Bavarian Dragoons Guidons

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Introduction

Very little is known about Bavarian dragoon guidons between 1730 and 1777 : only 4 originals are still observable. These few originals are giving of course only an incomplete overview.

It seems Carl-Albrecht (1726-1745) kept the different models of guidons from Elector Max Emanuel (1679-1726), only changing the monarch's monogram to "CA" when necessary. These guidons were heavily embroidered, fringed in all sides and were decorated in their center with the Bavarian coat of arms or the ducal cypher.

Between 1742 and 1745, the Elector ruled as Roman-German Emperor Carl VII. Bavarian troops were thus imperial troops. Therefore, the imperial emblem, the double-headed eagle, was put on one side of the guidons and the cipher "CVII" was added. A representation of the Madonna, as the saint patron of Bavaria, appeared. Two different types of guidons with these emblems are known and these two types present a different pattern.

Even if not elected Roman-German Emperor, it seems Max III Joseph (1745-1777) kept these guidons because they were not used a lot and were accordingly still quite new. Moreover, we suppose some old guidons from before 1742, were also used: the Bavarian army liked to use old guidons - kept in the ducal arsenal - to replace worn guidons, instead of issuing new ones. However, perhaps a few regiment owners were allowed to put their own favourite emblem on their guidons. We also know that "interim" guidons were used : these guidons were of the well know Bavarian blue diamonds pattern. Perhaps these "interim" guidons were used for duty and the others for parade (?).

Only in 1786, after the death of Max III Joseph, and after the reunification in 1777 of the Bavarian and Palatinate armies were new guidons created.

Description

Early 18th century pattern

One Leibguidon from 1735 is known.

This Leibguidon was as follows:

  • field (65 x75 cm): white with silver embroideries
  • obverse: centre device consisting of a doubled and mirrored "CA" monogram, surmounted by a ducal crown. The whole is surrounded by golden palm branches, tied with a red ribbon
  • reverse: centre device consisting of a shield bearing the arms of Bavaria-Palatinate, surmounted by a ducal crown. The shield was surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Collar of the Order of St. George.
  • fringes (7-8 cm long): silver, on all sides of the guidon
  • finial in brass and representating, in its center, the crowned doubled and mirrored "CA" monogram
  • pole painted in light blue or in white and blue spiral

1742-1745 patterns

Type "1" : this type of guidon was used by Dragoner-Regiment Mortaigne in 1742.

We know only the Ordinarguidon which was as follows:

  • field (57 x 71 cm): red for the obverse and green for the reverse, both sides with gold embroideries
  • obverse: centre device consisting of the double-headed imperial eagle in black. The eagle holds a sword and a scepter in one claw, while the other claw holds the imperial globe. On the eagle's chest, a shield bearing the arms of Bavaria-Palatinate, surmounted by a ducal crown. The shield was surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Collar of the Order of St. George.
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Mortaigne's emblem : a flying black eagle with, in each claw, a globe and a sword surmounted by a scroll with the motto "Celeritate Etro Bore"
  • finial in brass and engraved on one side with the sitting Madonna with child and the coat of arms, on the other with the double-headed eagle with "CVII" initials
  • pole painted in light blue or in white and blue spiral

Type "2" : this type of guidon was used by Dragoner-Regiment Taxis in 1742.

The Leibfahne was as follows:

  • field (62 x 93 cm): white with rich gold embroideries
  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Immaculate Mother of God surrounded by branches of laurel in gold. The Madonna is in pale red, wearing a blue stole; her two arms and one knee raised; her head surrounded by golden rays and a ring of gold stars; standing on a crescent moon, over a blue globe, wound around with a serpent with an apple in its mouth.
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the double-headed imperial eagle in black. The eagle holds a sword and a scepter in one claw, while the other claw holds the imperial globe. On the eagle's chest, a shield bearing the arms of Bavaria-Palatinate, surmounted by a ducal crown. The shield was surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Collar of the Order of St. George.
  • fringes (6 cm long): gold
  • finial in brass and engraved on one side with the sitting Madonna with child and the coat of arms, on the other with the double-headed eagle with "CVII" initials
  • pole painted in light blue or in white and blue spiral

The Ordinarguidon was as follows:

  • field (62 x 93 cm): red with rich gold embroideries
  • obverse: centre device consisting of the double-headed imperial eagle in black. The eagle holds a sword and a scepter in one claw, while the other claw holds the imperial globe. On the eagle's chest, a shield bearing the arms of Bavaria-Palatinate, surmounted by a ducal crown. The shield was surrounded by the Collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Collar of the Order of St. George.
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the crowned Karl Albrecht "CVII" mirrored monogram in gold surrounded by palms in gold.
  • fringes (6 cm long): gold
  • finial in brass and engraved on one side with the sitting Madonna with child and the coat of arms, on the other with the double-headed eagle with "CVII" initials
  • pole painted in light blue or in white and blue spiral

1750s pattern

It seems new "Interims" guidons were introduced during the 50s, but we don't have any source confirming it. It is possible that these were drill guidons and that there were parade guidons of much richer design.

A guidon from 1771 is showing such "Interims" pattern : it is in the white-blue diamond pattern, fringed in gold and with a golden tassel to each point.

In 1742, we know there were already such "Interims" guidons for the Grenadiers à Cheval.

This new Ordinarguidon was as follows:

  • field: white
  • obverse (right) and reverse (left): a medium chess-pattern of light blue diamonds, vertically presented.
  • fringes (6 cm long): gold or silver
  • finial in brass
  • pole painted in light blue, with white and blue cords and tassels.

References

Bavarian Army Museum, Ingolstadt

Kraus, Jürgen: Bayerische Fahnen, Die Fahnen und Standarten des bayerischen Heeres vom 16. Jahrhundert bis 1918, Verlag Militaria, Vienna, Austria, 2017

Kühlmann / Papst: Geschichte der bayerischen Fahnen und Standarten mit den Feldzeichen der in Bayern aufgegangenen Staaten Vol. 1, München 1959

Der Flaggenkurier 29/2009, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Flaggenkunde, May 2009

Acknowledgements

Frédéric Aubert and Michael Zahn for the initial version of this article.