Précis of the Regimental History of the 3rd Brandenburg Infantry Regiment (No. 20) During the Campaign of 1870–71

H. T. Hildyard
1891 Royal United Services Institution Journal  
View related articles 1866 und 1870-71." By Mujor Kirckhoff and First Lieutenant Brandcnburg I. Berlin, 1631. Ernst Siegfried Bfiltlcr und Sohn. Prico 6r. 1 Every regiment on mobilization forms an Ersatz or depht bnttnlion, to khich arc draft4 wmc of the Ofiiccrs, X.C.O.'s, nnd prirutcs from the regiment.-En. Downloaded by [RMIT University Library] at 14:42 17 June 2016 RRD. BRISDESIIURQ REQIMEST IN lS70-71. 973 qoRrtcr thv wholo rcgirncnt in Wittcnbcrg ;' R portion of tho sur-Nlinding villages
more » ... were, therefore, occupicd. AS early as the scrcnth mobilization day the rcgiment was able to Ieport tlie mobilization complctcd. Tlic short time that r e m a i d , clotliing tho men, was ntilizcd by the cornpanics for drill. By *gimental .older, cock company was practised onco in field firing wit11 Gall cartridge. On tho 22nd July orders were received for tbc rcgiment to more on tllc following day. With thc csccption of two, commnndcd by First I,ientenants, all twelve cornpanics of the regiment were commanded by Captains. Envy company had, bcsidcs threr! Subaltern Officers and nine' compinics, a fourth. Tho Ersatz battnlion was given trro Captains and two First Licutennnts as company commandcis. d Captain was dctachcd as Adjutant to tho 9th Division, and a Firct Lientcnant as Adjutant to tlie 6th Infantry UriRade. The Commander of t t c fusilier battalion was transferred to tho command of the Jngcr battalion of the corps.3 On the 23rd July the regimcnt was morcd by rail by Jlngdcburg, Brunswick (hcrc coffcc was provided), Hnnnovcr, Biclcfcld, Hamin ( d i c r e tho mcn hod R warm meal), Dortmund, and Cologrio to Bingcrbriick, where it arrircd on tho morning of the 25th, and mu placed in cantonments at I'lanig, Bibclshcim, and Brctzenhcim. Tho rest of tlio IIIrd Corps was conccntiatcd in cantonments a t and about Krcuznach. so as to facilitatc tho concentration cf the 2nd Army, the IIIrd Gorp was now m o m l further towards thc frontier bj-march. The heat, srid thc:liilly naturc of the country, rciidcrcd the march vcry trying. On tho Mi August, which was to havc bccn a halt, tile alarm was given in tlie mrly moriiing, and tho regiment was mored forward again. Thc infantry liad n o w approached to within some fcir milts of tlic cnyalry divisions, wvhicb liad bccn pushed forward carlicr to tlic frontier. Tlic lIIrd Army Corps u-GS now so near the enemy that tho rmmh was ordcrpd to bu carricd out in largc badics, nrid cantonmcnt guards On the 5th August tho regiment wcnt into cantonments at and allout St. Wendel, \vlicrc, 0x1 the following dny, a tclcgr:rcni was received by the Coloncl from Snarbtiicken : " Irnmcdiatcly by rail, entrain them wbntever portion of thc regimcnt can bo conreycd. 5th Division in action." Tlic 2nd and the fusilicr battnlions were actually in St. Wendel, and wcrc formed u p a t tho railway station within a qunrtcr of an In t h e Subaltern Oflccrs, kowcrer, w-crc included six Airtep&ihtiricR. A Postrperfiinrirh is n Ioung man .a110 Iias bccn n cadet, or i 3 eerring in tlic ranks, and linring passcd n special eraminaticn, ia wrying as a candidatc for a coiiimiseicn.--J.:D. In 1866 nonc of thc mobilircd cornpanics Lad moro than tlrcc Subaltern Oficers.-II. II. Includiog thc rcgimentnl and battalion Commmdcrs and their Adjutants, thero werc 6i Officcra nith tlic rcgiiiient. Thc rtrengtli of the rcgimcnt is not g i~c n , bct probnblr each battolion x w ncarlj 1,W strong, crclusirc of Ofliccrs.-IC~~ pO6tCd. Downloaded by [RMIT University Library] at 14:42 17 June 2016 '374 IIISTORT Ok' THE 3RD BRhSDESBURG ISFAXTRY' hour. The lst, which occupied cantonments in a nciglibouring villngc, was not long after them. But tlie first train, which left at 4 P.X. with thc fusilicr battalion, found the line blocked, and it ~8 8 7.30 before tho last battalion left. Conscqnently, only tlic fusilicr battalion arriyed on thc ficld that cvcning, and it x-as too lato to takc any activo part in. thc action. 1% othcr two battalions joined it early on tho morning of the 7th August; t h y had arrired at Sanrbriick bctwccn I) and 10 the prcvions evening, but had, by mistake, bccn dircctcd to Uurbach. Tlic regiment profited by thc capture at Forbach of French ti-nsport, inasmuch as compnnr arts were allotted to it, ~diich prored of immcnse scrvico during tlio subsequent course of the campign. Already, in tlic Pnlatinntc, tlic pack horses told off for tho compnnics hnd been found unpractical for tlic transport work required; but thc regulations did not admit of tlicir bciug used in carts. Tho vnluc of this was now recognized, and tlie usc of carte cnconixged. Tho order was now gircn for thc adnncc of thc thrcc armiaj torrards tlic Noscllc. Thc 2nd Army marclicd by thc St. Avold-NoniCny road, moving off on tlic Otli August ; thc 20th Rcgirncnt formed a part of tlio advanccd guard of tlio Gtli Division. .XotwitL standing tho csccllencc of thc roads, the intense heat rcndcrcd the marclies w r j -tiying. On the 13th August thc 1st battalion rcnclicd DuchF; tlic 2nd bnttnlion Sillj, and wcrc partly enntoncd, partly birounckcd, at tho& villagcs. Thc fusilier battalion was on outpost duty, north-wcst of Bachy. On tlio 14th August the outposts liad bcen puslied-forward, Marshal Dazninc had now only t r o nltcrnatives to choose bctwecu. Eitlicr he must offcr battle, snpportcd by tlic 3Ioscllc and b~ the fortress of Mctz, or lie must retiro b~ Vcrdun to Clialolis, and cffcct a junction there with BIadIahon's annj. A s his retreat \vm nlrcndj threatened by tho dice1 to tho riglit of tlic German A r q , lic dctcrinincd to adopt tlic latter coursc. But on tlic afternoon of tho 14th August his rear wns orertakcn by tlic 1st Army, and attacked at Co!ombel)-. Thc 3rd Army Corps occupied 011 that day n position across the Xom6nj--Mctz road, fronting towards that fortress, to cover the flank march of tlio 2nd Army, in thc direction of Pont-h-llousson. The Gth Di-rision was postcrl in thc yicinity of St. Jurc. Tlic fusilicr battalion took tho outliosts at Louvignj. Tlic nrtillcrj-cngagcmcrlt at Colombcy could be distinctly lieard in thc bivounc. On tlic morning of tho 15th August them was not n Frcnchnlan left on the riglit bnnk of thc Blosellc. Tho admnccd cavalry patlds rcportcd thc Brencli Army in full retreat on Chalons. But Oelajcd by tho iinrucnsc tixin :iccompnnying it, and by its columns bcing conf i n d to two roads, its moro iidvanceci Army Corps had not rctircd by the enning further than the nciglibourliood of Griivelotto m d Rcronrillc, whilst its rcarmost corps were still closc to Jlctz. Orders wcrc issucd from thc licadqaartcrs of tho Gcrman Armies for the closc up to the 3losclle. Downloaded by [RMIT University Library] at 14:42 17 June 2016 REOIMEST DURIM THE CAJIPAI\I(r'S OF 1870-71. '375 .J"(I Army to prcss forward on tho 15th, to the d s leading from areb, by Prcsnes and by Etain to Vcrdun. Tile 20th Rcgimcnt left its bi\-oum at St. Jnre at 8 o'clock. Thc order of inarch of thc division was changed; the 12th Brigadc formed tile dvancc guard, the 11th Bripdc the main body, with the 20th *gimcnt in rcar. -TILO Scille crossed at Cheminot, and at 2 r.x. the column haltcd at Longcvillc-lcs-Clicminot, north of this placc, and dhncrs were cookcd. The division wa8 to cross thc uoscllc at Champcy by ;t pontoon bridge, to In? constructed by tho Pioneers. The construction offered apcial di6cnltics on account of tho swollcn state of the river. While waiting the troops formed a bivouac, tlic 20th Regiment bcing situated iu a mcadow west of thc road. Whilst the dinners were cooking Prince E'rcdcrick Charles rod0 up and said, " LIow are you p t t i n g on, my men?" Tlic a n s m r \vas, "Vcry well, J-our Highleas, only we should like to sco tlic Frcnch soon." " Thcn," said the Prince, Inughing, "~O U can bo satisficd. Only keep your Icgs well in haud to-day and to-inorrow, and you will ovcrtakc them, and cut off tlicir retreat on Paris." Shouts of joy rcsounded through the entire camp a t tho ncws. About 7 P.M. tho march was resumed. All fatignc was forgotten at thc prospcct of getting up with tho cncmy, arid, accompanicd by cheerful singing, thc column marclied by Bouxiorcs, up and down Iiill, to tho high bank of thc 3Ioscllc. Late in the cvening tho licnd of tho dirision reached tho bridge at Chnmpoj-. But as it could as yct Lo crosscd only in filc, thc column following mas put to the most irksorno and fatiguing dclnys. At cvcry morncnt tho oirlcr was given, "Halt-Ordcr arms." Soon thc exhaustion of the men was so grcnt that on tho ordei-, "Halt ! " all tlircw tkemsclvcs down on tlic road, so as to rcst tlicir lcgs a littlc. But o d y for a few minutes. Thcn €ollo\vcd tho order, " Slope. a r m ! J h c h ! " All struggled u p and staggcrcd OIL as if drunk, from slccp. At last the road is lcft, a firc is sccn in the disbncc, marking the position oE tho bridgo; nnd so011 the turn of the regixncnt carno to cross. It mas now midnight. Tho inarch was-continued until 2 AX., 1Gtli. August, whcn n birounc \\-as forrncd a t Pagny. After liardly two Iiours' slccp thc troops wcre on foot again. At 4 B.U. tlic regimcntal i~agoris nrrircd, aftcr crossing the rivcr at l'ont-iJlousson, and coffcc was prepared. In thc! early dawn tlic Colonel of the rcgimcnt was to bo ~c c n tnoi-ing about thc camp fires, cncoumging thc mcn, and esprcssing tlio cspcctation that in thc cvcxit of a fight thcy would do tlicir duty and mnintaiu tho crcdit of tho regiment. From every sido he W~S rcccivcd with chccrful assuianccs that thcj-could Bc dcpcndcd OU. Shortly aftcr 5 o'clock the order to fall in was given, and the mlvaiicc rcsurncd. Only tho lcd horscs, tlio medical and ammunition wagons, f o i i o d tiic battalions. The advanced guard was composed of a cnrnlry rcginicnt, n battcry, and n brigdo of infantpy ; the main body of thrcc bnttciics, and B brigade of infantry. In each caw thc battcrics movcd bctmcn tho two regiments of thc brigadc. Downloaded by [RMIT University Library] at 14:42 17 June 2016 976 nISTORY. OF THE BRD IIRAh'DESBURO ISFASTRT On re.whing Onvillc, tho maidi was continued in 8 n~r t h -w c s t~~]~ direction tlirough R hilly, wootlcd country, on thc road to Tour. . Thc heat was tropical, and thc march most fatiguiug. But tllo old Prnssian scnsc of duty kept the l3randenburgers up, and impelled thcm forward. A t about nine o'clock n, lialt was mndc 011 tlic r o d , in a clearing in n wood. But hard13 had :wms been piled, and tho men strctclied out their weary limbs in thc shade, when the sound of gnns was from the nort h-east , " Stand to," was tlic ordcr repented on all sides, and tllc ndviince was resurncd towards thc sound of firing. Buricres W-RS rcaclied at R qnickened pace, and n position taken behind the advanced guard brigade, which had drcady formcd up. Tho battalion Commnndcr wns with the 11th c it11 zug? Only a brief momcnt of rcst was accordcd. About tlic point marked " b " on the slictch.-Eu. 3 Apparently tho 11th company wa3 on thc riglit of tlic 12th compauy.-Eo. 3 Tlic iiiap in tlic olIicin1 uccount, 5.4, sli0a.s tLnt thc rall~;r rcfcrrcd to is t l~c OW riinning XX. bctwccn tlic villa-e of Yionvillc and tlm ccmctcg.--lh 4 Each of tlie t d r c compa&s of R rcgiuicnt is dirided into tlircc ziigc. In cach coiupmy onc of thrrc ivns called thc Echiitrcnzug. 9% rrmainiiig cight wcrc nunibercd consecutivelJ from right to lcft through cacli battalion. TIE z i i~ Of tlic lst, 5th, and 0th companies v w c nuuibcrcd 1 and 8, thocc of the 2nd, G t I , and 10th compnnics 3 and 4, and so OL-ED. Downloaded by [RMIT University Library] at 14:42 17 June 2016 REQIYEST DURlXQ THE CAMPAIQN OF 1810-71. 979 T~C furious fire conccntratcd a t this spot from Flavigny, from tho of poplar trccs cait of Vionrille, and tho troops Bchind, west "f azonville, was traverscil at tlic double. Tlic company thcn giv:tnccd uniiitcrruptedly np into n gap iri tho liric of ttic 36th. The riglit \\-ing *of this rcgimcnt had its front towiirds Plavigny ; the left s i n g fronted morc to thc north to the road. On tlic right, ncnr tho latter troops, tho 11th company now took its and with tticrn occopicd a IUC~CION-, tlirough wliich flolt-cd a ymrll stream north of Flavigny, with tlic front towards tho copso of poplars. On tho way to its present positioii tlic company Iind lost no less than 50 killcd and tvounded, of wliom 4 \\-cru Ouiccrs, viz., 1 Captain,
doi:10.1080/03071849109416687 fatcat:pyisxmf4enevdbwvriekwbop4u