Hessen-Darmstadt Dragoons

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Origin and History

This dragoon regiment was created on November 4 1733 by count Alexandre d'Ollone at his own expense. D'Ollone had previously served as lieutenant-colonel in the Fürst Lobkowitz Cuirassiers. Initially, d'Ollone assumed the position of Inhaber and commander.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Istria in 1735 where it covered Trieste and the south coast. In 1737, it was with prince von Sachsen-Hildburghausen's corps in Bosnia. In 1738, it was stationed at Gran. In 1739, it joined the army deployed in Hungary.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part to the battle of Czaslau and to the siege of Prague in 1742. From 1743 to 1745, it served with the army of Germany. In 1747, the regiment was part of the Austrian army operating in Provence.

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 1746 to 1768: field marshal Ludwig VIII margrave zu Hessen-Darmstadt

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

  • since 1752: Johann baron Hochberg-Hennersdorf
  • 1757: Carl Josef count d'Ayasassa
  • 1758: Friedrich baron Riedesel
  • from 1758 to 1767: Rudolf baron Pugnetti

The regiment was disbanded in 1860.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the war, the regiment was stationed at Veszprém in Hungary and counted 806 men and 817 horses.

In June 1757, the regiment fought at the battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under count von Stampach. The Prussians had pushed back the Puebla infantry regiment and colonel count d'Ayasassa counter-attacked, charging the assailants in flanks and rear at full gallop. His regiment ran through the enemy ranks despite the murderous fire, soon captured four guns and pushed back the first battalion of the Prussian Leibgarde. Lieutenant-colonel baron Pugnetti was the first men of the regiment to break through the Prussian lines. Major count Andlau was killed during this action. On September 7, captain Nagle with his horse grenadier company took part to the combat of Moys where he joined the left column and charged the centre of the Prussian infantry despite its tenacious and courageous resistance. During the battle in front of Breslau on November 22, four squadrons of the regiment were deployed in Buccow's brigade, in the first line of the cavalry left wing under count Serbelloni. The Prussian cavalry was thrown against the horse grenadiers and cuirassiers of the Austrian left wing led by Fürst Löwenstein. Captain Nangle of the regiment suggested to let the unsuspecting enemy advance from the valley and then to attack them and throw them back into the marshes. During this action, lieutenant-colonel baron Pugnetti, who had distinguished himself once more for his bravery, was taken prisoner. After the battle, the regiment escorted the captured Prussian garrison to Grossglogau. The unit also fought at the disastrous battle of Leuthen on December 5 where it was deployed in Buccow's brigade in the first line of the cavalry left wing under general Serbelloni.

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 October 14, the regiment took part to the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the leftmost column under O'Donnell, to the west of Steindörfel. The regiment fought with great distinction, its conduct earning the Maria-Theresien-Orden to colonel Pugnatti. He had twice attacked the Prussian cavalry and infantry at the head of his regiment, capturing two flags. During the last attack, Pugnatti was wounded but did not leave the field until he was certain that his regiment had accomplished its assigned duty. The regiment suffered heavy casualties during this battle and besides colonel Pugnatti, the following officers were also wounded: von Cordula, count Wartenberg, von Schitz, lieutenant Rosier and standard bearer baron Poltsberg; while lieutenants Dankl and Lasberg were reported missing.

In 1759, the regiment was part of general Beck's corps operating in Silesia and on the Lusatian border. It took part in the surprise attack on Greiffenberg. After this combat, colonel Pugnatti had pursued a retreating Prussian grenadier battalion partly destroying it and capturing several grenadiers. On September 2, the regiment took part in the combat of Sorau. On December 3 and 4, the regiment formed part of Beck's corps who attacked an isolated Prussian force and captured part of it at the combat of Meissen.

In 1760, the regiment participated to the attack on Kusdorf and to the battle of Torgau. Captain Nangle supported the hard pressed Nassau (???) Cuirassier Regiment, repulsing renewed attacks. At this battle, the regiment lost lieutenant Kurz and 33 men killed and captain Nongelli and 22 men wounded. Furthermore, 24 men had been taken prisoners. Nangle finally received the Maria-Theresien-Orden for the conduct of his horse grenadiers at this battle.

In 1761, the regiment operated in Saxony but did not see any major action.

In 1762, the regiment took part to the combat of Leutmannsdorf in Silesia.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Richard Couture
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 red with 11 yellow buttons on the right side
Collar none
Shoulder strap left shoulder: light green fastened with a yellow button
right shoulder: yellow aiguillette
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets each with 3 yellow buttons
Cuffs light green with 3 yellow buttons
Turnbacks light green
Waistcoat sole dragoon regiment to wear the old leather jerkin (laced light green) instead of a waistcoat
Breeches straw
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 red laced with a wide gold, white and light green braid (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Housings red laced with a wide gold, white and light green braid (according to the illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll red (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

Raspe shows 12 buttons on the coat and no buttons on the chemisette.

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift shows a laced tricorne, light green lapels and two rows of buttons on the chemisette.

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
  • gold aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • green saddlecloth and sabretache both laced and fringed in gold

Musicians

Drummers of the regiments of dragoons usually wore the same uniform as the troopers but heavily laced with yellow and black braids or a uniform with inverted colours. In the case of this regiment, we have not yet found evidence in favour of one or the other of these possibilities.

Colours

Leib Standard: no information available yet

Regimental Standard: Swallow tailed green field pennant

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. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, pp. 395-412

Other sources

Bleckwenn, Hans; Die Regimenter der Kaiserin, Gedanken zur "Albertina Handschrift" 1762 des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien, Köln: 1967

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 3

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

Skala H., Österreichische Militärgeschichte

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