Wednesday 16 February 2022

Prague Prussian Flags Project - Flags of Prussian Fusilier Infantry Regiment 33

Chef: Colonel Heinrich August, Baron de la Motte-Fouqué, later General of Infantry 31st December 1744-13th June 1774

Created June 26th 1740 from a previous garrison battalion of Magdeburg.

The regiment was with Schwerin in 1756 to the end of October. In the whole Seven Years War it experienced only two major battles. On May 6th 1757 Schwerin joined the King at Prague. IR33 was with the first attack on the left wing under Winterfeldt which was bloodily repulsed and the regiment lost its commander Colonel Balthasar Friedrich, Baron von der Goltz, and at least 50% of its numbers as casualties (Duffy, Army of Frederick the Great, 1st Edition) and a flag. It then formed part of the force besieging Prague.

The grenadier battalion (with IR42) lost up to 90% casualties at Kolin on 18th June 1757 (Duffy, Army of Frederick the Great, 1st Edition).

In 1758 it formed part of the King's army trying to encircle Olmütz and then served in Silesia under Margrave Karl, then Fouqué.

It was with the King again in 1759, at Neisse in April that year, and finally at Landeshut where, on June 23rd 1760 it fought to defend the Bober Heights against overwhelming Austrian forces under Loudon but was ultimately captured. Fouqué's corps lost 1927 dead and over 8000 wounded and captured in the fight; Fouqué himself was wounded and captured.


The illustration above is by Menzel from Kugler's history of Frederick and shows Fouqué's capture at Landeshut

In a famous tale of the battle, Fouqué, already wounded in the head and with sword cuts to the arm and back, was about to be struck a fatal last blow by an Austrian cavalryman but saved by the self-sacrificing actions of a groom called Trautschke who threw himself in the way of the sword blow. "Fouqué was rescued by Colonel Carl Voith von Salzburg of the Löwenstein Chevaulegers, who brought up his parade horse to have him carried away. 'He refused, saying "I would only ruin your fine saddlery." Voith replied, "no, it would gain enormously from being stained with the blood of a hero!"" (Duffy, By Force of Arms, page 238) Later, when Fouqué was taunted by a "churlish or shameless" officer for the defeat of his Corps and other Austrian officers tried to silence him, Fouqué said "Let him be. You know how it goes in war; today it's my turn, tomorrow it's yours!" (also Duffy, by Force of Arms) Zieten led the remnants of the Prussian troops to Breslau. The King was deeply shocked by the loss of his favourite Fouqué and his Corps but said that he had fought like a Roman and commended the struggle to his other generals. Fouqué was almost the last of Frederick's close confidants now that Wnterfeldt was dead. IR33 was refilled in 1763 from the former Saxon regiment of Prince Maximilian. In 1784 the King was highly critical of the regiment, although he approved of the grenadiers.

And this was the uniform in 1756: