Sonsfeld Dragoons

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

Origin and History

In the winter of 1688/1689, Elector Friedrich III ordered to raise a new dragoon regiment, which initially consisted of three companies. Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Wittenhorst zu Sonsfeld was appointed Chef of the regiment. By 1691, it already numbered seven companies. Troopers were raised in East Prussia, while officers came from Westphalia, Prussia, but also from France and other European countries.

In 1689, at the beginning of the Nine Years' War (1688-97), the regiment took part in the campaign against the French. In 1690, it served in the Netherlands.

From 1697, the regiment was posted in the regions of Jülich and Kleve.

By 1703, the regiment consisted of six companies organised in three squadrons.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive regimental Chefs were:

  • from 1692: Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Wittenhorst zu Sonsfeld (promoted to lieutenant-general on 2 February 1704)
  • from 1711: Georg Friedrich von der Albe

The numbering system (Stammliste) was first used by Leopold I., Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (Der alte Dessauer) in the Dessauer Spezifikation from 1737. Around 1780 the numbers were used in the printed Stammlisten, still with some variations for the fusilier regiments. It became official by "Cabinets-Ordre" from October 1, 1806. The present cuirassier regiment was attributed number 7.

Service during the War

In April 1701, four companies were assigned to Heiden’s Corps.

From 18 April and 15 June 1702, the regiment took part in the Siege of Kempen; and from 29 August to 23 September, in the Siege of Venlo. From 24 October, it was at the unsuccessful Siege of Rheinberg, which was transformed into a blockade.

On 7 February 1703, Rheinberg capitulated after a long blockade. From March to 21 April, the regiment then took part in the blockade of Geldern. It then took part in the Siege of Bonn, which surrendered on 15 May. Later, the regiment was at the Siege of Huy until 25 August.

In 1704, the three squadrons of the regiment were sent to the Danube to reinforce Dessau’s Corps. The regiment reached Rottweil on May 15. On 13 August, it fought in the Battle of Blenheim, where it captured two silver kettle-drums and received permission to carry them in the future. In November, after the surrender of Landau, the regiment took its winter-quarter around Cham.

In mid-March 1705, the regiment (8 companies for a total of 730 men) was sent to Italy, where it joined Prince Eugène’s Army. On 16 August, despite its attempts to cross the two canals of the Adda, the regiment was unable to take part in the Battle of Cassano.

On 7 September 1706, the regiment took part in the decisive Battle of Turin.

Between 26 July and 12 August 1707, the regiment took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Toulon.

On 11 July 1708, the regiment fought in the Battle of Oudenarde. It then took part in the Siege of Lille, which capitulated on 22 October.

From 27 June to 5 September 1709, the regiment was at the Siege of Tournai. On 11 September, it took part in the sanguinary Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1710, the regiment (four squadrons) was assigned to Dessau’s Corps. Between 25 April and 25 June, it took part in the Siege of Douai; and between 19 September and 9 November, in the Siege of Aire-sur-Lys.

On 9. May 1711, the Chef of the regiment, Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Wittenhorst zu Sonsfeld, died.

Between 17 and 28 July 1712, the regiment, now led by Colonel Georg Friedrich von der Albe, took part in the unsuccessful Siege of Landrecies.

Uniforms

From 1700, each Prussian unit started to wear a distinguishing uniform. A regulation was issued in 1709 to standardize the uniform and equipment.

Musicians

To do

Guidons

Tentative Reconstruction
Leibfahne from 1688-1717 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Kompaniefahne from 1688-1717 - Copyright: Kronoskaf

References

Seel, Karsten-Uwe:Geschichte des Königl. Preuß. Kürassier-Regiments Nr. 7

Nelke, Reinhard: Preussen

Acknowledgegent

Harald Skala for the initial version of the article