Vehlen Dragoons

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

Origin and History

This dragoon regiment was one of the oldest Palatine dragoon regiment. On 29 October 1687. Otto Christoph Count Vehlen was appointed colonel of a dragoon regiment (also known as "Leibdragonerregiment") which enlisted troopers in the County of Jülich-Berg.

After the signature of the Treaty of Ryswick on 30 October 1697, the strength of all existing Palatine cavalry regiments was reduced. The Vehlen Dragoons now consisted of nine companies, each of 50 men. However, as soon as 1698, it was increased to 10 companies, each of 70 men.

In 1701 the regiment had to transfer one squadron of three companies to the newly established Schellart Cavalry.

The regiment was also known as the "Dragonerregiment Kurprinz".

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

  • from 29 October 1687 to 1732: Otto Christoph Count Vehlen

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the successive commanders of the regiment were:

  • from 1687: Otto Christoph Count Vehlen (the proprietor of the regiment)
  • from 1704 to July 1710: Colonel Karl Philipp von Hundheim

In 1732, Count Vehlen was appointed commander of Imperial troops in the Netherlands and ceded his regiment to Florimund Edmund Count Hatzfeld. The regiment was than called "Hatzfeld-Leibdragoner".

Service during the War

1701

In 1701, the regiment garrisoned various places in the Electorate of Palatinate.

1702

In 1702, the regiment was sent to the Lower Rhine. On 25 April, the regiment (450 men) with the Garde Grenadiers occupied the town of Annweiler, blockading Landau from west side. In June, it was posted between Nussdorf and Dammheim. In the order of battle of 10 June, the regiment (3 squadrons) was posted in the first line of the right wing, under FML Zante. In the order of battle of 21 October, after the siege and capture of Landau, the regiment was deployed in the first line led by its proprietor, General Vehlen.

The regiment most probably took its winter-quarters near Mannheim.

1703

On 24 April 1703, the regiment was sent with other troops to reinforce the corps of Prosper von Fürstenberg in the Kinzig Valley, but these reinforcements arrived too late.

By June, the regiment formed part of Field Marshal Thüngen's small army. It was posted on the right bank of the Rhine.

From 15 June until 16 July, the regiment along with the Wittgenstein Dragoons secured the bridges near Illingen and Elchsheim. On 16 July, the marched to the entrenchments along the Lauter River.

On 15 October, superior French forces surprised a detachment of 1,600 men (imperial hussars and the present regiment) near Neustadt an der Haardt. Around 300 hussars and 100 men of the regiment were killed or wounded during heavy street fighting inside Neustadt, but the rest managed to escape to Speyer. The regiment was now so weak that it could not participate in the rest of the campaign.

1704

In 1704, the regiment (now re-established at 430 men) formed part of the Palatine Contingent in Imperial pay.

On 30 July, the regiment formed part of the troops defending the Lines of in the Stollhofen and was posted in the valley behind Bühl.

From September to November, during the third siege of Landau, the regiment (3 squadrons) was deployed north of the Queich River.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters in the County of Zweibrücken.

1705

In April 1705, the regiment marched southwards with the Palatine Contingent troops destined to campaign in Italy. On its way, this contingent received orders to participate in the suppression of the uprising In Bavaria and redirected its march towards Munich.

On 18 May, the regiment left Munich and proceeded to Italy. On 12 June, it crossed the mountains and reached Rovereto. On 19 June, it made a junction with Roccavione's troops in Nave. On 1 July, the regiment took part in the pursuit of French troops at Torbalas.

On 16 August, the regiment took part in the Battle of Cassano, where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under Count Leiningen. In this battle, it lost seven men wounded.

On 12 November, when Prince Eugène marched to a new camp at Roncadella, the regiment formed part of the rearguard. On 13 November, it joined Prince Eugène at the camp near Roncadella.

At the end of the year, the regiment marched through the Val di Sabbia to the County of Verona and joined the corps of FML Battée.

1706

In mid-January 1706, the regiment reached Trento. It then marched to San Martino near Verona and kept contact with Prince Eugène's Army.

From May, the regiment was once more allocated to FML Battée's Corps at Marega, where it remained until mid-June.

On 4 July, the regiment marched to Piacenza as part of Battée's Corps. On 12 July, this corps crossed the Adige River and the Canal Bianco.

On 20 July, the regiment left Battée's Corps and joined the main army.

On 7 September, the regiment took part in the Battle of Turin, where it was deployed with the cavalry of the right wing under Roccavione.

On 25 September, the regiment, which was now part of the corps of Filed Marshal Daun, undertook the siege of Pavia. On 2 October, the place surrendered and Daun received the order to besiege Tortona. On 29 October, the Castle of Tortona surrendered, and Colonel von Hundheim of the regiment was sent to personally delivered the news of the fall of the fortress to Prince Eugène.

The regiment took up its winter-quarters in Fiovera.

1707

In 1707, Colonel Hundheim replaced General baron Isselbach at the head of his brigade, the latter had been recalled to Düssledorf to report to the Elector of Palatinate. This brigade took part in the invasion of Provence and was allocated to the corps of the Imperial Major-General Hannibal Marchese Visconti.

The Allies had to raise the Siege of Toulon and retire towards Piedmont. Between 12 and 16 June, Hundheim's Brigade reached the Dora Baltea River. Visconti's Corps (including Hundheim's Brigade) remained posted on the Dora Baltea to cover Piedmont against French attacks.

After return of the Allied army from Toulon, Visconti's Corps made a junction with the main body.

On 17 September, when Prince Eugène sent a force to capture Susa, Visconti's Corps (including Hundheim's Brigade) remained at Pinerolo to cover the siege.

At the end of October, all Palatine cavalry regiments took up their winter-quarters around Tortona.

1708

In 1708, the regiment spent the first half of the year in northern Italy and saw no action.

On 31 July, the regiment was reviewed near Pinerolo. It numbered 430 men and 277 horses under the command of Colonel Hundheim.

At the beginning of November, the small corps of Colonel Hundheim began its march to return to Germany. On 23 November, it crossed the border of Tyrol. By the end of the year, Hundheim's Corps was around Neuburg on the Danube.

1709

For the campaign of 1709 on the Sarre and the Moselle, the Elector of Palatinate provided the Emperor with two infantry and two cavalry regiments. The Vehlen Dragoons were part of this contingent, which had been placed under the command of Field Marshal Count Johann Ernst von Nassau-Weilburg. On 10 July, the regiment arrived at Maastricht.

On 11 September, the regiment took part on the Battle of Malplaquet where it was deployed with all the Palatine cavalry led by Count Vehlen, on the left of Marlborough's cavalry.

In October, the regiment took part in the Siege of Mons, where it was deployed with Hatzfeld Cavalry.

1710

In 1710, the contract of the previous year was renewed and two infantry and two cavalry regiments were placed in Imperial service. The contract was undesigned by Prince Eugène and the General-Kriegskommisär Baron von Hundheim.

On 15 May, G.d.C. Count Vehlen set off from Düsseldorf with the two cavalry regiments (including the present regiment) and marched by way of Roermond, Antwerp and Ghent to make a junction with the army of Prince Eugène.

On 6 June, when Lieutenant-General von Venningen died, Colonel von Hundheim (previously colonel of the Vehlen Dragoons) was appointed proprietor of the former "Venningen Carabiniers".

In July, in the order of battle of Prince Eugène's Army, the regiment (438 men) the Palatine Wittgenstein Dragoons and Leibregiment zu Pferd were posted on the right wing. On 15 July, one squadron of the regiment was allocated to the corps of Count von der Schulenburg and took part in the Siege of Béthune.

The regiment did not take part in the sieges of Aire and Saint-Venant.

On 19. November, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in Upper Palatinate.

1711

On 24 May 1711, Count Vehlen with his cavalry detachment (including the Vehlen Dragoons) arrived at the camp of Lewarde, east of Douai. In the order of battle of this day, the regiment (3 squadrons) was deployed in the first line of the right wing with the Palatine Leibregiment zu Pferd.

On 14 June, Vehlen's cavalry detachment and some Imperial troops left Lewarde.

On 29 July, Prince Eugène took the command over the Reichsarmee at Mühlburg.

On 30 August, when Prince Eugène went with the army to a camp between Dudenhofen and Berghausen, the regiment was posted at Daxlanden.

Between 7 and 10 November, the Allied army recrossed the Rhine at Phillipsburg and Rheinhausen and the Palatine regiments took up their winter-quarters in the County of Jülich-Berg.

1712

From 8 June 1712, one squadron of the regiment, along with squadrons of Imperial Major-General Schönborn, took part in the Siege of Le Quesnoy.

By July, the regiment was probably allocated to the corps (20 squadrons)under General Vehlen, which was posted near Carvin.

On 19 October, G.d.C. Count Vehlen with 5 battalions and 15 squadrons – most probably all Palatine - marched to the dioceses of Liège and Cologne, where he took his winter-quarters.

From mid-November until January 1713, the regiment was in Gymnich.

1713

By mid-June 1713, the regiment (437 men and 263 horses) was deployed in the corps of Field Marshal Count Fels (8 bns and 93 sqns) near Oberhausen.

The French Lieutenant-General Albergotti intended to capture the entrenchments along the Rhine near Mannheim. The present regiment, along with the Hahn Dragoons, was among the Allied troops posted on the right bank of the Neckar River. In the night of 26 June, the commander of the entrenchments, Lieutenant-Colonel von Kuhla from Isselbach Infantry, had to retire from the entrenchments in front of superior forces.

On 30 July, the regiment (327 men and 318 horses) was with the Hahn Dragoons near Mannheim.

After the surrender of Landau on 20 August, G.d.C. Count Vehlen was ordered to cross the Neckar River with all Palatine troops and to march to Germersheim.

On 18 September, the regiment, as part of the corps of FML Baron von Bibra (32 sqns), marched to Rottweil.

During winter, the regiment with was quartered around Mannheim and Heidelberg with the Hatzfeld Cavalry.

1714

In 1714, even before the signing of peace, all Palatine regiments were reduced. The Vehlen Dragoons now numbered only 210 men in two squadrons, for a total of six companies.

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1703 - Copyright: Kronoskaf
Uniform Details
as per Bezzel

Headgear black tricorne laced yellow
Neck stock black
Coat yellow with red lining; copper buttons along the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap no information found
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 3 copper buttons
Cuffs red, each with 3 copper buttons
Turnbacks none
Waistcoat red
Breeches white
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt buff leather
Waist-belt buff leather
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard 'no information found
Footgear low riding boots
Horse Furniture
Saddle-cloth red edged with a yellow braid with the arms of Palatinate in the lower rear corner
Housings red edged with a yellow braid
Blanket roll yellow cloak with red lining and a red collar


Troopers were armed with a sword, a musket and a pair of pistols.

The riding mantle was yellow with a red collar.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers but were distinguished by a yellow braid bordering the cuffs.

Officers

no information found yet

Musicians

Musicians wore a red coat with yellow distinctive colour.

Standards

no information found

References

Bezzel, O.: Geschichte des Kurpfälzischen Heeres, Bayrisches Kriegsarchiv, IV. File, part 1 and 2, Munich 1925

Goldberg, Claus-Peter and Robert Hall: War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714 – Electorate Palatine under Elector Johann Wilhelm 1690-1716, s.l., 2003

N.B.: the section Service during the War is also partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala the initial version of this article