Tuesday, January 19, 2010

V Kolonne Line Regiments

Infantry Regiments of V Kolonne

There were four infantry regiments within V Kolonne making a total of 12 battalions. But although the six Hungarian battalions were very strong, the six Polish battalions were considerably weaker. The painting of these units was very enjoyable; after the sea of white in IV Kolonne having six big Hungarian battalions to do was real fun. I also bought IR44 in shako rather than helmet with an eye to Wagram and then any 1813 games as well.

The Hungarians: IR2 ‘Hiller’ and IR33 ‘Colloredo’

Both IR2 and IR33 were solid Hungarian regiments originally raised in 1741 among the vast expansion of Hungarian troops offered by the Hungarian Diet to the beleaguered Maria Theresa in the War of Austrian Succession. All Hungarian troops were volunteers throughout the wars. Hungary was very similar in its political structure to England. Although there were some large families of magnates like the Esterhazys, Gyulais and so on the true political power lay with the gentry who dominated the Diet and saw themselves as the guardians of Hungary’s political rights. It was this group that blocked any attempt to extend the Landwehr to Hungary, relying on the neo-medieval insurrection as well as preventing any effort to impose any form of conscription in the Hungarian Crown lands.

Of course, the Hungarians were volunteers in the same way as English troops were volunteers: bribing local girls, providing free beer at markets, detachments of smart troops and a band at local fairs, anything to draw in local peasantry and get them to sign up.

IR2 had the somewhat dubious honour of having FML Hiller as their Inhaber. Hiller was unpopular amongst his peers, being considered something of a politician and rather sly. That said Hiller was very popular among the troops under his command. How Hiller, a German commoner, related to and had any influence over his Hungarian regiment is open to question. Inhaber were sources of pensions as well as being able to make promotions and appointments of subalterns.

IR33 was in a more interesting position. Anton Szataray had been colonel of IR33 and his performance in the Balkans in front of the Kaiser gained him an appointment to Generalmajor in 1788. Although defeated at Renchen, he was a key performer at Wurzburg in 1796 and defeated the French at Weisloch in 1799. He was Inhaber of the regiment until 1804, and died 4 years later. His successor, Heironymous Graf von Colloredo-Mansfeld, was a very different kettle of fish. Coming from a large military family, he was the nephew of two Austrian generals and had numerous contacts, his father had been Vice Chancellor of the Holy Roman Empire. In general both the appointments of Colloredo and Hiller marks a move away from appointing Hungarian magnates as Inhabers of Hungarian regiments and appointing whoever to whatever regiment, integrating the Hungarians into the overall structure.

The Poles: IR44 ‘Bellegarde’ and IR46 ‘Chasteler’

Both these regiments, like IR9 and IR55 in IV Kolonne were originally raised in lands that had been lost to the Empire by 1809 and had been transferred to Galicia to recruit among the Poles.

IR44 had originally been Italian, one of only three Italian regiments from the Theresian period, one of which was abolished in 1751, and IR48 became Hungarian in 1798. IR44 soldiered on as Italian until the loss of all Italian territories in 1805. Then, like the Walloons, it was drawing on Polish recruits. It did not do too badly in this regard and maintained its strength in 1809 and 1813, but not at the levels of regiments recruiting in Bohemia or Moravia for example.

IR46 had an equally unusual history. Originally it began as the regiment of the Tyrol, by drawing together all the local militia battalions and regularising them. Although the independent-minded Tyroleans were happy to serve as skirmishers, they were far less keen to serve in the ranks and the regiment recruited heavily in south Germany. Like the Hungarians and Italians the Tyroleans were exempt from conscription. But the loss of the Tyrol to Bavaria meant that the regiment was, again, transferred to Galica. Unlike some regiments, and like IR55, it struggled to get recruits. Again it was abolished after 1809 as part of the requirements of the peace treaty with France.

Enjoy the eye candy