Steinville Cuirassiers

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

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1690 by Count Bassompierre. It was partially formed with French deserters and it recruitment was completed in Germany.

In 1690, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment initially served on the Rhine.

In 1691, the regiment was transferred to Hungary to fight the Turks. On 19 August, it took part in the Battle of Slankamen. In 1693, it was at the third siege of Belgrade. From 1694 to 1696, it campaigned in Transylvania in Veterani's Corps.

From 1698, the regiment was stationed in Hungary.

The regiment counted 6 squadrons.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment proprietors were:

  • since 1690: Carl Ludwig Count Bassompierre
  • from 1698 till 1720: Stephan Count Steinville

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

  • since 1694: Lieutenant-Colonel le Becque
  • from 1704: Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Gelhay
  • from 1710: Colonel Franz Baron du Jardin
  • from 1715: Lieutenant-Colonel Schramm
  • from 1716: Colonel Count Hennin-Bossu

From 1716 to 1718, the regiment was stationed in Transylvania, a detachment taking part in the siege of Temesvár.

The regiment was disbanded in 1721, its troopers were transferred to various regiments (Hannover, Gondrecourt, Mercy, Martigny, Hautois, Lanthieri, Hohenzollern and Montecuccoli).

Service during the War

From 1703 to 1717, the regiment campaigned in Hungary where it was mainly involved in the quenching of the Rákóczi Uprising (1703-1711).

In 1704, the regiment took part in the Battle of Pata.

In 1705, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hermannstadt (Sibiu/RO).

In 1706, the regiment was attached to Rabutin's Corps operating in Upper Hungary (Slovakia) and took part in the siege of Kaschau (Košice/SK).

In 1707, the regiment was distributed among Starhemberg's and Tige's Corps, the latter operating in Transylvania. Part of the regiment fought at the battles of Klausenburg (Cluj-Napoca/RO), Mühlenbach and Hermannstadt.

In 1708 and 1709, the regiment was attached to the main army stationed in Hungary but did not take part in any major action.

In 1710, the regiment was present at the victories against the rebels at Rosenau (Rožnava/SK) and Krasnahorka (Krásná Horka/SK).

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
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 in 1710

Collar none (short red standing collar from 1710)
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 brass buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat white made of linen cloth
Breeches red cloth with linen lining
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 blue and yellow braid (yellow inner stripe, blue outer stripe)
Housings red bordered with a blue and yellow braid (yellow inner stripe, blue outer 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. Buttons were gilt or silver-plated and golden embroideries decorated the cuffs, pocket flaps and saddle-cloth.

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

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.5, B.7

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article