Origin and History
This unit of dragoons was created in 1689 by Margrave Georg Friedrich von Ansbach with three companies of the Brandenburg contingent of the Reichsarmee and a fourth companies led by Captain Le Jeune.
In 1718, the regiment was reorganised in five squadrons, each of two companies.
In 1722, the regiment integrated several squadrons of light dragoons.
In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), each company of the regiment was strengthened to 132 privates. The regiment now counted five companies of heavy dragoons and five companies of light dragoons.
In 1741, the five squadrons of light dragoons were separated from the regiment and later transformed in additional regiments. The same year, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment took part in the Battle of Mollwitz and in the siege of Glogau. In 1744, it was at the siege of Prague. In 1745, it fought in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg.
By the time of the Seven Years’ War, the regiment counted five squadrons and garrisoned Bahn, Freienwalde, Greifenhagen, Schoensliess, Schwedt and Wrietzen an der Oder. Replacement troops came from the Pomeranian districts of Bütow, Lauenburg, Neustettin and Rummelsburg and from the towns of Belgard, Coerlin, Greifenhagen, Neustettin, Rummelsburg, Ratzebuhr, Tempelburg and Zanow
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from May 30, 1755: Carl Ludwig von Normann
- from April 9, 1761 to June 26, 1774: Johann Wenceslaus Baron von Zastrow
In 1806, after the catastrophic campaign against Napoleon, the regiment was disbanded and some of its troops incorporated in the 5th Cuirassier Regiment.
Service during the War
On August 26, 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the Duke of Brunswick-Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) and then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. The regiment then took part in the blockade of Pirna from September 10 to October 16. At the end of the year, each squadron received 15 recruits.
In the spring of 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On April 21, at the Combat of Reichenberg, it was deployed in the second line of Duke of Brunswick-Bevern's force. While the Prussian infantry was assaulting the Austrian abatis, Bevern ordered the regiment along with the Württemberg Dragoons and Katte Dragoons to attack the Austrian cavalry, which they completely routed. During the ensuing pursuit, the Prussian dragoons exposed their right flank to the fire of the Austrian infantry which had retired behind the second abatis. The Prussian dragoons suffered considerable loss and were thrown into disorder. The Austrian cavalry took advantage of this to set itself in order and to attack the Prussian cavalry, throwing it back. The sudden attack of Puttkamer Hussars on the flank of the pursuing Austrian cavalry, allowed the Prussian dragoons to rally and counterattack putting their opponent to flight. During this action, the regiment lost 35 killed and 114 wounded. On May 6, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing under the Prince Schönaich. It lost 81 men at this battle. On June 18, the regiment (now counting only 637 men) took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was kept in reserve behind the cavalry left wing under Major-General von Krosigk. Around 4:00 p.m., the regiment attacked the Austrians occupying the oak-wood near Krzeczhorz Height, capturing four colours and then engaging into a cavalry combat with the Saxon Karabiniergarde, capturing one standard and routing them. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment was deployed in the second line of the cavalry left wing. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the Prince of Württemberg's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. On December 4, the regiment was in the vanguard when the Prussian army under Frederick II advanced straight towards the Austrian camp in the area of Leuthen. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Czettritz's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry right wing under Zieten. It first attacked three Saxon and two Austrian cavalry regiments, capturing 11 officers, 800 men and 3 standards. It then charged two cuirassier regiments and captured 2 Bavarian battalions and 4 colours. During the pursuit, it captured 2 guns.
In April 1758, the regiment took part in the siege and recapture of Schweidnitz. From May to July, it took part in the invasion of Moravia and in the siege of Olmütz. On August 10, the regiment was part of the corps who accompanied Frederick when he marched from Silesia to join Dohna to contain the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On Tuesday August 22, this corps made a junction with Dohna at Manschnow. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf. At the opening of the battle, along with Ruesch Hussars, they covered the gap between the Prussian left and right wings. During the afternoon, the regiment was transferred to the right wing where it counter-charged and drove off the Russian cavalry attacking the Prussian extreme right wing. On September 2, when it became clear that the Russian army was slowly retiring towards Landsberg, Frederick assembled the corps that he had brought with him from Silesia and left for Saxony where his help was badly needed. On October 14, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the centre of the second line in Zieten's cavalry brigade. On October 25, three squadrons of the regiment took part to the victorious engagement of Landskrone against the Austrian cavalry. On October 26 at Ebersbach, it captured 8 officers and 418 men from the Austrian Grenadier and Karabinier Corps.
From February 24 to March 4, 1759, five squadrons of the regiment were part of the small Prussian corps under the command of Major-General von Wobersnow who made an incursion in Poland against the Russian magazines. During this incursion, Wobersnow's forces destroyed food supply which would have supplied 50,000 men for 3 months.
In 1760, the regiment took part in the expedition against Dresden. On Sunday August 3, when Frederick resolved to march towards Silesia, the regiment formed part of the vanguard of the second column. On August 15, it was present at the Battle of Liegnitz but did not take part in combat. On November 3, the regiment fought in Zieten's Corps at the Battle of Torgau.
In 1762, the ranks of the regiment were replenished and it now counted 1,000 men.
The uniforms depicted in this section were introduced in 1745.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small brass button and with white within red pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||cobalt blue with 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
|Waistcoat||sulphur yellow with one row of small brass buttons and horizontal pockets each with brass buttons)|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols, a musket and a bayonet.
NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with only two exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- cuffs edged with a silver braid
The officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade attached a golden fastener and black and silver pompoms
- golden aiguillette
- golden embroidered buttonholes on the coat (the pattern changed during the 1760s)
- 6 on each lapel
- 2 under each lapel at the waist
- 1 in the rear on each side at the waist
- 2 on each pocket
- 2 on each cuff
Drummers of the regiments of dragoons wore the same uniform as the troopers but decorated on the seams with yellow braids bordered white and decorated with a black pattern.
Standards were made of damask. They were swallow-tailed and measured some 50 cm along the pole, 65 cm from the pole to the extremity of a point and 50 cm from the pole to the centre of the indentation. The cords and knots were of silver threads. The pole of the standard was a yellow tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges. The golden spearhead wore the crowned monogram of Frédéric Wilhelm (FWR).
The regiment lost at least one Eskadronstandarte during the War of the Austrian Succession. Therefore it carried a mixed set of squadron standards (the 1713 “FWR” pattern and the 1742 “FR” pattern. However, its Leibstandarte dated from 1713, and was of the “FWR” pattern.
Our reconstructions of the standards of the “FWR” pattern are based on an original kept at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, which shows evidence of a lot of repairs, some of them quite crudely. On this original, the “landscape” beneath the eagle is missing and both the eagle and the scroll sit much lower than is usual in the sketches from the Dessauer Manuscripts of 1729 and 1737, and in a photo of a dragoon Eskadronstandarte captured by the Russians, either at Paltzig or at the Zeughaus in Potsdam.
Since, the “landscapes” are a feature of the “FWR” pattern flags from 1713 until 1740, we decided to include them in our reconstructions. They were different for each regiment and, as captured examples of infantry flags show, even varied somewhat from flag to flag within the same regiment. The infantry flag landscapes could be quite ornate, as they were painted onto the colour. The cavalry landscapes were embroidered on and are therefore much simpler.
The eagles on the “FWR” pattern standards also varied. Each of the two surviving flags has a very different eagle.
|Colonel Standard “FWR” design (Leibstandarte): white field fringed gold with a yellow central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with a black eagle flying towards a golden sun surmounted by a white scroll bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers).||Squadron Standard “FWR” design (Eskadronstandarte): yellow field fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with a black eagle flying towards a golden sun surmounted by a yellow scroll bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit." Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers).|
|Squadron Standards “FR” design (Eskadronstandarte): yellow field fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with a black eagle holding a sword and lightning bolts surmounted by a yellow scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).|
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 1
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 556-559
Thümmler, L.-H.: Preußische Militärgeschichte (a closed website)
Vial, J. L., Nec Pluribus Impar
Yushkevich, Artur: Neizvestnoye shit'ye na ofitserskikh mundirakh prusskogo dragunskogo polka No 1. 1760–1780 in Staryy Tseykhgauz No 87-88 (No 1-2/2020)