Wurtemberg Cavalerie

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years' War (Main Page) >> Armies >> French Army >> Wurtemberg Cavalerie

Origin and History

The regiment was raised on October 18 1635 in Germany and incorporated in the French army in 1639.

During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment served in Italy from 1733 to 1736.

In 1738, the regiment was stationed at Dôle.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment initially served in Westphalia in 1741. In 1742, it was at Braunau. From 1745 to 1748, it served in Flanders.

In 1756, the regiment counted two squadron.

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

  • since February 1 1749 until April 10 1763: Louis Eugène Prince de Württemberg

When the French Cavalry was reorganised on December 1 1761, the regiment was incorporated into Royal-Allemand Cavalerie. However, effective incorporation seems to have taken place only on April 10 1763 at Lauterburg.

Service during the War

In 1757, the regiment joined the Army of the Lower Rhine commanded by the Maréchal d'Estrées for the planned invasion of Hanover. From April 27 to June 17, it was part of the Reserve under the Prince de Soubise. On September 8, after the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, it followed the main body, now led by the Maréchal de Richelieu, who encamped at Halberstadt in Prussian territory from September 28 to November 5. The regiment was placed on the left wing of the second line. At the end of the year, it took its winter-quarters in the first line of the French army in and around Heilbad Heiligenstadt.

At the end of January 1758, the regiment was assigned to the army that Louis XV planned to send to Bohemia for joint operations with the Austrian Army. However, when the Allies launched their surprise winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment had to retreat towards Düsseldorf and Deutz with the bulk of Broglie's Army. It passed the Rhine on April 3 and 4. In the first days of June, as a French army prepared for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of a detachment under the command of Broglie who followed up Ysenburg's Allied Corps during its retreat. By July, it had joined Soubise's Army assembling near Friedberg in Hesse. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was initially placed in the second line. It fought in the cavalry combats in the plain adjoining the Ellenbach Woods where the French cavalry was finally broken. It then rallied and reinforced the threatened French left wing. On October 10, it was present at the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed on the left wing of the second line. It was not involved into any serious fighting during this battle.

On April 13 1759, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it was deployed in the third line of the left wing under the command of the Baron de Dyherrn. In June, at the beginning of the French offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the “Right Reserve” under the command of the Duc de Broglie who had taken position at Friedberg in Hesse. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the second line of Broglie's Corps.

By the end of January 1760, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in the second line of the French army on the right bank of the Rhine, in Rheingau and on the Nidda. By mid March, the regiment was billeted in Massenheim, still in the second line. By May 23, the regiment was part of the right reserve of the first line of Broglie's Army, placed under the command of Prince Xavier. By December 30, the regiment had taken its winter-quarters in Idstein.

To do: complete the campaigns from 1761 to 1762

Uniform

Troopers

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details as per
the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753, Etrennes Militaires of 1756 and 1758, Abrégé du Dictionnaire Militaire of 1759 and Etat Militaire of 1760 and 1761
completed when necessary as per Rousselot
Headgear black bearskin cap

in 1756, there is also mention of a black tricorne laced silver

Neck stock black
Coat grey-white lined red with 4 pewter buttons under the right lapel and a pewter button on each side at the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulder straps regimental lace fastened with a pewter button
Lapels red lapels, each with 8 pewter buttons arranged 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 4 pewter buttons
Cuffs red, each with 4 pewter buttons
Turnbacks red
Gloves buff
Waistcoat buff leather jerkin with copper buttons
Breeches kid (goat leather)
Greatcoat grey-white lined red
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt yellow
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box red leather
Scabbard black leather
Footgear black soft boots
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth blue bordered with the regimental braid (alternating violet and green woollen squares)
Housings blue bordered with the regimental braid (alternating violet and green woollen squares)
Blanket roll n/a


Troopers were armed with a carbine, two pistols and a sabre. They were also supposed to wear a breastplate under their coat during battle but this regulation was not always followed.

Evolution of the uniform during the war

Throughout the war the French cavalry uniform seems to have evolved significantly. Our only primary sources for the uniform at the start of the conflict is the Etat Général des Troupes Françoises of 1753 and the Etrennes Militaires of 1756 and 1758. The first primary pictorial evidence comes from Raspe in 1761. Here we present various interpretations of the evolution of the uniform.

Raspe's illustration depicting the uniform towards the end of 1760 shows the following evolutions:

  • black tricorne laced silver with a white rosette
  • coat, lapels and cuffs edged with the regimental lace (2 rows of alternating violet and green woollen squares)
  • grey-white waistcoat edged with the regimental lace
  • only 3 buttons on each pocket
  • only 2 buttons on each cuff

Lienhart and Humbert, a secondary source, show the following differences for the uniform of 1757:

  • black tricorne laced silver with a white rosette
  • only 3 pewter buttons on each cuff
  • yellow saddlecloth bordered black

The Bouxwiller manuscript (an inventory of the collection of uniforms of Louis IX, Landgraf von Hessen-Darmstadt, in the castle of Bouxwiller-Pirmasen in Alsace, collection destroyed during the Revolution) mentions the following differences:

  • black bearskin cap with yellow and red tassels
  • green and violet striped and fringed epaulets
  • white buttonholes on the lapels, cuffs and coat
  • buff leather jerkin edged with the regimental lace (2 rows of alternating violet and green woollen squares)

Officers

Officers wore uniforms similar to those of the troopers with the following distinctions:

  • no shoulder strap
  • no lace on the coat and waistcoat
  • Maréchal des logis: silver laced tricorne, housing bordered with a 2,7 cm silver lace
  • brigadier: double silver lace on the cuffs

Musicians

Trumpets and kettle-drummers wore the livery of the House of Württemberg: yellow laced with a black, red and yellow braid.

Württemberg Lace - Source: Kling, C., Geschichte der Bekleidung, Bewaffnung und Ausrüstung des Königlich Preussischen Heeres

Colours (in 1753)

Regimental standards (4 silken standards): yellow field embroidered and fringed in silver

  • obverse: centre device consisting of a golden royal sun surmounted by a scroll bearing the royal motto “Nec Pluribus Impar” in gold letters; corner decorations consisting of silver trophies of arms
  • reverse: centre device consisting of a blooming rosebush surmounted by a scroll bearing the motto "Flores cum in Armis"; corner decorations consisting of silver trophies of arms.
Wurtemberg Cavalerie Regimental Standard – Source: Frédéric Aubert from an original plate by Gilbert Noury


References

The article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. VII, Paris, 1891, p. 333-334

Other sources

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

Lienhart, docteur and René Humbert: Les uniformes des armées françaises”, Leipzig

Menguy, Patrice: Les Sujets du Bien Aimé (a website who has unfortunately disappeared from the web)

Raspe, Gabriel Nicolas: Recueil de toutes les troupes qui forment les armées françoises, Nuremberg 1761

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

Service historique de l'armée de terre - Archives du génie, article 15, section 1, §5, pièce 23

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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