Origin and History
The regiment was raised on June 10 1666 by Johann Georg Fürst von Anhalt-Dessau (died as GFM) at 6 companies. In 1672, the regiment served in Holland. In 1674, it served in Alsace, then was recalled to Brandenburg to defend Prussia against the Swedes. On June 28 1675, it was at the victory of Fehrbellin. That same year it served in Pommerania and took part in the capture of Greifenhagen. From July 7 to December 26 1677, it took part in the siege of Stettin. In 1686, the regiment served in Hungary against the Turks and was at the siege of Ofen. In 1689, 3 companies were added to the regiment who now had 3 squadrons each of 3 companies. That same year it was at the siege of Bonn. In 1691, a cadre was given to the new Cuirassier Regiment Nr 9. In August 1692, it fought at the battle of Steenkerken. From 1693 to 1695, it served in Holland, on July 29 1693, it fought at the battle of Landen (aka Neerwinden) where it suffered very heavy losses.
During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment took part in the battle Ramillies on May 23 1706. On August 22, it was at the capture of Menin. On July 5 1708, it was at the capture of Ghent. On July 11, it fought at the battle of Oudenard. On September 28, it took part in the clash near Winendael. On October 23, it was at the capture of Lille. From June 27 to July 28 1709, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Dornik. On September 11, it fought at the battle of Malplaquet. In 1715, the regiment was sent to Pommerania and the Rügen Island.
In 1718, the regiment consisted of 5 squadrons, each of 2 companies; the extra men came from the disbanded Regiment von Heyden.
From 1719 to 1742, the regiment was stationed in East Prussia.
At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served against Austria in 1742. On May 16, it fought at the battle of Chotusitz, driving off 50 squadrons of Austrian cavalry and taking a battery of artillery and thus sealing the victory. On June 4 1745, it fought at the battle of Hohenfriedberg against the Austro-Saxons, taking 4 colours and 4 sets of kettledrums. On September 30, it took part in the battle of Soor and in the clash of Graner Koppe. On December 15, it was at the battle of Kesselsdorf.
From 1743, Lower Silesia was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison place was Breslau. Its recruits came from the districts of Oels and Wartenberg; and from the towns of Bernstadt, Festenberg, Gosehütz, Hundsfeld, Juliusburg, Medzibor, Oels and Wartenberg.
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 July 18 1724: Colonel Wilhelm Dietrich von Buddenbrock (died as GFM)
- from April 2 1757: Major-General Hans Kaspar von Krockow aka Alt-Krockow (died from wounds received at the
- from February 28 1759 until 1765: Major-General Gustav Adolf von Schlaberndorff (died in 1765)
By 1806, the regiment was known as the Henkel von Donnersmark Cuirassiers. That year on October 14, it took part in the battle of Jena. On October 29, it surrendered at Pasewalk and was not re-raised. Its depot was used to supply men and horses to new formations.
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought at the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing under Prince Schönaich. On June 5, the regiment was at the engagement of Gang. On June 18, it took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General Penavaire. On August 25, the regiment fought in the engagements of Dittersbach and Kiesdorf. On September 26, it was at the cannonade of Barschdorf. On November 22, it 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 Krockow's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General von Driesen.
At the beginning of 1758, from January 1 to April 16, the regiment took part in the siege of Schweidnitz. On July 11, it was at the engagement of Swinar. On September 6, it fought in the engagement of Spremberg. On October 10, it took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in the second line of the left wing under Seydlitz. During this battle, its colonel, Hans Kaspar von Krockow was mortally wounded.
On April 15 1759, detachments of the regiment took part in the defence of Teplitz, in the engagement between Peterswald and Nollendorf and in the capture of Aussig. On April 17, a detachment was at the capture of Budin. On July 23, 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. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing as part of Schorlemmer's Division.
On September 30 1760, the regiment took part in the engagement of Dittmannsdorf. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and green pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white with 3 red stripes)
|Waistcoat||poppy red trimmed with the regimental lace|
Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged red and fastened by white straps edged red. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.
The saddlecloth and housings illustrated in our plate follow the traditional source: the saddlecloth kept in the Zeughaus in Berlin. However, this collection of saddlecloths dates from 1786! We have found a more contemporary source: the Uniformierung der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee of C. Schröder, published ca. 1765. This source illustrates much simpler saddlecloth and housings: poppy red bordered with a wide white braid decorated with 2 poppy red stripes and each carrying a silver "FR" cipher.
The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- zig-zag silver lace to the top and back of the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- silver 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 silver
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), shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
- hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace
The musician laces were as follows:
- narrow lace: a white braid with a central stripe of alternating yellow and red rectangles, each rectangle carrying two steel blue rhombuses
- wide lace: a wide white braid decorated with two stripes similar to the central stripe of the narrow lace
Musicians did not wear breastplate.
The old pattern square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a yellow tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.
The standard bearers had standard bandoliers in the facing colour, edged and fringed in the button colour.
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a bright yellow 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).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): bright yellow field, fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a bright yellow scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers).|
Both "Dessauer Spezifikationen" from 1729 and 1737 show the standards without silver corner monograms. Three standards of this regiment were kept in St. Petersburg: two showed silver corner monograms and one showed none. The two standards with silver corner monograms were awarded in 1739. How and when all three standards came to Russia is unclear. No losses had been reported for the battles of Paltzig and Kunersdorf in 1759. A possibility is that the standards had been looted from the Zeughaus in Berlin in 1760. However, standards kept at the Zeughaus we usually replaced by new ones and only one standard of the "FWR" design was lost (at Soor in 1745) and replaced by a similar one of the "FR" design.
On October 29 1806, at the capitulation of Pasewalk, the 5 standards were lost. The regiment was not re-raised.
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.
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 468-475
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.
Schröder, C.: Uniformierung der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee, ca. 1765.
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.
Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.