Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons
Origin and History
The unit was incorporated into the Prussian Army on September 28, 1741 as a dragoon regiment. It already existed since 1734 but was in the Württemberg service as a cuirassier regiment designated as “Kürassier-Regiment Duchess Marie Auguste”. In June 1742, the regiment arrived at Berlin. It was then stationed in Eastern Pomerania where, until 1784, it garrisoned Greifenberg, Massow, Naugard, Treptow an Rega and Wollin. It levied its recruits in the districts of Bütow, Lauenburg and Rummelsburg.
In 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment ook part in the occupation of Prague; and in 1745, in the battles of Hohenfriedberg and Soor.
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:
- from June 8, 1749 until July 9, 1769: Friedrich Eugen Duke of Württemberg
The regiment was disbanded on November 7, 1806 after the capitulation of Ratekau.
Service during the War
On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Prince Moritz's Corps. The centre column had concentrated in the area of Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe River by Torgau and Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. On September 10, it joined the army of Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau blockading Pirna. On October 17, after the capitulation of the Saxon Army at Pirna, the 4 squadrons (each counting 6 officers, 8 NCOs, 2 drummers, 100 troopers and 1 farrier) of the Saxon Graf Rutowsky Light Dragoons were forcibly incorporated into the regiment as a second battalion. Exceptionally, the former Saxon regiment retained its red uniforms.
In April 1757, this second battalion was disbanded because of heavy desertion and its remaining troops distributed among Meinicke Dragoons, Katte Dragoons, Zieten Hussars, Puttkamer Hussars, Wartenberg Hussars and Werner Hussars. In April, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On April 21, at the Combat of Reichenberg, the regiment was deployed in the second line of the Duke of Brunswick-Bevern's force. While the Prussian infantry was assaulting the Austrian abatis, Bevern ordered the regiment along with Normann Dragoons and Katte Dragoons to attack the Austrian cavalry, which they completely routed. During the ensuing pursuit, the Prussian dragoons exposed their right flank to the fire of the Austrian infantry which had retired behind the second abatis. The Prussian dragoons suffered considerable losses and were thrown into disorder. The Austrian cavalry took advantage of this to set itself in order and to attack the Prussian cavalry, throwing it back. The sudden attack of the Puttkamer Hussars on the flank of the pursuing Austrian cavalry, allowed the Prussian dragoons to rally and to counterattack, putting their opponent to flight. On May 6, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing under the Prince Schönaich. On September 7, when an Austrian force under the command of General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment was deployed in the second line on the extreme left wing. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in the Prince of Württemberg's Brigade, in the second line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in the vanguard.
On July 29, 1758, during the Prussian retreat after the failed invasion of Moravia, the regiment covered the crossing of the Mettau by the main army. On October 14, it was present at the Battle of Hochkirch where it covered the retreat of the Prussian Army.
On September 25, 1759, the regiment fought at Hoyerswerda. On October 29, it took part in the engagement at Pretsch. On November 20, 4 squadrons of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where they were attached to Platen's Brigade deployed on the extreme right of the Prussian positions. Completely surrounded, the entire Prussian force finally surrendered as prisoners of war.
In the summer of 1760, the regiment was brought back its full strength of 5 squadrons. On November 3, it took part in the Battle of Torgau.
In 1762, the regiment campaigned in Silesia. On July 21, it was at the Battle of Burkersdorf. On August 16, it fought in the Battle of Reichenbach. It then covered the Siege of Schweidnitz which surrendered on October 9.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and straw yellow pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||cobalt blue with straw lining and with 2 white buttons under the lapel and 3 white buttons on each side to fasten the skirts forming the turnbacks
|Waistcoat||straw yellow with one row of small white buttons and horizontal pockets, each with white buttons|
Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols, a musket and a bayonet.
NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exceptions:
- black within white pompoms in the lateral "cornes" of the tricorne
- silver lace edging the cuffs
The officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade (attached with a silver clip) and red and silver pompoms
- a silver aiguillette on the right shoulder
- silver embroidery loops
- 6 on each lapel
- 2 under each lapel at the waist
- 1 on each side in the small of the back
- 1 on each side on the left and right of the waist button
- 2 on each pocket
- 2 on each cuff
Drummers of the regiments wore the same uniform as the troopers but decorated around the lapels and the edges of the front, the rear, the side waist slit, the pocket flaps, the cuffs and the shoulders with a braid at the livery of Württemberg (white braid bordered by 2 outer red braids and 2 inner yellow braids, with a ventral pattern of red and black decorations).
Standards were made of damask. They were swallow-tailed and measured some 50 cm along the pole, 65 cm from the pole to the extremity of a point and 50 cm from the pole to the centre of the indentation. The cords and knots were of silver threads. The pole of the standard was a tournament lance (same colour as the field of the standard) reinforced with iron hinges. The golden spearhead wore the crowned monogram of Frédéric (FR).
|Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed silver with a red central medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in silver in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).||Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): red field, fringed silver with a silver central medallion surrounded by a silver laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by red scroll laced silver bearing the silver motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in silver in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).|
Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 124, Appendix 1
Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 608-613
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.