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Military History/German uniform, Franco-Prussian War


Abr. Zahn,abt 1870
Abr. Zahn,abt 1870  
The attached photo is my great-grandfather Abraham Zahn, aged 18 to 20 (born 1850, Schwetzingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg).  He is supposed to have served in the Franco Prussian War, and left for New York in 1872.  Is there any way to identify his unit from his uniform?  Many thanks for your help.

This is all I can really tell you from the photograph.

He was in the Line infantry.  The white shoulder straps, blue tunic and red piping, the lighter colored strip along the edge of his tunic left of his buttons.  That's red.  The collar had red flash inserts too, just visible on the left side as the lighter colored material.

White shoulder straps indicate he was in the 1st or 2nd Corps.  They used white, II &IV used red, V & VI used yellow, VII & VIII used Sky Blue.

His regimental number would be embroidered on the shoulder straps.

I cannot identify the ribbon on his blouse, but will keep looking.

Buttons would have been brass, unless he was in the Fusiliers, which would have been white metal.  Hard to tell the difference in the photo.

Regimental piping would have been found on the sleeve cuffs, which is not seen in the picture.

The dragoons wore light blue trimmed in yellow.  and the Jagers wore green trimmed with red.  The tones in the photo do not support either of these colors.

While he might have been from Wuerttemberg, I don't believe he served in a unit from there, if you compare the Wurttemberg uniforms, they have more distinctive shoulder ornamentation than the general Prussian line infantry. Plates I and II compared to those for Wurttemburg on the link below.

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Keith H. Patton


I can answer questions pertaining to weapons and tactics, personalities, battles, and strategies in european and U.S. history.


I was a history major, and had done extensive research in the subject area. I have designed and tested numerous computer games for various
historical periods.

B.A History M.S. Science
I have had the opportunity to live abroad and walk numerous battlefields both in the United States, Europe, and the Pacific.

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