Pálffy Hussars

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Origin and History

Already in 1722, Count Alexander (Sándor) Károlyi de Nagy-Károly(1) had offered to the emperor to raise a hussar regiment at his own expense. On the eve of the War of the Polish Succession, in 1733, when the increase of the number of regiments in his army seemed to be necessary, the emperor asked the Hungarian magnates to raise two hussar and two infantry regiment. The hussar regiments were raised by Count Splényi and Hávor, while the raising of two infantry regiments was confided to Count Károlyi. The latter excused himself, arguing the short time available and the problems of raising infantry in Hungary. The Hofkriegsrat (War Council) did not appreciate his refusal.

In May 1733, Count Károlyi asked once more, through his secretary, for the authorisation to raise a hussar regiment at his own expense. He received this authorisation in a decree dated January 13 1734. The regiment was one of the five additional hussar units raised to bring this arm to a total of eight regiments. Károlyi wanted to have his son Franz appointed as colonel and commander of this regiment. The Hofkriegsrat did not trust Count Alexander Károlyi de Nagy-Karoly and, even if he was Chef of the regiment, it appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Baranyay as commander. This caused many disagreements between Károlyi and Baranyay in the following years.

Enlistment of the troops of the new regiment took place in the Comitates of Bekes and Csongrád, and later on in Szatmár, it was organized by Count Franz Károlyi. By the end of March 1734, the regiment was complete and counted 10 companies in Oedenburg and Pressburg. Its officers received red pelisses and dolmans with golden braids and buttons and blue trousers. The boots (csismen) were crimson, and the shabraque red. Troopers had blue pelisses, dolmans and trousers with red braids and white buttons (NCO had gilt grape-like buttons).

In May 1734, after being reviewed , the regiment went to Vienna where Emperor Karl VI inspected it on May 29. Afterwards it was sent on the Rhine to serve against the French. On July 17, it arrived in Wiesenthal and was placed under the command of General Petrasch. The regiment conducted a raid on Offenburg and took part in several minor actions. It wintered around Esslingen and Helmstadt on the Neckar River.

For the campaign of 1735, the regiment served once more on the Rhine with detachments in Mainz and Koblenz. It was used as a raiding force, taking part in the engagement of Nieder-Olm. It was then attached to the corps serving on the Moselle. At the beginning of November, after conclusion of peace, the regiment was sent to Dinant in the Austrian Netherlands (present-day Belgium). In December, it marched from Dinant to Bernkastel on the Rhine.

In May 1736, part of the Austro-Hungarian cavalry was sent to Hungary. On May 31, Károlyi Hussars arrived in Pilsen (present-day Plzeň) in Bohemia, from there it went to Trencsén (present-day Trenčín) and Neutra (present-day Nitra). In December, the regiment finally arrived to its assigned station in the comitates of Veszprim and Sümegh.

During the Russo-Austrian-Turkish War, in 1737, the regiment formed part of Hildburghausen's Corps. In May, Colonel Franz Károlyi assumed command of the regiment. On July 15, the army passed the Save River and went to Maglaj. On July 23, it started the siege of Banjaluka in Bosnia-Herzegovina. On August 4, in the battle of Banjaluka, the regiment suffered heavy losses. The Austrian army retired to Gradisca. The regiment took its winter-quarters in the Comitate of Zala.

In the campaign of 1738, the regiment was initially posted Temesvár in May. It then joined the main army and followed it to Orsova and Terragova. On July 1, Károlyi Hussars and Splényi Hussars fought an engagement against Turkish cavalry. The same month, Franz Count Károlyi received his nomination as Inhaber of the regiment (dated July 1 1738). He also acted as field commander of the regiment. The regiment was involved in the battles of Kornia and Mehadia. By the end of the campaign, it counted only 398 men and 321 horses.

At the beginning of 1739, the regiment was assigned to the corps of FZM Count Neipperg and went to Gross-Becskerek. Neipperg then sent his hussars to the main army of Count Wallis. On the evening of July 21, Károlyi Hussars and Dessewffy Hussars marched as avant-garde towards Grocka. On July 22, the Austrian Army was ambushed and defeated by the Turks hidden in the hills on both sides of the narrow road. The army – mainly the cavalry – suffered heavy losses. Both hussar regiments fighting in the vanguard initially counted 26 officers and 627 men; and lost 22 officers and 281 men dead. Wallis returned to Belgrade. On July 30, the Turks attacked Wallis' Army at Pancsova. On September 1, the Peace of Belgrade put an end to the war. Belgrade was occupied by the Turks and the Austrian Army returned to its winter garrisons. Kárloyi Hussars went to Szabolcs and Kaschau (present-day Košice).

In 1740, the regiment assumed garrison duty on the comitates of Abauj and Torna.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, on April 10 1741, the regiment left his last post at Ujváros and marched through Brünn (April 28) to Troppau (present-day Opava) where it arrived on May 6. In mid-May, General Baranyay organised a detachment of 850 cavalrymen (including 40 men from Károlyi Hussars) to capture a Prussian convoy at Rotschloss (near Strehlen). On May 17, this detachment attacked the convoy which was escorted by 600 Prussian hussars and 300 dragoons under Lieutenant-Colonel von Zieten(2). Baranyay was not able to destroy the convoy and lost 106 men and 142 horses. Afterwards, detachments of the regiment were involved in the Klein-Krie in Silesia. In November, four hussar regiments (Károlyi, Ghilányi, Splényi and Stephan Dessewffy) came under command of General Nádasdy and went to Southern Bohemia. On November 14, Neuhaus (present-day Jindřichův Hradec) was captured and the whole army under Archduke Franz Stephan marched on Prague but arrived too late. The city was already occupied by the French. The regiment (then only 451 men) spent the winter near Kuttenberg (present-day Kutná Hora).

On January 3 1742, Colonel Forgách at the head of the regiment defeated the vanguard of Pollastran's Corps at Deutsch Brod (present-day Havlíčkův Brod). From April, the regiment belonged to the new created corps of Festetic (Károlyi Hussars, Beleznay Hussars, 4 battalions of Hungarian insurrection infantry, 4,000 irregular Grenzers and 4,000 insurrection hussars) operating in Silesia and northern Moravia. By the end of June, this corps formed a cordon along the border in the region of Troppau (present-day Opava). During the second half of the year, the regiment was present at the siege of Prague. However, in December, when Belle-Isle undertook his retreat from Prague, the regiment was not in the area. On December 26, it was sent to Klattau (present-day Klatovy) to be close to the Bavarian border.

At the beginning of January 1743, the regiment marched to Regensburg. It was attacked by surprise in its winter-quarters at Kötzing by a French force who captured the staff of the regiment and 3 companies. From June 8, it was among the hussar regiments under Nádasdy who followed the French retreating towards Rhine. In mid-July, Károlyi Hussars, Beleznay Hussars and Grenzers under Menzel were sent to join the “Pragmatic army” on the Main River. By the end of the year, the regiment was back at full strength. On December 2, it marched towards Bruxelles.

In 1744, the regiment served against the French in the Netherlands.

In 1745, the largest part of the regiment (3 Auctions-companies, 2 aggregated companies from the Comitat of Szatmar and 1 Hungarian Freikompanie) was posted on the Lahn and Main rivers. On May 11 1745, the company of the regiment who had remained in the Netherlands took part in the battle of Fontenoy. By the end of the year, the regiment was in Würzburg.

In 1746, the regiment campaigned in the Netherlands once more, fighting at Rocoux on October 11.

On July 2 1747, the regiment took part in the battle of Lauffeld. By December the regiment was in Peer and counted 32 NCOs, 10 aggregiert, 946 men and 881 horses.

In 1748, the regiment campaigned once more in the Netherlands guarding the border against the French. In November, it returned home to Grosswardein in Transsylvania. The same year, the regiment received one company from the disbanded regiment Trips.

From 1749 to 1752, the regiment remained in Grosswardein. In the following years, it was posted in various Hungarian comitats.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons and garrisoned Hermannstadt.

Count Károly - Source: C. Pizzighelli
Count Pálffy - Source: Museum Červený Kameň photo by J. Tihanyi

The regiment was under the successive nominal command of:

  • since 1734: Alexander Count Károlyi de Nagy-Károly, General of Cavalry.
  • from 1738: Colonel Franz (Ferenc) Count Károly de Nagy-Károly
  • from 1759: FML Rudolf Count Pálffy
  • from 1768: Andreas Count Hadik von Futak


Colonel von Revitzky - Source: Museum Červený Kameň photo by J. Tihanyi
Baron von Senyey - Source: Museum Červený Kameň photo by J. Tihanyi

The regiment was under the successive effective command of:

  • since 1734: Johann Baron Baranyay de Bodorfalva
  • from 1737: Franz Count Károlyi de Nagy-Károly
  • from 1738: Franz Count Forgách de Ghymes
  • from 1744: Georg Count Szluha von Iklad
  • from 1752: Gabriel Count Haller von Hallerstein
  • from 1754: Colonel Johann von Revitzky de Revisnye
  • from 1761 to 1772: Colonel Emerich Baron von Sennyey de Bursin

In April 1763, the regiment marched back to Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) and assumed garrison duties at Rosenau (present-day Rožnava) till 1768.

From 1768, the regiment received the number 16 among the Royal Imperial cavalry.

From 1798, the regiment was designated as the Husaren Regiment Nr. 6.

It was in service until 1918.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed in Hermannstadt in Siebenbürgen (present-day Transylvania) and counted 530 men and 302 horses. During the winter of 1756-57, the regiment received a sixth squadron.

In 1757, the regiment was stationed in Silesia and saw no action.

At the beginning of 1758, the regiment was assigned to de Ville's Corps (5,000 men) posted near Troppau (present-day Opava). On February 19, the regiment attacked Stechow Dragoons who were on their way to Troppau and dispersed them, capturing 9 NCOs and 260 men. From March to July 1758, during the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment took part in several engagements. On April 4, it guarded the bridges at Litau (present-day Litovel). At the end of April, 100 hussars of the regiment were left in Olmütz to support the garrison. On May 4, the regiment was attacked by two Prussian battalions with 2 guns and some cavalry but successfully defended the place. Afterwards, de Ville ordered the regiment to join his main forces. On May 13, de Ville returned to Brünn. During the retreat, the regiment fought an engagement with the Prussians where Colonel Revitzky distinguished himself. On May 27, de Ville's forces reached the camp of Gewitsch (present-day Jevíčko). In July, during retreat of the Prussian army from Moravia, the regiment was assigned to Loudon's Corps. It had to destroy the bridges above the Wilde Adler River (present-day Divoká Orlice). On August 4, the regiment tried to surprise a Prussian detachment at Skalitz (present-day Skalice). However, the Prussians received some support and the hussars were forced to retreat.

On October 14, part of the regiment fought in the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Loudon's Corps, to the southwest of Hochkirch. It was taken prisoners by the Prussians (Colonel Sennyey was not present at Hochkirch, he was still in Silesia with another part of the regiment). On November 1, the regiment attacked the suburbs of Löwenberg (present-day Lwowek Slaski) and captured many prisoners. It then spent winter in the region of Trautenau (present-day Trutnov).

In 1759, the regiment was attached to FML Harsch's Corps. In May, FML Rudolf Count Pálffy became Inhaber of the regiment. On June 30, it attacked a larger Prussian detachment near Trautenau. Harsch then retreated to Silesia before re-entering into Bohemia soon afterwards. On July 13, 100 hussars of the regiment under Major Dönhof along with 3 cuirassier squadrons successfully attacked the Prussians at Friedland (present-day Frýdlant), capturing Major Lüderitz and 38 men. On August 30, Harsch's light troops (Grenzers, Pálffy Hussars and some Uhlans and Saxon Chevaux-legers) attacked a Prussian detachment (4 bns, 13 sqns) under General Goltz at Liebau (present-day Libawa). During this engagement, the regiment, led by Colonel Revitzky, distinguished itself. At the end of October, the regiment was transferred to FMLDrašković's Corps (Pálffy Hussars, 6 depot squadrons and Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen). During the following winter, this corps guarded the border between Troppau and Silesia. Some of its staff officers were still prisoners of the Prussians. As per a direct order of FM Daun, they were replaced.

At the end of March 1760, the regiment was at Zuckmantl (present-day Zlaté Hory) and Hennersdorf. By June 15, it was attached to FML Wolffersdorf's Corps. On June 23 1760, the regiment fought in the battle of Landeshut where it formed part of the detachment under Major-General Saint-Ignon who moved around the Prussian positions to cut their line of retreat. On August 15, the regiment was present at the Battle of Liegnitz in Wolffersdorf's Corps but not not directly involved. On November 20, it took its winter-quarters at Herrnhut in Upper Lusatia.

In 1761, the regiment belonged to Bethlen's Corps. By the end of May was at Liebau (present-day Libawa). On June 19, Colonel Knezevich successfully attacked a Prussian post at Hartmannsdrof (present-day Jaczkow). In July, part of the regiment under Major Pálasthy escorted a convoy. On August 2, this detachment defended the convoy. On August 4, Major Pálasthy and 48 of his men were captured by the Prussians. By November 5, the regiment was in its winter-quarters at Klein-Kunzendorf (present-day Niedamirów).

In 1762, the regiment counted only 359 men. It guarded the magazines at Jägerndorf (present-day Krnov). From November, it was posted in Freiwaldau (present-day Jeseník).

Uniform

Privates

The 1757 reform, stated that all hussar regiments should be dressed in dark blue uniform with yellow distinctives. However, this regulation seems to have been followed only by Kaiser Franz I Hussars. The present regiment retained its former uniform.

Uniform in 1762
Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details as per the Albertina Handschift completed where necessary with other sources
Headgear brown kolback with blue cords and red tassels and a red bag
Pelisse light blue lined with black sheepskin
Fur trim black
Lace 13 rows of red braids
Buttons white
Dolman light blue edged red with 17 rows of red braids and white buttons
Collar light blue edged red
Cuffs red pointed cuffs
Trousers light blue decorated with an intricate red lace on each thigh
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waist-sash red and light blue barrel sash
Scabbard black with copper fittings
Boots black Hungarian boots edged red with a red tassel
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth light blue shabraque heavily emboidered in red and edged red
Sabretache red edged light blue and decorated with a light blue double eagle


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre, a musket and two pistols.

Other interpretations

In 1748, Morier illustrated a trooper with:

  • a black kolback with a dark blue bag
  • a dark blue pelisse trimmed with black fur and decorated with yellow braids and laces
  • a dark blue dolman with yellow braids
  • a yellow and blue barrel sash
  • brown Hungarian boots
  • a dark blue saddle cloth bordered with yellow wolf teeth and heavily embroidered in yellow

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates a slightly different uniform:

  • grey fur trim on the pelisse
  • white cross belts
  • yellow Hungarian boots

In Raspe's publication, the bag of the kolback, the sabretache, the braids, edgings and cuffs are of a pink colour (maybe a degradation of the original print). Knötel and Schirmer seems to have followed this source to depict the uniform worn from 1759 to 1768.

Donath illustrates an entirely different uniform:

  • brown kolback with a red bag
  • white pelisse trimmed with black fur
  • white dolman with red cuffs
  • white trousers

Officers

As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, officers wore a uniform very similar to the uniform of the troopers with the following differences:

  • black tricorne laced silver
  • grey fur trim on the pelisse
  • yellow Hungarian boots edged silver
  • dark green saddle cloth edged silver
  • green sabretache decorated with a silver Imperial double eagle

NCOs

no information available yet

Musicians

No information available

Standards

Coat of Arms of the House of Károlyi
Source: User GiMa38 in Wikimedia Commons

The standards of the regiment followed the general "swallow-tailed" pattern used in other hussar regiments.

The book "Das Buch der Husaren" by G. Ságvári and G. Somogyi published in Budapest in 1999 depicts the standard of the Fourth Company in 1734 when the regiment belonged to the House of Nagy-Károly. The swallow-tailed standard has a sky blue fiedl and is bordered and embroidered in gold; its centre device consist of a golden frame with a sky blue field with a mythological creature (sort of winged mermaid) over a gold crown, the whole surmounted by a golden scroll with the motto "NEC IPSE E"; the staff has a gold finial with golden cords and streamers.

In page 115 of his book "Husaren in der Weltgeschichte", G. N. von Neppel specifies that the squadrons of Károlyi Hussars carried parts of the Károlyi's coat of arms on their standards.

We have no information on the standards carried by the regiment from 1759, when Rudolf Count Pálffy was appointed proprietor.

Footnotes

(1) Alexander (Sándor) Count Károlyi (1668-1743) was one of the generals of Ferencz Rákozci during the last rebellion of the Hungarian nobles against the Habsburg. After the lost battle of Trencsén (present-day Trenčín), on August 4 1708, Rákozci fled to Poland and Count Károlyi started negotiations with Palatin Johann Pálffy, commander of the Austrian Army in Upper Hungary. On April 30 1711, peace was concluded at Szatmár. The rest of the Kurucz army (arround 10,000 men) under Károlyi surrendered at Majtény on May 1 1711.

(2) in 1735 Zieten had fought on Rhine River under Baranyay who was his mentor at that time.

References

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 auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762 (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt Halle, Universitätsbibliothek Kiel, Landesbibliothek Darmstadt)

Albertina-Handschrift Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762 (Bibliothek des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien)

Bleckwenn, Hans: Die Regimenter der Kaiserin, Gedanken zur "Albertina Handschrift" 1762 des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien, Köln: 1967

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

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

Magyar Huszar Károlyi-Huszárezred

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias; in Schriften des HGM, Vol III; Vienna and Koeln, 1967; pp. 129-174

Klimek, St.: Oesterreichische Kavalleriestandarten aus dem 18. Jahrhundert im Heeresmuseum zu Wien, Die Zinnfigur, Clio: 1927

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Uniformbogen No. 7, 23, 71, 95, 97

Pizzighelli, C.: Geschichte des k. U. K. Husaren-Regimentes Wilhelm II Nr. 6, Rzeszów 1897

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 66-67

Skala H., Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Thümmler, Lars-Holger: Die Österreichische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Thürheim, A. V.: Die Reiterregimenter der k. K. Österreichischen Armee file I. Vienna 1862

Wrede, A. v.: Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht file III. second part, Vienna 1898-1905

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article and Harald Skala for additional information on origin, history and service during the Seven Yeras' War.