Origin and History
This Grenzhusarenregiment (Frontier Hussars Regiment) was raised in January 1747 (1736 as per Seyfart and the Etat général des Troupes...) by FZM Joseph Prinz von Sachsen-Hildburghausen as the “Warasdiner Grenz–Husaren–Regiment”1. It initially counted five companies2 3. It had no Chef and came under the direct jurisdiction of the Generalate of Karlstädt4. In 1749, the regiment was reduced to two companies5. The first rank carried lances decorated with black and yellow quartered pennants6.
In 1751, the regiment consisted of 5 companies of hussars, each counting 100 men7.
The regiment recruited in the Generalate of Warasdin10 and its regimental staff was established in Petrinia since 174711.
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 2 squadrons (4 coys) for a total of 300 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 one squadron (200 men) to the Austrian Army.
Tactically a Grenz-Husar squadron was assigned to a foot battalion of the same Generalate.8
During the Seven Years' War, the Chef of the regiment was:
- since 1747: vacant
During the Seven Years' War, its commanders were:
- since 1749: Anton von Kukez
- from 1760 till 1761: vacant
- from 1762: Franz Carl von Schröckinger
In 1763, the regiment was augmented to three squadrons, each counting two companies.9
The regiment was disbanded in 1780.
Service during the War12
In 1756, the regiment was sent to Eastern Bohemia.
At the opening of the campaign of 1757, the regiment was attached to Serbelloni's Corps. By mid June, 1 sqn (60 men) of the regiment was part of Beck's Brigade. On June 18, this squadron took part in the Battle of Kolin. It was deployed in the first line of the extreme right wing in Hadik's Division in Szechényi's Brigade. In August 1757, the regiment was operating in Silesia with Colonel Jahnus. On August 13, it took part in the first combat of Landshut. On August 14, the regiment pursued the defeated Prussians up to Reichenau.
From 1758 to 1761, the unit served mainly in Saxony and saw no major action.
In 1762, Kulnek, its commander, distinguished himself in a combat near Horne in Lusatia.
Kukez, Anton von13 Majo14 Colonel15
Schröckinger, Franz Carl von18 Major19 Lieutenant-Colonel20 Colonel21
Until recently we had no information on the uniform worn at the outbreak of the Seven Years' War. Thanks to the kind authorisation of the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna, Vladimir Brnardić, a member of our group, has had access to the Delacre Bilderhandschrift, a rare contemporaneous manuscript depicting the uniforms of the entire K. K. Army around 1756-57. For this reason, we present the uniforms of troopers circa 1757 and in 1762.
|Headgear||black mirliton with black, unbraided wing|
|Pelisse||green lined with black sheepskin
|Dolman||green edged yellow with 15 rows of yellow braids and yellow buttons
|Trousers||red Hungarian trousers with traditional decoration (Schoitasch) in yellow thread|
Troopers were armed with a short curved sabre, a carbine and two pistols
Hussars wore a large moustache and long hair in natural colour over his ears, tied together at the neck.
|Headgear||light brown kolback with white cords and tassels and a red bag|
|Pelisse||red lined with black sheepskin
|Dolman||red edged white with 12 rows of white braids and white buttons
|Trousers||red decorated with an intricate white lace on each thigh|
Troopers were armed with a short curved sabre (brass fittings, 1,2 kg, 79 cm)21, a carbine (3,2 kg, 90 cm)23 and two pistols24.
Hussars wore a large moustache and long hair in natural colour over his ears, tied together at the neck.
Raspe's publication ( Accurate Vorstellung der sämtlichen...) shows the following differences:
- only 8 rows of braids on the pelisse
- only 7 rows of braids on the dolman
- no lace on the trousers
The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift illustrates a the following differences:
- black kolback with yellow cords and tassels and a red bag
- red pelisse with 6 golden braids and yellow buttons edged with grey fur
- dolman not illustrated
- red trousers
- yellow Hungarian boots edged gold
- yellow saddle-cloth heavily laced and edged in gold
- sabretache not illustrated
Knötel shows a different uniform:
- a dark brown kolback with a brown bag
- a brown pelisse with white braids and buttons bordered with black fur
- a brwon dolman eith white braids and buttons and red cuffs
- a red and brown barrel-sash
- red trousers a white stripe on the outer side of each leg
- black Hungarian boots edged white
Donath depicts a uniform similar to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- white fur on the pelisse
- a white stripe on the outer side of each leg of the trousers
- blue saddle cloth edged yellow with a golden crowned double-eagle in each rear corner
Donath also illustrates a second uniform in 1762 with a brown pelisse and a brown dolman with red pointed cuffs all with white braids and buttons. Furthermore, the saddle-cloth is red edged yellow with a yellow crowned double-eagle in each rear corner
Schirmer mentions a yellow sabretache.
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.33 Officers wore a gold and black sash around the waist, under the pelisse but above the dolman.34 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”.35 This baton was decorated differently depending on grade.
The Bautzener Bilderhandschrift depicts a quite similar uniform:
- black tricorne laced silver
- red pelisse edged with light brown fur
- red trousers
- yellow Hungarian boots laced silver
- blue saddle-cloth edged silver
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 wore a long coat and a black tricorne.26
The regiment had kettle-drums and trompets.27
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.28
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.29
The kettle-drums were decorated with aprons. Aprons were usually lined with red 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.30
In the quartiers of the regiment, the kettle-drums and guidons were constantly guarded. Their loss was considered shameful.31
The trompets of the regiment had banners at the livery of the owner of the regiment carrying his cipher.32
The swallow-tailed squadron guidons were red36.
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, Wrede, Alphons Freiherr von: Geschichte der k.u.k. Wehrmacht, Wien 1898-1905, Vol. V, p. 336 and 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, p.152.
2. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336
3. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336
4. Ref. Kornauth, p. 152
5. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336
6. Ref. Wrede, Vol. III, p. 61 and Kornauth, p. 92
7. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 214
8. Ref. Kornauth, p. 92
9. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336
10. Ref. Kornauth, p. 152
11. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336
12. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
13. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
14. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
15. Kornauth, p. 152
16. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
17. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
18. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
19. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
20. Ref. Wrede, Vol. V, p. 336 and Kornauth, p. 152
21. Ref. Kornauth, p. 152
22. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
23. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
24. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
25. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
26. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
27. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
28. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 695
29. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 695
30. Ref. Kornauth, p. 105 and Ottenfeld, p. 696
31. Ref. Ottenfeld, p. 696
32. Ref. Kornauth, p. 105
33. Ref. Kornauth, p. 140f
34. 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
35. Quote from Kornauth, p. 25
36. Ref. Kornauth, p. 141
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. 72
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.
Mathias Kussmann for the initial version of this article