Polleresky Hussards

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Origin and History

The regiment was created on August 1 1743 with 2 squadrons contributed by Bercheny Hussards. As per a decree dated December 10 1743, 12 companies of 50 men each were recruited in Swabia.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served on the Rhine in 1745. In 1746, it campaigned in Flanders where it distinguished itself at the battle of Rocoux on October 11. On July 2 1747, it took part in the battle of Lauffeld. At the end of the war, on November 3 1748, the regiment was reduced to 4 companies.

On October 30 1756, the regiment received part of the troops of the disbanded regiment “Ferrary Hussards”. It then counted 4 squadrons.

On May 5 1758, the regiment was disbanded because of the plundering and robberies perpetrated against the German Allies of France. Two of its squadrons were incorporated into Bercheny Hussards, the two other ones into Turpin Hussards.

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

  • since August 1 1743: André Polleretzky

Service during the War

In 1757, as part of the army of the Lower Rhine, the regiment was among d'Estrées' light troops for the planned invasion of Hanover. On July 26, the regiment took part in the battle of Hastenbeck. At the end of the year, it took its winter quarters in the first line of the French Army, in an advance position in front of Celle (Zell) on the Aller River.

On February 23 1758, the regiment was attacked by surprise by Prussian hussars in its cantonments at Stöcken-Drebber. The regiment lost 3 officers and 50 men killed; its colonel, 4 officers and 130 privates taken prisoners; 10 standards, 1 pair of kettle-drums and 300 horses captured. In April, when the comte de Clermont redeployed his army along the Rhine, the regiment was stationed in Wesel. On May 5 of the same year, the regiment was disbanded for misconduct.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757
Source: Richard Couture from a Not By Appointment template
Uniform Details as per
the Etat général des troupes françoises of 1753

completed when necessary as per Funcken
Headgear black felt mirliton (since 1755) laced red; with a red flame; decorated with a white fleur de lys
Pelisse sky blue lined with white sheepskin
Fur trim black sheepskin along coat edges and cuffs
Lace 18 white brandebourgs
Buttons 1 row of 18 large pewter buttons between two rows of 18 small pewter buttons
Dolman sky blue with 18 white brandebourgs and 1 row of 18 large pewter buttons between two rows of 18 small pewter buttons
Collar sky blue edged white
Cuffs red pointed Hungarian cuffs edged white
Pockets edged white
Breeches sky blue with white embroideries
Greatcoat royal blue with red braids
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt red leather
Waist-sash red with a red leather belt with 3 iron rings and an iron buckle
Cartridge box red leather
Scabbard black with pewter fittings
Boots black leather Hungarian boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red bordered red with 5 white fleurs de lys
Sabretache red bordered red with a white fleur de lys


N.B.: for this uniform we have tried to follow closely the description contained in the 1752 ordonnance, to the exception of the mirliton which Pétard and Funcken specifies to be black from 1755.

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

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the privates with the following differences:

  • silver fleur de lys on the mirliton
  • silver braids and buttons
  • pelisse lined with fox fur and trimmed with peau de gorge de renard (probably white fox belly fur)

Musicians

Uniform of the French Hussards musicians -
Source: Jean-Louis Vial Nec Pluribus Impar

Information in this section is taken from Jean-Louis Vial's excellent website Nec Pluribus Impar with his kind authorisation. The translation is from John Boadle.

The hussars possessed kettle-drummers, attached to the senior company. On campaign they did not follow their regiments but remained in the depot, so were not found on the battlefield (the regulations of 1762 did away with kettle-drummers). The coats of the drummers and the uniforms of the trumpeters were in the colours of the regimental proprietors. Their dress was in the normal 'French' cut of the time rather than the hussar style, which lasted until the latter days of the 'ancien régime', when trumpeters dressed in Hungarian style appeared. The trumpeters and drummers wore normal cavalry breeches and boots. The harness of the drum horses was also in normal 'French' style.

Trumpeters of the Hussar Regiments wore a tightly adjusted hunting coat with very short turnbacks with small facings and a collar. The coat was often adorned with false sleeves. The braid of the livery was used for the brandebourg buttonholes and around the collar, sleeves and pockets. With this coat, trumpeters wore a felt tricorne, a waistcoat, trousers and boots similar to those worn by the musicians of the cavalry. However, this was the regulation... In several regiments, trumpeters wore the dolman, the chashkiry (Hungarian breeches) and hussar boots.

While the rest of the regiment had moustaches, musicians were completely shaved. They were usually mounted on grey horses.

Trumpets had richly laced and fringed banners with cords ended by knots on the upper part.

Colours

The regiment had 2 swallow-tailed silken guidons.

Colonel Guidon (Leibstandarte): white field field embroidered and fringed in silver; centre device consisting of a silver royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”.

Regimental Guidon: yellow field embroidered and fringed in silver; centre device consisting of a silver royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar”.

References

The article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Louis XV; Ordonnance du Roi, Concernant l'habillement, l'équipement & l'armement des régimens de Hussards. Du 15 Mai 1752.
  • Pajol, Charles P. V., Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 373-374

Other sources

Funcken, L. and F., Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert, Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

Menguy, Patrice, Les Sujets du Bien Aimé

Rogge, Christian; The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

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.