Baron von Schönaich Cuirassiers

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Baron von Schönaich Cuirassiers

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1688 with 4 companies from Kürassier Regiment Nr 5 and 2 companies of new recruits for major-general marquis Franz du Hamel. It initially went into Dutch service.

In 1689, the regiment took part in the siege of Bonn. In 1691, it gave a company to help raise Kürassier Regiment Nr 9 and completed itself with new recruits. Its first garrison was in Kleve. In 1695, it was at the siege of Namur.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1702, the regiment initially took part in the siege of Kaiserswerth. On August 13 1704, it fought in the battle of Blenheim where it lost a standard but took two colours. On August 16 1705, it took part in the battle of Cassano. On September 11 1709, it was at the battle of Malplaquet where it took two kettle drums. In 1715, the regiment served in the Pomeranian campaign against Sweden.

In 1718 the regiment was increased to 5 squadrons recruited in the Dessau area.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, from September 10 to 16 1744, the regiment took part in the siege of Prague. On December 15 1745, it fought in the battle of Kesselsdorf, taking a colour.

Magdeburg was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Aschersleben, Kroppenstädt and Oschersleben.

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:

  • since 1753: major-general Georg Philipp Gottlob baron von Schönaich
  • from 1759 till 1769: major-general Heinrich Rudolf Wilhelm von Vasold

By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Quitzow Cuirassiers. That year on October 14, it fought in the battle of Auerstädt where 3 of its squadrons were destroyed. Many survivors surrendered at Anklam on November 1. The regiment was not re-raised but 12 officers and 250 men fought their way out to East Prussia where they went to form part of the new 4th Kürassiers.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of Ferdinand of Brunswick's column which had concentrated at Halle and advanced unopposed through Leipzig, Chemnitz, Freyberg and Dippoldiswalde, to the village of Cotta (reached on September 9) south of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, the regiment took part in the battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of major-general Driesen in Katzler's division. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna country, the regiment joined Frederick II at Linai to cover Keith's advance. On October 28, the whole force reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and the regiment took its winter quarters soon afterwards.

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 right wing under von Penavaire. In this battle, it lost two officers and 50 men, partly from friendly fire. On June 18, the regiment took part in the battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing under prince von Schönaich. On November 22, the regiment fought in the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Normann's brigade, in the second line of the centre. After the defeat, it retreated under the command of Zieten. On December 2, Zieten joined Frederick at Parchwitz. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in baron Schönaich's brigade in the first line of the cavalry right wing under lieutenant-general von Zieten. This brigade defeated the enemy grenadiers.

In March 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia and, from May 27 to July 2, was at the siege of Olmütz. On October 10, the regiment took part in the battle of Hochkirch where, as part of the Reserve, it was initially deployed en potence between Steindörfel and the Birkenbusch. In this battle, it overthrew Austrian Clerici Infantry, took 500 prisoners and a colour and covered the retreat of the army.

On October 20 1759, the regiment took part in the battle of Maxen where it was captured.

By 1760, the regiment had been re-raised by use of taking 5 companies from Kürassier Regiment Nr 7 and recruiting 5 new. It fought against the Russians in Pomerania.

From June 29 to July 12 1761, under the command of general of cavalry Zieten, the regiment took part in a raid into Greater Poland.

From August 7 to October 9 1762, the regiment took part in the last siege of Schweidnitz. On October 27, it fought in a combat near Reichenbach.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1757
Headgear black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button and light brick red pompoms

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

Neckstock black
Coat off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid with a light brick red pattern)
Collar light brick red
Shoulder strap off-white fastened with a yellow button
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs light brick red trimmed with the regimental lace
Turnbacks off-white trimmed with the regimental lace
Waistcoat light brick red trimmed with the regimental lace
Breeches white (buff leather in campaign)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Sash light brick red
Cartridge Box black pouch lids with a round brass plate bearing the Prussian eagle
Scabbard brown leather
Sabretache light brick red decorated with the crowned royal cipher, edged with the regimental lace
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth light brick red with rounded corners; decorated with the crowned royal cipher and edged with 2 rows of regimental lace
Housings light brick red decorated with the crowned royal cipher, edged with 2 rows of regimental lace
Blanket roll cobalt blue


Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged light brick red and fastened by white straps. The musket strap was off white edged with the regimental lace.

NCOs

The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • golden lace to the top of the cuffs

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • gold 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

Musicians

Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne bordered with red plumes and one black within white pompom in each lateral corne
  • a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar (narrow lace), cuffs (wide lace), coat edges (wide lace) and decorating the shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
  • hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace

The musician laces were as follows:

  • narrow lace: a central dark goldenrod stripe bordered on both sides with alternating light brick red and white squares
  • wide lace: same pattern, just wider

Musicians did not wear breastplate.

Standards

The square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a light blue tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.

The standard bearers had light brick red standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.

The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate new pattern standards.

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a light blue central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion). Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): light blue field, fringed gold with a silver central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a light blue scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion).
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert
Squadron Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.

Anon. Die Schlacht bei Minden 1759. J C C Bruns Verlag, Minden 1959.

Anon., Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757

Alt, Das Koeniglich Preussische Stehende Heer. Schrapp, Berlin, 1869.

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 4: Die Uniformen der Kavallerie, Husaren und Lanzenreiter 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1979

Bolke, Eberhardt. Preussische Fahnen 1740 – 1806. Dresden, 1944.

Bredow – Wedel. Historische Rang- und Stammliste des Deutschen Heeres. Berlin 1905.

Eckardt, Werner – Morawietz, Otto. Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preussisch-deutschen Heeres. Hamburg, Helmut Gerhard Schulz Verlag, 1973.

Fiebig, H. Unsterbliche Treue

Franke, Ludwig Eberhardt. Vorstellung der Koeniglich Preussischen Armee. Potsdam, 18??

Fraser, David. Frederick the Great, The Penguin Press, London 2000.

Gieraths, Günther: Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgisch-Preussischen Armee 1626-1807, Ein Quellenbuch, Berlin 1964.

Gohlke, W. Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850 Berlin 1911.

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Heft 14 / 15. Der Feldzug 1806 / 07 und die Reorganisation der Artillerie. Berlin 1914

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Hefte 26 - 30. Die Freikorps und Auslaender-Battailone. Berlin 1914.

Hoepfner, Edouard von. Oberst. Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807. Berlin, Simon Schropp & Comp. 1850.

Jany, Curt. Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1967.

Kling, C. Geshichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausruestung des Koeniglich Preussischen Heeres. Three volumes. Putzer und Hoeltze, Weimar 1912.

Knoetel – Sieg. Handbuch der Uniformkunde. H. G. Schultz, Hamburg, 1937.

Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57.

Prussian War Ministry. Fahnen und Standarten der preussischen Armee seit dem Jahre 1806. Berlin 1889.

Ramm, August Leopold. Abbildungen von allen Uniformen der Koenigl. Preuss. Armee unter der Regierung Sr. Majestaet Friedrich Wilhelm III Berlin, J F Unger, 1800.

Voigt, Guenther. Deutschlands Heere bis 1918. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1983.

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

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.