Origin and History
The regiment was raised in 1690 for Colonel Margrave Christian Ernst of Brandenburg-Bayreuth from 2 companies of cavalry raised in 1689 by Colonel Baron von Lethmate and 2 companies of Mecklenburg cavalry. In 1689, the 2 initial companies fought against France; from June to October 12, they were at the siege of Bonn. In 1690, the regiment served against the Turks in Hungary. On August 19, 1691, it took part in the Battle of Slankamen. On September 11, 1697, it fought in the Battle of Zenta.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1702, the regiment served against France; in April, it was at the siege of Kaiserswerth. On August 13 ,1704, it fought in the Battle of Blenheim. From 1706, it was cantoned in Neumark and Pommerania.
After the war, the regiment was stationed in East Prussia.
On August 22 1718, the regiment received a squadron of the disbanded regiment von Heyden. It now counted 5 squadrons.
In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment served against Austria; on May 17, it fought in the Battle of Chotusitz. From September 10 to 16, 1744, it took part in the siege of Prague. On May 22, 1745, it was at the clash of Neustadt in Upper Silesia. The same year, it took part in the battles of Hohenfriedberg (June 4) and Soor (September 30). On November 23, at the clash of Katholisch-Hennersdorf, it took a standard, 3 colours and 4 guns. Finally, on December of the same year, it fought in the Battle of Kesselsdorf.
Lower Silesia was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Grottkau, Münsterberg in Silesia, Ohlau and Strehlen.
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:
- from May 19, 1742: Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm von Rochow (retired in 1757)
- from November 20, 1757 to June 8, 1774: Lieutenant-General Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Seydlitz
By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Heising Cuirassiers. That year, on October 14, it took part in the Battle of Auerstädt where it was deployed on the left Wing. It suffered heavy losses. The rest of the regiment surrendered at Pasewalk on October 29. The regiment was not re-raised. Remnants went into the new 1st 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 left column led by the Prince of Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (September 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of Major-General Schonaich in Kyau Division. In this battle, it lost 6 officers, 16 NCOs and 130 troopers. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna country, the regiment joined Frederick II at Linai to cover Keith's advance. On October 28, the whole force reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and the regiment took up its winter quarters soon afterwards.
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it was not involved 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. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was kept in reserve behind the cavalry left wing under Major-General von Krosigk. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial army invading Saxony. On November 5, at the Battle of Rossbach, the regiment was deployed in the second line of the right wing under Major-General von Seydlitz. On December 5, at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Schmettau's Brigade in the first line of the cavalry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. From December 8 to 21, the regiment then covered the siege of Breslau.
From March 31 to April 18, 1758, the regiment covered the siege of Schweidnitz. It then took part in the invasion of Moravia, covering the siege of Olmütz from May 27 to July 2. It followed the Prussian army when it retreated to Silesia. 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 where it formed part of the first line of the cavalry left wing. During the battle, led by Seydlitz, the regiment counter-charged and overwhelmed the Russian cavalry, taking a battery of heavy guns and overthrowing the Russian right wing. On September 2, a week after the Battle of Zorndorf, 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 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the second line of the left wing under Seydlitz.
On September 25 1759, the regiment took part in the clash of Hoyerswerda.
In July 1760, the regiment was at the siege of Dresden. On August 15, it took part in the Battle of Liegnitz, taking 12 guns, 4 colours and 5 battalions. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau.
On February 15, 1761, the regiment took part in the combat of Langensalza. On August 14 it fought in the clash of Kloster Wahlstadt.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and white within 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 2 wide dark blue stripes)
|Waistcoat||dark blue 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 white straps. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.
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:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a silver strap and a small white button and black within silver pompoms
- 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
N.B.: silver embroidered buttonholes and a silver aiguillette on the right shoulder decorated the full dress uniform, which also had red distinctive, but were not present on the service uniform
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne bordered with crimson feathers 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) and decorating the shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
- hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace
The musician laces were as follows:
- narrow lace: white braid with a wide dark blue central stripe
- wide lace: white braid with 2 dark blue stripes
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 black tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had dark blue standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.
The regiment didn't lose any standards between 1740 and 1763, so it only carried "FWR" pattern standards.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a black dotted white central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned golden eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a white scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): black field, fringed gold with a white central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a black scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers) in a black medallion.|
The 5 standards were lost at the capitulation of Pasewalk on October 29 1806.
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Anon.: Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757
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Jany, Curt: Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1967.
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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.