Serbelloni Cuirassiers

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Origin and History

Colonel Christoph Wilhelm von Harrant, Baron von Palschütz und Weseritz, who had distinguished himself by his circumspection and courage in the previous war, was allowed in 1672 by Emperor Leopold I to raise a new regiment of cuirassiers. The warrant issued on December 2 1672 ordered the raising of this regiment in the Holy Roman Empire and specified that it should count 10 companies well equipped with horses, pistols and carbines. In fact recruitment was mainly performed in Upper and Lower Austria. Officers of the the former Harrant's Regiment formed the cadre for the new unit. On April 17 1673, three companies were reviewed and taken in service at Laxenburg in Austria. The staff at that time was: Colonel Harrant von Palschütz, Lieutenant-Colonel Aeneas Count Piccolomini and Major Heinrich Count Kuefstein. Recruitment continued until July 1673 when the regiment reached full strength. It was then assigned to the army of Count Montecucoli. On August 16, it took his quarters with this army in Eger (present-day Cheb/CZ). It was part of the left wing under Duke von Lothringen. By this time, the regiment counted 887 men. It was under the command of Colonel von Harrant assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel Count von Kuefstein and Major Count von Ilmen. Its other companies were under the following Rittmeister: Count Sternberg, Convost, von Venningen, Baron Besra, von Angern, von Büngen and Baron Kaltschmid. On August 11 1674, the regiment took part in the Battle of Seneffe. During the five following campaigns, it served on the Rhine. After the Peace of Nijmegen (1678), it took its quarters in Bohemia.

In 1683, the regiment left Bohemia to join the Reichsarmee assembling under Duke Karl von Lothringen to relieve Vienna besieged by the Turks. The Austrian army of Karl von Lothringen made its junction with Sobieski's Army. The combined armies defeated the Turks on September 12. During the campaign of 1684, the regiment was deployed on the left flank of the army and participated in the siege of Ofen. In 1685, it took part in the battle of Gratz. In 1686, the regiment was part of Count Scherferberg's Corps sent to the Siebenbürgen Country (present-day Transylvania) where it fought an enemy corps under Gyulaffi and advanced on Hermannstadt. During this advance, the regiment was suddenly ordered to join once more the main army under the Duke von Lothringen who was besieging Ofen a second time. In 1687, the regiment was assigned to the army of the Duke of Lothringen operating in Lower-Hungary. It took part in the battle of Mohacz where it was among the foremost units leading the counter-attack. During this battle, one company was deployed in the first line of the right wing, four companies in the second line of the same wing and the rest of the regiment in the centre. Later during the same campaign, Major Count Rödern was seriously wounded in a small skirmish. In 1688, the regiment was assigned to Prince Ludwig von Baden's Corps ordered to operate on the Sava River. During this campaign, it took part in the victorious combat of Brod. The regiment, who had taken its previous winter-quarters in Bistritz in Siebenbürgen, took its winter-quarters in Possega in Slavonia. In March 1689, Count Marzini, one of the Rittmeister of the regiment, was sent against Brod with 300 horse. This courageous officer was supposed to attack the Turkish garrison of the town of Tessen. His party annihilated the garrison, set the fortress afire and liberated more than 3,000 Christians from slavery. Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel Cavriany had undertaken a raid against Banyaluka with 200 horse. On July 4, the regiment had joined the main army of the Prince of Baden in the area of Hassan, Bassa and Pallanka. On September 22 of the same year, the regiment took part in the engagement of Nissa where it was deployed on the left wing. It also took part in the combat of Sibo (November 27) and in the engagement of Kaczanek where Rittmeister Sanovsky was killed. On January 3 1690, the regiment distinguished itself during a tough combat against the Turks. During the campaign of 1691, the regiment was again part of the main army under the Prince von Baden. It fought on the left wing at the Battle of Salankamen, loosing some 42 men killed and 14 wounded. The regiment then took its winter-quarters in Lower-Hungary. In 1692, it operated with the Prince von Baden's Corps in the area of Esseg. In 1693, it was at the engagement of Martanos near Gyula. In 1694, it was at the camp of Peterwardein. In 1696, it joined the main army of Electoral Prince August von Sachsen, took part in the siege of Temesvar and then moved to its winter-quarters in Siebenbürgen. In June 1697, the regiment was at the Iron Gate on the Danube River with the corps of General Count Leiningen. It took part in the capture of Ujpalanka and then returned to its winter-quarters in Siebenbürgen.

The regiment also saw service during the insurrection of Rakoczy. On October 8 1704 at the Combat of Botta, the regiment under the command of General Count Rabutin lost Lieutenant Gabler. At the end of July 1706, the regiment, now counting some 770 men and 595 horses left the Siebenbürgen under General Count Rabutin. However, it had to send back a detachment of 400 men to Siebenbürgen to reinforce Colonel Count Tige's Corps. In February 1707, this latter detachment took part in a combat against the rebels between Clausenburg and Hermannstadt where it lost 23 killed and 18 wounded. Meanwhile the other detachment was assigned to the corps of Field-Marshal Count Guido Starhemberg in Hungary. In 1708, the detachment operating in Hungary took part in the Combat of Neuhäusel as part of General Count Palffy's Corps. In 1710, the entire regiment was reunited in Hungary where, on January 22, it took part in the Combat of Romhányi under the command of General Count Sickingen. In 1711, it took its quarters in the areas of Gomörer-Hontes and Neograder-Comitate.

Towards the end of April 1716, when a new war against Turkey broke out, the regiment was brigaded under General Baron Hochberg with two other cavalry regiments in the camp of Onoth. At the beginning of August, it was at the Combat of Carlowitz. In the victorious battle that Prince Eugen won over the Turks at Peterwardein, the regiment was deployed on the left flank led by General of Cavalry von Batté, in the brigade of Major-General von Schilling. After this campaign the regiment took its winter-quarters in Neograder-Comitate. At the Battle of Belgrad, on August 16 1717, four squadrons of the regiment were deployed on the left wing under the command of General Martigny and distinguished themselves during the combat loosing 23 killed and 44 wounded. The regiment took its winter-quarters in Serbia. In 1718, after the peace, it was stationed at Passarowitz in Hungary.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment left Hungary in 1733 and joined the army of Prince Eugen assembling in Germany. In 1734 and 1735, the regiment occupied the Duchy of Jülich and did not take part in any combat. At the beginning of May 1736, it left Jülich, marched across Germany and joined the Austrian army assembling at Futak to face the Turks. In July 1738, it took part in the engagement of Kornia where it was deployed in the second line of the right wing. It also fought in the engagement of Mehadia. On September 2, a detachment of the regiment also participated in a raid on Belgrade under Major-General Ciceri. On July 22 1739, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krotzka where it suffered very heavy losses: 168 killed and 100 wounded. At the beginning of November, after the peace, the regiment was stationed in Wesprimer-Comitate.

At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1741, the regiment was assigned to the army of Count Neipperg in Silesia. On April 10 of the same year, the regiment took part in the Battle of Mollwitz along five other cavalry regiments under the command of Baron Römer. It lost 51 killed , 33 wounded and 6 men taken prisoners. At the beginning of the campaign of 1742, the regiment counted 679 men. It was assigned to Fürst Christian Lobkowitz's Corps and distinguished itself at the engagement of Sahay on May 25. Later, during the siege of Prague, the regiment was transferred to the army of Prince Charles of Lorraine. In 1743 and 1744, the regiment remained with the same army and campaigned in Germany. During the campaign of 1745, the regiment fought at the battle of Striegau on June 2. During this battle, both its inhaber, Franz Count St. Ignon, and its colonel, Count Sonau, were mortally wounded. On September 30 of the same year, the regiment took part in the engagement of Trautenau where it lost 14 killed, 63 wounded and 16 men taken prisoners. After the Peace of Dresden in December 1745, the regiment was stationed in Saroser-Comitate and Gömörer-Comitate.

Since 1754, the regiment garrisoned Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK).

The regiment counted 6 squadrons and a company of carabiniers. For battles, the latter was usually converged with other similar companies to form an elite unit.

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

  • from 1745 to his death in 1778: Johann Baptist Count Serbelloni
Portrait of Josef Count d'Ayassasa - Copyright MILAK Wiener Neustadt

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

  • since 1753: Josef Count d'Ayassasa
  • from 1757 to 1764: Johan Hueber
  • from 1764: Sylvius Alexander von Bojanowsky

In 1764, Colonel Hueber left the regiment and retired. Colonel Bojanowski took command. The regiment remained in its old garrisons.

In 1769, the regiment received the No. 12 among the entire cavalry. In 1798, the regiment was designated as the 4th Cuirassier Regiment. By 1867, it was a dragoon regiment.

Service during the War

Since 1754, the regiment garrisoned Neuhäusel (present-day Nové Zámky/SK).

In May 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment was stationed at Bellus in Hungary and counted 809 men and 762 horses. It then marched to Moravia. In July, it joined the corps of Field-Marshal Fürst von Löwenstein assembling at Deutsch-Brod. On October 1 of the same year at the Battle of Lobositz, the regiment was deployed on the left wing while its carabiniers were converged with other similar units and placed on the right wing. Only the carabiniers were involved in combat, loosing 3 killed and 6 wounded. The regiment took its winter-quarters at Taus (present-day Domažlice/CZ) and Kladrau (present-day Klatovy/CZ).

For the campaign of 1757, the regiment was initially attached to Serbelloni's Corps posted near Königgrätz. It later rejoined Daun's main army. On June 18, during the Prussian invasion of Bohemia, the regiment took part in the Battle of Kolin where it was deployed in the first line of the cavalry left wing under Count von Stampach. The infantry brigade of General Krottendorf was already under heavy pressure when it was attacked in the rear by a column of Prussian infantry. Meanwhile, Major Bojanowsky of the regiment waited nearby at the head of two squadrons without order to intervene. He finally decided to charge the Prussians. He broke them and captured 12 officers, more than 150 men and 3 flags. However, the fight was hardly finished. Already a fresh Prussian corps under General Pannewitz was advancing. This Prussian corps then formed in square and began firing upon the Austrian cuirassiers. Bojanowsky turned against these new opponents and broke through them too despite their heroic resistance, capturing General Pannewitz and several guns. The regiment spent the night on the battlefield. During this battle, it had lost 14 men and 67 horses killed and 64 men and 67 horses wounded. Later on, Bojanowsky received the Knight Cross of the Maria Theresa Order for his valour. The army then followed the retreating Prussians. Captain Count Wenzel Deym with 200 cuirassiers, 60 Grenzers and 30 hussars harassed the Prussians near Böhmisch Leipa (present day Česká Lípa/CZ), capturing 60 carriages and persuading 700 Prussians to desert. On July 29, dismounting his cuirassiers, Deym attacked the town of Dreibitz where he captured 16 pontoons, 90 supply wagons and 22 baggage wagons, putting the garrison to flight. In October, during the Siege of Schweidnitz, Major Count Tige with his division was part of the besieging corps. On November 22, the regiment took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed in Trautmannsdorff's Brigade in the second line of the right wing under the Prince Esterházy. During this battle, the regiment lost 11 men. At the Battle of Leuthen on December 5, the regiment was kept in reserve in Trautmannsdorff's Brigade in the second line of the cavalry right wing under General Lucchesi. After this crushing defeat, along with five other cavalry regiments, it formed the rearguard who covered the retreat of the Austrian army, losing 31 men and 28 horses. The regiment took its winter-quarters at Hohenmaut (present-day Vysoké Mýto/CZ)

For the campaign of 1758, the regiment formed part of the “Corps de réserve” under FZM Duke Aremberg. This corps accompanied Daun's main army when it went to the relief of Olmütz in Moravia. In July, this army followed up the Prussian army retiring through Bohemia after the failure of its invasion of Moravia up to Königgrätz and the regiment came in the first line under command of G.d.C. Buccow. By August 2, the regiment was still in the first line near Jaromirs. On October 14, the regiment was present at the Battle of Hochkirch where it was deployed in Colloredo's column to the southeast of Lauske. Meanwhile, the carabiniers of the regiment were converged with other elite units and placed under the command of Count Lacy. In this battle, the carabiniers of the regiment lost 10 men and 12 horses. The regiment took its winter-quarters at Haida (present day Nový Bor/CZ). Lieutenant-Colonel Bojanowsky was promoted second colonel and Major Count Tige, lieutenant-colonel.

At the beginning of the campaign of 1759, the regiment was attached to Daun's Corps posted around Königgrätz. In May, the regiment was transferred to Hadik's Corps concentrated at Dux (present day Duchcov/CZ). By mid-August, Hadik's Corps was marching to join the Reichsarmee for the planned Austro-Imperial campaign in Saxony. In September, Hadik joined the Reichsarmee which occupied Halle, Leipzig, Torgau and Dresden. On September 21, the regiment took part in the Combat of Korbitz (aka first combat of Meissen) where it was deployed on the left wing of Hadik's Corps under Major-General Schallenberg. During this action, it engaged 7 Prussian squadrons who had attacked Austrian infantry units. Captain Count Deym, commander of the carabiniers, distinguished himself during a flank attack against the Prussian cavalry. The regiment lost 1 officer and 11 men killed and 2 officers and 24 men wounded and an entire company of Lieutenant Jankowsky was encircled and taken prisoners. On November 20, the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was deployed in the first cavalry column of Sincère's Corps under the command of Lieutenant-General Count Schallenberg on the right wing. Its carabinier coy, for its part, was deployed in the vanguard of Sincère's Corps under the command of Major-General Baron Siskovics. This battle was mainly fought by the infantry and the cavalry could not intervene due to difficult terrain and slippery roads. The regiment took its winter-quarters at Fürstenwalde and Liebenau (present-day Lubnow/PL).

In early June 1760, the regiment formed part of the Austrian Grand Army encamped at Plauen near Dresden and was deployed in the first line of the cavalry right wing. It was attached, with Stampach Cuirassiers and Buccow Cuirassiers to Gemmingen's Division. During the following campaign, the regiment was assigned to the right wing of the main army led by Field-Marshal Daun. On November 3, at the Battle of Torgau, as the Prussian cavalry charged the Austrian infantry, the regiment along with Buccow Cuirassiers counter-charged the enemy and put them to flight. The regiment then continued to advance under heavy artillery fire. Colonel Hueber was wounded by a cannon-ball and Lieutenant-Colonel Count Tige assumed command. A Prussian infantry formation of 3 regiments and four grenadier companies then blocked the advance of the regiment. Major von Wimmersberg and Captain Count Deym at the head of two squadrons fell on the flanks of this formation while Lieutenant-Colonel Count Tige charged it frontally with the remaining squadrons. Thus surrounded, the Prussians soon routed. A great number was killed and 3 officers, 519 men, 1 gun and 12 flags were captured. Captain Count Deym and his carabiniers distinguished themselves once more (in 1761 Deym would receive the Knight Cross of the Maria Theresa Order). Prior to the battle, the regiment counted 703 men and only 596 after. The Prussian and the Austrian armies had both suffered such heavy losses that no further combat took place till the end of the year. The regiment took its winter-quarters at Zeyda, Witgendorf and Schmorsdorf (Müglitztal/Saxony).

In 1761, the regiment was in Saxony with the main army once more and did not take part in any important action. In December the regiment went to Freiberg in Saxony.

In 1762, the regiment was in Saxony with the Austro-Imperial Army of Count Serbelloni. In October, it took part in the blockade of Dresden and remained afterwards in Saxony.

On January 1 1763, the regiments was reviewed in Dippoldiswalde. It then counted 701 men and 670 horses. After the Peace of Hubertusburg, the regiment was stationed in the Comitates of Zemplén, Gömör and Tolnau and was reduced to 833 men .

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762 - Source: 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 13 pewter buttons on each side
Collar none
Shoulder strap white fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal pockets with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs red with 3 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Waistcoat red with two rows of pewter buttons
Breeches red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt none
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth red laced with a wide white braid bordered in red and decorated with red bars (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Sabretache red laced with a wide white braid bordered in red and decorated with red bars (according to an illustration of the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762)
Blanket roll white and 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 carried a carbine and had a sabre instead of a sword.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift of 1762 shows a gold lace on the tricorne, a red neckstock and buff breeches.

Raspe shows 14 buttons instead of 13.

Officers

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

  • tricorne laced gold with a green and white cockade
  • blue saddlecloth and sabretache both laced in red and fringed in yellow

Musicians

no details found

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.

Colonel Standard: not known

Regimental Standard: dark green with a silver double eagle on both sides. Brown flagpole.

References

This article incorporates texts from the following book which is now in the public domain:

  • Thürheim, Andreas: Die Reiter-Regiment der k. k. österreichischen Armee, vol. 1 - Die Cürassiere und Dragoner, F.B. Geitler, Wien: 1862, pp. 99-125

Other sources Funcken, Liliane and Fred: Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle'

Grosser Generalstab, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Hiller, Berlin, 1830-1913

Knötel, Richard: Uniformkunde. Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, 18 Bde., Rathenow 1890-1919

Kornauth, Friedrich: Das Heer Maria Theresias: Faksimile-Ausgabe der Albertina-Handschrift, "Dessins des Uniformes des Troupes I.I. et R.R. de l'année 1762", Wien: 1973

Pizzighelli, C.: Geschichte des k. u. K. Dragoner-Regimentes Kaiser Ferdinand Nr. 4, Wiener-Neustadt 1902

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.: Geschichte der K. und K. Wehrmacht fol. III. 1. part, Vienna 1898 - 1905

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

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for the history of the regiment during the SYW