Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1666 by Colonel Count von Russow (other sources mention Major-General von Pfuel). In 1674, it received the title 'Churprinz', from 1701 'Kronprinz' until 1730. In 1743, the regiment was renamed “Prinz von Preussen”.
In 1674, the regiment fought against France in Alsace and was at the capture of Wesselsheim Castle. On June 28 1675, it was at the victory of Fehrbellin. In 1677, it served against Sweden in Pomerania, taking part in the siege of Stettin and in the invasion of Rügen Island. In 1686, the regiment served in Hungary against the Turks and, from June 14 to September 3, took part in the siege of Ofen. In 1689, it served against France, taking part in the siege of Bonn from June 24 to October 12. In 1692 and 1693, it served against France on the upper Rhine. In 1694, the regiment was at Luxembourg, Tournai and Tirlemont.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, on July 11 1708, the regiment fought at the battle of Oudenarde. On September 11 1709, it took part in the battle of Malplaquet. From April 22 to June 27 1710, it was at the siege of Douai; from July 15 to August 29 at the siege of Béthune; and from September 6 to 29 at the siege of Aire. In 1715, the regiment was sent to Pomerania to serve against Sweden.
From 1718, the regiment consisted of ten companies organised in five squadrons. From 1721, the Marche of Brandenburg was the inspectorate of the regiment . It garrisoned various places in Brandenburg, among which: Gransee, Kremmen, Kyritz, Perleberg, Pritzwalk, Wittstock, Wusterhausen/Dosse and Zehdenick. It recruited in the districts of Ruppin and Havelland and in the towns of Gransee, Kremmen, Kyritz, Perleberg, Pritzwalk, Wittstock, Wusterhausen/Dosse and Zehdenick.
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, breaking through two enemy lines and scattering two Hungarian infantry regiments. On June 4 1745, it fought at the battle of Hohenfriedberg against the Austro-Saxons, breaking a Saxon regiment. On September 30, it took part in the battle of Soor where, together with the Buddenbrock Cuirassiers and the Gens d'Armes, it broke the enemy line to capture the Graner Koppe heights and 22 guns.
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 August 31 1730: Colonel Prince August Wilhelm von Preussen, the elder brother of the king (died in office)
- from December 8 1758 to September 25 1768: Colonel Prince Friedrich Heinrich Karl von Preussen, second son of Prince August Wilhelm
By 1806, the regiment was known as the “von Beeren Cuirassiers”. That year on October 14, it took part in the battle of Auerstädt, in Kalckreuth's Reserve. The regiment withdrew with Blücher's Corps, surrendered at Ratekau on November 7 and was not re-raised. Seventy men and horses returned to East Prussia where they went into 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 the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Keith's Corps. The centre column had concentrated at Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau, Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of Major-General Pennavaire in Kyau's Division During this battle, it lost 10 officers and 127 troopers. On October 23, when Keith's Army left Lobositz to return to Pirna Country, the regiment joined Frederick 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 April 1757, the regiment was part of the Prussian army who proceeded to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, the regiment did not take part in the Battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's Corps. From May 9 to June 20, it participated in the siege of Prague. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was kept in reserve behind the cavalry left wing under Major-General von Krosigk. It then led the charge of Krosigk's Brigade, which broke three enemy infantry regiments. On July 23, the regiment was at the combat of Kulm; and on July 28, at the combat of Arbesau. On September 26, it was present at the cannonade of Barschdorf. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Krockow's Brigade, in the second line of the right wing under Baron von Kyau. From December 5 to 20, it took part in the siege of Breslau, then from December 23 to 29, to the siege of Liegnitz.
N.B.: the Stammliste of 1806 mentions that the regiment was present at the battle of Leuthen on December 5 1757, but no order of battle lists this regiment at this battle.
In April 1758, the regiment took part in the siege of Schweidnitz. It then served in Saxony in Prince Henri's Army. In May and June, it took part in the raid into Franconia. On May 31, it was at the capture of Bamberg. At the end of July, it was sent to join Dohna's Army fighting the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On August 3, it arrived at Dohna's camp near Frankfurt an der Oder. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf. At the opening of the battle, it was sent to reinforce the right wing. It played a key part in the battle. On October 17, it took part in the combat of Chemnitz. Later the same year, it took part in the relief of Dresden, fighting on November 9 in the combat of Weisser Hirsch.
In 1759, the regiment took part in a raid into Franconia to destroy Austrian magazines. On April 18, it was at the combat of Hof; on May 10, at the combat of Münchberg; and on May 16 at the combat in Bamberg. On August 1, it fought in the combat of Kohlo; and on August 12, in the disastrous Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing as part of Horn's Brigade. In this battle, it lost 206 men and routed from the field. On November 23, it took part in a skirmish near Meissen. On December 3 and 4, the regiment was attached to a small isolated Prussian force under Major-General Dierecke who had taken post at Meissen. This small corps was attacked by a much stronger Austrian force and, during the Combat of Meissen, forced to retire.
From July 13 to 22 1760, the regiment was at the bombardment of Dresden. On August 1, it was at the combat of Grossenhain. On August 15, it fought in the Battle of Liegnitz, taking a battery. On September 17, it took part in the combat of Hochgiersdorf. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau.
On February 15 1761, the regiment took part in the combat of Langensalza where it was assigned to Syburg's detachment. On April 2, it was at the combats of Rudolstadt, Sallfeld and Schwarza. From June 29 to July 12, it took part in a raid in Greater Poland to destroy the Russian magazines there. On July 1, it fought in the combat of Kosten. On August 15, it was at the combat of Wahlstatt. From August 20 to September 26, it was at the camp of Bunzelwitz.
On July 6 1762, the regiment took part in the combat of Gross-Kunzendorf. From August 4 to October 10, it took part in the Siege of Schweidnitz. On August 16, it fought in the Battle of Reichenbach. It then campaigned in Saxony where on November 7, together with Zieten Hussars, they broke an Austrian corps and took 400 prisoners and a gun in skirmishes at Spechtshausen and in the Tharanter Forest.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and white pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||lemon yellow trimmed with the regimental lace (crimson braid)
|Waistcoat||crimson trimmed with a white lace|
|Breeches||white (buff leather for combat)|
Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged crimson and fastened by white leather straps. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.
The saddlecloth and housings illustrated in our plate follow the traditional source: the saddlecloth kept in the Zeughaus in Berlin. However, this collection of saddlecloths dates from 1786! We have found a more contemporary source: the Uniformierung der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee of C. Schröder, published ca. 1765. This source illustrates much simpler saddlecloth and housings: crimson bordered with a wide white braid.
The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- silver lace to the top and back of the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- tricorne with one black within white pompom in each lateral corne
- silver 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 silver
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne bordered with crimson plumes 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), shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
- hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace
The musician lace consisted of a white braid with a central wavy crimson braid.
Musicians did not wear breastplate.
The apron of the kettle-drum was crimson with silver fringes and tassels and decorated with a golden “FR” cipher within a silver medallion surrounded by trophies of arms.
The regiment was issued new sets of standards between 1742 and 1746, so only carried "FR" patterns. These new 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 yellow hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had standard bandoleers in the facing colour, edged and fringed in the button colour.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field with yellow corner wedges, fringed silver with a red central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria Et Patria". Decoration in each corner (silver crowns, laurel wreaths and silver “FR” ciphers on silver medallions).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): red field with yellow corner wedges, fringed silver with a silver central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by a red scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria Et Patria". Decoration in each corner (silver crowns, laurel wreaths and silver “FR” ciphers in a white medallion).|
On November 7 1806, at the capitulation of Ratekau, the 5 standards were lost. The regiment was not re-raised.
Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.
Anon.: Die Schlacht bei Minden 1759. J C C Bruns Verlag, Minden 1959.
Anon.: Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757
Alt: Das Koeniglich Preussische Stehende Heer. Schrapp, Berlin, 1869.
Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 4: Die Uniformen der Kavallerie, Husaren und Lanzenreiter 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1979
Bolke, Eberhardt: Preussische Fahnen 1740 – 1806. Dresden, 1944.
Bredow – Wedel: Historische Rang- und Stammliste des Deutschen Heeres. Berlin 1905.
Eckardt, Werner – Morawietz, Otto: Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preussisch-deutschen Heeres. Hamburg, Helmut Gerhard Schulz Verlag, 1973.
Fiebig, H.: Unsterbliche Treue
Franke, Ludwig Eberhardt: Vorstellung der Koeniglich Preussischen Armee. Potsdam, 18??
Fraser, David: Frederick the Great, The Penguin Press, London 2000.
Gieraths, Günther: Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgisch-Preussischen Armee 1626-1807, Ein Quellenbuch, Berlin 1964.
Gohlke, W.: Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850 Berlin 1911.
Grossen Generalstab, Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Heft 14 / 15. Der Feldzug 1806 / 07 und die Reorganisation der Artillerie. Berlin 1914
Grossen Generalstab, Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Hefte 26 - 30. Die Freikorps und Auslaender-Battailone. Berlin 1914.
Hoepfner, Edouard von. Oberst: Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807. Berlin, Simon Schropp & Comp. 1850.
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 476-485
Jany, Curt: Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1967.
Kling, C.: Geshichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausruestung des Koeniglich Preussischen Heeres. Three volumes. Putzer und Hoeltze, Weimar 1912.
Knoetel – Sieg.: Handbuch der Uniformkunde. H. G. Schultz, Hamburg, 1937.
Menzel, Adolph von: Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57.
Prussian War Ministry. Fahnen und Standarten der preussischen Armee seit dem Jahre 1806. Berlin 1889.
Ramm, August Leopold: Abbildungen von allen Uniformen der Koenigl. Preuss. Armee unter der Regierung Sr. Majestaet Friedrich Wilhelm III Berlin, J F Unger, 1800.
Schröder, C.: Uniformierung der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee, ca. 1765.
Voigt, Guenther: Deutschlands Heere bis 1918. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1983.
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.