My freshly-rekindled interest in the Seven Years War is progressing well and my painting output has increased by several orders of magnitude. Having finished the Würzburg ‘Red’ Regiment (my first SYW unit to be painted in 23 years) at the start of the month, I then set myself the ‘Württember Challenge’; to paint the thirteen battalions of the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps (156 figures, plus a general, a gun and four gun-crew) by the end of this month. So far, so good, as I now have eleven of the thirteen battalions plus the general painted. I’ll post some pictures of the Württembergers later, but here’s a taster:
Once the ‘Württember Challenge’ is finished, I’ve got some lovely new SYW figures from Eureka to paint (including an entire new SYW French army) and some games to play, plus some more Reichsarmee troops along the way, before cracking on with the ‘Bavarianuary Challenge’ (i.e. the remaining six battalions, general and gun of the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps). Once the Bavarians and a few Eureka Prussian units are done, we’ll have enough troops to refight the Battle of Leuthen, which I’ve been wanting to do for the last 25 years or so!
Anyway, back to the subject…
If you haven’t been paying attention, I recently dug out my old models of Frederick the Great himself and some of his infantry regiments that I’d painted in the 1990s, so here’s a selection of Prussian cavalry regiments. These are all 15mm models by Old Glory 15s, which when I bought them were still manufactured by Old Glory themselves, but were split off as a separate company in the late 1990s, now sold in the UK by Timecast. I’ll start with the Hussars…
Above: A closer view of Zieten and the 1st ‘Szekely’ Hussars. As with the infantry, regimental numbers weren’t actually used during this period and Prussian cavalry regiments were instead referred to by the name of their Chef (the regiment’s proprietor/colonel-in-chief, not the regimental ‘slop-jockey’…). However, there was a strict order of seniority and the later regimental numbers directly reflected that order of seniority, so it’s often easier to refer to that instead of a regimental name that changed every time they changed Chef! As it happens, this regiment its changed Chef and name in 1759 to ‘Kleist’.
Above: Regardless of regimental numbering and naming, this regiment was usually referred to as ‘The Greens’… Buggered if I can work out why…
Most Prussian hussar regiments fielded a whopping ten squadrons, so at my 1:50 ratio, this is only a half-regiment or ‘battalion’. ‘Battalions’ of five squadrons were a very common tactical grouping and they could sometimes be detached to entirely separate corps or theatres of war. Two Prussian dragoon regiments the 5th and 6th also fielded ten squadrons.
Above: Prussian hussars of the Seven Years War did NOT carry standards… However, the 1st to 6th Regiments did indeed have standards during the early days of their existence and carried them during the First Silesian War of 1740-42 before their standards were laid up in 1743. Old Glory also included bloody standard-bearers in the pack, so I had to do something with them… The standard shown here is an Eskadronstandarte, which was carried by the 2nd to 10th Squadrons. This was coloured much the same as the regimental shabraque, with a field of dark green and light green vandycking around the edge. The 1st or Leib Squadron of the regiment carried the Leibstandarte, which had a white field, still with light green vandycking.
Above: While trying to finish off the army for our show demo-game of the Battle of Kolin in 1998 and inevitably running out of time to paint all the remaining units, I commissioned my good friend Gareth Beamish paint a few units for me (most of my armies seem to contain hussar regiments painted by Gareth in a frantic rush…). However, we seem to have got our wires crossed somewhere, as he duplicated the Green Hussars! 🙂 So here’s his take on the regiment – the full regiment, this time! Note that these chaps are carrying the regimental Leibstandarte.
Above: The 2nd ‘Zieten’ Hussars, also known as the ‘Leib‘ or ‘Red’ Hussars (not to be confused with the 8th Hussars, who were also known as the ‘Red’ Hussars) were General Hans Joachim von Zieten‘s own regiment.
Above: As previously mentioned, there was no stipulated Prussian general officers’ uniform during this period, so generals wore uniforms based on that of their own personal regiment. Zieten’s uniform modelled here was a very extravagant ‘gala’ version of the normal officers’ dress for this regiment. In the field Zieten probably looked more like he does in the painting below, which is still very extravagant!
Above: Again, to avoid leaving a gap in the ranks, we were stuck with having to use the supplied standard-bearer, so I’ve given them a pre-1743 Eskadronstadarte, which again is coloured like the regimental shabraque, being blue with red vandycking. The Leibstandarte had a white field with red vandycking.
Above: As mentioned above, just to add even more confusion, the 8th ‘Seydlitz’ Hussars were also known as the ‘Red’ Hussars! The regimental Chef, General Alexander Gottlieb von Seydlitz, was a relative of the more famous cavalry general Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz. In 1759 the regiment became the ‘Gersdorff’ Hussars.
Above: The regiment had ten squadrons at the start of the Seven Years War, so I’ve still got half the regiment to paint! However, they surrendered along with the rest of the army at the Battle of Maxen in November 1759 and the regiment was re-raised with only three squadrons after that date. The regiment was finally disbanded in 1763, with the 9th ‘Belling’ Hussars then taking the 8th slot and also later adopting the red uniforms.
Above: General Normann leads a brigade of Dragoon regiments forward. His own 1st Regiment (black facings) is at the front-right, while alongside them is the 11th Regiment (yellow facings). In the rear-rank are a pair of Lancashire Games regiments: the 3rd (rose-pink facings) and 4th (straw facings) Regiments.
Above: The 1st ‘Normann’ Dragoons’ combination of black facings with the standard Prussian cobalt-blue dragoon coat is a very nice one, I think (especially with the gold officers’ lace added to the black lapels). This combination was also used by the Prussian 12th ‘Herzog von Württemberg’ Dragoons and indeed on the other side of the battlefield, by the Imperial Württemberg Dragoon Regiment! This latter regiment had to undergo a frantic change of uniform to dark blue following the Battle of Rossbach in 1757, when the Austrian ‘Szecheny’ Hussars captured their standard in an unfortunate case of ‘Friendly-Stab’… 🙂
The ‘Normann’ Dragoons were renamed to ‘Zastrow’ with their change of Chef in 1761.
Above: The 11th ‘Stechow’ Dragoons. In 1758 a change of Chef meant that this regiment was re-titled ‘Jung-Platen’. Sadly, the hand-painted flag on this regiment didn’t survive (or rather, Old Glory’s rather weak cast-on flagpole didn’t), so I replaced it last week with a brass wire flagpole and printed standard by Fighting 15s.
Above: There’s nothing quite like the sight of a mass of cuirassiers to stir the blood! 🙂
Above: Another view of the massed Prussian cuirassiers, with Seydlitz to the fore!
Above: The 3rd ‘Leibregiment zu Pferde‘ Cuirassiers. Along with the 10th ‘Gens d’Armes‘, 11th ‘Leib-Carabiniers‘ and 13th ‘Garde du Corps‘, the 3rd ‘Leibregiment zu Pferde‘ were known by their historic title, rather than by the name of their Chef. The pipe-smoking general at the front is a ‘Seydlitz’ figure from the original Lancashire Games range, painted as General Schönaich, in the uniform of his regiment, the 6th Cuirassiers.
Above: Another view of the 3rd Cuirassiers. I gave them an Eskadronstandarte, which unusually had a white, instead of coloured field. The Leibstandarte was exactly the same, except that the central panel was white , instead of the silver centre shown here.
Above: The 6th ‘Baron von Schönaich’ Cuirassiers. In 1759 the regiment was re-titled as the ‘Vasold’ Cuirassiers. The facing colour for this regiment was ‘light brick red’, though isn’t what we would consider to be ‘brick red’ (i.e. orangey-brown) from a modern perspective. It’s more akin to the deep orangey-red of 18th Century German roof-tiles.
Above: Another view of the 6th Cuirassiers. I’ve given them an Eskadronstandarte, which was officially ‘light blue’, but the exact interpretation of the shade varies from source to source. I went with Bleckwenn and gave them a more ‘medium blue’ shade, although it does look quite dark here. The Leibstandarte was white, with a blue centre.
Above: The 7th ‘Driesen’ Cuirassiers. In 1758 they became the ‘Horn’ Cuirassiers and in 1762 they changed again to the ‘Manstein’ Cuirassiers. Again, I’ve given them an Eskadronstandarte. I usually do this, as it adds a greater splash of colour than a mainly-white Leibstandarte (which in this instance was white with a red centre). General Seydlitz is out in front, wearing the uniform of his 8th ‘Seydlitz’ Cuirassiers (previously ‘Rochow’).
Above: The 11th ‘Leib-Carabiniers‘ Cuirassiers. As mentioned above, this was one of the regiments known by its historical title rather than its Chef.
Above: Due to a confusion caused by the limited written sources I had available to me at the time describing the standards of the 11th Cuirassiers as ‘royal blue’ and the facings as ‘light blue’, I did the Eskadronstandarte in the same mid-blue as I used for the 6th Cuirassiers and distinctly darker than the facing colour. However, from more recent sources such as Bleckwenn, it’s most likely that the colour of the standard should actually match the facing colour. So either the flag should be lighter or the facings should be darker, but it’s probably more likely that they should meet somewhere in the middle as more of a ‘dragoon blue’ shade.
Above: The 12th ‘Baron Kyau’ Cuirassiers. The regimental Chef and title changed in 1759 to ‘Spaen’.
Above: However, there are disagreements in the sources regarding the details of regimental colourings for the 12th Cuirassiers. All sources agree that the regiment’s facings were ‘dark orange’ (so far, so good). However, the sources I was using at the time described the shabraques and standards to be of the same colour. Later sources such as Dorn & Engelmann and Bleckwenn generally agree, though Bleckwenn shows the shabraque to be a slightly darker, more red shade of orange. Kronoskaf (linked above) meanwhile, describes the shabraque as ‘crimson’ (though shows the same red-orange as Bleckwenn in the picture) and the standards as ‘buff’…
Above: Lastly, here are Fred’s mounted bodyguard unit, the 13th ‘Garde du Corps’ Cuirassiers. This regiment actually started the Seven Years War as a single squadron, but in 1756 was increased to three squadrons with the forced incorporation of the captured Saxon Garde du Corps! Despite this injection of presumably unwilling recruits, they don’t seem to have done too badly in subsequent battles.
Above: The Garde du Corps unusually wore polished cuirasses instead of the usual black-enameled cuirasses and uniquely carried a ‘vexillum’ standard. Old Glory, to their credit included a free extra Garde du Corps vexillum-bearer in every pack of 30 Prussian Cuirassiers, which partly made up for having to snip the anachronistic flippin’ plumes off every hat… However, they then went and ruined my goodwill by giving one of the two officers in the pack a sodding Garde du Corps tabard instead of a cuirass… This was an item of dress that didn’t appear until AFTER the Seven Years War (along with hat-plumes). Consequently, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that half of my cuirassier officers have tabards cunningly painted to vaguely resemble cuirasses…
As mentioned earlier, Old Glory’s sculptor appears to have only looked at the pretty pictures in the Osprey book and not read the text… 🙁 Nevertheless, despite their anachronistic items of dress, their congenitally-deformed horses and the lengths of 4×2 masquerading as swords, they do have plenty of ‘character’ and I like them… 🙂
Anyway, that’s enough for now. Next time I’ll write an extremely dull article about an extremely dull army…