Herzog Württemberg Dragoons

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Herzog Württemberg Dragoons

Origin and History

On December 20 1688, GFWM Donat Heissler Baron von Heitersheim, already proprietor of a cuirassier regiment (Regiment C 25, raised in 1682 by Colonel Hallewyl, disbanded in 1775 as “Podstatzky”), received from Emperor Leopold I a decree to raise a dragoon regiment of 1,000 horse (10 companies) at his own expense. This regiment was most probably raised in Bohemia. It was reviewed by General-Commissar Count Caraffa in April 1689.

In 1688, the regiment took part to the storming of Belgrade where it was deployed on the left wing. In 1689, Margrave Ludwig von Baden was commander of the army in Hungary while Count Heissler, promoted to FML for the occasion, commanded in Transylvania. After being reviewed, the regiment received orders to join the army of the Margrave of Baden. However, FML Heissler asked for some reinforcements and his regiment was redirected to Transylvania. On August 11, it arrived at Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK) and, on August 24, reached Klausenburg (present-day Cluj/RO). By the end of the year, the regiment was with Heissler at Bucharest. At the end of February 1690, threatened by superior Tatar forces, Heissler retreated to Transylvania. In April, the regiment was sent to Hungary under the command of FM Count Trautmannsdorf. On August 21, FML Heissler was captured by Thököly's troops near Kronstadt (present-day Brasov/RO). He was freed (receiving “Pardon” from Thököly) and, on October 23, arrived at Grosswardein (present-day Oradea/RO). After paying 7,000 Ducats, Heissler finally got free.

In 1691 and 1692, the regiment participated at the siege of Grosswardein.

On February 9 1692, Count Heissler was promoted to General of Cavalry (G.d.C) and, with the authorisation of the emperor, sold his regiment on April 11 to Philipp Jacob de la Porte, until then colonel-lieutenant in this regiment. In 1693, Count Heissler was appointed General Superintendent of War (General-Kriegskommissar) and resigned also from his title of colonel of a cuirassier regiment (Johann Andreas Count Corbelli was appointed as new proprietor).

Until the end of 1693, La Porte Dragoons remained in Transylvania and Hungary and participated in the unsuccessful siege of Belgrade. On November 16 1693, Colonel de la Porte sold his regiment, with the authorisation of the emperor, to Colonel Franz Joseph Count Serényi.

In 1696. the regiment took part to the battle of Olasch where it sustained heavy fire for several hours. Its inhaber (owner) was mortally wounded during the fight and died a few days later on August 31 at Szegedin.

In 1697, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Zenta. Until 1698, the regiment continued to fight against the Turks in Hungary and Transylvania.

At the beginning of 1699, after the signature of the Treaty of Karlowitz, the regiment marched to its newly designated garrison place in Silesia. In May, it arrived in Ratibor (present-day Raciborz/PL) and Oppeln (present-day Opolie/PL) where it remained until 1701.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment fought in Italy under Count Palffy in the army of Prince Eugène. In May 1701, it patrolled the region of Mantua. In July, Count Palffy with a body of 1,000 horse, including this regiment, covered the left flank of the advancing main army. On July 12, it fought an advanced post action near Bovolone where the enemy lost at least 5 men killed while two men were taken prisoners. In this action the regiment counted only 1 man wounded. On July 27, in the order of march of the army, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing. Captain Colomba of the regiment, who had already distinguished himself in the campaigns against the Turks, by his skillful and indefatigable raids made himself quite a reputation among the French and Spaniards. In 1702, the regiment fought at Luzzara. In 1703, it joined the corps of Count Guido Starhemberg in Piémont where it formed part of the brigade of Count Colonna von Fels. In 1704, still in Colonna's Brigade, the regiment took part in the campaign in Piémont. On August 16 1705 at the battle of Cassano, a squadron of the regiment was deployed in the second line under the command of the Prussian General von der Marwitz. During the same year, the rest of the regiment was transferred to Hungary to suppress the local insurrection and took part in the battle of Schibo where its dragoons dismounted and assaulted sword in hand the enemy entrenchments. In 1708, the regiment operated in the Netherlands where it took part in the siege of Lille. In 1709, it was at the siege of Tournai and took part in the battle of Malplaquet. In 1712, the regiment fought at Denain.

In 1716, the regiment took part in the campaign against the Turks and was present at the siege of Temesvar and at the capture of Panczowa (November 9). In 1717, it took part in the siege of Belgrade and, on August 16, fought in the battle in front of this town where it suffered heavily: Major Hyacinth Count Vehlen and three officers were among the dead.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment took part in the campaigns against the French and Sardinians in Italy in 1734 and 1735. On May 3 1734, it was at the camp of San-Benedetto and on June 29, took part in the battle of Parma. On July 23, now counting 1,007 men, it was at the camp of Ouingentole. On September 15, it took part in the battle of Quistello and, a few days later on September 19, in the battle of Guastalla where it distinguished itself but suffered heavy casualties. During the campaign of 1735, the severely depleted regiment, counting only 400 horses, operated mostly in the region of Mantua.

From 1737 to 1739, the regiment took part in the campaigns against the Turks. In 1740, after the war, it was stationed in Slavonia.

At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part in the battle of Mollwitz on April 10 1741. During this battle, it suffered heavy casualties (more than 127 men killed and 84 wounded). On May 17 1742, it fought with distinction at the battle of Czaslau. It later took part in the siege of Prague. In June, the regiment was sent on the Moldau to cut the communication of the French troops occupying Prague with the country. In September, the regiment was encamped at Ober-Kodisch. For the campaigns of 1743 and 1744, the regiment was assigned to the army of Prince Karl von Lothringen stationed on the Rhine. During the campaign of 1745, it operated in Silesia under the command of Prince Karl von Lothringen and took part in the battle of Hohenfriedberg (June 4) as part of the reserve corps. On September 30, the regiment participated in the battle of Soor. For the campaign of 1746, the regiment was assigned to the army of Duke Karl von Lothringen operating in the Netherlands. It fought at Rocoux. In 1747, the regiment was assigned to the army of the Duke of Cumberland and took part in the battle of Lawfeld. After the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748, the regiment returned to its quarters in Hungary.

The regiment counted 6 squadrons and a company of horse grenadiers. For battles, the latter was usually converged with other similar companies to form an elite unit.

During the Seven Years War, several regiments of dragoons were transformed into Chevaulegers regiments. Thus, in 1760, the regiment Herzog Württemberg was made a Chevaulegers regiment. However, in 1761, it was reorganised as a regiment of dragoons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment inhaber was:

  • from November 21 1740 to October 24 1793: Carl Eugen Prince Württemberg-Stuttgart

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since December 13 1748: Ludwig Baron von Bretlach
  • from January 19 1757: Josef Count Saint-Ignon
  • from May 3 1758: Johann Josef Count Pachta von Rájov
  • from March 25 1762 to April 30 1764: Josef Count Kinsky

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the war, the regiment was stationed in Siebenbürgen (present-day Transylvania) and counted 809 men and 800 horses. On December 12, Colonel Baron Bretlach received orders to increase the regiment to 1000 men and horses. The men were raised in Moravia.

On January 17 1757, Baron Bretlach was promoted to general while General-Adjutant Josef Count Saint-Ignon was appointed colonel and commander of the regiment. At the end of April, the regiment set off from Transylvania, passing the Hungarian border on April 27 and collecting 150 recruits and 118 horses at Brünn (present-day Brno/CZ). It then marched through Hungary and Moravia to join the army at the camp of Goltsch-Jenikau. At the beginning of June, the regiment counted 710 horses (6 squadrons and one horse grenadier company) and was part of the Reserve Corps in the brigade of General Kölbel. On 16 June, Daun's Army reached Swojsic (present-day Svojšice/CZ). On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was part of Kölbel's Brigade in the corps of Count Colloredo held in reserve behind the centre. During this battle it behaved very bravely but suffered heavy casualties (333 men and 350 horses). In his relation of the battle, Count Daun makes special mention of this regiment. Indeed, Colonel Josef Count Saint-Ignon had advanced the regiment, which was part of the Reserve, at some 400 paces from the Prussians where it stood for nearly two hours under the fire of the enemy artillery. The regiment occupied a quite advantageous position, allowing it to cover the Austrian infantry against an attack in the rear but also to threaten the Prussian flank. At this moment, some Prussian grenadier battalions charged and Count Saint-Ignon managed to protect the Austrian infantry as best as he could. He manoeuvred against the Prussian right flank, plunged with his brave dragoons into two battalions and broke them. During this charge, Count Saint-Ignon was wounded and Major Friedrich Count Pappenheim killed. After this battle, the regiment was reduced to only four squadrons. Nevertheless, on November 22, at the Battle of Breslau, the regiment was deployed in Benedikt Daun's Brigade in the second line of the right wing under Prince Esterházy. It covered the infantry of the right wing. On December 5, it was at the terrible defeat of Leuthen where it was deployed in Daun's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry right wing under General Lucchesi. It lost 47 men and 32 horses. On December 22, the regiment took its winter-quarter at Bohdaneč, Dačice and Holice in Bohemia.

On January 8 1758, the regiment (now re-established to 6 squadrons and 1 horse grenadier company) received orders to march towards Troppau (present-day Opava/CZ) to join the Corps de Reserve of FML Count de Ville. On May 3, Colonel Saint-Ignon was promoted to general and Johann Philipp Count Pachta z Rájova was promoted to colonel and regiment commander. On May 17, one squadron was sent to Hungary to serve as Reserve-Eskadron. On June 17, the regiment took part in the combat of Wisternitz where, along with the Saxon Chevauxlegers, it repulsed the Bayreuth Dragoons. On June 30, 200 dragoons of the regiment were part of Loudon's Corps during the Combat of Domstadl. On July 12, at the combat of Holitz, the regiment suffered severe losses from the Prussian artillery. The regiment along with Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons and Benedikt Daun Cuirassiers later fought bloody combats against the Prussian Bredow Cuirassiers and Möhring Hussars near Königgrätz. By August 2, the regiment was serving in the first line of the main Austrian army under the command of Field-Marshall Daun near Jaromirs. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the invasion of Moravia. On September 15, the regiment fought at Arnsdorf near Stolpen. On October 14, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Wiese's column to the southeast of Kuppritz. The regiment along with Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons occupied the defile. They covered the flanks during the first attack against the village of Hochkirch but were not involved into any fighting. Afterwards, Daun advanced on Dresden to lay siege to the city. In mid-November, Frederick II marched to the relief of Dresden and Daun retreated through Pirna and took up winter-quarters in Bohemia. The regiment came to the region of Pilsen (present-day Plzeň/CZ).

On March 1 1759, the regiment left its winter-quarters to join the main army. On May 1, it arrived at the camp of the main army at Jaromir (present-day Jaroměř/CZ). It was then assigned to Loudon's Corps who joined a Russian army who was conducting operations in Brandenburg. On August 12, at the Battle of Kunersdorf, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel Count Blois and Lieutenant-Colonel Schiffer and 6 men killed; Major Anton Count Wratislaw, Lieutenant Steinlein and 30 men wounded; and 13 men missing. In a very peculiar march, Loudon returned to Moravia through neutral Poland. His corps took up its winter-quarters in Moravia.

The regiment could not rest long. Already at the beginning of January 1760, Loudon marched by Prague to Kommotau (present-day Chomutov/CZ). The regiment, in the brigade of Major-General Count Caramelli, was posted in the villages around Kaaden (present-day Kadaň/CZ). In remained there until mid-May. It is during this period that the unit was transformed into a Chevauxlegers regiment. On June 23, the grenadier company of the regiment was at the second Battle of Landeshut while the five field squadrons had remained at Pischkowitz. According to an order of battle, in July, 4 squadrons were attached to the division of FML Baron Unruhe and participated in the Siege of Glatz while one squadron was with the Reserve Corps under the command of Major-General Bethlen in Silesia. On August 15, the horse grenadier company took part in the Battle of Liegnitz. After the surrender of Glatz, the five field squadrons were sent to Breslau where they joined the corps under the command of FML Nauendorf. At the end of October, the entire regiment had rejoined Loudon's Corps and was posted with Löwenstein Chevauxlegers in the Estate of Glatz On December 6, the regiment was transformed into a dragoon regiment after being considered a Chevauxlegers regiment during a few month.

In 1761, the regiment operated once more in Silesia in Loudon's Corps. Along with Althann Dragoons and Kálnoky Hussars, the regiment was allocated to FML Drašković's Division which formed the advance guard. They marched to Münsterberg. Loudon then concentrated his army at Seitendorf. On August, Loudon set off from Seitendorf and marched towards Patschkau. On August 19, he effected a junction with a Russian army at Jauer. On September 3, the five field squadrons led by General Brentano fought against some Prussian units near Jauernik. On September 29, General Brentano with part of his corps (including the five 5 field squadrons of the regiment) occupied the passes of Wartha and Silberberg. On October 1, the horse grenadier company of the regiment took part in the Storming of Schweidnitz. At the beginning of December, the regiment took up its winter-quarters near Friedland in Bohemia.

In 1762, the regiment was assigned to the Silesian theatre of operation once more. On March 26, Colonel Johann Count Pachta retired from active service and was replaced by Josef Count Kinsky, formerly second colonel of Löwenstein Dragoons. According to the order of battle of May, the five field squadrons had been allocated to the Corps de Reserve of FML Baron Ellrichshausen, in Major-General Gourcy's Brigade. For their part, the horse grenadiers led by captain Dominik Count Lodron were sent to Schweidnitz. On June 14, 100 dragoons of the regiment took part in the combat of Kammersdorf where Colonel Josef Count Kinsky successfully charged two regiments of dragoons. On July 20, the regiment reinforced the posts around Burkersdorf. On July 21, the regiment took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf where it suffered so severely from the fire of the Prussian howitzers that it had to be retired from the line. The horse grenadier company of the regiment under Captain Count Dominik Lodron was part of the force who took part in the defence of Schweidnitz. On August 8, a failed attempt by of one of the besieged unit under Colonel Freienfels forced Count Lodron to intervene with his 150 dragoons. He not only launched a well deigned and perfectly timed attack but, to avoid Colonel Freienfels from being overpowered, led a well ordered retreat, taking charge of the rearguard. During the retreat, Lodron charged the enemy cavalry thrice. For this action, on October 21, Lodron received the Cross of the Maria-Theresien-Orden.

After the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment marched to Chrudim in Bohemia. In mid-April, it went from there to Slavonia. On June 15, it arrived at Eszek and the squadrons were quartered around that city.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
as per the Albertina Handschrift of 1762

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Trooper black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button
Grenadier bearskin
Neckstock black
Coat red with 3 yellow buttons under the lapel on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap both shoulders: red fastened with a yellow button
right shoulder: black aiguillette
Lapels black with 7 yellow buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs black with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks black
Waistcoat straw with a single row of yellow buttons and horizontal pockets (each with 3 yellow buttons)
Breeches straw
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard black leather with gilt decoration
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red laced with a wide white braid bordered with two thin black braids and decorated with blue circles (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Housings red laced with a wide white braid bordered with two thin black braids and decorated with blue circles (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll white and red (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols, a musket and a bayonet.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift shows a laced tricorne, a black collar, red lapels and a red waistcoat.

Modern authors often mention black (Donath, Funcken, Schirmer, Teuber-Ottenfeld) or white (Brauer) shoulder straps.

Officers

The officers (according to the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762) wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a green and white cockade
  • gold aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • green saddlecloth and sabretache both laced in gold and fringed in yellow

Musicians

Drummers of the regiments of dragoons usually wore the same uniform as the troopers heavily laced with yellow and black braids or a uniform with inverted colours. Thus, in the case of this regiment, drummers probably wore a red uniform laced in yellow and black.


  • Obverse: double eagle surmounted by a crown and wearing a red/white/red breast shield edged gold


Colours

Leibstandarte: White and heavily embroidered

  • one side with the Blessed Virgin
  • other side with the double eagle
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert


Ordinair-standarte: Swallow tailed with gold fringes and gold embroideries

  • Obverse: Red field pennant, central device consisting of imperial eagle bearing the red-white-red shield on its breast and the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  • Reverse (variant 1): Red field pennant, central device consisting of a silver hunting rifle resting on a field stone with a silver scroll bearing the motto "Minis promtior ictrs" in black
  • Reverse (variant 2): Red field pennant, central device consisting of a golden castle on a silver mountain, silver hill with red zigzag with a red and silver standard at the top, this hill stands in the middle of the scene. The whole surmounted by a silver scroll with the motto "Paratus ad omnia" in black
Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article incorporates texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Thürheim, Andreas; Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee, vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, pp. 267-292

Other sources

Brauer, H.M., Uniformbogen and Fahnentafeln, plate 95

Funcken, Liliane and Fred , Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Dedekind, F.: Geschichte des k. k. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. Dragoner-Regimentes Nr. 11, Vienna 1879.

Grosser Generalstab, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Hiller, Berlin, 1830-1913

Kornauth, Friedrich, Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Raspe, Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg: 1762

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Skala H., Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Thadden, Franz-Lorenz v., Die theresianische Kavallerie - II. Teil, Die Zinnfigur, Klio, 1968

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Zahn, Michael, Oesterreichische Kürassier und Dragoner Standarten in Siebenjährigen Krieges, Zusammenstellung, 1988

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for additional details on the service of the regiment during the Seven Years' War