Baron von Schönaich Cuirassiers
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1688 with 4 companies from Kürassier Regiment Nr 5 and 2 companies of new recruits for Major-General Marquis Franz du Hamel. It initially went into Dutch service.
In 1689, the regiment took part in the siege of Bonn. In 1691, it contributed a company to to the new Kürassier Regiment Nr 9 and completed itself with new recruits. Its first garrison was in Kleve. In 1695, it was at the siege of Namur.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1702, the regiment initially took part in the siege of Kaiserswerth. On August 13, 1704, it fought in the battle of Blenheim where it lost a standard but took two colours. On August 16, 1705, it took part in the battle of Cassano. On September 11 1709, it was at the battle of Malplaquet where it took two kettle drums. In 1715, the regiment served in the Pomeranian campaign against Sweden.
In 1718 the regiment was increased to 5 squadrons recruited in the Dessau area.
From 1724, the regiment garrisoned several towns in the Principality of Halberstadt.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, from September 10 to 16 1744, the regiment took part in the siege of Prague. On December 15 1745, it fought in the battle of Kesselsdorf, taking a colour.
From 1745, Magdeburg was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Aschersleben, Kroppenstädt and Oschersleben. It recruits came from Aschersleben, Kroppenstädt , Osterwiek, Sandersheim and Schwanebeck.
At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from April 17, 1753: Major-General Georg Philipp Gottlob Baron von Schönaich (aka Jung-Schönaich till 1758)
- from April 14, 1759 till June 18, 1769: Major-General Heinrich Rudolf Wilhelm von Vasold
By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Quitzow Cuirassiers. That year on October 14, it fought in the battle of Auerstädt where 3 of its squadrons were destroyed. Many survivors surrendered at Anklam on November 1. The regiment was not re-raised but 12 officers and 250 men fought their way out to East Prussia where they went to form part of the new 4th Kürassiers.
Service during the War
On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of major-general Driesen in Katzler's division. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna country, the regiment joined Frederick II at Linai to cover Keith's advance. On October 28, the whole force reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and the regiment took its winter quarters soon afterwards.
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under von Penavaire. In this battle, it lost two officers and 50 men, partly from friendly fire. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing under prince von Schönaich. On November 22, the regiment fought in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Normann's brigade, in the second line of the centre. After the defeat, it retreated under the command of Zieten. On December 2, Zieten joined Frederick at Parchwitz. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Baron Schönaich's brigade in the first line of the cavalry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. This brigade defeated the enemy grenadiers.
In March 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and, from May 27 to July 2, was at the Siege of Olmütz. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where, as part of the Reserve, it was initially deployed en potence between Steindörfel and the Birkenbusch. In this battle, it overthrew the Austrian Clerici Infantry, took 500 prisoners and a colour and covered the retreat of the army.
On September 2 1759, the regiment, as part of Zieten's corps, fought in the combat of Sorau. On November 20, it took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to Bredow's Brigade. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.
By 1760, the regiment had been re-raised by use of taking 5 companies from Horn Cuirassiers and recruiting 5 new. It fought against the Russians in Pomerania.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button and light brick red pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid with a light brick red pattern)
|Waistcoat||light brick red trimmed with the regimental lace|
|Breeches||white (buff leather in campaign)|
Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged light brick red and fastened by white straps. The musket strap was off white edged with the regimental lace.
The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- golden lace to the top of the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- gold regimental lace
- breastplate edged in gilt metal with straps covered in gilt plates; gilt crowned Prussian crest in trophies of arms on the top centre of the breastplate
- silver and black silk waist sash
- silver and black sword strap
- saddle furniture ornately ornamented and fringed in gold
N.B.: golden embroidered buttonholes and a golden aiguillette on the right shoulder decorated the full dress uniform but were not present on the service uniform
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne bordered with red plumage and one black within white pompom in each lateral corne
- a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar (narrow lace), cuffs (wide lace), coat edges (wide lace) and decorating the shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
- hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace
The musician laces were as follows:
- narrow lace: a central dark goldenrod stripe bordered on both sides with alternating light brick red and white squares
- wide lace: same pattern, just wider
Musicians did not wear breastplate.
The square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a light blue tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had light brick red standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.
The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate new pattern standards.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a light blue central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): light blue field, fringed gold with a silver central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a light blue scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion).|
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N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.