Batthyányi Dragoons

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Origin and History

Trooper of Batthyányi Dragoons in 1762 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli

This regiment of dragoons was raised in 1640 by lieutenant-colonel Johann de la Corona at his own expense. A warrant signed by emperor Ferdinand III, dated from August 28 1640, named Corona Inhaber (owner) and commander of the new regiment counting 8 companies of 100 dragoons each for a total of 800 men.

Colonel de la Corona brought the new regiment to the army of baron Golz fighting the Swedes on the Oder in Silesia. On May 31 1642, the regiment took part to the attempted relief of the fortress of Schweidnitz besieged by the Swedes. On July 4, it fought the Swedes at Littau near Olmütz in Moravia, capturing 75 men. On November 2, it was at the battle of Breitenfeld and then took its winter quarters at Rakonitz in Bohemia. In the spring of 1644, the regiment took part to the blockade of Gross-Glogau. The same year, it also participated to the expedition to relieve the Danes. In 1645, it defended the towns of Pardubitz and Pilsen. In 1647, it operated in Bohemia where it distinguished itself at Königswart on October 15, capturing 53 men and 4 guns. After the treaty of Westphalia, the regiment took its cantonments in Bohemia.

In 1653, the regiment was sent to fight against the Turks. In 1657, it operated in Poland and in 1658 in Hungary. In 1661, the regiment first served in Transylvania and was later transferred to Hungary. In 1662, it saw heavy fighting mostly in Hungary. In 1663 and 1664, it operated once more in Hungary. In 1665, it was in Styria. It continued to be involved in the Turkish war until 1673.

In 1675, the regiment took part to the campaign of Pomerania along with the Brandenburger army. In 1677, it assisted the Danish army in its fight against the Swedes.

In 1683, at the outbreak of a new war against Turkey, it took part to the combat of Brigittenau near Vienna on July 16. It was also present at the battle of Vienna on September 12 and accompanied the Imperial army in its campaign in Hungary. In 1684, it was at the combat of Waitzen and at the siege of Ofen. In 1685, it was at the capture of Eperies and at the siege of Kaschau. In 1686, it took part to the second siege and at the battle of Ofen. In 1687, it was at the battle of Mohacs and at the capture of Esseg and Poszega. In 1688, it participated to the capture of Titel and to the storming of Belgrade. In 1689, it served in Serbia and took part to the battles of Potoschin and Nissa, and at the capture of Widdin. In 1690, it operated in Transylvania. In 1691, it took part to the battle of Szalankamen. In 1693, it was at the siege of Belgrade. In 1696, it took part to the siege of Temesvar and to the battle of Ollaschin. In 1697, it fought at Zenta and stormed Ujpalanka.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment fought against the rebels in Hungary. On September 11 1704, it took part to the combats of Hermannstadt, Klausenburg and Sarkany against the insurgents. In 1705, it was at the defense of Hermannstadt. In 1706, it participated to another campaign against the Hungarian insurgents. In 1707, it was at Ofen. In 1708, it was at Weissenburg and Mühlenbach. In 1709, a detachment of the regiment fought at Szomkert on August 31. In 1711 and 1712, the regiment operated in Upper Hungary and Transylvania. In 1713, the regiment served against the French in Germany. After the peace, the regiment took its quarters in Styria and Carinthia.

In 1716, at the outbreak of the war against Turkey, the regiment counting 10 companies fought at Peterwardein on August 5 as part of the army of prince Eugène von Savoyen. In September, it also took part to the siege of the fortress of Temesvar. In 1717, it participated to the siege and battle of Belgrade.

From 1719 to 1725, part of the regiment was stationed in the region of Linz in Upper Austria, the other in Styria. In 1726, the new quarters of the regiment were located in Bohemia and Moravia. In 1727, it was transferred to Luxemburg, then in Lombardy in 1730.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment left Lombardy in 1733 and joined the Austro-Saxon observation corps in Bohemia. It took its winter quarters in Silesia. In 1734, it fought against the French in Bohemia and retired to join the Reichsarmee on the Rhine. It took its winter quarters in Rothenburg near Hornberg. In 1735, it was part of the army of the Rhine.

In 1736, during the war between Russian and Turkey, the regiment joined the Austrian army operating in Hungary. In 1737, when Austria joined the war against Turkey, the regiment joined the main Austrian army assembling in Semlin. In June and July, it took part to the siege of Nissa. It then operated in Wallachia and Transylvania. In 1738, it took part to the victorious encounter of Kornia on July 4. In 1739, it was at the encounter of Pancsowa on July 29.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment first fought the Prussians at Mollwitz in 1741 and then took it winter quarters in Bohemia. On May 17 1742, it was at the defeat of Czaslau. After the peace of Breslau on June 11 1742, the regiment was redirected against the French which it besieged in Prague. It then took part to the siege of Braunau in December. In 1743, it operated against the French and Bavarians and took part to the capture of the French fortified camp at Deggendorf. It then joined the army of the prince von Lothringen at Alt Breisach on the Rhine and took its quarters in Swabia in October. In 1744, the regiment was on the Neckar with the main Austrian army which crossed the Rhine in July but had to recross it in August to march on Bohemia where the Prussians were now operating. In September, the regiment left the main army to join the corps of count Batthyanyi in Bavaria. In 1745, the regiment fought at Pfaffenhofen on April 15. On April 22, it was sent to the Lower Rhine army. It took its winter quarters in Swabia. In May 1746, it joined Palffy at Sintheim in Netherlands and took part to the battle of Rocoux on October 11. In March 1747, the regiment was on the Meuse. It took part to the battle of Lauffeld on July 2. In March 1748, it was in the camp between Masstricht anr Roermond. After the peace, it moved to Bohemia and then to Hungary where it took its quarters.

The regiment counted 6 squadrons and a company of horse grenadiers. For battles, the latter was usually converged with other similar companies to form an elite unit.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment inhaber was:

  • from 1731 to 1773: Carl Joseph Fürst Batthyányi

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • since 1735: Andreas count Vitzhum
  • from 1759 to 1767: Heinrich Hartenberg


Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the war, the regiment was stationed in Bohemia and counted 813 men and 804 horses. In July 1756, it was at the camp of Kolin with the main Austrian army under the command of count Browne. However, only the grenadier company remained with this army when Browne advanced to Budin on September 14. The rest of the regiment joined the corps under the command of Fürst Piccolomini which encamped in Moravia on September 16 and then moved to Königgrätz where it remained for the rest of the campaign. On September 21, a detachment of the regiment, along with part of Festetics Hussar, fought at Zaskrna where lieutenant Bechinie and 71 troopers were captured. In the first half of October, captain Unruhe and his company took part to the successful expedition led by lieutenant-colonel Gersdorf of the Birkenfeld Cuirassiers with 100 grenzers, 200 dragoons and a few hussars against lieutenant-colonel Werner at Reichenau. The Austrian detachment attacked this town on October 16, killing 2 officers and 50 men and capturing 15 men. However, Werner managed to escape by crossing the river. Meanwhile, the grenadier company of the regiment was with the main army which was defeated at the battle of Lobositz on October 1, they were assigned to the detachment under count Lacy deployed near Leitmeritz and along the Elbe up to Schreckstein. Captain count Erdödy of this company was wounded and lost 5 men killed and 6 wounded. After this battle, the grenadier company accompanied count Browne on October 7 in his attempt to relieve the Saxon army blockaded in Pirna. The attempt failed and Browne's corps retraced its steps to Budin. The regiment took its winter quarters in the region of Dobrowitz.

In the Spring od 1757, 8 companies of the regiment along with the grenadier company joined the corps of count Macquire at Katzau. On April 21, they fought at Reichenberg, as part of count von Königsegg's force, loosing 13 men and 10 horses. On May 6, the regiment was at the battle of Prague where it was deployed in count Lanthiery's brigade, in the second line of the right wing under baron Bretlach. It lost 32 men killed and 6 wounded. Furthermore, ensign baron Sikingen, count Wratislaw, count Klenau, count Mikes and 111 men were taken prisoners of war. After this defeat, 4 companies took refuge in Prague and took part to defence of the city. When the Prussians lifted the siege, the regiment went to Beneschau and then retired to Moravia to replenish its ranks. On June 30, it joined the main army at the camp of Szclakowitz and followed it into Silesia. On September 7, when general Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's corps isolated at Moys, the regiment was part of Wollwrath's Cavalry Brigade which has probably not participated to the engagement. On November 22, , five squadrons of the regiment took part to the battle of Breslau where they were deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing of Nádasdy's Corps. On December 5, at the disastrous defeat of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in the first line of the cavalry Reserve under marshal O'Donell on the far left of the Austrian positions as part of Nádasdy's Corps. Along with Erzherzog Ferdinand, it covered the retreat of the left wing and suffered heavy casualties, loosing 14 men killed and colonel count Vitzhum, captains Rippenhausen, Grafenthal, count Erdödy, count Berchtold von Reineri, lieutenants Lenz and baron Bechinie, ensigns Rosemark and Lasberg as well as 47 troopers wounded, and 58 men missing. The regiment took its winter quarters in the region of Wellisch in Bohemia.

Batthyányi Dragoons at Hochkirch - Copyright: Harald Skala

During the campaign of 1758, the regiment was once more assigned to the main army. By August 2 1758, the regiment served in the second line of the main Austrian army under the command of Daun near Jaromirs. Daun was following up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of the Prussian invasion of Moravia. On October 14, the regiment took part to the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Buccow's cavalry column at the extreme right to the east of Kotitz. During this battle, it lost 7 men. In November, it was at the siege of Dresden and then took its quarters at Predlitz in Bohemia.

In 1759, the regiment saw no major action. It began the campaign as part of the main army under the command of Daun in Bohemia and later in Lusatia. By mid August 1759, the regiment was part of Aynse's corps. On September 2, it took part in the combat of Sorau. In October, it was transferred to Saxony to assist the Reichsarmee encamped at Oschatz and later at Plauen. The regiment took its winter quarters at Dresden.

In 1760, the regiment rejoined Daun's main army. On July 19, it was at the relief of Dresden. In August, it followed the main army to Löwenberg. On September 17, it took part to the combat of Kunzendorf under the command of count d'Ayasassa. The regiment contributed to the capture of 2 officers and 100 men. Meanwhile, its company of horse grenadiers captured 2 guns but lost alone 1 officer and 21 men. On November 3, at the battle of Torgau, the regiment had the occasion to distinguish itself. The day before the battle, it had been detached forward at Neiden but in front of superior forces it retired on the main army. It was then assigned to cover the artillery of the right wing under the command of general of cavalry Buccow. Along with a detachment of Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, the regiment stood firm against the charges of the Prussian cavalry. The horse grenadiers of the regiment recovered a flag of Puebla infantry which had previously been captured by the Prussians. The regiment lost 26 men killed and captain count Auersperg, lieutenant Czernovics and 29 men wounded. Captain count Berchtold, lieutenant Grauh and 63 men were missing or captured.

In the second half of May 1761, the regiment defended the passes near Wartha in the Erzgebirge. At the beginning of July, it joined back Lacy's corps observing the Prussian army on the right bank of the Elbe near Dresden. It then spent the winter in Steinbach, Beerwalde and Gross-Dittmannsdorf in Saxony.

In 1762, the regiment was part of Fürst Löwenstein's corps. On August 2, it took part to the victorious encounter near Töpliz where it distinguished itself but lost 20 men. During the night of August 3 to 4, it replused the attack of Kleist. From September 27 to 30, the regiment was part of the expedition of count Hadik against Prussian advanced posts in the Erzgebirge. On October 29, it fought once more alongside the Reichsarmee at the battle of Freiberg. Major von Grafen was captured and the regiment lost 18 men killed, 2 officers and 19 men wounded and 67 men captured or missing. On November 24, the regiment retired to Bohemia.

After the treaty of Hubertusburg, on February 15 1763, the regiment took its quarters in Hungary.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
as per the Albertina Handschrift of 1762

completed with other sources where necessary
Headgear
Trooper black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small yellow button
Grenadier bearskin with a yellow metal grenade in front and a red bag laced white with a white tassel
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue with 3 yellow buttons under the lapel on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: dark blue fastened with a yellow button
right shoulder: red with a red aiguillette
Lapels red with 7 yellow buttons
Pockets horizontal pockets each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs red with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat dark blue with two rows of yellow buttons and horizontal pockets (each with 3 yellow buttons)
Breeches dark bkue
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black leather
Scabbard brown leather
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth dark blue laced with a wide white braid decorated with 3 smaller red braid (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Housings dark blue laced with a wide white braid decorated with 3 smaller red braid (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll dark blue and white (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)


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

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift does not show any buttons on the lapels and cuffs. Furthermore, it shows buff breeches.

Officers

The officers (according to the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762) wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced gold with a green and white cockade
  • gold aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • green saddlecloth and sabretache both laced and fringed in gold

Musicians

Drummers of the regiments of dragoons usually wore the same uniform as the troopers heavily laced with yellow and black braids or a uniform with inverted colours.

Colours

Colours

Leibstandarte: White and heavily embroidered

  • one side with the Blessed Virgin
  • other side with the double eagle
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert


Ordinair-standarte: Swallow tailed with gold fringes and gold embroideries (variant 1): red

  • Obverse: 4 guns in the middle
  • Reverse: eagle

Regimental Standard (variant 2): red

  • obverse: Dark Blue field pennant, central device consisting of imperial eagle bearing the white-red-white shield on its breast and the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
  • reverse: Red field pennant, central device consisting of a landscape with a star spangled sky (we have shown here the old Batthyanyi coat of arms with the motto "Fidelitate Et Fortitudine")
Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

This article incorporates texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Thürheim, Andreas; Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee, vol. 3 - Die Uhlanen, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1866, pp. 220-272

Other sources

Brauer, H.M., Uniformbogen and Fahnentafeln, plate 95

Donath, Rudolf, Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979, Teil III Blatt 2

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

Grosser Generalstab, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Hiller, Berlin, 1830-1913

Kornauth, Friedrich, Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Raspe, Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg: 1762

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Thadden, Franz-Lorenz v., Die theresianische Kavallerie - II. Teil, Die Zinnfigur, Klio, 1968

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Zahn, Michael, Oesterreichische Kürassier und Dragoner Standarten in Siebenjährigen Krieges, Zusammenstellung, 1988