Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons

Origin and History

The unit was incorporated into the Prussian Army on September 28, 1741 as a dragoon regiment. It already existed since 1734 but was in the Württemberg service as a cuirassier regiment designated as “Kürassier-Regiment Duchess Marie Auguste”. In 1741, it was renamed “Haus-Dragoner-Regiment”.

On June 14, 1742, the regiment, led by Colonel Konrad Leberecht Marschall von Biberstein, arrived at Berlin. It consisted of two mounted and three unmounted squadrons and re-organised in Halle. On April 1, 1742, in order to save costs, King Frederick II decided that the regiment should keep its old uniforms for another two years.

The regiment was stationed in Eastern Pomerania in Treptow an Rega, a garrison place formerly attributed to the Dragoner Regiment Nr.2 and was renamed “Alt-Württemberg Dragoons”. Until 1784, it garrisoned Greifenberg, Massow, Naugard, Treptow an Rega and Wollin. It levied its recruits in the districts of Bütow, Lauenburg and Rummelsburg.

In 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment (849 men) took part in the occupation of Prague; and in 1745, in the battles of Hohenfriedberg and Soor.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

The regiment was disbanded on November 7, 1806 after the capitulation of Ratekau.

Service during the War

1756

On August 26, 1756, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Prince Moritz's Corps. The centre column had concentrated in the area of Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left.

On September 6, the regiment encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. On September 10, it joined the army of Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau blockading Pirna.

On October 17, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the four squadrons (each counting six officers, eight NCOs, two drummers, 100 troopers and one farrier) of the Saxon Graf Rutowsky Light Dragoons were forcibly incorporated into the regiment as a second battalion. Exceptionally, the former Saxon regiment retained its red uniforms.

1757

In April 1757, this second (Saxon) battalion was disbanded because of heavy desertion and its remaining troops were distributed among Meinicke Dragoons, Katte Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Puttkamer Hussars, Wartenberg Hussars and Werner Hussars.

In April, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On April 21, at the Combat of Reichenberg, the regiment was deployed in the second line of the Duke of Brunswick-Bevern's force. While the Prussian infantry was assaulting the Austrian abatis, Bevern ordered the regiment along with Normann Dragoons and Katte Dragoons to attack the Austrian cavalry, which they completely routed. During the ensuing pursuit, the Prussian dragoons exposed their right flank to the fire of the Austrian infantry which had retired behind the second abatis. The Prussian dragoons suffered considerable losses and were thrown into disorder. The Austrian cavalry took advantage of this to set itself in order and to attack the Prussian cavalry, throwing it back. The sudden attack of the Puttkamer Hussars on the flank of the pursuing Austrian cavalry, allowed the Prussian dragoons to rally and to counterattack, putting their opponent to flight. The regiment had captured three flags and some guns.

On May 6, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed south of Sterbohol, in the second line of the left wing under the Prince Schönaich. The regiment suffered heavy losses and its commander, Colonel Wilhelm Prince Holstein-Beck, was killed. On May 11, Lieutenant-Colonel von Münchow and Major von der Trautenburg were decorated with the “Pour-le-Merite” military order.

After the Siege of Prague was lifted on June 19, the regiment marched by way of Brandeis (present-day Brandýs nad Labem/CZ) and Jung-Bunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav/CZ) to Bautzen, where it was assigned to Bevern's Corps which went to Silesia.

On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment was deployed in the second line on the extreme left wing. After the combat, the regiment marched by way of Bunzlau (present-day Boleslawice/PL), Liegnitz (present-day Legnica/PL) and Steinau (present-day Scinawa/PL) to the fortified position on the Lohe River, west of Breslau.

On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the Prince of Württemberg's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten.

On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in the vanguard, led by Prince Eugen of Württemberg. In its attack between Borne and Groß-Heidau, the regiment captured two flags and took 600 men prisoners. During the battle, it had stood with four hussar regiments behind the infantry centre.

1758

In April 1758, during the Siege of Schweidnitz, the regiment was posted at Landeshut to the siege corps. From May to July, it was assigned to Prussian siege corps during the Siege of Olmütz (present-day Olomouc/CZ).

On July 29, during the Prussian retreat after the failed invasion of Moravia, the regiment covered the crossing of the Mettau by the main army.

On August 10, when the Prussian army retreated to Silesia, the entire regiment remained with Margrave Karl at Landeshut.

On October 14, it was present at the Battle of Hochkirch and was deployed in Retzows Corps near Weissenberg. After the battle, the regiment covered the retreat of the Prussian army.

On November 7, the regiment was at the relief of Neisse (present-day Nysa/PL) and then marched to Dresden, where it arrived on November 20.

1759

At the beginning of 1759, the regiment encamped near Schmottseifen.

On July 29, the regiment marched with Prince Heinrich’s Corps by way of Sagan and Bautzen to Saxony.

On September 25, the regiment fought at Hoyerswerda.

On October 29, the regiment took part in the Combat of Pretzsch.

On November 20, four squadrons of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where they were attached to Platen's Brigade deployed on the extreme right of the Prussian positions. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.

1760

By May 24, 1760, the regiment counted only 7 officers, 15 NCOs, 3 drummers, 1 surgeon, 1 Fahnenschmied and 41 dragoons with 114 horses. This single squadron, along with two squadrons of Jung-Platen Dragoons, was assigned to Prince Heinrich’s Army, and marched by way of Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Slaski/PL) and Glogau (present-day Glogów/PL) to Breslau (present-day Wroclaw/PL).

During the summer, the regiment was brought back to its full strength of five squadrons.

On November 3, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau, where it carried out a successful attack under Lieutenant-General Prince von Holstein.

1761

In 1761, the regiment took part in various combats during the Siege of Colberg: on October 22, in the Combat of Gollnow; on December 12, in the Combat of Spie. After the unsuccessful attempt against Spie, the regiment managed to retreat to Stettin.

1762

In 1762, the regiment campaigned in Silesia. On July 21, it was at the Battle of Burkersdorf.

On August 16, the regiment distinguished itself in the Battle of Reichenbach, where it was deployed on the right wing of Bevern’s Corps in Lentulus’s Brigade.

The regiment then covered the Siege of Schweidnitz which surrendered on October 9.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Copyright Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1757
Headgear black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and straw yellow pompoms

N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap

Neck stock black
Coat cobalt blue with straw lining and with 2 white buttons under the lapel and 3 white buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar black
Shoulder strap left shoulder: blue fastened with a white button
right shoulder: white aiguillette
Lapels black with 6 white buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets each with 2 white buttons
Cuffs black (Swedish style) with 2 white buttons
Turnbacks straw yellow
Waistcoat straw yellow with one row of small white buttons and horizontal pockets, each with white buttons
Breeches buff
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard brown leather
Bayonet scabbard brown leather
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red with rounded corners; bordered with a wide white braid
Housings red with pointed corners; bordered with a wide white braid
Blanket roll cobalt blue


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

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
  • silver lace edging the cuffs

Officers

Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons Officer Lace - Source: Kling, C., Geschichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung des Königlich Preussischen Heeres

The officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade (attached with a silver clip) and red and silver pompoms
  • a silver aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • silver embroidery loops
    • 6 on each lapel
    • 2 under each lapel at the waist
    • 1 on each side in the small of the back
    • 1 on each side on the left and right of the waist button
    • 2 on each pocket
    • 2 on each cuff


Musicians

Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons Drummer Lace - Source: Kling, C., Geschichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung des Königlich Preussischen Heeres

Drummers of the regiments wore the same uniform as the troopers but decorated around the lapels and the edges of the front, the rear, the side waist slit, the pocket flaps, the cuffs and the shoulders with a braid at the livery of Württemberg (white braid bordered by 2 outer red braids and 2 inner yellow braids, with a ventral pattern of red and black decorations).

Colours

Standards were made of damask. They were swallow-tailed and measured some 50 cm along the pole, 65 cm from the pole to the extremity of a point and 50 cm from the pole to the centre of the indentation. The cords and knots were of silver threads. The pole of the standard was a tournament lance (same colour as the field of the standard) reinforced with iron hinges. The golden spearhead wore the crowned monogram of Frédéric (FR).

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed silver with a red central medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in silver in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers). Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): red field, fringed silver with a silver central medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by red scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in silver in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).
Colonel Standard – Source: Dallas Gavan
Squadron Standard – Source: Dallas Gavan

References

Dorn and Engelmann: Die Kavallerie-Regimenter Friedrich des Großen, Friedberg, 1984

Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763

  • Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 124, Appendix 1
  • Vol. 12 Landeshut und Liegnitz, Berlin, 1913, p. 15

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 608-613

Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Königl.-Preussischen Armee, Berlin 1796

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for additional information on this regiment