Pálffy Cuirassiers

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Origin and History

The regiment was created in 1678 from two cavalry regiments made available to the Emperor by the Duke of Lorraine and by 6 companies of the disbanded Hallewyl Cuirassiers and Gondola Cuirassiers. Peter Ernst Baron von Mercy de Billets was appointed proprietor of the regiment.

From 1683 to 1691, the regiment fought in Hungary against the Turks.

From 1691, during the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment served in Italy as part of auxiliary corps supporting Duke of Savoy.. In 1695, it was returned to Hungary where it served until the end of the war.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), the regiment was sent from Bohemia to Tyrol where it joined the army assembling for the planned invasion of Northern Italy. It took part in the Battle of Chiari and took up its winter-quarters at Sermide and Mirandola. In January 1702, the regiment was selected to form part of the Imperialist force destined to the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples, a project which was soon abandoned. It then took part in the campaign in Northern Italy, fighting in the Combat of Santa Vittoria and in the Battle of Luzzara. In 1708, the regiment was transferred from Northern Italy to the Netherlands. In 1709, it took part in the sieges of Lille and Tournai, and in the Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1716, during the Austro–Turkish War (1716–18), the regiment took part in the Battle of Peterwardein and in the siege of Temesvár; in 1717, in the Battle of Belgrade where Lieutenant-Colonel du Buissont distinguished himself and was promoted colonel.

In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733–35), the regiment served in Italy where it saw action at Parma, Quistello and Guastalla.

On July 22 1739, during the Russo-Turkish War (1735–39), the regiment took part in the Battle of Grocka where it was posted in the vanguard with Prinz Savoyen Dragoons and suffered heavy losses.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), the regiment fought in the battles of Chotusitz, Hohenfriedberg and Soor (present-day Ždár/CZ).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment inhaber was:

  • since 1734: Carl Paul Count Pálffy ab Erdöd

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

  • since 1753: Carl Sinewald (killed at Reichenberg)
  • from April 22 1757: Carl Count Berchtold
  • from 1759: Ferdinand von Etreppi

The regiment was disbanded in 1775 as the “Rothschütz Cuirassiers”.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed in Keszthely in Hungary and counted 771 men and 785 horses. On October 1, it took part in the Battle of Lobositz where it was deployed in the second line of cavalry of the left wing under Major-General Hedwiger.

On April 21, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the 6 squadrons of the regiment fought in the Combat of Reichenberg where they were deployed on the left wing under FML Count Porporati. On May 6 1757, the regiment took part in the Battle of Prague where it was deployed in the Reserve in Argenteau's Brigade. During this campaign, Captain Wilhelm von Bourscheid, in his function as orderly officer of FM Daun distinguished himself on several occasions. On September 7, when General Nádasdy attacked Winterfeldt's isolated corps in the Combat of Moys, the regiment was part of Wollwrath's Cavalry Brigade which probably did not participate in the engagement.

In 1758, the regiment campaigned in Silesia. On September 20, as part of FZM Harsch's Corps, the regiment arrived in front of Neisse (present-day Nysa/PL) which was besieged. On November 5, Harsch lifted the siege of Neisse.

By mid August 1759, the regiment was part of Buccow's Corps posted in Lusatia. On September 2, it took part in the Combat of Sorau where it was part of Buccow's Corps which was not directly involved in the fight.

In 1760, the regiment was allocated to FM Loudon's Army. On June 23, it took part in the Battle of Landeshut. In July, it was present during the Siege of the Fortress of Glatz where Lieutenant-Colonel August Prince Hohenzollern-Hechingen distinguished himself. Prior to the Battle of Liegnitz, on August 15, the regiment was transferred Wolfersdorf's Corps and camped on the hills near Hochkirch.

In 1761, the regiment was camapaigned in Silesia as part of Loudon's Army. It was later instructed to join the Reichsarmee in Saxony.

On May 12 1762, the regiment was part of Major-General Franz Anton Baron Zedtwitz's Corps in the Combat of Döbeln. On August 2, the regiment took part in the 1762-08-02 – Combat of Teplitz (present-day Teplice/CZ) where it was deployed in the cavalry of the Duke Löwensteins. On October 29, the regiment was at the Battle of Freiberg where it was deployed in the centre of the Austrian cavalry.

In 1763, after the signature of the Treaty of Hubertusburg, the regiment returned to Hungary where it assumed garrison duty in the Komitat of Bars. In 1765, it was transferred to Slavonia (Vukovar and Požega).

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: Frédéric Aubert from a plate of Richard Couture and Ibrahim90
Uniform Details
as per the Albertina Handschrift of 1762

completed with other sources when necessary
Headgear
Trooper black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a pewter button
Carabinier black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a pewter button
Neckstock black
Coat white with a single row of 18 pewter buttons on the right side (according to an illustration by Raspe in 1762 and to Schirmer)
Collar none
Shoulder strap white fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets each with three pewter buttons
Cuffs red with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat white with a single row of pewter buttons and horizontal pockets with pewter buttons
Breeches red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Waistbelt white (according to an illustration by Raspe in 1762)
Cartridge Box n/a
Scabbard black with brass decorations
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red laced with a white braid decorated with two smaller red braids (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Sabretache red laced with a white braid decorated with two smaller red braids (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll white laced red (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)


Troopers were armed with a black breastplate (worn over the coat), a pallasch (sword) and a pair of pistols. Carabiniers also had a carbine and carried a sabre instead of a sword.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762 shows a golden lace on the tricorne and a red neckstock.

Donath gives a different lace for the saddlecloth and the sabretache: white with black hollow squares each containing a smaller solid black square.

The Albertina Handschrift shows a row of 14 pewter buttons (instead of 18).

Teuber and Ottenfeld illustrate red shoulder straps.

Officers

The officers (according to the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762) wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • tricorne laced silver with a green and white cockade
  • coat and waistcoat laced silver (according to Donath)
  • pale yellow saddlecloth and sabretache both laced in khaki and fringed in yellow

Musicians

The small flag attached to the trumpet was red with the arms of the house of Pálffy. The pattern of the apron of the kettle-drums is not known.

Colours

From 1745 to 1765, the standards of the cuirassiers were square shaped and made of brocade or damask. Each side of the standard was made from a separate piece. The painted flagpoles were tournament lances.

Leib Standard: white with gold fringe

  • Obverse (to the right of the flagpole): black double eagle
  • Reverse (to the left of the flagpole): arms of the house of Pálffy in gold
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

Regimental Standard: red silk bordered with silver embroideries, red-brown flagpole, golden spearhead

  • Obverse (to the right of the flagpole): a black double eagle
  • Reverse (to the left of the flagpole): central scene depicting a man fighting a dragon
Regiment Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

Regimental Standard (variant): red silk bordered with silver embroideries, brown flagpole, golden spearhead

  • Obverse (to the right of the flagpole): a silver double eagle
  • Reverse (to the left of the flagpole): arms of the house of Pálffy in gold
Regiment Standard (variant) – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

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

Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I. I. et R.R. de l´année 1762 (ALBERTINA), Faksimile Vienna 1973

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

Funcken, Liliane and Fred , Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

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

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

Gundram, R.: Das Gefecht bei Döbeln am 12. Mai 1762, in Sächsische Heimatblätter 4/5, Dresden 2002, pp. 248Ff

Schirmer, Friedrich, Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. Edited and published by KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989.

Thümmler, L.-H., Die Österreichiches Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Wrede, A. v.: Die Geschichte der K. u. K. Wehrmacht, file III. Part 2, Vienna 1901, p. 386ff

Zahn, Michael, Oesterreichische Kürassier und Dragoner Standarten in Siebenjährigen Krieges, Zusammenstellung, 1988

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for details on the origin and history of this regiment