Origin and History
The regiment was formed in Magdeburg in 1744 when Dragoner Regiment Nr. 7 was subdivided into two distinct regiments. The new regiment garrisoned Insterburg in East Prussia. Its recruiting towns included Insterburg, Pillkallen, Ragnit, Schirwindt and Stallupönen.
In 1745, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment took part in the Battle of Kesselsdorf.
From 1753 to 1756, part of the regiment garrisoned Ragnit.
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 December 24, 1751: Adolf Friedrich von Langermann
- from March 4, 1757 to July 6, 1787: Dubislav Friedrich von Platen ("Alt-Platen")
Service during the War
In 1757, the regiment was part of Lehwaldt's Army assigned to the defence of East Prussia against a Russian invasion. On August 30, at the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under Lieutenant-General Schorlemer. During this battle, the regiment lost 33 men.
In April 1758, the regiment was detached to Stolp (present-day Slupsk), along with some infantry, from the Prussian army operating in Swedish Pomerania to check the incursions of Russian Cossacks sent forward after the invasion of East Prussia. In June, it was part of Platen's Corps opposing this invasion. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf where it formed part of the reserve behind the left wing. It was part of the brigade of dragoons who, around 11:50 a.m., delivered a deadly counter-attack and threw Gaugreben’s Brigade back into the ranks of the Russian infantry causing disorder and confusion. Frederick then sent the regiment to reinforce his right wing but changed his mind and recalled it to the left where they charged the Russian infantry. During this battle, the regiment lost 9 officers and 119 privates. On October 24, the regiment, who was following up the retiring Russian army, took possession of Massow (present-day Maszewo). On October 25, the regiment was part of Wobersnow's detachment sent by Dohna to lift the Siege of Colberg. The detachment marched from Stargard to Massow. On November 18, three squadrons of the regiment took part in the Combat of Güstow, charging and breaking the Swedish cavalry.
After the conquest of East Prussia by the Russians, lost its recruiting canton. Therefore, its subsequent losses could not be replaced.
From February 24 to March 4, 1759, the regiment was part of the small Prussian corps under the command of Major-General von Wobersnow who made an incursion in Poland against the Russian magazines. During this incursion, Wobersnow's forces destroyed provisions which would have supplied 50,000 men for 3 months. On March 2, Wobersnow detached Colonel Platen at the head of Alt-Platen Dragoons along the Warthe river (present-day Warta) to burn additional supplies in small Russian magazines in Obersitzko (present-day Obrzycko), Wronke (present-day Wronki), Pinne (present-day Pniewy), Birnbaum (present-day Kamionna) and Meseritz (present-day Międzyrzecz). On July 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Normann's Brigade deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the sanguinary Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the right wing as part of Platen’s Division and suffering heavy casualties.
On June 23, 1760, four squadrons of the regiment took part in the Battle of Landeshut where it was deployed under Major-General von Malachowski. They managed to escape from the trap laid by the Austrians but lost 255 men, 2 standards and drums.
On August 16, 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Reichenbach.
|Headgear||black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and white within red pompoms
N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap
|Coat||cobalt blue with red 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
- cuffs edged with a silver braid
The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:
- black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade (attached with a silver fastener) and black and silver pompoms
- silver embroidery loops
- 6 on each lapel
- 2 under each lapel
- 2 on each cuff
- 2 on each pocket
- 1 on each side in the small of the back
- 1 on each side at the waist
Drummers of the regiments wore the same uniform as the troopers but decorated with a white lace decorated with 4 red stripes (2 narrow inner stripes and 2 wide outer stripes) around the lapels and the pocket flaps, on the edges and seams of the coat and on the swallow nests on the shoulders.
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 black tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges. The golden spearhead wore the crowned monogram of Frédéric (FR).
In 1744, when the present regiment was split from Dragoner Regiment Nr. 7 to form Dragoner Regiment Nr 8, it consisted of the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th squadrons of the former regiment. The 2nd squadron became the Leib or 1st squadron the new regiment and was issued a new Leibstandarte in 1744 or 1745. The new regiment had a mixed set of flags: four of the "FR" pattern (for the Leib, 3rd, 4th and 5th squadrons) and only one "FWR" pattern, carried by the 2nd Squadron. The regiment lost a couple of flags during the wars. All were Regimentsstandarten, but which squadrons lost flags (an unlucky squadron may have lost two flags) is not specified in our sources. However, by 1806, the regiment still had a "mixed set" of flags, which suggests that the sole "FWR" pattern in Dragoner Regiment Nr 8 was never lost.
|Colonel FR Standard (Leibstandarte): white field with waved red corners, fringed gold with a black central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with an armed golden eagle surmounted by a white scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).||Squadron FR Standard (Eskadronstandarte): black field with waved red corners, fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with an armed black eagle surmounted by a black scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Pro Gloria et Patria". Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers).|
|Squadron FWR Standard (Eskadronstandarte): black field with red waved corners; fringed gold with a silver central medallion surrounded by a golden laurel wreath and decorated with a black eagle flying towards a golden sun surmounted by a black scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in gold in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” 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 LobositzBerlin, 1901, 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. 592-593
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.