Prussian Leib-Carabiniers

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Prussian Leib-Carabiniers

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1692 by colonel Paul von Brandt as a regiment of dragoons by addition of companies from existing regiments.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment served in Brabant and Flanders, and was present at many sieges.

In 1718, the regiment was converted to a Kürassier regiment of 5 squadrons.

On April 28 1738, Frederick II renamed the unit “Leib Karabinier Regiment”.

At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served against Austria. On April 10 1741, it fought in the battle of Mollwitz where it suffered heavy losses. From September 10 to 16 1744, it covered the siege of Prague. In 1745, it fought in the battles of Hohenfriedberg (June 4) and Kesselsdorf (December 15).

Magdeburg was the inspectorate of the regiment and its garrison places were Genthin, Havelberg, Neu-Haldensleben, Rathenau and Sandau.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 5 squadrons.

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

  • since November 14 1751: major-general Peter Ernst von Pennevaire
  • from January 24 1759 to September 26 1768: major-general Joachim Christian von Bandemer

By 1806, the regiment was still known as the “Leib-Carabiniers”. That year, on October 14, it took part in the battle of Auerstädt where it was deployed in the Prince of Orange's right wing. It suffered heavy losses. On October 29, the regiment surrendered at Pasewalk and was not re-raised. The depot went into the new 4th Kürassiers.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the centre column led by Frederick II. More precisely, it belonged to Keith's Corps. The centre column had concentrated at Brietzen and advanced unopposed upstream along the Elbe river by Torgau, Wittenberg, leaving Meissen to its left. On September 6, it encamped at Rothschönberg and finally reached Wilsdruf. On October 1, the regiment took part to the battle of Lobositz where it was assigned to the cavalry brigade of major-general Schonaich in Kyau Division. On October 23, when Keith's army left Lobositz to return to Pirna country, the regiment joined Frederick at Linai to cover Keith's advance. On October 28, the whole force reached Gross-Sedlitz near Pirna and the regiment took its winter quarters soon afterwards.

In April 1757, the regiment was part of the Prissian army who proceeded to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, it did not take part to the battle of Prague. It was rather deployed on the left bank of the Moldau near the Weissenberg as part of Keith's corps. On June 18, the regiment took part to the battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under lieutenant-general Penavaire. During this battle, it took a standard. At the end of August, it marched to Silesia with Bevern. On November 22, the regiment fought in the battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Krockow's brigade, in the second line of the right wing under baron von Kyau. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, the regiment was deployed in Krockow's brigade in the second line of the cavalry left wing under lieutenant-general von Driesen. During this battle, the regiment took a cannon.

In March 1758, the regiment took part in the invasion of Moravia. From May 27 to July 2, it covered the siege of Olmütz. It also fought in the skirmish at Wischau. On August 10, the regiment was part of the corps who accompanied Frederick when he marched from Silesia to join Dohna to contain the Russian invasion of Brandenburg. On Tuesday August 22, this corps made a junction with Dohna at Manschnow. On August 25, the regiment fought at the battle of Zorndorf. Around 3:00 PM, it counter-charged and drove off the Russian cavalry attacking the Prussian extreme right wing. For this action, all field officers of the regiment were awarded the Pour-le-Merite. On September 2, a week after the battle of Zorndorf, when it became clear that the Russian army was slowly retiring towards Landsberg, Frederick assembled the corps that he had brought with him from Silesia and left for Saxony where his help was badly needed. On October 10, the regiment took part in the battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in the centre of the first line in Zieten's cavalry corps. During this battle, it took 3 standards.

At the beginning of the campaign of 1759, the regiment encamped at Schmottseiffen where it remained for most of the campaign. On September 5, it marched to Saxony under the command of [[Friedrich Heinrich Ludwig|prince Henri].

On August 15 1760, the regiment was at the battle of Liegnitz. On November 3, it fought in the battle of Torgau.

On February 15 1761, the regiment took part in the combat of Langensalza, taking 2 cannon.

On October 29 1762, the regiment fought in the battle of Freiberg.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1757
Headgear black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a small white button and white pompoms

N.B.: for combat, the tricorne was reinforced with an iron cap

Neckstock black
Coat off-white trimmed with the regimental lace (white braid with a light blue central open diamond pattern between two light blue stripes)
Collar light blue
Shoulder strap off-white fastened with a white button
Lapels none
Pockets none
Cuffs light blue trimmed with the regimental lace
Turnbacks off-white trimmed with the regimental lace
Waistcoat light blue trimmed with the regimental lace
Breeches white (buff leather in campaign)
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Sash light blue
Cartridge Box black pouch lids with a round brass plate bearing the Prussian eagle
Scabbard brown leather
Sabretache light blue decorated with the royal cipher “FR”, edged with an intricate white and light blue braid
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth light blue with rounded corners; decorated with the royal cipher “FR”, edged with 2 rows of regimental lace
Housings light blue decorated with the royal cipher “FR”, edged with 2 rows of regimental lace
Blanket roll cobalt blue


Troopers were armed with a heavy straight-bladed sword, a pair of pistols and a musket. They wore a blackened breastplate edged light blue and fastened by leather straps. The musket strap was white edged with the regimental lace.

Other interpretations

The saddlecloth and housings illustrated in our plate follow the traditional source: the saddlecloth kept in the Zeughaus in Berlin. However, this collection of saddlecloths dates from 1786! We have found a more contemporary source: the Uniformierung der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee of C. Schröder, published ca. 1765. This source illustrates much simpler saddlecloth and housings: light blue bordered with a wide white braid decorated with 3 light blue stripes

NCOs

The NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • silver scalloped lace to the top of the cuffs

Officers

The officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne (no lace) with a black cockade fastened with a silver strap and a small white button and black within silver pompoms
  • silver regimental lace
  • breastplate edged in gilt metal with straps covered in gilt plates; gilt crowned Prussian crest in trophies of arms on the top centre of the breastplate
  • silver and black silk waist sash
  • silver and black sword strap
  • saddle furniture ornately ornamented and fringed in silver

Musicians

Musicians wore the same uniform as the privates with the following exceptions:

  • black tricorne bordered with light blue feathers and one black and white pompom in each lateral corne
  • a lace specific to the musicians bordering the collar, cuffs, coat edges and decorating the shoulders and sleeves
  • hanging sleeves bordered with the musician lace

The musician laces consisted of a white braid with a light blue central open diamond pattern between two light blue stripes

Musicians did not wear breastplate.

Standards

The square standards were made of damask. The cords and tassels were silver and black. The pole of the standard was a royal blue tournament lance reinforced with iron hinges and gold finial.

The standard bearers had light blue standard bandoliers, edged and fringed in gold.

The regiment carried standards of the old “FWR” and new “FR” patterns. Here we illustrate old pattern standards.

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field, fringed gold with a royal blue central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by a white scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers). Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): royal blue field, fringed gold with a white central medallion surrounded by a crowned laurel wreath and decorated with a crowned black eagle flying toward a golden sun surmounted by an royal blue scroll laced gold bearing the golden motto "Non Soli Cedit". Decoration in each corner (crowns, laurel wreaths and “FWR” ciphers) in a royal blue medallion.
Colonel Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert
Squadron Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert

The 5 standards were lost on October 29 1806 at the capitulation of Pasewalk. The regiment was not re-raised.

References

Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.

Anon. Die Schlacht bei Minden 1759. J C C Bruns Verlag, Minden 1959.

Anon., Uniformes Prussiens et Saxons, circa 1757

Alt, Das Koeniglich Preussische Stehende Heer. Schrapp, Berlin, 1869.

Bleckwenn, Hans (Hrsg.): Das Altpreussische Heer - Erscheinungsbild und Wesen 1713-1807, Teil III: Übersichten altpreußischer Uniformgestaltung, Band 4: Die Uniformen der Kavallerie, Husaren und Lanzenreiter 1753-1786, Osnabrück 1979

Bolke, Eberhardt. Preussische Fahnen 1740 – 1806. Dresden, 1944.

Bredow – Wedel. Historische Rang- und Stammliste des Deutschen Heeres. Berlin 1905.

Eckardt, Werner – Morawietz, Otto. Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preussisch-deutschen Heeres. Hamburg, Helmut Gerhard Schulz Verlag, 1973.

Fiebig, H. Unsterbliche Treue

Franke, Ludwig Eberhardt. Vorstellung der Koeniglich Preussischen Armee. Potsdam, 18??

Fraser, David. Frederick the Great, The Penguin Press, London 2000.

Gieraths, Günther: Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgisch-Preussischen Armee 1626-1807, Ein Quellenbuch, Berlin 1964.

Gohlke, W. Geschichte der gesamten Feuerwaffen bis 1850 Berlin 1911.

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Heft 14 / 15. Der Feldzug 1806 / 07 und die Reorganisation der Artillerie. Berlin 1914

Grossen Generalstab. Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Hefte 26 - 30. Die Freikorps und Auslaender-Battailone. Berlin 1914.

Hoepfner, Edouard von. Oberst. Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807. Berlin, Simon Schropp & Comp. 1850.

Jany, Curt. Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1967.

Kling, C. Geshichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausruestung des Koeniglich Preussischen Heeres. Three volumes. Putzer und Hoeltze, Weimar 1912.

Knoetel – Sieg. Handbuch der Uniformkunde. H. G. Schultz, Hamburg, 1937.

Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen, Berlin: 1851/57.

Prussian War Ministry. Fahnen und Standarten der preussischen Armee seit dem Jahre 1806. Berlin 1889.

Ramm, August Leopold. Abbildungen von allen Uniformen der Koenigl. Preuss. Armee unter der Regierung Sr. Majestaet Friedrich Wilhelm III Berlin, J F Unger, 1800.

Voigt, Guenther. Deutschlands Heere bis 1918. Biblio Verlag, Osnabrueck, 1983.

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

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.