Prinz von Schönaich-Carolath Cuirassiers
Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1691 from one company each of the regiments Nrs 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 for colonel Hans Ehrentreich von Schöning. The same year, it served in Brabant and on the Rhine.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, on July 11 1708 the regiment fought in the battle of Oudenarde. At the end of the war, in 1718, it was increased by 1 company to 5 squadrons.
At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served against Austria. On May 17 1742, it fought in the battle of Chotusitz. From September 10 to 16 1744, it took part in the siege of Prague. On June 4 1745, it fought in the battle of Hohenfriedberg, taking 3 standards. On September 30 of the same year, it took part in the battle of Soor, taking 10 colours and capturing 3 enemy regiments. On November 23, it was at the combat of Katholisch-Hennersdorf where it took 2 standards.
Upper Silesia was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Falkenberg, Gross-Strehlitz, Löwen and Oppeln.
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 September 5 1751: major-general Johann Carl Friedrich Erbprinz von Schönaich-Carolath
- from January 5 1758 to June 12 1769: major-general Jakob Friedrich von Bredow
By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Holzendorf Cuirassiers. That year, on October 14, it took part in the battle of Jena where it was deployed on the right Wing. It suffered heavy losses. The rest of the regiment surrendered and was not re-raised. Remnants were used in the new regiments.
Service during the War
In 1756, the regiment was part of the army of Silesia under field-marshal Schwerin. During this campaign, this army remained on the border between Silesia and Bohemia.
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it took part to the battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing under prince Schönaich. During this battle, the regiment took 2 standards. At the end of August, it accompanied Bevern to Silesia. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of general Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps and fought the combat of Moys, the regiment was deployed in the first line at the extreme left wing. On November 22, it took part to the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Normann's brigade, in the second line of the centre. 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.
From March 31 to April 18 1758, the regiment took part in the siege of Schweidnitz. It then followed the Prussian army in its invasion of Moravia and, from May 27 to July 2, was at the siege of Olmütz. On October 10 1758, it took part in the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the centre of the first line in Zieten's cavalry brigade.
From February 24 to March 4 1759, the regiment was 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. On November 20 1759, the regiment took part in the battle of Maxen where it was attached to Bredow's brigade. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war (one of the captured Eskadronstandarte may now be seen at the Stadsmuseum Gent).
In 1760, 2 squadrons were re-raised. They joined the corps of prince Henri.
By 1762, the regiment was back at full strength. From August 7 to October 9, it covered the siege of Schweidnitz.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button and crimson pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid with 3 crimson stripes)
|Waistcoat||crimson 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 crimson and fastened by 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 decorated with 2 crimson stripes and each carrying a silver "FR" cipher.
The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- golden scalloped lace to the top and back of the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a golden strap and a small yellow button and black within silver pompoms
- golden 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 gold
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne bordered with crimson feathers and one black and white pompom in each lateral corne
- a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar, cuffs, coat edges and decorating the shoulders and sleeves
- hanging sleeves bordered with the musician lace
The musician laces were gold with a central crimson stripe.
Musicians did not wear breastplate.
The square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a green tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had crimson standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.
The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate new pattern standards.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a green central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a white medallion).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): green field, fringed gold with a white central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a green scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a green medallion).|
|Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): the standard illustrated below replaced an "FWR" pattern standard issued around 1717, that was captured in an ambush at Holitz (July 12 1758). When the regiment surrendered at Maxen (November 20 1759) this standard and one other were presented by Maria Theresa to Joseph, Comte de Saint-Ignon (1720-1779). Saint-Ignon presented this standard to the Saint George Crossbow Guild of Ghent, Belgium, of which Saint-Ignon was a member, and laid it up in their chapel.
The standard is now loan to, and is on display in, the Stadsmuseum Gent. The Museum holds the copyright on this photograph and it may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from STA.M.
Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.
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Anon., Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757
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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.
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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.