Bayreuth Dragoons

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Armies >> Austrian Army >> Bayreuth Dragoons

Origin and History

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, Field-Marshal Christian Ernst Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, who had fought against French during the campaign of 1676 and distinguished himself again during the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, offerer to Emperor Leopold I to raise a dragoon regiment.

On 9 September 1701, the Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth received the necessary decree to raise a dragoon regiment of 1,000 men in 12 companies. Four companies already serving in the margrave's service as garrison in Fürth formed the kernel of the new regiment. The remaining 8 companies were enlisted in Eger (present-day Cheb/CZ) and Saaz (present-day Žatec/CZ). The original 4 companies marched to Philippsburg. Johann Albrecht Count Ronow was appointed colonel and Rentsch as lieutenant-colonel.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was owned by:

  • since September 1701: Field-Marshal Christian Ernst, Margrave von Brandenburg-Bayreuth
  • from 1712 till 1727: Field-Marshal Georg Wilhelm, Margrave von Brandenburg-Bayreuth

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

  • since September 1701: Johann Albrecht, Count Ronow (or Ranow)
  • from August 1706: Johann Adam de Wendt (transferred to another regiment)
  • from June 1707 to 1716: Haimand Johann, Baron von Schilling

From 1716, the regiment fought against Turks in Hungary.

In 1760, the regiment was transformed into a chevaux-legers unit but, in 1763, it was re-established as a dragoon regiment.

In 1769, the regiment received the number 39 among the Austrian cavalry.

In 1860, the regiment was the Cuirassier Regiment No. 10. However, in 1867, it was once more reinstated as a dragoon regiment.

The regiment was disbanded in 1873 and its officers and troopers transferred to a new hussar regiment (No. 15). Missing officers were contributed by other hussar regiments.

Service during the War

In 1702, after being reviewed, the 8 newly raised companies rejoined the 4 original companies at the camp of Langenkandel. In May, Colonel Ronow and 2 of his squadrons were attached to the corps of FML Count Arco while the 4 remaining squadrons took position in the entrenchments between Lauterbourg and Berg. On 14 October, the regiment received its baptism of fire at the Battle of Friedlingen against the Maréchal Villars. After this defeat, the army retired to Kaiserstuhl and took its winter-quarters in the County of Hauenstein.

In 1703, the regiment was sent to Lines of Stollhofen. In July, it was transferred to the 2,500 men strong cavalry corps of FML Count de Latour at Ehingen on the Danube River. This corps was charged to cut the line of communication of the French army with Switzerland. However, Tyrol being threatened by raids of Bavarian light troops, the regiment was redirected to this region. On 20 August, it effected a junction with General Guttenstein's Army at Innsbruck. On 21 August, this army was joined by FZM Count Heister who assumed command and marched to Bavaria. On 27 August, the army finally reached Partenkirchen, after having been delayed by heavy rain and bad road conditions. FZM Heister received information about the advance of a French army under the Duc de Vendôme towards Tyrol. Heister's Army then marched back to Tyrol. FZM Heister led the vanguard consisting of the regiment, of one battalion of Molnár Hayduks and of 8 guns. When the regiment finally arrived at Trento, it was to learn that Vendôme's Army had retreated from Tyrol. The regiment along with Hasslingen Infantry, Gschwind Infantry and Starhemberg Infantry (Guido Starhemberg or Jung-Starhemberg?) march to Northern Tyrol to take part in the siege of Kuffstein. In the night of 29 October, Austrian troops occupied the town of Kuffstein, a few companies of the regiment were posted at the bridgehead on the Inn River. A superior Bavarian corps soon arrived to relieve the Fortress of Kuffstein. On 8 November, FZM Heister was forced to lift the siege of Kuffstein and to retire to Rattenberg. He was then replaced by GFWM Guttenstein as commander of this Austrian army. During the following winter, the regiment garrisoned Schwaz, Brixlegg and Wörgl.

In January 1704, the regiment (800 men, 700 horses) went to Hainburg. In mid-March, FZM Heister concentrated a corps of 4,000 men at Ebenfurth to quench Rákóczi Uprising in Hungary and Transylvania. He then attacked the camp of Rákóczi's rebels at St. Niclas. On 5 April, the Austrian corps rallied at Györ and went to Kis Bér, later to Stuhlweißenburg (Székesfehérvár/HU). Around 5,000 rebels occupied the hill near the city but fled to the town when Heister's artillery opened on them. However, the rebels found the town gates closed and were annihilated by Schlik Dragoons and Bayreuth Dragoons. The city surrendered after a short bombardment. During this action, the regiment captured a pair of kettle-drums. The Austrian corps then went to Komárom/HU and Verbély and campaigned in Hungary during the following months. On 13 June, at the Battle of Koronczó, FZM Heister defeated a 12,000 men strong rebel corps. In this battle, Heister lost around 100 men, the rebels 3,000 men along with 28 flags and 6 guns. On 23 July, Prince Eugène de Savoie allowed the regiment to use the kettle-drums captured at Stuhlweißenburg in the future. On 12 September, Rákóczi signed an armistice, Heister's Corps then went to Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK). The regiment (846 men, 706 horses) effected a junction with some cuirassiers at Zistendorf. On 20 December, this cavalry corps proceeded to Tyrnau (present-day Trnava/SK). On 26 December, the regiment took part in the Battle of Tyrnau.

In 1705, the regiment joined the corps of G.d.C. N. Pálffy at Oedenburg (present-day Sopron/HU). This corps then marched to Sárvár. On 26 March, it defeated the rebels in a battle where the latter lost 300 men and were forced to retreat to Paks. Austrian troops then returned to Schütt Island (present-day Velký Žitný ostrov/SK) where FZM Heister was replaced by FM Count d'Herbeville. FML Glöckelsberg with 1,600 foot and GFWM Löwenburg with 2,000 horse (including the regiment) went to Paks. On 22 June, the Austrians attacked the rebel entrenchments. On 23 June, the rebels evacuated their positions at Paks. In August, the regiment was assigned to the detachment charged to resupply the Fortress of Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK). On 11 August, the regiment took part in the Combat of Bibersburg (present-day Červený Kameň/SK). In mid-September, Transylvania being threatened by Rákoczi's troops, a corps of 16,000 men was sent to its help. It was very difficult to supply this corps during his advance, soldiers suffered while marching under heavy rain on muddy roads. On 11 November, Rákoczi blocked the roads near Sibó. The Imperial army formed a battle line and marched against the entrenchments of the rebels; Imperial troops on right wing, Danish troops on the left. The rebels were nearly annihilated, losing 6,000 men including some French officers, only 100 men were taken prisoners. On 12 November, G.d.C. Schlik with 5 cavalry regiments (including Bayreuth Dragoons) marched to Klausenburg. On 26 November, Schlik effected a junction with FM Rabutin's Corps at Weißenburg, the regiments encamped in the neighbourhood.

In 1706, the regiment was very weak, down at only 50% of its theoretical strength. In mid-May, the regiment joined Rabutin's Corps at Mühlenbach. A superior rebel force threatened Colonel Tige posted south of Maros and GFWM Baron Virmond was sent to his support with Bayreuth dragoons and Uhlefeld Cuirassiers. On 2 June, Tige and Virmond effected a junction at Vajda-Hunyad. On 4 June, Virmond attacked the rebel camp at Alsó-Szilvas. In this action, the rebels lost some 550 men, 4 flags and a lot of copper coins stamped by Rákoczi's administration. During following armistice, the regiment garrisoned Klausenburg (present-day Cluj/RO) and received new uniforms. Rabutin's Corps then went to Kaschau (present-day Košice/SK) and tried to besiege the town. Lacking supplies, Rabutin interrupted the siege after 10 days and returned to Debreczen. By that time, the regiment counted only 423 men, excluding officers and NCOs. Another 243 men and 204 horses were serving in FM Starhemberg's Army. Rabutin then detached Colonel Tige to Transylvania with 2,000 men and marched to Pest with his own corps (including Bayreuth Dragoons). The march was very difficult, the army had no provision and cold weather worsened the situation. Colonel Count Ronow of the Bayreuth Dragoons died on the way as did many soldiers. The corps also lost 2,000 horses.

On 1 February 1707, Rabutin's exhausted troops finally reached Pest. The regiment then counted only 200 men. On 14 February, Rabutin with his corps marched to Bicske where he effected a junction with FM Count Starhemberg who had another 300 men from Bayreuth Dragoons with him. Rabutin's Corps was posted between Györ and the border with Styria. The new colonel of the regiment, Johann Adam de Wendt (in function since August 1706) had quarrels with officers of the regiment and the proprietor of the regiment proposed to him by Haimand Johann Baron Schilling who had formerly been in the Saxon service. In June 1707, Baron Schilling was appointed commander and de Wendt was transferred to another regiment. The regiment was brought to full strength and then, along with Breuner Dragoons, some companies of Thürheim Infantry and some 3,500 Grenzers, sent to Oedenburg to join the corps of G.d.C. N. Pálffy, Banus of Croatia. The regiment was afterwards posted along the Hungarian border between Oedenburg and Neusiedler See. In the following months, it harassed rebel forces operating in this region.

In the winter of 1707-1708, some officers of the regiment were sent to Moravia and Bohemia to enlist new recruits.

In 1708, FM Heister assumed once more command in Hungary. He marched at the head of his army to Skalitz (present-day Skalice/SK) to support FML Viard, threatened by Rákoczi's troops. On 2 August, Heister arrived at Waag-Neustadt (present-day Nové Mesto nad Váhom/SK) but the rebels had already retreated. Heister followed them through Beckov along the Waag River up to Trencsén (present-day Trenčín/SK). On 4 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Trencsén, a great victory of Imperial troops. FM Heister, pursued the retreating rebels up to Kis-Tapolcsán. Some rebel detachments plundered the region along the Austrian and Styrian borders and FM Heister marched to Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK) with Schönborn Dragoons, La Tour Cuirassiers and Demetri Hussars. Heister then advanced to the Forest of Bakony, driving back the rebels in front of his corps. In October, the regiment escorted a supply convoy to Sárvár. In then returned to the Forest of Bakony and spent winter at Györ.

In 1709, heavy snow falls prevented any operation before the end of February. At the end of February, Colonel Schilling of the regiment escorted a supply convoy to Stuhlweissenburg, attacked a rebel detachment and captured 7 regimental flags which were sent to the Emperor at Vienna. In June, Major-General St Croix escorted with some troops (including the regiment) a supply convoy to Sárvár. Until the end of the year, the regiment harassed rebel parties in Northern Hungary, remaining on the right bank of the Danube.

In March 1710, the regiment, along with Brenner Dragoons, Jeney “Raizen” Regiment and half of Nádasdy Hussars, was sent to make the blockade of the Fortress of Neuhäusel. In April, FM Heister with the regiment reconnoitred the surrounding of the fortress. He was impressed by Colonel Schilling's capabilities and recommended to Prince Eugène to promote Baron Schilling to general. On 22 July, Colonel Schilling, at the head of 300 dragoons and 300 militiamen, surprised a rebel camp (2,000 men) at Nagy-Vásony and annihilated them. The regiment remained in that region until the end of the campaign. On 1 November, the army took its winter-quarters, the regiment was deployed along the Raab and the Marczal rivers.

By May 1711, the regiment was at full strength (1,000 men). Four companies were sent to the Comitat of Neutra along with 5 companies of Nádasdy Hussars. They later took part in the siege of Kaschau which surrendered on 26 April. Afterwards, the entire regiment was reunited near Kaschau. On 22 June, the Castle of Munkács surrendered and the nine years long Rákoczi rebellion came to an end. The regiment assumed garrison duties in the Comitats of Tolna and Barany.

On 10 May 1712, the proprietor of the regiment, FM Christian Ernst Margrave Brandenburg-Bayreuth, died. The Duke of Württemberg, Major-General Bonneval, Lanken and Browne were all interested to become proprietor of the regiment but Emperor Charles VI gave it to Georg Wilhelm Margrave Brandenburg-Bayreuth, the son of Christian Ernst.

In 1713, the regiment went to Oedenburg and sent two companies to the court of the emperors at Laxenburg.

On 16 February 1715, a captain and 50 dragoons of the regiment set off from Bruck/Leitha, escorting the ambassador of Turkey to Vienna. In August, an outbreak of plague forced Vienna to establish a sanitary cordon along the border of Styria and Moravia. In October, the regiment received an additional grenadier company.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1701 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
as per Donath

Headgear black tricorne laced white

To distinguish soldiers (from corporal down to privates) of each company, a button or rosette at the colour of the company was attached to the tricorne. As a field sign, green foliage was attached to the tricorne in summer and a wisp of straw in the winter.

The tricorne was worn only in the service, otherwise soldiers always wore a Holz-Kappe (fatigue cap). Hair had to be of a standard length and tied with a black ribbon.

Neck stock white
Coat blue with red lining; pewter buttons along the right side and one pewter button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder strap red aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat blue with pewter buttons. In summer, it was replaced by a linen cloth waistcoat.
Breeches red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt no information found
Waistbelt a wide belt of yellow deer or buffalo leather worn above the waistcoat
Cartridge Box natural leather cartridge pouch worn on a belt on the left shoulder and containing 24 cartridges
Scabbard leather scabbard with an iron tip protector and a brass mouth piece
Footgear Low riding boots made of Russian leather with a knee pad.
Horse Furniture
Saddle-cloth red edged with a wide yellow braid decorated with black Xs
Housings red edged with a wide yellow braid decorated with black Xs
Blanket roll blue and white


Troopers were armed with a double-edged backsword, a pair of pistols, a musket and a bayonet.

The riding mantle was white with a collar in the same colour as the cuffs of the coat.

NCOs

no information found yet

Officers

Uniforms of officers differed from those of the privates and NCOs by the finer material used and by the following distinctions:

  • black tricorne laced white and bordered with a white plumetis
  • blue coat edged white and with white braid on the seams of the sleeves
  • red cuffs edged white with silver buttons

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

Musicians

Drummers 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 cravat
  • 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

Colours

no information found

References

Treuenfest, G. A. v.: Geschichte des k.u.k Husaren-Regimentes Nr. 15 Moriz Graf Pálffy ab Erdöd, Vienna 1894

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

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article