Origin and History
On 13 February 1674, Colonel Philipp Casimir Baron Metternich received the authorisation to raise a cuirassier regiment. It recruited in the districts of Rhine.
In 1676, the regiment campaigned in Northern of Germany.
During the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment served mostly in Hungary, participating in several battles. On 19 August 1691, Lieutenant-Colonel Franz Wilhelm Count Hohenems was mortally wounded in the Battle of Slankamen.
The regiment counted 6 squadrons.
Since the creation of the regiment, its successive proprietors were:
- from 1674: Philipp Casimir Baron Metternich, colonel
- from 1683: Otto Ferdinand Baron Dietrichstein, colonel
- from 1684: Carl Philipp Duke Pfalz-Neuburg, FM
- from 1716: Joseph Emanuel Prince Pfalz-Sulzbach, FML
- from 1731 until 1734: Ferdinand Count Kokořowa von Kokořowetz
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was commanded by:
- from 1696: Franz Anton Count Thürheimb (killed at the Combat of Carpi in 1701)
- from 1702: Franz Ferdinand Count Walmerode, colonel
- from 1709: Carl Heinrich Count Zierotin, lieutenant-colonel
- from 1717: Ferdinand Count Kokořowa, colonel
On 25 May 1734, the regiment was virtually annihilated during the sanguinary battle of Bitonto. It was disbanded soon afterwards.
Service during the War
In 1701, the regiment joined the army assembling in Tyrol and took part in the invasion of Northern Italy. On 9 July, the regiment took part in the Combat of Carpi. On 1 September, it was at the Battle of Chiari.
On 1 February 1702, Captain Duprez with a detachment of the regiment distinguished himself during the attack on Cremona, Captain Malaspina captured a few supply ships. On 15 August, the entire regiment fought at the Battle of Luzzara where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing.
In 1703, the regiment initially served in Lombardy. Then 2 squadrons were sent to Piedmont where they joined the troops encamped at Crescentine (Chiavasso).
In 1704, 2 squadrons spent the entire campaign in the camp of Crescentine. The regiment did not see any action.
On 16 August 1705, the 4 squadrons left in Lombardy took part in the Battle of Cassano.
In 1706, 2 squadrons took part in the relief of Turin.
In 1707, the regiment participated in the raid on Naples, Lieutenant-Colonel Zierotin distinguished himself during the attack on Gaeta.
In 1708, the regiment took part in the occupation of the Papal States.
In 1709, the regiment was transferred to the Rhine and fought at Rumersheim.
From 1710 to 1713: the regiment was attached to the Reichsarmee and did not take part in any action.
Before 1738, there are almost no surviving contemporary source 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.
Western European theatres: black tricorne laced yellow reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat
Eastern European theatres: round helmet of wrought iron with neck and nose protection
hair had to be of a standard length and tied with a black ribbon
|buff leather lined red with short skirts reaching above the thighs
replaced by a grey-white coat by 1710
|white made of linen cloth
|red cloth with linen lining
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.
no information found yet
Uniforms of officers differed from those of the privates and NCOs by the finer material used. Cuffs and pockets were edged with a wide golden braid.
Officers wore a black and yellow silk sash across the chest or around the waist.
In the Austrian Cuirassier regiments, kettle drummers and trumpeters were dressed according to the regiment owner's tastes. The musicians of this particular regiment wore the following uniform:
- a black fez with blue and white plumes
- a white cravate
- a blue coat with wide skirts reaching above the knees, decorated with false sleeves and black 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.
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
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.
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
Donath, Rudolf; Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, plate B.6, B.8
Wrede, A. v.: Die Geschichte der K. u. K. Wehrmacht, file III. Part 2, Vienna 1901
Harald Skala for the initial version of this article