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The Napoleon Series > Military Information > Organization, Strategy & Tactics

Prussian Swordknots 1802 - 1808

By Oliver Schmidt

According to Kling (Infanterie, p. 80) in his definitive work on the Prussian infantry, the colors of Prussian Swordknots from 1802 to 1808 were:


1st grenadier-company: red
2nd grenadier-company: black
Leib-Kompangnie (belonging to the chief of the regiment): white
2nd company (belonging to the commander of the regiment): carmoisin red
3rd company: sulphur yellow
4th company: violet
5th company: orange
6th company: light blue
7th company: brown
8th company: dark blue
9th company: light green
10th company: dark green

From 1799 to 1806, the colors for the fusilier battalions were white, dark green, orange, violet, but the latter two colors seem to have been replaced by blue and red from 1800 onwards. (Kling, Infanterie, p. 83; Leichte Infanterie, p. 23)

The Grenadier-Garde-Bataillon (No. 6) and the three batallions of the guard (No. 15) had another combination of colors which is unknown today. Two companies of the guard had white sword knots except for the ring, which had vertical red and white stripes for the one, and vertical blue and white stripes for the other. (Kling, p. 81)

The straps for the sword knots were of white woolen lace. while the Grenadier-Garde-Bataillon (No. 6) had red leather straps. It is possibe the two grenadier companies of the Regiment Schöning (No. 11) also had red leather straps, for in 1842 when the two grenadier companies which had been formed from them in 1808, received red leather straps to commemorate their parent companies' bravery at the battle of Cassano in 1705. (Kling, p. 81)

Unteroffiziere always had black and white sword knots on a white strap with black edges, whereas the Feldwebel in each company had the officers' portepee. German "Portepee" derives from the French "porte-épée" (literally carry-sword) and is the swordknot of the officers. According to Kling, Infanterie, p. 231, it was silver with black interwoven threads. It was carried on a silver band with black edges, whereas the portepee of cuirassiers and dragoons officers was of black leather with integrated silver threads in the sword knots on their epee.


Kling, Constantin. Geschichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung des Königlich Preußischen Heeres 3 vol., Weimar, 1902-1912.

Volume 1: Die Infanterie-Regimenter im Jahre 1806. Allgemeine Bemerkungen.

Volume 2: Die Kürassier- und Dragoner-Regimenter seit Anfang des 18. Jahrhunderts bis zur Reorganisation der Armee 1808.

Volume 3: Die leichte Infanterie oder Die Füsilier-Bataillone 1787-1809 und Die Jäger 1744-1809.