Sunday 19 July 2015

Baron Karl Sigismond Friedrick Wilhelm Leutrum

Here is the second Piedmontese General from the pack of Perry AWI French Colonels. The AWI uniform has some late features for my mid 18th century officers but it was the fantastic pose that caught my attention. The changes (enlarging the cuffs, removing epaulettes and adding a sash) were easily achieved with green-stuff. Here you can see him inspiring a couple of battalions from his brigade. He is wearing his Rehbinder uniform.

Recently I received in the post Stephen Manley’s WAS guide for Italian uniforms and I’m very pleased I ordered it. I have made some changes already to what I had previously painted. Firstly, the gun colour has changed to mid/light blue. Secondly, but not visible, is the flame of some of the Grenadier bearskins. I have further changes to make at some stage as the drummers all wore a House livery as I had suspected but had not been able to research. New battalions will get this livery but I’m not re-painting (yet) the four battalions that have been finished.

Baron Karl Sigismond Friedrick Wilhelm Leutrum (1692-1755)

Born at Karlhausen, Baden. Sent to Piedmont at 14 as part of the escort of Prinz Eugene. Deciding to join the Sabaudian army, he was made Captain of Infantry (c.1706), then in 1725 Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment Rehbinder (one of the German regiments in Piedmontese service). Became Colonel of Rehbinder in 1732 and distinguished himself in the War of the Polish Succession, making Brigadier in 1735.

At the start of the War of the Austrian Succession he was still a Brigadier, and in 1743 accompanied his regiment when it was sent to assist the Austrians. Fighting at Campo Santo, he and General Aspremont-Linden led a counterattack with three regiments, including his own, that stabilised a Spanish breakthrough. Aspremont-Linden was killed; Leutrum badly wounded. But they had compelled a Spanish regiment to surrender, and Leutrum was promoted to Major General on the battlefield.

Later that year he helped defend the Susa valley, while his regiment was sent south to counter the main Bourbon effort on the Varaita. In 1744 he fought at Villefranche, leading a counterattack that temporarily recaptured several positions. Evacuated to Oneille by sea, he found himself appointed Governor of Cuneo, under imminent threat of siege. Leutrum energised the defence, restoring morale, organising the citizens, laying-in enough stores for a five-months siege, and building outworks and redoubts – he preferred to defend as far forward as possible. The siege of Cuneo is recognised as his greatest moment and he became a hero to both the Sabaudian army, and the townspeople.

In 1745 he twice defeated French attacks against the key position of Ceva, south of Asti and Alessandria, and in early 1746, he led the counteroffensive against the French at Asti with an army of 30,000 men. Leutrum remained in Lombardy that year, finally concluding the siege of Tortona in November. In the Bourbon offensive of 1747 he held, with inferior forces, a defensive position covering the Tende Pass to the sea against 50 battalions. At war’s end, Leutrum returned to Cuneo as its Governor.

He was further honoured by the renaming of Regiment Burgsdorf, “Regiment Leutrum”. But he refused the collar of the Ordine della Santissima Annunziata, Piedmont’s greatest decoration, because only Catholics could qualify; Leutrum was a Protestant, and chose to remain so. Before he died of dropsy in 1755, he asked to be buried in the Waldesian Valley, home of the Protestant Vaudois.


  1. Beautiful troops and great background, love the splendid flags as well!

  2. Very pleased to see so many Piedmontese troops and an article on "Barun Litrun" as it is still sung in my valleys ... The Baron is buried not far from where I live.