Alt-Hannover Cuirassiers

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Alt-Hannover Cuirassiers

Origin and History

Caraffa Cuirassiers – Source: Geschichte des k. und k. Dragoner-Regiments Graf Paar Nr. 2

The regiment (890 men) was created on 6 December 1673 and had Field-Marshal Antonio Count Caraffa as inhaber (owner). Recruits were most probably raised in Westphalia. The first review was held on 16 May 1674. The regiment (then only 5 companies) received its baptism of fire on 21 June 1674 in a combat against Thököly’s rebels near Tokay.

From November 1682, the regiment garrisoned various places in Bohemia.

The complete regiment first saw service during the Great Turkish War. In 1684, it took part in the first siege of Ofen; in 1685, in the blockade and siege of Neuhäusel; in 1686, in the second siege of Ofen, in the expedition in Upper-Hungary and in the engagement of Szegedin; in 1687, in the blockade and capture of Erlau where it distinguished itself under its Colonel Marquis Karlo Doria, killing more than 100 Turks during the action; in 1688, in the siege and storming of Belgrade.

During the Nine Years' War (1688–97), in 1689, the regiment initially served on the Rhine where it took part in the siege of Mainz before being transferred to Italy. In 1691, it was at the siege of Carmagnola. In 1693, it fought in the Battle of Marsaglia (1693) where it lost its inhaber Count Franz Schrattenbach. In 1695, the regiment was at the siege of Casale. From 1694 to 1695, it remained in Piedmont and saw no action. In 1697, the regiment returned to the Rhine but was not involved in any action.

In 1698, the regiment assumed garrison duty in various places in Silesia. From 1699 to 1701, it garrisoned Eger in Hungary.

The regiment counted 6 squadrons.

Since its creation, the successive proprietors of the regiment were:

  • from 1672: FM Anton Count von Caraffa
  • from 1688: vacant
  • from 1693: Franz Sigmund Count von Schrattenbach (killed in action at the Battle of Marsaglia)
  • from 1693: Maximilian Wilhelm Prince Braunschweig-Lüneburg zu Hannover
  • from 1726: Georg Ludwig Baron von Uffeln

N.B.: from 1693 to 1703, the regiment was designated as “Alt-Hannover” to distinguish it from the “Jung-Hannover Cuirassiers”; afterwards it was simply designated as "Hannover".

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was successively commanded by:

  • from 1699: Baron Hochberg von Hennersdorf
  • from 1704: Baron Lagelberg
  • from 1707: Ludwig Baron von Uffeln
  • from 1716 to 1717: Franz Count Eltz

In January 1714, the regiment, which was garrisoning Budweis, received orders to march to Hungary. It should reach its destinations by the end of April, in the Komitats of Komorn, Raab and Stuhlweissenburg. At the end of August, the regiment was instructed to march to Tolna and to remain there and in Fünfkirchen (present-day Pécs/HU).

In 1715 and 1716, it garrisoned various places in the Komitats of Szalad, Szümegh, Tolna and Baranyay.

In 1716, the regiment distinguished itself under Colonel Count Eltz in the Battle of Peterwardein, where it lost 9 officers, 134 men and 231 horses. It then marched to Temesvár, which surrendered on 14 October. At the end of October, the regiment took up its winter-quarters at Szatmár, one company in Ugocsa and four companies in Marmaros.

In 1769, the regiment was numbered 29 among the Austrian cavalry regiments. In 1798, it was renumbered 2. In 1867, it was transformed into a dragoon regiment, retaining its number. By 1890, its proprietor was G.d.C. Eduard Count Paar.

Service during the War

1702

In January 1702, the regiment garrisoned Alt-Breisach and Freiburg. On 1 July, it marched to Philippsburg. From June to September, it took part in the Siege of Landau, which surrendered on 12 September. The regiment remained near Landau during winter.

1703

For the campaign of 1703, two squadrons were allocated to corps of FM Hermann Otto Count Limburg-Styrum, which operated in northern Bavaria, and four squadrons were with the main army in Bavaria near Nördlingen. On 3 June, Limburg-Styrum effected a junction with the main army near Groß-Süssen.

In mid-July, four squadrons took part in the campaign of FML La Tour against the French along the Danube River and the Bodensee Lake. On 31 July, three of the squadrons (6 companies. with a max. of 380 men) of the regiment fought in the Combat of Munderkingen, where they lost 81 men.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters at Eglof, Salmannsweil and Feldnang in the County of Württemberg.

1704

In 1704, the regiment was once more allocated to the corps of FM Count Limburg-Styrum. It took part in a skirmish at Donauwörth.

On 13 August, the regiment fought in the Battle of Blenheim where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing. After this resounding victory, the regiment marched by way of Ulm, Marbach and Eppingen to Speyer. On 11 September, it occupied Altenstadt.

1705

In 1705, the regiment was sent to Hungary, where it joined the corps of FML Sigbert Count Heister to fight Rákóczi Uprising.

After spending a few weeks in Western Slovakia (at Große Schütt-Insel), the regiment marched towards Transylvania. On its way, on 11 August, it took part in the Battle of Budmeritz.

At the end of August, Field Marshal Herbéviller who had taken command in Hungary, concentrated his army at Raab (present-day Györ/HU). He then marched by way of Szegedin to Großwardein (present-day Oradea/RO) and drove away the rebels from this place.

Herbéviller’s Corps then proceeded to Transylvania. On 11 November, the regiment took part in the Battle of Schibo. A detachment also participated in the defence of the Castle of Angern.

Major-General Johann Heinrich Count Glöckelsberg was then sent with 3 horse regiments (including the entire regiment) by way of Számos-Újvár to Bistritz (present-day Bistrita/RO), the rebels fled without opposing any resistance. Glöckelsberg effected a junction with Rabutin’s Army of Transylvania at Herrmannstadt (present-day Sibiu/RO).

In November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters at Bistritz.

1706

In February 1706, an armistice was signed. It would last until July.

In August, Rabutin marched to Hungary to fight Rákóczi uprising. His corps (including the present regiment) reached Debreczin.

In the Autumn, 250 men of the regiment were attached to Colonel Tige's detachment. During a review in Debreczin in November, the regiment numbered 670 men.

1707

In 1707, the entire regiment campaigned in Upper Hungary (today Slovakia) in the corps of Field-Marshal Guido von Starhemberg. On 31 May, Starhemberg concentrated his corps at Kittsee (present-day Austria) and harassed Rákoczi’s rebels in the region of the Waag River.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters around Oedenburg (present-day Sopron/HU).

1708-1709

In 1708 and 1709, the regiment was among the troops which formed a cordon in the region of Oedenburg. Its winter-quarters were at Komorn (present-day Komárom/HU) and Stuhlweissenburg (present-day Székesfehérvár/HU).

1710

In 1710, the regiment participated in the siege of Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK). At the end of the year, the regiment was under the command of Major-General Karl Count Hochberg von Hennersdorf and formed a cordon in the Komitats of Thurócz and Árva.

1711

In 1711, the regiment was at the blockade of Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK). At the end of April, it was sent to join the “Neutralitäts-Corps” stationed in Silesia.

In November, the regiment returned to Upper Hungary and spent the winter in the Komitats of Liptó, Árva, Thurócz, Nyitra and Trencsén.

1712

In March 1712, the regiment was allocated to the corps of Field Marshal Eberhard Prince Württemberg and campaigned on the Rhine. After six weeks without any action, Württemberg returned to Germany. The regiment was first sent to Bavaria and finally took its winter-quarters at Taus (present-day Domažlice/CZ).

1713

In 1713, the regiment marched from Taus to Phillippsburg, where it arrived on 6 June. It then operated in the region of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald). It contributed a detachment of 150 men to the garrison of Landau.

On 10 December, the regiment (986 men and 708 horses) marched by way of Rottweil, Elchingen and Altmühl to Budweis (present-day České Budějovice/CZ) and garrisoned the place until March 1714.

Uniform

Before 1738, there are almost no surviving contemporary sources describing the details of the uniforms of each Austrian regiment. Even secondary sources are scarce. In this section, we present a tentative reconstruction of the uniform worn by this unit.

Troopers

Uniform in 1701 – Copyright Kronoskaf
Uniform Details in 1701 as per Donath
Headgear
Headgear – Copyright Kronoskaf

Western European theatres: black tricorne laced white reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat

Eastern European theatres: round helmet of wrought iron with neck and nose protection
for ordinary service, troopers wore a tricorne decorated with a pompom, and black and yellow plumes

hair had to be of a standard length and tied with a black ribbon

Neck stock white
Coat buff leather lined red with short skirts reaching above the thighs

replaced by a grey-white coat around 1710

Collar none (short red standing collar around 1710)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat white made of linen cloth
Breeches red (buff leather around 1710)
Leather Equipment
Gloves thick leather gloves with buff coloured cuffs
Cross-belt natural leather with a brass buckle, worn across the left shoulder
Waist-belt natural leather with a brass buckle, worn above the coat
Cartridge Pouch cartridge pouch containing 24 cartridges
Scabbard sometimes made of metal but more often of leather with an iron tip protector and a brass mouth piece
Footgear riding boots made of Russian leather with a knee pad reaching above the knee

when not mounted, cuirassiers wore shoes with gaiters or stockings

Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red, decorated with the embroidered arms or cipher of the regiment owner and bordered with a yellow braid edged red with a red central stripe (bordered with a yellow braid edged red around 1710)
Housings red bordered with a yellow braid edged red with a red central stripe
Porte manteau red


Troopers were armed with a cuirasse of blackened wrought-iron (some regiments used a leather full cuirasse with front and back plates) edged red, a pallasch (sword) and a pair of pistols.

NCOs

no information found yet

Officers

Uniforms of officers differed from those of the privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Cuffs and pockets were probably edged with a wide silver braid.

Officers wore a black and yellow silk sash across the chest or around the waist.

Musicians

In the Austrian Cuirassier regiments, kettle drummers and trumpeters were dressed according to the regiment owner's tastes. They often wore brightly coloured uniforms with:

  • a plumed black round slouch hat
  • a curled periwig down to the shoulders
  • a white cravate
  • a comfortable red or blue coat with wide skirts reaching above the knees, decorated with ribbons and braids
  • red breeches
  • riding boots made of Russian leather with a knee pad reaching above the knee

The fairly large trumpet had a square yellow silk apron carrying an embroidered black double-eagle.

Kettle drums were similar to those used nowadays in symphonic orchestras. They were fastened to the saddle on each side of the pommel. One drum had a low register, the other a high one. The kettle drums were covered with richly laced and fringed yellow or red silken brocade apron measuring 128 cm. The middle of this apron was decorated with the painted (oil paint) arms of the regiment owner.

Standards

According to Dohna, from 1657 to 1705, all Austrian (Imperial) cuirassier regiments carried the same white Leibstandarte (colonel standard). It was fringed in gold and, on both sides, the border was decorated with a golden floral pattern:

  • obverse (right): centre design consisted of an armed black Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Austria on a shield, surmounted by a crown
  • reverse (left): the Mother of God (which had been declared the patroness of the army by Kaiser Ferdinand III) on a cloud and surrounded by rays
Leibfahne from 1657 to 1705 – Copyright: Kronoskaf

N.B.: according to Sapherson (The Imperial Cavalry 1691–1714), the reverse of the Leibstandarte "carried the colonel's arms or the Virgin and Child emblem. These designs were often accompanied by the initials of the colonel, heraldic designs of various types and scrollwork or wreaths."

Despite this supposed standardization, it seems that several cuirassier regiments continued to carry standards departing from this regulation.

This was the case for this regiment which, in 1699, still carried a Leibfahne with the arms of Baron Hochberg von Hennersdorf on the reverse.

Leibfahne circa 1699 – Copyright: Kronoskaf

From 1657 to 1705, the obverse (right side) of the Ordinärestandarten (regimental standards) of all Austrian (Imperial) dragoon regiments was of an identical pattern and consisted of an armed black Imperial double-eagle with the arms of Austria on a shield, surmounted by a crown. The border of the obverse was decorated with a floral pattern in the metal colour of the regiment.

References

Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 1, Vienna 1875, pp. 212, 219-222, 227

Anon.: Geschichte des k. und k. Dragoner-Regiments Graf Paar Nr. 2, Olmütz 1895

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, plate B.6, B.8

Gräffer, August: Geschichte der kaiserl. Königl. Regimenter, Corps, Bataillons und anderer Militär-Branchen seit ihrer Errichtung biz zu Ende des Feldzuges 1799, Vol. 2, Vienna, 1804, pp. 13-16

Thürheim, Andreas: Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee, vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, pp. 175-191

Wrede, A. v.: Geschichte der K. K. Wehrmacht, Vienna 1898–1905

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article