The background, history and dress of the Prussian Army's Reserve regiments is complex, and I will not try to give anything more than a very basic account thereof. As a result of the humiliating Peace of Tilsit in 1807, and the following Treaty of Paris, the size of the Prussian Army was severely limited to just 42,000 men, at least on paper. The "Kruemper System" was used to pass a moderate number of men through the ranks for training, and then discharge them as a sort of reserve pool of trained manpower. At best, however this pool never exceeded 50% of the strength of the authorized army. Following the Convention of Taurroggen on December 30th, 1812, which established a cease-fire with the Russians, General Yorck's Prussian Auxiliary Corps effectively defected; Yorck started raising militia in East Prussia in January 1813. King Frederick Wilhelm III officially rejected this action on January 10th, declaring support for Napoleon, and with his approval commenced the mobilization of Prussian forces, including the Kruemper reservists. On March 17, 1813, Prussia declared War upon France, commencing their War of Liberation or Befreiungskriege.
As part of this process ultimately twelve Reserve regiments were raised. The men for these were drawn from the the Kruemper Reservists, new recruits, and a small contingent of men and officers drawn from the unit's Stammregiment. Uniforms, muskets, and all manner of equipment were in very short supply. The initial official uniform for these Reserve regiments was to be a grey, tailless jacket, grey pants, grey equipment, black crossbelts, and a grey cap, the Schirmuetze", with a black visor. The collar and cuffs were to be in the provincial color, as worn by the unit's regular equivalent Stammregiment. as much as possible. officers and NCO's were supposed to wear the standard regular army uniform, though, once again that of the Stammregiment. In the event, there were wide variations in the dress of these units, down to the battalion basis. Although an effort was made to replace these initial grey uniforms following the Armistice of the summer of 1813, some units were still wearing them as late as 1815.
The units depicted in this post are all 25/28mm Old Glory figures, and are all wearing uniforms that approach the regulations above; a subsequent post will cover Reserve units wearing very different forms of dress! Each unit's coat and pants are actually in a different shade of grey; indeed, this project used every hue of grey paint that I had, and even more would have been helpful!
The first unit up is the 1st Reserve Regiment. It's Stammregiment was East Prussian, and thus they wear the orange ("Tile-Red" or "Brick-Red", Knoetel gives the shade in German as ziegelrot) facings of that province. The shade is often depicted as what we today would call "orange", as it is in the Osprey "Prussian Reserve, Militia, & Irregular Troops, 1806-15", Men at Arms #192 by Peter Hofschroer, illustrated by Bryan Fosten. My love for color being well known,I have of course opted for this more distinctive shade, rather than an a duller, orange-red hue. :-)
This view of the 1st Reserve Regiment shows the officers wearing the blue uniforms of the Regular units, as per regulations. The drummer has "wings" on the shoulders of his jacket in the provincial color, piped white. The rims of his drum are in provincial color as well. I could find no documentation about the dress of drummers in the Reserve units, not that that would likely mean much anyway, so I used the same pattern as set forth for the Regulars.
Rear view of the 1st RR; note the grey equipment. This uniform (along with white crossbelts) was only worn by the 1st battalion of the regiment. The Schirmuetze supposedly had a brick red numeral 1 on the front of the cap; I didn't try to paint this on!
Next up is the 2nd Reserve Regiment; it has white collars, cuffs, and band on the Schirmuetze, as it's Stammregiment was Pomeranian. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd battalions wore this uniform, at least initially. By the way, the Osprey has a lot of detail of the dress of the 1st RR as an example, and then dismisses any coverage of the other eleven regiments in favor of a lot of interesting but not very useful historical details. A far superior source for uniforms is David Nash's The Prussian Army, 1808-13, published by Almark in 1972. Although my copy is literally falling apart after 40 years, it remains invaluable, and is the main source for the Reserve uniforms shown.
Note the very modern appearance of the uniform - they could almost be WW2 German Luftwaffe, eh? In this case, I have given the officers the same uniforms as the men, contrary to regulations. The drummer's wings, being white (Pomeranian provincial color), are in this case piped in red, same as they would be for a line unit.
A final view of the 2nd Reserve Regiment; note again the all grey equipment, this time with regulation black belts and straps.
Deployed in square, we have the 7th Reserve Regiment. This unit's Stammregiment was West Prussian, so it's facings are crimson; I have opted for a relatively bright shade here. For this unit, I once again have the officers in the dark blue regulation Line Infantry uniforms.
Note the red wings on the shoulders of the drummer';s uniform, piped in white - you actually can tell the difference between these and the white piped in red of the former unit! Nash actually says the 2nd and 3rd battalions had crimson piping on grey collars, cuffs, shoulder straps, and the lead edge of the jacket, while the 1st had just crimson collar patches. I have opted for a more "regulation" display of facing colors, however.
A final view of the 7th Reserve Regiment; the (free) flag is from Warflag with some slight paint enhancement, same as all of the flags seen in this post.. Officially, these units were not to have flags, but it seems that this regulation was largely observed in the breech, with unofficial flags similar to that carried by the Landwehr being likely.
The blue flag and the yellow facings clearly mark this unit as having a Silesian Stammregiment. This is the 10th Reserve Regiment. Nash notes that the 3rd battalion of this regiment had grey coats that were "very dark, almost black in color." Thus I have used Payne's Grey for the jackets and pants of this unit.
The very dark grey coats almost make this look like a Brunswick unit, especially with the blue and yellow colors of the flag! Note the white tin "Landwehr Cross" on the front of the cap of the officers; the men might equally well have had them sewn onto their caps. although these castings do not have them.
The 10th Reserve Regiment actually looks quite dapper in dark grey faced yellow, and with the more colorful flag, don't you think? Most authorities feel these Reserve regiments were pretty much up to the standard of the Line after a few months on campaign.