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Field Marshal Hans Karl Friedrich Anton, Count von Diebitsch, 1785-1831
Field Marshal Hans Karl Freidrich Anton, count von Diebitsch (1785-1831) was a Prussian officer who served with the Russian army during the Napoleonic Wars and who eventually became chief of the Russian General Staff.
Diebitsch was the son of an ADC to Frederick the Great. Many Prussian officers entered the Russian service later in the Napoleonic Wars and especially after the defeats at Jena and Auerstadt in 1806, but Diebitsch made the switch much earlier in his carrier.
Diebitsch fought with the Russian army at Austerlitz (1805), where he was wounded. He recovered in time to take part in the drawn battle of Eylau (7-8 February 1807), and the costly French victory at Friedland (14 June 1807).
In 1812 he was promoted to major-general and served with Wittgenstein's army. He commanded Wittgenstein's advance guard during the pursuit of the retreating French. This brought him up against his fellow Prussians, then serving as reluctant allies of the French on their northern flanks. Diebitsch's men split the Prussians from their French allies, and he then helped negotiate the Convention of Tauroggen (30 December 1812) in which Yorck's Prussian Corps declared itself neutral. This was the first stage in bringing the Prussians out of the French alliance, and in February 1813 the Prussians joined the growing coalition against France.
Diebitsch took part in the 1813 campaign in Germany, performing well at Dresden and Leipzig. He was also involved in the invasion of France in 1814 where he was an advocate of an attack on Paris. He was also present at the Congress of Vienna.
After the Napoleonic Wars end Diebitsch continued to rise in rank, and his career survived the death of Tsar Alexander I in 1825. He remained influential under Tsar Nicholas, who later ennobled him. He became Chief of the Russian General Staff and was a successful commander during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, where he replaced Wittgenstein as commander-in-chief. He most famous exploit was the Adrianople or Transbalkan campaign, which saw a Russian army reach Adrianople (now Edirne, just inside the small European part of modern Turkey). Diebitsch was given the honorary name 'Zabalkansky' in commemoration of his achievement (making him Count von Diebitsch-Zabalkansky).
In 1830 he was given command of the forces sent to suppress a revolt in the Congress Kingdom of Poland, but he died on 10 June 1831 before the revolt had been suppressed. The cause of death is unclear, with cholera or suicide both possible.
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On behalf of the emperor finnish Guard's Campaign to Poland, 1831
The conflict that broke out between Poland and Russia in November 1830 had an immediate and direct impact also on Finland. For the first time since the Seven Years' War of 1757-1763, Finnish soldiers were dispatched to fight overseas on the battlefields of Central Europe. As a result, Finland became involved in the international crisis surrounding the Polish-Russian conflict, and the willing participation of the Finnish soldiers of the Imperial Life-Guard in the campaign became a concrete testimony of the peculiar contrast between the rebellious Poland and the loyal Finland.
The soldiers of the Finnish Guard who followed the banner of the double-headed eagle and the golden lion in the fight against the Polish insurrectionaries have remained mostly as a curiosity note in the Finnish historiography. Although the various political consequences of the November Rising to the Finnish autonomy have been discussed in research literature from time to time, no independent study has been made of the Finnish Guard's participation in the Polish campaign of 1831. Even the military histories of the Guard have tended to ignore the battles in Poland and instead chosen to focus on the service of the Finnish Guard in the Russo-Turkish war in the Balkans in 1877-1878. 1 What, then, was the role of the Finnish Guard in the context of the Polish campaign? What was the role of the Finnish soldiers as tools of the Imperial Russian war machine in the suppression of the Polish independence struggle? And what kind of a trace did the campaign and its events leave on the Finnish historical memory at the time?
Finland and Poland in the Russian Empire The Decembrist Rising of 1825 and its Consequences
On May 1815, a month before Napoleon's capitulation in the battle of Waterloo, the Congress of Vienna made the final decision on the fate of the so-called Grand-Duchy of Warsaw, a Polish satellite state that had fought in alliance with the defeated French Empire. The compromise between Prussia, Russia and Austria, the three victorious partitioning powers, resulted in the creation of a new, autonomous Polish state under the auspices of the Russian Empire. The Treaty of Vienna bestowed the newly-founded “Congress Kingdom of Poland”, Kongresówka, with an autonomous status comparable to that granted to the Grand-Duchy of Finland by Emperor Alexander seven years before.
The degree of self-government enjoyed by Poland and Finland within the Russian Empire during the early 19 century has been subjected to comparative analysis in the academic literature from time to time. th The autonomous status that the Treaty of Vienna of 1815 bestowed on the Kongresówka, the Congress Kingdom of Poland, was certainly in many ways more extensive than the one allowed to the Grand-Duchy of Finland. As an impoverished borderland with no history of independent statehood, the administration of Finland was still based on the old Gustavian constitutions inherited from the Swedish reign having no currency of its own, Finland used the old Swedish riksdaler and the Russian ruble as mediums of exchange and the four-estate Finnish Diet that had assembled at Borgå in 1809 was not convened again until 1863. The Kingdom of Poland, in contrast, was designed as a model example of progressive government, and received its own constitution written by Prince Adam Jerzy Czartoryski, a close confident of Emperor Alexander the gold-based złoty remained as the Polish national currency and the bicameral Polish legislature, the Sejm, convened regularly in 1818 and 1820. Only in one respect was Finland able to gain more than Poland. Already in 1812, Emperor Alexander had returned the Karelian lands conquered by Russia in 1720 and 1743 back to the Grand-Duchy but the historic Kresy, the old eastern territories of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth annexed by Russia in the partitions of 1772, 1793, 1795 and the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807, were never reunited with the Congress Kingdom. 2
Both the Grand-Duchy of Finland and the Congress Poland possessed their own military establishments. First reassembled at the outbreak of the war between France and Russia 1812, the new Finnish military units included five enlisted jäger battalions and one drill battalion, subordinated to the governor-general in Helsinki and the General Staff in St. Petersburg. After 1819, these Finnish military units were rearranged into two infantry and one jäger regiments, each with two battalions, with the drill battalion in Helsinki remaining as a separate detachment. The Cadet School of Fredrikshamn, based on the old Topographic School of Haapaniemi, remained as the cradle of the Finnish military class, providing education of the native-born officers at home. 3 The Polish military, in contrast, was considerably more sizeable and independent, and the Kongresówka spent one third, occasionally two fifths of its national income to maintain its professional army of thirty thousand soldiers, the national pride of Poland. Commanded by Grand-Duke Konstantin Pavlovich, the Emperor's brother, the army of the Congress Kingdom wore Polish uniforms, followed the Polish flag and used Polish as its language of command, while simultaneously continuing the French traditions adopted during the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw in 1807-1813. A majority of the high-ranking Polish officers still consisted of the old Napoleonic veterans who had earned their ranks fighting against Russia in the grande armée and later opted for reconciliation with the Tsarist régime. 4
The paths of Poland and Finland diverged quickly. In the context of the "political night" that reigned supreme under the Congress System and the Holy Alliance, the Finnish ruling élités soon acknowledged that no further concessions from Russia were to be expected in any short notice. The Emperor's decision not to convene the Finnish legislature again after 1809 was quietly accepted as a fait accompli, and the authorities of the Grand-Duchy concentrated on safeguarding the already-existing autonomous administration, as well as courting the Imperial favour often by rather egregious demonstrations of loyalty. The reaction of the Poles to Alexander I's angry dissolution of the second Sejm in 1820, on the other hand, was completely different, and within a few years, an underground extraparliamentary opposition had formed in the Congress Kingdom, based on radical conspiratorial societies on the Continental European model. The most important of these were the Freemasons, whose activities the Tsar declared illegal everywhere in the Russian Empire in 1821. The ban only enhanced the appeal of the society in Poland, and a new branch of the movement, Wolnomularstwo Narodowe, “National Freemasonry”, was established by a group of military men headed by major Walerian Łukasiński. The discovery of the illegal society and Łukasiński's imprisonment in 1822 marked the first serious, open clash between the Polish underground opposition and the Russian Imperial authority. 5
With the succession of Nicholas I to the Russian throne in 1825, the relationship between Warsaw and St. Petersburg turned even colder. At the eve of the new Tsar's accession to the throne, a group of radical Russian military officers, the so-called “Decembrists”, staged a revolt in St. Petersburg, demanding constitutional rule for the Russian Empire. The action had connections with the Polish secret societies, and less than a year before, the Decembrists had negotiated of cooperation with colonel Seweryn Krzyżanowski's Towarzystwo Patriotyczne, the Polish “Patriotic Society”, a successor body to Łukasiński's organization. The contacts were not unnoticed by the Russian police, and three years later, the Tsar ordered Krzyżanowski and other members of the conspiracy to be arrested. Contrary to the demands, the Sejm refused to regard the Polish officers guilty of treason, and the furious Emperor responded by declaring the verdict of the Polish court null and void and sentencing the conspirators to exile in Siberia. 6 The action provoked the Polish hostility still further and inflamed rebellious sentiments especially among the young officers and cadets of the military schools in Warsaw. By the time of Nicholas I's Polish coronation in 1829, a new conspiracy of Polish officers was seriously contemplating the assassination of the Tsar. 7
The Decembrist Uprising of 1825 nicely revealed the fault lines that were beginning to form between Poland and Finland. While the politically turbulent Poland was heading towards collision with Russia, the peaceful atmosphere of the Grand-Duchy of Finland was still characterized by the “Imperial Silence”, an unquestioned loyalty towards the Russian sovereign. The contrast between the two autonomous borderlands of the Russian Empire was best demonstrated by the obedience of the Finnish officers in the Imperial service. While disgruntled Polish military officers such as colonel Krzyżanowski were ready and willing to conspire together with the Russian Decembrist leaders against the Emperor, their Finnish colleagues such as captain Johan Reinhold Munck remained steadfastly loyal to the Tsar, to the extent that they even supervised the executions of the five sentenced Decembrist leaders in the fortress of Peter and Paul. 8
The Finnish loyalty was not left unrewarded, and as a gesture of favour towards the northern Grand-Duchy, the Tsar decided to elevate the Finnish drill battalion in Helsinki to the rank of a Guard's unit after being impressed by the parade performance of its soldiers on the field of Tsarskoye Selo in 1829. As the first Finnish unit to reach a status in the Guards, the battalion remained under the command of a native officer, colonel Anders Edvard Ramsay, a scion of an old Scottish family that had first arrived in Finland in 1577 and become part of the local Swedish-speaking aristocracy like many of his colleagues, colonel Ramsay had also actively participated in the suppression of the Decembrist riots while serving in the Preobrazhenskoye Guard in St. Petersburg. A year later, the drill battalion was left as the only Finnish national military unit as the infantry and jäger regiments were disbanded, and renamed as the “Imperial Life-Guard's Finnish Sharp-Shooter Battalion”, commonly known simply as the “Finnish Guard”. 9
The Revolutionary Year 1830 Imperial Visit to Helsinki, Insurrection in Warsaw
The year 1830 marked the first serious blow to the European security system established in the Congress of Vienna fifteen years before. On July, a revolution broke out in Paris, and the absolutist Bourbon monarch Charles X had to flee the country while Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orléans, was hailed as the new “citizen-King” of France. By August, the revolutionary tide reached the United Netherlands, and the riots in Bruxelles started the Belgian independence fight against the Dutch royal house of Orange-Nassau. The events in France and Belgium and their potential repercussions elsewhere in Europe were an extreme shock especially for St. Petersburg, where the memory of the Decembrist Uprising was still fresh. In the eyes of the Tsar, the events in St. Petersburg, Paris and Bruxelles were concrete manifestations of a vast revolutionary conspiracy stretching all across the continent, posing an immediate danger to the peace and security of Russia and Europe. 10
In the new international crisis, the surveillance of the Russian borderlands was increased. On August 11, the Tsar left for an official visit to Finland together with the chief of his secret police, Baltic German count Alexander Benckendorff. Upon his arrival at Helsinki two days later, the Tsar left governor-general Arseni Andreyevich Zakrevski with written instructions on tightening the Finnish border controls in order to “prevent the spread of the revolutionary agitation”. th The Emperor had, however, very little reason to feel concerned of Finland, and expressed his satisfaction with the Cadet School of Hamina and the Finnish Guard's Battalion that received him in Helsinki. 11 The sincere demonstrations of loyalty by the local population also left a favourable impression on the Tsar. The burghers of Helsinki greeted the Emperor with the traditional gift of bread and salt, and the representatives of the Finnish peasants' estate, led by rusthållare Karle Vitikkala from the parish of Kokemäki, declared their happiness of the favour which the Emperor had extended to the Grand-Duchy with his visit. 12
The events in Poland developed to an opposite direction. During his stay in Finland, the Tsar wrote an official letter to Grand-Duke Konstantin in Warsaw, inquiring the military readiness of the Kongresówka and the possibilities of using the Polish military in the expected intervention against the French and Belgian revolutionaries. 13 Rumours of the Tsar's intentions spread quickly among the Polish officer corps, and the political situation in Warsaw soon turned explosive. The fear that the Tsar might try to exploit the general European crisis, abrogate the autonomy of the Congress Kingdom and force the Polish soldiers to fight against their former French comrades-in-arms simply for the sake of the reactionary foreign policy of the Holy Alliance proved to be the last straw to the radicalized Polish officers. On November 18, the newspapers in Warsaw published the first news of the Polish mobilization orders, finally thrusting the local conspiracy of officers and cadets to decisive action.
On the night of November 29 thth , a military revolt broke out in Warsaw as a group of conspirators led by ensign Piotr Wysocki tried to assassinate Grand-Duke Konstantin. The attempt failed miserably as the assault of cadet Ludwik Nabielak's hit team to the Belweder palace only managed to wound governor Mateusz Lubowidzki. Wysocki's attempt to disarm the Russian garrison in the capital proved equally fruitless, but the rebels managed to secure their position in Warsaw with the support of the crowd that had gathered to the streets in a general riot. 14 After the chaos had settled, the power in the capital shifted to a new provisional government led by general Józef Chłopicki, prince Adam Czartoryski and other moderate Polish officers and politicians who had initially opposed violent revolution. The new government allowed Grand-Duke Konstantin to leave the country and attempted to reach a negotiated compromise with the Tsar. The initiative failed, as the angered Emperor refused to accept the terms presented by the representatives of the Polish provisional government, whom he now regarded as equal rebels. 15
The November events sealed the breakup between Warsaw and St. Petersburg. On January 25 1831, the five-years anniversary of the execution of the Russian Decembrist leaders, the Sejm and the Polish Provisional Government declared that the Tsar had lost his right to the Polish crown. The conflict escalated into a full-blown insurrection, and having secured the safety of Grand-Duke Konstantin, the Tsar now began to assemble a punitive expedition to restore order in the rebellious borderland. Among the military units summoned to the task was also the Finnish Guard's Battalion, which, according to the letter written by staff colonel Ivan Alekseyevich Chepurnov to governor-general Zakrevski on December 14 thth , answered to the call to arms with “thunderous joy”. 16 The feelings of the Finnish soldiers were apparently still somewhat mixed, as witnessed by an anecdote about one unknown sharp-shooter. Upon receiving the news of the mobilization, the soldier thought that the unit was preparing to fight against the Russians, who were still often remembered as the old, traditional enemy. After realizing the actual situation, the soldier shrugged and squared the matter with a casual comment “Russians or Poles - one and the same”. 17
In spite of the temporary misconceptions, the soldiers of the Finnish Guard did not hesitate to take up arms on behalf of the Emperor. The end result was that at the moment of danger, the Grand-Duchy of Finland was ready to prove its loyalty towards the Russian Empire even by the force of arms. Whereas the Polish officers had initiated an open mutiny and an insurrection for the fear of having to fight against the French and Belgian revolutionaries, the Finnish sharp-shooters answered enthusiastically to the Imperial battle call against the rebellious Poles.
From Cholera Hospitals to the Glorious Homecoming the Finnish Guard in the Battlefields of Poland
After the news of the November Rising had reached Helsinki, the Finnish authorities began immediate preparations to equip the Guard's Battalion for the upcoming campaign. On the day before the New Year's Eve, colonel Ramsay submitted his evaluation of the Battalion's annual expenses to the War Comissary of the Grand-Duchy, presenting simultaneously an estimate of the additional costs for the coming months. By the New Year, the total sum of the Finnish soldiers' wages and equipment costs had already reached well over thirty thousand rubles, covered in bank assignates entirely from the Grand-Duchy's own finances. In addition, the Finnish War Comissary paid the Russian Field Intendenture seventy thousand rubles to cover the further maintenance of the Finnish Battalion in the front. 18 Meanwhile, an entirely new reserve company of fresh recruits was also established for the Battalion, and several professional civilian craftsmen were hired for miscellaneous tasks as gunsmiths, stockmakers and carpenters. 19 The civilian specialists followed the Battalion to the front, sharing most of the hardships and privations of the rank and the file.
The Finnish Guard began its journey to the battlefields of Poland with a march from Helsinki to St. Petersburg in January 1831. On January 25, the six hundred men of the Battalion arrived at Krasnoye Selo, where they were received by Grand-Duke Mikhail Pavlovich, the Emperor's youngest brother and the commander of all the units of the Imperial Life-Guard two days later, the Finnish soldiers paraded once more in front of the Emperor himself at the Custom-House of Narva. th A brief break was followed by an exhausting seven weeks marching through the Baltic provinces to Góra Kalwaria, where the Finnish Battalion joined the other Russian Guard units. As the Battalion was drawing closer to the front, colonel Ramsay briefed his Finnish soldiers of the War Articles and of the special orders which the Russian High Command in Białystok had issued to maintain discipline and prevent looting and violence against the Polish civilian population. 20 The practical enforcing of these orders was to prove less than succesful during the campaign, as testified by the infamous massacre conducted by a Russian cossack regiment in the Lithuanian village of Oszmiana in Samogitia on April 11. th
The exhausting march and the harsh winter were a heavy ordeal for the Finnish soldiers, as the frostbite and diseases began to take their toll well before the actual fighting had even started. The most serious threat was the global cholera epidemic of 1831, which crippled the operations of the entire Russian army almost completely during the early spring weeks. 21 The Russian High Command made its best attempt to improve the sanitary conditions of the troops on the front, and Grand-Duke Mikhail ordered the War Comissary in St. Petersburg to dispatch new ambulances and medical supplies also for the Finnish Battalion. 22 The hapless situation of the Finnish soldiers prompted also the domestic authorities of the Grand-Duchy to take action, and the Finnish Evangel Lutheran Church in particular participated in the collection of hospital equipment for the soldiers. 23
While the Finnish troops were recovering from their predicament, the hostilities began in earnest. On February 5, the Russian main army of over hundred thousand troops under Baltic German field-marshal Hans Karl Friedrich Anton von Diebitsch crossed the Bug, preparing to crush the Polish rebellion against the Empire. The Polish resistance, however, proved to be a good deal tougher than what had been anticipated. On February 25 thth , the Russian advance was halted in the bloody battle of Grochów, and the Poles were able to start their own counteroffensive. After general Chłopicki had fallen in battle, the command of the Polish army passed to the talented and skillful chief of staff, lieutenant general Ignacy Prądzyński, who was able to defeat the Russians at Dębe Wielkie on March 31 st , and again at Iganie on April 10 th . Regretfully for the Polish war effort, Chłopicki's follower as the commander-in-chief, the somewhat defeatist general Jan Skrzyniecki, was unable to exploit the victories, and instead attempted to initiate negotiations with Diebitsch. 24 The initiative passed once again to the Russians. With Diebitsch and the main army still holding on to their positions at Siedlce on the eastern side of the Vistula, the main effort of the Russian spring offensive had to be undertaken by Grand-Duke Mikhail's Life-Guard advancing between the Narew and the Bug in the northern parts of Mazovia.
As the fulcrum of the campaign moved to northeast, the Finnish soldiers finally received their baptism of fire. At the beginning of March, Grand-Duke Mikhail commenced a systematic operation to clear up the territory between the Narew and the Bug of Polish insurgents, in order to ensure the lines of communication with Diebitsch's main army in Siedlce through Węgrowo. A copy of the order was passed also to colonel Ramsay, but the Finnish Battalion was still recovering from the cholera and thus unable to take part in the fighting with its full strength. Since the situation on the front as well as the honour of the Battalion demanded action, colonel Ramsay decided to form a separate commando of the able-bodied men of the battalion. A new detachment of seventy sharp-shooters was formed under staff captain Alexander Jakob Wendt at Łomża on April 4, and nine days later, the Finnish sharp-shooters made their first contact with the enemy, as they provided support for the Russian troops of general major Neolov in the fight against Polish insurgents at Wyszków. As the Russians advanced further southeast, the Finnish guardsmen also participated in the capture of the town of Pułtusk. Wendt's commando survived the operation with minimal casualties, with only one NCO wounded in battle and three sharp-shooters incapacitated by disease during the march. th
By the mid-April, the Finnish Battalion was finally able to join the combat with its full strength. On April 19, the battalion was ordered to support the 1 thst Brigade of the Imperial Life-Guard's 2 nd Light Cavalry Division in the defence of the northern bank of the Bug against the Polish insurgents. Since sharp-shooters were required at all posts, the Finnish troops were dispersed along the riverbanks as separate companies were assigned to support the Russian forces at various places. Thus, the 1 st company of the Finnish Battalion, commanded by 2 nd lieutenant (подпоручик) Karl Johan Fagerroth, was dispatched to defend Kamieńczyk the 2 nd company, commanded by colonel Ramsay himself, was ordered to guard Rybinki and a detachment of thirty men, led by ensign (прапорщик) Gustaf de Besche, took its post at Brok. The sharp-shooters were able to repulse the attempts of the Polish insurgent forces to cross the Bug without suffering any losses themselves. 25 Although the Finns managed to survive these first encounters with the enemy without casualties, the cholera still continued to cut swathes through their ranks. Among others, the Battalion's Lutheran chaplain, reverend Karl Henrik Ingman, also died of the disease. 26
On the second week of May, the Polish army commenced a northwards offensive in the Narew valley, with the intention to destroy Grand-Duke Mikhail's isolated forces before they could link up with Diebitsch and the Russian main army. Placed on the vanguard of the Russian defence, the Finnish soldiers experienced their hardest battle so far near the village of Przetycz south of the borough of Wąsewo on May 16. Protecting the right flank of the Russian force, the Finnish sharp-shooters fought back a cavalry charge of general Dezydery Chłapowski's Polish uhlans, losing eight men dead and nineteen men wounded in the battle. Among the wounded was colonel Ramsay himself, who had caught a Polish bullet in his side while commanding the firing line from the front ranks, and was thus forced to pass the command of the Battalion to lieutenant colonel Robert Vilhelm Lagerborg. th As the Russian Guard units fell back in front of general Skrzyniecki's attack, the Finnish Battalion was joined with the new 4 Guard's Infantry Brigade, covering the withdrawal of the main force. Although the Finns remained in reserve and were able to avoid any further encounters during the retreat from Śniadów to Tykocin, they nonetheless received a later commendation from the Emperor himself for their service in the rearguard. th
In the Polish and Russian experience, the battle of Przetycz was a minor skirmish, overshadowed by other, larger and bloodier field confrontations of the war, but for the Finnish Battalion, the encounter marked the watershed of the campaign. After fighting a series of minor actions against an often unseen adversary and suffering practically no casualties on the battlefield, the Finnish soldiers had finally met their Polish enemy face to face. At one stroke, the enemy had suddenly become a real, dangerous opponent, temporarily capable of killing Finnish soldiers at a faster pace than frostbite, hunger or cholera. In colonel Ramsay's journal, the so-far unseen and anonymous fienden, “enemy”, was now given a more real and concrete description as polska rebell-trupper, “Polish rebel troops”. 27 The manifestation of sudden, violent death on the battlefield clarified the consciousness that the Finnish soldiers had of the enemy and completed their experience as veterans, preparing them for the closing stage of the campaign.
During the week that followed the battle of Przetycz, field-marshal Diebitsch and the Russian main army marched from south to Grand-Duke Mikhail's support, forcing Skrzyniecki to withdraw and regroup. On May 26, relying on their artillery superiority, the combined Russian forces were able to defeat and destroy the bulk of Skrzyniecki's infantry in the decisive battle of Ostrołęka. Both the Polish and Russian casualties in the confrontation reached approximately six thousand dead and wounded, but Diebitsch's army remained intact, while the defeated Poles had to scramble back towards Warsaw in disorder, abandoning the bridges of the Narew to the victorious Russians. th The Finnish Battalion had still remained in reserve and was thus spared from participating in the bloodiest encounter of the war, and a month after the battle, the recovered colonel Ramsay was able to resume the command of his unit. 28 On the same day, the Russian army also received a new commander after Diebitsch had died of cholera. The new commander-in-chief, the ruthless field-marshal Ivan Paskevich, who had recently returned from a mission in Georgia, now led the Russian army across the lower Vistula, starting the final onslaught towards the Polish capital by a large flanking manoeuvre from the west. 29
The defeat on the battlefield and Paskevich's imminent attack had fatal consequences for the Polish morale, provoking a round of accusations and an atmosphere of disunity which paralyzed the Polish government and military leadership at the worst possible moment. During the summer, demonstrations and actual riots broke out in Warsaw as the locals accused the provisional government and the incompetent military leaders of betrayal and collaboration with the Russians. On August 16, a furious mob broke to the City Castle and murdered generals Jankowski and Bukowski, as well as a number of other discharged Polish officers, Russian prisoners-of-war and convicted Jewish smugglers. While Prince Czartoryski fled from the capital and the provisional government was dissolved, the order was eventually restored by the city governor, general Jan Krukowiecki, who assumed dictatorial powers. th The decline of the Insurrection into a military dictatorship heralded the inevitable defeat of the Polish independence struggle.
By the first week of September, Paskevich's offensive reached the outskirts of Warsaw, and the Finnish Battalion was thrown to the fray once again. While the Russian main strike in the key sector of Woła was directed against the famous Redoubt No. 54 under the crippled Polish general Jan Sowiński, the Finnish sharp-shooters were attached to the forces of lieutenant general Nikolai Muraviev, a former Decembrist, and participated in the storming of the fort of Rakowiec on the southwestern side of Warsaw. The participation of the Finnish soldiers in the battle at the gates of the Polish capital was dutifully recorded in colonel Ramsay's report to Grand-Duke Mikhail:
“On August 26th (September 6th), after storming out of the positions under the personal command of Your Excellency, together with the two Regiments of the Life-Guard, our Battalion advanced towards Rakowiec over the right side of the entrenchments. The advance continued towards the direction of Szczęśliwice, where the Battalion stood for quarter an hour, exposed to occasional ricochet fire from the enemy batteries, as we moved approximately 900 feet to the left to protect the right wing of the 2nd Light Company of the Guard's 2nd Artillery Brigade, operating against the enemy batteries No. 26 and 27.
We remained in these positions until the dusk, exposed to a strong crossfire from three enemy batteries, after which we were ordered by lieutenant general Muraviev to defend the captured enemy redoubt No. 28. We kept our defences until seven o'clock in the following morning, when we received an order to join with the Guard's Regiments at the Jerusalem's Gate. It is my most pleasant duty to inform Your Excellency that all our officers demonstrated a lack of fear during the combat, setting an example that our men followed with unshaken steadfastness.” 30
On the following midnight, the Polish capital was evacuated and abandoned to the Russian army, and the remaining Polish forces in the vicinity of Warsaw were surrounded in the fortress of Modlin. Shortly afterwards, the last strongholds of Polish resistance, the fortresses of Modlin and Zamość, surrendered to Paskevich.
After the capitulation of Warsaw, the Russian High Command issued medals also to the Finnish officers who had distinguished themselves in the conquest of the Polish capital. Aside colonel Ramsay and lieutenant colonel Lagerborg, who were both awarded with Golden Sabers of the Order of St. George, various lower-ranking officers received Orders of St. George, St. Anna and St. Vladimir. Many of the decorated officers, such as lieutenant Achates Ferdinand Gripenberg, ensign Mauritz Ferdinand von Kothen and ensign Edvard Karl Axel Rotkirch, represented the most important noble families of the Grand-Duchy. 31 The social gap between the aristocratic Swedish-speaking officers, for whom the war provided a splendid opportunity for career advancement, and the rank-and-file Finnish soldiers, for whom the war was a part of their ordinary, everyday work and duty, is one interesting detail in the history of the Finnish Guard's campaign in Poland.
The Finnish soldiers had paid a heavy price for their share of the glory. Having started the campaign with minimal training and no prior experience apart from parades, the Battalion had suffered disproportionate losses during the six months of fighting across Poland. All in all, the Finnish casualties amounted to over four hundred men dead or wounded, two-thirds of the original size of the Battalion, with most of the deaths due to cholera or other diseases. 32 The soldiers returned to Helsinki in triumph in August 1832, and the grateful Emperor honoured the loyalty of the Grand-Duchy by rewarding the Battalion with the Banner of St. George, bearing the inscription “За Отличiе Приусмиренiи Польши” – “For the Pacification of Poland”. The dead of the Battalion, such as lieutenant Johan Fredrik Schybergson, who had fallen in the storming of Rakowiec “on behalf of the Emperor and the Fatherland” and who had been buried in the Polish capital, were remembered as heroes, and received their names on the black marble plate of the Finnish Cadet School. 33 Colonel Ramsay himself made an appeal to the future generations with his declaration “may our banner call the sons of Finland to perform the highest civil virtues still in the future, to fulfill their obligations and loyalty towards their sovereign”. 34
Even in the middle of the triumphant homecoming and the victory celebrations, the thinned ranks of the Guard nonetheless reminded the observers in Helsinki of the price that had been paid for the Imperial favour. For the people of the Grand-Duchy, the honour gained by their soldiers in the service of the Emperor was a source of national pride, but the casualties suffered by the Battalion on the distant battlefields were also a cause for bitterness and sorrow. 35 The military service, however, had often also provided livelihood for the soldiers' families, as testified by the lists of the sums of money that the Finnish soldiers had sent back home to their relatives. Recorded by the Finnish Passport Office in St. Petersburg, the amounts of money ranged from hundred to five hundred rubles, usually adressed to the soldiers' mothers or sisters. 36 During the bad harvests and the cholera epidemic of 1831-1832, the wages that the Finnish soldiers sent back home from the army may have often marked the only substantial income for their relatives, and even a meagre sum of one hundred rubles may very well have prevented an individual soldier's sister from succumbing to a life of domestic service or prostitution in St. Petersburg. Ironically enough, the hardships and suffering of the Finnish soldiers on the front may thus have brought not only political benefits for the Grand-Duchy as a whole, but also at least some positive social consequences for the people back home.
The November Insurrection and the Finnish Public Opinion
The bloody suppression of the November Insurrection aroused feelings everywhere in Europe. In the general revolutionary enthusiasm of the continent, the Polish independence struggle became an immediate cause célèbre for European liberal intellectuals. The connection between the July Revolution in Paris and the November Rising in Warsaw prompted the French poet Casimir Delavigne to celebrate the old Napoleonic brotherhood in arms between France and Poland in his exhilarating verses La Varsovienne and La Dies Irae de Kosciuszko, while in the German-speaking countries, August von Platen's mournful sonet collection Polenlieder became the bestseller of the year 1831. The West European sympathy towards Poland hardened the attitudes in Russia, and even the otherwise liberal Russian intelligentsia abandoned its critical stance towards the Tsarist régime and turned to support the Imperial policy. The assault against the hypocritical West European attitude culminated in Aleksandr Pushkin's legendary poem “To the Slanderers of Russia”. 37
The Russian opinion determined the rules of discourse also in Finland. After receiving the news of the revolt in Warsaw, the Finnish minister-state secretary in St. Petersburg, Robert Henrik Rehbinder, had stated his concern of possible Russian plans to restrict the autonomy of the Grand-Duchy under the pretext of the Polish events. 38 In the threatening situation, the Finnish authorities considered it best to protect the precarious self-government by firmly following the Imperial lead. The concrete Finnish expressions of loyalty towards the Russian Empire - such as equipping the Guard's Battalion for the Polish campaign - were all the more important since the Polish events had triggered foreign speculations also on the position of Finland and potential Finnish reactions to the Polish uprising. The most absurd example was a rumour circulated in Stockholm by a group of unknown Polish émigrés, claiming that Finland was secretly ready to rise in rebellion against Russia, in support of the Polish insurgents. The story actually managed to catch the attention of St. Petersburg, and the Tsar's foreign minister, Karl Vasilevich Nesselrode, ordered the origins of the rumour to be traced. 39
Under the “Political Night” of the Grand-Duchy, the nascent Finnish newspapers had to limit their coverage of the Polish events to the official reports of the Russian High Command and occasional mentions of the valorous conduct of the Finnish Battalion during the campaign. 40 The Russian communiqués published in Finland did not try to hide field-marshal Paskevich's brutal methods in the suppression of the Insurrection in any way, but instead the Tsarist government deliberately publicized even the darkest retributions in order to demonstrate the consequences of rebellion also to the Finns. The most important tool of the Finnish authorities in the indoctrination of the populace was the Evangel Lutheran Church, which condemned the Polish rebellion against the God-ordained Russian authority in the spirit of the Pauline doctrine and the 13 chapter of the Letter to the Romans. A majority of the devout Finnish church-goers apparently also accepted the message they had heard from the pulpits, concluding that the Poles must have had lost their minds. th
In spite of the official efforts, the Finnish loyalism was not completely unquestionable, and the censorship could not entirely prevent the spread of the anti-Russian sentiments of the Swedish and Danish press. Even though postal connections between Finland and Sweden had been severed immediately after the outbreak of the Rising, Scandinavian newspapers continued to be smuggled to Finland, and the authorities of the Grand-Duchy confiscated over a thousand copies of foreign newspapers in 1831. 41 A famous example of the hidden sympathy felt by some Finnish intellectuals towards Poland was the "Polish Toast", raised in a student celebration at the Imperial Alexander's University in Helsinki in December 1830. Docent Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the future Finnish national poet, had attempted to prevent the toast as a “dangerous and demonstrative action”. 42
The most open statement on behalf of Poland was made by the 24-years old poet Fredrik Cygnaeus, a member of the so-called “Saturday Society” founded in Helsinki in 1831. A year afterwards, Cygnaeus followed the example of Delavigne and von Platen and wrote a poem in memory of Tadeusz Kościuszko. 43 The Polish national hero had resided briefly in the city of Turku after his release from St. Petersburg in 1797, and the November Rising had actualized the memory of his short visit to Finland once again. 44 Under the circumstances, Cygnaeus was unable to publish his poem in Finland, and instead the fragments of his work only appeared under nom de plume “Rudolf” in the periodical Vinterblommor in Sweden. A sign of the times was that simultaneously, the Swedish translation of Pushkin's “Borodino” was openly published on the front page of Johan Ludvig Runeberg's Helsingfors Morgonblad on October 22 1832. nd
An extreme Finnish case was August Maximilian Myhrberg, an adventurer from Raahe who had previously fought in the Greek War of Liberation and settled in Paris in 1830. Following his convictions as a freedom fighter, Myhrberg defied the fate of a traitor and volunteered to fight in the ranks of the Polish army against the Russians. Colonel Ramsay's nephew, author and businessman Anders Ramsay, became one of Myhrberg's acquaintances later on, and has recorded a story of Myhrberg's experiences during the campaign. According to the story, Myhrberg and his old childhood friend Adolf Aminoff, general-adjutant of the Guard's Battalion, had met on the Esplanade in Helsinki after the war, and discovered to their surprise that they had fought on the opposite sides in the battle of Ostrołęka. 45 Even though Ramsay's description of the incident is stylized, anecdotal and most likely inaccurate, it nonetheless reveals something of the legends that characterized the memory of the Polish campaign in Finland at the time.
Both Cygnaeus and Myhrberg, however, remained as extraordinary cases. For the officials of the Grand-Duchy, the welfare of Finland and the good relationships with the Emperor were all that mattered, whereas for the majority of the population at large, the Poles were rebels who had raised their hands against the rightful sovereign and brought their fate on themselves. When the campaign finally ended in October 1831, the manifesto of the Russian Emperor celebrating the victory was published also in Finnish translation and circulated all across the Grand-Duchy, leaving no doubt of the indivisibility and power of the victorious Russia:
“With the help of God, We shall fulfill the task begun by our valiant armies. Through time and through Our diligence, the very seed to this discontent between two kindred nations shall be removed. Our subjects in the realm of Poland, now united with the Russian Empire, must be regarded also by you as members of the same family in which you also belong. Not by the threat of revenge, but instead by a high-minded example of loyalty and forgiveness you must aid Our efforts towards a firmer and stronger union of this country with the other parts of our Empire, to Our joy and to the glory of the Russian Empire”. 46
The Legacy of the Polish Campaign
In the context of the politically incendiary situation of 1830-1831, the participation of the Finnish Guard in the Polish campaign played an important role in the securing of the Imperial favour for the autonomous status of the Grand-Duchy. For the Finnish officers who had distinguished themselves on the front, the campaign marked the beginning of a magnificent career not only in the military, but also in the civil administration of the Grand-Duchy. For the following decades, the men who had earned their ranks on the battlefields of Poland were to exercise an important role in the government of the Grand-Duchy of Finland. Colonel Ramsay, the commander of the Guard, eventually rose to the rank of the General of Infantry and was appointed to the Russian Imperial War Council. Thirty-three years after the November Insurrection, general Ramsay returned to Poland once again and briefly assumed the command of the Russian forces in the battle against the far more bitter and desperate January Rising. The Finnish general was rewarded for his service once again, this time with a landholding, the estate of Michalicki in Poland. The manor in Poland remained in the possession of the Ramsay family until 1918. 47
For the common people of the Grand-Duchy, the campaign of the Guard became the first concrete example of the developing Finnish patriotism, a sentiment that put the love for the Finnish fatherland and the loyalty towards the Russian Emperor into one and the same breath, with no sense of contradiction. The belief in the virtues of the Finnish soldier instilled a special sense of devotion and enthusiasm, celebrated in the popular broadside ballads that assured the willingness of the younger generations to follow the example of their predecessors and take up arms in the defence of Finland and the Empire under the banner of the Finnish Guard.
Sotamieheks' mielelläni lähden aivan totta,
jos waan minut Keisarini Suomen Kaartiin ottaa.
Minä menen soltaatiksi, menen aivan wissiin,
Suomen eestä henkenikin panen myös alttiiksi.
Minussa on elämä, ja minussa on henki,
enkä tahdo olla minä talonpojan renki.
Iloinen on luontonikin, wereni myös juoksee,
sydämeni haluaakin Suomen Kaartin luokse. 48
Two decades after the Polish campaign, these feelings reached their height as Finland had to defend itself against the British maritime assault during the Crimean War. The Finnish willingness to fight against the enemies of the Russian Empire made a lasting impression on Nicholas I, who commended the northwestern borderland in his political testament with the words “leave Finland alone all through my long reign, it has been the one and the only part of my Empire that has never caused me one sleepless night”. For the next forty-four years, his successors to the Russian throne followed this advice.
Whether the Poles themselves had noticed the participation of the Finnish soldiers in the suppression of their Insurrection is an open question. According to the rumours that lieutenant colonel Lagerborg had heard on the front, the Poles had noted the presence of the “Swedish” sharp-shooters in the Russian army. 49 A passing reference to the Finns was also made subsequently by Adam Mickiewicz, who briefly mentioned the obscure northern nation in his lectures on the Slavonic literature in Paris. The Polish national poet regarded the Finns as one of the barbarous foreign peoples who, together with the Tatars, were responsible for the corruption of the original Slavonic character of Russia. In the judgement of Mickiewicz, the Finns were “born as slaves, loving their yoke and blindly following orders”. 50
Even though the few quiet expressions of sympathy made by the Finnish intellectuals towards the Polish cause were less significant than the blood and the suffering of the Finnish soldiers in the battles against the Polish insurgents, a certain dualism in the position of Finland vis-à-vis the November Rising can perhaps still be detected. The silent admiration of the enemy was still a standard feature of the romantic concept of warfare, and by the time of the January Rising, the self-confident Finnish newspapers had already changed their position and were ready to describe the Polish insurrection by the name frihetskrig, “War of Liberation”. Six decades after the November Rising, a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist Johan Jakob Ahrenberg recalled the 1831 campaign in his novel Anor och ungdom, where the protagonist, the young officer Carl Alexander Stjernstedt, is left emotionally scarred as he is ordered to supervise the execution of Polish insurgents, with the haunting memory of their shouts “Vivat Polonia” echoing in his ears long afterwards. 51 Written at the eve of the new century, Ahrenberg's novel nicely captured the fundamental ambivalence of the Finnish participation in the Polish campaign and epitomized the sense of pride giving way to a sense of guilt in the Finnish historical memory.
Over the years, the memory of the Polish campaign gradually faded to oblivion, apparently at least partly due to a deliberate amnesia. As the Guard's Battalion celebrated its centennial in the newly-independent Republic of Finland in 1925, the Polish campaign was glossed over by a simple statement “it is not pleasant today to remember that Finnish soldiers were helping to suppress a people fighting for its liberty, but one has to take into account that opinion was different back then”. 52 Adam Mickiewicz's famous description of Poland as the betrayed Christ, as the Messiah of the Nations waiting for the Resurrection, can thus perhaps be matched by the description of Finland as the Roman centurion who dutifully follows his orders, participates in the crucifixion and impales the body of the Saviour, but who nonetheless also acknowledges the executed Christ as the Son of the God at the moment of his death. 53
For better and for worse, the November Insurrection and the campaign of 1831 determined the fates of both Poland and Finland within the Russian Empire for the rest of the 19 century. The Polish attempt to regain the lost national independence by force of arms, in the context of general European revolutionary turmoil, was crushed, resulting in over eight decades of repression under the Russian rule. In contrast, the contribution of the Finnish guardsmen and their participation in the suppression of the Polish uprising ensured that the Grand-Duchy of Finland was able to secure and extend her self-government by a pronounced loyalty to the Russian Emperor in the subsequent decades. Thus, the cruel irony of history was that the continuation of the Finnish autonomy was partly based on the destruction of Poland, and the further strengthening of Finland's autonomous status during the 19 thth century took place partly at Poland's expense.
Vassal armies and mercenary armies
The first dukes and electors of Saxony had only one personal bodyguard. In the event of a campaign, a small band of knights was set up to protect the ruler. A real army was only set up when an invasion of one's own territory threatened, to support another ruler in a campaign or in feuds . The duke provided the knights on horseback with weapons, equipment and maintenance. The citizens and farmers of the country served their liege lords as infantry. When peace returned to the principality, the army was dissolved again.
Despite the lack of training, these vassal armies won victories for their princes. Margrave of Meissen Friedrich III. the severity fought successfully against Count Heinrich VIII von Henneberg-Schleusingen . The Margrave married his daughter Katharina von Henneberg after the end of the hostilities in order to bind the Henneberg family closer to himself. Frederick I the Arguable won with his armies victories over the Swabians and Rhinelander as well as over the army of Philip of Nassau. He also achieved an important victory in the battle of Brüx in 1421 in the war against the Hussites. In 1426 the Saxon army lost against the Hussites in the battle of Aussig . 500 knightly followers and twelve counts died in this battle . There is no information about the casualties of the infantry. His son Friedrich II. The Meek fought against the Counts of Orlamünde and von Schwarzburg as well as the Lords of Treffart and other opponents.
As the first Duke of Saxony, Albrecht the Brave used the mercenary army . Albrecht thought economically, because his liege lords and their subordinates were more useful to him if they pursued their traditional tasks in their home country and the duchy continued to be managed at the same level. Like the vassal armies, the mercenary armies were retired from service after the end of the campaign, and only the bodyguard and a few foot soldiers who guarded the cities and castles remained in the service of the duke. Until the Duke and later Elector Moritz , the mercenary armies were regularly recruited. The Duke Moritz was the first to recognize the value of a permanent army to protect the country. During his reign, parts of the mercenary army were used to occupy the larger cities such as Dresden , Leipzig and Pirna , which Moritz had fortified. In addition, mercenaries were also used as permanent occupying forces of fortresses and stately palaces.
The Duke also began to introduce a military ordinance for all troops fighting under his banner. This laid down the first rules and regulations for handling weapons and equipment. The introduction of firearms also meant that from now on the army departments were divided into regiments and companies . The legions and centurions of the Roman army of antiquity served as a template . Likewise, the infantry was now divided into ensigns and the cavalry into squadrons. This subdivision enabled better command of the troops on the battlefield. These changes made it possible in the middle of the 16th century to effectively command large armies of up to 100,000 men and use them in a war.
A major disadvantage of the mercenary army was the weaning of the nobility from national defense. This no longer saw it as necessary to defend property with oneself. He trusted in his sovereign. In addition, the mercenary armies were sometimes difficult to control. The commanders were responsible for the maintenance of the mercenaries themselves. As a result, if a sovereign did not pay any wages, the mercenaries plundered the land they actually had to protect. After mercenary armies became a common practice in the 16th century, these troops became increasingly expensive to maintain. A real mercenary trade developed. The armies fought for the side that paid better. It could happen to a sovereign who was in serious financial distress that parts of his mercenary armies were withdrawn from the army association and passed over to the enemy because the latter paid the mercenaries better. This was one of the reasons why, at the beginning of the 17th century, compulsory military service for the people was reintroduced in several Central German states .
Defensionswerk, Faith and Cabinet Wars (1612–1682)
During the uncertain reign of Elector Johann Georg I (1611–1656), far-reaching reforms were carried out in the Saxon military system. In 1612 the state parliament approved the proposal for a defense army . These were the first attempts to maintain standing troops, which were formed without the consent of the emperor. The Imperial Execution Order of 1555 formed the legal basis for this. In the following years two regiments of foot servants, each with eight companies (520 men each), and two regiments of knight horses of 930 and 690 men were recruited. In addition there was cavalry with 1593 knight horses in two regiments and with 16 senior officers. Finally there were 1,500 entrenchment workers and 504 servants for the military vehicles and guns. Thus the Saxon Defensionwerk, which was recruited from resident men according to districts and offices, had a total strength of almost 14,000 men. That was the size of a medium army at the time. This had the task of protecting the national borders from attacks from outside and defending fixed places, hence the name Defensioner (Latin for defender). After 1619, the Defensioners were repeatedly used to occupy the border passes on the Ore Mountains ridge to Bohemia. Three companies of foot servants, the Alt-Dresdner Fähnlein, the Pirnaische and the Freiberg Fähnlein, with 304 men were quartered around Dresden for the special protection of the state capital. However, the military power of the Defensionwerk was not able to adequately protect the country's borders, and the military value of this force was severely limited. After 1631, Saxon cities besieged by Swedes or imperial troops could easily be captured. Only Freiberg was an exception twice.
At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War , Kursachsen prepared a 12,000-strong attack army under the command of Count Wolfgang von Mansfeld in the name of the emperor and fought against the troops of the Bohemian estates in the Bohemian-Palatinate period, starting with the campaign in Upper and Lower Lusatia 1620. The most important event was the siege of Bautzen . After taking possession of the two Lausitzes, the gradually strengthening Saxon army marched into Silesia, which also belonged to the Bohemian Crown, and fought here until the Saxon troops were replaced by imperial troops in 1622. After that, troops were recruited in 1623, but the general war situation allowed almost all Saxon troops to be abdicated by 1624. In the second, the Danish period of the war, the Saxons did not take part in combat operations. The country was only touched or briefly crossed by those involved. After the brutal conquest of the city of Magdeburg ( Magdeburgization ), the Saxon sovereign changed sides and fought from then on in the Protestant camp against the Catholic League . For the fight on the side of Sweden, in the spring of 1631 the elector raised a new army of over 52,000 men with completely new regiments on horseback, on foot and dragoons. As in most Protestant countries, the formation and fighting style of the new Electoral Saxon units were the so-called Dutch orderly . This was largely retained, and the other, especially Catholic armies adapted. The main types of soldiers in the infantry were the musketeers and pikemen , in the cavalry the cuirassiers and arquebusiers .
|Branch of service||Companies||Strength|
The cuirassiers only appeared at the beginning of the Swedish period because of the style of fighting, but above all the higher costs. The mounted infantry were the dragoons . The Saxons did not have easy riders like the imperial ones. In addition to these types, there were artillery servants, trench diggers, bridge and ship servants, as well as military craftsmen. The supreme command of this newly formed Saxon lord was given to Field Marshal Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg . The Electoral Saxon army received its first baptism of fire in the first battle near Breitenfeld in 1631. In 1633 the Electoral Saxon army conquered Upper Lusatia and took the fortress of Bautzen after a two-day siege. Subsequently, the army marched into Silesia and inflicted a crushing defeat on an imperial army under the command of Colloredo in the Battle of Liegnitz . The troops of the Catholic League had 4,000 dead and wounded. This defeat forced the German Kaiser to negotiate peace with Saxony.
The concluded peace treaty made the Swedes an enemy of the Saxons again. These then began with attacks on the electorate. In the second battle of Breitenfeld in 1642, the imperial Saxon army was defeated and the electorate was occupied by the Swedes. The hostilities between Sweden and Saxony were not settled until the armistice of Kötzschenbroda in 1645. Saxony was one of the winners of the Thirty Years' War in terms of territorial gains. In the Reichstag, Saxony was awarded the chairmanship of the Corpus Evangelicorum , so from then on it was the leading Protestant power in the empire. From 1648 the territorial lords were allowed to direct a standing army in independent organization without restriction. After the last Swedish occupation troops left Saxony in 1650, Johann Georg reduced his army. In 1651 the Saxon field army was disbanded. Only 121 horsemen, 143 artillery men and 1,452 infantrymen remained in the service of the elector.
After the death of Johann Georg I in 1656, his son Johann Georg II (1656–1680) took office as elector. This was considered a monarch who loved splendor. Several guard formations supported the splendor and splendor of the elector's lavish court life. In 1660 the bodyguard was increased by a company of Croatian horsemen and a Swiss guard on foot was founded. Under him the Saxon army experienced a slight increase. The Defension Recess of October 25, 1663 marked a first step on the way from the Defensionwerk to the standing army. A corps consisting of 3,000 men, which was divided into six pennants and kept in constant readiness, took the place of the defensioners. The cost was shared by the elector and the estates. Johann Georg also set up several regiments that supported the imperial army on the Rhine in the war against France in 1673. Johann Georg II recognized that an increase in artillery troops was necessary to defend the country. The elector therefore used the time of inner peace to expand his artillery. The reinforcement of fortifications and the defenses of the big cities as well as an increase in the number of guns and troop strength of the artillery bore his signature.
Establishment of the standing army (1682–1699)
The elector Johann Georg III is considered to be the founder of the standing army in Saxony . , also known as the “Saxon Mars” (1680–1691). He had embarked on a military career in the Saxon body regiment on foot. With this regiment he took part in the Turkish campaign in Hungary. In the Battle of Lewanz on July 9, 1664, he stood out as the commander. In the Imperial War against France 1676–1678, he led the Saxon contingent. He was also the commanding officer of the Prince Elector Johann Georg cavalry regiment . After the death of his father in 1680 he was elector of Saxony. He restricted his father's lavish court and instead wanted to assist the militarily oppressed emperor in the fight against the Ottomans. The elector wanted to take up the political and national competition with the Brandenburg electoral state and outstrip it in the hierarchy of the empire.
The instrument of power required for this was created under his leadership as the first standing Saxon army. He convinced the Saxon estates in 1681 that the previous practice of setting up mercenary armies in the event of war and dismissing them in peace was more expensive than forming a standing army. He was able to rely on the Reich Defense Order passed by the Reichstag in 1681 with the aim of reorganizing the Reich constitution in view of the threats from the East and the West. First, in 1682, the body and guard troops and other smaller troops that had existed up to that point were restructured into line regiments . The army at that time consisted of six infantry regiments of eight companies each and five cavalry regiments, a total of 10,000 men. The field artillery had a strength of 24 guns. By creating the standing army, together with Kurbrandenburg and Kurbayern, he modernized the country's military strength.
On June 4, 1683, Johann Georg III. into an alliance with Emperor Leopold I with the aim of defending the empire. Shortly afterwards from July 1683 the Ottomans besieged Vienna . The Saxon elector sent a contingent of 11,000 men as relief. In addition to the Poles, the Saxon troops particularly distinguished themselves in storming the Ottoman camp. Johann Georg III. adopted the same dissolute lifestyle as his father. In order to be able to finance this, he rented his soldiers as a mercenary army. In 1686 he again supported Emperor Leopold's Turkish War . On payment of subsidies of 300,000 thalers , he sent a 5,000-strong auxiliary corps to Hungary. Two cavalry and three infantry regiments successfully took part in the storming of Ofen on September 2, 1686 . On September 6, 1688, the 1500-strong “Kurprinz Regiment” took part in the conquest of Belgrade . As early as 1685 he had rented 3,000 Saxon regional children to the Republic of Venice for their war in Morea ( Peloponnese ) for 120,000 thalers for two years, of which only half came back two years later. Furthermore, in 1688 he left up to 10,000 men ( soldier trade ) to the Dutch States General . In the same year Louis XIV broke the armistice agreed with the Reich and marched into the Rhine plain . Johann Georg III. moved to Franconia with his army of 14,000 men in October 1688 . After the declaration of the Imperial War against France on April 3, 1689, the Electoral Saxon army took part in the siege and capture of Mainz on September 11, 1689 with great losses . In 1690 and 1691 the Saxon army was part of the Imperial Army, whose supreme command was Johann Georg III. was transferred in March, on the Rhine. This third campaign was completely unsuccessful, especially since epidemics broke out in the army. During this campaign, the elector died on September 12, 1691 in a field camp near Tübingen .
His son Johann Georg IV (1692–1694), who was in the field with him , was appointed elector and took the oath of allegiance from his army while still in the camp. The new elector strongly advocated the further expansion of the standing army. He was also not afraid to threaten the use of military force if the estates did not provide the funds required for the expansion of the army. Ultimately, both parties agreed to finance an army of 12,000 men. A well-trained officer corps was crucial for the effective command and control of the military formations. To this end, the elector had the cadet school set up in Dresden-Neustadt in 1692 , at which 165 cadets began officer training. The elector also created the “Grands-Mousquetaires” guard regiment. Johann Georg IV could not bring about any further changes in the army, because he only ruled for three years and allegedly died in 1694 of the Blattern . According to new scientific findings, however, it is assumed that he was poisoned by his younger brother Friedrich August I. This followed him to the royal throne. Under the Elector Friedrich August I (1694–1733), also known as August the Strong, a new period of prosperity began for the Saxon army. Friedrich August had previously received sufficient military training. As a youth he took part in his father's campaigns in the association of the Reichsheeres on the Upper Rhine from 1689 to 1691.
Military defeats in the Great Northern War (1700–1716)
Around 1700, Saxony was considered to be a more powerful state structure on a European scale due to its closed territory. In the empire itself, the imperial princes sought political sovereignty from the established dominance of the Habsburg dynasty. In particular, the Brandenburg, Bavarian and Hanoverian princes (England) endeavored to acquire a royal crown located outside the empire in order to avoid the threat of a loss of rank and power. In addition to Brandenburg, whose elector crowned himself king in Prussia in 1701 , and Hanover, only August of Saxony succeeded in doing this, who died on 26/27. June 1697 on the electoral field in Wola was elected king in Poland against all initial expectations. From then on, Saxony, which was now part of the personal union of Saxony-Poland, was involved in a variety of political and military conflicts, which the Saxon army in particular could not sustain in the long term and which by far exceeded the powers of the electorate. Friedrich August I felt himself to be the newly elected King of Poland from the Swedish King Karl XII. threatened. Too few regiments were available to defend Poland, and the German Emperor's Turkish War in Hungary meant that 12,000 of his best soldiers were held in southern Europe until 1699. He began recruiting new troops and establishing new regiments. Many of these regiments were stationed in northern Poland in order to counter a possible attack by the Swedes as quickly as possible.
The elector did not want to wait for an attack by the Swedish king. In the spring of 1700 he attacked Swedish Livonia . When he was elected King of Poland, he had promised to tie the former Polish province back to the crown. He already had 41 squadrons of cavalry and 24 battalions of infantry in the field and also tried to bring the Polish regiments under his command. The Polish army was not subordinate to the king, but to the Reichstag, and the king had to ask for military support in the fight against the Swedes. By quickly conquering Livonia, August II hoped to gain command of this army in order to lead it to war against Sweden. The campaign in Livonia marked the beginning of the Great Northern War . Initially, under the command of Field Marshal Jacob Heinrich von Flemming, the fortress of Dünamünde and the Koberschanze were conquered by the Saxon army. The fortress of Riga was besieged twice in 1700 due to a lack of guns and ammunition . The landing of the Swedish troops under the supreme command of King Charles XII. forced the Saxon army after the renewed defeat of the Saxons in the battle of the Daugava to retreat to Polish territory.
Due to the ineffectiveness and unsuccessful leadership of his troops in this campaign, the King of Poland was forced to enlarge and restructure his army. The existing line infantry regiments were to be increased from 10 to 24 in the course of 1701. From then on, each regiment had to be strong with 13 companies. In addition, each regiment received a grenadier company from now on . The manpower of each company was increased from 72 to 120 soldiers. The king also had all infantry regiments equipped with new flintlock rifles in order to increase the firepower of the line infantry. In the spring of 1702, after the urgent restructuring, an army of 27,000 men was again ready to fight the King of Sweden. This had marched into Poland and threatened the capital Warsaw. Charles XII. wanted to drive the Saxon king from the Polish throne and replace him with Stanislaus I. Leszczyński, who was loyal to Sweden . But notwithstanding the improvements that had already been made, the Saxon army suffered another defeat in the Battle of Klissow , which was considered a decisive battle for the Polish crown. Although the Saxon army was close to victory, it was given lightly from their hands. The Saxon-Polish army had 2,000 dead and wounded. In addition, 1,700 men were taken prisoner in Sweden. With this, the Saxons lost control of Poland to the victorious Swedes, who subsequently defeated the Saxons again and again until 1706 and were able to conclude a victory peace with the Peace of Altranstädt in 1706 . The participation of Saxon troops in the War of the Spanish Succession from 1702 to 1704 and from 1705 to 1712 also had an adverse effect during this time .
As a result of the negative war experience with the Swedish army, which was considered the best in Europe at the time, restructuring and innovations were made. In the years 1704 and 1705, the drill regulations were revised by the generals von Schulenberg and von Flemming and issued specifically for the infantry and cavalry. In the years that followed, these regulations were continuously improved and were concluded in 1729 with the introduction of new regulations, which were applied theoretically and practically in the regiments in the so-called drill camp. In 1706 the Secret Cabinet was founded under the direction of Oberhofmarschall Pflugk. The cabinet included the ministerial posts for internal and external affairs as well as for military affairs. With this step, the influence of the Saxon estates on military and political decisions was severely restricted. The ministers were appointed directly by the elector. This cabinet actually only served to further develop the absolutism that August the Strong wanted to enforce in Saxony. Count Flemming was appointed the first Minister for Military Affairs. With the help of this institution, the Saxon elector was able to enlarge his army at will and provide it with financial means without asking the Saxon state parliament. This cabinet was the basis for the massive expansion of the Saxon army both during the Northern War and afterwards.
At the time of the Northern War, the regiments mostly did not have the total strength that the elector demanded and with which he reckoned in the battles. August II reserved the right to decide on all promotions himself. He kept index cards on all command officers with precise descriptions of leadership and lifestyle. The pensions of the officers were also personally recorded by the elector. According to the Saxon tradition, August II reinforced his standing army in the Northern War with land militias. These were mainly responsible for defending the national borders. The militias consisted of Saxon citizens who were drafted twice a year for combat service and weapons training. These militias were important reserves in the restructuring of 1709 and 1716. They were dissolved in 1717 and restructured into four district regiments to a total of 2,000 men.
Reorganization and reinforcement of the army in peacetime (1717–1733)
|Branch of service||Regiments||Regimental names|
|Guard||two||Chevaliers-Garde, Garde du Corps|
|Cuirassiers||four||Royal Prince, Prince Alexander, Pflugk, warriors|
|dragoon||six||Baudissin, Unruh, Bielke, Birkholz, Klingenberg|
|Hussars||a||no proper name|
|infantry||nine||First Guard, Second Guard, Royal Prince, Weissenfels, Diemar, Fietzner, Pflugk, Droßky, Marschall|
|artillery||House artillery, field artillery, artillery battalion|
|Special troops||a company of pontoners , a company of miners|
After the Saxon participation in the Great Northern War ended, a peace period of over 15 years followed, which August used to create a well-trained and modern army in a far-sighted military reform. The army should be brought to a total strength of 30,000 men in order to be able to implement its foreign policy goals better than before. In January 1717 the regimental commanders also became the regimental chiefs. This should bind the senior officers closer to their soldiers. In addition, the new recruits were almost exclusively recruited from Saxony, and by order of the Saxon elector, violence could no longer be used in recruiting them. In this respect the Saxon army differed from the armies of most other German states. At the beginning of the 18th century, the Prussian army mostly consisted of foreign mercenaries who had converged or were forcibly pressed.
|Branch of service||Regiments||Regimental names|
|Cuirassiers||four||Leibdragoner, Bayreuth, Brause, Saintpaul|
|dragoon||a||Miers (henceforth the Polish Guard)|
|infantry||five||Queen, Leibregiment, Wolfersdorf, Count Moritz of Saxony, Seydlitz|
|Free Corps||Maiersche Freikorps, Heiduckenkompanie|
On August 28, 1726, a regulation of the disabled was made and a disabled corps was founded. It consisted of two battalions of four companies each. Each company had a nominal strength of 166 men. The disabled were divided into two groups, fully and semi-disabled. These soldiers only had to perform guard and occupation duties. They were used on the Saxon fortresses of Königstein , Sonnenstein , Wittenberg , Pleißenburg , Meißen , Zeitz , Waldheim , Eisleben and Wermsdorf . The corps had four officers, a lieutenant general , a major general and two colonels .
After the reforms were largely completed, the elector held a large field camp in 1730. This went down in Saxon military history under the name Zeithainer Lager . Here the monarch presented his army to the princes of Europe. At that time, the Saxon army consisted of 40 cavalry squadrons and 76 battalions of infantry. In total, this made 26,462 men. The soldier king Friedrich Wilhelm I in Prussia , who was present , noted the level of performance of the Saxon army with appreciation: “The three regiments, Crown Prince good, Weissenfeld good, very good. Pflugk very miserable, bad. Giving orders good. I have seen commands from the cavalry, which I find very proper. "
The Electoral Saxon Army was presented as follows:
In 1732 Saxony was divided into four generalates and the troops were housed in garrisons for the first time. This once again had significant advantages in terms of disciplining, training and guiding the regiments. Until this reform, the vast majority of recruits were housed in private households. These were often poorly set up and often overcrowded. From then on, the elector also paid for the upkeep of the regiments so that there were no more cheating in the number of troops and operations of the regiments. In the course of this, the eleven infantry regiments were increased from eight to twelve companies. With the delivery of men and officers, three were formed from two companies. The company budget was reduced from 176 to 120 men. The following is a list with all regiments of the Saxon army in 1732 and their garrison towns and places of accommodation, as far as they can still be traced:
|regiment||garrison||Further locations of the companies|
|1st Guard||Naumburg||Zeitz , Leipzig, Borna , Delitzsch , Zörbig|
|2nd Guard||Guben||Luckau , Vetschen , Golßen , Fürstenberg , Triebel , Lübbenau , Forst , Spremberg|
|Life Grenadier Guard||Dresden||Meißen, Roßwein , Mittweida , Rochlitz , Frankenberg , Geithain , Leisnig|
|IR Sachsen-Weisenfels||Langensalza||Sangerhausen , Tannstadt, Thomasbrück|
|IR Saxony-Gotha||Bautzen||Kamenz , Grossenhain|
|IR from Wilcke||Torgau||Belzig , Niemegk , Kirchhain , Sonnewalde , Jessen , Zahna , Liebenwerda|
|IR you Caila||Grimma||Eilenburg , Wurzen , Bitterfeld , Bad Düben , Belgern|
|IR from Haxthausen||Zwickau||Neustadt an der Orla , Weida , Plauen-Pausa , Johanngeorgenstadt , Eibenstock , Scheibenberg|
|IR from Marche||Freiberg||Chemnitz , Schneeberg , Jöhstadt , Schlettau , Annaberg-Buchholz|
|IR Crown Prince||Grossenhain||no further information|
|IR from Löwendahl||Lommatzsch||no further information|
|IR Saxony-Weimar||Belgians||no further information|
|Invalid companies||Wittenberg, Pleißenburg, Königstein, Stolpen , Sonnenstein|
|Guard cavalry regiments|
|Carde du Corps||Dresden||Dippoldiswalde , Wilsdruff , Pirna, Radeburg , Radeberg , Neustadt , Kötzschenbroda , Lohmen|
|Carabinier Guard||Time||Pegau, Freyburg, Groitzsch , Schkeuditz , Lauchstädt , Teuchern , Profen , Langendorf , Großgörschen , Schönburg , Uichteritz|
|Crown Prince||Oschatz||Riesa , Lommatzsch, Nossen , Penig, Döbeln|
|Prince Friedrich||Zwickau||Stollberg , Schwarzenberg , Werdau , Crimmitschau , Lengefeld , Langenbernsdorf|
|of warriors||Naumburg||Artern , Wiehe , Roßbach , Auerstedt , Donndorf , Riestedt|
|from Polenz||Dahlen||Strehla , Schildau , Mutzschen , Trebsen , Reichenbach, Thallwitz|
|of fire||Pretzsch||Herzberg , Annaburg , Prettin , Mühlberg|
|from Nassau||Bautzen||Königsbrück , Reichenbach|
|Count Promnitz||Sorau||Christianstadt , Triebel , Muskau , Hoyerswerda|
|Grenadiers on horseback||Freiberg||Oederan , Marienberg , Sayda , Hainichen , Zschopau , Frauenstein|
|from Goldacker||Cölleda||Gebesee , Kelbra , Großgottern , Negelstädt , Cannewurf|
|from Katte||Reichenbach||Auerbach , Oelsnitz , Auma , Triptis|
|from Arnstädt||Schmiedeberg||Kemberg , Graefenhainichen , Dommitzsch|
|Chevalier de Saxe||Luebben||Schweinitz , Schlieben , Doberlug , Calau Lieberose , Pförten|
In addition, all troops from foreign rulers who were paid Saxon wages were returned. The cadet corps founded by his father was renamed the Knight Academy in 1723 . The academy was assigned its own building in Dresden. In 1732 the cadet corps moved into the house on Ritterstrasse in Dresden, which was built by Wackerbarth at their own expense and initially inhabited by Count Rutowski's life guards. From 1730 to 1733 the regulations of the army were revised again. A commission, consisting of high-ranking Saxon officers, passed regulations on the economy, armament, uniformity and the leave of absence of men.
After building up his army, Augustus the Strong tried to avoid any further war. From his bad experiences during the Great Northern War he knew that a losing battle could be the end of his hard-to-build new army. He had neither the financial means nor the inhabitants to rebuild the Saxon army. In the last years of his reign, August the Strong set up two more cuirassier regiments as well as two Chevauleger regiments and four infantry regiments. When August II died in Warsaw on February 1, 1733, he left behind a Saxon army, which was more than 26,000 strong and was of a very high standard both in the training of the soldiers and in their equipment. The Saxon army could stand up to any other European army of the time.
The War of the Polish Succession and the First Two Silesian Wars (1733–1745)
After the death of the glamorous monarch August, his son Friedrich August II (1733–1763) continued to rearm the Saxon army. Just like his father, he ran for the Polish royal crown. His strongest opponent was again Stanisław Leszczyński, who had influential supporters. In contracts with Russia and Austria, the Elector of Saxony was guaranteed the Polish crown. In 1733, the allies gathered their troops on their borders with Poland. Saxony also mobilized on June 6, 1733. Divided into two corps, 30 squadrons and 21 battalions, about 20,000 men, assembled. In the spring of 1734, the Saxons invaded Poland and, after minor skirmishes, occupied Poland. On January 17, 1734 Friedrich August II. Was named August III. appointed King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania . As a result, uprisings flared up against the new king, which were successfully suppressed by the Saxon occupation troops (see War of the Polish Succession ).
From April 1736 conduit lists were introduced for all officers. In these, service reviews were given for each officer. The conduits were divided into several headings, including whether the officer dealt properly with his subordinates, whether he was well versed in tactical matters, or whether he was subject to disciplinary vices. August III. Founded the Military Order of St. Heinrich on October 7, 1736 as a military knightly order with dynastic influences. With this award he wanted to honor officers who had distinguished themselves in the field. He was during the reign of August III. only awarded 30 times. From April 12, 1738, the four half-disabled companies were converted into five garrison companies for the five fortresses of Saxony (Wittenberg, Königstein, Sonnenstein, Stolpen and the Pleißenburg). It was also stipulated that only half-disabled soldiers, not healthy soldiers, were allowed to serve in these companies.
From October 1, 1742, a grenadier company was permanently formed in each infantry regiment. The previous procedure, that twelve grenadiers served in each company and were put together to form independent companies in the event of war, had not proven itself. From 1742, the grenadiers were trained separately and, in an emergency, deployed in independent grenadier battalions as the avant-garde of the army. At that time the grenadier had the highest priority in the Saxon infantry, the best soldiers from each infantry regiment were brought together and trained in the grenadier company. August III. continued his father's foreign policy. He tried to implement his father's dream of a great Saxon in Europe and was inevitably drawn into the Silesian Wars . The invasion of the Prussian king into neutral Saxony in 1740 left the Wettins no choice. In the First Silesian War (1741–1742), the Saxon troops forcibly fought on the side of Prussia against the Habsburg monarchy . The Saxon army provided an army of 20,000 men, which together with the Prussians and French besieged and conquered Prague in November 1741. In the following year, the Saxon army took part in minor skirmishes. On June 25th, the march back from Bohemia began over the Ore Mountains ridge near Zinnwald . The Saxon losses in this campaign were small. Three officers and ten common soldiers died during the siege of Prague, and seven officers and 54 men were wounded.
In the Second Silesian War (1744–1745), the elector initially acted neutral and let the Prussian King Friedrich II march with his troops through Saxony towards Bohemia. The elector later switched sides and fought on the side of the Austrians. In the spring of 1745 a Saxon auxiliary corps marched under the command of Duke Johann Adolf II von Weißenfels alongside the Austrian army in the direction of Silesia. The Saxon corps had 18 battalions, 20 squadrons, 30 lancers and 32 guns. In the Battle of Hohenfriedeberg on June 4, 1745, the Saxon-Austrian army was defeated by the Prussians. The army of the Saxons and Austrians had a total strength of over 71,000 men. Opposite them stood the Prussian army with about 8,000 men less. Despite the numerical superiority, the battle was lost. The losses among the Saxons amounted to 2029 dead and 915 wounded. A total of almost 4,000 men were killed, about 3,700 wounded, and a further 5,650 men were taken prisoner in Prussia. The Prussians also suffered enormous losses, 4,737 dead and wounded. Even the Saxon auxiliary corps in Bohemia, which was subordinate to the Austrians, could not withstand the Prussian army. The Saxons lost the Battle of Thrush in September 1745 on the side of the Austrians. Of the 32,000-strong army, over 6,400 were killed or wounded. The troops marching back after the Battle of Hohenfriedeberg united in November near Katholisch-Hennersdorf with the Austro-Saxon corps, which had marched north from Bohemia. The Prussian king decided to attack the army without warning. On November 23, 1745, the army attacked the unprepared Saxon-Austrian troops and destroyed the army.
The electoral troops withdrew to Dresden and took up positions near Kesselsdorf . In the following battle near Kesselsdorf on December 15, 1745, the Saxon-Austrian army under the command of Field Marshal Friedrich August Graf Rutowski suffered a crushing defeat. 14,500 soldiers were wounded or killed. Of these, the Saxon army accounted for 58 officers and 3,752 non-commissioned officers and men. Another 141 officers and 2,800 NCOs and men were taken prisoner by Prussia. That lost battle ended Saxony's last attempt to assert itself alongside Prussia. On December 18, the Saxon general Adam Heinrich Bose handed over the keys to the city to King Friedrich II. In Dresden, Frederick the Great chose 1600 of the best from the district troops of the Dresden garrison and took them with him to Prussia. He incorporated these soldiers into his guard formations. The Peace of Dresden concluded on December 25th ended the Second Silesian War.
Reduction of the army and outbreak of the Seven Years War (1745–1756)
After the Second Silesian War, the state budget of the electorate increasingly fell into the red. The lavish lifestyle of the monarch, reparations payments to Prussia and the increasing corruption at court led to a loss of income in the state treasury. Count Heinrich von Brühl , who was responsible for the affairs of state of Saxony and the state treasury, cut the Saxon army’s financial resources and reduced the number of troops. In 1746 the target number of an infantry company was only 95 men the cuirassier regiment L'Annonciade was disbanded. In 1748, the Prime Minister had nine cavalry regiments and four infantry regiments dissolved due to lack of funds. The number of horses in the cavalry was greatly reduced. The dissolved regiments included the cuirassier regiments of Minkwitz, O'Byrn, Count Ronnow and the Dallwitz regiment, as well as the Leibdragoner, the Prinz Sondershausen regiment and the Second Guard. The regiments of Bellegarde, Jasmund and Allnpeck were affected by the infantry. The soldiers of the disbanded regiments were assigned to the remaining regiments. The infantry had a remaining stock of 20,128 men, the cavalry 10,208 horsemen, excluding 2518 Uhlans (or Tatars ), and the district troops had shrunk to 7920 men.
Despite this reduction, the two million thalers estimated for the supply and maintenance of the army were not enough. In 1749 the infantry regiments were reduced from eighteen to twelve companies and the cavalry from twelve to eight squadrons per regiment. In the infantry alone, 268 officers were decommissioned. They had to make a living from a small waiting allowance (until they were reintegrated into the army) or an even smaller pension. The payment of the wages fell more and more into arrears, so that the morale of the troops suffered greatly and the desertion increased. Although the military budget was insufficient, the military budget was reduced by a further 400,000 thalers. In 1750, each infantry company was reduced by one officer and 20 soldiers. The training of the soldiers also suffered under these conditions between 1745 and 1753 only one field exercise was carried out. This took place in the summer of 1753 in Übigau near Dresden. The army population for this exercise was only 26,826 men including district troops.
In 1755 the target strength per cavalry company was to be reduced to 30 mounted men and per infantry company to 49 soldiers. In view of the danger of war, this measure was no longer enforced. After the loss of Silesia to Prussia, the Habsburg Marie Theresa allied herself with Russia and France against Prussia and mobilized the army in 1756. The Prime Minister Count von Brühl assured the Prussian king neutrality, but the latter knew that the Saxon court was sympathetic to the Habsburg monarchy. Due to its geographical central position, Saxony was a dangerous neighbor for Prussia, which could push the Prussian troops in the back in Bohemia or in the flank in Silesia at any time. Friedrich decided to occupy the electorate in a coup and without prior declaration of war. Count von Brühl was certain that the Prussian king would not attack Saxony. The commander in chief of the army, Count Rutowsky, warned the elector of an attack. He asked August III to be able to put the Saxon army on alert in this case and to assemble them at the troops above Pirna. On August 26th the order was given to all regiments to march to Struppen. The departure was so hasty that most regiments carried hardly any provisions or ammunition with them. Due to the financial cuts, the army was anything but ready for war and was unable to keep the soldiers' training up to date.
On September 2nd the invasion of the Prussian troops began. The army numbered 70,000 men and was divided into three columns. The center was under the supreme command of the king and marched from Jüterbog towards Torgau. The right wing was under the orders of Prince Friedrich von Braunschweig, who marched via Leipzig towards Freiberg. The left wing, under the high command of August Wilhelm von Bevern , invaded Saxony via Elsterwerda and Königsbrück. August III. went to his troops in the field camp at Struppen on September 3rd. The Saxon regiments began with fortification work to fortify the extensive camp. This was located on a plateau on the left bank of the Elbe between the Elbe and Gottleubabach, the fortified Sonnenstein and the Königstein fortress. The geographical location was reminiscent of a mountain fortress, which was only suitable for static defense. The troops had hardly any provisions and the supply routes were blocked. The army encamped in two meetings, in the first the infantry and in the second the cavalry. In this position General von Rutowsky hoped to be able to resist the Prussians long enough for the relief of the Austrian troops to reach the camp. On September 9th, Prussian troops marched into Dresden. The following day they reached the camp of the Saxon army and surrounded them. The siege army consisted of around 40,000 men, and another 23,000 lay on the Weißeritz near Dresden. The Prussian king was aware that an imperial relief army was on the way. He marched into Bohemia with the troops not needed for the siege and defeated this army, which was under the command of Field Marshal Maximilian Ulysses Browne , in the Battle of Lobositz on October 1, 1756.
The union with the Austrian troops failed, so the Saxon army had to capitulate to the overwhelming Prussian power on October 16. The Saxon army went into captivity with 18,177 men. Only the four cuirassier regiments and two Ulanenpulks stationed in Poland fought against Prussia from then on. Frederick II urgently needed soldiers in the fight against Austria, France and Russia and incorporated the regiments into the Prussian army. The first regiments marched off to the new garrisons just seven days after the surrender and surrender of arms.
Fight against Prussia, homecoming and reorganization of the army (1757–1778)
|1758||October 10th||Battle of Lutterberg|
|1759||April 13th||Battle of Bergen|
|August 1st||Battle of Minden|
|1760||July 23rd and 24th||Skirmish when attacking the Eder|
|30th July||Battle of Warburg|
|September 19th||Battle near Baake on the Weser|
|1761||February 15th||Battle at Langensalza|
|15th of July||Battle at Neuhaus|
|5th of August||Battle at Steinheim|
|8-11 October||Capture of Wolfenbüttel|
|October 13th and 14th||Bombardment of Braunschweig|
|1762||July||Second and Third Battle of Lutterberg|
In the spring of 1757 the desertion of the Saxon soldiers in Prussian service assumed enormous proportions. The Saxon soldiers did not feel bound by the forced Prussian oath of the flag. The regiment of Prince Friedrich August, which garrisoned in Lübben and Guben , marched out of the Prussian barracks in the direction of Poland without much resistance. Here it marched off towards Hungary. In the vicinity of Pressburg it joined the Free Saxon Corps. This was under the command of Prince Franz Xaver of Saxony . In October 1757 the corps numbered 7,731 men. Since it was not possible to march back to Saxony and the Free Saxon Army could not be paid for from its own resources, the Saxon Princess Maria Josepha placed 10,000 Saxon soldiers with the King of France. On the side of the French, the Saxons fought against the Prussians from 1758 to 1762.
On February 15, 1763, the Treaty of Hubertusburg was concluded between Prussia and its opponents. The war had led to the loss of the Polish crown and the ultimate breakdown of state finances. More than 100,000 people had been killed and 100 million thalers in war costs had arisen. Electoral Saxony had sunk to an insignificant European state at the end of the war. Electoral Saxony should henceforth lead a non-warlike policy and the army play a subordinate role.
In April 1763 the Saxon corps returned to Saxony and some of them moved into the original garrison towns. After the Seven Years' War, the Saxon army consisted of 13 infantry and twelve cavalry regiments. August III died on October 5, 1763, and his son Friedrich Christian became elector. He renounced his right to the Polish crown and wanted to concentrate on rebuilding the Electorate of Saxony and its army. Friedrich Christian died just a few weeks later, and his brother Prince Xaver, who led the Saxon corps against Prussia, took over the leadership of the electorate as administrator for Friedrich Christian's underage son, Friedrich August I (1763–1827). Under his leadership, the army was restructured and enlarged. The Prussian army served as a model for the restructuring. The infantry regiments were divided into three battalions with two grenadier and twelve musketeer companies. The target number of a regiment was 1672 senior and non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
At the army show of 1763, the infantry consisted of 9,842 men, including 651 officers. The cavalry was numbered with 4810 riders, including 336 officers. The cavalry only had 2,434 horses in their stock, so that there were two cavalrymen for one horse. The artillery had a strength of 1158 men. In the Saxon fortresses, 477 occupation soldiers were counted as a garrison. Nevertheless, in view of the financial burdens of the previous war, the regiments had only been filled to half the planned number of men by 1767. From this time onwards, garrison service in Dresden was carried out for one year by one of the infantry regiments. This should guarantee the uniform level of training of the infantry regiments. In addition, all troops performed their service temporarily in the state capital. These services also included guard duty on the various properties of the electoral family. At another army show in 1768, five years after the previous one, the total number of infantry grew to 16,449 men and the total strength of the army to 23,567 soldiers. Prince Xavier revived the Military Order of Saint Heinrich in 1768. He changed the engraved motto of the order to "Virtuti in Bello", in German "The bravery in war". He also added another class to the order. It was now divided into Grand Cross, Commander's Cross and Knight's Cross. Instead of the Polish white eagle, the Saxon diamond crown was chosen as the symbol of the order. From then on, the order was worn on a blue ribbon with a lemon-yellow edge. In 1776 a new drill regulations for the infantry were introduced.
From the War of the Bavarian Succession to the War against Napoleon (1778–1805)
Elector Maximilian III died in 1777 . of Bavaria without leaving an heir. From this situation, another source of fire developed in Central Europe, the War of the Bavarian Succession . The Saxon dynasty was drawn into this cabinet war as well, because it made hereditary claims on parts of Bavaria. Saxony's foreign policy finally lost its orientation and henceforth took a “zigzag path” of changing coalitions that prevailed until 1813. Together with Prussia, a Saxon army corps moved into Bohemia in the spring of 1778. The corps included ten infantry regiments, six grenadier battalions and six cavalry regiments of the Saxon army. Lieutenant General Count Friedrich Christoph zu Solms-Wildenfels was in command . The Feldjägerkorps, which had recently been founded, was used for the first time in this campaign. It had a total strength of 498 men and was based on tactics and regulations on the Prussian counterparts. The soldiers of this corps were recruited from hunters and snipers. All members of this unit were Saxons. The conflict ended in 1779 without any noteworthy armed conflict. On May 13th, 1779, in the Peace of Teschen, all hereditary claims of Saxony were settled by a one-off payment of six million guilders.
From 1780 both the infantry and the cavalry were increased in number again. In the 1770s, for financial reasons, the nominal strengths of the regiments were significantly reduced and the cavalry regiments were reduced to eight. With the beginning of the revolutionary turmoil in Europe at the end of the age of classical absolutism, many German princes and kings increased their armies. The Saxon elector also increased his army in the years 1780–1785. In 1789 the Feldjägerkorps was disbanded and the soldiers were assigned to the infantry regiments for further reinforcement. A year later, the first Saxon hussar regiment was set up on the order of the elector . The regiment had a nominal strength of 508 men and 502 horses. The riders were recruited from the other cavalry regiments. These had to make their smallest riders available to the hussar regiment. From 1780 military exercises were carried out every year. These took place near Leipzig, Dresden, Großenhein, Mühlberg and Staucha, for example. The exercises were performed in the spring until 1787, and then in the autumn of each year. The maneuvers lasted 14 days The soldiers on leave were called up beforehand. The elector used the peacetime for general training and the adjustment of standards to those of the Prussian army, because like his predecessor, Prince Xaver, Friedrich August III was. impressed by the Prussian army and pursued a pro-Prussian foreign policy.
With the beginning of the French Revolution and the resulting conflicts between France and the German states, a Saxon contingent was mobilized in 1792. It fought alongside Prussia and Austria against revolutionary France. It consisted of five battalions of infantry, ten squadrons of cavalry and an artillery unit with the strength of ten regimental pieces and a mortar battery, a total of about 6,000 men and 3,000 horses. The Saxon corps successfully took part in the battle of Kaiserslautern . In 1794/95 the Saxon contingents remained within the Imperial Army . The contingent grew to around 9,000 men in 1795. Since the French army was advancing steadily in the west, the elector decided to separate his troops from the Rhine army and repatriate them. The march back home began in October 1795. The regiments were reinforced by further troops from the electorate and holed up on the western border of Saxony. In August 1796, non-aggression negotiations began between Saxony and France. A line of neutrality was negotiated between the states, and in September 1796 all Saxon soldiers were relocated to their home barracks. On March 17, 1796, Friedrich August III donated. the gold and silver medal of bravery of the Military Order of Saint Henry. This award was presented to deserving NCOs and men for the first time on August 2nd. In 1798 the Saxon army was set up as follows:
|Branch of service||Regiments||Regimental strength|
|Guard||Guard du Corps||483|
|Life Grenadier Guard||1122|
|Rgt. Von Langenau||1798|
|Rgt. Major General von Nostitz||1798|
|Rgt. Major General von Zanthier||1798|
|Prince Adolph Johann of Saxe-Gotha||1798|
|Rgt. Major General von Lindt||1798|
|Rgt. Major General von Niesemeuschel||1798|
|Chevauleger Regiment Prince of Courland||740|
|Chevauleger Regiment Prince Albrecht||740|
|Chevauleger Regiment von Gersdorff||740|
|Chevauleger Regiment Prince of Saxony / Weimar||740|
|Cuirassier Regiment Elector||740|
|Zezschwitz Cuirassier Regiment||740|
|Garrison and semi-invalid||4 companies||608|
|Total strength 1798||31,644|
In the following years the battle line-up of the Saxon army was slightly changed. As a result of the experience of the last war against France, the regiment was replaced as a combat formation by the more mobile, smaller battalion. The regiment only had a formal status. Four companies were put together to form a battalion for combat exercises. That resulted in two musketeer battalions per rent. The two grenadier companies were brought together by two regiments to form a battalion. Nevertheless, the old linear tactics of the Seven Years' War persisted. Several regulations were also changed by 1805. For example, the infantry marching speed was increased from 75 to 90 paces per minute. Furthermore, each infantry regiment received four four-pounders as artillery support and to cover the sluggish troop movements on the battlefield. The infantry were still armed with old flintlock rifles. These had a straight run and were only briefly traded. With this weapon, the focus was not on the use in combat, but on better handling when exercising. There were seldom firefighting exercises carried out by the infantry, so that the penetration power of the line infantry in the firefight was weak.
In 1800 riflemen were trained for the first time in each regiment. One corporal and the eight best riflemen per company were trained as tirailleurs . Before the fight, the tirailleurs swarmed in front of their battalions (sometimes in between) to have more space to shoot. Furthermore, if possible, they should find and occupy advantageous locations in order to have a positive influence on the course of the battle. In 1809, the 1st and 2nd Light Infantry Regiments were formed from all the riflemen in the Saxon army . This regiment became the trunk of the later rifle (fusilier) regiment "Prince Georg" (Royal Saxon) No. 108 . When Napoleon crossed the Prussian border in the autumn of 1805 and began his triumphal march against the German kingdoms and principalities, the Saxon army was mobilized on November 1st and sent to the western border.
Defeat against Napoleon and the elevation of Saxony to a kingdom (1805-1807)
|Elector||Zeitz , Borna and Weißenfels|
|by sneezing mussel||Bautzen , Görlitz and Zittau|
|from Low||Luckau , Jüterbog and Wittenberg|
|Prince Anton||Großenhain , Doberlug-Kirchhain and Kamenz , and others|
|Prince Maximilian||Chemnitz , Annaberg , Mittweida and Zschopau|
|Prince Clemens||Langensalza , Tennstedt , Thamsbrück and Weißensee|
|Prince Friedrich August||Torgau , Belgern and Oschatz|
|Prince Xavier||Naumburg , Eckartsberga , Laucha and Merseburg|
|of rights||Zwickau , Neustadt , Plauen and Schneeberg|
|Singer||Guben , Sorau and Spremberg|
|from Thümmel||Wurzen , Döbeln , Colditz , Geringswalde and Grimma|
|by Bevilaqua||Leipzig , Delitzsch and Eilenburg|
The Saxon king, who saw himself abandoned by Austria in his adherence to the imperial idea, decided to fight against Napoleon and took the side of the Prussians. From September 10, 1806, an army of 22,000 men was set up under the command of Lieutenant General von Zezschwitz to defend and secure the western border. The corps consisted of six grenadier and 19 musketeer battalions of infantry, eight heavy and 24 light squadrons of cavalry as well as seven batteries on foot and one artillery battery on horseback with a total of 50 four-pound regimental pieces. At the beginning of October the French Emperor crossed the Main with 170,000 men further east. The French faced the Prussian-Saxon army at the heights of Jena and Erfurt . In total there were 120,000 men, of which around 20,000 were Saxons. On October 14, 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte and his main army defeated the Prussian-Saxon army division Hohenlohe near Jena, while at the same time Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout and his corps, about 25 kilometers away, the clearly outnumbered Prussian main army under the Duke of Braunschweig near Auerstedt could beat. In total, the Prussians and Saxons suffered 33,000 dead, wounded and prisoners in the two battles .
In the Peace of Posen on December 11, 1806, the Saxon Elector and the French Emperor signed a separate peace. The elector undertook to make 20,000 men of the army available to the Rhine Confederation and to provide a further 6,000 men in auxiliary troops for the upcoming French campaign against Prussia. In return, the Emperor Bonaparte elevated the Electorate of Saxony to the Kingdom of Saxony. From this moment on, the correct name for the army is “Royal Saxon Army”. The Saxon corps was mobilized in early 1807 and divided into two brigades. It consisted of two grenadier and six musketeer battalions of infantry, five squadrons of cavalry and two artillery batteries of six guns each. On February 5, 1807, in a revue, the king took away the assembled corps, and the next morning it moved towards Poland. On March 7, the Saxon Auxiliary Corps was subordinated to the French X Army Corps. This was a mixed corps, consisting of French, Poles, Saxons and soldiers from the Grand Duchy of Baden . The X Army was used by Napoleon to siege the city of Danzig . On March 12, the fortress was enclosed and had to surrender on May 24. Further battles with Saxon participation in this war were the conquest of Holminsel off Danzig and the conquest of the fortress Weichselmünde .
On June 3, the French Emperor held a review of the victorious troops of the X Army Corps in Marienburg. He praised the Saxon grenadiers and their will to fight. Napoleon had the Carree formation demonstrated by the Larisch Grenadier Battalion . Despite the victorious battles with Saxon participation, the campaign was not won by the Grande Armée. The Saxon troops withdrew to Polish territory in the autumn and remained in readiness.
The wars on the side of the Grande Armée (1809–1814)
Austria, which had already been defeated by Napoleon in 1805, prepared itself again to fight the French in 1809 . As a member of the Rhine Confederation, Saxony was again forced to provide troops. The king mobilized his army in February 1809. On March 7th, Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte took over command of the Saxon contingent, which was divided into two divisions and formed as the 9th Army Corps in the Rheinbund army. The corps was about 16,000 strong. In this war, all Saxon riflemen were combined into an independent association for the first time. The battles with Saxon participation in this war were the siege of Linz, the battle of Dornach and the battle of Wagram . The Saxons paid dearly for victory in the Battle of Wagram. After the two-day battle, 132 officers and 4103 NCOs and commoners were dead, wounded or missing.
On the basis of an already improved drill regulations for the infantry in 1804 (the main point of which was the faster march with 90 instead of the previous 75 steps per minute and after which the maneuvers were won by the royal party according to plan) and according to the excellent French infantry regulations of 1808, Lieutenant General Karl Christian Erdmann from Le Coq , the major general Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand von Funck , Karl von Gersdorff and Johann Adolf von Thielmann as well as Colonel Friedrich von Langenau the new Saxon regulations in the spring of 1810. This was officially put into effect on May 1, 1810.
Further changes as part of the Saxon military reforms:
- Rejuvenation of the officer corps
- Reducing the number of surgical staff while improving military medicine
- No rifles for officers - instead, duty with drawn swords
- Handing over of the flags of the artillery to the main armory - swearing in of the crew only on the cannon
- Dissolution of the staff battalion established in the meantime (1809)
- Improvement of the military justice system - Right of higher officers to have a say in criminal matters - Prohibition of corporal punishment as a punishment
- Change of uniform according to the French pattern and introduction of new rifles, bayonets and side arms
- Training in a new way of fencing: columns with swarms of screechers instead of the old, rigid form of linear tactics
- Introduction of the first drill regulations for the artillery
- Instead of domestic advertising with recruitment, now nationwide recruitment with district commissions as a replacement system with a fixed period of ten or eight years for the recruits
The Royal Saxon Army experienced an upswing through this reorganization. In addition, with the reorganization, the previously familiar company economy was ended. The new army administration brought about completely changed conditions with regard to food, clothing and equipment for the troops. The supreme command of the renewed army was nominally headed by the king. In 1810 Major General Heinrich von Cerrini di Monte Varchi was Minister of War, Major General von Gersdorff Chief of Staff . As a result of this military reform, the Royal Saxon Army was structured as follows at the beginning of the year:
- 1st Infantry Division , under the command of Lieutenant General von Zeschau, division headquarters in Dresden
- the General Staff in Dresden is subordinate to the Leibgrenadiergarde
- 1st Brigade , Major General von Dryherrn, Brigade Staff in Dresden
- König Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- Niesemeuschel Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- from both regiments the grenadier regiment (four companies)
- Prince Anton Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- Low Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- from both regiments the grenadier regiment (four companies)
- 1st Brigade , Major General von Klengel, Brigade Staff in Chemnitz
- Prince Maximillian Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- Infantry regiment from the right with 2073 men
- from both regiments the grenadier regiment (four companies)
- Prince Friedrich August Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- Prince Clemens Infantry Regiment with 2073 men
- from both regiments the grenadier regiment (four companies)
- 1st regiment of light infantry with 1,652 men
- 2nd light infantry regiment with 1,652 men
- Jäger corps with 124 men
- the Guard du Corps is subordinate to the General Staff in Dresden
- 1st Brigade , Lieutenant General von Funk, Brigade Staff in Pegau
- Chevauxleger Regiment Prinz Clemens with 768 men and 718 horses
- Chevauxleger regiment from Polenz with 768 men and 718 horses
- Hussar regiment with 1065 men and 1002 horses
- Personal cuirassier guard with 768 men and 718 horses
- Zastrow cuirassier regiment with 768 men and 718 horses
- Chevauxleger regiment Prinz Johann with 768 men and 718 horses
- Chevauxleger regiment Prinz Albrecht with 768 men and 718 horses
- Artillery brigade on horseback with 242 men and 226 horses
Subordinate to the General Staff in Dresden:
- Foot artillery with 1848 men
- Cadet Corps
- Royal Swiss Guard
- Geniuses with engineering corps
- Sappers and pontoniers (the later engineer troops)
- Garrison companies such as the semi-disabled companies made up of those not fit for field service
Overall, the army had a budgetary strength of 36 cavalry squadrons with a total of 6577 men, 31 infantry battalions or artillery brigades with a total of 24,937 men and an exiled corps with 266 men, all in all 31,780 men. When the army was reorganized, the carabiniers and the four infantry regiments Oebschelwitz, Cerrini, Burgdorf and Dryherrn were disbanded and divided among the other regiments. The newly formed regiments were assigned the following garrison towns in the kingdom:
regiment garrison Life Grenadier Guard Dresden 1st Line Infantry Regiment König Dresden and Großenhain 2nd Line Infantry Regiment vacant Sneeze mussel Dresden and Großenhain 3rd Line Infantry Regiment Prince Anton Bautzen, Görlitz and Sorau 4th Line Infantry Regiment vacant Low Luckau, Guben and Sorau 5th Line Infantry Regiment Prince Maximilian Chemnitz, Döbeln and Freiberg 6th Line Infantry Regiment vacant right Zwickau, Neustädtel and Sorau 7th Line Infantry Regiment Prince Friedrich August Torgau, Oschatz and Wittenberg 8th Line Infantry Regiment Prince Clemens Leipzig, Eilenburg and Wittenberg 1st Light Infantry Regiment Zeitz and Weißenfels 2nd light infantry regiment Naumburg and Merseburg Hunter Corps Eckartsberga regiment garrison Guard du Corps Dresden, Dippoldiswalde, Pirna and Radeberg Personal cuirassier guard Oederan, Frankenberg, Marienberg and Penig Zastrow cuirassiers Grimma, Borna, Geithain and Rochlitz Hussar Regiment Cölleda, Altenstädt, Artern, Bretleben, Bottendorf , Heldrungen , Langensalza, Roßleben , Schönewerda , Schönfeld and Wiehe Chevauxleger regiment Prince Clemens Pegau, Lützen, Schkeuditz and Zwenkau Chevauxlegerregiment vacant Polenz Querfurt , Freyburg , Schafstädt and Sangerhausen Chevauxleger regiment Prince Johann Mühlberg, Düben, Kemberg and Schmiedeberg Chevauxleger regiment Prince Albrecht Lübben, Cottbus and Lübbenau
On February 15, 1812, the army mobilized for Napoleon's upcoming Russian campaign . The Saxon contingent took part in this campaign as 21st and 22nd divisions of the VII Army Corps of the Grande Armée under the command of the French division general Count Jean-Louis-Ebenezer Reynier - who always had a heart for his soldiers from Saxony. Overall, the Saxons set 18 infantry battalions , 28 cavalry squadrons , 56 (six- and four-pounders) -Geschütze together, these were 21,200 men and 7,000 horses. In March 1812 the Saxons marched from their field quarters near Guben in the direction of Russia. During this march, on the orders of the emperor, the guard regiment Garde du Corps and the cuirassier regiment von Zastrow as well as the mounted artillery battery von Hiller were detached from the Saxon association and added to the IV Cavalry Corps as Brigade Thielmann with the Polish cuirassiers . This was 2070 strong and took part in the advance on the Russian capital Moscow . Half of this brigade was destroyed in the Battle of the Moskva , but the Garde du Corps was the first to penetrate the Russian main hill. The remnants marched into Moscow on September 14th with Marshal Murat.
The Russian campaign ended catastrophically for the Saxon army. In January 1813 there was not much left of the 28,000-strong army. Worst of all were the losses of the cavalry regiments. From the Garde du Corps regiment and the Zastrow cuirassier regiment, only about 70 soldiers survived. The Chevauxleger regiment Prinz Albrecht also experienced total annihilation, of the 628 riders only 30 returned home. The two infantry regiments von Rechten and Low and the Chevauxleger regiment Prinz Johann went to war with special orders. They came under the leadership of Marshal Victor until Smolensk . Here the marshal's army was ordered to secure the retreat after a battle. The remaining 200 riders of the Prince Johann Regiment went into captivity, only 100 of the infantry regiments survived. These withdrew to the Berezina. Another 40 men were killed in the battle of the Beresina . The number of regiments dwindled steadily. On December 20, the last members of the regiments were taken prisoner. Only ten officers returned from the Regiment of Right six officers returned from the Low regiment.
Of the two light infantry regiments, only barely one battalion remained in December 1812. In order to at least regain the strength of the battalion, all Saxon infantry regiments had to deploy soldiers for the light battalions. This Saxon corps also suffered enormous losses in the course of the campaign. In addition to the losses in the battles around the Bug in November 1812, thousands of soldiers of the VII Army Corps froze to death on the march back to Berezina. Of the Saxon army, only 1,436 survived.
The Wars of Liberation (1813-1815)
After the defeat of the Grande Armée in Russia, the wars of liberation began . On the side of Russia, Prussia openly took up the fight against Napoleonic foreign rule. Napoleon demanded new troops from the Confederation of the Rhine to fight the two-party alliance. Saxony complied with the demand and set up a new Saxon army under General von Thielmann near Torgau. In May 1813 Thielmann had already put 8,000 Saxons under arms again. In order to make the regiments that were quickly set up ready for action, Thielmann distributed the surviving veterans from the Russian campaign to the newly established units.
Although the Saxon king also wanted to terminate the alliance with the emperor, the French initial successes resulted in the Battle of Großgörschen on May 2nd and the Battle of Bautzen on May 20th / 21st. May added that the king believed in a victory of Napoleon, and so Saxony remained in the Rhine Confederation even after the armistice of Pläswitz expired , while Austria joined the Prussian-Russian alliance. In the autumn campaign that followed, the French and Saxons under Reynier were defeated in the Battle of Großbeeren on August 23, 1813. As a result, the French also lost the Battle of Hagelberg . On August 26 and 27, Napoleon repulsed the attack of the main army of the allies on the Saxon capital in the battle of Dresden . This battle was the last victory of the French emperor on German soil. The Battle of Dennewitz took place on September 6, 1813. In this battle, the French, Saxons and the troops of the Confederation of the Rhine under the command of Marshal Michel Ney were crushed. The marshal wrote to his emperor that he was completely defeated and that his army no longer existed. The Saxons had 28 officers and 3,100 men killed, wounded and captured in this battle. Marshal Ney then blamed the defeat on the Saxons.
The Battle of the Nations near Leipzig brought the end of the war of liberation on Saxon soil . At the beginning of the battle, the Saxons were still on the side of the French emperor. The Saxons changed sides in the course of the battle and from then on played no role in this battle. After the Battle of Nations, the remnants of the Saxon regiments were placed under the command of General von Ryssel. From November 2nd to 14th, the Saxons were used to siege the Torgau Fortress . After that, the corps gathered near Merseburg for reorganization. This task was again assigned to General von Thielmann.
three line infantry regiments
- three battalions as a provisional guard regiment
- 1st Battalion, the previous Leibgrenadiergarderegiment
- 2nd battalion, remnants of the König battalion
- 3rd Battalion, formed from all the grenadiers of all infantry regiments still available
- 2nd battalion
- 3rd Battalion, both battalions were primarily formed from the Prince Anton Regiment
- 2nd battalion
- 3rd Battalion, these battalions were formed from the remnants of the regiments of Prinz Maximilian and the disbanded regiments of Rechten and Seidel
- 1st Battalion, from the previous Le Coq regiment
- 2nd battalion, from stocks of old reservists and riflemen who have returned from captivity
- 2nd battalion, formed from the previous Sahrer von Sahr regiment the 1st battalion was later formed from the returning soldiers of the regiment and moved out later
nine squadrons of cavalry
- three squadrons of cuirassiers
- three squadrons of Uhlans
- three squadrons of hussars
In the spring of 1814 another four squadrons moved away (one squadron each of cuirassiers and lancers and two squadrons of hussars). These were formed from the prisoners who had returned from the cavalry regiments.
- two foot artillery batteries of eight guns each
- two mounted artillery batteries with six guns each
After the reorganization by Thielmann, the population of the Saxon army was around 9,000 men and 1,600 horses. In addition, were Landwehr organized -Infanterieregimenter (first four regiments of two battalions) and banners of volunteers (two battalions of light infantry and five squadrons of cavalry).
On December 3, the Saxon Army joined the 3rd German Army Corps and took part in the campaign against France. The Saxons were placed under the command of Karl August von Sachsen-Weimar . On February 2, the Saxon army marched west under the command of General Le Coq. The 3rd Corps was reinforced by a fusilier battalion from the Duchy of Saxony-Weimar and an infantry brigade from the Duchy of Anhalt . The Saxon part of this corps at the beginning of the campaign was eleven battalions of infantry, nine squadrons of cavalry and 28 artillery riflemen. In March General von Thielmann arrived with another 7,000 men in the 3rd Army Corps. The Saxon corps then moved to Maubeuge fortress and besieged it from March 21st. Other Saxon troops took part in the siege of Antwerp . With the conquest of Paris and the fall of Napoleon, General Nicolas-Joseph Maison signed an armistice and ended the spring campaign of 1814. In June 1814, the third recruiting corps arrived in Flanders. The 3rd Army Corps was deployed in Flanders as an army of occupation. The Saxon corps in France was structured as follows:
- Commanding general of the army corps: Lieutenant General von Thielmann
- Chief of Staff: Colonel von Zezschwitz
- Infantry Commander: Lieutenant General Le Coq
- Commander of the cavalry: Colonel Leysser
- Commander of the artillery: Colonel Raabe
Overall, the Saxon corps had grown to 16,000 line infantry, 2,000 cavalrymen and 36 artillery pieces.
At the turn of the year 1814–1815 the corps took up positions near Cologne and Kempen . The corps headquarters was relocated to Bonn .
Division of the army, peacetime until 1848
During the negotiations at the Congress of Vienna , the partition of Saxony was decided. The northern part of Saxony went to Prussia. As a result, on May 1, the Saxon corps was divided into two brigades. The division was based on the place of birth, because all Saxon soldiers who were born in the new Prussian territory had to join the Prussian army. In the course of this restructuring of the troops, there were multiple riots and refusals of orders by entire regiments. From the provisional Guards regiment in seven ringleaders of a smaller revolt against superiors were by a military court sentenced to death and summarily shot . On May 17, all companies were divided into two half companies (one South Saxon and one North Saxon). The division was officially completed on June 13th. On the Saxon side, this was carried out by Lieutenant General Le Coq. 6807 officers, NCOs and men went over to the Prussian military service. 7,968 soldiers remained with the Saxon corps. The Saxon corps was reorganized once again and on July 7th consisted of:
Branch of service regiment infantry 1st Provisional Infantry Regiment 2nd Provisional Infantry Regiment 3rd Provisional Infantry Regiment 3rd Provisional Infantry Regiment Jäger Battalion Light infantry regiment cavalry Body Cuirassier Guard Regiment Ulan regiment Hussar Regiment artillery four six-pound batteries two batteries on horseback
The mobile army corps marched on July 8th towards the Upper Rhine and united with the army corps of the Austrian Prince von Schwarzenberg. From this point on, the corps was under the command of Colonel von Seydewitz, since Lieutenant General von Le Coq had transferred to Russian military service.
During the rule of Napoleon's Hundred Days and the following summer campaign of 1815 , Saxon units were used to siege Schlettstadt and to observe the town of Neu-Breisach . The Saxon corps was relocated to the Nord department in January 1816 . In the Second Peace of Paris France was obliged to pay 700 million francs in war compensation. The troops of the victorious powers occupied France until 1819. In December 1818, the Saxon troops marched home. The commander in chief of the occupation forces in the North Department, General Arthur Wellington , said goodbye to the Saxons with benevolent words. In the past three years he has never received any negative reports about the Saxon troops, and their reliability was always valued by the Allies.
After the return of the Saxon troops from France, a new reform of the army was initiated. However, due to the loss of territory and population in Saxony as a result of the Congress of Vienna, this could no longer be carried out to the same extent as with earlier reorganizations. The money required for this came from France's war reparations payments. Of the 6.8 million francs that Saxony received from France as compensation, almost the entire sum was used for reforming the army. In the first years of peace after the Napoleonic wars, new regulations were drawn up for military justice, exercise and administration. The disciplinary sanctions and their application were also renewed.
In the armed forces of the German Confederation, Saxony provided the fourth largest contingent after Austria, Prussia and Bavaria according to the Federal War Constitution of April 9, 1821, which together with the contingents of Kurhesse and Nassau the mixed IX. Army Corps formed. For this army corps, the Kingdom of Saxony also provided the general staff and held the high command. The unrest of the July Revolution of 1830 in France carried over into the Kingdom of Saxony. In 1831 parts of the army were used to suppress the uprisings so the 2nd rifle battalion in Leipzig had to act against insurgents. In 1832 the kingdom was given a constitution and the king's power was restricted. This also had an impact on the army, because the state parliament could now actively intervene in the operations of the army via the war minister. As part of the judicial reform of 1835, commoners were given the opportunity to be accepted into the officer's class. With the law on the introduction of compulsory military service of October 26, 1834, general conscription was introduced, i.e. male Saxons from the age of 20 were drafted and drafted for six years of military service. Corporal punishments such as running the gauntlet were abolished and the military administration was reorganized. In 1848 the Saxon army was structured as follows:
Branch of service Unit Regiment / battalion / company Manpower infantry Guards Division two companies 370 Line infantry four regiments / twelve battalions / 48 companies 6984 Light infantry three battalions / twelve companies 2177 cavalry Guard regiment one regiment / six squadrons 660 Light cavalry two regiments / twelve squadrons 1320 artillery Foot artillery three brigades / ten companies 813 mounted artillery one brigade / two companies 157 Training brigade a brigade 191 Corps of engineers, sappers, pontoniers a company 146 Main armory, craft company a techn. company 131 Overall strength 12,949
In the revolution of 1848/49 and in the German-Danish war
During the revolution of 1848/1849 in the Kingdom of Saxony in the spring of 1848 the trade fair city of Leipzig in particular got into turmoil. The king sent troops of all kinds to Leipzig in order to be able to quickly put down a rising uprising. The burning down of the nail factories in Elterlein and Mittweida as well as the looting and burning of the Schönburg Castle in Waldenburg made the king aware of the seriousness of the situation. The decisions made in the previous decade enabled the Saxon government to issue direct orders to the army. With the decree not to use excessive force against the revolutionaries, it took until the end of April to restore order in the Schönburg district.
In May, riots were reported in the cities of Leipzig, Altenburg, Gera, Chemnitz and Zwickau. The situation was particularly difficult in Altenburg, so that the prince felt compelled to ask the neighboring states for military help. Saxony and Prussia set up an occupation corps and pacified the duchies of Altenburg and Weimar by the beginning of 1849. During the occupation, some of the Saxon troops had to be ordered back because of the German-Danish war.
In the Schleswig-Holstein War , the first war deployment followed after the Wars of Liberation. In March 1849 an army of 6,000 men was mobilized. The corps was ready to leave at the end of March. As part of the IX. Army corps, the Saxon units arrived in Schleswig at the beginning of April. Some of the Saxon troops were sent to the Flensburg Bay to observe the coast. The main part of the corps marched in the direction of Flensburg. The decisive battle at the Düppeler Schanzen took place on April 13th. The Saxons stood on the left wing and led this part of the attack. During the battle, Prince Albert appeared right on the front line of the avant-garde. After several hours of heavy infantry and artillery combat, the Saxons on the right wing and the Bavarians on the left wing succeeded in pushing the Danes back. The troops charging in the center threw the Danish infantrymen out of their double-row entrenchments and pushed them back to the Danish bridgehead. The Danes tried to break out of this several times and recapture the hill. They also tried to break through the right wing and use it to loosen the siege ring around the bridgehead. All attacks were repulsed with losses and by noon the Danes' attacks subsided. The Saxon army lost three dead and nine wounded officers and 111 dead and wounded soldiers. This battle was the only combat action in which Saxon infantry was involved during this campaign. The guard regiment was subordinated to a Holstein corps and fought with this on the island of Jutland against the Danish troops. In June 1849 both the IX. Army corps deployed in the war as well as the regiments remaining at home were reassembled.
With the imperial constitution campaign in 1849, the revolution flared up again in Germany. The uprisings in Saxony culminated in the Dresden May uprising in 1849 . This lasted from May 3rd to 9th. While almost the entire Dresden garrison was at war with Denmark, the revolutionaries rose up and the Dresden armory was stormed, the state parliament building occupied by armed members of the Turner movement. On May 4th, at 4:30 a.m., the King, Queen and all the ministers left the city and went to Königstein Fortress . The king ordered the remaining six companies of the light infantry and the III. Battalion of the Leibregiment to fight the uprising to Dresden. He also asked the King of Prussia for help. He sent two regiments to Dresden. From May 5th, the Saxon troops took action against the rebels. Thanks to Prussian support, it quickly succeeded in gaining the upper hand in house-to-house fighting and pacifying Dresden's new and old town again. The losses of the Saxon and Prussian troops are given as 31 dead and 94 wounded. The companies deployed had six dead and twelve injured after the fighting against the insurgents. The exact number of insurgents killed is not known. One speaks of around 250 dead and 404–500 wounded.
Reorganization and the German War (1850–1866)
The Saxon army was divided into four infantry brigades. Each brigade consisted of four battalions, these were numbered consecutively. In addition, a cavalry brigade and a light infantry brigade were set up. In 1852 each infantry brigade received a medical company. In the years that followed, the army was continuously upgraded. In the summer of 1860, the infantry received rifles for compression projectiles from Liège. In the years between the German-Danish War and the German War, the army was mobilized twice: the first time in 1850, Saxony fought against the Austrian side in the point of dispute between Prussia and Austria over the division of Schleswig-Holstein the second time in 1859 to fight alongside Austria against France. In both cases there were no acts of war.
The causes of the German War lay in the Austro-Prussian dispute over the leadership role in the German Confederation ( German dualism ). Against the background of Prussia's leading role in the German Customs Union to the exclusion of Austria, economic prosperity , but also the Prussian military tradition valued in reactionary circles, there were incentives to seek the final decision on the question of power. The pretext for the war was the dispute over the administration of Schleswig and Holstein after the end of the German-Danish War. The Saxon alliance loyalty to Austria left the Saxon king no choice but to mobilize against Prussia in this conflict over supremacy in the German Confederation.
During the mobilization at the beginning of the German War in 1866, the 32,000-strong army was assembled near Dresden and Crown Prince Albert was appointed Commander- in - Chief. After the declaration of war, the Prussian army crossed the border at Strehla and Löbau on July 16, 1866 .
division brigade battalion division brigade battalion 1st Infantry Division 2nd Infantry Brigade "Prince Friedrich August" 5th Infantry Battalion 2nd Infantry Division 1st Infantry Brigade 1st Infantry Battalion 6th Infantry Battalion 2nd Infantry Battalion 7th Infantry Battalion 3rd Infantry Battalion 8th Infantry Battalion 4th Infantry Battalion 2nd Jäger Battalion 1st Hunter Battalion 3rd Infantry Brigade "Prince Georg" 9th Infantry Battalion Body Infantry Brigade 13th Infantry Battalion 10th Infantry Battalion 14th Infantry Battalion 11th Infantry Battalion 15th Infantry Battalion 12th Infantry Battalion 16th Infantry Battalion 3rd Hunter Battalion 4th Hunter Battalion Divisional artillery 2. Drawn six-pound battery Divisional artillery 4. Drawn six-pound battery 1. Twelve pound grenade cannon battery 2. Twelve pound grenade cannon battery Engineer Company Equestrian Division 1st Equestrian Brigade Guard regiment Reserve artillery 1st artillery brigade 1. Drawn six-pound battery 1st Cavalry Regiment "Crown Prince" 2. Drawn six-pound battery 2nd Equestrian Brigade 2nd cavalry regiment 2nd artillery brigade 3. Twelve pound grenade cannon battery 3rd cavalry regiment 4. Twelve pound grenade cannon battery Divisional artillery 1. Twelve pound grenade cannon battery Ammunition park 1st ammunition column 2nd ammunition column
On June 15, the Kingdom of Prussia declared war on Saxony and marched into the kingdom on the same day. The two Prussian armies ( 1st Prussian Army and the Elbarmee ) penetrated deep into the kingdom without much resistance from the Saxons. The Commander-in-Chief of the Saxon Army, Crown Prince Albert, knew that with his 32,000 men he could not stand up to the more than 50,000 Prussian soldiers. On June 17, he withdrew with his corps to the neighboring kingdom of Bohemia to unite with the approaching Austrian army.
The Austrian army was standing near Olomouc when the Saxons crossed the border . Under the command of Feldzeugmeister Ludwig von Benedek , the Austrians first turned against the 1st Prussian and Elbarmee to prevent them from crossing over the Iser . With the victory in the Battle of Skalitz on June 28, 1866, the Prussians managed to pass the Giant Mountains and invade the Bohemian lowlands. On the same day the two Prussian armies defeated the Austrian troops after their union in the Battle of Münchengrätz . This loss-making defeat brought the entire Iser line into the hands of the Prussians and forced the Austrians and Saxons to retreat to Gitschin , where another battle broke out on the following day. This battle was also won by the Prussians with great losses on both sides. The Crown Prince, who was in command of the Saxon-Austrian army in this battle, withdrew with his army to Königgrätz .
On July 3rd, the decisive battle of the German War broke out here. The Battle of Königgrätz, in which 221,000 Prussians and 195,000 Austrians and 22,000 Saxons faced each other, was decided by a tactical advantage on the part of the Prussians. Since Feldzeugmeister Benedek had failed to attack one of the two approaching Prussian armies directly, he had to defend the somewhat unfavorable position at Königgrätz against both armies. The Saxon troops, assigned to the left wing of the defense line, valiantly defended their positions against the attacking Prussians. Only when the center was on the verge of collapse and the crown prince had to command his own troops into the center did the defense of the left wing collapse. The withdrawal was chaotic and out of order. The troops were not able to organize themselves until the next morning and withdrew from Olomouc together. The Prussian troops were so badly marked by the battle that they did not pursue the defeated. On July 11th, around 120,000 men went from Olomouc to Vienna, some of them by train or on foot.
The preliminary peace in Nikolsburg , concluded on July 26th, ended the war between Prussia and Austria-Saxony. On October 23, the first Saxons marched from the field bivouacs outside Vienna towards home. In this campaign 89 officers and 2,132 NCOs and men died.
Incorporation into the North German Confederation and the Franco-German War (1867–1871)
With the peace agreement, Austria was forced out of the German Confederation. In the new constitution of the North German Confederation of April 17, 1867, a reorganization of the federal army was decided. In addition, general conscription, without representation, was introduced in all states. Due to the practice of substitution, which is common in Saxony, previously wealthy conscripts could appoint another in their place, against payment, for the performance of the conscription. The Saxon army was called XII. Army corps integrated into the new federal army. The Prussian king had the supreme command of the army. The Saxon king nevertheless retained the supreme command of all Saxon troops.
Infantry - The 8 new infantry regiments were formed from the 16 existing infantry battalions as follows:
Leibgrenadierregiment No. 100 - emerged from the 13th and 14th Infantry Battalion of the 4th Leibbrigade,
2nd Grenadier Regiment No. 101 - emerged from the 15th and 16th Infantry Battalion of the 4th Leibbrigade,
3rd Infantry Regiment, Crown Prince No. 102 - emerged from the 1st Infantry Regiment No. and 2nd Infantry Battalion of 1st Brigade "Kronprinz"
4th Infantry Regiment No. 103 - emerged from the 3rd and 4th Infantry Battalion of 1st Brigade "Kronprinz"
5th Infantry Regiment "Prinz Friedrich August" No. 104 - emerged from the 5th and 6th Infantry Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade "Prince Friedrich August"
6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 - was created from the 7th and 8th Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Brigade "Prince Friedrich August"
7th Infantry Regiment "Prinz Georg" No. 106 - emerged from the 9th and 10th Infantry Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade "Prince Georg",
8th Infantry Regiment No. 107 - emerged from the 11th and 12th Infantry Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Brigade "Prinz Georg"
The first regiment from each former brigade was given the right by the king to continue the name of the brigade. The Saxon army also received the right to give each regiment a nickname. The 2nd Grenadier Regiment No. 101 was given the name Wilhelm I "King of Prussia" from September 1868 and "Kaiser Wilhelm, King of Prussia" from January 18, 1871, to establish the German Empire . The German Kaiser also became the head of the regiment.
The 4 Jäger Battalions were divided into the Rifle (Fus.) Regiment No. 108 as well as the 1st Jäger Battalion No. 12 and the 2nd Jäger Battalion No. 13 as follows.
1st Jäger Battalion No. 12 - formerly 1st Jäger Battalion
2nd Jäger Battalion No. 13 - formerly 3rd Jäger Battalion
Schützen- (Füs.) - Regiment No. 108 - the 1st Battalion was formed from the 5th Company of the 4 Jäger Battalions, the The 2nd Battalion was formed from the 2nd Jäger Battalion and the 3rd Battalion from the former 4th Jäger Battalion.
The previous cavalry regiments of the Guard, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Regiment were taken over in almost the same form in the new regimental structure. Only individual squadrons were given different numbers. From the respective 6th squadrons of the regiments, the two new Uhlan regiments No. 17 and 18 were formed.
The Saxon artillery was combined to form a brigade and was assigned No. 12 within the Federal Army. It consisted of a field artillery regiment No. 12 and the fortress artillery regiment No. 12.
Pioneers Two engineers and one pontoon company for the new engineer battalion were formed from the previous two companies in the engineer (and pontoon) division. The new engineer battalion got No. 12 of the armed forces.
Trainkompanie The train battalion with two companies emerged from the former Saxon train brigade. Each company included 1 sergeant, 10 non-commissioned officers, 1 trumpeter and 9 corporals.
Engineer Corps All engineer officers within the army formed the “Royal Saxon Engineer Corps”.
After joining the Prussian-dominated North German army, the Saxon army took over the current regulations of the Prussian army. A so-called training battalion was set up in Dresden from January 16 to March 4, 1867 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel von Montbé. This battalion contributed significantly to the rapid and thorough adoption of Prussian structures and regulations. This training battalion (five companies) consisted of the commanders of the previous infantry brigades: 44 officers (22 captains and 22 first lieutenants), an assistant doctor and 358 NCOs. There were also an officer and nine non-commissioned officers from the engineer and pontoon department. The members of the training battalion were instructed by Prussian officers and NCOs under the direction of Colonel von Wussow (Leibgrenadierregiment [1st Brandenburg] No. 8). On March 4, the battalion was disbanded. After the end of the training, the regulations were implemented at regimental and battalion level.
With the change in conscription, the years of service of the recruits also changed. From then on there was a service period of 12 years with the foot troops. This was divided into three years of active service, four years in the reserve and five years in the Landwehr. In November 1867 this regulation was changed again From then on, all branches of service in the standing army were subject to seven years of compulsory military service and the Landwehr five years.
On May 26, 1867, King Johann donated a commemorative cross for the campaign of 1866 . With this memorial cross, the king wanted to thank the soldiers for their commitment in the war against Prussia. The cross was awarded to all participants in the campaign. The bronze cross was carried on a yellow-blue ribbon. In the summer of 1868 the infantry was equipped with the new needle guns , which had been standard in the Prussian army for several decades. The advantage over the previous Saxon “Kuhfuss” was the longer barrel, which increased accuracy, and the faster reloading of the rifle. On July 3rd, monuments were unveiled on the battlefields of Gitschin and Königgrätz in memory of comrades who died in the campaign. Delegations were sent to this ceremony from each regiment.
At the end of August, the eight newly formed battalions in Dresden were ceremoniously awarded new battalion flags. The new flags were given to the 1st battalion of each regiment, because the flags of the former battalions were previously given to the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the newly formed regiment. The 3rd battalions each received the battalion flag of the first battalion of a half-brigade and the 2nd battalions received the flag of the infantry battalions with an even battalion number. Using the example of 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 , this means that after the reorganization the 2nd Battalion will use the flag of the former 8th Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Battalion the flag of the former 7th Infantry Battalion. The troop flags were handed over personally to the respective battalion commanders in Dresden Castle by King Johann. The 1st Battalion of Leibregiment No. 100 received the flag of the Guard Division, which was disbanded on December 31, 1848. This flag was the oldest still in Saxon possession. It was handed over to the Leibgrenadierregiment in 1815, since the 1st Leibregiment continued the tradition of this regiment, the king decided to give this regiment this special flag, which was so steeped in history.
In the spring and summer of 1868, the Saxon soldiers received uniforms based on the Prussian pattern. They now wore spiked bonnets , dark blue tunics, and gray trousers with red piping. The end of the restructuring was the inspection of the XII. Army corps by the Prussian King and his son, the Crown Prince, commanding lieutenant general of the 7th Division, on September 15, 1868. In the ranking list of the Saxon army from 1868, the newly formed army is described as follows:
division brigade regiment division brigade regiment infantry 1st Infantry Division No. 23 45th Infantry Brigade Leibgrenadierregiment No. 100 2nd Infantry Division No. 24 47th Infantry Brigade 5th Infantry Regiment Prince Friedrich August No. 104 2nd Grenadier Regiment
King Wilhelm of Prussia No. 101
6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 Rifle Regiment No. 108 1st Jäger Battalion No. 12 "Crown Prince" 2nd Jäger Battalion No. 13 46th Infantry Brigade 3rd Crown Prince Infantry Regiment No. 102 48th Infantry Brigade 7th Infantry Regiment Prince Georg No. 106 4th Infantry Regiment No. 103 8th Infantry Regiment No. 107 cavalry Cavalry Division 1st Cavalry Brigade No. 23 Guard Rider Regiment 1. Crown Prince Cavalry Regiment 1st Uhlan Regiment No. 17 2nd Cavalry Brigade No. 24 2nd Cavalry Regiment 3rd Cavalry Regiment 2nd Uhlan Regiment No. 18 artillery Artillery Brigade Field Artillery Regiment No. 12 Fortress Artillery Regiment No. 12 further units Engineer Battalion is subordinate to the fortress artillery regiment No. 12 Train battalion is subordinate to the fortress artillery regiment No. 12 Cadet Corps Medical Corps
The entire Saxon army corps was set with a peacetime population of 24,143 men. These were divided into 16,296 infantry, 4,533 cavalry and 2,287 artillery and special forces.
All these changes within the North German Confederation took place with great effort. Not only the Saxon army, but also the armies of Kurhessen, Hanover, Schleswig and Holstein were integrated into the army of the North German Confederation within a very short time. A new military confrontation with France threatened as early as 1868. The French Emperor Napoleon III got into the question of the Spanish succession . , Nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Prussian king at each other. Prince Leopold von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen , scion of a southern German branch of the Hohenzollern family , the Prussian royal family, was one of the most promising candidates for the Spanish throne.
After the prince renounced the throne, France demanded an apology and a guarantee that no German prince would run for the throne of Spain. This brazen French demand was not met by the Prussian king, and the Franco-Prussian War broke out as a result.
On the night of July 15-16, the order of the Prussian king to mobilize troops was issued to all federal states. On the morning of the 16th, the Saxon king gave the order to mobilize the Saxon army.
Franco-German War 1870–71
The entire Saxon army moved west. Initially, the corps was planned as a reserve, but at the beginning of the campaign it was placed under the command of the Second Army and marched into France. On August 11th, the first Saxon soldiers crossed the French border. The corps crossed the Moselle near Pont-à-Mousson and reached the battlefield at Mars-la-Tour the following day . The Saxon corp experienced the baptism of fire in the battle of Gravelotte . The battle is called the Battle of Sankt Privat in Saxon history , because the storming of this village was the main task of the Saxons. After the attack by the Prussian guards stalled on August 18, the Saxon infantry regiments supported the attack on the artillery and infantry positions in the village. After heavy fighting, the village was taken by assault. The losses were devastating, 106 officers and 2,100 NCOs and men died or were wounded.
During the subsequent siege of Metz , the Meuse army was set up. This new army was an association consisting of the Prussian Guard Corps , the IV. And the XII. (Royal Saxon) Corps and the 5th and 6th Cavalry Divisions with a total of 70,028 men, 16,247 horses and 288 guns and was under the command of Prince Albert of Saxony . Prince Georg took over command of the Saxon corps. The Meuse Army had the task of preventing the advance of the army of the French Marshal Patrice de Mac-Mahon on Metz.
After several minor skirmishes, the Germans succeeded on August 30th in throwing the French over the Meuse at Beaumont . On September 1, the imperial army was defeated at the Battle of Sedan and the emperor was taken prisoner. Thus the way to Paris was free and from September 19th the French capital was besieged . The Saxon Corps was assigned a 9.5 km long section of the front east of Paris, from the Canal de l'Ourcq to the Marne . The forts of Nogent, Rosny, Noisy and Romainville were seven to eight kilometers from the front line. Everything remained calm on this front line until mid-November, until increased troop movements indicated an attempt by the French to break out. The Mont Avron , who was also in this sector of the front, was occupied and on 29 November by the French fixed with 80 heavy guns. This was the beginning of the French attack on the siege ring. On November 30, the French succeeded in the first battle at Villiers , with heavy losses, to reach the left bank of the Marne and to establish themselves there. Two days later the French corps was stopped by the 23rd Division at Brie and Villiers-sur-Marne and defeated by the Saxon troops despite multiple superior numbers. The breakthrough was thwarted.
Two companies of Saxon fortress artillery were involved in the bombardment of Mont Avron from December 27th. No Saxons were involved in the storming. The bombardment of the fortress of Paris, which was now beginning, broke the remaining resistance and on January 28 an armistice was declared.
The Saxon losses in the 1870/71 campaign were:
Rank Dead Wounded Missing total Officers and
officers on duty
104 190 5 299 NCOs and
1331 4203 1009 6543 Horses 291 264 115 670
That was 27% for officers and 11.6% for NCOs and men.
On July 11th, 1871, the Saxon corps entered Dresden for a victory parade. The only thing missing was the 24th Division, which had remained in France as part of the occupation army. As the last Saxon unit, the rifle regiment received the order to march back home in October 1871. On October 19, the riflemen marched into the state capital, the parade was led by the king himself and his brother, the head of the regiment, followed by the Saxon war minister Alfred von Fabrice and the rest of the 108 officers. The mayor welcomed his “Dresdener Schützen” to the Altmarkt and thanked them for their heroic efforts in France. The onward march led the riflemen over the Albertbrücke towards Dresden-Neustadt and on to Königsbrückerstraße. Here they marched into the new rifle barracks on Alaunplatz.
The German Empire (1871–1918)
Increase in the Saxon corps until the First World War
According to the law of May 1, 1874, the Saxon infantry was expanded by two regiments. In the summer of 1880 the War Ministry ordered that the two new regiments in Leipzig and Zwickau should be garrisoned. By February 15, 1881, each battalion of infantry regiments No. 100 to 104 and 106 to 108 had to form a fifth company. The 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 was excluded from this increase, because it was the XV. Army corps in Alsace subordinated to pacify the captured areas in the west. On April 1, 1881, three companies each of regiments No. 100, 101, 102 and 103 were formed into 9th Infantry Regiment No. 133 and garrisoned in Zwickau. Three companies each from Infantry Regiments No. 104, 106, 107 and Rifle Regiment No. 108 were combined to form the new 10th Infantry Regiment No. 134 and stationed in Leipzig. With regard to the artillery, the new 9th field battery was formed from the charges of the 1st field artillery regiment No. 12 and the 10th field battery from the charges of the 2nd field artillery regiment No. 28. The infantry received a numerical increase of 116 officers, 344 NCOs and 2850 men, as well as 12 military doctors, 24 hospital assistants, 72 craftsmen and 6 gunsmiths through the two new regiments. The artillery brigade was increased by 8 officers, 34 NCOs and 164 men, craftsmen and minstrels.
As a result of the restructuring of the infantry, the Saxon infantry was described as follows from 1881:
division brigade regiment 1st Infantry Division No. 23 45th Infantry Brigade Leibgrenadierregiment No. 100 2nd Grenadier Regiment
Kaiser Wilhelm of Prussia No. 101
Rifle Regiment No. 108 Landwehr Regiment No. 100 Landwehr Regiment No. 101 Reserve Landwehr Regiment No. 108 46th Infantry Brigade 3rd Crown Prince Infantry Regiment No. 102 4th Infantry Regiment No. 103 Landwehr Regiment No. 102 Landwehr Regiment No. 103 2nd Jäger Battalion No. 13 2nd Infantry Division No. 24 47th Infantry Brigade 5th Infantry Regiment Prince Friedrich August No. 104 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 assigned
to the XV. Army Corps
9th Infantry Regiment No. 133 Landwehr Regiment No. 104 Landwehr Regiment No. 105 48th Infantry Brigade 7th Infantry Regiment Prince Georg No. 106 8th Infantry Regiment No. 107 10th Infantry Regiment No. 134 Landwehr Regiment No. 106 Landwehr Regiment No. 107 1st Jäger Battalion No. 12 "Crown Prince"
The two fighter battalions were not part of a brigade, they were under the division command.
In 1882 an imperial maneuver was held near Nünchritz . The entire Saxon army corps took part in this exercise.
In 1887 the infantry was enlarged by another regiment, the 11th Infantry Regiment No. 139 . Chub was designated as the garrison town for the 1st and 2nd Battalion. The 3rd Battalion was garrisoned in Leisnig. Exactly ten years later, on April 1, 1897, three more infantry regiments were taken into service. They were named 12th Infantry Regiment No. 177 , 13th Infantry Regiment No. 178 and 14th Infantry Regiment No. 179 . The 4th battalions, which had been set up in the course of the increase in 1893, of the other regiments were used to form them. In addition, each regiment had to transfer 15 officers and 60 men to the new regiments.
The enormous troop reinforcements made it necessary in 1899 to found a second army corps. On April 1st the XIX. (II. Royal Saxon) Army Corps founded. The general command of the second Saxon corps was in Leipzig. In the course of the re-establishment of the corps, two further divisions were set up, the 3rd Division No. 32 with division headquarters in Dresden and the 4th Division No. 40 with division headquarters in Chemnitz. The XII. Army Corps, the 1st Division No. 23 and the 3rd Division No. 32 were subordinated to the XIX. Army Corps 2nd Division No. 24 and 4th Division No. 40.
In 1900 the army was increased again. The 15th Infantry Regiment No. 181 was set up. Chemnitz was set as the garrison town. The III. The regiment's battalion was assigned to Glauchau. The previous 3rd Jäger Battalion No. 15 was dissolved and formed the trunk of the 1st Battalion of Regiment No. 181. The other two battalions were set up from levies from the other regiments. From the day of formation, the regiment formed the 7th Infantry Brigade No. 88 together with the other Chemnitz infantry regiment "Kronprinz" No. 104.
On October 1, 1903, two machine gun departments were put into service. Each division was assigned to an army corps. The 1st machine gun division No. 12 was in the XII. Army Corps subordinated to the Rifle (Foot) Regiment "Prince Georg" No. 108. The 2nd machine gun division No. 19, which was assigned to the XIX. Army corps, was subordinated to the infantry regiment "King George" No. 106.
On October 1, 1912, the 16th Infantry Regiment No. 182 was set up. Freiberg was designated as the garrison . The 2nd Battalion was temporarily housed at the Königsbrück military training area until the beginning of the First World War . The 16th Infantry Regiment was the last infantry regiment set up in times of peace in the German Empire.
The Saxon cavalry brigade was expanded by two regiments by the beginning of the First World War. The Uhlan regiment "Kaiser Wilhelm II., King of Prussia" No. 21 was set up in Zeithain on April 1, 1905 and transferred to Chemnitz in October 1905. The regiment, together with the Karabiner Regiment (2nd Heavy Regiment) in Borna, formed the 4th Cavalry Brigade No. 40 of the 4th Division No. 40.
On October 1, 1910, the 3rd Hussar Regiment No. 20 with garrison was set up in Bautzen. With the formation of the 8th Cavalry Regiment, two regiments were placed under each of the four Saxon divisions as cavalry brigades.
After the end of the Franco-Prussian War, foot artillery battalion No. 12 with six companies was formed from the fortress department in mid-1871. Two years later, a 7th and an 8th company were set up and the battalion converted into the 12th foot artillery regiment .
In 1874 the field artillery was divided into two regiments, the 1st Field Artillery Regiment No. 12 in Dresden and the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment No. 28 with headquarters in Bautzen.
According to the law of May 1, 1874, the Saxon Army Corps was reinforced by two additional batteries of field artillery in 1881. The new 9th field battery was formed from the taxes of the 1st Field Artillery Regiment No. 12 and the 10th Field Battery from the taxes of the 2nd Field Artillery Regiment No. 28.
With the establishment of the XIX. Army Corps on April 1, 1899, three more artillery regiments were set up in October of the same year, the 3rd Field Artillery Regiment No. 32 and the 6th Field Artillery Regiment No. 68 , both with garrisons in Riesa. Together they formed the new 4th Field Artillery Brigade No. 40 of the 4th Division No. 40. Furthermore, the 7th Field Artillery Regiment No. 77 with garrison in Leipzig. This regiment was also the XIX. Army Corps subordinated.
In 1901 two more regiments were put into service, the 5th Field Artillery Regiment No. 64 with garrison in Pirna and the 8th Field Artillery Regiment No. 78 with garrison in Wurzen. With the formation of the 8th Field Artillery Regiment, each division was assigned an artillery brigade to two regiments.
Allocation of field artillery regiments in 1913:
division Artillery Brigade Artillery regiments 1st Division No. 23 1st Field Artillery Brigade No. 23 1st Field Artillery Regiment No. 12 4th Field Artillery Regiment No. 48 2nd division No. 24 2nd Field Artillery Brigade No. 24 7th Field Artillery Regiment No. 77 8th Field Artillery Regiment No. 78 3rd Division No. 32 3rd Field Artillery Brigade No. 32 2nd Field Artillery Regiment No. 28 5th Field Artillery Regiment No. 64 4th Division No. 40 4th Field Artillery Brigade No. 40 3rd Field Artillery Regiment No. 32 6th Field Artillery Regiment No. 68
Together with the 16th Infantry Regiment No. 182, a second foot artillery regiment was set up in October 1912, the foot artillery regiment No. 19 . The staff and the 1st battalion were garrisoned in Dresden, the 2nd battalion on the training area Zeithain .
On October 1, 1899, the 2nd Pioneer Battalion No. 22 was set up and garrisoned in Riesa. The 2nd Train Battalion No. 19, with garrison in Leipzig, was also put into service on this day. Together with the engineer battalion it was the newly founded XIX. Army Corps subordinated.
Technical troops joined the Saxon army until World War I:
- 1st and 2nd royal Saxon Battalion of the Royal. Prussian Railway Regiment No. 1
- Royal Saxon fortress telephone company No. 7
- 3. Royal Saxon company of the Luftschiffer Battalion No. 2
- 3. Royal Saxon company of the Aviation Battalion No. 1
- Royal Saxon detachment of the 2nd company of the motor vehicle battalion
- Royal Saxon detachment at the Royal Prussian Transport Technical Examination Commission
Participation in campaigns
Members of the Saxon army participated in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China at the beginning of the 20th century . Saxon soldiers also served in the protection forces in the German colonies . The officers and non-commissioned officers in particular used the opportunity to gain combat experience and thereby improve their chances of promotion.
Several soldiers from Saxony were killed during the Boxer Rebellion. On June 17, 1900, the chief seaman Felix Bothe, who was born in Leipzig, was killed on board the SMS Iltis during the attack on the Taku Fort . At the III. Marine battalion, marine soldier Arthur Strauss, born in Hohendorf, Glauchau district , was killed on July 1, 1900 during the siege of the embassy in Beijing. The battle at Liang-Hsiang-Hsien on September 11, 1900 cost the marine soldier Hermann Gabel, born in Radebeul near Dresden, his life. The pioneer Paul Zettwitz, born in Meißen, from the East Asian Pioneer Battalion, died on January 1, 1901 in an accident during a gun salute in the Peitang Fort. Fourteen soldiers died in this accident and seven others were injured, some seriously.
Saxon soldiers were also involved in the suppression of the Herero uprising in German South West Africa from 1904 to 1908. During the four-year battle, three Saxon officers (lieutenants) and three members of the medical corps (an assistant doctor, a medical officer and a senior doctor general) were killed. There are no exact lists of casualties for NCOs and men. The total losses of the imperial troops amounted to 64 officers and civil servants and 688 non-commissioned officers and men. Another 89 officers and 818 NCOs and men were wounded. In addition, 26 officers and 633 NCOs and men died of disease.
First World War
The XII. Saxon Army Corps at the beginning of the war in 1914:
XII. Army Corps
division brigade Regiments 1st Infantry Division No. 23 45th Infantry Brigade (1st Royal Saxon) 1st Leibgrenadier Regiment No. 100 Grenadier Regiment "Kaiser Wilhelm, King of Prussia" (2nd Royal Saxon) No. 101 46th Infantry Brigade (2nd Royal Saxon) Rifle Fusilier Regiment "Prince Georg" (Royal Saxon) No. 108 16th Infantry Regiment No. 182 23rd Field Artillery Brigade (1st Royal Saxon) 1st Field Artillery Regiment No. 12 4th Field Artillery Regiment No. 48 3rd Hussar Regiment No. 20 3rd Infantry Division No. 32 63rd Infantry Brigade (5th Royal Saxon) Infantry Regiment "King Ludwig III. of Bavaria "(3rd Royal Saxon) No. 102 Infantry Regiment “Grand Duke Friedrich II of Baden” (4th Royal Saxon) No. 103 64th Infantry Brigade (6th Royal Saxon) 12th Infantry Regiment No. 177 13th Infantry Regiment No. 178 32nd Field Artillery Brigade (3rd Royal Saxon) 2nd Field Artillery Regiment No. 28 5th Field Artillery Regiment No. 64 2nd Uhlan Regiment No. 18 other corps troops 1st Engineer Battalion No. 12 1st Battalion / Foot Artillery Regiment No. 19 Aviation Department 29
During the First World War, the two Saxon Army Corps and the Saxon XII. Reserve Corps mobilized as part of the 3rd Army , whose command was taken over by the former Saxon Minister of War, Colonel General Max von Hausen . A little later a XXVII. (Saxon-Wuerttemberg) Reserve Corps set up, which came to the 4th Army in Flanders . During the advance through Belgium on August 23, 1914, 674 inhabitants of the southern Belgian city of Dinant were killed by Saxon troops of the 3rd Army because of alleged rioting (→ Massacre of Dinant ). A monumental monument in the city center commemorates the fate of these people. In 2001 the government of the Federal Republic of Germany recognized its moral obligation to officially apologize to the descendants of the victims at the time.
The Saxon troops were predominantly deployed on the western front for the longest time , but the initially existing deployment in the closed army unit was soon abandoned. In the further course of the war, the necessary additions and new compositions led to an increasing intermingling with the contingents of the other German states. During the First World War, a total of 18 infantry divisions ( 23rd , 24th , 32nd , 40th , 58th , 96th , 123rd , 192nd , 212th , 219th , 241st , 23rd reserve , 24th reserve , 53rd Reserve , 45th Landwehr , 46th Landwehr , 47th Landwehr and 19th Replacement ) and a cavalry division ( 8th ) of the Saxon Army.
More than 140,000 members of the Saxon army were killed in the First World War.
In 1921 125,874 war deaths were registered in addition there were those who were missing. In August 1919 there were around 18,000.
Dissolution of the Saxon army
The fifth part of the Versailles Peace Treaty (1919) contained detailed regulations that limited the number of personnel (a professional army of 100,000 men and a navy of 15,000 men) and the armament of the German armed forces .
The Imperial Army consisted of seven infantry and three cavalry divisions, all of which were renumbered. There were two group commands, one in Berlin and one in Kassel.
The 10th (Saxon) Infantry Regiment , Dresden Regiment Staff, and the 11th (Saxon) Infantry Regiment , Leipzig Regiment Staff, were the two Saxon regiments within the Imperial Army. For the cavalry it was the 12th (Saxon) cavalry regiment with staff in Dresden. The Saxon Artillery Corps was reorganized as part of the Prussian-Saxon 4th Artillery Regiment . According to the traditional decree of the Chief of Army Command, General der Infanterie Hans von Seeckt , of August 24, 1921, these regiments continued the tradition of the old regiments.
By 1806 Napoleon's First French Empire had annexed German lands along the Rhine River and the North Sea. Central German states formed the Confederation of the Rhine, which sided with Napoleon. Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, then formally dissolved the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (6 August 1806) and instead styled himself Emperor of Austria. The War of the Fourth Coalition (180–1807) pitted German forces on both sides against each other, and Napoleon again prevailed.
In 1807, 20-year-old Crown Prince Ludwig of the Kingdom of Bavaria (newly elevated from Electorate to Kingdom by Napoleon in 1806), had the idea of reminding all Germans of their common heritage – of the great figures and events in ethnic German history. He commissioned several sculptors to create busts of famous individuals of his choice. Johann Gottfried Schadow's bust of Nicolaus Copernicus became one of the first completed, in 1807. Further suggestions for individuals to be honoured were solicited in 1808 from Swiss historian Johannes von Müller.
By the time of Crown Prince Ludwig's coronation as King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1825, 60 busts had been completed. In 1826 Ludwig commissioned the construction of a memorial above the Danube River, near Regensburg, modelled after the Parthenon in Athens. The southern pediment frieze features the 1815 creation of the German Confederation the northern pediment frieze features scenes from the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest of 9 AD.  According to Pictorial Travels Continentally Described (circa 1892), the construction of the building cost £666,666.
A two thaler coin was minted commemorating the opening of the Walhalla, Krause catalog number KM# 811. It is moderately scarce. 
At Walhalla's inauguration on October 18, 1842, there were 96 busts, plus 64 plaques for persons or events of which no portrait was available on which to model a sculpture.
When the memorial was opened in 1842, Joseph Hartmann Stuntz authored a poem about Germany's greatness which was set to music by Joseph Hartmann Stuntz (two distinct men). 
Since being "of the German tongue" (viz., Germanic tongue) was the main selection criterion for the original 160 persons representing the 1,800 years of German history, the King included individuals of the wider Germanic sphere, including ancient Germanic notables as well as people from the Holy Roman Empire.
Whereas the Valhalla of Norse mythology served as home to those gloriously slain in battle, Ludwig intended his Walhalla not only for warriors but also for scientists, writers, and clerics, and specifically included both men and women. Decades before the foundation of the modern German state in 1871, "German" was understood as "Germanic", and included ancient Germanic (Gothic, Vandal, Lombardic, Anglo-Saxon) as well as medieval and modern Austrian, Dutch, Swedish and Swiss figures.
Leo von Klenze's plans reveal the purpose of the subterranean level set within the foundation, the entrance to which is visible from the Danube River. The Central Aisle leads to the Hall of Expectations (Halle der Erwartungen), which was meant to house busts of individuals considered worthy of joining Walhalla, but who were still living at the time of their busts' creation. These busts would be ceremoniously carried into Walhalla following the deaths of the subjects. The Hall of Expectations was abandoned owing to changes in criteria for induction into Walhalla.
The first addition to the collection was the bust of Martin Luther. Ludwig, as a devout Catholic, had hesitated to include Luther. Several of the sculptors, including Ohnmacht and Schadow, had urged the king to include Luther, as did Johannes von Müller. Heinrich Heine (who would himself be inducted into the collection in 2010) mocked the omission in his satirical poem Praise to King Ludwig, saying: often, in naturalist collections of fish, the whale is missing.  Ludwig finally commissioned Luther's bust in 1831 from Ernst Friedrich Rietschel. It was not included at the inauguration of Walhalla in 1842, but added in 1848 by Ludwig himself. Luther's bust was placed just after the last of the original busts (Goethe's), disregarding the chronological arrangement by year of death.
Four further additions were made during Ludwig's lifetime: Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen (died 1847, added 1853), Josef Wenzel Graf Radetzky von Radetz (died 1858, added in the same year), Friedrich Schelling (died 1854, added 1860) and Ludwig van Beethoven (added 1866).
In 1853, King Ludwig I established an additional Hall of Fame in Munich, specifically for Bavarians – the Ruhmeshalle. Nine of the Bavarian enshrinees have since become Walhalla enshrinees. Their busts in the Ruhmeshalle were destroyed in 1944, during a bombing raid, and have not been replaced. Instead, a plaque with their names tells of their transfer to Walhalla. King Ludwig I himself, who commissioned the Liberation Hall and other monuments, was also enshrined both at Walhalla and in the Ruhmeshalle.
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder was the last addition of a military leader (in 1910). After World War I, new additions focussed on artists and intellectuals. Beginning in 1933, when Kraft durch Freude and other National Socialist organizations promoted trips to Walhalla, visitor numbers increased exponentially. In 1937, when Hitler unveiled a Bruckner bust, 131,520 were counted.
The Walhalla memorial was reached by the Allied invasion of Germany in April 1945, by the US Third Army led by General George S. Patton. 
Additions since 1945 are proposed by private individuals or private foundations, who will also pay for the production of the new bust. Suggestions are reviewed by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, based on which a recommendation is made by the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior. The final decision lies with the Bavarian Council of Ministers. Official practice since 1945 has been to favour "eminent figures from science or art, or individuals with extraordinary social or caritative merit". 
Nineteen busts have been added between 1945 and 2018, for an average interval of a little below four years between additions:
Watch the video: Samuel Harold 1879-1937: Bach u0026 more 35 with Isolde Menges (July 2022).