Nádasdy Hussars

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Origin and History

Nádasdy Hussars standing by - Copyright: Harald Skala

By 1685, Adam Count Czobor had already assembled a Husar Banderium (corps) of 3,000 men.

On December 10 1688, Count Czobor obtained a letter patent authorising him to raise two regiments of hussars, of 1,000 men each. Czobor kept one of them for himself (this regiment became the property of Franz Nádasdy in 1714 and was disbanded in 1721) while Czobor's son-in-law, Colonel Johann Bernard Count Pálffy ab Erdöd, became proprietor of the second regiment (the object of this article). Recruits were enlisted at Karpfen (present-day Krupina/SK), Losoncz (present-day Levice/SK), Neutra (present-day Nitra/SK) and Schintau (present-day Šintava/SK). Czobor's Hussars, still counting less than 500 men, were reviewed and quickly sent to the front.

On August 30 1689, the regiment received its baptism of fire during the raid in Bosnia as it fought in the Battle of Batočina, where it distinguished itself. On September 24, it took part in the Battle of Nissa, serving with distinction once more. It was then transferred to the Rhine and engaged against the French.

In 1690, the regiment received 440 new recruits and some hussars from the disbanded Deák Hussars. It thus reached its full authorized strength of 1,000 men.

From 1690 to 1697, the regiment participated in most of the combats fought on Rhine, in the siege of Mainz and particularly distinguished itself during an expedition in Lorraine in 1696.

At the end of 1697, after the signature of the Treaty of Ryswick, the regiment returned to Hungary.

On August 24 1698, the regiment arrived at the camp of Kovil near Peterwardein and marched to Becskerek. It then participated in the expedition of Prince Eugène de Savoie against Temesvár and, on September 19, it fought in the Combat of Temesvár where Captain Esterházy, son of Palatine Esterházy, was captured by the Turks. On October 8, the regiment was surprised by the Tatars of Selimgirai-Chan near Becskerek but managed to repulse them with the support of the cavalry. By the end of the year, the regiment was at Arad where it took part in the improvement of the fortifications.

In 1700, the Hofkriegsrat (War Council) decided to disband the three existing hussar regiments and to appoint Count Pálffy as proprietor of the former Gondola Cuirassiers (which would be disbanded in 1802). In the meantime, the Hofkriegsrat rescinded his order and the former Pálffy Hussar Regiment remained in service. Its new Inhaber was Ladislaus Baron Ebergényi.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1701, the regiment was initially destined to the army operating on the Rhine. At the end of the year, 10 companies (5 squadrons) were transferred to Italy. In mid-January 1702, the first squadrons of Ebergényi Hussars arrived in Italy. In April, the rest of the regiment arrived in Northern Italy to reinforce the Imperial army. It then harassed the French in “Little War” (Kleinkrieg) throughout the year. It fought at Castiglione Montavano and distinguished itself on several occasions. Its most impressive action was a raid on Milan. During Autumn, due to bad weather, troopers and horses of the regiment suffered from several diseases. The nearly ruined regiment spent winter around Mantua. Meanwhile, in December, the few companies left in Germany joined the corps assembling under FML Count von Schlik to attack Bavaria. In 1703, a detachment of the regiment formed part of the reinforcements sent to Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy who had abandoned the French alliance and joined Austria. In 1704, the regiment surprised some Spanish outposts near Stradella and a French detachment near Terzo. The regiment spent the very hard winter in Piedmont, its troopers being forced to sell their weapons and other goods to survive. In 1705, the regiment distinguished itself once more in the “Little War”. In 1706, it took part in the Battle of Turin and closely followed the retreating enemy from Pinerolo to Fenestrelle. In 1707, the regiment could field only one squadron. A detachment took part in the invasion of Naples and then returned to Piedmont to participate in the failed expedition against Toulon. In 1708, the regiment took part in the expedition who occupied the Papal States. In 1711, the regiment was initially destined to join Allied troops campaigning in Spain. It incorporated 100 hussars from disbanded rebel regiments who had served under Rákóczi and then waited in the region of Mantua to be transported to Spain. However, the British government refused to pay for the service of the regiment in Spain. The regiment received new orders to join the main Imperial army at its camp near Turin. In 1713, the regiment was sent to Phillipsburg on the Rhine. After the signature of the Treaty of Rastatt, the regiment marched to Bavaria and then went to Hungary.

In 1716 and 1717, the regiment served against the Turks in Transylvania, taking part in the engagements of Peterwardein, Temesvár, and Belgrade.

In 1719, the regiment campaigned in Italy where it took part in the siege of Messina. It then stayed in Southern Italy until 1734.

From 1737 to 1739, the regiment served in Serbia, the Banat and the Croatian-Turkish border.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, April 10 1741, the regiment took part in the battle of Mollwitz. In 1742, it was at the siege of Prague. It also fought in the engagements of Halberschwerdt and Reich-Hennersdorf. In 1743, it was present at a clash at Simbach where the chaplain of the regiment , Pater Forintos, captured the Bavarian General Preissing. The regiment then campaigned on the Rhine. On June 4 1745, it took part in the battle of Hohenfriedberg and, on September 30 of the same year, in the battle of Soor where it distinguished itself. In 1746, the regiment was transferred to the Netherlands where, on October 11, it fought in the battle of Rocoux. On July 2 1747, the regiment took part in the battle of Lauffeld.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons and garrisoned Maramureschsigeth (present-day Sighetu Marmaţiei in Romania).

The regiment was successively under the nominal command of:

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

  • since 1739: Franz Leopold Count Nádasdy
  • from 1741: Gabriel Skerletz von Lomnitza*
  • from 1742: Josef Baron Dessewffy
  • from 1744: Anton Count Szechényi
  • from 1752: Nikolaus Beleznay
  • from 1755: Colonel Philipp Count von Sinzendorf
  • from 1762: Colonel Karl Count von Andrássy
  • from 1768 to 1771: Martin von Graven
* by 1741 Skerletz was very old and sometime not fit to command the regiment in the field. So the effective commander of the regiment was Colonel Josef Count Dessewffy. In a letter written by Emperor Franz Stephan to Maria Theresia dated July 7 1742 (Kriegsarchiv Vienna/AT) he recommended to appoint Dessewffy as colonel and commander of the regiment. The decree was dated November 1742, but Dessewffy had already assumed the function of commander in July 1742. Skerletz returned to the regiment for a while and was killed in a Prussian ambush in June 1745.

In 1802, the regiment was designated as the Husaren Regiment Nr. 9.

By 1918, the regiment was still in service and was the oldest Austrian hussar regiment still in existence. It was also the famous with 11 of his members having been decorated with the Maria Theresia Ordre (MTO). No other hussar regiment had had as many holders of MTO as this regiment.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed in Hungary. By September, it counted only 593 men and 393 horses. In October, it was sent to Piccolomini's Corps in Eastern Bohemia and stationed at Senftenberg (present-day Žamberk).During the winter of 1756-57, the regiment received a 6th squadron.

Did you know that...
Paul von Werner, who commanded the Werner Hussars in 1757, had initially served (from 1723) in the Austrian Army as cornet in Nádasdy Hussars where he was promoted to Rittmeister (captain) in 1734. By 1748, Werner still ranked as captain and felt discriminated. During a stay at Karlsbad (present-day Karlovy Vary), he met the Prussian General Karl von Winterfeldt who persuaded him to enter in the Prussian service. In 1750, Werner took service in the Wechmar Hussars (aka Brown Hussars) and became its commander in 1757. In November of the same year, a large part of his regiment was taken prisoners by Nádasdy Hussars, the Austrian regiment in which he had served for 25 years...

Anecdote contributed by Harald Skala

At the beginning of 1757, the regiment was attached to Nádasdy's Corps. In May, it was transferred to the Austrian Main Army under FM Daun. Under the pressure of the Prussian army, it was forced to retire to Goltsch Jenikau (present-day Gločův Jeníkov). Later on, the regiment was brigaded with Kálnoky Hussars under General Babocsay. On June 16, this brigade successfully attacked a Prussian convoy near Sadská. On June 18, 5 squadrons of the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where they were deployed in the first line of the extreme right wing in Babocsay's Brigade, itself in Hadik's Division, itself in Nádasdy's Corps. The regiment distinguished itself in this battle and was mentioned in Nádasdy's report. After the battle Nádasdy followed the defeated Prussian Army. On July 10, Captain Graffenstein of the regiment seized the opportunity to sink 4 Prussian boats loaded with provisions near Tetschen (present-day Děčín). Finally, Nádasdy's Corps took position in a line extending from Stolpen by Löbau to Görlitz in Upper Lusatia. For its part, the regiment was posted in and around Löbau. On September 7, when General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment, ten only counting 700 men, was part of the vanguard in front of the left wing, supporting Grenzer troops. In this action, the regiment captured 3 colours. In November, the regiment was present at the Siege of Schweidnitz. During this siege, it took most of the regiment of Werner Hussars prisoners. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, the regiment was part of the cavalry vanguard detached at Borne under Marshal Nostitz which was attacked and driven back on the Austrian right wing by the Prussian vanguard.

During the winter of 1757-58, the regiment was posted around Gellenau (present-day Jelenów), east of Náchod.

In March 1758, the regiment was sent to Hronow (present-dat Hronov). During the Prussian invasion of Moravia, the regiment operated around Olmütz. At the end of June, the regiment took part in the Combat of Domstadl where it was attached to Loudon's Corps. Captain Graffenstein, at the head of two squadrons attacked and defeated the Prussian Schmettau Cuirassiers. After this victory, Graffenstein was appointed major. During the retreat of the Prussians from Olmütz, as part of Nádasdy's Corps, the regiment followed them through Hohenstadt (present-day Zábřeh), Landskron (present-day Lanškroun), Chotzen (present-day Choceň), Borohradek (present-day Borohrádek) and Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové), and from there, at the end of July, to Opotschno (present-day Opočno). Later on, Nádasdy went to Lower Lusatia and reached Cottbus. By then, the regiment counted 1,011 men and 763 horses. On October 14, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Loudon's Corps, to the southwest of Hochkirch. It was attached to the vanguard. Major Graffenstein, at the head of his hussars, attacked a Prussian Garde Regiment which was scattered, most of them captured. The regiment was then posted at Komotau (present-day Chomutov) for the winter.

Trooper of Nádasdy Hussars – Source: Geschichte des K.u.K. Husaren Regiments Graf Nadasdy No.9, from Sissak Collection

For the campaign of 1759, the regiment was once more attached to Loudon's Corps. In April, the regiment still operated in North-Eastern Bohemia. In July, it moved to Markklissa (present-day Leśna) and Lauban (present-day Lubán). On August 12, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the reserve of the left wing as part of Loudon's cavalry corps. Major Graffenstein and Captain Geissler distinguished themselves in this battle. Towards the end of the battle, Geissler broke through a Prussian square, taking most of it prisoners (Geissler received the Maria Thesesia Order in the fiftth promotion on January 23). After the battle Loudon left the Russians and moved through Czenstochova and Krakau towards Moravia. During the next winter, the regiment was posted near Troppau (present-day Opava).

On March 15 1760, an Austrian force of 10 battalions and 20 squadrons (including Nádasdy Hussars and Kálnoky Hussars) attacked the Prussians at Leobschütz (present-day Glubczyce) and Oberglogau (present-day Glogowek) without success. The hussars later fought in Petite guerre in Silesia. For a while both hussar regiments were in the camp of Hotzenplotz (present-day Osoblaha). On May 10, Nádasdy Hussars made a junction with the main army at Königgrätz and was again assigned to Loudon's Corps. On May 19, this corps moved to Kostelec and from there to Breslau (present-day Wroclaw). On June 6, the regiment took part in a clash near Reichenbach in Silesia and, on June 14, in another one near Frankenstein (present-day Zabkowice Slaskie). By mid-June, the regiment was in Silberberg in Saxony along with Bethlen Hussars, Löwenstein Dragoons and Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons. On June 23 1760, the regiment fought in the Battle of Landeshut (present-day Kamenia Góra) where it formed part of the light cavalry detachment under Major-General Nauendorf, attached to the column supporting Loudon's and Müffling's columns. Nauendorf's detachment, including Nádasdy Hussars led by its new Colonel Karl Count Andrássy, attacked a great Prussian square in which Fouqué himself stood and broke it. During this action, the regiment took 500 prisoners and captured 1 standard and 2 pieces. Major Graffenstein was praised by FM Loudon (he later received the Maria Theresa Order as part of the eighth promotion on April 30 1762). After this battle, the regiment marched to Freiburg and Naumburg. On July 30, the regiement attacked a Prussian outpost near Breslau and captured 84 men and one cannon. On August 15, the regiment was present at the Battle of Liegnitz (present-day Legnica) but was not much involved. The regiment spent the winter of 1760-61 in Starkstadt (present-day Stárkov, near Broumov).

In 1761, the regiment remained in the region of Trautenau (present-day Trutnov) and Landeshut until July. On May 14, it was attacked by the Prussian Finckenstein Dragoons and retreated to Schatzlar (present-day Žacléř). On June 19, Colonel Knesevich of the Karlstädter Grenz-Hussars with 200 men of his regigent, 200 men of Nádasdy Hussars and 400 men of Saint-Ignon Dragoons attacked and defeated 600 Prussian horse at Hartmannsdorf (present-day Jaczkow). On August 21, Major Greiffenstein with 300 hussars of the regiment was attacked by 4 Prussian cavalry regiments. He managed to extricate his men from this very dangerous situation and retreated, losing only 1 officer and 30 men. During the next winter, the regiment was posted north of Landeshut (present-day Kamenia Góra). By then, it counted 1,145 men and 925 horses.

In May 1762, the regiment was assigned to Brentano's Crps posted north of Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica). In June, this corps moved to Adelsbach. On July 6, the regiment took part in the Combat of Adelsbach and on July 21, in the Battle of Burkersdorf. It then had to retreat to Braunau (present-day Broumov).On August 16, the regiment fought in the Battle of Reichenbach (aka Battle of Peilau, present-day Pilawa) where it lost 40 men and horses. In September, Brentano's Corps was posted east of Braunau. It spent the winter at Adersbach (present-day Adršpach).

In 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment assumed garrison duty in Sáros-Patak for several years.

Uniform

The uniform of this regiment has been particularly difficult to reconstruct. The situation is complex. Raspe (in his plate incorrectly entitled Banater Grenz Hussar Regiment), Albertina and the wonderful pictures from Magyar Huszár (not available anymore) all illustrate green pelisse and dolman and blue trousers. However, the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift shows a green pelisse but red dolman, red trousers, red kolback bag and a red sabretache!

Another version with blue pelisse, red dolman and blue trousers is related to the mix-up by Raspe (later also Donath, Wrede and Teuber-Ottenfeld) with the Banater Grenz hussar regiment. Indeed, Count Nádasdy was also the Banus of Croatia and therefore the Inhaber (owner) of the Banater Grenz Hussars regiment. In his plates, Raspe has interchanged the uniforms of these two units.

Privates

The 1757 reform, stated that all hussar regiments should be dressed in dark blue uniform with yellow distinctives. However, this regulation seems to have been followed only by Kaiser Franz I Hussars. The present regiment retained its former uniform.

Uniform in 1756
Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details
Headgear brown kolback with yellow cords and tassels and a light green bag
Pelisse light green
Fur trim black
Lace several rows of yellow braids
Buttons yellow
Dolman light green edged yellow with several rows of yellow braids and yellow buttons
Collar light green edged yellow
Cuffs yellow pointed cuffs
Trousers dark blue decorated with an intricate yellow lace on each thigh
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waist-sash light green and yellow barrel sash
Scabbard black with copper fittings
Boots black Hungarian boots edged yellow with a yellow tassel
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth light green shabraque heavily emboidered in yellow and edged yellow
Sabretache light green edged yellow and decorated with a golden crowned black double eagle


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

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates a slightly different uniform:

  • red bag at the kolback
  • grey fur trim on the pelisse
  • red trousers
  • yellow Hungarian boots

In Raspe's publication, there is a mix up between the uniform plates of the Nádasdy Hussars and Banalisten Hussars, probably due to the fact that count was banus of the latter regiment. Accordingly, the reader should refer to the plate entitled “Banalisten Husaren Regiment” for the uniform of the Nádasdy Hussars; and vice-versa.

Donath illustrates the following differences:

  • red pointed cuffs edged yellow on the dolman
  • red and yellow barrel sash
  • red saddle cloth and sabretache both edged yellow
  • yellow vertical stripes on the trousers

Officers

As per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift, officers wore a uniform very similar to the uniform of the troopers with the following differences:

  • black tricorne laced gold
  • white fur trim on the pelisse
  • yellow Hungarian boots edged gold
  • dark grey saddle cloth edged gold
  • green sabretache decorated with a black Imperial double eagle

NCOs

no information available yet

Musicians

Drummers and trumpeters of the regiment wore a coat and a waistcoat similar to the one worn by the musicians of the cavalry:

  • black tricorne laced gold
  • light green coat with yellow buttons; pockets and cuffs edged gold
  • light green waistcoat with yellow buttons
  • dark blue trousers
  • light green saddle cloth

The aprons of the drums and trumpets were light green heavily laced in gold and decorated with the arms of House Nádasdy consisting of a flying duck.

Colours

New guidons were issued to the regiment in the middle of the XVIIIth century and remained in use till the middle of the XIXth century. Only a few guidons used during the Seven Years War have been preserved in museums. However, M. Ernst, Dihm and Klimek give descriptions of various guidons used between 1745 and 1764. Hereafter we combine Dihm and Klimek's descriptions with illustrations of preserved guidons. It is not impossible that all six guidons would have been presented to the regiment only in 1757 after the victory of Kolin.

Colonel guidon: a swallow-tailed white guidon richly embroidered in gold, gold fringe

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Madonna with a silver scroll bearing the motto “Pro Patria, Rege et Lege”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle bearing gold and silver arms (in most Hussar regiments, the eagle bore the Hungarian shield)

Lieutenant-colonel guidon: a swallow-tailed green guidon with golden flames

  • obverse: centre device consisting of scene depicting a ship on a stormy sea with, in the foreground, a lighthouse stricken by a lightning, the motto "Ne de via" underneath
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle (in most Hussar regiments, the eagle bore the Hungarian shield)

1st major guidon: a swallow-tailed green guidon with golden flames

  • obverse: centre device consisting of scene depicting a fire on an altar; scene surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Illibata in Principem Fidelitate”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle (in most Hussar regiments, the eagle bore the Hungarian shield)

2nd major guidon: a swallow-tailed green guidon embroidered and fringed in gold; a gilt finial

  • obverse: centre device consisting of scene depicting a djinn pouring oil in the lamp of a temple; scene surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Ut augeat ignem”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle bearing the Hungarian shield
Second Major guidon – Source: Geschichte des K.u.K. Husaren Regiments Graf Nadasdy No.9, from Sissak Collection

Squadron guidon (probably from the 1750s): a swallow-tailed green guidon embroidered and fringed in gold; a gilt finial

  • obverse: centre device consisting of scene depicting a grazing herd; scene surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto “Ad multorum metum”
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle with a shield bearing the arms of the various lands of the Habsburg domain with a centre shield consisting of the arms of Hungary
Regimental guidon circa 1750 – Source: Geschichte des K.u.K. Husaren Regiments Graf Nadasdy No.9, from Sissak Collection

Squadron guidon: a swallow-tailed green silken guidon with silver embroideries on a dark green flagpole

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a scene depicting a pelican in its nest feeding his fledglings with blood pouring from its chest; scene surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto "In Morte Vita"
  • reverse: centre device consisting of the Imperial double eagle with a shield bearing, on the right side, the arms of Lorraine and Tuscany and on the left side the arms of Austria
Regimental guidon in 1764 – Source: Geschichte des K.u.K. Husaren Regiments Graf Nadasdy No.9, from Sissak Collection

References

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 auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762 (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt Halle, Universitätsbibliothek Kiel, Landesbibliothek Darmstadt)

Albertina-Handschrift Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762 (Bibliothek des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien)

Anon.: Geschichte des K. u. K. Husaren-Regiments Graf Nádasdy Nr. 9, Sopron 1903

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

Dihm, Dr. Hermann: Oesterreichische Standarten und Fahnen zur Zeit des 7 jährigen Krieges, Die Zinnfigur, Klio

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Ernst, G.: Geschichte des K.u.K. neunten Husarenregiments, Vienna 1862

Grosser Generalstab: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Hiller, Berlin, 1830-1913

Hausmann, Friedrich: Die Feldzeichen der Truppen Maria Theresias; in Schriften des HGM, Vol III; Vienna and Koeln, 1967; pp. 129-174

Klimek, St.: Oesterreichische Kavalleriestandarten aus dem 18. Jahrhundert im Heeresmuseum zu Wien, Die Zinnfigur, Clio: 1927

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Uniformbogen No. 7, 23, 71, 95, 97

Kriegsarchiv Wien, Akte Dessewffy KA 467, 1902, Vienna

Seyfart: Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 65

Skala H.: Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Thümmler, Lars-Holger: Die Österreichische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Thürheim: Die Reiterregimenter der k. k. österreichischen Armee, Vienna 1862

Wrede, A. v.: Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht, file III. 1. part, Vienna 1898-1905

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article; Jiří Sissak for additional information on the history and service of this regiment.

Harald Skala for the translation and synthesis of the work on the history of Hussar Regiment No. 9