Composition of the Prussian Columns which
entered Saxony in August 1756

Frederick the Great began the Seven Years War in August 1756 with an invasion of saxony. The Prussian forces which entered Saxony in late August and early September consisted of 69 (or 70?) battalions, 101 squadrons, and 222 battalion and field guns. There was also a siege train with 100 guns.

Of the 222 guns mentioned above, 68 made up the reserve artillerie (ie. the field artillery), and consisted of: 16 x 24 pounders, 40 x 12 pounders, 10 x howitzers (various calibres), 10 x 25 pound mortars, 6 x 50 pound mortars.

The army had 1,341 artillery- and pontoon Knechte (drivers), 2,938 artillery- and pontoon horses, 323 ammunition carts, and 56,000 Centner of powder.

The invading army was split into five columns. The intention was to surprise and disarm the Saxon troops in their garrisons, or, if they took the filed, to neutralise them in some other way. Frederick the Great had written in the politischen Testament of 1752 that the initial objective in a war had to be the removal of the Saxon Army from the war, as this would allow the Prussians to operate in Bohemia with a secure base in the rear. The assembling of the invading force had begun in July. The colimns at times marched in a number of smaller detachments.

In the details below, Bns. = battalions, Bn. = a single battalion,GB = Grenadier Battalion, (M) = musketeer regiments, (F) = fusilier regiment, Sqns. = squadrons, Sqn. = a single squadron, (K) = curiassier regiment, (D) = dragoon regiment.

1. Colonne

Commander: His Majesty King Frederick II.

3 Bns. Garde
1 Bn. Retzow (Grenadier-Garde
2 Bns. Prinz Heinrich (F)
2 Bns. Prinz Ferdinand (M)
2 Bns. Münchow (F)
1 GB Bülow
1 GB Schenkendorf
1 GB Wangenheim

1 Sqn. Garde du Corps (C)
5 Sqns. Prinz von Preussen (C)
1 Sqn. Ziethen Hussars
5 Sqns. Carabiniers (C)

Total 13 Battalions, 12 Squadrons

2. Colonne

Commander: Markgraf Karl

2 Bns. Kalkstein (M)
2 Bns. Markgraf Karl (M)
2 Bns. Prinz von Preussen (M)
2 Bns. Winterfeldt (M)
2 Bns. Forcade (M)
1 GB Bandemer
1 GB Ramin

5 Sqns. Gendarmes (C)

Total 12 battalions, 5 Squadrons

(This column included the supply train and the artillery train.)

3. Colonne

Commander: Herzog (Duke) von Bevern

2 Bns. Herzog von Bevern (M)
2 Bns. Alt-Schwerin (M)
2 Bns. Manteuffel (M)
(Initially with both grenadier companies)
2 Bns. Brandeis (F)
2 Bns. Meyerinck (M)
2 Bns. Itzenplitz (M)
2 Bns. Blankensee (M)
1 GB Grumbkow
1 GB Fink
1 GB Kanitz

5 Sqns. Rochw
10 Sqns Bayreuth (D)
5 Sqns. Oertzen (D)
5 Sqns. Normann (D)
5 Sqns. Truchsess (D)
10 sqns. Szekuly Hussars
10 Sqns. Puttkamer Hussars

Total: 17 Battalions, 50 squadrons

4. Colonne

Commander: Prince Ferdinand von Braunschweig

2 Bns. Prinz von Braunschweig (M)
2 Bns. Quadt (M)
2 Bns. Kleist (M)
2 Bns. Knoblauch (M)
2 Bns. Hülsen (M)
2 Bns. Zastrow (M)
2 Bns. Neuwied (F)
2 Bns. Wietersheim (F)
3 Bns. Anhalt (M)
1 GB Ingersleben
1 GB Billerbeck
1 GB Lengerfeldt
1 GB Kleist
1 GB Gemmingen
1 GB Möllendorff

5 Sqns Leibregiment (C)
5 Sqns. Schönaich (C)
5 Sqns. Driesen (C)
5 Sqns. Ziethen (C)

Total: 25 Battalions, 20 Squadrons

5. Colonne

Commander: Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau

2 Bns. Fürst Moritz (M)
(Initially with both grenadier companies)

5 Sqns. Prinz Friedrich (C)
5 Sqns. Württemberg (D)

Total: 2 battalions, 10 Squadrons

The grenadier companies of Manteuffel (3. Colonne) and Fürst Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (5. Colonne) combined to form GB Puttkamer once inside Saxony, this made the army up to 70 battalions.


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