Many of the Imperial troops in the early war years were from the Catholic League. One of the predominant players in the Catholic League was the Bavarians who supplied many troops. The units of the League often wore light blue or red coats. In addition, there are many references to troops of General Tilly wearing bright red stockings.
The Catholic flags often carried images of the Virgin Mary. She was the patroness of Bavaria and flags often incorporated the sky blue and white pattern found on the Bavarian coat-of-arms with her image.
Tilly, a commander of the Catholic League (Bavarian) Army was quoted as saying, "a ragged soldier and a bright musket" was all he needed. The old warrior monk, Tilly, was one of the most successful generals of the war and his ragged (poorly dressed) soldiers made short work of the better uniformed Protestants until Gustavus Adolphus changed the methods of fighting.
Unit History – Reinach IR
The regiment is based on one of the League regiments that formed part of Pappenheim’s late arrivals at Lutzen – Reinach. Formed in 1620, this Bavarian regiment saw action at Werben (August 1631) as part of Tilly’s attacking force. A detachment fought at Breitenfeld (September 1631) under the command of Lt-Col. Gotta. The regiment was at Bamberg (March 1632) as part of Cratz’s Corps and later fought at Lech (April 1632). After the death of Tilly, the unit became part of Pappenheim’s forces. During its service with Pappenheim, it was considered one of the best units in the Corps. The unit participated in Pappenheim’s expedition to Saxony (October 1632).
At Lutzen (November 1632), the unit arrived late to the battlefield and provided a covering force for the retreating Imperial force. After Lutzen, the regiment was transferred to the command of Bonninghausen and was defeated at Hessich-Oldendorf (July 1633). Later the regiment transferred to the Bavarian army with a detachment fighting at Nordlingen (September 1634). The regiment remained in Bavarian service at least until 1642.
A well-regarded unit which saw considerable action and retained it’s cadre of veterans which trained the new recruits and stiffened the regiment.
The attached colours are speculative but incorporate key elements of the flags attributed to the Catholic League. The figures are primarily Foundry ECW and TYW and Perry ECW. This is my favourite unit of the Imperial army and its tercios have often been victorious… when they closed to melee. The unit is presented as a tercio formed for Piquet’s Anchor of Faith which is an eight stand unit. Later in the TYW the tercio was replaced by the small Dutch formation which is represented by four stands.
Text: Uniforms of the Thirty Years War by Bill Boyle in Time Portal Passage Summer 2000
Battles of the Thirty Years War From White Mountain to Nordlingen, William P. Guthrie, Greenwood Press, 2002.