Slavonisches Grenz-Hussars

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Origin and History

This Grenzhusarenregiment (Frontier Hussars Regiment) was raised in February 1747 by FML Engelshofen as the “Slavonisches Grenz–Husaren–Regiment”1 in the region of the Save. It initially counted six squadrons2.

In 1750, the unit was amalgamated with the “Syrmisches Grenz–Husaren–Regiment”3. The new unit counted 8 squadrons 5 and took the name of “Syrmisches Grenz–Husaren–Regiment”4.

In 1751, the regiment was reorganised and counted only 5 companies, each of 100 men6.

In 1753, the regiment was renamed “Grenzhusarenregiment Slavonisches”7 and organised in six squadrons. Each squadron counted two companies, each of 100 men.8. The first rank carried lances decorated with black and yellow quartered pennants9.

The garrison place of the regiment was Vinkovce11.

As per the Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759 and Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760, the regiment counted 7 squadrons (14 coys) for a total of 1,200 men. Grenzer units were mainly destined to wars against the Turks. For wars on other theatres of operations, they had to supply only a third of their total forces. However, this ratio was exceeded on several occasions during the Seven Years' War when the third who had served in the previous campaign was gradually replaced by another third provided for the incoming operations.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War, in 1756, the regiment contributed six squadron (1,200 men) to the Austrian Army.

Tactically a Grenz-Husar squadron was assigned to a foot battalion of the same Generalate.10

During the Seven Years' War, the Chef of the regiment was:

  • since 1750: Franz Baron von Engelshofen

During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:

  • since 1753: Colonel Conrad Count von Brunyan
  • from 1762 till 1772: Colonel Marquis Belcredi

The regiment was disbanded in 1780.

Service during the War12

In the Fall of 1756, when the Prussian Lieutenant-Colonel Werner pillaged Hohenmaut in Bohemia, Piccolomini sent Lieutenant-Colonel Gersdorf at the head of 100 Slavonier Grenz-Hussars and 200 dragoons to advance along the Adler (present-day Orlice River) and to cut Werner's retreat. Gersdorf intercepted Werner near Nachod killing 2 lieutenants and 50 men and taking 15 men prisoners.

At the opening of the campaign of 1757, the regiment was attached to Serbelloni's Corps. By mid May, 100 men were attached to Haller's small corps left in the area of Glatz and Trautenau.

In 1758, the regiment was first sent to the Bohemian theatre of operation. It then went to Moravia. From March to July, during the Prussian invasion of Moravia, 100 men of the regiment under Lanius took part in guerilla warfare in Northern Moravia and in engagements near Andersdorf (May 19), Heidenpiltsch (May 25) and Siebenhöfen during the Siege of Olmütz. On October 14, it took part in the Battle of Hochkirch.

In the night of March 25 to 26 1759, the regiment was part of Beck's force who marched on Greiffenberg (present-day Gryfów Śląski) to attack the isolated Diringshofen Grenadier Battalion. Diringshofen received intelligence of his advance but decided to make a stand. Once surrounded, he tried to escape by forming a square but, after a strong resistance, was forced to surrender with 500 men. In September, part of the unit was with Wehla's Austrian Light Division (3,460 men). By September 25, after the capture of Dresden, this division had taken position at Hoyerswerda where it was attacked by a Prussian corps under the command of Prince Henri. The Austrians lost 600 men killed and 1,785 men were taken prisoners including Wehla. On November 20, a detachment of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where it was attached to the Reichsarmee Contingent deployed near Gieshübel under the command of Prince Stolberg. During this campaign Rittmeister Count da Ponte distinguished himself in petite guerre.

In 1760, the regiment campaigned with the Reichsarmee in Saxony. In early June, two sqns of the unit, under the command of Engelshofen, formed part of the Austrian Grand Army encamped near Dresden. On November 3, these squadrons took part in the bloody Battle of Torgau where Major Veldner distinguished himself.

In 1761, the regiment served in Saxony and did not take part in any major action.

In 1762, the regiment served once more in Saxony. On May 12, it took part in the Combat of Doebeln where it distinguished itself.

Notable names

Belcredi, Marquis13 Colonel14

Brunyan, Conrad Count von15 Colonel16

Engelshofen, Franz Baron von17 Feldmarschallleutnant18 Feldzeugmeister19

Ponte Count da20 Rittmeister21

Veldner22 Major23

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1762
Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details
as per the Albertina Handschrift
Headgear light brown kolback with yellow cords and tassels and a red bag24
Neck stock black
Pelisse green lined with black sheepskin27
Fur trim black
Lace 11 rows of yellow braids
Buttons brass
Dolman green edged yellow with 13 rows of yellow braids and brass buttons25
Collar green edged yellow
Cuffs red pointed cuffs edged yellow with an intricate yellow lace on each sleeve
Trousers red decorated with an intricate yellow lace on each thigh26
Leather Equipment
Cross-belts white with brass fittings
Waist-sash red and yellow barrel sash
Cartridge box black leather
Scabbard black leather with brass fittings
Gloves white
Boots black Hungarian boots edged yellow with a yellow tassel
Horse Furniture
Harnessing black leather
Saddle-cloth red edged yellow31 with a black double-eagle with a gold crown in each rear corner
Sabretache red edged yellow carrying a black double-eagle with a gold crown


Troopers were armed with a short curved sabre (brass fittings, 1,2 kg, 79 cm)28, a carbine (3,2 kg, 90 cm)29 and two pistols30.

Hussars wore a large moustache and long hair in natural colour over his ears, tied together at the neck.

Other interpretations

Raspe's publication ( Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen...) shows an identical uniform.

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates a slightly different uniform:

  • dark brown kolback with a green bag
  • green pelisse with red lace trimmed with grey fur
  • green dolman with red lace and red pointed cuffs
  • red trousers
  • yellow Hungarian boots
  • green saddle-cloth heavily laced and edged in red
  • green sabretache edged red carrying a red double-eagle

Knötel illustrates a uniform very similar to the one depicted in our plate with the following difference:

  • green sabretache edged yellow carrying a black double-eagle with a gold crown
  • a yellow stripe along each leg of the trousers

Donath depicts a very different uniform:

  • dark brown kolback with white cords and tassels and a red bag
  • white pelisse with yellow lace trimmed with white fur
  • white dolman with yellow lace and red pointed cuffs
  • red trousers with a yellow braid on the outside of each leg
  • black Hungarian boots edged yellow
  • blue saddle-cloth edged yellow
  • red sabretache edged yellow with an unidentified centre device

Schirmer follows Knötel with the addition of a green saddle-cloth

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers but made with better material and of a better cut. Occasionally, officer also carried a mace or an ax.39 Officers wore a gold and black sash around the waist, under the pelisse but above the dolman.40 The sashes of staff and high ranking officers differed from each other. The neck stock of officers were white.

Officers were armed with a sword with a golden sword knot. The sword measured 80 cm and had gilt fittings.

Officers did not wear any cross-belt or cartridge box.

Officers wore a large moustache as the troopers.

The most important mark of command was the spanische Rohr (commander baton): “He who can carry the spanische Rohr may command”.41 This baton was decorated differently depending on grade.

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift depicts the following uniform:

  • brown kolback with golden cords and tassels and a green bag
  • green pelisse edged with light brown fur
  • green dolman with golden braids
  • red trousers
  • yellow Hungarian boots
  • green sabretache edged gold carrying a golden double-eagle
  • blue saddle-cloth edged gold

NCOs

NCOs did not carry carbines and, accordingly, no bandoleer for the carbine. However, they wore a bandoleer for their cartridge box. They also carried a stick which could be fastened to the left side of the pelisse by a sling. They also had black and yellow sword knots.

Musicians

Musicians wore a long coat and a black tricorne.32

The regiment had kettle-drums and trumpets.33

The hemispherical drums of each pair were differently tuned and for this reason were of different sizes (diameters of 40 and 80 cm). They were usually made of copper but some honorary kettle-drums could be made of silver. The drumhead was held in place by cords and by an iron ring.34

The largest drum was carried on the left side of the horse and the smallest on the right side. To play, the kettle-drummer used two mallets whose heads were covered with leather. The extremities of the mallets were fastened together with a strap worn around the neck of the kettle-drummer.35

The kettle-drums were decorated with aprons. Aprons were usually of green canvas, trimmed with braids and lace and decorated with the initials of the regiment owner. For parade, silken aprons richly decorated with gold or silver embroidery were used. They were usually paid for by donations of high ranking officers.36

In the quartiers of the regiment, the kettle-drums and guidons were constantly guarded. Their loss was considered shameful.37

The trumpets of the regiment had banners at the livery of the owner of the regiment carrying his cipher.38

Guidons

The swallow-tailed squadron guidons were green42.

Footnotes

1. Ref. Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1. Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986, p. 53; and Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898–1905, V. Band, p. 338

2. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

3. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

4. Ref. Tessin, Part 1, p. 53 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

5. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

6. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 214

7. Ref. Tessin, Part 1, p. 53 and Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

8. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 217, 338

9. Ref. Wrede, Vol. III, p. 61 and Kornauth, p. 92

10. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92

11. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

12. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

13. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

14. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

15. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

16. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

17. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

18. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

19. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

20. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

21. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

22. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

23. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 338

24. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

25. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

26. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

27. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

28. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

29. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

30. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

31. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

32. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

33. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

34. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 695

35. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 695

36. Ref. Kornauth, p. 105 and Ottenfeld, p. 696

37. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 696

38. Ref. Kornauth, p. 105

39. Ref. Kornauth, p. 140f

40. Ref. Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Teil II.), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. Jahrgang 1987, pp. 66–72, 69

41. Quote from Kornauth, p. 25

42. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141

References

Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen KAYSERLICH KOENIGLICHEN ARMEEN zur eigentlichen Kentnis der UNIFORM von jedem Regimente. Nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke, und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird., Nürnberg auf Kosten der Raspischen Buchhandlung. Ao. 1762 (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt Halle, Universitätsbibliothek Kiel, Landesbibliothek Darmstadt)

Bleckwenn, Hans; Die Regimenter der Kaiserin, Gedanken zur "Albertina Handschrift" 1762 des Heeresgeschichtlichen Museums Wien, Köln: 1967

Donath, Rudolf: Die Kaiserliche und Kaiserlich-Königliche Österreichische Armee 1618-1918, 2. Aufl., Simbach/Inn 1979

Etat nouveau des Troupes de sa Majesté Impériale Royale comme elles se trouvent effectivement l'an 1759

Etat général des Troupes qui servent sa Majesté Impériale et Royale Apostolique sur pié en 1760

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 132

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.: Heer und Tradition / Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called “Brauer-Bogen”), Berlin 1926-1962, Uniformbogen No. 71

Koch, Arwed Ulrich: Der modische Wandel der Uniform im 18. Jahrhundert. Reich und Württemberg. (Offiziersportraits 1730 bis 1790) (Teil II.), in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, LI. Jahrgang 1987, pp. 66–72

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”, Vienna 1973.

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

Seyfart, Kurzgefaßte Geschichte aller kaiserlich-königlichen Regimenter zu Pferde und zu Fuß, Frankfurth and Leipzig, 1762, p. 74

Skala H., Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Tessin, Georg: Die Regimenter der europäischen Staaten im Ancién Regime des XVI. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts. Part 1. Die Stammlisten, Osnabrück 1986.

Thümmler, Lars-Holger: Die Österreichische Armee im Siebenjährigen Krieg: Die Bautzener Bilderhandschrift aus dem Jahre 1762, Berlin 1993

Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von; Geshichte der K und K Wehrmacht, Vienna 1898-1905

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

Acknowledgments

Mathias Kussmann for the initial version of this article