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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Prussian Army >> Bosniaken

Origin and History

A regiment of Bosniak lancers had initially been raised in Poland at the end of 1744 to serve in the Army of the Electorate of Saxony. It had been placed under the command of Colonel Stefan Serkis. On July 26 1745, King Frederick took this unit in his own service as it arrived in Breslau. On February 16 1746, the unit was attached to the Hussar Regiment Nr 5, 'The Black Hussars'. At that time, this Bosniak unit counted 4 officers, 4 NCOs and 35 troopers. It garrisoned Goldap.

Meanwhile, in 1745, at the end of the Second Silesian War, the Electorate of Saxony disbanded a number of Polish uhlans (5 officers, 5 NCOs and 53 troopers) who were under the command of Colonel von Krzeczewsty. These uhlans joined the Prussian service and were incorporated into the Bosniak uhlans unit.

The unit was attached to the inspectorate of Prussia.

By December 1755, the unit was stationed at Pillkallen and counted only 1 cornet, 4 corporals, 39 troopers and 37 horses. There were no official sources of recruitment, new troopers came through desertion and advertisement.

In May 1761, the squadron was brought to full strength (110 men) through advertisement.

On March 17 1762, the unit was increased to 10 squadrons (1,000 men including officers and NCOs).

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of the successive Chefs of the 5th Hussars):

  • since 1745: Colonel Joseph Theodor von Ruesch (retired in 1758)
  • in 1759: Colonel von Beust (died in 1759)
  • from May 9 1762 to October 18 1783: Colonel Daniel Friedrich von Lossow

In 1763, the unit was decreased to only 2 squadrons.

In 1771, the Bosniaken were again attached to the 5th Hussars and increased to ten squadrons on April 13 1773. By order of October 14 1799, the Bosniaken were disbanded; the men distributed to the other hussar regiments. A corps of `Towarczys` was raised instead from the lesser nobility in the newly acquired provinces of the old Poland; there was a regiment of ten squadrons and a battalion of five.

By 1806, the regiment was known as the von L'Estocq Hussars.

Service during the War

The unit took part in the Seven Years' War together with Ruesch Hussars to which it was attached.

In 1757, on August 30, the unit took part in the battle of Gross-Jägersdorf.

In 1758, on August 25, the unit took part in the battle of Zorndorf. The unit then served in Pomerania and Silesia.

In 1759, on July 23, the unit took part in the battle of Paltzig (aka battle of Kay). On August 12, during the battle of Kunersdorf, the unit secured the west bank of the Oder.

In 1761, the unit campaigned in Silesia. On July 8, it was at the combat of Lubien. It also took part in the combat of Kanth.

In 1762, on July 3, the unit took part in the combat of Nonnenbusch; on July 7 and 8, it was at the combat of Dittmannsdorf; on August 16, at the battle of Reichenbach. It also took part in various actions at Adelsbach, Hohenfriedberg, Langenbeil and Burkersdorf. It distinguished itself in all these actions. Part of the unit then went to Saxony; the rest were at the siege of Schweidnitz.


Bosniaken in 1755. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde

Initially the unit received no uniforms, but clothed themselves in red tunics and wide, red Turkish trousers, black Katanken (frock coats), red fez and white turban.

Troopers were armed with a long lance.


In the early part of its career, the regiment had red and white standards.


Stammliste aller Regimenter und Corps der Koeniglich-Preussischen Armee fuer das Jahr 1806. Reprinted by Bilblio Verlag, Osnabrueck 1975.

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Bleckwenn, Hans: Die friderzianischen Uniformen 1753-1786, Band III: Berittene Truppen, Osnabrück 1984

Bredow – Wedel: Historische Rang- und Stammliste des Deutschen Heeres. Berlin 1905.

Dorn, Günter and Joachim Engelmann: Die Kavallerie-Regimenter Friedrichs des Großen 1756-1763, Augsburg 1992.

Eckardt, Werner – Morawietz, Otto: Die Handwaffen des brandenburgisch-preussisch-deutschen Heeres. Hamburg, Helmut Gerhard Schulz Verlag, 1973.

Fiebig, H.: Unsterbliche Treue

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.

Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und LobositzBerlin, 1901, p. 110

Grosser Generalstab, Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Heft 14 / 15. Der Feldzug 1806 / 07 und die Reorganisation der Artillerie. Berlin 1914

Grosser Generalstab, Urkundliche Beitraege und Forschungen zur Geschichte des Preussischen Heeres; Hefte 26 - 30. Die Freikorps und Auslaender-Battailone. Berlin 1914.

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.

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

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


Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.