Saxon Army

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Flag of the 1st Battalion of the 4th Infantry Regiment No. 103

The Saxon Army was the army of the Electorate and later Kingdom of Saxony and existed as a standing army since 1682. In the Electorate of Saxony, the army was called the Electoral Saxon Army . With the rise of Saxony to a kingdom by Napoleon in 1807, the name of the army was changed to the Royal Saxon Army .

The army formed the Saxon contingent in the contingent armies of the German Confederation and the North German Confederation and, in accordance with Article 63 (1) of the Imperial Constitution of April 16, 1871 , still remained legally independent in the German Empire . As a result of Germany's defeat in World War I and the end of the monarchy in Saxony, the country lost its limited military autonomy and the Saxon army went 1919 Reichsheer the Weimar Republic on.


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.

Albrecht the Courageous (Dresden, Fürstenzug )

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)

Johann Georg I (in the foreground) on the Dresden Fürstenzug
Siege of Bautzen in September 1620

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
Cuirassiers 169 19,756
dragoon 16 1,808
infantry 136 30,416
artillery 2 250
Overall strength 323 52,229

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.

Between 1589 and 1591/97, Elector Christian I of Saxony and his successor had the Königstein Fortress expanded into the strongest fortress in Saxony. The fortress played an important role in the history of Saxony, albeit less through military events. The Saxon dukes and electors used the fortress primarily as a safe haven in times of war.

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)

Johann Georg III. - Section from the Dresden prince procession

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.

Saxon cavalry around 1699 - not contemporary depiction after Knötel

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)

Personal union Saxony-Poland, each outlined in green and white. Until 1763, one of the most important political goals for Saxony's rulers was to create a direct land connection between Saxony and Poland, first at the expense of Austria, then Prussia. In the constant swerving between the two warring states, Saxony was ultimately defeated with its political ambitions.

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.

Retreat of the Saxons after the Battle of the Daugava in 1701

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.

August the Strong, pictured on the Prince's procession in Dresden

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)

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.

Camp near Zeithain, painting by Johann Alexander Thiele 1730

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. "

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:

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)

Siege of Danzig by Saxon-Russian troops

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.

Memorial stone for the battle of Kesselsdorf in Wilsdruff-Kaufbach

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)

Saxony in Europe at the time of the Seven Years' War

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.

Saxon cavalry at the beginning of the Seven Years' War

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)

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.

Friedrich August the Just (Dresden, Fürstenzug )

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)

uniforms around 1784 It is easy to see that from 1765 the uniform was kept completely white except for the doublure

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:

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)

Coat of arms of the first Saxon king Friedrich August I.

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)

Artillery officer, train officer, sergeant of the mounted artillery around 1810

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:

  1. Rejuvenation of the officer corps
  2. Reducing the number of surgical staff while improving military medicine
  3. No rifles for officers - instead, duty with drawn swords
  4. Handing over of the flags of the artillery to the main armory - swearing in of the crew only on the cannon
  5. Dissolution of the staff battalion established in the meantime (1809)
  6. Improvement of the military justice system - Right of higher officers to have a say in criminal matters - Prohibition of corporal punishment as a punishment
  7. Change of uniform according to the French pattern and introduction of new rifles, bayonets and side arms
  8. Training in a new way of fencing: columns with swarms of screechers instead of the old, rigid form of linear tactics
  9. Introduction of the first drill regulations for the artillery
  10. 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:

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:

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.

Saxon Cuirassier Regiment von Zastrow in the Russian campaign

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)

Map showing the course of the campaign in 1813

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.

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:

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

The Saxon grenadier battalions revolt in front of Blücher's quarters in Liège, April 1815

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:

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.

Royal Saxon infantry around 1835

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:

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.

Attack on the barricades on Neumarkt (oil painting, exhibited in the Dresden City Museum )

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 .

Saxon soldiers at the time of the German War, 1866

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.

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:

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:

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:

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 .

Other units

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.

Administrative structure of the Saxon army

In the first few centuries, the Saxon army was administered centrally from Dresden. At the Saxon court there was a minister who had to report to the elector about the state of the army at any time. The sovereign prince himself acted as the highest army leader, and on smaller campaigns his sons or nobles appointed by the prince also acted.

In 1684, the Elector Moritz established the Secret War College . This institution dealt with all questions relating to the equipment, supplies and financing of the army.

With the accession of August the Strong to the throne, the previous practice changed. He realized that the command and administration of the army belonged to the most capable generals. In 1697 he established the first Saxon general staff based in Dresden.

After the defeat of Klissow and the subsequent reorganization of the army and its structures, a secret cabinet was created. This functioned as the highest political decision-making authority in matters of foreign policy, domestic policy and the military.


The massive expansion of the army after the lost Northern War made it necessary to divide the army into several administrative districts. On February 29, 1732 the army was divided into four generalates and the state of Saxony into four military divisions. The General Headquarters with the General Staff, the Army Generals and the General Court of Justice College were stationed in Dresden. For the first time barracks were built to house the troops.

  • 1742: On September 24, 1742, the Saxon army was divided into two generalates. The first was placed under the command of Count and General Rutowsky, based in Dresden, the second Generalate, based in Chemnitz, under the command of General Chevalier de Saxe .
  • 1743: At the suggestion of Field Marshal Duke von Weissenfels, the Saxon army was again divided into four generalates on February 1, 1743, the first based in Wittenberg under General von Bose, the second and the third based in Dresden under the command of the Chevalier de Saxe and General Count von Rutowski and the fourth in Naumburg under the command of Lieutenant General von Diemar.
  • 1754: After the Second Silesian War and the reduction of the Saxon army due to financial difficulties, the division of the army into two generalates was ordered on January 1, 1754.
  • In 1758 the Saxon army was reorganized in Hungary. Under the leadership of Prince Xaver, an army corps of deserted Saxon soldiers was founded. In the following five years the corps fought alongside the French against Prussia without the support of the administrative structures in Saxony. It was not until 1763 that the army was able to return to its homeland and reassume the old army structure of two generalates (divisions).
  • 1775: After the death of General Field Marshal Chevalier de Saxe in 1774, the Saxon army was divided into four general inspections with effect from January 1, 1775, two for infantry and two for cavalry. Each of these was headed by a general as inspector general. Within these inspectorates, troop exercises of the regiments were carried out every year, and these were inspected by the inspector general. The inspectors then had to report the status of the regiments to the elector.
  • In 1779 one of the cavalry inspectorates was dissolved. The three remaining were given the state capital Dresden as their administrative headquarters.
  • 1780: In order to simplify the addition of the army, Saxony was divided into recruiting areas for the individual regiments in 1780. Only the resident regiments were allowed to recruit in these districts. The service was nine years at the time, and all non-resident men between the ages of 15 and 35 were subject to military service . The regiments were also allowed to recruit soldiers in their district outside of recruitment times. The Saxon army consisted for the most part of regional children, because the recruitment of "foreigners" was too cost-intensive for Saxony. For this reason, Saxony was one of the first principalities in Europe to introduce compulsory military service at the beginning of the 18th century. The proportion of foreigners in the infantry in 1792 was 5.9 percent and only 3.6 percent in the cavalry. The proportion of foreign officers in the Saxon army was also very small. In 1768 only 17 foreign officers were in the service of Saxony. In the Saxon army, in contrast to the Prussian army, even non-aristocratic soldiers could rise to high officer ranks in all branches of service.


  • 1810: The participation of Saxon troops in the Fifth Coalition War in 1809 against the Austrian Empire showed the politicians and leading military at the Dresden court that some fundamental innovations were necessary. The aim was to build a contemporary army organized along the lines of the French model; especially since the Saxon king's high allies (as the ruling king Friedrich August used to call Napoleon) urged it more and more directly. In the course of these innovations, the dissolution of the existing three general inspectorates was ordered and Saxony's army was divided into three divisions, two infantry and one cavalry division. Each of these divisions received its own general staff (divisional staff). In addition, another general staff was set up in Dresden under the direction of the king. 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 .
  • 1815: On May 27, 1815, the military department of the Secret Cabinet was dissolved in command, war and judicial matters . In its place came the Secret War Chancellery , the first director of which was Lieutenant General Heinrich Wilhelm von Zeschau . For better and more efficient training of engineers and artillery officers, the two previously existing educational institutions were merged under the name "Military Academy". In 1831 it was renamed the "Artillery School" and four years later it was merged with the Cadet Corps. This so-called "military training institute" did not last long either. It was dissolved again in 1840. It was not until 1851 that two new institutes were established to train non-commissioned officers to become officers of any type of weapon. The "Cadet School" and the "Artillery School" were created.
  • 1817: After the mandate of February 1st, an army reserve was formed in Saxony for the first time. The departing soldiers were automatically transferred to the reserve regiments and formed a second standing army, which could be mobilized quickly in an emergency.
  • In 1831 the Secret War Chancellery and the Army General Command Staff were merged and the War Ministry was established. The reorganization of the Saxon army administration lasted until 1849. From this year the War Ministry was the highest administrative authority of the army in Saxony. The royal general staff was only retained as a department within the general command. Military justice and the military complaints body were also subordinated to the War Ministry. The military and command affairs that the Secret Council had previously dealt with were all taken over by the War Department. Until the transition to the North German Confederation , the War Ministry was also the highest command authority of the Saxon army. Military instructions from the king, the nominal commander in chief of the army, had to be issued by the war minister.
    The tasks of the War Ministry were as follows:
  • Military justice
  • recruitment
  • Budget monitoring (teams as well as all objects)
  • Supervision of military schools and schools
  • Marching, billeting and service matters
  • Military construction
  • Barracking of the army
  • Food and maintenance of the army in war and peace
  • Army hospital and medical services
  • Fortifications
  • Pension and gravity systems
  • Plan chamber
  • 1849: On the basis of a decision by the German central authority, according to which all federal states had to bring their armies to 2 percent of the population, the War Ministry issued an ordinance on June 7, 1849, according to which the royal Saxon army, including the war and service reserves, was reduced to a total strength of 25,000 men was to be brought. In the course of this restructuring, each of the four infantry regiments was increased by a 4th battalion. The previous term of the regiment was abolished and the four battalions of each regiment were combined into so-called brigades from this point on.



With the entry of the Saxon Army as XII. Army corps to the North German Army, the Prussian Landwehr practice was also taken over. In the War Ministerial Ordinance on the Organization of the Landwehr of March 13, 1867, the establishment of the Landwehr was decided. The ordinance stipulated that Saxony would be divided into four provisional Landwehr districts. An infantry brigade was assigned to each of these Landwehr districts. Twelve Landwehr battalions were to be formed, three were subordinate to each district, with the provisional structure from the spring of 1867 providing for two and the final for the autumn of that year four companies per battalion.

The four Landwehr regiments were set up as follows:

1st Landwehr Regiment (standing quarters in Bautzen), Commander Major Schubert - Battalions 1 to 3
2nd Landwehr Regiment (standing quarters in Freiberg), Commander Major Payern - Battalions 4 to 6
3rd Landwehr Regiment (standing quarters in Zwickau), Commander Major Moritz von Süßmilch-Hörnig - Battalions 7 to 9
4th Landwehr Regiment (base in Leisnig), Commander Major von Metzradt - Battalions 10 to 12

After the end of the Franco-German War, the establishment of the Landwehr was pushed ahead. After its final formation in 1874, the Landwehr was structured as follows:

Flags and standards

In the Middle Ages , flags with colors and coats of arms were an important distinguishing feature for friend and foe in battle, as they could not be distinguished due to the inconsistent clothing in battle. In the battle, the flags of the Saxon infantry regiments, unlike the Prussian army, were not carried by a flag junior but by a sergeant or corporal. The rank of ensign did not exist in the Saxon army until 1867. The corporal had to ensure that the symbol of unity did not fall into enemy hands. Due to its important role as a center of battle and as a guide for the soldiers of their unit, the flag had a constitutive meaning in the military system. Losing them in battle was considered the greatest disgrace a unit could suffer. The troop flag was seen as valuable spoils of war. At the funeral ceremony of Charles XII. of Sweden in 1718 hung in the church over 2000 captured flags and standards, which Charles XII. as a warlord in the Great Northern War. These included Saxon flags that had been captured during the battles of Klissow , Fraustadt and Kalisch .

August II particularly attached great importance to the troop flags. He dealt intensively with the development of new regulations with regulations, orders and orders in the handling of the troop flags. During his reign the flags were particularly perfect. The flags were made of expensive silk and embroidered with gold or silver ornaments and coats of arms. In general, all branches of arms carried flags in the early 18th century. The flag of the body company was white, and the others were the same color as the regimental badges. On the front (also "obverse") the royal coat of arms or the name "AUGUST II" was attached. Any symbols were attached to the back (also called the “reverse side”). The size of the infantry flags was different, it was between 260 × 210 cm and 200 × 210 cm. The tip of the flag was usually 24 cm long. The length of the flag shaft was 315 cm and the ferrule was 28 cm long. The standards of the cuirassiers and dragoons during the time of the Zeithain camp were 53 × 57 cm. The old two-pointed flags of the Dragoons measured 370 × 210 cm.

Troop flag of the Cadet Corps, awarded in 1747

On the occasion of the Zeithain camp, all Saxon regiments received flags. Unfortunately, no originals of these colorful flags have survived. In 1747, Elector Friedrich Christian also gave the Saxon Cadet Corps its own troop flag. After the capitulation of Pirna in 1756 and the incorporation of the Saxon troops into the Prussian army, the troop flags remained in the possession of the Saxon elector. After the lost campaign against Napoleon in 1806 and the elevation of Saxony to a kingdom, the regiments of the now "Royal Saxon Army" received new flags and standards. This time General of the Cavalry von Zezschwitz was entrusted with the preparatory work.

Some of these flags were burned during the mutiny of the Saxon infantry in Liège in 1815, on the direct orders of Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher . The ringleaders of the uprising were shot. The mutiny broke out after it became known that the Saxon army was to be divided. After the restructuring of the Saxon army after its temporary destruction in the Russian campaign, the four newly founded infantry regiments received new troop flags on September 3, 1822. During the restructuring of the army in 1849, the newly formed eight battalions were given their own troop flags by Friedrich August II . After the incorporation into the armed forces and the expansion of the two grenadier and six infantry regiments by a third battalion each, the first battalions of the regiments were given new troop flags. The old flags of these battalions were passed on to the newly formed third regimental battalions.

In 1914 the Saxon army marched into the First World War with its troop flags at its head, but in the modern war of attrition and position, the troop flag had lost its real function. Behind the front, it remained a symbol of recognition and identity for its units.

The Saxon Jäger Battalion and the Engineer Battalion were the only units that did not receive their own flag from the King, despite multiple requests from the commanders about successfully fought battles.

Picture gallery with Saxon troop flags


When the Saxon standing army was founded, the white cockade was worn on a black hat.

On November 12, 1813, the General of the Infantry von Thielemann announced in Leipzig that the Saxon cockade would be green from now on. This change was the Russian Emperor Alexander I approved. In gratitude for the liberation of Saxony, the cockade was framed in orange and black, which were the colors of the Russian emperor.

The division of Saxony meant that the Saxon king dropped the previous state colors black and yellow. These were carried on by the Prussian province of Saxony . The colors black and yellow still adorn the flag of the state of Saxony-Anhalt today . White and green were introduced as the new national colors. When the Saxon king and his troops returned home in 1815, the state capital Dresden was solemnly decorated in the new state colors. This was the hour of birth of the Saxon state flag , which still exists today .

During the reorganization of the Saxon army in 1815, the three-colored cockade was also dropped. From then on, the Saxon soldiers wore the two-tone cockade with the green dot in the middle and the white ring.

With the decision of March 8, 1848, that of the German Confederation was worn in addition to the Saxon cockade . The colors of this cockade were black, red, and gold .

With the accession of Saxony to the North German Confederation, in addition to the Saxon cockade from 1867, that of the German Empire was also worn by the Saxon soldiers.



In contrast to other German princely houses, the Saxons equipped their standing army with expensive uniforms from the start. The Saxon princes, above all August the Strong, showed their pomp not only through their lifestyle or their buildings, but they also entertained regiments that were only intended for public and representative tasks. During the 250 years that the Saxon army existed, the uniform was completely changed several times. At the beginning of the standing army, the Saxon troops wore a red uniform skirt, in the 18th century the skirt color was changed to white. After the Napoleonic Wars, the dark green uniform was worn, and with the entry into the armed forces in 1867, the dark blue uniform based on the Prussian model.

In the vassal armies of the dukes of Meissen, the foot servants were provided with weapons, clothing and maintenance by their respective liege lords. Uniform uniforms were not yet in place. The knights recovered the cost of equipping their foot servants through robbery and extortion of the conquered lands. With the formation of the first Saxon army in 1682, uniform uniforms were sought for the first time. The first precise reference to a uniform uniform can be found in the ordinance of the Elector to Field Marshal von Schöning of October 30, 1695, according to which the monarch ordered, among other things, the previous white-gray basic color of the uniform should be replaced by a continuous red uniform in the infantry and cavalry to replace.

Before the term uniform prevailed in Europe, the uniform of a soldier was called outfit or livery . In 1729 August the Strong arranged that all outfits for his troops should only be ordered from Saxon textile manufacturers. These uniforms had a very high quality of workmanship and were therefore more durable. Each soldier received a so-called clothing money with his pay, with which he had to clean the uniform provided by the prince and to repair it if necessary. Each soldier received a parade and several service uniforms. In each company there were a few soldiers who had mastered the tailoring trade or learned during their service, so that most of the uniforms were mended by comrades at that time.

At the time of August the Strong, the Saxon army was one of the most splendid and colorful armies in Europe. After his death, the uniforms were simplified to reduce the immense financial expense. In order to maintain a better overview, the changes in uniforms from the year 1700 onwards are subdivided according to the type of weapon in the following subsections.


Since 1735 the Saxon generals have been dressed in uniform. The uniform consisted of a white, red-lined skirt, a red vest and trousers. The uniforms were richly embroidered with gold depending on the rank of general. The standardization of the uniform was made to make it easier to differentiate between the ranks of the service. An exception to this alignment were the artillery generals, who wore a uniform skirt made of green material with red badges.

In 1766, the Saxon generals received the French blue uniform skirt with collar of the same color, lapels and lining. Since 1790 the Saxon generals wore the French blue uniform skirt with lapels of the same color, collar and lining. The vest and trousers were red. The skirt and waistcoat were embroidered with gold. The hats edged with arches were adorned with white feathers. In 1822 the generals wore the dark blue uniform skirt. The lapels and the skirt collar turned red. The red parade undergarments were worn white. From then on, red boots were used. The general staff wore the same uniform. In addition, they wore a gold armpit band over their right shoulder.

Cadet Corps


When the Cadet Corps was founded , the cadets were dressed in scarlet uniforms with white trousers, vests, lapels and buttons. Later the color of the collar was changed from white to yellow.


The cadet corps wore the scarlet uniform. Lining, collar, lapels, undergarments and gaiters were white. The soldier boys in Annaberg wore a blue uniform.


During the restructuring of the corps, the uniform was also changed. The uniform skirt stayed red, but the lining, collar, lapels and trousers turned blue. The cadets wore a triangular hat as headgear.


In the course of the introduction of the tunic, the uniforms of the Saxon troops were slightly modified. Only the cadet corps received new uniforms. They received the dark green tunic with lapels of the same color and collar. The trousers were made of black cloth and had red side seams, red passepoil with yellow buttons. To differentiate between the individual classes, gold-colored strands were attached to the tunic.


From then on, the cadets' uniforms turned dark blue, the collar and lapels red. The trousers turned gray, but kept the red seams. The strands were henceforth silver, the buttons white.


Regiment du Caila around 1730

From 1695 the infantry were equipped with a red tunic and white leather trousers. The collar and the mirror were gray. Each infantry soldier received black leather shoes and long black cloth gaiters as legwear . The soldier's leather gear was yellowish and the cartridge pouch was made of blackened leather. Different colored buttons were used on the uniform to distinguish the individual regiments. When it was founded in 1701, the Beichlingen regiment got yellow buttons. The uniform buttons were used until the introduction of the uniform German uniform in 1867 in the Saxon army as a distinguishing feature within the infantry.

  • 1729: In 1729 the Saxon Elector and King of Poland August II issued new clothing and equipment regulations. The new uniforms were worn for the first time on the occasion of the Zeithain camp in 1730. The new regulations stipulated that the basic color of the uniform coat should keep the red color, but each regiment received an underskirt and lapel color. An exception occurred with the three guards regiments, they received a yellow uniform skirt. Furthermore, the decoration of the officer's uniform was expanded. The higher the rank of an officer, the more unusual the embroidery on the uniform. The leather pants were replaced by cloths in the regimental color. Furthermore, the color of the gaiters changed from black to white. The shoes remained leather and were black in color.
  • 1734: On July 23, 1734, a new dress code appeared. The most important part of the regulation was the change of the uniform color. It was ordered that all regiments on foot and on horseback should henceforth be given white uniform skirts. The doublure (vest) of the uniform was designed in a different color in each regiment. White cloth trousers and white linen trousers were also given out to everyone. There were no further changes to the leather gear and other equipment. Cheaper twin smocks were purchased to protect the uniform. These were worn during normal working hours. As a result, several minor changes were made to the uniform. In 1744 the officers and NCOs received the colored collar on the regimental uniform. In 1754 the colors of the vests were changed. The Prince Friedrich August regiment received yellow vests instead of the previous dark green vests.
  • 1756: After the Saxon troops surrendered to the Prussian king, all non-commissioned officers and soldiers were incorporated into the Prussian army. They received the Prussian uniform and were sworn in on the Prussian king.
  • 1765: After the end of the Seven Years' War and the return of the Saxon troops, the army was reorganized. In the course of this redesign of the army, the uniform was also changed. The uniform skirt kept the basic white color. The lining and the vest also turned white. From now on, only the duplicate was worn in the respective regimental color. From then on, the trousers were tight-fitting with white Hungarian knots. The gaiters turned black and the boots based on the Hungarian model. In 1771 the trousers were cut wider again.
  • 1783: The twelve existing infantry regiments wore the white uniform coat. Two regiments each had the same color of outfit (lapels, collars). These colors were white, lemon yellow, green, and light and dark blue. The two regiments of the same color wore white or yellow uniform buttons to distinguish them.

The invalid companies also wore a white uniform with black facings.

Pictures by Carl Adolph Heinrich Hess. He painted an artistically appealing and uniformly interesting series of 16 panels about the Saxon army in 1805 and 1806.

  • 1807: After Saxony's defeat by Napoleon, the Saxon army uniform was adapted to that of the French army. The Saxon king organized his army completely on the French model. The uniforms were cut more appropriately.
  • 1814: The infantry regiments from now on wore a uniform uniform. The coat remained white, only the duplex was from then on worn in dark green by all regiments. The shako with a green regiment badge, filled in different colors (Leibregiment green, 1st regiment blue, 2nd regiment black, 3rd regiment red) served as headgear. It contains the company number (1–12) in monetary form. The light infantry wore dark green skirts with black collars and lapels. The pantaloons (trousers) were also dark green. Also the shako with a green regimental badge filled with black as headgear. The three battalions belonging to it could be recognized by their uniform buttons. The Roman numerals I, II, and III were stamped on this.
  • 1832: The line infantry received a green uniform skirt. Trousers, lapels, collars and field caps were from then on made of blue cloth. The coat had two rows of buttons, crowns on those of the body regiment, and Roman numerals on those of the other regiments. The regimental badges, service spats and the armpit flaps of the teams had different colors depending on the regiment. The body regiment wore scarlet red, the 1st regiment light blue, the 2nd regiment white and the 3rd regiment green. The garrison division was black.
  • 1867: After the Saxons lost the German War in 1866, the Saxon army was accepted into the federal army. The Saxons adopted the dark blue field uniform of the Prussian infantry. The badges of rank and decorations were also adopted. Despite all this, the Saxon uniform differed slightly from the Prussian. The skirt cut remained the Saxon one. The edge cord on the lower hem has also been retained. Only two buttons were kept on the back pockets, unlike the Prussians, who wore three buttons on each side of the skirt. Furthermore, all infantry officers continued to carry the saber in a metal scabbard. The Prussian officers wore a leather sheath. When adopting the dark blue uniform, the Jäger battalions formed an exception, they kept the dark green coat based on their origins.


The cavalrymen received long leather riding boots as part of the regulations of 1695 . The uniform was worn completely in red for the cavalry. There were not as big differences in color between the regiments as with the infantry. Little is written about the uniforms of the early 18th century. This has in part to do with the fact that many cavalry regiments only existed for a short time during the Northern War.

  • 1729: With the regulations of 1729, the uniform of the cavalry was completely revised. The cavalry was the Elector's favorite weapon and was even more pompous than the infantry. The guards regiments had a special position. They had completely different uniforms. The Grand Mousquetairs had paillefarbene (yellowish) uniforms with a reddish Supra vest as a coating. This regiment did not wield overskirts. The Garde du Corps wore brown overskirts and paille-colored petticoats and trousers. The Karabien Guard wore all-white uniforms. Similar to the Grand Mousquetairs, the Chevaliergarde wore no overcoat, only a bluish supra vest with a gold-colored under vest. The pompous cuirassiers should be mentioned as a special feature of this period. This regiment only existed for a short time, but was armed with silver cuirasses and white trousers. It was used for representative purposes only. The regiment was disbanded with the death of August II for cost reasons. Similar to the infantry, the cuirassier regiments wore red overcoats and, depending on the regiment, different colored petticoats and trousers. The riding boots remained black. From 1732, all cuirassiers wore the royal coat of arms on their cuirass, all senior officers the crowned name of the sovereign. The dragoons of that time had somewhat less opulent uniforms, but also had a red overskirt and petticoat and cloth trousers in different colors. The saddle pad of the cavalry was red with a surrounding in the regimental color trim.
  • 1734: With the new dress code published on July 23, 1734, the uniform of the cavalry was also simplified. All regiments on horseback received white outfits. Only the super vest or the cuirass was made in different colors depending on the regiment. The riders also received a white coat. The Saxon guards regiments kept their red uniform skirts.
  • 1756: In contrast to the infantry, the Saxon cavalry was divided among the Prussian cavalry regiments after the surrender of the troops. The Saxon regiments were disbanded, and after the army was reformed in Hungary, they were not reorganized. The cavalrymen also received Prussian uniforms.
  • 1790: In 1790, the Saxon cavalry is described as follows: The Garde du Corps wears a paille-colored (pale yellowish) parade uniform. The trousers were also white, the lapels, the collar, the lining and the vest were light blue. The officers wore golden meetings. The drill uniform was white, the daily uniform skirt red. The uniform color of the heavy cavalry (cuirassiers) was white. The uniform of the light cavalry and the guard was red. The guardsmen's underclothes were yellow, as was the supra vest during parades. The trousers were white, the gaiters were black. The trousers of the light cavalry were paille-colored. The horses of the heavy cavalry were black and without exception came from Saxon, Holstein and Mecklenburg stud farms . The horses of the light cavalry were mostly Polish and Tatar wild-caught.

Pictures by Carl Adolph Heinrich Hess. He painted an artistically appealing and uniformly interesting series of 16 panels about the Saxon army in 1805 and 1806.

  • 1822: The entire cavalry received the white uniform skirt with two rows of yellow buttons. Light blue lapels, field caps and over vests. Actually, the cavalry regiments should also receive the shako as headgear. However, the decision was made for the caterpillar helmet with yellow metal decoration. The caterpillars were made of black wool for the crews and black bearskin for the officers .
  • 1832: The cavalry received the light blue Kolett (uniform skirt) throughout. The regiments differed in the color of the serves. In the guards regiment these were white, in the 1st cavalry regiment ponceau red and in the 2nd cavalry regiment crimson red. The skirt collar was white in all regiments.
  • 1850: The skirt collar was colored again and wore the respective lap color of the regiment.
  • 1867: The uniforms of the cavalry regiments remained the same during the reorganization into the federal army. The only notable change was the headgear. This received a more modern shape and a star decoration. The newly founded Uhlan regiments received a light blue uniform skirt with crimson lapels and collars. In addition, light blue trousers with red side trim. The uniform cut was the same as the Prussian one. The Tschapkas were based on the Prussian model.
The following pictures are from the pen of Kay Körner


Artillery Corps around 1806
  • 1730: The Saxon artillery did not receive its own uniforms until 1730. Together with this type of weapon, the miners and pontooners also received their own uniforms. The artillery's uniform skirt was green with a red lining. The flaps and cuffs were also red. The uniform pants and waistcoat were pale-colored and the uniform buttons were yellow. The gaiters were worn white, as with the infantry, and black leather shoes were used as footwear. The changed uniform regulations from 1734 did not affect the artillery troops. They kept their green uniform skirts.
  • 1832: The Saxon artillery, like the cavalry, retained its old uniform color. Only minor changes have been made to the uniforms to make them look more contemporary.
  • 1867: The uniforms of the artillery and engineers remained unchanged. Only the headgear was adapted to the Prussian army. The pioneers received their white uniform buttons again.


When it came to founding the standing army, the Saxon army was far inferior to many other armies in Europe in terms of armament. In the Great Northern War, the poor condition of the Saxon equipment became apparent. The weapons and artillery were outdated and in very poor condition, and ammunition was very difficult to get hold of. The Saxons hardly stood a chance against the tightly organized Swedish army.

August the Strong began to rearm his troops. By 1730 all regiments were equipped with new weapons. The infantry regiments received new rifles from the Friderici company from Suhl. In addition, a rifle manufacture in Olbernhau was commissioned to produce muskets. The cavalry sabers and swords were ordered from the Clauberg company from Solingen and from Schwertfeger from Dresden. Due to delivery bottlenecks from these companies, smaller quantities of weapons were also ordered from companies in Berlin, Celle and Liège.

In 1730 the armament of the Saxon army is described as follows:

  • Infantry: The infantry uses flintlock rifles , flintlock rifles and pistols from various production facilities. With the re-armament, the wooden loading rod is also replaced by an iron one, which is more stable. The wooden ramrod is only used in the 1st Guard, Royal Prince, Weissenfels, Löwenthal, Prince Gotha and Haxthausen regiments, because the iron ramrod does not fit into the barrels of the Liège rifles. A total of 12,160 rifles are purchased. In addition to the firearms, the edged weapons are also renewed. The infantry now uses a three-edged bayonet instead of the previous knife bayonet . This is planted on the gun barrel when close combat is imminent. The foot troops continue to carry a sword, saber or pallasch , the officers also a spontaneous and the subordinate a short rifle ( polearm similar to the spontaneous).
  • Cavalry: The cavalry of that time wore the pallasch as an edged weapon. In addition, the cavalry saber and sword was worn. The regiments were equipped with rifled carbine rifles as firearms.
  • Artillery: By re-arming the artillery, August the Strong created one of the best artillery troops of the 18th century in Europe. The Saxons were equipped with 3-, 6-, and 12-pound cannons and 8-, 16- and 24-pound howitzers . They also had several caliber mortars . The cannons usually fired at a distance of 500 to 800 paces. The three-pound guns were the so-called regimental pieces of the infantry. They could also be used to shoot grape balls . These bullets filled with lead bullets were fired at 60 feet to give the lead bullets a large scattering effect.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the armament of the Saxon army is described as contemporary. The infantry were armed with smooth-barreled flintlock rifles with attachable bayonets. The cavalry's weapon of attack was still the saber. The Saxon army was similar to the Prussian army in many respects. The armament and regulations of the time were based on the Prussian regulations.

Line infantryman around 1813 with rifle and attached bayonet

After the defeat by France and the war against Austria in 1809, Napoleon decided to reform the army of his Saxon ally. In addition to changes to the uniform, the regulations and the combat training, he also modernized the armament. The line infantry received new, lighter rifles with bayonets. Bayonet fencing was included as a drill in the infantry regulations. In addition, the artillery received new types of guns, which were easier to operate in modern mobile combat control. The modernization of the army was completed in 1812, before Napoleon's Russian campaign. The Saxon army was now one of the most modern armies under the command of the emperor.

With the new drill regulations in 1816, the saber of all officers in the troops on foot and the artillery corps was standardized. This curved saber was provided with a wooden basket. This light lion's head saber was carried by the artillery until 1849 and by the infantry officers in an iron scabbard with two ribbed brass rings until 1862.

From 1820 on, attempts were made for many years to make the rifles of the Saxon troops more durable using the process of burnishing . To do this, all iron parts of the rifle were placed in a liquid. The first weapons that were treated with the method were those of the Jäger Corps in 1821. In 1836, the treatment of weapons with this method was stopped again, the benefits were far below the costs. The metals used at the time were too impure and the rifles corroded very quickly despite the treatment.


In 1835 the percussion rifle was introduced to the light infantry and in 1836 to the rest of the infantry . With this type of rifle, the propellant charge is ignited with the help of a primer . A new primer bag was added to the uniform to store this. The light infantry carried this next to the cartridge pouch, with the line infantry the pouch was attached to the intersection of the belt. This type of rifle was also adopted by the cavalry in 1838.


1850 Introduction of friction ignition instead of percussion ignition in all artillery pieces.

In 1853 the infantry began to be armed with thorn rifles. Each company was initially assigned 18 such rifles. The porters were henceforth called riflemen . After the infantry had already been equipped with rifled Liège rifles, the Saxon King Johann bought 30 rifled gun barrels, which were needed for federal purposes, from the Prussian government. After these had been tested, the Saxon artillery took the new six-pound rifled cannon into service in 1862. The iron mount for this type of gun was also put into service. In the autumn of 1861 the infantry was equipped with Austrian rifles, Lorenz system ( muzzle loader ). The only difference to the Liège rifles was the smaller caliber and weight. The refitting of the infantry lasted until 1862. In that year, the engineering departments also received the rifled infantry rifle.

Uhlan of the 2nd Saxon Uhlan Regiment No. 18 with a Uhlan lance. You can also see some of the flags in white-green

When it joined the North German Confederation, the Saxon army took over the standard armament of the Prussian army. The line infantry regiments received the Prussian needle gun, the Prussian fusilier rifle. The two Jäger battalions received the firing needle rifle , with a side gun or hunter catcher as a hood bayonet. The last Prussian rifles were delivered in autumn 1868. From 1871 the rifle 71 was introduced in the Saxon army as the standard armament of the infantry and from 1886 to 1890 the model 71/84 from Mauser was the first multi-loader. From 1890 to 1902 the model Gewehr 88 and then the Gewehr 98 were used, later also the further development 98a.

The M 79 revolver and the M 83 revolver served as handguns .

The cavalry received the Prussian M67 saber, which was slightly modified. Only the NCOs and the crews, who were equipped with pioneer material, carried pistols. The remaining crews remained armed with the rear-loading carbine issued in 1866. The Uhlans received Prussian lances, which were provided with white-green flags.

For the artillery, the Prussian rear-loading gun from the Krupp company in Essen was considered. Furthermore, in addition to the already tested 9 cm cannon, the so-called six-pounder, another light gun was purchased for the mounted departments. This 8 cm gun, four pounder cannon, was put into service as early as November 1867. All guns were henceforth equipped with an iron mount.

Living conditions of members of the army in the Saxon army

In the vassal armies of the Saxon dukes, it was customary for the knights and nobles of the country to take their servants with them on the campaign. The knights served as riders on horseback, the servants and peasants as foot soldiers. During the campaign these were provided by the sovereigns with clothing, weapons and livelihood. After the end of the campaign, they returned to bondage.

At the beginning of the 16th century, mercenary armies were taken into the service of the Saxon princes. When there was no campaign, these troops had to support themselves, which often led to the looting of the rural population. In the course of these looting, simple peasants and workers were also recruited by the mercenaries. This was often done under duress and had the consequence that the feudal lords began to complain to the sovereign.

18th century

With the creation of the Defense Army at the beginning of the 17th century, compulsory military service was introduced for every man between the ages of 18 and 45 living in Saxony. The length of service varied between 5 and 12 years, depending on the financial and political situation. The pay in the late 17th and early 18th centuries was very low. There was also no entitlement to social benefits after disability due to compulsory service. The low pay of ordinary soldiers meant that many had to earn something on the side. The skilled shoemakers repaired the uniform boots of their comrades, the tailors made new uniforms. This circumstance often caused tensions between the regimental commanders and the guild representatives of the garrison type. They feared that their own customers might go to the soldier craftsmen.

In the reign of August II it was not uncommon for soldiers to have their wives and children with them in the soldiers' quarters. The women earned a few groschen as laundresses and the soldiers' children as messenger boys for the officers.

After the death of August the Strong, the budget of the Saxon army was continuously reduced. This led to mass layoffs of soldiers and a sharp rise in the impoverishment of the rural population, which made up the majority of the soldiers. It was not until the middle of the 18th century that large numbers of recruits and veterans were drafted again.

The Saxon soldiers had to endure a very difficult fate in the Seven Years' War. After the surrender of the army in Pirna, all men and officers were forced into the Prussian army. Some units had to take the oath the day after the surrender on the Prussian flag and marched off to their new garrisons. The Saxon soldiers, who did not feel bound by this oath, already taken under duress, began to flee back to the Saxon regiments as early as the spring of 1757. Officers had been exempted from this compulsory integration. The officer profession had a high status within society at this time. In contrast, the common soldiers did not like to be seen in public. For example, they were forbidden to visit certain bars or locations.

At the end of the 18th century, the Saxon army consisted almost exclusively of "regional children", the proportion of non-Saxons in the cavalry teams was 3.6% and 5.9% in the infantry. Most of the officers' corps also consisted of Saxony. As a result, the evangelical faith prevailed in the army . The salary of the men and lower officer ranks was still low, but corresponded to what soldiers received in other German states. The soldiers still had to earn some extra income through additional income. The monotonous garrison service and the still inadequate accommodation in civilian accommodation also had a bad effect on morale and the way the civilian population was treated. This and the increasing alcohol abuse led to more and more fights within the units and with civilians.


The advertising practices in Europe at that time were very brutal. It is described that regiments came to localities and all men, under threat of violence against the families, forcibly took them and integrated them into their regiments. August II, who liked to present himself open-minded and future-oriented, decreed in an ordinance of March 29, 1709 that not a single man can be forced into military service. Despite this ordinance, recruitment continued under duress, especially during the Great Northern War.

Supply and pay

The regimental commander was responsible for supplying the soldiers. Up to the Napoleonic Wars, the company was an independent economic unit ( company economy ). The commanders received an alimony from the General War Treasury, which they had to provide for their subordinates. The only exception was the procurement of weapons and ammunition. Since the commanders and senior officers also thought about their future after the army, some of this money was put into their own pockets. In the Ore Mountains soldiers were assigned by their commanders to harvest, so that both the commanders and the soldiers could earn something. Soldiers were also sent on vacation in order to save money, because the maintenance money of the war chest was calculated from the budget of a regiment, not from the actual strength. So it happened regularly that a third of the teams and subordinates were sent on vacation. During this time they had no income and had to work as day laborers. Due to this circumstance, especially in the war against Sweden, the Saxon regiments were hardly on budget when they were set on march by August the Strong. After the lost war, the Saxon elector changed the economic regulations, he decreed that a minimum strength could not be fallen below.

This practice, which led to mismanagement and demoralization of the army, was not abolished by Napoleon until 1809. In the course of his military reform of the Saxon army, all economic regulations were changed to the extent that all expenses of a regiment were paid directly from the war chest. At the same time, a uniform salary system was introduced for all ranks.

An excerpt from the salary system at that time says that a rider received a wage of 28 guilders in 42 days around 1700 and an infantry musketeer 12 guilders in the same period. This salary was reduced in 1707 to 14 guilders for the riders and 4.5 guilders for the musketeers due to lack of money. The officers were not exempted from this pay cut. They received an 11% cut on their wages. Compared to today, a guilder had a purchasing power of around 30 euros.

There was no pension for the soldier and the sergeant in the service of the elector, even for senior officers the pension was set personally by August II. This could be very different from general to general. The vast majority of former military personnel were poor and beggars in the principality after their service.

Military justice

As in other European armies, the so-called auditors in the Saxon army were responsible for implementing the jurisdiction. These were to be found as regimental auditors with the rank of sous - or prime lieutenant and at the court martial as captains .

When it came to a hearing, the regimental commander was always the judge and the auditor was the chief negotiator and investigator. In addition, staff or subordinate officers, subordinates or soldiers were assessors. The rank of assessors was dependent on the rank and gravity of the offense of the accused. As a rule, all assessors were in rank higher than the accused. Particularly harsh sentences had to be confirmed by the General Court of Justice. The accused could also apply for a defense at a hearing if he deemed it necessary.

From 1730 onwards, confessions could no longer be extorted against the accused using force. If the accused was found to have been subjected to excessive torture, the judgment found was declared null and void.

Spießgasse. From the Frundsberg war book by Jost Amman , 16th century

The corporal punishments were eased from 1730 by decree of the elector. The tortures that a condemned man had to endure, customary up to then, cost too many soldiers' lives. August II, who issued this decree, also wanted to prevent the condemned from deserting. As punishments, the new decree provided for arrest, beatings with a stick, rapier or rifle, being tied to a stake and riding on a pointed wooden trestle and the like. For more serious offenses, imprisonment or the death penalty could be imposed. Another punishment the head of the regiment could impose was running the gauntlet . It was customary to drive the punished person through the alley of 200 soldiers up to four times. This type of punishment was used in the Saxon army well into the 19th century. Walking the gas was also the most common form of punishment for deserters , but could only be imposed on teams and subordinates.

Officers were exempt from torture and physical punishment. In the event of a conviction, they were threatened with arrest, imprisonment, dismissal, wages and, in the worst case, cassation ( dishonorable discharge without entitlement to a pension).

It is also interesting that from 1706 dueling was made a criminal offense for military personnel . If one of the two was killed in a duel, this resulted in the other being punished with death as well.

At that time, the wives and children of members of the military, regardless of whether they were a crew or an officer, fell under the military penal law while they were staying with the regiment (for example during the Zeithainer pleasure camp).

19th century

With the beginning of the 19th century, a stronger national awareness began to grow in the individual German states. After the end of the wars of liberation and the division of Saxony, the Saxon army was reformed. This also resulted in an improvement in the soldiers' living conditions.

The individual housing of soldiers in civilian apartments was abolished and all troops were housed in barracks. This resulted in better control of the soldiers by their superiors and enabled the army to mobilize more quickly in the event of a crisis.


The recruiting system was modernized at the beginning of the 19th century. Every man living in Saxony was henceforth subject to general conscription. Volunteers were also used for recruiting. The annual requirement of the Saxon army was 15,000 to 16,000 men. When the draft was drawn, the lot decided who was drafted. The highest management of the recruiting was in the War Ministry, the recruiting commissions in the respective recruiting circles were responsible for the implementation. The service in peacetime was six years in 1840, then another three years in the war reserve. In the event that war broke out, no dismissals were carried out and the period of service was automatically extended.

At that time there was the possibility of substitution. In peacetime the adjuster paid 200 thalers to the war ministry and was exempt from military service. This possibility of exemption was abolished in 1867 when Saxony joined the North German Confederation.

Until the beginning of October 1875, recruitment was carried out according to the military replacement instruction of March 26, 1868. On September 28, 1875, the German Defense Ordinance was adopted as a uniform ordinance for the implementation of the recruitment of conscripts in all states of the North German Confederation.

Supply and pay

After the company economy was abolished by the reforms at the end of the 18th century, a company commander could claim all expenses for his unit directly from the war chest. In addition, each soldier received a monthly military salary from that fund.

In 1840 this salary was calculated as follows:

Furthermore, every soldier, regardless of which batch he belonged to, received a monthly allowance of 22 groschen and 8 pfennigs. Accommodation within the barracks was free. NCOs and men who did not live in the barracks received a monthly lodging allowance. This amounted to 3 talers for a portepeejunker and 1 taler for a corporal or ordinary soldier. The saddlers and blacksmiths received an extra 20 groschen. It is interesting that the soldier's wife is also included in the list of lodging allowances to be paid out . She also received 1 Taler of lodging allowance. This mention in the list shows that family members of the soldiers also lived within the barracks.

In 1868, during the alignment of the Saxon military regulations with the Prussian ones , the practice of pay books and military passports was adopted. From 1874 onwards, the economic officers were referred to as paymasters and the economic fouriers as paymaster aspirants. From then on, the salary received was noted in the soldiers' pay books in order to ensure better control of payment.

Pension system

In the 19th century every officer or doctor employed in the officer rank was entitled to a pension. This was linked to the active period of service. The regular retirement of officers was after 40 years of service. However, there was already an entitlement to a pension if, after ten years of service, through no fault of your own, you became incapacitated. The period of service was calculated from the beginning of the 19th year of life. Years of service in which an officer took part in a campaign were counted twice. If an officer was taken prisoner, he was only credited for the year in which he was captured. The years in captivity were not taken into account, as were years of service in a foreign army. Another factor was the expected income of the pensioner after the service period, if he earned more than 700 thalers income, the pension was reduced. The maximum rate of the pension was 3000 thalers a year.

Anyone who went blind during their service, had lost an arm, a foot, a hand or the language, received their full wages as a pension, regardless of how long they had already served. The surviving widow and the children of a deceased officer received an orphan's pension, the children up to the age of 18 and the widows up to death, unless they remarried.

After 35 years of service, non-commissioned officers and the commons were also entitled to a pension. In the event of disability, they were also provided with a pension. The disability was divided into three classes:

  • 1st class: total disability as a result of service
  • 2nd class: The soldiers, who can still earn a considerable part of their income independently
  • 3rd class: The soldiers who can still do garrison service

The pension was graded according to rank. In the case of class 1 disability, a sergeant received 8 talers per month, a common soldier and all craftsmen 3 talers per month. If he lost an arm, a leg, a hand, his eyesight or his speech while on duty, he received an increase of 2 to 3 talers per month. In contrast to the relatives of the officers, those of the NCOs and ordinary soldiers had no right to support. The widows only received a monthly pension of one thaler if the member of the army died in a campaign or died as a result of the fighting during the campaign; the children were granted 16 groschen a month up to the age of 18.

Military justice

The military jurisdiction was on discipline directly by the commanding officer (regiment commander) and stronger offenses and crimes directly through the Audi Expensive exerted martial court. Such a court martial existed as a lower court for every unit of the troops and at Königstein Fortress . There was also a so-called staff and governorate court in Dresden. This court dealt with matters related to offenses committed by generals, staff officers, regimental commanders, members of the artillery and engineering corps, the main armory and the military penal institution.

The highest military authority was the higher court martial in Dresden. In criminal matters, this court decided in the second and last instance.

The penalties imposed on military personnel were:

  • Irrespective of rank, the following were imposed: death sentences , penitentiary sentences of the first and second degree, working house sentences, prison sentences, fines and reprimands
  • The following were imposed on officers: cassation, first, second or third degree arrest , simple officer arrest
  • The following were imposed on non-commissioned officers and crews: expulsion from the soldier's position, first and second degree military labor punishment, strict, medium and simple arrest
  • Exclusively against the common: rifle, saddle or bullet carriers and corporal punishment in the presence of an officer and a doctor

In contrast to the last century, only members of the army were subject to military jurisdiction, not family members, not even if they lived in the barracks.

When Saxony joined the North German Confederation, a new military constitution came into force on November 4, 1868. This ordinance was the exact adoption of the Prussian military constitution and suspended the military penal legislation from 1855 and the military criminal procedure code from 1862. On January 1, 1868, a new penal code was passed, which was closely based on the Prussian in terms of penalties and rules.

See also


  • Mathias Antusch: The military constitution of Saxony 1815–1866 (student thesis ). GRIN Verlag, Munich 2004
  • Artur Baumgarten-Crusius: The Saxons in the field 1914-1918. Publishing house of the literary works "Minerva", R. Max Lippold, Leipzig 1923
  • Karl Wilhelm Böttiger: Brief history of the electoral state and kingdom of Saxony. Gotha 1870
  • Adolf Ludwig von Bucher: Service instruction of the royal Saxon infantryman. Publishing house N. Heinrich, Dresden 1915
  • Andreas Dethloff : The Electoral Saxon Officer Corps 1682–1806. Social, educational and career profile of a military elite . Publishing house Dr. Kovač, Hamburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-339-11152-4 .
  • Reiner Gross: History of Saxony. 2nd edition, Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 2002
  • Wolfgang Gülich : The Saxon Army at the time of Napoleon. The reorganization of 1810 (= writings of the Rudolf-Kötzschke-Gesellschaft . 9). With uniform images by Peter Bunde, 2nd improved edition, Sax-Verlag, Beucha 2008, ISBN 978-3-934544-77-2 .
  • Wolfgang Gülich: The Saxon Army at the time of the German Confederation, 1815–1867 (= writings of the Rudolf Kötzschke Society . 10). Sax-Verlag, Beucha u. a. 2011, ISBN 978-3-86729-052-4 .
  • Wolfgang Gülich: The Saxon Army in the North German Confederation and in the Empire, 1867–1914 (= writings of the Rudolf Kötzschke Society . 11). Sax-Verlag, Beucha u. a. 2017, ISBN 978-3-86729-175-0 .
  • Ferdinand Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. 2nd edition, published by JG Bach, Leipzig 1859 (digitized online )
  • Jan Hoffmann: The Saxon Army in the German Reich 1871 to 1918. Dissertation, Dresden 2007 ( PDF ; 1.4 MB)
  • Johann Edmund Hottenroth (Hrsg.): Saxony in great time. 3 volumes, R. Max Lippold, Leipzig 1920/1921
  • Arndt von Kirchbach, Carl Jacobsen: History of the royal. Saxon Rifle Regiment Prince Georg No. 108. Leipzig 1909
  • G. Klemm, AV Richard, E. Gottwald (eds.): Sachsengrün. Cultural history journal from all lands of the Saxon tribe. Meinhold, Dresden 1860/1861
  • Stefan Kroll : Soldiers in the 18th Century Between Everyday Peace and War Experience. Living worlds and culture in the Electoral Saxon Army 1728–1796 (= War in History , Volume 26). Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2006, ISBN 978-3-506-72922-4
  • Johannes Anton Larraß : History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105 and its prehistory 1701 to 1887. Print: HL Kayser, Strasbourg i. E. 1887
  • Friedrich Gottlob Leonhardi: Earth description of the electoral and ducal Saxon lands. Volume 1, Leipzig 1802
  • General Henry Lloyd: History of the Seven Years' War in Germany. Part 1, Berlin 1783
  • Karl-Heinz Lutz, Martin Rink , Marcus von Salisch: Reform, reorganization, transformation: On the change in the German armed forces from the Prussian army reforms to the transformation of the Bundeswehr. Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-486-59714-1
  • Eike Mohr: Bibliography on the army and troop history of the German Reich and its countries 1806 to 1933. 2 volumes, Biblio Verlag, Bissendorf 2004
  • Reinhold Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. Military publishing house of the German Democratic Republic, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-327-00229-0
  • Reinhold Müller, Wolfgang Rother: The Electoral Saxon Army around 1791. Berlin 1990
  • Alexander Querengässer: A status in transition. What the uniform reveals about the change in meaning of the noble officer - using the example of Saxony. In: Sandro Wiggerich, Steven Kensy (Ed.): State, Power, Uniform. Uniforms as a symbol of state power in transition? (= Studies on the history of everyday life 29). Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-515-09933-2 , pp. 147-160
  • Alexander Querengässer: The Army of August the Strong in the Great Northern War , Zeughaus Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-938447-75-8 .
  • Oskar Wilhelm Schuster , FA Franke: History of the Saxon Army from its establishment up to the most recent times , 3 parts, publishing house by Duncker and Humblot, Leipzig 1885, volume 1-3 SLUB Dresden
  • Roland Sennewald: The Electoral Saxon Army in the Thirty Years War. Zeughaus / Berliner Zinnfiguren publishing house, Berlin 2013
  • Stephen Summerfield: Saxon Artillery 1733-1827. Partizan Press, 2010
  • Roman Töppel: The Saxons and Napoleon: a mood picture 1806–1813. Cologne 2008
  • Heinrich August Verlohren, Max Barthold, Franz Verlohren: register and chronicle of the electoral and royal Saxon army from 1670 to the beginning of the twentieth century. New edition by Degener Verlag 1983
  • Theodor Wagner: History of the Royal Saxon 8th Infantry Regiment "Prince Johann Georg" No. 107 (1867-1908). Leipzig 1908
  • Rainer Wohlfeil: From the standing army of absolutism to general conscription (1789–1814). In: Military History Research Office Freiburg (Ed.): German Military History in Six Volumes 1648–1939. Volume 2, Pawlak, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-88199-112-3

Web links

Commons : Saxon Army  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 249
  2. ^ Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. Leipzig 1859, p. 4
  3. ^ Neugebauer: Fundamentals of German military history. 1993, p. 60
  4. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 98
  5. ^ Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. Leipzig 1859, p. 6
  6. ^ Sennewald: The Electoral Saxon Army in the Thirty Years' War. 2013, p. 91
  7. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 99
  8. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 262
  9. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 114
  10. ^ Fiedler: Outline of military and war history. 1976, p. 159
  11. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 115
  12. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 116
  13. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 264
  14. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 117
  15. ^ Fiedler: Outline of military and war history. 1976, p. 160
  16. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 3.
  17. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 12.
  18. ^ Fiedler: Outline of military and war history. 1976, p. 161
  19. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 44
  20. Klemm, Richard, Gottwald: Sachsengrün. 1860/1861, p. 162
  21. ^ Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 27 ff.
  22. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 30 ff.
  23. Gerber: August the Strong as Primus inter pares? 2000, p. 30
  24. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 39
  25. ↑ In 1732 August II had all infantry regiments equipped with new Suhl rifles. These had metal ramrods and not wooden ones as before
  26. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 38
  27. The name of the knight order is derived from the last German emperor from the Saxon princely house, Emperor Heinrich II. († 1024). The Military Order of St. Heinrich is the oldest German Order of Military Merit and, for example, older than the Military Order of Maria Theresa or Pour le Mérite . The order consisted of two classes, was an octagonal, gold, red enamelled cross, which bears the image of the Saxon emperor in a medallion on the front. The lettering A. III is on the tips of the cross . R. ( A ugustus III. R ex), and between the tips of he wears the Polish white eagle. On the back, the saying Pietate et bellica virtute (translated conscientiously and for military lines ) was engraved in Latin script . The ribbon was crimson with narrow silver stripes on either side. The medal was worn hanging from the neck or in the vest buttonhole.
  28. ^ Documents from the former royal Saxon State Chancellery
  29. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 56
  30. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 69
  31. a b Fiedler: Outline of military and war history. 1976, p. 164
  32. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 70
  33. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 71
  34. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 84
  35. Müller, Rother: The Electoral Saxon Army around 1791. 1990, p. 13 ff.
  36. Antusch: The Military Constitution of Saxony 1815–1866. 2004, p. 4
  37. Werner Künzel, Werner Rellecke (Hrsg.): History of the German countries - developments and traditions from the Middle Ages to the present. Aschendorff Verlag, 2005, p. 332
  38. ^ Müller: The Army of Augustus the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 15
  39. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 113; it shows the half-length portrait of the founder looking to the left with the inscription FRIEDRICH AUGUST CHURFURST ZU SACHSEN . After the increase to a kingdom, the inscription was from 1807 FRIEDRICH AUGUST KOENIG V. SACHSEN . On the lapel the three-line inscription MERIT UM DAS FATHERLAND . Weapons trophies can be seen underneath, and everything is enclosed in a laurel wreath tied at the bottom .
  40. Hassel: Statistical outline of all European states. Chapter IV, 1805, p. 27.
  41. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 120
  42. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 133
  43. ^ Dunbar Plunkett Barton: Bernadotte, French grenadier and King of Sweden, 1763-1844. Goldmann, Bern / Leipzig / Vienna 1936, pp. 316–318 (Archives of the War Ministry).
  44. ^ Walz: Sachsenland was burned down. 1999, p. 4
  45. ^ Venturini: Chronicle of the nineteenth century. 1813, p. 542.
  46. Töppel: The Saxons and Napoleon: a mood picture 1806-1813. 2008, p. 273
  47. a b Hottenroth: Sachsen in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 285
  48. von Kirchbach, Jacobsen: History of the king. Saxon Rifle Regiment Prince Georg No. 108. 1909, pp. 30-31
  49. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 287
  50. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 196 ff.
  51. ^ Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. Leipzig 1859, p. 124
  52. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 525
  53. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 205
  54. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 207.
  55. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 212
  56. Gross: History of Saxony. 2002, p. 211
  57. von Xylander: The Army Essence of the States of the German Confederation. 1842, p. 488 ff.
  58. ^ Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. Leipzig 1859, p. 146 ff.
  59. von Kirchbach, Jacobsen: History of the king. Saxon Rifle Regiment Prince Georg No. 108. 1909, p. 50
  60. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. Part III, 1885, p. 65
  61. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 538 ff.
  62. a b Brose: German history, 1789–1871. 1997, p. 342.
  63. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 290
  64. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. 1885, p. 135
  65. a b Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 280
  66. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 296
  67. ^ A b c Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume III, 1920/1921, p. 291
  68. ^ Wagner: History of the Royal Saxon 8th Infantry Regiment "Prince Johann Georg" No. 107. 1908, p. 308
  69. a b c Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 325 ff.
  70. a b c Wagner: History of the Royal Saxon 8th Infantry Regiment "Prince Johann Georg" No. 107. 1908, p. 164 ff.
  71. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 401 ff.
  72. a b c Saxony's military association calendar from 1914, p. 146 ff.
  73. von Bucher: Service instruction of the Royal Saxon Infantryman. Dresden 1915, p. 105
  74. a b c d List of casualties during the Boxer Rebellion
  75. ^ Biographies of fallen officers in Deutsch-Südwest 1904–1907
  76. Haupt: Die deutsche Schutztruppe 1889–1918. 2001, p. 55
  77. ^ Hottenroth: Saxony in great time. Volume II, 1920/1921, p. 305
  78. Artur Baumgarten-Crusius: The Saxons in the field 1914-1918, Leipzig 1923, recalculation of the table values ​​p. 523-526. Claims of more than 210,000 Saxon fallen soldiers with the conclusions drawn from them, such as a Saxon loss rate that is twice as high in the same work as in other publications, go back to gross addition errors and have no basis.
  79. Saxon State Center for Political Education (accessed December 8, 2019)
  80. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 22
  81. ^ Krell: Duke Johann Adolf II of Sachsen-Weissenfels as Saxon field marshal. 1911, p. 16
  82. Lutz, Rink, von Salisch: Reform, Reorganization, Transformation: On the change in the German armed forces from the Prussian army reforms to the transformation of the Bundeswehr. 2010, p. 94
  83. Müller: The Army of Augustus the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 14
  84. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 314 ff.
  85. ^ Fäsch: War, Engineering and Artillery Lexicon. 1926
  86. a b Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 105 ff.
  87. ^ A b von Archenholz: History of the Seven Years' War in Germany. 1828, p. 25
  88. ^ Gülich: The Saxon Army at the time of Napoleon: The reorganization of 1810. 2008, p. 156
  89. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 19
  90. Memory book for everyone who took part in the holy struggle for independence and freedom in the years 1813, 1814, 1815 , Halle and Berlin (1817)
  91. ^ Böttiger: Brief history of the electoral state and kingdom of Saxony. 1870, p. 179
  92. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, page 411
  93. ^ Müller: The Army of Augustus the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 101 ff.
  94. Zeitschrift für Heereskunde , Volume 69, Edition 415, Volume 70, Edition 422, German Society for Heereskunde, 2005
  95. a b c d e Leonhardi: Earth description of the electoral and ducal Saxon lands. 1802, p. 281 ff.
  96. Root register and chronicle of the Electoral and Royal Saxon Army, p. 66
  97. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 4
  98. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 69
  99. Larraß: History of the Royal Saxon 6th Infantry Regiment No. 105. 1887, p. 416
  100. ^ Lloyd: History of the Seven Years' War in Germany. 1783, p. 50
  101. ^ Hasche: Complicated description of Dresden: with all its external and internal peculiarities. 1783, p. 630 ff.
  102. ^ Hasche: Complicated description of Dresden: with all its external and internal peculiarities. 1783, p. 624 ff.
  103. ^ Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 13
  104. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 10 ff.
  105. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 23 ff.
  106. Lutz, Rink, von Salisch: Reform, Reorganization, Transformation: On the change in the German armed forces from the Prussian army reforms to the transformation of the Bundeswehr. 2010, p. 92 f.
  107. a b Töppel: The Saxons and Napoleon: a mood picture 1806–1813. 2008, p. 259 ff.
  108. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 9
  109. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. Pp. 74-79
  110. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 144 ff.
  111. ^ Hauthal: History of the Saxon Army in words and pictures. Leipzig 1859, p. 3 ff.
  112. Lutz, Rink, von Salisch: Reform, Reorganization, Transformation: On the change in the German armed forces from the Prussian army reforms to the transformation of the Bundeswehr. 2010, p. 94 ff.
  113. a b c Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 20
  114. ^ Forester: Friedrich August II, King of Poland, his time, his cabinet and his court. 1839, p. 268
  115. Old: Schiller: Life, Work, Time. 2000, p. 21
  116. Müller: The Army of August the Strong - The Saxon Army from 1730 to 1733. 1984, p. 18 ff.
  117. von Xylander: The Army Essence of the States of the German Confederation. 1842, p. 525
  118. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 313
  119. a b von Xylander: The army essence of the states of the German Confederation. 1842, p. 510 ff.
  120. von Xylander: The Army Essence of the States of the German Confederation. 1842, p. 529
  121. Schuster, Franke: History of the Saxon Army. P. 149