Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised in May 1683 at 6 companies for Major-General Heinrich Comte de Briquemault Sieur de St-Loup. The basis was one of the Freicompagnien raised by Brigadier von Iselstein.

In 1686, the regiment served against the Turks in Hungary; on September 3, it took part in the storming of Ofen. In 1687, it was increased to 10 companies. In 1688, it gave 4 companies to raise Kürassier Regiment Nr 6. In 1691, another company of the regiment went to raise Kürassier Regiment Nr 9. From June 24 to October 12, the regiment took part in the siege of Bonn.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, from April 15 to June 15 1702, the regiment took part in the siege of Kaiserswerth; then from September 11 to 24, to the siege of Venlo. On August 13 1704, it fought in the battle of Blenheim, taking a French standard. In 1715, it served against the Swedes in Pomerania.

At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment served against Austria in 1741, fighting in the battle of Mollwitz on April 10. On May 17 1742, it took part in the battle of Chotusitz where it suffered heavy losses. In 1745, the regiment fought with great distinction in the battles of Hohenfriedberg (June 4), Soor (September 30) and Kesselsdorf (December 15).

Pomerania was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Arnswalde, Belgard, Dramburg, Labes, Reetz and Schivelbein. Its troops were levied in the District of Dramburg and in the towns of Angermünde, Neustadt-Eberwalde, Falkenberg and Schwedt.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons.

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

  • since March 31 1712 until March 1771: Lieutenant-General Margrave Friedrich Wilhelm von Brandenburg-Schwedt

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the effective command of:

  • since 1753: Major-General Hans Christoph von Lüderitz (killed in action at Lobositz)
  • from 1756: Colonel Christian Siegfried von Krosigk (killed in action at Kolin while commanding the Normann Dragoons)
  • from January 7 1758: Colonel Hans Sigmund von Zieten (killed in action at Zorndorf)
  • from September 18 1758: Major-General Ehrenfried von Aschersleben
  • from February 9 1763: Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm Lölhöffel von Löwensprung (became major-general and chef of the regiment in 1771 and died in 1800)

By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Balliodz Cuirassiers. That year it took part in the battle of Jena (October 14). Most of the regiment surrendered at Erfurt on October 16; one squadron was destroyed at Steckenitz; the regiment was not re-raised. Part of the regiment under colonel von Stulpnagel fought its way out to East Prussia; it went to form the new 5th Dragoons.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when a 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 October 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of Major-General Luderitz in Katzler's Division. In that battle, it lost 10 officers and 128 troopers. On October 23, when Keith's Army left Lobositz to return to Pirna country, the regiment joined Frederick at Linai to cover Keith's advance. On October 28, the whole force reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and the regiment took its winter-quarters soon afterwards.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it fought in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under von Penavaire. After the victory, the regiment covered the siege of Prague from May 9 to June 20. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Driesen's Brigade, in the first line of the left wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten. On December 5, at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Schmettau's Brigade in the first line of the cavalry right wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten.

From March 31 to April 18 1758, the regiment took part in the siege of Schweidnitz. It then served in Saxony in Prince Henri's Army. At the end of July, it was sent to join Dohna's Army fighting the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On August 3, it arrived at Dohna's camp near Frankfurt an der Oder. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf. At the opening of the battle, it was sent to reinforce the right wing. Its commander, Major-General Sigismund von Zieten, 2 officers and 56 troopers fell in this battle.

On July 23 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Paltzig where it was attached to Schorlemmer's Division deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the first line of the left wing as part of Schlabrendorff's Brigade. On September 21, the regiment took part in the Combat of Korbitz (aka Meissen) where it was deployed in the second line of the right wing under Lieutenant-General Finck.

On July 19 1760, the regiment was at the bombardment of Dresden. On August 15, it took part in the Battle of Liegnitz, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. On November 3, it fought in the Battle of Torgau where it took 14 guns and 13 colours.

On October 29 1762, the regiment took part in the Battle of Freiberg.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Lace - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755
Uniform in 1757
Headgear black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and orange pompoms

N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap

Neck stock black
Coat off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white and sky blue checkered braid)
Collar sky blue
Shoulder strap off-white fastened with a white button
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs sky blue, in the Swedish pattern, trimmed with the regimental lace
Turnbacks off-white trimmed with the regimental lace
Waistcoat sky blue trimmed with the regimental lace
Breeches white (buff leather in campaign)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Sash sky blue
Cartridge Box black pouch lids with a round brass plate bearing the Prussian eagle
Scabbard brown leather
Sabretache sky blue decorated with a crowned golden shield bearing the crowned Prussian eagle, edged with the regimental lace
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth sky blue with rounded corners; decorated with a crowned golden shield bearing the crowned Prussian eagle, edged with a white braid decorated in sky blue
Housings sky blue decorated with a crowned golden shield bearing the crowned Prussian eagle, edged with a white braid decorated in sky blue
Blanket roll pale buff


Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged sky blue and fastened by white straps edged brown. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.

NCOs

NCO Lace - Source: Kling, C., Geschichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung des Königlich Preussischen Heeres

The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • golden lace edging the top and back of the cuffs


Officers

Officer Buttonholes (full dress only) - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • golden regimental lace
  • golden aiguillette on the right shoulder
  • breastplate edged in gilt metal with straps covered in gilt plates; gilt crowned Prussian crest in trophies of arms on the top centre of the breastplate
  • silver and black silk waist sash
  • silver and black sword strap
  • saddle furniture ornately ornamented and fringed in gold

N.B.: golden embroidered buttonholes decorated the full dress uniform but were not present on the service uniform

Musicians

Musician Lace - Source: Tressenmusterbuch von 1755

Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne bordered with sky blue plumes and one black within white pompom in each lateral corne (NCOs only)
  • a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar (narrow lace), cuffs (wide lace), coat edges (wide lace) and decorating the shoulders (narrow lace) and sleeves (narrow lace)
  • hanging sleeves bordered with the narrow lace

The musician laces were as follows:

  • narrow lace: a central sky blue stripe decorated with golden rhombuses and bordered gold on both sides
  • wide lace: same pattern, just wider

Musicians did not wear breastplate.

Standards

The regiment was issued new sets of standards between 1742 and 1746, so only carried the new "FR" pattern standard. These new pattern square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a sky blue tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.

The standard bearers had standard bandoliers in the facing colour, edged and fringed in gold.

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field with sky blue corner wedges, fringed gold with a sky blue central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a white scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion). Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): sky blue field with white corner wedges, fringed gold with a silver central medallion carrying an armed black eagle surmounted by a sky blue scroll edged gold bearing the motto "Pro Gloria et Patria" and surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath. Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FR” ciphers on a silver medallion).
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert
Squadron Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.

Anon. Die Schlacht bei Minden 1759. J C C Bruns Verlag, Minden 1959.

Anon., Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757

Alt, Das Koeniglich Preussische Stehende Heer. Schrapp, Berlin, 1869.

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 4: Die Uniformen der Kavallerie, Husaren und Lanzenreiter 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1979

Bolke, Eberhardt. Preussische Fahnen 1740 – 1806. Dresden, 1944.

Bredow – Wedel. Historische Rang- und Stammliste des Deutschen Heeres. Berlin 1905.

Eckardt, Werner – Morawietz, Otto. Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preussisch-deutschen Heeres. Hamburg, Helmut Gerhard Schulz Verlag, 1973.

Fiebig, H. Unsterbliche Treue

Franke, Ludwig Eberhardt. Vorstellung der Koeniglich Preussischen Armee. Potsdam, 18??

Fraser, David. Frederick the Great, The Penguin Press, London 2000.

Gieraths, Günther: Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgisch-Preussischen Armee 1626-1807, Ein Quellenbuch, Berlin 1964.

Gohlke, W. Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850 Berlin 1911.

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, Appendix 1

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Heft 14 / 15. Der Feldzug 1806 / 07 und die Reorganisation der Artillerie. Berlin 1914

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Hefte 26 - 30. Die Freikorps und Auslaender-Battailone. Berlin 1914.

Hoepfner, Edouard von. Oberst. Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807. Berlin, Simon Schropp & Comp. 1850.

Hohrath, Daniel: The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740 to 1786; Vol. 2; Verlag Militaria, Vienna: 2011, pp. 498-505

Jany, Curt. Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1967.

Kling, C. Geshichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausruestung des Koeniglich Preussischen Heeres. Three volumes. Putzer und Hoeltze, Weimar 1912.

Knoetel – Sieg. Handbuch der Uniformkunde. H. G. Schultz, Hamburg, 1937.

Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57.

Prussian War Ministry. Fahnen und Standarten der preussischen Armee seit dem Jahre 1806. Berlin 1889.

Ramm, August Leopold. Abbildungen von allen Uniformen der Koenigl. Preuss. Armee unter der Regierung Sr. Majestaet Friedrich Wilhelm III Berlin, J F Unger, 1800.

Voigt, Guenther. Deutschlands Heere bis 1918. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1983.

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

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.