Prinz Friedrich Dragoons

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Origin and History

Standard Bearer of the Prinz Friedrich Dragoons after the Seven Years War - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Marco Pagan

The regiment was raised in 1678 by Friesenhausen. In 1688, it became “Nassau-Weilburg”; in 1689, “von Kettler”; in 1694, “von Tettau”; and in 1696, “Hessen-Homburg”.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, on November 15 1703, the Inhaber of the regiment, the Prince von Hessen-Homburg was killed in action at the Battle of Speyerbach. In 1704, it became the property of Auerochs. On August 13 1704, the regiment took part in the Battle of Blenheim where, along with the Erbprinz Dragoons, it furiously charged and succeeded in capturing the French Maréchal Tallard. During this war, the regiment also took part in the battles of Castiglione (September 8, 1706), Oudenarde (July 11, 1708) and Malplaquet (September 11, 1709).

In 1731, the regiment became “von Blome”.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was attached to an Austrian corps.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment consisted of 660 men formed into 4 squadrons.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment belonged to:

  • since 1742: Prince Moritz von Sachsen-Gotha
  • from 1757: Prince Friedrich von Hessen

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

  • since 1752: Colonel W. von Schulzen
  • from 1757: Colonel F. L. von Ditfurth promoted lieutenant-general and leaving command to:
    • from 1758: Lieutenant-Colonel von Geyso
    • from 1762: Lieutenant-Colonel von Marschall

After fighting in the French Revolutionary Wars, the regiment was disbanded in 1806.

Service during the War

On July 23 1758, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was placed on the left wing near the Ellenbach woods. It fought bravely, breaking the opposing French cavalry. On October 10, it also took part in the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the second line of the centre.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Finckenstein's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry left wing. On April 13, it took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second column under the Prince von Ysenburg. In June, the regiment was part of Imhoff's Corps operating in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in Wangenheim's Corps between Kutenhausen and the Weser, in the first line of the cavalry right wing under Major-General Reden. On November 28, the regiment was part of the force under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick destined to dislodge the Würtemberger Contingent from Fulda and then to reinforce Frederick II in Saxony. This force set out from Marburg and marched to Kirtorf. On November 29, the force marched to Angersbach and Lauterbach. On Friday November 30, it launched an attack on Fulda, forcing the Würtemberger Contingent to retreat precipitously southwards on Bruckenau in the general direction of Frankenland and Württemberg. In this action, the regiment was attached to the Hereditary Prince's column. On December 18, the Hereditary Prince at the head of his corps arrived at Erfurt. On December 25, the Hereditary Prince formed a junction with Frederick II at Leipzig in Saxony.

On July 10 1760, the regiment was present at the Combat of Corbach but, being part of Lieutenant-General von Gilsa's Reserve, did not take part in the action. On October 16, during the Allied offensive on the Lower Rhine, the regiment took part in the Battle of Clostercamp.

On July 16 1760, the regiment formed part of of Spörcken's Corps which remained at Herzfeld on the left bank of the Lippe and did not take part in the Battle of Vellinghausen.

By May 23 1762, during the campaign in Western Germany, the regiment was attached to the main Allied army. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it was attached to the 5th column placed under the command of the Prince von Anhalt.

Uniform

During the Seven Years War, the unit used a temporary field sign of oak leaves. The use of the field sign was due to the French cavalry having units with similar coat and facing colours.

A new uniform was introduced in 1761 with red lining and turnbacks according to the Montierungsregelement. This new uniform was itself replaced a few years after the Seven Years War, somewhere between 1765 and 1769, by a uniform with yellow lining and turnbacks. In this section we illustrate the uniforms of 1756 and 1761. The post-war uniform could easily be derived from the 1761 by replacing the red turnbacks by yellow ones.

1756 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced white with oak leaves as a field sign and a black cockade
Neck stock black
Coat sky blue with 3 pewter buttons on the right side under the lapel
Collar yellow
Shoulder strap Right shoulder: white aiguillette
Left shoulder: yellow shoulder strap fastened with a pewter button
Lapels yellow, each with 6 pewter buttons arranged 2-2-2
Cuffs yellow, each with 2 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks yellow
Waistcoat yellow with pewter buttons
Breeches pale straw
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footgear black boots with white knee covers
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth yellow with white border decorated with a thin yellow line
Housing yellow with white border decorated with a thin yellow line
Blanket roll yellow


Troopers were armed with a straight steel hilted sword, two pistols and a carbine. The carbine was slung from the shoulder belt on a swivel hook.

Officers

The officers had silver trim rather than white lace on their tricorne. They wore a silver sash interwoven with small red striping and a brass gorget. They wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exception:

  • silver laced buttonholes
  • no turnback

In campaign a simpler coat was worn without decorated buttonhole.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exception:

  • yellow cuffs edged silver with 2 pewter buttons

Musicians

Drummers were uniformed in reverse colours (yellow) with "swallow nests" on the shoulders. They were usually mounted on grey or white horses.

The drum barrels should be similar to the infantry which were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this cavalry regiment, the rim would likely have been a pattern of alternating white, red and yellow diagonal stripes.

1761 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced white with oak leaves as a field sign and a black cockade
Neck stock black
Coat sky blue with 3 pewter buttons on the right side under the lapel
Collar yellow
Shoulder strap Right shoulder: white aiguillette
Left shoulder: yellow shoulder strap fastened with a pewter button
Lapels yellow, each with 6 pewter buttons arranged 2-2-2
Cuffs yellow, each with 2 pewter buttons
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat yellow with pewter buttons
Breeches pale straw
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt white
Waist-belt white
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Footgear black boots with white knee covers
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth yellow with white border decorated with a thin yellow line; and probably the crowned "FL" cipher in the rear corner
Housing yellow with white border decorated with a thin yellow line; and probably the crowned "FL" cipher in the centre
Blanket roll yellow


Troopers were armed with a straight steel hilted sword, two pistols and a carbine. The carbine was slung from the shoulder belt on a swivel hook.

Officers

The officers had silver trim rather than white lace on their tricorne. They wore a silver sash interwoven with small red striping and a brass gorget. They wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exception:

  • silver laced buttonholes
  • no turnback

In campaign a simpler coat was worn without decorated buttonhole.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the troopers with the following exception:

  • yellow cuffs edged silver with 2 pewter buttons

Musicians

Drummers were uniformed in light blue uniforms with "swallow nests" on the shoulders. They were usually mounted on grey or white horses.

The drum barrels should be similar to the infantry which were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this cavalry regiment, the rim would likely have been a pattern of alternating white, red and yellow diagonal stripes.

Colours

The flag poles were red. The standards had silver fringe, a golden finial, red/white/blue cords with silver tassels. The regiment carried a white Leib (colonel) standard and three squadron standards.

Leib standard: white field; centre device consisting of the armed Hessian lion in silver.

Squadron standard: pale yellow field; centre device consisting of the armed Hessian lion in silver.

Leib Standard - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Henry, Mark: Hessian Army of the 7 Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VII No. 3

Pengel & Hurt, German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Raab, Karl: Die Standarten der Hessen-Casselschen Kavallerie 1760-1786 in Alte une neue Zinnfiguren, vol. 7 march-April 1976, pp. 67-68

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

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

Trenkle, K.: Nix wie weg… die Hesse komme, Verlanganstalt Marburg

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007

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