Cusani Cuirassiers

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

Origin and History

This regiment was created on 15 September 1657 with 2 companies of CR Heister Cuirassiers, 2 coys of Götz Cuirassiers, 2 coys of Gonzaga Cuirassiers, 1 coy of Montecuccoli Cuirassiers and 3 newly raised coys. Jobst Hilmar Baron Knigge was appointed as its first proprietor.

In 1658 and 1659, the regiment was allocated to de Souches’ Corps operating in Poland and Prussia.

In 1661, the regiment was in Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia).

In 1662, the regiment campaigned in Transylvania, where it took part in the battle at Schässburg (present-day Sigishoara/RO).

From 1673 to 1675, the regiment was stationed on the Rhine River.

In 1683, the regiment campaigned in Austria, where it took part in the battle at Petronell, in the relief of Vienna and in the battle of Parkány.

In the following years, the regiment fought in Hungary and Transylvania

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

  • from 1657: Jobst Hilmar Baron Knigge
  • from 1669: Rudolph Count Rabatta
  • from 1685: Carl Maria Baron de Pace
  • from 1701 until 1716: Jacob Marquis Cusani

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

  • from 1700: Jacob Marquis Cusani (the proprietor of the regiment)
  • from 1701 : Franz Carl von Faber
  • from 1708 : Johann Friedrich Count Lanthieri
  • from 1712 until 1722 : Count Arrigoni

After the War of the Spanish Succession, from 1713 to 1716, the regiment garrisoned Gyöngyös in Hungary.

The regiment was disbanded in 1775 and its companies were transferred to various cuirassier regiments.

Service during the War

In 1702, the regiment was transferred from Hungary to the Rhine where it took part in the siege of Landau, which surrendered on 10 September.

In 1703, the regiment was attached to the army of the Margrave of Baden but saw no action.

On 13 August 1704, the regiment participated in the Battle of Blenheim. After the battle, the regiment marched to Hungary to quench the Kuruc Uprising. On 26 December, it took part in the Battle of Tyrnau.

In 1705, the regiment campaigned in Hungary. On 11 August, it took part in the Battle of Budmeritz. On 11 November, it was at the Battle of Schibo.

In 1706, the regiment was detached to Transylvania, where it saw no action.

In 1707, the regiment took part in Rabutin’s march to Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) and then returned to Transylvania.

In 1709, the regiment took part in the combat at Királyhágó.

From 1709 to the end of the war, the regiment saw no further action.

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 red (white in 1710)
Coat buff leather lined red with short skirts reaching above the thighs

replaced by a grey-white coat with red lining around 1710

Collar none (short red standing collar around 1710)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets without buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 copper buttons (3 copper buttons around 1710)
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat white made of linen cloth
Breeches red
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 worn across the left shoulder
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
Housings red bordered with a yellow braid
Porte manteau grey and red


The uniform was complemented with a white riding mantle

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 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.

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

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

Wrede, A. v.: Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht, file III. part 2, pp. 583ff, Vienna 1901

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article