1st Novoserbskiy Hussars
Origin and History
From 1720, but mostly after the annexation of Serbia to the Ottoman Empire in 1739 and the reorganisation of the military border between 1746 and 1750, many Serbians emigrated to southern Russia and Ukraine.
In 1751, the Serbians Jovan Samuilović Horvat de Kurtić (a former lieutenant-colonel in the Austrian service), his brother Dimitrije, and Nikola and Teodor Chorba contacted Mikhail Petrovich Bestuzhev-Ryumin, the Russian Ambassador to Austria, and requested his permission to migrate to Russia. Empress Maria Theresa, who was on friendly terms with Russia, accepted the resignation of these Serbian officers from the Habsburg service. On July 13, the Russian government authorised them to settle in Russia and granted them and their families citizenship and employment in the Russian military. A first convoy of Serbian officers and families arrived in Russia.
On December 24, 1751, Horvat, was allowed to establish a separate Serbian settlement, called New Serbia, in Southern Ukraine. In exchange for land along the border with the Crimean Tartars (on the right bank of the Dniepr, between the rivers Kavarlyk and Amelnik, around Novomirgorod), these newcomers had to serve during wartime. As the Cossacks, New Serbia had its own administrative and military organisations and kept its customs and traditions. It counted 41 settlements in 20 districts with Novomirgorod as its administrative centre and Jovan Samuilović Horvat de Kurtić as its commandant.
Military service was extended to all adult male population: half always being on active service, patrolling the borders. Each district had to supply one company of hussars and one company of light infantry. The 20 companies of hussars (approx. 4,000 men, including non-combatants) formed the 1st Novoserbskiy Regiment: 10 active and 10 in reserve.
In 1757, the population of New Serbia numbered 5,482 inhabitants, including:
- 4,130 Moldavians
- 634 Serbs
- 718 others
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:
- from 1751 to 1762: Jovan Samuilović Horvat de Kurtić (dismissed from service in 1762 and exiled to Vologda, rehabilitated in 1775)
Service during the War
From 1757, 2, then 11 squadrons designated as Horvat Commando, or Horvat Corps or New Serbia Squadrons or New Serbia Hussar Regiment joined the Operation army.
In January 1758, the 10 active companies of the regiment took part in the Russian invasion of East Prussia. By June 4, the regiment (about 1,000 men) had arrived at Bromberg. In July, it also took part in the invasion of Brandenburg. On August 25, the regiment fought in the Battle of Zorndorf where it was part of the second line of the cavalry left wing. At 3:00 p.m., it charged and captured the large Prussian battery planted on the extreme right wing. Continuing its advance, it charged the I./Prinz von Preußen in front and flank but was repulsed. On September 11, during the retreat of the Russian Army, the regiment was part of Rumyantsev's Corps who made a junction with the main army at Landsberg and encamped on the left bank of the Wartha. About mid November, the regiment took its winter-quarters in Morung as part of Resanov's 2nd Division.
N.B.: some sources mention that the 10 active companies of the regiment joined the Russian Main Army only in 1759. But, since these settled hussars had an organisation similar to the Austrian Grenz light troops, it is possible that they are simply describing the replacement of the 10 active companies of the previous year by the 10 companies held in reserve in New Serbia.
On August 12 1759, the regiment fought in the Battle of Kunersdorf where it was partly deployed in the vanguard behind the cossacks as part of Riazanov's light cavalry brigade and partly behind the Austrian Grenzers in the first line of the right wing. The same year, troopers belonging to the regiment, formed the kernel of the new Makedonskiy Hussars and Bolgarskiy Hussars.
To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762
Viscovatov indicates that Horvat Hussars had the same uniform as the Moldavskiy Hussars. Therefore, we reproduce hereafter the entire description of the uniform of this field hussar regiment.
|Headgear||black kolback with a red bag and red cords, knots and tassels|
|Dolman||red with 8 blue braids and brass buttons
|Breeches||red decorated with intricate blue loops|
Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre and two pistols (no carbine). Zweguintzov mentions that Russian hussars also carried a carbine.
Officers wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- gold cords and lace
- yellow Hungarian boots
- pelisse trimmed with grey fur
NCOs wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- gold cords, knots and tassels on the kolback
- gold lace
- a golden braid on the border of the collar
- golden braids on the sleeve (2 for the vakhmistr, 1 for quartermaster)
There was 1 kettle-drummer for the regiment and 1 trumpeter for each of the 10 companies. They wore uniforms identical to those of the troopers with the following differences:
- small wings on the shoulders
- braids of an unknown colour
Trumpets and kettle drums were made of copper and decorated with red (maybe blue) lace and cords.
Russian hussar regiments carried no standards during the Seven Years' War.
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, Appendix 1
Gromoboy, Vlad: The Russian Pandours - Pandour Hussars (1741-61), Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XII No. 1
Konstam A. & Younghusband B.: Russian Army of the Seven Years War, Osprey, London, 1996
Teuber, Oskar and Rudolf Ottenfeld: Die östereichische Armee von 1700-1867, Wien 1895
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
Viskovatov, A. V.: Historical Description of the Clothing and Arms of the Russian Army
Zweguintzov: L'Armee Russe, 1973
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.
Nenad Šeguljev for additional information on this unit