Baron von Kyau Cuirassiers
Origin and History
The original regiment was raised in 1695 as a regiment of dragoons from 2 companies each from the regiments Taschen and Küchen; increased to 8 companies. In 1695, the regiment saw much good service in Brabant, Flanders and on the Rhine.
In 1704, the “Wittgenstein Dragoon Regiment” was formed by combining the “Postal Dragoon Regiment”, the “Rauter Squadron” and other older units.
In 1715, during the Great Northern War, the regiment served in Pomerania. In 1717, it took part in the capture of Usedom. As a reward for this distinguished service it was converted to a Cuirassier regiment that same year and increased to 5 squadrons.
The regimental cantons were Bartenstein and Heiligenbeil in East Prussia.
At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment initially served against Austria. After the conquest of Silesia, the regiment was transferred to this new province. On May 17, 1742, it fought in the Battle of Chotusitz, breaking through both enemy lines and cutting down two Hungarian infantry regiments. From September 10 to 16, 1744, it took part in the siege of Prague. On June 4, 1745, it fought in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg. On September 30 of the same year, it took part in the Battle of Soor. Finally, on December 15, it was at the Battle of Kesselsdorf.
Upper Silesia was the inspectorate of the regiment. Its recruitment districts were Ratibor, Rybnik and Sohrau; and its garrison places Hultschin, Katscher, Leobschütz, Ober-Glogau and Ratibor.
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:
- from April 7, 1743: Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm Baron von Kyau (died as lieutenant-general)
- from April 7, 1759 to February 9, 1763: Major-General Johann Heinrich Friedrich Baron von Spaen
By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Bünting Cuirassiers. That year, on October 14, it took part in the Battle of Auerstädt where it was deployed on the left wing. It suffered heavy losses. It surrendered at Pasewalk on October 29 and was not re-raised.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing under Prince Schönaich. On June 18, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General Penavaire. In mid-August, it accompanied Bevern who had been detached to defend Silesia. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Stechow's Brigade, in the second line of the centre. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Normann's Brigade in the first line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Driesen.
In 1758, the regiment followed the Prussian army in its invasion of Moravia. On June 30, it took part in the Combat of Domstadl, saving the greater part of a large convoy of bullion and ammunition supplies destined for Olmütz. On September 11, it accompanied Frederick II when he marched north on Dresden. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the second line of the left wing under Seydlitz. It covered the retreat of the defeated Prussian army.
On July 23, 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Schorlemmer's Division deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing. On August 12, it fought in the sanguinary Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the reserve of the right wing as part of Meinicke’s Division, losing 260 troopers and 12 officers.
On November 3 1760, the regiment took part in the Battle of Torgau where it scattered 2 Austrian infantry regiments (Puebla and Wied), and captured a corps of grenadiers and 6 cannon. Over half the regiment were casualties. Each squadron commander was rewarded with the Pour-le-Merite and 500 Thalers.
In 1761, the regiment was at the camp of Bunzelwitz.
In 1762, the regiment was reinforced to 1,000 men. On August 16, it took part in the Battle of Reichenbach.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button and dark orange (green as per Hohrath) pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid bordered with two wide orange stripes)
|Waistcoat||dark orange trimmed with the regimental lace|
|Breeches||white (buff leather in campaign)|
Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged dark orange and fastened by leather straps. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.
The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- golden lace to the top and back of the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a golden strap and a small yellow button and black within silver pompoms
- golden regimental lace
- breastplate edged in gilt metal with straps covered in gilt plates; gilt crowned Prussian crest in trophies of arms on the top centre of the breastplate
- silver and black silk waist sash
- silver and black sword strap
- saddle furniture ornately ornamented and fringed in gold
N.B.: golden embroidered buttonholes and a golden aiguillette on the right shoulder decorated the full dress uniform but were not present on the service uniform.
Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne bordered with dark orange feathers and one black within white pompom in each lateral corne
- a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar, cuffs, coat edges and decorating the shoulders and sleeves
- hanging sleeves bordered with the musician lace
The musician laces consisted of a central buff stripe bordered on each side by alternating dark orange and orange squares.
Musicians did not wear breastplate.
The square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a buff tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had dark orange standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.
The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate old pattern standards.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a buff central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a white scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers on a white medallion).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): buff field, fringed gold with a white central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a buff scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers on a buff medallion).|
The 5 standards were lost at the capitulation of Pasewalk on October 29 1806.
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N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.