Freikorps von Schony

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Origin and History

Uniforms in 1761 - Source: Richard Knötel

The Freikorps was raised in Breslau from Hungarian prisoners by Major von Schony on March 17 1761. It consisted of :

  • 4 companies of grenadiers, each of
    • 4 officers
    • 115 men
  • 2 squadrons of hussars, each of
    • 5 officers
    • 113 men

In June 1761, 2 companies initially raised in Breslau to join the ranks of the Pomeranian Frei-Grenadier-Corps von Hüllessem were amalgamated with the grenadiers of the Freikorps (but they retained their own uniforms), bringing the total strength of the grenadier battalion to:

  • 24 officers
  • 46 NCOs
  • 18 musicians
  • 8 carpenters
  • 700 grenadiers

For the campaign of 1762, an additional squadron of hussars was raised. By February 12, the corps consisted of:

  • 4 companies of grenadiers, each of
    • 4 officers
    • 9 NCOs
    • 3 drummers
    • 2 fifers
    • 1 surgeon
    • 2 carpenters
    • 150 grenadiers
  • 3 squadrons of hussars, each of
    • 5 officers
    • 8 NCOs
    • 1 trumpeter
    • 1 surgeon
    • 1 smith
    • 102 hussars

In mid June 1762, the 4 companies of grenadiers were incorporated into the Pomeranian Frei-Grenadier-Corps von Hüllessem.

During the Seven Years' War, the chef of the regiment was:

  • since July 15 1759: Major Karl Ludwig von Schony

During the Seven Years' War, the commanders of the various corps were:

  • for the grenadiers
    • from 1760: von Schild
    • from 1762: von Hartmann
  • for the hussars
    • from 1760: von Horn
    • from 1762: von Bresemann

The entire Freikorps was disbanded in 1763 at the end of the Seven Years' War: the grenadiers were used to replace those of the Garrison Regiment III who had been taken prisoners during the war. The hussars for their part were incorporated into Silesian cavalry regiments.

Service during the War

For the campaign of 1761, the unit was attached to the army of Frederick II. Early in November, half a squadron of hussars (about 30 men) of the unit formed part of General von Schenckendorf's reinforcements sent from Breslau by Frederick to Platen who was trying to stop the Russian invasion in Pomerania. On November 9, Schenckendorf's corps joined Platen at Pyritz; it had marched by Glogau, Crossen an Oder (present day Krosno), Frankfurt an Oder, Cüstrin and Karsko. On November 17, the Prince Eugen of Württemberg also made a junction with Platen's forces at Greiffenberg. The hussars of Freikorps Schony were now attached to the leftmost column under command of Colonel Lossau. On November 29 and 30, the combined corps of Württemberg and Platen marched from Regenwalde (present day Resko) to Neugarten (unidentified location) where they waited for a convoy of supplies arriving from Stettin. On December 10 at 10:00 PM, a Prussian convoy of 1,000 wagons arrived at Treptow with supplies, forage and ammunition. On December 11, Württemberg marched from Treptow in 2 columns, escorting the convoy. On December 12, Schony Hussars took part in the combat of Spie where they were merged with Belling Hussars. In this combat, the Russians put a stop to the advance of the Prussian relief column, forcing the Prussians to retire. At the end of December, after a very tough campaign, the various Prussian corps operating in Eastern Pomerania took their winter quarters. The 25 hussars of Freikorps Schony followed General Thadden to Lusatia.

In 1762, the 3 squadrons of hussars served in the Army of the King while the 4 companies of grenadiers were incorporated into the Provincial-Frei-Grenadier-Corps von Hüllessem. On July 21, the Freikorps took part in the battle of Burkersdorf.

Uniform

Uniforms of the Hussars

Troopers

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear black mirliton tipped red with a black wing, yellow cords and yellow knots and yellow tassels
Neck stock black
Pelisse dark blue
Fur trim black
Lace yellow cords and laces
Buttons brass
Dolman ultramarine edged yellow with yellow cords and brass buttons
Collar red edged yellow
Cuffs red pointed cuffs edged yellow
Cloak no information available
Breeches buff leather with ultramarine schalavary (overtrousers) edged yellow
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waist-sash red with white barrels
Scabbard black decorated with white metal
Boots black Hungarian boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth ultramarine bordered with a red scalloped lace edged yellow
Sabretache red edged yellow, wearing a yellow crowned monogram (FR)


Troopers were probably armed with a short curved sabre, two pistols and a carbine.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following differences:

  • black and white cords, knots and tassels, and golden rosette on the mirliton
  • golden edging on the cuffs of the pelisse
  • red pointed cuffs edged with a wide golden braid on the dolman

Officers

Officers wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following differences:

  • black and silver cords, knots and tassels, and silver rosette on the mirliton
  • golden cords and an intricate golden lace on the pelisse
  • golden cords and an intricate golden lace on the dolman
  • a black and silver sash around the waist

Musicians

no information available yet

Uniforms of the Grenadiers

Privates

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Richard Couture from a template by Jocelyne Chevanelle
Uniform Details
Headgear black bearskin with a scarlet red bag piped yellow with a light blue tassel; a brass frontplate decorated with the black Prussian eagle
Neck stock black
Coat Prussian blue with 6 brass buttons and 6 yellow frogs with yellow tassels on the chest on each side (arranged 1-2-3); 1 yellow frog with a yellow tassel on each side at the small of the back; and 3 brass buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
Collar ultramarine edged yellow
Shoulder Straps Prussian blue fastened with a brass button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets piped red, each with 3 brass buttons
Cuffs ultramarine pointed cuffs (Hungarian style), each with 1 brass button and 1 yellow frog with a yellow tassel
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat ultramarine dolman with 12 brass buttons and 12 yellow buttonholes
Trousers ultramarine Hungarian trousers with yellow lace
Gaiters none
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt red sash
Cartridge Pouch black
Bayonet Scabbard n/a
Scabbard brown
Footgear short black Hungarian boots


Privates were probably armed with a short musket, a bayonet and a sabre with a curved blade.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following differences:

  • ultramarine collar edged with 2 yellow braids
  • ultramarine dolman edged yellow with 6 brass buttons and 6 yellow buttonholes
  • vertical pockets piped red with 3 yellow buttonholes

Officers

Officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following differences:

  • a black tricorne laced gold with a black cockade fastened with a golden strap and a small golden button; a small black within silver pompom in each lateral corne
  • ultramarine collar edged with 2 golden braids
  • coat edged with a golden braid and decorated with golden buttonholes
  • vertical pockets piped red with 3 yellow buttonholes
  • ultramarine dolman edged yellow with brass buttons and yellow buttonholes
  • black boots

Musicians

Drummers wore a a uniform similar to the uniform of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • red neckstock
  • ultramarine collar edged with 2 yellow braids
  • yellow swallow nests on the shoulders
  • 5 intricate yellow chevrons on each sleeve
  • ultramarine dolman edged yellow with brass buttons and yellow buttonholes

Colours

None of the Freikorps units carried official colours, standards or guidons to the exception of von Kleist Frei Korps.

References

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 5: Die Uniformen der preußischen Technischen Truppen, Rückwärtigen Dienste und Kriegsformationen 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1984

Cremer, Peter: Die Preussischen Freikorps im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Auflistung der Freikorps, ihrer Einsätze, der Uniformen, der Chefs und deren Geschichte, KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Friderzianische Epoche, Manuskript, o.J.

Funcken, L. and F.; Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin 1901, Anlage 1-2

Jany, Curt: Geschichte der Königlich Preußischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, Zweiter Band: Die Armee Friedrichs des Großen 1740-1763, Reprint Osnabrück 1967

Knötel, R.; Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, vol. IV plate 1, Rathenow 1890-1921

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

Acknowledgments

Michael Zahn and Digby Smith for the information provided for the creation of the initial version of this article.