Serbskiy Hussars

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Origin and History

The unit entered into Russian service as an irregular unit in 1723 under the command of major Albanez. It served on the borders of the Turkish empire and of Crimea.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the unit took part in the siege of Danzig (today Gdansk).

From 1736 to 1739, the unit served against the Turks.

At the beginning of the war with Sweden, in 1741, the unit was transformed into a regular hussar regiment known as Serbskiy Hussarskiy (Serbian Hussar). In theory, it then counted 10 companies for a total of about 1,000 men. However, until July 1759, most Russian hussar regiments counted only 6 squadrons. Tielke specifically mentioned this regiment as counting 600 men during this period.

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

  • in 1760: colonel Tekely

Service during the War

At the outbreak of the war, the regiment was stationed at Novgogod and in Livonia. During the winter of 1756-57, the regiment joined the Russian field army.

In 1757, the regiment took part in the campaign in East Prussia under general count Apraxin. On August 30, at the battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, it was part of Riazanov brigade belonging to rearguard. When the Russian army deployed, it was placed in the first line of the cavalry right wing.

In January 1758, the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. On February 3, as part of Stoffeln's detachment, it marched to Marienburg (today Malbork) and other places on the Vistula under the command of major Teckeli. On July 21, during the invasion of Brandenburg, the regiment was sent to reinforce a Russian detachment of dragoons and cossacks under Maslov, covering the magazine that was forming at Linei. On August 25, the regiment took part in the battle of Zorndorf where it was part of the second line of the cavalry right wing. Around 11:45 AM, it was sent upon Manteuffel's flank and front. About mid November, the regiment took its winter quarters in Muhlhausen (today Mlynary) and Preussisch Holland (today Paslek).

On July 23 1759, the regiment took part in the battle of Paltzig where part of it was attached to Riazanov's brigade deployed in the vanguard behind the cossacks while the other part was with Morbvinov's detachment which was marching to the Russian camp. A few weeks later, on August 12, the regiment fought in the battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the reserve of the left wing.

At the beginning of October 1760, during the campaign in Brandenburg, the regiment formed part of Tottleben's corps who captured Berlin.

During the winter of 1760-61, the regiment was still attached to Tottleben's corps. When Tottleben was put under arrest, the regiment was attached to Berg's corps. On October 13 near Gulzow (today Golczewo), the regiment, along with the Vengerskiy Hussars, and Tuverov and Colpackov cossacks took part in the unsuccessful assault on a Prussian convoy escorted by 50 grenadiers from Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Schwerin. Captain Schönholz ordered the Prussian convoy to form a Wagenburg and was quickly rescued by major Potscharly's small force consisting of 300 men from Belling Hussars, 200 volunteers from Grenadier Battalion 17/22 Rothenburg and 1 gun. At Koldemanz, the regiment took part in the capture of major Potscharly's Prussian detachment (300 men of Belling Hussars, 200 volunteers of Grenadier Battalion 17/22 Rothenburg and 1 gun). On October 22, it took part in an indecisive engagement near Gollnow where the Russians took the suburbs but could not advance across the bridge. On November 18 at Labuhn (today Łabuń Wielki), the regiment fought with distinction against Finckenstein Dragoons. The regiment wintered in Pomerania.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757
Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details
as per an illustration of an officer from the Museum of St. Petersburg
Headgear black kolback with a cornflower blue bag and black cords, knots and tassels
Neck stock black
Pelisse cornflower blue
Fur trim black
Lace 8 black braids
Buttons brass
Dolman cornflower blue with 8 black braids and brass buttons
Collar cornflower blue edged black
Cuffs cornflower blue edged with a black chevron
Breeches cornflower blue decorated with intricate black loops
Cloak cornflower blue
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt black leather
Waist-sash black and cornflower blue barrel sash
Scabbard black leather with iron fittings
Boots black Hungarian boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth cornflower blue shabraque with black wolf tooth edging
Sabretache cornflower blue, wearing a black “EP” monogram and bordered with a black lace


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre and two pistols (no carbine). Zweguintzov mentions that Russian hussars also carried a carbine.

Officers

Officers wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:

  • gold cords and lace
  • yellow Hungarian boots
  • pelisse trimmed with grey fur

NCOs

NCOs wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:

  • gold cords, knots and tassels on the kolback
  • gold lace
  • a golden braid on the border of the collar
  • golden braids on the sleeve (2 for the vakhmistr, 1 for quartermaster)

Musicians

There was 1 kettle-drummer for the regiment and 1 trumpeter for each of the 10 companies. They wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:

  • small wings on the shoulders
  • braids of an unknown colour

Trumpets and kettle drums were made of brass and decorated with black lace and cords.

Colours

Russian hussar regiments carried no standards during the Seven Years' War.

References

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

Gromoboy, Vlad, The Russian Pandours - Pandour Hussars (1741-61), Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XII No. 1

  • Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin 1902
    • chapter A: Das Kaiserlich Russiche Heer, page 1-46
    • appendix: supplement 1, Das Kaiserlich Russiche Heer, page 3-18

Karpiński, Tomasz; Kampania 1761 r. na Pomorzu Zachodnim, manuscript

Konstam A. & Younghusband B., Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey, London, 1996

Maslowskij, D.; Russkaia armija, vol. 3, p. 43

Schirmer, Friedrich; Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Tielke, J. G., An Account of some of the most Remarkable Events of the War between the Prussians, Austrians and Russians from 1756 to 1763, Vol. 2, Walter, London, 1788

Vial J. L., Nec Pluribus Impar

Zweguintzov, L'Armee Russe, 1973

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