The Giants of Potsdam
January 9, 2014 12:05 PM Subscribe
posted by Iridic (18 comments total)
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"The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers
—they are my weakness." Thus confessed Frederick William
, second king of Prussia, whose passion compelled the creation of an elite regiment of six-foot-plus grenadiers
. Recruitment, diplomatic gifts, and the occasional abduction of a spindly peasant or acromegalic tradesman supplied thousands of "giants" for the ranks; experiments with breeding programs and stretching machines were somewhat less successful. Frederick II, Frederick William's son and successor, dispersed the regiment when he succeeded to power in 1740. The Potsdam Giants had never actually seen combat, the main part of their duty having been to drill and parade before their enraptured king.
Frederick II ("The Great") was himself one of his father's experiments in military formation. Wikipedia
As a small child, Fritz was awakened each morning by the firing of a cannon. At the age of 6, he was given his own regiment of children to drill as cadets, and a year later, he was given a miniature arsenal. Fritz was beaten for being thrown off a bolting horse and wearing gloves in cold weather...After the prince attempted to flee to England with his tutor, Hans Hermann von Katte, the father had Katte executed before the eyes of the prince, who himself was court-martialled.