Szechényi Hussars

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Origin and History

The regiment was raised as per a decree dated February 28 1702 by Simon Count Forgách de Ghymes in the in the Komitats of Raab (present-day Győr), Gran (present-day Esztergom), Komorn (present-day Komárom) and Wesprim (present-day Veszprém).

During the War of the Spanish Succession, after completion in 1702, the regiment was sent to the Rhine along with Gombos Hussars. On August 27, they arrived at Philippsburg. There it was used for patrol against the French. After the surrender of the fortress of Landau, the hussars were sent to Strasbourg to intercept French convoys. On November 4, the regiment took its winter-quarters; 40 men were quartered in Landau and Freiburg, and the rest went to the Lech River in Bavaria. In 1703, the regiment saw only minor actions. His colonel, Simon Count Forgách joined the rebels of Ferenc Rákocsy in Upper Hungary (present-day Slovakia) and fought on his side against the Austrian Army. In 1704, Colonel Martin von Lehoczky replaced Forgách at the head of the regiment who campaigned in the regions of Baden and Upper Palatinate, took part in several raids and fought in the combat at Engen. Colonel Lehoczky distinguished himself in the latter action. In 1705, the regiment incorporated parts of the disbanded regiments Csaky, Czungenberg and Gombos. The same year, it campaigned in Bavaria, taking part in the combat of Sendling. In 1706, the regiment took part in the combat of Aidenbach. In 1707, it was stationed on the Upper Rhine, mostly garrisoning Freiburg and Landau; it also took part in the combat of Ellingen. In 1708, it served on the Rhine again, then in Bavaria but saw no action. In 1709,it campaigned on the Upper Rhine, fought on the Ettlinger Lines and took part in the combat of Rumersheim. In 1710 and 1711,it operated on the Rhine and in Bavaria, taking part in the raids on Erlenbach and Lauterburg. In 1712, part of the regiment was involved in the action against the Lauterburg Lines on the Upper Rhine. In April 1713, the regiment, under his new Colonel-proprietor Pál Baron Babocsay, left its winter camp and marched to the camp of Oberhausen. On July 20, Prince Eugène de Savoie sent Babocsay with his regiment and 150 horse across the Rhine for a reconnaissance. On July 28, Babocsay dispersed a detachment of French hussars near Oppenheim, capturing 100 horses. Babocsay's detachment then returned to Prince Eugène's camp unmolested. During the siege of Landau, 50 hussars of the regiment distinguished themselves. After several successful operations, the regiment joined a force including Kollonits Hussars and 4 cuirassier regiments under FML Bibra. On September 22, this force was sent against the French at Rottweil. The French retreated and the Austrian army took its winter-quarters. On December 21, the regiment left Rottweil and marched towards Austria.

After the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1714, the regiment went to Hungary to garrison in the Komitats of Pressburg (present-day Bratislava/SK) and Györ/HU.

In 1715, with the growing menace of a war with Turkey, the regiment was increased to 10 coys organised in 5 squadrons.

At the beginning of the Austro-Turkish War, on April 27 1716, Prince Eugène de Savoie concentrated his army at Stuhlweissenburg (present-day Székesfehervár/HU). At the end of July, his cavalry under General Viard marched through Bács to Peterwardein (present-day Petrovaradin/SE) and Vilova. The regiment took part in the combat of Carlowitz. On August 5, it was at the Battle of Peterwardein. It then took part in the siege and capture of Temesvar (present-day Timosoara) which surrendered in October.

In August 1717, the regiment took part in the siege of Belgrade, protecting the Danube bridge. It then pursued the Turks and participated in the combats at Uj-Palánka and Orsova and in the raid on Zwornik.

In 1718, the regiment was sent to Hungary to assume garrison duties till 1733.

On May 10 1727, Colonel Stephan Baron Dessewffy appointed as new regiment proprietor and commander.

During the War of the Polish Succession, in 1733, the regiment initially served in Silesia. The same year, Joseph Baron Festetić de Tolna was appointed colonel and commander of the regiment.

In 1734, the regiment (5 squadrons for a total of 906 men and 859 horses) was transferred to the Army of Prince Eugène, operating on the Rhine. On April 12, a detachment of the regiment captured the famous French partisan Colonel de la Croix. From May to July, 2 squadrons participated in the Siege of Philippsburg, the others distinguished themselves in the Petite Guerre (little war). The regiment took its winter-quarters on the Moselle River.

In 1735, the regiment garrisoned Lombardy.

In 1736, the regiment was sent to Banat where it assumed garrison duties in the Komitat of Temesvar in 1736 and 1737.

In 1737, during the Austro-Russian–Turkish War (1735–39), the regiment took part in the capture of Bagna Palánka and in an action at Novipassera. Next winter, it patrolled on the border with Serbia.

In 1738, the regiment joined the main army. It was at Semendria, Mehadia and Kornia; but saw no action.

On July 22 1739, the regiment took part in the Battle of Grocka, south-east of Belgrade, where it was in the vanguard and suffered heavy losses (150 men) including Lieutenant-colonel Alexander Grassalkovič, killed in action. By the end of the year, it was garrisoning Temesvár and Mitrovitz.

At the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1740, the regiment was garrisoning Pest. It was directed to Silesia where it came under the command of Major-General Baranyay and, later of Major-General Festetić. On August 4, Festetić with 400 hussars captured a Prussian convoy near the Bohemian border, dispersing its escort and taking 240 Prussian hussars prisoners.

In 1741, the regiment campaigned in Bohemia and Silesia, taking part in the combat of Neuhaus.

On May 17 1742, the regiment took part in the Battle of Chotusitz where it distinguished itself. Under FML Franz Nádasdy, the regiment then marched to Písek occupied by 500 French. The French commander refusing to surrender to a hussar force, Nádasdy had one of the city gate demolished with a bomb and the entire French garrison surrendered as prisoners of war. On June 16, the regiment distinguished itself once more again at Pilsen (present-day Plzeň/CZ), under General Baranyay, taking 500 French prisoners and capturing 200 horses. It was also involved in the defence of Prague.

In January 1743, the regiment took part in the blockade of Eger (present-day Cheb/CZ), under Prince Lobkowitz, making several successful raids. On September 10, it marched to Bavaria to také its winter-quarters.

In 1744, the regiment initially campaigned in Bavaria. It was then assigned to Nádasdy's Corps operating on the Rhine and participated in the assault on Lauterburg.

In 1745, the regiment was attached to the corps of General Count Hohenembs in Silesia. On February 14 near Habelschwerdt, the regiment defended itself against a much stronger force. On June 4, it took part in the Battle of Hohenfriedeberg (present-day Dobromierz/PL). It then went to Glatz (present-day Klodsko/PL) and Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica/PL). On July 15, Lieutenant-Colonel Adam Dessewffy attacked a Prussian detachment near Horzig/Saxony, killing its commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Hans Schütze and taking 5 officers and 93 men prisoners. On August 25, Dessewffy conducted another successful raid near Dubenetz. On September 30, the regiment arrived too late to take part in the Battle of Soor but managed to rescue 200 wounded Austrians, its hussars taking them astride their horses. On November 8, Adam Baron Dessewffy was killed in action during an engagement near Kunzendorf. At the end of the year, the regiment was directed towards the Netherlands.

Ealy in 1746, the regiment was in camp at Sontheim from where two squadrons were detached to Italy while the main body remained stationed in the Netherlands where it saw no action.

In 1747, the two squadrons sent to Italy rejoined the regiment in the Netherlands.

After the war, in 1748, the regiment incorporated in part the disbanded regiment Trips. It assumed garrison duties in Hungary: first in Szatmár; then Nagy-Enyed in 1751; Fogaras in 1752; and finally Tokaj from 1754 to 1756.

The regiment was under the successive nominal commands of:

  • since 1702: Simon Count Forgách de Ghymes, major-general
  • from 1704: 1704: Martin von Lehoczky, major-general
  • from 1712: 1712: Pál (Paul) Baron Babocsay, major-general
  • from 1727: Stephan Baron Dessewffy, FML
  • from 1742: Joseph Baron (Count from 1749) Festetić de Tolna, general of cavalry
  • from June 28 1757: Anton Count von Széchényi , FML
  • from 1767: Ferdinand Franz von Ujházy, major-general
  • from 1768: Emerich Count Esterházy, general of cavalry

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the successive effective commands of:

  • from 1702: Sigmund Count Forgách
  • from 1704: Martin Lehoczky
  • from 1712: Paul Baron Babocsay
  • from 1727: Stephan Baron Dessewffy
  • from 1733: Joseph Baron Festetić
  • from 1739: Baron Cziráky (killed in action at Prague on July 29 1742)
  • from 1742: Samuel Count Teleky
  • from 1747: Franz Schreger
  • from 1754: Georg Baron Luszinsky
  • from 1757: Karl Wilhelm Nauendorf
  • from February 2 1759: Stephan Baron Vécsey
  • from 1759: Franz von Petrovsky
  • from 1761: Philipp Count Batthyányi
  • from 1768: Johann Count Erdödy
  • from 1773: Michael Baron Splény

At the end of the Seven Years' War, in 1763, the regiment assumed garrison duties in Troppau (present-day Opava/CZ), Jägerndorf (present-day Krnov/CZ), Ostrau (present-day Moravská Ostrava/CZ), Lobenstein (present-day Jeseník/CZ) and Freiwaldau (present-day Úvalov/CZ).

In 1769, the regiment received the number 32 among the k. k. cavalry. In 1798, it was designated as Hussar Regiment No. 3. It remained in service until 1918.

Service during the War

In June 1756, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment, then known as Festetić, was stationed in Hungary and counted 595 men and 257 horses. When war broke out, the regiment was ordered to join the Reserve Corps of Rudolf Count Pálffy and FZM Piccolomini near Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ) in Bohemia. By September, the regiment had mad its junction with Piccolomini's covering force. On September 22, Colonel Luszinsky with 400 dragons and 150 hussars of the regiment bumped into a large Prussian detachment near Ober-Pless. Despite the numerical superiority of the Prussians, Lusinszky managed to retreat without loss after a heavy fight. The regiment took its winter-quarters Trautenau (present-day Trutnov/CZ), Politz (present-day Polička nad Metují/CZ) and Dobruska (present-day Dobruška/CZ). During the winter of 1756-57, the regiment received a sixth squadron, bringing its total book strength to 1,060 men.

By March 1757, the regiment had joined the army of FM Daun at the camp of Czaslau (present-day Čáslav/CZ) where it formed part of Count Kálnoky's Brigade. The regiment, under Major Petrovsky, took part in the capture of Brandeis (present-day Brandýs nad Labem/CZ), capturing Colonel Baron Mardefeld, 17 officers and 640 men along with 2 cannon and 5 flags. Daun then marched to Böhmisch Brod (present-day Český Brod/CZ) with his army. In the night of May 29, Lieutenant-Colonel Karl von Nauendorf at the head of 200 of his hussars and 120 Banal-Grenzer attacked the Prussian Wartenberg Hussars near the main Prussian camp, killing 90 men, and taking 1 lieutenant and 16 men prisoners. On June 18 1757, six squadrons of the regiment fought in the Battle of Kolin where they were deployed in the first line of the extreme right wing in Morocz Division of Nádasdy's Corps. After the victory, Nauendorf was mentioned in Daun's relation. On June 28, GFWM Anton Count Széchényi was appointed proprietor of the regiment, for his part Colonel Luszinsky was promoted to GFWM and Karl von Nauendorf to colonel. The regiment then followed the retreating Prussian army up to Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) and Zittau. At the beginning of September, the 4 squadrons of the regiment were attached to Loudon's Light Corps who was sent to Saxony to assist the Reichsarmee. This corps initially operated near Dresden. The whole army went afterwards to Thuringia and encamped near Eisenach. The Prussians had occupied Gotha. On September 18, the Prince Baden-Baden was sent forward with a detachment (Széchényi Hussars, Splényi Hussars, 13 grenadier coys and 4 cannon supported by some French troops) to recognize Gotha. On September 19 at 9:00 a.m., this detachment attacked a Prussian camp (dragoons and hussars under Major-General Seydlitz) in front of Gotha. The Prussians were driven back and Gotha occupied. The Prince of Sachsen-Hildburghausen and the Prince de Soubise watched the engagement from the windows of the castle. Afterwards the Franco-Imperial Army returned to Eisenach. On October 18, this army marched by Erfurt and Pegau to Leipzig. On November 5, 4 squadrons were present at the Battle of Rossbach but were not deployed. On December 5 at the Battle of Leuthen, 2 squadrons of the regiment were deployed in the vanguard of the cavalry right wing under General Lucchesi. At the end of the year, the 4 squadrons sent to West Germany took their winter-quarters in the first line of the French Army in the area of Göttingen.

In 1758, the 2 squadrons who had remained in Silesia joined the 4 squadrons already operating with the French army. In April, when Clermont redeployed the French army along the Rhine, the regiment was placed in the second line in the towns of Düren and Nideggen on the heights of Eiffel. In April, the regiment was recalled to Bohemia to reinforce the Austrian army. Later during the year, under Baron Vécsey, the regiment distinguished itself by the expulsion of the Prussians from the region of Bamberg. On November 15, it reinforced Hadik's Corps at Grimma.

On February 2 1759, Colonel Nauendorf was transferred to another regiment and replaced by Colonel Stephan Count Vécsey. The regiment was stationed in the region of Eisenach. On March 16, it participated in the attack against Hirschfeld in Hessen. In May, Vécsey was attacked near Ochsenfurt by Colonel Wunsch. On September 8 1759, 720 men of the regiment were present at the combat of Zinna where they were posted on a hill to cover the Austrian right flank, remaining idle at their post throughout the combat. On November 20, 4 sqns of the regiment took part in the Battle of Maxen where they were deployed in the vanguard of Sincère's Corps under the command of Major-General Baron Siskovics. At the beginning of the engagement, Daun sent the regiment along with some Grenzer light troops and one grenadier battalion against the Prussians occupying Rheinhadrtsgrimma. These troops soon drove Prussian troops from the first heights on the other side of the gully (for his behavior in this combat, Colonel Franz von Petrovsky received the Maria Theresien Orden in 1762). The regiment then took its winter-quarters in Saxony at Hennersdorf and Dippoldiswalde.

In July 1760, the regiment took part in the defence of Dresden. On July 18, Colonel Petrovsky attacked a Prussian detachment at “Weisser Hirsch” near Dresden and dispersed it. In his relation of this action, Major-General Baron Ried praised Petrovsky. On September 17, the regiment fought in the combat of Hochgiersdorf where, along with the Stabsdragoner it defended for hours a position near Kunzendorf until it received support from the infantry. On November 3, it was present at the Battle of Torgau but not involved. On November 28, the regiment (ten counting only 490 men) distinguished itself once more in an engagement near Grosswitz where it attacked a column of Prussian infantry (4 to 5 battalions) and routed it, capturing Major-General Bülow, 50 officers, approx. 1,000 men, 3 guns and flags. In this action, General von Ried lost his horse and was overridden by cavalry. Petrovsky with 100 hussars rescued him.

In 1761, the regiment campaigned once more in Saxony in Ried's Corps and took part in the combat of Seligenstadt.

In 1762, the regiment joined the Reichsarmee where it was attached to the corps of Prince Friedrich von Pfalz-Zweibrücken. On January 21, Colonel Petrovsky launched a surprise attack against the Prussian entrenchments at Meissen, capturing 2 officers and 68 men. Later on, in September, the regiment took part in the attack of entrenchments of Pretschdorf, losing 16 men and 38 horses. In November the regiment assumed patrol duty in the area of Landsberg.

Uniform

Privates

The 1757 reform, stated that all hussar regiments should be dressed in dark blue uniform with yellow distinctives. However, this regulation seems to have been followed only by Kaiser Franz I Hussars. The present regiment retained its former uniform.

Uniform in 1757
Source: David at Not By Appointment
Uniform Details
as per Raspe the Bautzener Bilderhandschift and Magyar Huszar Dessewffy-Huszárezred
Headgear brown kolback with red cords and tassels and a dark blue bag
Neck stock black
Pelisse dark blue lined with white sheepskin
Fur trim black
Lace 14 rows of red braids (as per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift)
Buttons yellow
Dolman dark blue edged red with 15 rows of red braids (as per the Bautzener Bilderhandschrift) and yellow buttons
Collar dark blue edged red
Cuffs red pointed cuffs edged red
Trousers dark blue decorated with an intricate red lace on each thigh
Leather Equipment
Cross-belt white
Waist-sash dark blue and red barrel sash
Scabbard black with copper fittings
Boots black Hungarian boots edged red
Horse Furniture see Magyar Huszar
Saddle-cloth crimson edged with yellow wolf teeth and decorated with an elaborate yellow device (a capital “S” surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a crown) in the rear corners
Sabretache crimson edged with yellow wolf teeth and decorated with an elaborate yellow device (a capital “S” surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a crown)


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre, a musket and two pistols.

Other interpretations

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates the following differences:

  • dark blue pelisse lined with grey sheepskin and trimmed with grey fur
  • dark blue saddle cloth edged red and heavily decorated with red laces
  • dark blue sabretache edged red and decorated with a red “S”
  • yellow Hungarian boots edged red

Knötel shows a uniform identical to the one depicted in our table.

Donath illustrates the following differences:

  • white fur trim on the pelisse
  • red trousers
  • dark blue saddle-cloth edged with a simple yellow braid, decorated with a red device device (a capital “S” surrounded by a laurel wreath and surmounted by a crown) in the rear corners
  • dark blue sabretache edged red and decorated with a red “S”

Officers

As per the website Magyar Huszar Dessewffy-Huszárezred, officers wore a uniform very similar to the uniform of the troopers with the following differences:

  • kolback with a white plume and a red and yellow wing
  • all braids and laces replaced by richly embroidered golden braids
  • golden cuffs on the dolman
  • yellow boots

The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift depicts:

  • white fur trim for the pelisse which is also lined with brown fur
  • black and gold waist sash
  • dark blue saddle cloth edged gold and heavily decorated with golden laces
  • dark blue sabretache edged gold and decorated with a golden “S”

NCOs

no information available yet

Musicians

no information available yet

Colours

We have not been able to retrieve any information regarding the guidons of this regiment.

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: Eine neue österreichische Bilderhandschrift aus dem Siebenährigen Hriege, in Zeitschrift für Heeres und Uniformkunde, Nr. 185: 1963

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: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Hiller, Berlin, 1830-1913

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

Magyar Huszar Dessewffy-Huszárezred (a Hungarian website)

Ow, J. Baron: Geschichte de k. k. Erzherzog Ferdinand dritten Husaren-Regiments, Sáros Patak, 1843

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

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. 66

Skala, H.: Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Thadden, Franz-Lorenz v.: Die theresianische Kavallerie - III. Teil, Die Zinnfigur, Klio, 1968

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

Thürheim, A. v.: Die Reiterregimenter der k. k. österreichischen Armee file I., Vienna 1862

Treuenfest, A. v.: Geschichte des k. u. k. Husaren-Regiments Nr. 3... Vienna 1883

Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geshichte der K und K Wehrmacht, Vienna and Leipzig 1911

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article, User:Zahn for information on the uniform and Harald Skala for additional information on the origin and the history of this regiment.