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"WSS Red Bavarian Grenadiers" Topic

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Bernhard Rauch24 Jun 2010 4:12 p.m. PST

I am aware that there was a Bavarian Grenadier unit composed of French individuals during the War of The Spanish Succession. I know that their coats were red. Does anyone have any more information on their uniform and flag?

Lord Raglan Inactive Member25 Jun 2010 1:21 p.m. PST

Sorry Berhard, I can't find any info on the Bavarian unit you mentioned.

Calmarac Inactive Member26 Jun 2010 9:00 a.m. PST

As mentioned in an earlier thread – TMP link

From M. de la Colonie's "Chronicles of an Old Campaigner" available from the Internet Archive here – link

Uniform colour -

Red. "my grenadiers in their red uniform" on page 163. I don't know of further details though.

As a French unit in Bavarian service I'd expect them to be wearing Tricornes.

Flag –

from page 199

By this time I had about four hundred grenadiers, who had managed to save themselves and the colours, by way of Ingolstadt. These latter, although quite new at the opening of the campaign, were now torn to rags by the enemy's balls ; they had not even respected the motto embroidered upon the white standard. This motto was in two words, " Vae Spectanti" (" Woe to him who looks upon me ").

There are some interesting background details on this unit in this thread – TMP link

I thoroughly recommend the 'Chronicles' which tells the story of this fascinating unit from their formation (from French "deserter-refugees" as Colonie says) to their heroic action at the Schellenberg and later at Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

Chad4728 Jun 2010 2:26 p.m. PST

They were also known as Boismorel Grenadiers, Boismorel being given the regiment in 1703. (de Colonie Page 152)


mollinary29 Jun 2010 1:54 a.m. PST


I admire your persistence on this topic! They certainly carried more than one flag, and as is made clear above carried a white colonel's colour as common in many European armies, including the French. A number of colours of Bavarian regiments were captured, and illustrated in a number of sources, although attribution is by no means certain or always correct. For what it is worth, I would hazard a guess that their battalion colours were light blue, with a large white cross (ie French in Style) with a white border with light blue flames. A colour of this pattern is recorded as captured, and it is not exactly typically Bavarian or even German in style. I will check the full details tonight, and try and post tomorrow.


mollinary30 Jun 2010 3:06 p.m. PST

This colour is in Spofforth's record of the flags brought back to England at the end of the Blenheim campaign. It is light blue, divided into quarters by a white crossm. Each corner has an E M E monogram surmounted by a crown. The centre of the cross contains a golden orb surmounted by a cross (the symbol of temporal power). The border is white with light blue flames. All the symbolism seems to point to foreign guards of the Elector. Still, you pays your money, and you takes your choice…….


9th Maine Inactive Member01 Jul 2010 7:11 a.m. PST

Uniform: red coat with blue (light blue?) facings; red kamisol and breeches.; pewter buttons. Possibly a brown bearskin with blue bag trimmed white. Staudinger, however, indicates that the bearskin cap might not have been issued or only in limited quantities. He states that the first company raised was issued hats.

Anton Hoffman, Army of the Blue King
Karl Staudinger, Geschichte des Bayerischen Heeres, Vol II-2, Munich 1905.
August Kühn, Teil 6, Maximilian Emanuel, Kurfürst von Bayern, Verbündeter Frankreichs
G. Gilardone, Bayerische Uniformen in der Schlacht bei Höchstädt, Die Zinnfigur 1936(?)

The colour described by Mollinary does not belong to de la Colonie's grenadiers. Claus-Peter Golberg attributes it to IR Maffei, while Kühn attributes it to Tattenbach. In either case it pre-dates the formation of de la Colonie's unit. Staudinger describes it as being in existance at the beginning of 1700. Much more likely (although it cannot be confirmed) is a colour similar to those issued to new regiments in 1702/03. According to Staudinger, these were white with blue corner flames and a bear or shooting star in the center with a device in latin above and below the bear or star. Another similar colour is also white but with blue and white flames around the edges. In the center a laurel wreath containing a device in latin. These are illustrated by Kühn.

I hope this puts to rest the periodic questions about this unit.

mollinary02 Jul 2010 1:31 a.m. PST

Thanks 9th for that information, and for the extremely helpful list of sources. I was aware of the other attributions of the colour I described, but unaware that it is clearly in existence at the start of 1700. That would appear definitive. I assume your references to Staudinger and the new flags of 1702-03 are to Leibfahnen, and would be the white standard referred to by de la Colonie? I have read the passage quoted above by Calmarac to imply that the battalion had more than one colour, the white standard, and possibly other coloured flags as company colours. Do you agree, and if so, do you have any thoughts as to their design? Of course, the original French might resolve the slight ambiguity, but unfortunately I do not have access to it. Thank you once again for introducing named sources into this debate, and thus grounding it more firmly than hitherto.


9th Maine Inactive Member02 Jul 2010 2:28 a.m. PST


I think you are making a mistake in assuming that only Leibfahnen were white. Most of the Bavarian company colours also had a white field, Robert Hall has a number of plates showing Bavarian units at Blenheim and all of the company colours were either white or a combination of blue and white. Bavarian Leibfahnen contained the "Patrona Bavariae" or the Madonna image. According to Staudinger on 14 August 1701 the Kurfürst ordered that only two colours per battalion be carried, so at the most the 'Red Grenadiers" had only two colours, and one might have been a leibfahne; although, I have not run across any reference to one.

I hope this is helpful

mollinary03 Jul 2010 2:37 a.m. PST

Thanks for continuing this interesting conversation. I am a bit of a self-confessed "flag nerd", not solely in this period, and have learned to be very careful about the accuracy of flags included in publications intended primarily for wargamers. This is not intended as a dig at Mr Hall, whose work is, as far as I have seen, excellent – but a reflection on the minimal number of original or even historical sources available, particularly in English, and the difficulty of getting hold of them. This has the tendency of a single source begetting many more, which seem to reinforce it, and a false consensus is born. It is perfectly possible I am making a mistake in assuming only Leibfhanen were white, it would not be the first one I have made! However, if the English translation of de la Colonie is correct there is a clear implication that "the white standard" is a recognisable concept, and is differentiated from simply "the colours". The idea of the senior colour of a regiment being a plain colour, commonly white, is a tradition observed in many armies of Europe from this time onward. As you say, Bavarian Leibfahnen seem to have conformed to this, and carried various representations of the Madonna on theirs, as indeed did the Austrian. Other representations I have seen of bataillonsfahnen seem to show some combination of blue and white, the traditional Bavarian colours, often, but not universally in a lozenge or chequered pattern. The hazards of sourcing on Bavarian flags are best shown by the flag containing a red ragged Burgundian cross over a background quartered light blue and white, the motto PRO REGE ET LEGE appearing on the arms of the cross. This is widely reproduced in wargames products as a Bavarian flag, but tallies much more closely with the pattern of Spanish flags in service at the time, and is classified (in Foure and Charrie, I think) as belonging to one of the Spanish Walloon regiments serving in the Blenheim campaign. It is this problem of sources which made your remarks of particular interest to me, as I have never been able to get hold of a copy of Staudinger, and would be fascinated to find what he has to say on the subject. Anyway, thanks again,


mollinary03 Jul 2010 5:39 a.m. PST

Quick correction – memory not what it was! The book was Foure and Terana "Trophees de la guerre de succession d'espagne 1700-1713".
And the motto was "Pugnato pro Deo ac Rege". So, I might have been close, but no cigar.


9th Maine Inactive Member03 Jul 2010 6:16 a.m. PST


I think we have hijacked this thread. Perhaps we should continue our discussion off list? We are probably boring others.

I've had a look at Foure. If I am reading it correctly, Anna Beek attributes the colour to Regt. Montraux, while Charrie attributes it to either Regt.Grimaldi or Courieres. As far as I can tell, neither of the latter two units was at Blenheim. There was a Regiment Montroux at Blenheim, but it was French of Piedmontise origin and had a different colour. However, there were two regiments Montfort, one Spanish Walloon and the other French, but only one Montfort is listed at Blenheim. Which one it was, is open to debate. If the Walloon one, then the colour might possibly be attributed to it; however, if the French one then no.

Looking at the evidence, I would still attribute the colour in question to a Bavarian unit. Perhaps, a trip to the Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt or the Bavarian Archives in Munich might be necessary to resolve the issue.

While I agree that attribution is often difficult, I don't believe that we can discount the use of the Cross of Burgundy on Bavarian colours. In fact, Anton Hoffman illustrates the colour of Battalion Haxthausen in 1694 that has such a cross.

mollinary08 Jan 2018 12:41 p.m. PST

Calling 9th Maine! Over seven years ago (doesn't time fly!) you stated that Staudinger had identified the flag with a white cross and flamed edges, that I surmised was de la Colonie's battalion flag, as already in existence in 1700. I have finally tracked down a copy of Staudinger, and can find no such reference, can you help me by identifying its page number? I have also just purchased the wonderful ‘Bayerische Fahnen' by Juergen Kraus, published with the assistance of the Army Museum in Ingoldstadt. This has no reference to such a flag at all. Any help would be gratefully received.


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