have lost half my monarchy, as long as I still have my head, I'll drive the devil out of hell!".

And here is the musketeer uniform of IR 19 in the Seven Years War (note the zigzag orange line on the lace; tedious to represent but I had to try!):

(I have also now added uniform plates to the flags of IRs 1 Winterfeldt and 23 Forcade, below.)

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Rossbach Prussian Flags Project - Flags of Prussian Infantry Regiment 9 von Kleist

Here's the next set of flags in the ongoing Prussian Rossbach flags project; IR 9 von Kleist:

First raised 1679 in Lippstadt (with links to troops raised by 1646) this Westphalian regiment was at Lobositz in 1756 where Frederick placed them on the Lobosch hill to fight the Austrian pandours; Frederick said of them "The Westphalians are rather crude... but they are good soldiers and will defend themselves." The regimental chef Lieutenant General Johann Christian Rulemann, Baron Quadt von Wickeradt (who sounds rather like a music-hall German) was killed by artillery fire. The new chef was Major General Friedrich Ludwig von Kleist. At Prague on May 6th 1757 the regiment lost 20 officers and 550 men, half its number, in the attack along the Rokenitz Brook. At Rossbach it was in the centre of the main Prussian infantry line. Its new chef von Kleist was killed at Breslau on the 22nd November 1757. The grenadiers were knocked about at Kolin on June 18th 1757. In 1758 the regiment was with the Saxon Corps under Prince Henry, the grenadiers elsewhere in Upper Silesia. In 1759 IR 9 was in the defeat at Kay July 23rd against the Russians and there lost its commander Colonel Johann Gottfried von Kikol. At Kunersdorf 12th August it was luckier than many units, losing only about 20%; its new chef Major General Friedrich August von Schenckendorff led the advance guard. On November 21st 1759 it was captured at the disastrous (for the Prussians!) Finckenfang of Maxen, where a whole detached corps of the Prussian army was captured by the Austrians. Unlike many of the units captured there, which Frederick held in contempt thereafter, IR 9 fought hard and well and so was forgiven. Consequently there was only one battalion in 1759-60; Westphalia was occupied by the French and replacements were impossible. Only the grenadiers were at Torgau in 1760. For the rest of the war the regiment was mostly involved in moving hither and thither and not in any major actions, although the grenadiers were at Freiberg on October 29th 1762.

And this is the uniform of a musketeer of IR 9 in the Seven Years War:

(I had planned and started the unusual flags of IR19 but have had all sorts of problems with them, and wasted vast amounts of time and effort on them, so will have to start them again. Sometimes the gremlins just seem to run riot...)

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Rossbach Prussian Flags Project - Flags of Prussian Infantry Regiment 5 von Braunschweig

Here's the next set of flags in the continuing Rossbach Prussian flags project - IR 5 von Braunschweig.

First raised 1655. Lieutenant General Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick was Chef of the regiment from 1755-1766. The regiment fought well at Lobositz 1756 and the king awarded its officers 3 Pour Le Merite medals for the action. It was highly distinguished in the battle of Rossbach 1757. Losses were low, although the regimental commander Colonel Johann Christoph von Prignitz was killed. The king gave its officers 15 Pour Le Merite medals for Rossbach "because of their particular bravery and good conduct shown in the last battle". IR 5 fought at Leuthen 1757. At Hochkirch 1758 it formed part of the rearguard that protected the retreating army. It suffered fairly heavy casualties at Kunersdorf 1759. At Liegnitz 1760 it contributed to the counter attack that threw the Austrians back over the Katzbach. It suffered heavy casualties at Torgau 1760, mostly from enemy artillery on the Süptitz heights. It was one of Frederick's most reliable regiments and always fought with the King's army.

And this is the uniform of a musketeer of IR 5 in the Seven Years War: