Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons

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Origin and History

This dragoon regiment was raised at his own expenses by the general of cavalry Gustav Hannibal count Löwenschild in 1688.

In 1690, the regiment was at the blockade of Kanischa. In 1691 and 1692, it took part to the bloackade and then to the two sieges of Grosswardein. In 1697, under prince Eugène de Savoie, it participated to the siege of Zentha and to the expedition in Bosnia.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment was cantoned at Eisenbirn on March 11 1703 when it was attacked by the Bavarians who were repulsed. The same year, the regiment was sent to Hungary to fight the insurgents. It took part tot the battle of Lewenz under the command of its Inhaber, count Leopold Schlick. In 1704, the regiment campaigned again in Hungary where it fought at Gyarmath near the Raab and at Tirnau. In 1705, it fought again at Bibersburg and Schibo. For the campaign of 1713, the regiment joined the Austrian army on the Rhine.

In 1716, the regiment took part to the campaign against the Turks and was at the battle of Peterwardein and at the siege of Temesvar. In 1717, it took part to the siege of Belgran and to the battle in front of this town, suffering some losses.

In 1732, when king Friedrich Wilhelm I of Prussia visited emperor Carl VI at Kladrub in Bohemia, the Grenadier company of the regiment formed the guard of honour.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served in Italy in 1734 and 1735. At the battle of Parma, on June 29 1734, its Grenadier company was part of the converged unit which led the first charge. The commander of the regiment, colonel Nikolaus count Palffy, was killed during the battle. On July 23 of the same year, the regiment, now counting 1,055 men and 955 horses, was at the camp of Guingentole in Upper Italy, in the corps of field marshal count Lothar Königsegg. By May 1735, the regiment had been reduced to 480 men, mostly by illness. In June, the regiment was part of count Khevenhüller's observation corps on the Po river. It had to escort a supply convoy to Villimpenta and Castellaro then, on June 15, it joined the main army at Castiglione. The regiment along with 14 other cavalry regiments then covered the retreat of the army towards Rivoli. On June 19, it reached Villa-Franca.

In 1737, the regiment made the campaign against the Turks. At the beginning of September, it was part of count Wallis' corps near Watowil. In 1738, the regiment took part to the encounter of Kornia. In 1739, it fought at the battle of Krotzka and then took its winter quarters in Transylvania. In 1740, it was assigned to the “Residenz” in Vienna.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part to the battle of Mollwitz on April 10 1741 where it was deployed on the left flank of Römer's wing. It suffered the following losses: lieutenants Friedrich von Langenau and Anton von Mirka, ensign Rudolf Evelin and 18 troopers killed; captains Joseph Klein and Friedrich Wiese, lieutenants Franz Stallenberg, Gundaker von Wolf, von Mirka, ensign Friedrich von Wirbitz and 35 men wounded. On May 17 1742 at Czaslau, the regiment fought in major-general Locatelli's brigade. It later took part to the siege of Prague. For the campaign of 1743, the regiment was part of major-general Serbelloni's brigade in the the main army of prince Carl von Lothringen operating in Bavaria. At the beginning of 1744, the regiment was still the army of prince Carl on the Rhine but, in October, it was transferred to major-general Defin's brigade in Bohemia. During the campaign of 1745, the regiment was in major-general Bentheim's brigade as part of baron Berlichingen's detachment operating in Silesia. At the battle of Hohenfriedberg, on June 4, the regiment suffered heavy casualties at the hands of Prussian hussars while protecting the retreat of the Austrian army. On September 30, at the battle of Soor, the regiment was part of the Kalckreuter brigade in the first line of filed marshal duke of Arenberg's detachment. Once more, the regiment had to cover the retreat of the defeated Austrian army. During the campaign of 1746, the regiment, now counting only 838 men, served in the Netherlands in the army of prince Carl von Lothringen. On October 11, it took part to the battle of Rocoux as part of count Radicati's brigade. On July 2 1747, it fought at the battle of Lauffeld in count Bentheim's brigade.

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 1748 to 1790: Erzherzog Joseph (king in 1764 and emperor in 1765)

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

  • since 1754: Friedrich Wiese
  • 1758: Johan count Fuchs
  • from 1761 to 1771: Carl count Richecourt

In 1767, the regiment was transformed into a Chevauxleger regiment.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the war, the regiment was stationed in Bohemia and counted 815 men and 789 horses. On October 1, at the battle of Lobositz, it was with the cavalry of the right wing under the command of lieutenant-general Radicati in count O'Donell's brigade. However, these cavalry units were deployed in the centre of the Austrian positions. Along with the Cordova Cuirassiers regiment, it fought the Prussian cavalry and was in a bad situation when it was relieved by the Anspach and Bretlach cuirassier regiments from the Austrian left wing who forced the Prussian cavalry back to its lines. Meanwhile, the horse grenadiers of the regiment were assigned to the detachment under count Lacy deployed near Leitmeritz and along the Elbe up to Schreckstein. Colonel Friedrich Wiese of the regiment along with lieutenant-colonel count Fuchs and major count d'Alton distinguished themselves during this battle.

On May 6 1757, the regiment took part to the battle of Prague where it was deployed in marquis de Ville's brigade, in the first line of the right wing under count Lucchesi. When the Prussian Reserve dispersed the entire Austrian cavalry, Prince Charles tried to rally some Austrian cavalry units but Stechow's dragoons along with Warnery's hussars attacked and broke these units, capturing the standard of Erzherzog Joseph dragoons. On November 22 at the battle of Breslau, the regiment was deployed in de Ville's brigade in the first line of the right wing under count Lucchesi. Towards the end of the battle, the regiment was threatened by a Prussian counter-attack neah Mochbern. It fought courageously and was soon relieved by Carl von Lothringen Infantry Regiment and Lucchesi Cuirassiers who forced the Prussians to retire towards the suburbs of Saint-Nicholas. At Leuthen, on December 5, the regiment was deployed in Spada's brigade in the first line of the cavalry right wing under general Lucchesi. It acted as rearguard making repeated attacks to cover the retreat of the Austrian infantry and escorting some guns.

During the campaign of 1758, the regiment was at the combat of Königgrätz on July 12. Along with the Württemberg and Benedikt Daun dragoon regiments, the regiment withstood the charge of Bredow Cuirassiers and Möhring Hussars. By August 2 1758, the regiment served in the first 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 September 6 during an encounter near Spremberg, the regiment captured 2 officers, 143 dragoons and 20 hussars belonging to Möhring's detachment. On October 14, the regiment took part to the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Wiese's column to the southeast of Kuppritz. The regiment, along with Herzog Württemberg Dragoons, occupied a defile behind the village of Plötzen and covered the village during the first attack. Captain von Posch was killed during this action.

During the campaign of 1759, the regiment operated in Silesia. By mid August, it was part of Buccow's corps posted in Lusatia. On September 2, it took part in the combat of Sorau.

On June 19 1760, in a combat against general Malachowsky on the heights of the Black Forest, a squadron of the regiment along with a squadron of the Althann Dragoons Regiment and 80 hussars captured 7 officers and 150 men. On June 23, the regiment took part to the battle of Lanshut where it lost 2 men killed and 8 wounded. During the retreat from Breslau, 400 dragoons of the regiment fought general Werner's force near Kanth. Despite their brave resistance the Austrians had to cede in front of a superior enemy and half of them were captured. On August 15, the regiment took part to the battle of Liegnitz where it had 3 men wounded and 2 reported as missing.

In August 1761, the regiment was among the 50 Austrian squadrons who joined the Russian army at Wahlstadt.

During the campaign of 1762, the regiment distinguished itself at the combat of Reichenbach on August 16. During this combat, it lost 3 officers wounded and 4 officers and several troopers captured.

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
Neckstock black
Coat green with 3 yellow buttons under the lapel on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap both shoulders: red fastened with a yellow button
right shoulder: 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 green with two rows of yellow buttons and horizontal pockets (each with 3 yellow buttons)
Breeches buff
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 green laced with a wide red braid decorated with two thin white braids (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Housings green laced with a wide red braid decorated with two thin white braids (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll green 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 shows a laced tricorne.

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
  • red collar
  • gold aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • blue saddlecloth and sabretache both laced and fringed in gold

Musicians

Drummers of this regiments of dragoons wore a uniform with inverted colours (red coat with green facings).

The drum barrel was made of brass. The top rim was red.

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

  • obverse: Green 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 Empress Maria-Theresa monogram with crown
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. 116-144

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