Prussian Army of King Frederick the Great
(1740 – 1786)

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"By the time of his death, Frederick's army was the envy of Europe ... "
- Charles Summerville

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Frederick the Great was the man of whom Napoleon said
upon his triumphant entry into Prussia:
"If he were alive, we would not be here."

Introduction.

Command Structure
and Military Ranks.

Training, Discipline and
Large Scale Maneuvers.

Foreigners in Prussian Army.

Infantry.
"Our infantry is like Caesar's."

- - - - - - - - Organization

- - - - - - - - Weapons

- - - - - - - - Tactics

- - - - - - - - Uniforms

- - - - - - - - Guard Regiments
- - - - - - - - and Potsdam Giants

- - - - - - - - Grenadier Battalions

- - - - - - - - Fusilier Regiments

- - - - - - - - Infantry Regiments

- - - - - - - - Foot Jagers (light infantry)

Artillery.

Garrison Troops. Militia.

Cavalry.
The Flower of the Prussian Army

- - - - - - Organization and Tactics

- - - - - - Men and Horses

- - - - - - Cuirassier Regiments (heavy cav.)

- - - - - - Dragoon Regiments (medium cav.)

- - - - - - Hussar Regiments (light cavalry)

- - - - - - Bosniaken Regiment (light cavalry)

- - - - - - Horse Jagers (light cavalry)

Free Corps.

The Cost of war.

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Miscallenous.

- - - - - - Video: Battle of Leuthen 1757

- - - - - - Map: Battle of Rossbach 1757

- - - - - - Diorama: Battle of Leuthen 1757

- - - - - - Map: Seven Years' War 1756-63.

Bibliography.

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Introduction.
Prussia had the 4th largest army in Europe,
but was twelfth in population size !

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Old Fritz Frederick the Great, or Old Fritz (Alte Fritz), was an influential military theorist whose analysis emerged from his extensive personal battlefield experience and covered issues of strategy, tactics, mobility and logistics. Old Fritz in German memory became a national hero in 19th century Germany; many said "he was the greatest monarch in modern history."

Many historians made him the glorified warrior, praising his leadership, great administrative efficiency, and success in building up Prussia to a leading role in Europe.

Hitler and his troops In 1933-45, the Nazis (ext.link) glorified Frederick as an important predecessor to Hitler. King's reputation was sharply downgraded after 1945 in both East and West Germany. It was due in part to the Nazi's fascination with him, let alone his famed connection to Prussian militarism. In the aftermath of World War II, Prussia-a centuries-old state pivotal to Europe's development-ceased to exist. In their eagerness to erase all traces of the Third Reich (ext. link) from the earth, the Allies believed that Prussia, the very embodiment of German militarism, had to be abolished and the King had to be forgotten.

Young King of Prussia - Frederick the Great Frederick the Great was an absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country’s courts, and a fiscal conservative. Some saw him as ‘the greatest man who has ever lived’ while others have accused him of creating the Prussian ultra-nationalism which culminated in Hitler.

Famed for his military successes and domestic reforms, his campaigns were a watershed in the history of Europe - securing Prussia's place as a continental power and inaugurating a new pattern of total war that was to endure until 1916.
Frederick the Great's place in British historiography was set by Thomas Carlyle (ext. link), emphasizing the power of one great "hero" to shape history. "In the 21st century his reputation as a warrior remains strong among military historians." (- wikipedia 2014)

Battle of Zorndorf.
Schlacht bei Zorndorf.
Bataille de Zorndorf. In Europe military men sought to express their admiration for things Prussian by imitating every conceivable external of Frederick's army.
The admiration for the Prussian army's achievements helped to dissipate some of the old English aversion to the institution of the standing army. In 1754 - 1756 were published in England translations of the Prussian regulations.
Russian flag Tzar Peter III of Russia (1728 – 1762) went so far as to change the Russian army's uniform to look like Prussia's. He pursued a strongly pro-Prussian policy, which made him an unpopular leader. In the 1790s Tzar Paul I (1754 – 1801) introduced Prussian drill.

More info about the Prussian Army is here >


Frederick the Great at Leuthen (picture from a German film)

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Ps.
Baron von Steuben The "Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States" were written in 1778 and 1779, during the American Revolution, by a Prussian-born American officer Baron von Steuben. Commissioned to train American troops at Valley Forge (ext. link), he formed a model drill company of 120 men, who were to in turn train others, thus causing the new drill procedures to be eventually taught to the entire US Army. His instructions were widely distributed throughout the Continental Army.
Fredrich Wilhelm von Steuben was born in Magdeburg, Prussia, in 1730. Steuben joined the Prussian Army at age 17. He served as a second lieutenant during the Seven Years' War and was wounded at the Battle of Prague in 1757. He served as adjutant to General Johann von Mayer and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1759. In August 1759 he was wounded a second time at the Battle of Kunersdorf. In June 1761, he was appointed deputy quartermaster at the general headquarters. Later that year he was taken prisoner by the Russians at Treptow. Upon his release in 1762 he was promoted to captain, and eventually became an aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great. Shortly following the peace treaty, he was discharged from the Prussian army in 1763.

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Command Structure and Military Ranks.
There was no general staff in Frederick's army.
Many responsibilities for what we would now call
the work of the staff was divided between the
First Cabinet Secretary, General Quartermaster
and General Adjutant.

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King and his generals Picture: King Frederick the Great and his generals at Zorndorf in 1758 (36.000 Prussians vs 43.000 Russians under General Fermor).

General staff (Generalstab) is a group of officers charged with assisting the commander in planning, coordinating, and supervising operations. Prior to the late 18th century, there was generally no organizational support for staff functions such as military intelligence, logistics, planning or personnel. Commanders handled such functions for their units, with informal help from subordinates who were usually not trained for or assigned to a specific task.
There was no general staff in Frederick's army. Many responsibilities for what we would now call the work of the staff was divided between the First Cabinet Secretary, General Quartermaster and General Adjutant.

Eichel was king's First Cabinet Secretary. He wrote out king's orders and memoranda. There were also several aides-de-camp and 8 clerks of the Secret War Chancellery who copied out the more extensive correspondence.

General Quartermaster had 4-5 assistants called Quartermaster Lieutenants. The five were responsible for finding out about the theatre of war, devising the orders of battle, policing the army, directing the field intelligence, arranging winter quarters, planning march routes, and (important) determining the sites of camps. They also kept the list of prisoners or war and kept the sutlers under control.

There were 7 General Adjutants. The most senior of them kept the records of the army's strength up to date, administered pensions, prepared reviews and maneuvers, etc. In 1758 the king abolished the six junior General Adjutants and left only the most senior one. In compensation the king raised the numebr of assistants, called Flugel-Adjutant, to about 20.

In 1765 the General Quartermaster took over the General Adjutant's department.
This situation lasted until 1781.

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Military ranks :

Field marshals (Feldmarschall).
- - - There were only 5 field marshals in 1740. The king had no great use for this rank
- - - and he allowed the office to die out completely by the end of his reign. By the way,
- - - every marshal cost him 20,000 (!) thalers a year and suppose to command an
- - - independent army.

Generals of infantry, and generals of cavalry (General der Infanterie, - Kavallerie, - Artillerie)
- - - In battle the general usually commanded one of the lines, or wings, of the army.
General-lieutenant (Generallieutenant). He usually commanded 2-3 brigades.
- - - There were 13 general-lieutenants in 1740.
General-major (Generalmajor). He usually commanded brigade [2-3 regiments].
- - - There were 23 general-majors in 1740.
- - - Every now and then he was chosen by rotation to become 'general-major of the day'. He was responsible
- - - for touring the outposts before daylight, collecting information to bring to the king when he made his
- - - report later in the morning, etc. Basically on that day he was responsible for the security of the whole army.

Each regiment was commanded by colonel (Oberst) or lieutenant-colonel (Oberstleutnant)
Each infantry battalion was commanded by major (Major)
Each infantry company was under captain, followed by lieutenants, ensigns and NCOs

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King with his generals before the battle of Leuthen.

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Training, Discipline and
Large Scale Maneuvers.

The king imposed so spartan discipline that
400 officers "are said to have asked to resign".

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Victory parade of Prussian troops in Paris Photo: review of Prussian troops during victory parade in Paris in the second falf of 19th century.

King Frederick had devised Europe's first-ever battle-scale maneuvers in 1743. While expensive, such maneuvers were not just for show. These maneuvers gave his generals invaluable peacetime experience in directing large scale bodies of troops.

In 1763 were established provincial inspectors: 5 for the cavalry and 6 for the infantry (6 and 10 by the time of king's death). Such inspector toured his province, or "inspection", making sure that the regiments were up tp strength and perform the exercises in a proficient way. Frederick the Great tried to choose the best generals for these posts, regardless of their seniority. Twice a year the regiments of every "inspection" were put through their paces. The inspectors wrote down the names of officers who performed particularly bad, or particularly well.

"The Marquis de Toulongen, as a professional officer, was struck by the fact that the 40,000-strong garrison of Berlin could march off to the reviews in perfect order in silence, he was accustomed to the state of affairs which prevailed in the French army, when there was a near-riot when even the smallest garrison had to turn out." - Ch. Duffy

The grand reviews usually ended in 2 days of large scale maneuvers. "Kaltenborn describes the tension among the officers when they put eighteen or twenty thousand troops at a time through their movements in a holy silence, knowing that their career hung upon the will of one man. (...)
No less than 44,000 troops were brought together for the Spandau manoeuvres of 1753, causing alarm throughout Central Europe. (...) The other powers of Europe began to follow suit, and so for the next two centuries the season of autumn manoeuvers became notorious as a period of heightened international tension. (...)
The autumn manoeuvres represented a considerably more realistic performance than the springtime pageant. (...) Now the chief objectives were to try out new tactics, and to train the commanders in planning and directing the movements of large bodies of troops. Contested manoeuvres between 'rival' armies (as opposed to attacks against flagged positions) were first introduced before the Seven Years war." - Ch. Duffy

During campaign the Prussian army marched approx. 10-15 km a day for a week ot two at a stretch. On occasion they were capable of 15-25 km a day. (The troops were resting for one day in three or four.) In the spring and autumn the army usually covered much less than 10-15 km a day. It was due to shorter days and worse roads (mud).

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Prussian Baron von Steuben brought discipline to the US Army.

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Foreigners in Prussian Army.

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The king assigned every regiment a permanet catchment area around its peacetime garrison town, from where it drew its draftees for lifelong service. As has been already said, the population of Prussia was small. It became necessary, therefore to use also foreign troops. Every regiment sent officers and NCOs ranging through Europe, bringing in any man passable stature who might be persuaded to wear the uniform through inclination, gullibility or misfortune.

One of the tallest soldiers in the Prussian army, the Irishman James Kirkland, was reportedly 2.17 meters (!) in height. Kirkland's fellow-Irishman, the poet Tomás Ó'Caiside, served in the regiment. Daniel Mynheer Cajanus was a Finnish giant. He made his living by exhibiting himself for money.

In 1751 the Prussian army consisted of 133,000 men:
83,000 foreigners
50,000 Prussians (37 %)

At the time of the king's death in 1786 the warlike Prussian army was very strong.
It numbered more than 190,000 men (140,000 infantry, 40,000 cavalry and 10,600 artillery).
More than half were foreigners:
110,000 Poles and Germans (Saxons, Wurttembergers, Westphalians etc.),
Frenchmen, Swiss, Irishmen and Italians (northern Italy),
80,000 Prussians (42 %)

Frederick the Great considered the Westphalians as flabby and soft and "useless as soldiers." For this reason the three Wesel regiemnts had to be recruited from foreigners. The Poles served in fusilier regiments and light cavalry. (Traditionally they were excellent cavalrymen.) There were also many Wurttembergers, Swiss and Frenchmen in the infantry. Fredeick the Great however didn't like the Saxons very much.
The king considered the Prussians from Pomerania and Brandenburg as the most reliable and brave infantrymen. He once said that with them he could rout the Devil from Hell ! Surprisingly, the Prussians from Berlin were the least liked of all his Prussian subjects.

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Prussian infantry and Old Dessauer
Prussian infantry and Old Dessauer, praying before the battle of Kesselsdorf in 1745:
"O God, let me not be disgraced in my old days. Or if Thou wilt not help me, do not help
these scoundrels [Saxons and Austrians], but leave us to try it ourselves."

Infantry.
"Our infantry is like Caesar's."

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Old Dessauer. 
German: der alte Dessauer The stern and dark-visaged Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (1676-1747), nicknamed the Old Dessauer, is considered the founder of the Prussian infantry. He possessed pretty good abilities as a field commander, but was mainly remembered a talented drillmaster who modernized the infantry.
The Old Dessauer was one of the sternest disciplinarians in an age of stern discipline. He also had many improvements made in the infantry, notably the introduction of the iron ramrod about 1700.
He was succeeded by his son, Leopold II, Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, who was one of the best of King Frederick's generals, and distinguished himself by the capture of Glogau in 1741, and his generalship at Mollwitz, Chotusitz (where he was made general field marshal on the field of battle), Hohenfriedberg and Soor. Two other sons were also distinguished Prussian generals.

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Organization of Infantry.

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There were 56 infantry regiments (incl. the fusilier regiments). The regiment consisted of 1,680 men, incl. 50 officers, 160 NCOs, 1,430 rank and file, and non-combatants (musicians, medical orderlies, clerks, provost, auditor, etc.)

The regiment was under the command of "chef" (colonel-in-chief), who was usually a general, as well as being the colonel of the regiment. The numbered regiments were also named after their chefs. On 1 January of every year the chef had to send to the king a list of his officers, detailing their conduct, whether good or bad.

The colonel commandant, usually in the rank of colonel, was second in command. He answered for the running of the regiment to the "chef", who 'owned' the regiment in much the same way as the captains held the individual companies.

Administrative organization of infantry regiment:
- Staff
- I Battalion (5 musketier companies, 1 grenadier company)
- II Battalion (5 musketier companies, 1 grenadier company)
During wartime the two grenadier companies were detached.

Each company was commanded by a captain. Second in command was the first lieutenant. The Prussian captain was well paid and was much better off than most of his counterparts in other European armies. Hence the rank of captain remained the goal of every lieutenant's and ensign's ambitions.
The 1st Company was called Life Company (Leib Kompanie), or Chef's Company. The 2nd Company was Commandant's Company. Each of the two companies was entrusted for its actual running to a staff captain, who was often in the rank of lieutenant. Frederick the Great himself retained a company in the I Battalion of Foot Guard, and required reports on its condition.

Organization of company:
- 4 officers (captain, first lieutenant, 2 second lieutenants)
- 1 ensign
- 16 NCOs and junkers
- 114 rank and file
- 7-8 supernumeraries
In 1768 one NCO and 30-40 men were added to each company.

Tactical organization of infantry regiment (in combat):
- Staff
- I Battalion (4 divisions x 2 platoons each)
- II Battalion (4 divisions x 2 platoons each)
During wartime the two grenadier companies were detached
and joined with two grenadier companies from another regiment
to form a grenadier battalion. The grenadier battalions were
the elite assault troops.

The prestigous Regiment of Lifeguard of Foot (Garde-Regiment zu Fuß)
had three battalions and one grenadier battalion. Its first battalion
was very strong and numbered approx. 1,000 men.

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Infantry Regiment
I Battalion - - - - II Battalion
(4 divisions/8 platoons) - - - - (4 divisions/8 platoons)
. . . - - - - . . . .
Grenadiers
(detached from the regiment)
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Fusilier Regiment
I Battalion - - - - II Battalion
(4 divisions/8 platoons) - - - - (4 divisions/8 platoons)
. . . - - - - . . . .
Grenadiers
(detached from the regiment)
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Weapons of Infantry.

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The Prussian musket was climsier weapon than some European muskets. The lock was substantial and the iron ramrod was solid. By the way, the iron ramrods gave a clear advantage over the Austrians, who retained their fragile wooden ramrods until 1744. In 1770s the Prussians took another lead in ramrod design, when they devised a "cylindrical", double-ended version (as broad at the bottom as at the top), and saved the man the trouble of having to reverse the ramrod after he had drawn it from its hole beneath the barrel.
Another advantage gave them the 'conical' touch hole adopted in 1781. "The breech plug and the edges of the touch hole inside the barrel were rounded in such a way as to funnel a portion of the main powder charge out through the touch hole, and so the pan was primed automatically from the inside by the action of ramming the charge down the barrel." (- Ch. Duffy)

In general, however, the Prussian musket was much worse than Austrian and French muskets. The trigger was set too far forward in the guard, the comb of the butt rose so high as to make aiming difficult, and the musket was muzzle-heavy. It induce the infantrymen to shoot low. (Even at short range many bullets were fired into the ground.)
The stock was originally walnut. Before the Seven Years War, however, the king instructed the manufacturers to turn to maple. The sling was made of red leather. The stock was lacquered in red or reddish-brown, until after the Seven Years War, when they were stained black. Only the Guard Regiment and 3 IR retained their light brown stocks.

The bayonet was a narrow and triangular-sectioned blade which fitted over the muzzle of the musket. The scabbard hung on the sword belt near the sword. (After the battle of Mollwitz the king insisted that the bayonet must remain fixed to the musket for as long as the man was on duty.)

The short sword was only two feet long. In battle it was almost useless, but the men would have considered it shameful to have carried no sword.

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Tactics of Infantry.
Frederick the Great took it for granted that the Prussian infantry
would emerge victorious whenever they met the Austrian and French
regulars on equal terms in the open field.
In broken terrain and in wooded area the enemy was superior.

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Frederick the Great usually brought his army on the battlefield in one, two, or more, columns of march formed by platoons. (Each battalion had 8 platoons. Thus if an army had 10 battalions, there were 80 platoons.) First, the long and narrow marching columns moved parallel with the enmy. Second, when the heads of the columns reached the assigned position, the platoons wheeled into line and were ready to fight.
Sometimes the parallel march was impracticable and the columns had to be brought on the battlefield perpendicularly to the line of battle. In such situation the platoons marched in the new direction until they were ordered to wheel into line by the same method as in the parallel march.
The Prussians made perpendicular deployment at Mollwitz, Lobositz, Reichenberg and Gross- Jagersdorf. In every other battle they came on the battlefield by the parallel march.

For the king one of the most important things was to form up his army more rapidly and accurately than any other European army. The foreign observers were greatly impressed and noticed that the moves and maneuvers of the Prussian infantry were so accurate that not time was lost in dressing or correcting distances and formations. Thus they arrived sooner at their object than any others !

The European infantry in that times was packed in very tight formation. The men were closed up so fast that the right arm of one soldier was positioned behind the left, musket-carrying, arm of his neighbor to the right. In 1748 this arrangement was abolished in favor of more spacy elbow-to-elbow formation.
The distance between the rows varied between 2 paces and one foot. In the first row (rank) stood the tallest men of the company. It made the troop look great during parade. During war, however, the tall first-rankers "intercepted" a good many enemy musketballs and suffered much heavier losses than the shorties.
In 1740 Frederick the Great ordered all the regiments marching to Silesia to reform themselves from 4 to 3 ranks. In 1742 it applied to the whole army. Due to heavy losses during the Seven Years War, the king had to tease out the length of his battle line by adopting 2-rank formation. After that emergency, however, the Prussian infantry reverted to 3 ranks.

No other European infantry fired more shots per minute than the Prussians. The old musket required 11-12 seconds to load, and the new Prussian musket only 9 seconds. Three seconds were allowed for the commands. "Platoon fire" was delivered by the 8 platoons of the battalion, progressing from either flank of the battalion towards the middle.

The Platoon Fire, however, was often impracticable in battle conditions. The platoons would deliver 2 or 3 orderly voleys followed by a general blazing away. The men were very anxious and blasted off as soon as they had loaded. The first rankers were incapable of kneeling, even if they wanted to. (It was difficult for the 3rd rankers to have a clear shot at the enemy. That was why the 1st rankers supposed to drop down on the right knee after loading was completed.)

The infantry also delivered "Division Fire" and massed "Battalion Fire." The soldiers and generals liked the Battalion Fire pretty much. Veteran officers and generals, however, claimed that during hot actions, when many are killed and wounded, they could not prevent the infantrymen from firing at will.
The battalion could fire also during the advance. Advancing battalion waddled forward while loading at 45 paces/min. with successive platoons taking three long strides forward, giving fire, and waiting for the rest to come up into line. The advancing and firing in battle was a messy affair. The shorter distance they had to cover the better.

In 1743 Frederick the Great gave his infantrymen a guarantee that no enemy would dare to stand before their bayonets. In 1745 one regiment was ordered to attack the Saxon position without firing a shot. The regiment made a very impressive breakthrough. The king introduced longer bayonet for the 1st rankers and extra long kurzgewehr to the NCOs and some 3rd rankers.
The advance without musket fire was carried out on a large scale at Prague in 1757 and ... led to the massacre of several regiments by Austrian artillery ! The king revised his ideas and the infantry returned to the tactics of fire power.

Against cavalry the infantry formed squares:
- "quick regimental square" (popular until 1743)
- "slow regimental square"
- "battalion square" (abolished in 1743, revived in 1752)
- "solid square" (it was formed when the flanking platoons
of the battalion fell back in closed column behind the two
centre platoons)

The few light infantrymen were usually used for raids, patrols, scouting, etc. Only ocassionally they were used in a pitched battle. In 1757, Frederick had written that since the first infantry attack must always be considered a loss ... the leadinf troops should not exactly be the best. One can take 'Freibataillone' for the task, or other poor battalions, on which if need be one can fore should they retreat or refuse to attack with spirit.
The military "Testament" of 1768 elaborated on this thought: I shall let the 'Freibataillone' make the first attack, not in alignment but a la debandade et tiraillant. The more they can draw enemy fire, the better is the order in which the regular troops can attack.
Two years later Frederick added further details to the free battalions' role in starting an attack: they must rush forward 'heads down', urged by the bayonets of the heavy infantry behind them. :-)

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Uniforms of Infantry.

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Frederick the Great had a distate for novelties in uniforms "and other small formalities were well beneath his dignity." (- Kaltenborn) The simplest uniforms wore the newly raised fusilier regiments. The best dressed were the guardsmen.

There were two styles of infantry headwear in the Prussian army.
Three-cornered hat. It was lightweight and the troops liked it.
It was, however, in perpetual danger of blowing away.
In line infantry the hat was worn with a slight tilt to the right.
Mitre cap. It was tall and shiny. It looked great and the grenadiers and fusiliers
were proud of them. It was, however, weighed down heavily by the brass plate
in front, which compelled the man to jerk his head back every now and then
in order to keep the headwear upright.

In that time the European troops and officers powdered their hair.
And the hair on either side of the temple was curled into locks.
The hair at the back hung down in a pigtail.

The color of infantry coat was the "Prussian blue." The cuffs and collars were in regimental colors. Beneath the coat was waistcoat of white, straw or yellow. The breeches were made of wool and were in the same color as the waistcoat.

A broad belt of whitened leather was slung over the left shoulder and held the cartridge black box suspended behind the right hip. (In 1741 the allowance of cartridges was increased from 30 to 60.)

The knapsack was a bag of calfskin which was worn on the left side of the back. It hung from a narrow belt of white leather which was slung over the right shoulder. After some experimenting at Potsdam in 1744 the king decreed that "if time allows, the men must take off their knapsacks and all other impedimenta before evry action."

According to the king, the gaiters were intended for the comfort of the soldiers, and not for show. So they suppose to be cut broadly. Despite this, most gaiters were tight and false calf was often inserted in order to eliminate wrinkles and improve the general impression.
Originally the gaiters were white. In 1744, however, Frederick the Great introduced black gaiters for winter wear. Gradually the elegant white gaiters disappeared after the Seven Years war (except the I Battalion of Guard Regiment).

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Guard Regiments and the Potsdam Giants

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Picture: the elite Guard Grenadiers in 1745.
Picture by Knoetel.

The 6th Infantry Regiment was the famous Grenadier Garde. In 1740 the regiment was reduced to one battalion of Grenadier Guards by the king (the two other battalions were transferred to other infantry regiments).

The 15th Infantry Regiment was also known as the Regiment of Lifeguard of Foot (Garde-Regiment zu Fuß). It was one of the best, the creme de la creme of Frederick the Great's infantry. The 15th Infantry consisted of three battalions.
The chef of the First Company of I Battalion was Frederick the Great himself. The officers of the I Battalion (Leib Bataillon, or king's Leibgarde) had the fronts of their coats richly embroidered in gold. This battalion was very strong and usually numbered more than 1,000 men.
The II Battalion, also called the Grenadier Battalion (Grenadier-Garde-Bataillon, see picture -->) was formed in 1740 from the 6 I.R. (formerly the famous "Red Battalion", or Potsdam Giants, Potsdamer Riesengarde). In 1763 the II Battalion had 864 men (incl. noncombatants).
The III Battalion was formed with troops contributed by the entire Prussian infantry.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the splendid regiment fought at Chotusitz (1742), Hohenfriedberg (1745) and Soor (1745). The II Battalion lost 184 at Hohenfriedberg. Three Pour-le-mérite were awarded. In 1757 at Kolin the guardsmen protected the retreat of the shattered Prussian army. They were three times surrended by the enemy cavalry, but on every occasion the 3rd rank turned about and delivered volleys to the rear. In the course of the withdrawal the stubborn battalion lost 24 officers and 475 men.
In 1757 at Leuthen, the II and III Battalion were deployed in the first line. At 2:30 p.m. these two battalions along with the Guard Grenadiers and several infantry battalions attacked the village of Leuthen. The numerous Austrian infantrymen, however, defended the village with extraordinary determination. Only after several more Prussian battalions joined the hot fight the guardsmen prevailed. The II Battalion lost 192 killed and wounded.
In 1758 the II and III Battalion fought at Hochkirch where they were deployed in the first line. The III Battalion suffered very heavy losses (13 officers and 618 men !). The II Battalion lost 335 men. In 1760 the II and III Battalions took part in the Siege of Dresden and fought at Liegnitz, Hochgiersdorf and Torgau. At Torgau the II Battalion lost 338 men (48 % !). In 1762 the II and III Battalions took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz and fought at Burkersdorf.

Ps.
Potsdam Giants The Potsdam Giants was the 6th Infantry Regiment, composed of very tall soldiers. It was formed in 1675 and the Prussian population nicknamed them the Lange Kerls ("Long Guys"). The minimum height requirement was 1.88 m ! (6'2"), well above average then and now. One of the tallest soldiers was Irishman James Kirkland (2.17 m !) The king was about 1.6 m himself.
The king tried to obtain the tall men by any means. He gave bonuses to fathers of tall sons and landowners who gave up their tallest farm workers to join the regiment. He recruited tall soldiers from the armies of other European countries. Foreign rulers like the Emperor of Austria and Russian Tzar Peter the Great sent tall soldiers to him in order to encourage friendly relations. If the man was not interested in joining the Potsdam Giants, the king resorted to forced recruitment. His agents even kidnapped tall priests and innkeepers, etc., from all over Europe. Once they tried to abduct an Austrian diplomat !
The regimental mascot was a bear.
Pay was high.
The king, however, never risked the regiment in battle as he never waged war. When he died in 1740 the regiment had a strength of 3,200 men, but his successor Frederick the Great did not share his father's sentiments about the unit. The regiment itself was downgraded to a battalion (garde-Grenadier) and fought during the War of the Austrian Succession at Hohenfriedberg in 1745 and at Rossbach, Leuthen, Hochkirch, Liegnitz and Torgau throughout the Seven Years' War.

Battle of Leuthen
The Prussian Foot Guards storming the cemetery at Leuthen.

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Infantry Regiments.

Prussian infantry Picture: Massive infantry attack.
Film "Der Grosse Koenig" from 1942.

Musketiers, or musketeers, were foot soldiers armed with smoothbore muskets and bayonets, who fought in line formation. (A line consisted of 2, 3 or 4 ranks of soldiers.) The line allowed for the largest deployment of firepower. The relatively short range at which muskets could accurately hit a target, added to the slow reload, meant that massed formation firing was essential for maximising enemy casualties.

Against surrounding enemy cavalry, line infantry (musketiers) could swiftly adopt square formations to provide protection. Such squares were hollow, unlike the pikemen' square.

During the reign of Frederick the Great the musketiers formed the bulk of his infantry. Every infantry regiment had 10 companies of musketiers and only two companies of grenadiers. The musketiers were without the prestige and priviledges of the grenadiers. (However, often the distinguished musketiers were transfered to grenadier companies.)

There were 56 infantry regiments (IR).
The best of them are listed below.
(The mark * refer to king's grading of his troops
in the 1760s, according to their performance in
the Seven Years War. * = good, ** = very good)

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1. IR (Enjoyed extremely high reputation. Distinguished at Soor, Prague and Hochkirch.
- - - - - Its grenadiers were used for many dangerous missions.
- - - - - This regiment was stationed in Berlin.)

2. IR (* Exceptionally hard fighting infantry regiment.
- - - - - It suffered very heavy losses in several actions.)

3. IR (* It consisted of 3 battalions and was stationed in Rastenburg [now Ketrzyn in Poland].
- - - - - In the 1740s it was famous as the Old Dessauer's regiment, and distinguished at Soor,
- - - - - and Hohenfriedberg. During the Seven Years war was filled up with impressed Saxons
- - - - - and performed erratically.

4. IR (Chefs: 1740 - Groeben, 1744 - Polentz, 1745 - Dohna, 1745 - Kalmein, 1757 - Rautter
- - - - - 1758 - Kleist, 1761 - Thadden, 1774 - Pelkowski, 1782 - Egloffstein)

5. IR (* Its grenadiers were one of the best in the army.)
6. IR [Grenadier Garde]
9. IR (** Distinguished at Prague, captured at Maxen after heavy fight.)
10. IR (** Distinguished at Kesseldorf, Leuthen, and Burkersdorf.
- - - - - Chefs: 1740 - Anhalt Dessau, 1750 - Knobloch, 1757 - Pannwitz, 1768 - Petersdorff,
- - - - - 1781 - Stwolinski)

13. IR (** Distinguished at Leuthen and Hochkirch. "A tightly run regiment, known as the
- - - - - Donner und Blitzen regiment." - Ch. Duffy
- - - - - Chefs: 1740 - Truchsess, 1745 - Polentz, 1746 - Bogislaw Schwerin, 1750 - Itzenplitz
- - - - - 1762 - Tzar Peter III of Russia, 1763 - Wylich und Lottum, 1774 - Braun)

15. IR [Garde] (Its first battalion consisted of foreigners and performed magnificently
- - - - - at Mollwitz and Kolin. The rule of its battalion commander, Scheelen, was sadistic.)
- - - - - The III Battalion captured the churchyard at Leuthen.)

18. IR (** After Zorndorf the king commented "I could do anything with commanders and
- - - - - troops like these.")

23. IR (It was stationed in Berlin. Distinguished at Soor, Prague, and Zorndorf.
- - - - - Once the king said, "When I want to see real soldiers, I watch for this regiment." )
- - - - - Chefs: 1740 - Sydow, 1743 - Blackense, 1745 - Dohna, 1748 - Forcade, 1765 - Puttkamer
- - - - - 1766 - Rentzel, 1778 - Thuna, 1786 - Lichnowski).

26. IR (They fought bravely at Mollwitz, Prague, Leuthen [awarded with 15 awards
- - - - - Pour le Merite !], Hochkirch, and Torgau.)

27. IR (* Distinguished at Chotusitz, Lobositz, and Breslau.)
28. IR (*)
29. IR (* Fought hard and suffered very heavy losses at Kolin, Hochkirch, Kunersdorf and Maxen.
- - - - - Its grenadiers distinguished at Leignitz and lost heavily at Kunersdorf and Torgau.
- - - - - The grenadiers were commanded by Ostenreich (1756), Falkenhayn (1759) and Kowalski (1778).)

31. IR (*)
34. IR (** They fought very well at Domstadl and excelled at Leignitz.)
35. IR [Fusilier] (**)
39. IR [Fusilier] (** 2/3 of them were foreigners. Fought exceptionally well.
- - - - - During peacetime, however, they deserted by hundreds.)

41. IR [Fusilier] (**)
49. IR [Fusilier] (* Converted from the Pionier Regiment. Distinguished at Kunersdorf.)

Ten regiments were composed of Saxons who were forcibly enlisted in the Prussian army after the capitulation of Pirna in 1756. Seven of them were disbanded due to heavy desertion. The survivors were 54th IR [Fusilier], 55th IR [Fusilier], and 56th IR [Fusilier].

Prussian infantry in 1757

Prussian infantry in 1757

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Fusilier Regiments.

Fusiliers were infantrymen drawn from newly acquired provinces where, according to the king, the men did not have the loyalty and physical stature of the "old", or the "real", Prussians. Others were quite impressed with the fusiliers. For example French Marquis de Toulongeon remarked that "all the ordinary companies of fusiliers are good enough to have been 0fine companies of grenadiers in our own army."

Prussian fusiliers Originally when Frederick the Great inherited four fusilier regiments he converted them into infantry regiments. He designated as fusiliers the sixteen regiments he raised after he had conquered Silesia. They were mostly Poles, with many Prussians, and even some Czechs. After the partition of Poland in 1772 by Russia, Austria and Prussia, Frederick the Great gained 600,000 new subjects. On the new territories he raised (in 1773) four regiments of fusiliers: 51st, 53rd, 54th and 55th. The 53rd IR [Fusilier] was stationed in Braunsberg in West Prussia (Braniewo in today Poland). The 54th IR [Fusilier] was stationed in Graudenz in West Prussia (Grudziadz in today Poland).
Some fusilier regiments were composed of Wurttembergers and ... Frenchmen. In 1744 the 46th IR [Fusilier] lost many Wurttembergers to desertion. In 1778-89 approx. 600 Frenchmen deserted from that regiment. The 41st IR [Fusilier] was taken from the Wurttemberg service. They suffered heavy losses at Kolin and distinguished at Kunersdorf. The 44th IR [Fusilier] was raised from Wurttemberg and other German states. It was only lightly engaged in the wars.
Several fusilier regiments were made of Saxons who were forcibly enlisted in the Prussian army. Due to heavy desertion seven of them were disbanded. The survivors were the 54th, 55th and 56th. (In 1773 the 51st, 53rd, 54th and 55th were made up of Poles.)

The fusiliers were issued shorter muskets and scaled-down mitre caps.
They were something between the robust grenadiers and the infantrymen.
(During the Napoleonic Wars the Prussian fusiliers were light infantry.)

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Grenadier Battalions.

Prussian grenadiers in 1762 During campaign two grenadier companies were detached from each infantry regiment. (There were 56 regiments, incl. fusiliers.) They formed grenadier battalions. The grenadiers were the elite assault troops. They led many attacks and were sometimes massacred in battle.

The grenadiers were easily be recognized by their martial air. They distinguished themselves with tall mitre caps. The mitre caps looked especially great when the sun shone on them and gave them the appearance of a row of fiery palisade. The grenadiers were proud of their "grenadier marches" (played by pipes and drums only). The drummers were striking alternate blows on the skinj of the drum and the wooden rim.

Grenadiers were selected on account of reliability (veterans were prefered). They were robust men (advantage in bayonet fight) and very good marchers (advantage in maneuvering and advancing). After war the battalions were disbanded and the grenadier companies returned to their parent infantry regiments stationed in various cities and fortresses.

During the second Silesian War, king Frederick the Great formed two battalions of grenadiers, and additional four, after the peace. Each of the six battalions consisted of 6 companies each. They remained permanently together and were called Standing Grenadier Battalions. They had the status of garrison troops.


The grenadiers, assault elite infantry.
Film "Der Grosse Koenig" from 1942.

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Foot Jagers (light infantry).

Foot Jagers were light infantrymen and were trusted to fight in dispersed formation. (Desertion was a big problem in European armies.) Most of them were armed with rifles. During the campaign of 1778-79 (War of the Polish Succession), however, they were demoralised when the king had deprived them of their beloved rifles and issued them with the ordinary muskets instead.

In 1744 there were only two companies of 100 men each (mostly foresters and gamekeepers, all expert marksmen). They wore green coats, with red cuffs and collar, green waistcoat, and yellow leather breeches.

In 1760 Frederick the Great had one battalion of 800 jagers. In October they were caught in the open by Russian Cossacks and slaughtered. The king rebuilt the formation and in 1784 there was a regiment of 10 companies.

The foot jagers fought at Prague, Breslau, Leuthen and Hochkirch.

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Charge of Prussian musketiers at Mollwitz.

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Charge of Prussian heavy cavalry at Rossbach
Prussian heavy cavalry routing the French at Rossbach.

Cavalry.
Under a leader as renowned as General Seydlitz, the Prussian cavalry
achieved the nearest to a state of perfection that it was ever going to.
So great was its reputation in the Seven Years' War that Napoleon made a
special point of warning his troops in 1806 to beware of the Prussian cavalry.

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Picture: charge of Prussian hussars and dragoons. Film "Der Grosse Koenig" from 1942.

In 1760 Prussian General Warnery and 800 hussars mounted on light Polish horses harassed an Austrian dragoon regiment into a state of exhaustion and came away with 400 prisoners.

At Hohefriedberg the super-large Bayreuth Dragoon Regiment were put into one mighty charge. Twenty Austrian battalions were ridden down ! The dragoons returned with 2,500 prisoners and 66 (!) captured colors.

At Soor the 26 squadrons of the Prussian right evicted 45 Austrian squadrons from a hilltop.

In 1757 at Rossbach the charge of Prussian cuirassiers and dragoons decided the battle !

The Prussian cavalry was not always victorious. General von Pennevaire was called "The Anvil" because he was beaten by the Austrians so often.

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Organization and Tactics of Cavalry.

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On average a cavalry regiment had 5 squadrons of 2 companies, or 4 platoons (Zuge), each. Until 1757 the cuirassiers and dragoons were formed on three ranks. The hussars in two ranks. The new two-rank deep line was introduced in cuirassier and dragoon regiments in order to compensate for a shortage of cavalry. The thin line, however worked so well that by 1760 it had become almost universal throughout the Prussian cavalry.

There were 13 cuirassier, 12 dragoon and 10 hussar regiments.

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Cuirassier Regiment
I, II, III, IV and V Squadron
(each of 4 platoons)
NOTE: the 13th Regiment had 3 sq.

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Dragoon Regiment
I, II, III, IV and V Squadron
(each of 4 platoons)
NOTE: the 5th and 6th Regiment had 10 sq. each

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Hussar Regiment
I - X Squadrons
(each of 4 platoons)

- - - - - - - -

- - - - - - - -

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On the battlefield the cavalry was formed as follow:
- in the 1st line were deployed the cuirassier regiments.
The men were lined up knee-to-knee with a maximum interval
of 10 paces between the squadrons
- in the 2nd line (approx. 300 paces behind the 1st line)
stood the dragoon regiments. The intervals between the
regiments were broader so as they could maneuver.
"If the cuirassiers run into difficulties, then the dragoons
must lend immediate support."
- in the 3rd line, and on the flank(s) deployed the hussars.

Frederick the Great wanted his cavalry to charge, and not pop away with their carbines. He wrote, "I make the squadrons charge at a fast gallop because then fear carries the cowards along with the rest - they know that if they so much as hesitate in the middle of the onrush they will be crushed by the reminder of the squadron."

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Men and Horses.
"Das Paradies der Erde liegt auf den Rucken der Pferde"
Paradise on earth is on the backs of horses.
(Motto of German/Prussian cavalry)

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Cavalry was made up of well to do peasants who would take their cavalry horses back to their farms when they were released on leave.

Height of men and horses:
- cuirassiers (heavy cavalry) men above 5'5" , horses above 5'3"
- dragoons (medium cavalry) men above 5'5" , horses above 5'2"
- hussars (light cavalry) men below 5'5" ,

The cuirassiers and dragoons rode on the Mecklenburg horses and the long winded Holstein horses. The Holsteiner is a breed of horse originating in the Schleswig-Holstein (today northern Germany). It is thought to be the oldest of warmblood breeds, tracing back to the 13th century. As early as 1719, the state offered awards to the finest stallions bred by Holstein farmers.
As a breed, Holsteiners are known for their arched, rather high-set necks and powerful hindquarters. Similar to horse breeds in the nearby areas of Oldenburg, Groningen, and Friesland, traditional Holsteiners were dark-colored and minimally marked. This tendency has evolved into a preference for black, dark bay, and brown.
The Mecklenburger is a warmblood horse bred in the Mecklenburg region (today north-eastern Germany, close to Polish border). The horse was athletic, agile, calm and obedient, and had strong neck and legs.

The hussars rode mostly on Polish horses purchased in Poland and Russia. These animals were known for speed and staying power. The Prussians obtained the Polish horses also by requisitions in defeated Saxony and from the well-paid Jewish dealers. Due to heavy losses in horses during the Seven Years War the Polish horses began to appear among the rearward ranks of the dragoon regiments.

The king insisted that the black horses go to the cuirassiers,
and the browns and dark bays to the dragoons.
No colors were specified for the hussars.

Prussian cuirassiers rode on Mecklenburg and Holstein horses.
Right: Stalion of the century, Cor de la Bryere, one of the most famous Holstein horses. This stallion was one of the most influential sires in modern warmblood breeding in the world.
Although Holsteiners make up only 6% of the European warmblood population, there are enormous numbers of Holsteiners succeeding in worldwide competitions.
As a breed, they are known for their arched, rather high-set necks and powerful hindquarters. The type, or general appearance, exhibited by Holsteiners is that of an athletic riding horse.

Prussian hussars, and some dragoons, rode on Polish, Russian and Hungarian horses.
Numerous wars with the Russians, Cossacks, Tartars and Turks, (all excellent horsemen) made the Poles fine cavalrymen. Poland became one of the great horse countries and had large studs of horses for light and medium cavalry. The steppe grass in eastern Poland (today Ukraine, Volhynie and Podolia) made for rapid breeding. Horse breeding was very profitable. There was saying "Horses, honey and wheat / Pay the debts of the elite".
The most common colors of the Polish horses were bay and chestnut. There were also many duns and greys. By the way, the highest ratio of grey horses had the Hungarian horses.

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Cuirassier Regiments (heavy cavalry).

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They had the task of breaking down the enemy cavalry and crushing the flanks of the infantry. Their habit was to stand in the stirrups and hold the sword on high, ready to bring it down on the head of the enemy in a sweeping arc. The cuirassiers were taught to fight on foot only if they came under unexpected attack in their quarters. In such situation carbines enabled them to win the time to mount up.

Cuirassier regiment had 872 men (890 in 1755), incl. 37 officers and 70 NCOs.

One cuirassier regiment (Garde du Corps) had staff and 3 squadrons.
Twelve cuirassier regiments had staff and 5 squadrons each.
Each squadron had 2 companies (administrative) or 4 platoons (tactical).

During the Sewen Years War the cuirassier and dragoon squadron numbered 185 men, incl. 6 officers, 12 NCOs, 2 trumpeters and 3 drummers, 1-2 farriers, several orderlies, and 150-160 rank and file.

In 1762 Frederick the Great gave his cuirassiers white hat plumes, so as to be able to distinguish them from the Austrian heavies. They wore a heavy iron breastplate. (The Garde du Corps - polished bare metal, while all othger regiments - the metal was painted black.)
All ranks of cuirassiers carried 2 pistols each. The rank and file also carried carbines.
The cartridge box contained 18 cartridges for the carbine and 12 for the pistols.
The sword had 40-42' long blade. It was broad, straight and double-edged.

Cuirassier Regiments
(The mark * refer to king's grading of his troops
in the 1760s, according to their performance in
the Seven Years War. * = good, ** = very good)

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1st C.R. (stationed in Breslau [today Wroclaw, Poland]. One of the oldest and most prestigous units.)
2nd C.R. (distinguished at Chotusitz, but fled at Kolin. Nickname: Gelbe Reiter [Yellow Troopers])
3rd C.R. (distinguished at Rossbach and Leignitz)
4th C.R. (distinguished at Kesseldorf)
5th C.R. (distinguished at Kunersdorf, Leignitz, and Torgau)
6th C.R. (distinguished at Hochkirch, but captured at Maxen)
7th C.R. (distinguished at Rossbach, but captured at Maxen)
8th C.R. (**distinguished at Soor, Kolin, Rossbach, Zorndorf and Leignitz)
9th C.R. (distinguished at Soor, Hochkirch, but captured at Maxen)
10th C.R. [Gendarmes] (**distinguished at Soor, Rossbach, Zorndorf, and Hochkirch.)
- - - - - This splendid regiment was stationed in Berlin and was under Colonel Albert von
- - - - - Schwerin, who was "like a chatty old woman" :-)
- - - - - At Soor the Gendarmes and Buddenbrock Cuirassiers drove 45-50 (!) Austrian squadrons
- - - - - from a hill and captured the enemy battery.
11th C.R. [Life Carabiniers] (distinguished at Zorndorf)
- - - - - It suffered heavy losses at Mollwitz, captured one standard at Kolin and three standards at Hochkirch.
- - - - - At Zorndorf the carabiniers drove off the enemy cavalry in such a manner that all officers were awarded
- - - - - the Pour-le-Merite. At Langensalza they took 2 cannons.
12th C.R. (**)
13th C.R. [Garde du Corps] (distinguished at Rossbach, Zorndorf, and Hochkirch.)
- - - - - They were stationed in Charlottenburg and brigaded with the 9th C.R. [Gendarmes].
- - - - - Chefs: Blumenthal (1740 and 1747), Jaschinski (1744), Wacknitz (1758), Schatzel (1760),
- - - - - Mengden (1773), and Byern (1785)


Cuirassier regiments of Frederick the Great.
(Left: the 13th Cuirassiers, or Garde du Corps [Horse Guards])
(Right: the 2nd Cuirassiers, or Yellow Cuirassiers)


Seydlitz's cuirassier regiment, the fighting regiment.


The splendid 10th Cuirassiers, or Gendarmes [Gens'darmes])

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Dragoon Regiments (medium cavalry).

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Dragoons supported cuirassiers on the battlefield and protected their flanks. They also could fight dismounted. Actually they were expected to learn foot drill with muskets and bayonets to almost the same standard as the infantry regiments.

Dragoon regiment had 872 men (890 in 1755), incl. 37 officers and 70 NCOs.

Initially Frederick the Great had 10 dragoon regiments.
In 1744 he formed the 11th, and in 1751 the 12th.
The 5th (Bayreuth) and 6th Dragoon Regiment had staff and 10 squadrons each.
The remaining ten dragoon regiments had staff and 5 squadrons each.

During the Sewen Years War the cuirassier and dragoon squadron numbered 185 men, incl. 6 officers, 12 NCOs, 2 trumpeters and 3 drummers, 1-2 farriers, several orderlies, and 150-160 rank and file.

The dragoons wore a white (sky-blue in 1745), long infantry-type coat. They were armed with carbine and bayonet, pistols, and long sword. Dragoon carbine was longer than cuirassier's weapon, but shorter than infantry musket.

Dragoon Regiments
(The mark * refer to king's grading of his troops
in the 1760s, according to their performance in
the Seven Years War. * = good, ** = very good)

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1st D.R. (* Distinguished at Kolin, Leuthen, and Leignitz.)
- - - - - Chefs: Platen (1740), Posadowski (1741), Katte (1747), Ahlemann (1751),
- - - - - Norman (1755), Zastrow (1761), Wylich und Lottum (1774)
2nd D.R.
3rd D.R. [Horse Grenadiers] (These cavalrymen distinguished themselves
- - - - - at Malplaquet in 1709 and were named Horse Grenadiers. However, they
- - - - - disgraced themselves in 1741 and lost the title. They became dragoons
- - - - - and their mitre caps were given to the infantry. As dragoons they
- - - - - distinguished themselves at Chotusitz, Kolin and Rossbach.
4th D.R. (** Distinguished at Rossbach and Zorndorf.)
5th D.R. Bayreuth (Distinguished at Hohenfriedberg, Leuthen and Torgau.
- - - - - At Hohenfriedberg their charge decided the battle ! They had a claim to be
- - - - - considered the most effective regiment in the whole Prussian cavalry.
6th D.R. (The Porcelain Regiment)
7th D.R. (Mauled at Chotusitz, distinguished at Zorndorf)
8th D.R. (Distinguished at Gross-Jagersdorf and Zorndorf)
9th D.R.
10th D.R.
11th D.R. (Distinguished at Prague and Leuthen, captured at Maxen after ahard fight)
12th D.R. (Composed of Wurttembergers. In 1744 suffered from heavy desertion.)
- - - - - Mauled at Prague, fled and captured at Maxen.)


Dragoon regiments of Seven Years' War.
(Left: the famous 5th Dragoons, or Bayreuth Dragoons)


Dragoon regiments of Seven Years' War.
(Right: 3rd Dragoons [Horse Grenadiers])


Drummer of dragoon regiment.

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Hussar Regiments (light cavalry).

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Prussian hussars in 1757 Picture: Prussian hussars captured the baggage of French officers in 1757.

Hussars originated in Hungary and were adopted throughout Europe. The flamboyant unifom attracted many young men to the service. One of other atractions was the fact that during campaign the hussars were made responsible for foraging and ... raising "contributions" in cash on towns and villages. (Firewood, pigs and poultry were requisitioned by the soldiers, not just hussars, as they marched through the countryside.)

Hussars roles were: securing the flanks of infantry and heavy cavalry, scouting, raiding and harassing the enemy. In 1731 were formed the Life Hussars. The king, however, admitted that "a German lad does not make such a good hussar as an Hungarian or a Pole." In 1735 approx. 120 Prussian hussars were sent to the war on the Rhine so as to learn the organization and methods of Hungarian hussars.

The hussars spearheaded the advance of the army. Three hussars, followed by 11 in close support, after which further goups came in successive bodies - first a platoon, then a squadron or more, and finally the main force of hussars. It was the advance guard. The rear guard followed the army sweeping up deserters and stragglers. The rear guard was often formed of hussars.

In 1740 there were 3 squadrons of Life Hussars and 6 of "Prussian Hussars". In 1741 Frederick the Great formed five new regiments. Three more regiments were raised in 1742-45, one in 1760, and one in 1773.

The hussar regiment had 10 squadrons.

The hussar was armed with a carbine. Before the Sewen Years War the 10 best men in each squadron were issued with better horses and rifled carbines. They also received training in target shooting and reconnaissance work. The curved sabre had 41' long blade.

At Mollwitz the hussars ransacked their own baggage (!) and after the battle the king issued an order that "women, hussars, and baggage drivers, if caught plundering, will be hanged without more ado."
It was Zieten and Winterfeld who made them good soldiers. Zieten was an enemy of corporal punishment. He was also brave, energetic, and did not allow himself to be elated by success or depressed by defeat. He ensured that the hussars learned how to fight in dispersed formation and put them through riding exercises daily. Winterfeld's ambition, however, was to make hussars a battle cavalry. He suggested a number of methods by which the hussars might get the better of infantry and heavy cavalry, a substitute for the cuirassiers and dragoons. At Prague the hussars intervened at a critical moment and overset the Austrian cavalry on the right flank. At Torgau they rallied some of the broken cuirassiers and dragoons and led them back to the fight. But the hussars failed in light cavalry duties, especially during the War of the Bavarian Succession. They were unable to beat the Hungarian hussars at their own game.

Hussar Regiments
(The mark * refer to king's grading of his troops
in the 1760s, according to their performance in
the Seven Years War. * = good, ** = very good)

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1. HR ["Green Hussars"] (Chefs: Bronikowski (1741),
- - - - - Dewitz (1747), Szekely (1750), Kleist (1759), Czettritz (1770)
- - - - - They formed the original Preussisches Husaren-Korps.)
- - - - - Distinguished at Lobositz and Rossbach.
2. HR ["Red Hussars"] (** Chefs: Zieten (1741), Brunner (1786)
- - - - - They were famous as "Zieten Regiment" or "Rote Husaren".)
- - - - - Distinguished at Hohenfriedberg, Prague, Zorndorf, Hochkirch
- - - - - and Torgau. They were stationed in Berlin.)
3. HR ["Blue Hussars"] (Chefs: Bandemer (1740), Malachowski (1741),
- - - - - Wartenberg (1745), Warnery (1757), Mohring (1758)
- - - - - Somoggy (1773), Rosenbusch (1777), Keoszegy (1785)
- - - - - Distinguished at Ratibor, Prague and Leignitz.
- - - - - Nine squadrons were captured at Schweidnitz.
- - - - - They were stationed in Berlin.)
4. HR ["White Hussars"] (Chefs: Natzmer (1741), Vippach (1751),
- - - - - Puttkamer (1755), Dingelstadet (1759), Bohlen (1762), Podgorski (1770),
- - - - - and Wurttemberg (1781)
- - - - - They were converted from a lancer regiment.
- - - - - The hussars wore light blue dolman and white pelisse.
- - - - - Distinguished at Prague, repulsed at Kunersdorf.
5. HR ["Black Hussars"] (** They wore black dolman and black pelisse.
- - - - - Badge on hat: skull and crossbones of tin.
- - - - - According to Ch. Duffy the regiment was renowned for the
- - - - - wealth of their officers and ferocity of the rank and file.
- - - - - Distinguished at Hennersdorf and in western Germany.
6. HR ["Brown Hussars"] (Distinguished at Prague, captured at Maxen)
7. HR [First 7th] (Distinguished at Rossbach, captured at Maxen.
- - - - - Disbanded. Its place taken by the former 8th H.R.
7. HR ["Yellow Hussars"] [Second 7th] (Distinguished at Zorndorf,
- - - - - lost six squadrons at Landeshut. After the peace took the number of
- - - - - the disbanded 7th H.R.
8. HR [originally 9th] (Distinguished at Kunersdorf)
- - - - - Blucher enlisted in this regiment, becoming its chef in 1794.)
9. HR [Bosniaken] [Second 9th] (Formed in 1745, attached to 5th HR,
- - - - - became 9th HR, but remained associated with the 5th HR until 1788.)
10. HR (This unit was raised after the partition of Poland by Russia, Austria
- - - - - and Prussia. It was composed of Poles (incl. officers).


Hussar regiments
(Left: the 4th Hussars, or "White Hussars"
Right: the 5th Hussars, or "Black Hussars")

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Bosniaken Regiment (light cavalry).

It was an unit of lancers. They wore red tunics and wide, red Turkish-style trousers, black frock coats, red fez and white turbans. In their ranks served Bosniaks, Tartars, Poles, Prussians and others. In 1761 the single squadron of Bosniaken was brought to full strength (110 men) through advertisement. In 1762 the unit was increased to 10 squadrons (1,000 men including officers and NCOs). In 1763, the regiment was decreased to only 2 squadrons. In 1771, the Bosniaken were again attached to the hussars and increased to ten squadrons in 1773.

The Bosniaks fought in 1757 at Gross-Jägersdorf, in 1758 at Zorndorf, in 1759 Paltzig (Kay) and Kunersdorf, where they secured the west bank of the Oder River. In 1761 they fought at Lubien and Kanth, in 1762 at Nonnenbusch, Dittmannsdorf, Reichenbach, Adelsbach, Hohenfriedberg, Langenbeil and Burkersdorf. In all the actions and battles they fought well. Only at Trautenau (Trutnov) the Bosniaken suffered defeat, the fine Hungarian hussars (4 squadrons) routed the entire regiment.


The wild Bosniaken in 1760.

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Horse Jagerss (light cavalry).

In 1744 there was one troop of Horse Jagers. It numbered 6 officers and 112 picked riders. During campaign they acted as guides and couriers. They were stationed in Potsdam.

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Artillery.
"He mentioned the artillery seldom, if at all, in his battle reports,
and it was almost unknown for him to single out an artillery officer
for honour or rewards.""
- Christopher Duffy

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Prussian gunners in 1750 As a strategist Frederick the Great made a brilliant use of fortresses. "Yet he never showed himself more arbitrary, obtuse and ill-informed than when he was dealing with his gunners and engineers. Why were these relationships so unfortunate ? For a start there was the fact that artillery and engineering were generally regarded as grubby, bourgeois arts, demanding hard and unglamorous toil, constant patience and the precise calculation of physical forces - all of which was alien to the temper of the old European nobility. (...)
He mentioned the artillery seldom, if at all, in his battle reports, and it was almost unknown for him to single out an artillery officer for honour or rewards." (- Christopher Duffy)

In 1744 the king had one regiment of artillery (72 officers and 2,402 other ranks in two battalions). In 1758 third battalion was added to the regiment. In 1759 the first batteries of horse artillery were raised. In 1763 the king had two regiments of 2 battalions each. The battalion was five companies strong. In the same year the two regiments were subdivided into three smaller regiments. In 1772-73 the 4th Artillery Regiment was formed. It was composed of Poles (incl. many officers). The artillery in fortresses was served by a separate Garrison Artillery.

The pieces of field artillery consisted of five calibres: 3-, 6-, 12-, and 24-pounders. The woodwork of the cannons, howitzers and ammunitions carts, was painted in blue, and the ironwork in black. Surprisingly, the Prussian gunners came from the shorter and physically weaker men of the cantons.

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3pdr Cannons.

In 1742 the king gave each infantry regiment an average of 2 3pdr cannons each.
They usually opened fire with cannonballs at 1,000-1,200 paces from the enemy,
and changed to canister once the range closed to approximately 300-400 paces.
The crew of 3pdr cannon consisted of 8 men: 4 gunners and 4 assistants.
(The assistants were infantrymen detached from their parent battalions.)
The 3pdr cannon was drawn by 3 horses and required just 1 driver.
During the Seven Years War the Prussian light artillery was outclassed
in range and accuracy by the Austrian artillery.

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6pdr Cannons.

The new 6pdr cannon was drawn by 4 horses, and required 2 drivers.
(The old 6pdr cannon required 5 horses and two drivers.)
The king wanted to distribute the new 6pdrs among the battalions of the first line
in the event of a battle, while the 3pdrs were relegated to the troops of the 2nd line.

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12pdr Cannons.

The heavy 12pdr cannons were usually grouped in batteries and deployed on
advantageous points of the battlefield. The 12pdr was drawn by 8 horses.
In contrast to the light guns, the heavy pieces performed very well and
were nicknamed Brummers (whoppers).

A new 12pdr cannon was introduced. It was patterned on the Austrian gun.
In the end of 1759 the king had 80 of the excellent "Austrian" cannons.

The heavy Whoppers required 12 horses.
The "Austrian" cannon required 10 horses.
The light chambered 12pdr cannon and its caisson limber (for 44 rounds)
were drawn by 8 horses. Additional 66 rounds were transported on a
2-horse cart.

An awerage battery of 10 heavy cannons (12pdrs) required:
- 5 officers (1 captain + 4 lieutenants)
- 10 NCOs
- 120 gunners
- 1 Oberwagenmaister
+ 4 Wagenmeister
- 110 drivers and 226 horses
- 1 NCO and 4 privates (all detached from cavalry)

Ps.
The 24pdr cannons were too heavy to be considered a field piece,
and in 1759 were relegated to siege work. Earlier, they were usually
massed on either flank of the infantry.

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Howitzers.

Howitzers were usually used for indirect fire with shells (properly called "grenades"). The procedure was slow, for the shell had to be lit while it was in the gun barrel, and misfires were pretty frequent. The shell came disassembled and was filled with powder and equipped with a fuse for explosion. For many the shell, or grenade, had the theoretical potential to destroy a body leaving nothing for anybody. And it greatly frightened the men and horses.
For some, however, the shell was not very destructive weapon. It fragmented into few pieces so that although any given splinter might carry for radius of 10-50 paces, you had to be unlucky to get in the way of one.

"... Frederick was the first commander to make full use of the versatility of this weapon in the field. For turning the enemy out of a position, the shell was usually fired a high trajectory: for combat in the open field the shell was fired at low trajectory, when it wrought as much execution by its ricochet effect as by the actual burst. More surprisingly, the howitzer was eminently suitable for the discharge of grapeshot, for the width of the bore (which permitted the use of large shot) more than made up for the shortness of the barrel. Howitzers were employed as battalion pieces, as battery pieces, and (in 1770s) as horse artillery." ( - Ch. Duffy)

In 1740 the Prussians had 18pdr howitzers. In 1743 was introduced 10pdr howitzer.
In 1758 appeared even a lighter 7pdr weapon. In 1762 every infantry battalion was
supplied with one such howitzer. After Seven Years War approx. 70 new howitzers
were produced. These new 10pdrs formed the reserve of the king.

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Artillery Drivers.

The artillery drivers were given no military training. It's not surprising that in some battles they showed a marked inclination to run away from the scene together with the horses and limbers ! In June 1760 the king was forced to detach 1 NCO and 4 cavalrymen to every battery of 10 guns to keep the drivers under control.

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Horse Artillery.

Frederick was not the creator of horse artillery. The king, however, was the first who designed these guns not so much as an auxiliary to the cavalry and light troops, as to move fast to wherever the commander decided it could be used to the best effect on the battlefield. In 1768 his horse artillery consisted of 20 6pdr cannons and 4 howitzers. During the War of the Bavarian Succession the king had six brigades (batteries) of horse artillery of 9 pieces each !

The 6pdr (cannons) horse guns were drawn by picked horses.
The crew of 7 horse gunners rode alongside on horses of their own.

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Garrison Troops. Militia.

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Garrison troops were second-rate troops and were made up of invalids and men who were too bad for infantry regiments. Many served unwillingly. Initially Frederick the Great had four battalions of garrison infantry. During the First Silesian War he formed five battalions and one artillery company. By the end of his reign the garrison infantry numbered 12 battalions. The garrison troops were sometimes used in the field on the secondary theaters of war.
In the event of war were also raised so-called New Garrison Regiments.
They were poorly dressed and trained.

During the Seven Years War were raised 17,000 militia troops.
- in Pomerania: 12 infantry battalions, 10 grenadier companies, small units of hussars
- in East Prussia: 1 infantry battalion
- in Neumark: 3 infantry battalions
- in Kurmark: 3 infantry battalions
- in Magdeburg: 3 infantry battalions

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Free Corps (Freikorps)
and Free Battalions.

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Hussar of Kleist's Free Corps Picture: hussar of Kleist's Free Corps.
These hussars wore beautiful uniforms. Headwear: brown colpack (fur cap) with a red-orange bag, green plume, green cords and red tassels. The pelisse is green. The dolman is red-orange. The braids and cords are white.

Free Corps and Free Battalions were brigand-like mercenary light troops. Some were deserters from Austrian, French and Saxon armies. They were used in broken, wooded country, to secure marches, to occupy outposts, and to conduct raids on enemy magazines and lines of communication.
In 1757 four battalions were available. Soon more were formed. In 1761 one of them got itself captured intact by the Austrian troops ! Another battalion shot its commanding officer and went over to the German troops with the battalion chest !
The most successful was Kleist's Free Corps (Green Kleist).

None of the Free Corps carried official standards or guidons to the exception of von Kleist's corps.

Free Corps:
Kleist's Free Corps
- - - - - - "Green Croats" (Hungarians)
- - - - - - Dragoons, also called Horse Grenadiers
- - - - - - Free Hussars (Hungarian deserters and Saxons)
- - - - - - Free Lancers (Poles)
- - - - - - Free Jägers
- - - - - - Artillery
Prince Lubomirski's Free (Polish) Hussars
Petrowski's Bosniaken (Lancers)
Barowski's Free Hussars (deserters)
Trümbach's Volunteers
- - - - - - Infantry
- - - - - - Jagers
- - - - - - Dragoons
Glasenapp's Free Dragoons
Schony's Free Corps
- - - - - - Hungarian Free Grenadiers
- - - - - - Hungarian Free Hussars
Gschray's Free Corps
- - - - - - Free Infantry (French deserters)
- - - - - - Free Dragoons (French deserters)
Bauer's Free Hussars - Before its incorporation into the Prussian army, this unit was in British pay
Beckwith's Légion Britannique - It was the most numerous of the free corps.
- - - - - - Infantry (5 battalions !)
- - - - - - Dragoons
Rauch's Volontaires auxiliaires
- - - - - - Grenadiers
- - - - - - Horse Grenadiers
- - - - - - Free Hussars
- - - - - - Lancers (Turks)
Favrat's Black Legion
- - - - - - Infantry
- - - - - - Jägers
- - - - - - Dragoons
- - - - - - Hussars


Kleist's Free Corps (Freikorps von Kleist).
Free Dragoon (or Horse Grenadier), and "Green Croats".

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The Cost of War.
Frederick the Great was one of the very few commanders in history
who waged war on most of Europe and emerged from the ordeal
with a financial profit.

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Frederick the Great was one of the very few commanders in history who waged war on most of Europe and emerged from the ordeal with a financial profit ! And war is expensive. The campaign of 1758 cost the king more than 20 millions of thalers. By the end of hostilities in 1763 Frederick the Great had spend more 139 millions of thalers. The king covered the huge expenses and was still left with 30 millions !

The money came from several sources:
- 53 millions came from war plunder (the contribution in Saxony
raised 48 millions, and in Mecklenburg and Swedish Pomerania
4,95 millions)
- 43 millions were raised by way of taxation, excise duties,
and the profits of the state monopolies.
- 29 millions came from three successive debasments, which
reduced the worth of the Prussian coinage by 62.5 %.
(The state discharged its debts in the debased Ephraimiten incl. the pay of soldiers and public servants,
while demanding taxes and contributions at the genuine worth. "The mechanics of the fraud were
managed by the Jewish merchant concerns of Daniel Itzig and Ephraim & Sons, which provoked a
witty sould in Holland to strike a mock coinage showing Frederick and Ephraim tete-a-tete and bearing
the inscription: 'This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.' - Ch. Duffy)
- 27 millions was supplied by Great Britain. The subsidy came
in the form of bullion.
- 17 millions had been contributed by loans and from the funds
of the main state treasury, called Staatsschatz.

Annualy the army cost 13 millions and the fortresses 8 millions.
During peacetime the provincial authorities were obliged to supply the cavalry with dry fodder at fixed prices. The soldiers were able to obtain 2 pdrs of bread every day, also at fixed prices. It all saved a lot of money for the king. He was free to spend the rest on making ready for the next campaign.
"Frederick obtain as much grain as possible from the nobles and peasants in return for the commutation of their taxes. (...) Since Prussia was not self-sufficient in cereals, considerable quantities were bought in Poland, the granary of Europe, where 1 million thalers would buy about 60,000 bushels." - Ch. Duffy

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Miscallenous.

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Video : Battle of Leuthen 1757

Schlacht bei Leuthen 1757 (in German)
Animated map starts at 15:20 min.
King Frederick the Great's 35,000 men routed 80,000 Austrians.
The Prussians attacked in oblique order. The battle of Leuthen
is considered as tactical masterpiece.

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Map: Battle of Rossbach 1757
Battle of Rossbach.
Schlacht bei Rossbach.
Bataille de Rossbach.

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Diorama: Battle of Leuthen 1757
(Author of the diorama is Herbert M. von Klenze)

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Foreground: masses of Prussian cavalry. Background: infantry, artillery and the village.

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Left: the church tower in Leuthen is burning. The church is attacked by Prussian Foot Guards.
Right: the Prussian infantry and cavalry are advancing against the Austrians' flank.

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Massive cavalry battle.

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Infantry in street fighting. (1)

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Infantry in street fighting. (2)

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Artillery on the move: cannons, howitzers and ammunition wagons.

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In the wood.

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In the rear of the fighting armies.

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Map: Seven Years' War 1756 - 1763.
Among the great wars of history there are only very few instances of so long and successfully
sustained a struggle, against enormous odds, as that of the Seven Years’ War, maintained by
Prussia — then a small and comparatively insignificant kingdom—against Russia, Austria,
and France simultaneously, who were aided also by the forces of most of the minor
principalities of Germany.

Map of Seven Years War

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Bibliography.

Christopher Duffy - "Army of Frederick the Great" (excellent book)
Sir David Fraser - "Frederick the Great"
Robert B. Asprey - "Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma"
Giles MacDonogh - "Frederick the Great: A Life in Deed and Letters"
Christopher Clark - "Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947"
Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell - "The Living Age"
Peter Paret - "Yorck and the era of the Prussian reform ..."
Diorama by Herbert M. von Klenze, Germany
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