Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Kurmark landwehr infantry source material

Posted by Martin on February 10, 2008

Band 2, No. 18Band 17, No. 37
In my recent post about Kurmark landwehr infantry casualty figures, I listed some basic uniform details about provincial colours for cuffs, collars and cap bands as well as data about distinctive shoulder strap colours for battalions. Well, nothing tells a complex story better than a picture, so here are a couple of relevant Knotel plates (click on the thumbnails to see them full size).

The Knotels were not contemporary artists, so their plates cannot be classed as primary sources but they are widely acknowledged as experts in their field. They had access to primary source material across the great libraries, museums and collections of Europe so a high (but not total) level of confidence can be placed in their plates. Both these plates show landwehr infantry from several provinces and illustrate well the variations from official uniforms that were common on campaign.

As an example, look at the presence (or otherwise) of the provincial colours on the cuffs of the litewka. In the left-hand plate (Band 17, No. 37) we see several figures (including the Kurmarker on the right) with no distictive colour on the cuffs at all; yet the same plate clearly shows a Silesian with completely yellow cuffs. Now compare with the right-hand plate (Band 2, No. 18) and note how many of the cuffs here are piped with the provincial colour.

So, unless you have access to source data for the specific unit you’re painting, there’s room for interpretation. In my case, I’m going for the more colourful option of cuffs fully in the provincial colour – at least for the second battalion. I might opt for piping on one or more of the other battalions in the regiment though.


6 Responses to “Kurmark landwehr infantry source material”

  1. Glen said


    I was mulling this one over myself over the weekend, other than adding battalion numbers to shoulder straps….!!! How to differentiate between the battalions of the same Regiment? I will probably take a similar line to you, full cuff for 1st Bn, piping for the second and none for the third.


  2. Martin said

    Glen, there is already a way to disinguish individual battalions without worrying about the cuffs (though some books report this inaccurately as a way to distinguish between regiments). The shoulder straps were distinctive colours by battalion within a regiment: 1st = white, 3rd = yellow and 4th = light blue.

    Still, varying the cuffs is good fun.

  3. Glen said


    Thanks for the clarification. I grabbed one of my books out and re-read the section on shoulder straps. Correct me if I am wrong, line regiments wore shoulder straps in different colours based on seniority, ie 1st White, 2nd Red etc. Landwehr used the same colours however it was for battalions not regiments. The Regimental number for Landwehr could be on the shoulder strap.



  4. Martin said

    That’s right Glen – line regiments used shoulder strap colour to denote regimental seniority whereas the landwehr infantry used it for battalion identification.

    I’ve got the feeling that landwehr cavalry didn’t necessarily follow the same convention as landwehr infantry. I’d I’ve to go away and check.

    BTW – a good reference for this is Peter Hofschroer’s “Prussian Landwehr and Landsturm 1813-1815” published by RAFM. I think it’s out of print but still readily online and from specialist and second-hand bookshops.

  5. Phil said

    All very interesting, but let’s not lose site of the immediate concern. Greens, greens, greens …..

  6. Malte said

    Thanks, I didn’t even know there was a difference in the meaning of shoulder straps for line regiments and landwehr infantry.

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