Pruschenk Cavalry

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Origin and History

Trooper of Prince Ysenburg Cavalry circa 1748 as per Morier - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Marco Pagan

The regiment was raised in 1704 as the Hansteinische Reiter.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was attached to an Austrian corps serving in Saxony. It fought in the battles of Chotusitz (May 17 1742), Hohenfriedberg (June 4 1745) and Soor (September 30 1745) .

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 360 men formed into 2 squadrons.

In 1760, the regiment was increased to 400 men.

The regimental inhabers were:

  • since 1740: Prinz Ysenburg
  • from 1757: von Prüschenk
  • from 1761: von Wolff

After the Seven Years' War, the regiment was steadily reduced in status becoming the Heistersches Dragoons in 1775. As Dragoons, the unit fought in the Coalition Wars and was disbanded in 1806.

Service during the War

On July 26 1757, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed in the centre of the second line.

In May 1758, while the French assembled an army for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of the Prince von Ysenburg's detachment sent from Westphalia to Marburg to organise the defence of Hesse. On July 23, 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 was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the second line of the left wing.

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. The infantry in the column were fed into the initial assaults on Bergen and beaten back while the cavalry protected their flank. 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 on the left flank in the second line of the 8th column under Lieutenant-General von Urff.

On July 31 1760, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the fourth line of the right wing, behind Ossendorf. On October 16, it was present at the Battle of Clostercamp where it was attached to Colonel Harvey's Brigade.

On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was deployed in Lieutenant-General Bremer's Brigade in the second line of the right wing.

By May 23 1762, the regiment was attached to the Corps of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, operating in Westphalia. On August 30, it fought in the Combat of Nauheim where it was deployed in Lieutenant-General Oheimb's Column.

Uniform

By the 1740's the horse troopers did not wear a cuirass any more.

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

1756 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced yellow with oak leaves as a field sign and a black cockade fastened with a brass button
Neck stock black
Coat white with a brass button on each side in the small of the back and 2 brass buttons under the left lapel
Collar sky blue
Shoulder strap Left shoulder: sky blue fastened with a brass button
Right shoulder: sky blue aiguillette
Lapels sky blue, each with 6 brass buttons arranged 2-2-2
Cuffs sky blue, each with probably 3 brass buttons
Turnbacks sky blue
Waistcoat white edged sky blue with brass buttons
Breeches pale straw
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black
Footgear black boots with white knee covers
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with a sky blue stripe; a golden crowned and armed Hessian lion in the rear corner
Housing sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with a sky blue stripe and with a golden crowned and armed Hessian lion
Blanket roll sky blue and white


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 gold trim rather than yellow lace on their tricorne.

Musicians

Trumpeters wore reversed colours. They were usually mounted on white or grey horses.

The bugle cord was made of interwoven white and light blue braids.

1761 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear black tricorne laced yellow with oak leaves as a field sign and a black cockade fastened with a brass button
Neck stock black
Coat buff edged with a white braid decorated with 2 sky blue stripes
Collar sky blue
Shoulder strap Left shoulder: sky blue fastened with a brass button
Lapels none
Cuffs sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with 2 sky blue stripes, each cuff with 2 brass buttons
Turnbacks buff edged with a white braid decorated with 2 sky blue stripes
Sash sky blue worn over the coat
Sabretache sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with 2 sky blue stripes; decorated with the crowned cipher "FL"
Waistcoat sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with 2 sky blue stripes; brass buttons
Breeches pale straw
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black
Footgear black boots with white knee covers
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with a sky blue stripe; the crowned arms of Hessen-Kassel within a golden laurel wreath in the rear corner
Housing sky blue edged with a white braid decorated with a blue stripe decorated with the crowned arms of Hessen-Kassel within a golden laurel wreath
Blanket roll sky blue and white


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. The cuirass was introduced only in 1764, after the war.

Officers

The officers had gold trim rather than yellow lace on their tricorne.

Musicians

Trumpeters wore reversed colours. They were usually mounted on white or grey horses.

The bugle cord was made of interwoven white and light blue braids. Any banner from the trumpet would use the same markings as those on the sabretache.

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 a regimental standard.

Leib standard: white field; centre device consisting of the armed Hessian lion in silver and red (alternating horizontal bands).

Squadron standard: sky blue field; centre device consisting of the armed Hessian lion in silver and red (alternating horizontal bands).

Sources differ concerning the Hessian Lion: it is also illustrated in plain silver.

Leib Standard - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Squadron 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

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

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

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