1. “Goose step” marching style was first invented and used by the Prussians.
“Goose step” is a form of marching used by many armies even today. It allows units to move faster while maintaining their formation and organization. It was first invented by Prussians in early 18th century under the command of Frederick Wilhelm I , also known as the Soldier King. Introduction of “goose step” marching into military was one of the many reforms done during the rule of the Soldier King. The reform proved itself successful over time and the usage of this style slowly spreaded to other armies of the Europe as well. To this day, it is still used by armies all around the world.
2. There was an infantry regiment consisting of really tall men called “Potsdam Giants”.
The Soldier King was a unique man with his obsession with things related to military. And one of these obsessions was his excitement about tall and giant looking soldiers. The King liked tall soldiers so much that he eventually created a regiment for them. These soldiers had to be at least 1.88 meters (6’2″) tall to be allowed into the regiment. The King even recruited tall soldiers from the armies of other countries. Even though they were intended to impress and intimidate enemy armies with their gigantic appearance, in reality most of these soldiers were unfit to fight properly because their height often prevented them from moving as easily as others in the battlefield. The regiment slowly faded away after the Soldier King’s death and was finally disbanded after the Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena.
3. Junkers, Prussian aristocrats, were forced to take military training at the academy in order to be officers in the army.
Junkers were the Prussian aristocrats who held huge chunks of land to the east of the Elbe River. Like other armies at those times, Prussian army ranks were mostly filled with these noblemen. The difference was, however, that the Junkers had to go to Military Academy and get proper military training in order to become officers. The educated and trained officers proved much more effective than officers of the other armies of Europe that were mostly unexperienced. While most of the other countries’ noblemen were appointed as generals solely because they were noblemen, Prussian Junkers actually deserved their place in the army with merit.
4. “Iron Cross” military decoration was first used by the Prussian King Frederick Wilhelm III.
Iron Cross is one of the most popular military decorations in the history of warfare. Even though it is mostly known for being used by the German Empire in WWI and Nazi Germany in WWII, it was originally designed by Prussians. Its history goes as far as Napoleonic Wars, when in 1813, during the campaign of the sixth coalition, King Frederick Wilhelm III. commisioned the Cross as a military decoration that can be given to any soldier, regardless of the rank. The Cross was basically inspired by the cross used by the Teutonic Knights. Its popularity grew larger after it was recomissioned during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and later in two world wars.
5. “Wargames” were invented and first used by the Prussians.
A wargame is, esentially, a tool for military officers and soldiers to learn some basic principles about warfare, without having to go to a real war first. Its design is mostly derived from strategy games like chess. Its invention goes back to 1780 when a Prussian named Johann Christian Ludwig Hellwig designed the first wargame. Even though it wasn’t seen as an important invention at first, the approach to wargames changed drastically after the Napoleonic Wars. Prussian General Staff ,in early to mid 19th century, used wargames regularly to drill and simulate about wars to come. Helmuth von Moltke, the Prussian Chief of Staff, was a keen supporter of the encouragement of wargames among military officers. He saw them as a key factor for troops to gain war experience and use this experience in the battlefield when time comes. Wargames rapidly spread into other countries after Prussia’s massive victories against Austria and France in 19th century.