Origin and History
The regiment was raised in mid 1672 from the Stabs-Dragoner, titled the Leib-Dragoner-Regiment, and given to Colonel Joachim Ernst von Grumbkow. On June 28 1675, the regiment took part in the battle of Fehrbellin. In 1677, it fought in Pomerania against the Swedes; from July 24 to December 22, it was at the siege of Stettin. On September 23 1678, it took part in the capture of Rügen Island. In 1688, the regiment served against the Turks in Hungary; from June 14 to September 3, it was at the siege of Ofen. From June 24 1689 to October, it was at the siege of Bonn.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1703, the regiment took part in the battle of Nördlingen then, from April 24 to May 15, it was at the siege of Bonn, ans in December at the siege of Geldern. On August 13 1704, it fought in the battle of Blenheim where it suffered heavy losses and lost 3 standards. In 1713, the regiment lost its title of Leib-Regiment. In 1715, it served in Pomerania.
In 1718, the regiment was increased to 5 squadrons and was transformed into a cuirassier regiment.
At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served against Austria in 1742. On May 17, it fought at the battle of Chotusitz. On May 22 1745, it took part in the combat of Neustadt. On June 4, it fought at the battle of Hohenfriedberg against the Austro-Saxons. On September 30, it took part in the battle of Soor.
From 1748 to 1796, the districts of Neustadt and Oberglogau in Upper-Silesia were the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places Neustadt, Zülz, Krappitz and Oberglogau.
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:
- since May 8 1733: Colonel Friedrich Leopold von Geßler; later count (1745) and field-marshal (1751)
- from January 5 1758 to September 1 1764: Major-General Johann Ernst von Schmettau
By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Wagenfeld Cuirassiers. That year it served in the reserve corps in East Prussia. It became the new 1st Kürassiers and took in a squadron of the Prittwitz Dragoons as its 6th Squadron.
Service during the War
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 left wing under the Prince von Schönaich. It secured the left wing and ensured victory. In this battle, the regiment lost 11 officers, 101 troopers and 83 horses. After the victory, the regiment covered the siege of Prague from May 9 to June 20. It then covered the retreat of the army after the defeat of Kolin. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Driesen's Brigade, in the first line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Bredow's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Driesen. During this battle, it lost six officers and 51 troopers and captured a standard.
In March 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and, from May to July, was at the siege of Olmütz, fighting in the Combat of Domstadl on June 30. On October 10, it took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the second line of the left wing under Seydlitz. On November 1, the regiment was part of the force who relieved Neisse. On November 16, it advanced on Dresden.
At the beginning of 1759, the regiment was at Schmottseifen. It then joined Fouqué's Corps and, on April 17, took part in the combat of Troppau. On September 2, the regiment, as part of Zieten's Corps, fought in the Combat of Sorau. On September 25, it fought in the combat of Hoyerswerda where it captured General Wehla, 28 officers and more than 1,785 men.
On February 20 1760, the regiment was ambushed at Koßdorf near Torgau, but rallied and drove the enemy off, losing 4 officers and 67 men in this action and inflicting a loss of about 120 men to the enemy. It then took part in the combat of Bublitz. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau.
On May 12 1762, the regiment took part in the Combat of Doebeln. On May 21, it was at the combat of Chemnitz where it suffered heavy losses (10 officers, 317 men and 250 horses). On October 29, it fought in the Battle of Freiberg where it took 10 guns, 4 howitzers and 8 colours. Seven officers of the regiment received the Pour-le-Merite decoration for this action
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and yellow pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid with three lines of dark blue squares)
|Waistcoat||black 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 black and fastened by white straps edged red. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.
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 edging the top and back of the cuffs
Officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- golden regimental lace
- golden aiguillette on the right shoulder (only on the coat worn for parade, not on the coatee worn on the field)
- 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 decorated the white full dress uniform but were not present on the service uniform
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- coat edged with the musician lace (white braid decorated with red stripes and rows of silver squares)
- collar and cuffs edged with the musician lace
- sleeves decorated with the musician lace
The old pattern square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a red tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had standard bandoliers in the facing colour, edged and fringed in gold.
The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate old pattern standards.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a red central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a white scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers on a silver medallion).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): red field, fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a bright yellow scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” 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.