Szekely Hussars

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Origin and History

Officer of the Szekely Hussars - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan

The regiment was raised in 1721 at a strength of 30 men by lieutenant-general von Wuthenow (died in office). It recruited mainly Uhlans. In 1722, the unit was increased by 2 companies. In 1730 it was increased to 3 squadrons. and command passed to major Johann von Brunikowski. Chef in 1732 was prince Eugen von Anhalt-Dessau. In 1737 von Brunikowsi became Chef. The same year, 3 more squadrons were added, but in 1740, 3 of them were sent to Silesia to reinforce the Leibhusaren (Nr 2) and 2 more were used in 1740 to found the 3rd Hussars. The remaining squadron, under major von Mackerodt, was again reinforced by 2 squadrons. In 1741, the 2 new squadrons went to form the 5th and 7th Hussars. Brunikowski, now a colonel, had kept back 10 men from each squadron that he had been ordered to send away. With these and new recruits, he raised a new regiment of 5 squadrons in Prussia in 1741. These he took to Silesia and increased to 10 squadrons.

The regiment was often referred to as die Grünen (the Greens).

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment took part to the capture of Neisse on October 31 1741. On May 17 1742, it was at the battle of Chotusitz. From September 10 to 16 1744, it covered the siege of Prague and took part in a skirmish near Neustadt. On March 1 1745, the regiment fought in the combat of Hirschberg where it took over 300 prisoners. On March 22, it was at the combat of Landshut and on June 4 at the battle of Hohenfriedberg.

Lower Silesia was the inspectorate of the regiment. Its garrison places were Guhrau, Herrnstadt, Koeben, Militsch, Prausnitz, Steinau, Sulau, Trachenberg, Wintzig, Wohlau.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the regiment counted 10 squadrons.

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

  • since October 2 1750: colonel Michael von Szekely (retired as major-general)
  • from May 16 1759 to 1767: colonel Friedrich Wilhelm Gottfried Arend von Kleist (died in 1767 as major-general)

By 1806, the regiment was known as the von Gettkandt Hussars. That same year, on October 14, it took part in the battle of Jena, suffering heavy losses. On November 1, the regiment surrendered at Anklam, a detachment surrendered at Ratkau. The regiment was not re-raised. Its depot went into the new 3rd Hussar Brigade, raised in Silesia.

Service during the War

On August 26 1756, when the Prussian Army proceeded to the invasion of Saxony, the regiment was part of the left column led by the prince of Bevern. This column had concentrated in the area of Lübben, then advanced through Lusatia by Hoyerswerda and Bautzen, to Hohenstein (Sept. 8) then to Lohmen north of the Elbe near Pirna. On October 1, 8 of its squadrons took part in the battle of Lobositz where they stood on the right wing near the Homolka Berg, harassing the Austrians near Sullowitz. They then covered the second attack.

In mid April 1757, the regiment formed part of the army who proceeded to the invasion of Bohemia. On May 6, the regiment 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 field marshal Keith's corps. On June 18, 5 squadrons of the regiment took part to the battle of Kolin. They were deployed in the cavalry vanguard at the extreme left under under general von Zieten. At the end of August, the regiment was part of the small Prussian army hastily assembled at Dresden by Frederick II to head towards Thuringia and to offer battle to the Franco-Imperial army invading Saxony. On September 14, when Frederick was forced to divide his army to contain the French in the region of Magdeburg and to secure the Prussian magazines in the area of Torgau, the regiment remained with Frederick at Erfurt to observe the Franco-Imperial army. On September 15, the regiment was part of Seydlitz's force which occupied Gotha. On September 19, they were temporarily chased from the town by a Franco-Imperial force but Seydlitz managed to recapture Gotha and to occupy it until September 22. On November 5, at the battle of Rossbach, 5 squadrons of the regiment were deployed as flank guard on the right wing while the 5 other squadrons were not deployed on the battlefield. In this battle, the regiment took 4 cannon and pursued the beaten enemy through Erfurt. On December 5 at the battle of Leuthen, its second battalion (5 squadrons) were deployed in the vanguard which attacked the Austrian left flank.

On February 28 1759, major-general Knobloch sent the regiment forward from Erfurt under Friedrich Wilhelm Gottfried Arend von Kleist. From February 24 to March 4, about 250 men of the regiment were part of the small Prussian corps under the command of major-general von Wobersnow who made an incursion in Poland against the Russian magazines. During this incursion, Wobersnow's forces destroyed food supply which would have supplied 50,000 men for 3 months. On August 12, the regiment fought in the battle of Kunersdorf where it was deployed in the second line of the left wing as part of Spaen brigade. It was among the last Prussian units to leave the battlefield.

From July 13 to 22 1760, the regiment covered the siege of Dresden. On August 20, it took part in the combat of Strehla where it was very successful against the Zweibrücken Chevauxlegers and the Baranyay Hussars, capturing 3 standards and many prisoners. On November 3, the regiment took part in the battle of Torgau.

On April 2 1761, the regiment fought in the combat of Saalfeld.

On October 14 1762, the regiment took part in the battle of Friedberg.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1759 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1757- Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear in 1752, the regiment adopted the brown kolback with a dark green bag and white cords, knots and tassels

in 1762, a white plume was added to the kolback

Pelisse dark green
Fur trim white
Lace white
Buttons white
Dolman light green with 12 white braids and white buttons
Collar red edged white
Cuffs red with white lace
Breeches buff leather with light green overtrousers edged white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waist-sash red and white barrel sash
Scabbard black with white metal fittings
Boots black
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth dark green shabraque with light green wolfs tooth edging and white piping
Sabretache light green, wearing a white crowned royal crest and bordered with a white lace


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre, two pistols and a carbine. They rode chestnut (white manes and tails) horses.

Officers

Szekely Hussar Officer - Source: Menzel, Adolph von, Die Armee Friedrich's des Großen in ihrer Uniformierung

Officers wore uniform similar to those of the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • pelisse
  • 1 thin and 1 thick waved laces bordering the 12 white braids on the chest
    • more elaborate laces bordering the cuffs
  • dolman
  • 1 thin and 1 thick waved laces bordering the 12 white braids on the chest
    • more elaborate laces bordering the cuffs
  • silver and white barrel sash


NCOs

NCOs wore uniform similar to those of the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • cuffs of the pelisse bordered with a wide white lace
  • 1 white chevron on the cuffs of the dolman

Musicians

Musicians wore uniform similar to those of the troopers with the following exceptions:

  • black mirliton laced white with white cords and tassels
  • swallow nest at the shoulders of the pelisse decorated with 4 vertical and 1 horizontal laces (white braid decorated with 2 dark green stripes)

Colours

Hussar regiments carried no standards during the Seven Years' War.

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

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

Funcken, Liliane and Fred, Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

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.

Knötel, Herbert d.J.; Brauer, Hans M.; Heeres-Uniformbogen (so-called „Brauer-Bogen"); Berlin: Heer und Tradition, 1926 -1962

Knötel, Richard; Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921

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

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

Schmalen, I. C. v.; Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlich Koeniglichen Preusischen Armee...; Nürnberg, 1759

Schröder, C.A.; Uniformierung der Kgl. Preussischen Armee, Parchim ca. 1765

Schultz, Johann Gottfried; Abbildungen Preussischer Kayserl. und Französischer Soldaten aus dem siebenjährigen Kriege, ca. 1757/1760

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

Wellner, Carl; Uniform von Sr. Königl: Majestaet in Preussen Armee so Infanterie als Curassier, Dragoner, Husaren und Jäger zu Pferd und zu Fuß, nebst der in Empfang genommenen 10. Regt. Sachsen und Frey Bataillon. Leipzig, November 11 1757

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 and User:Zahn for the research on the uniforms.