The 1798 Uniform: Cuirassiers
Pictured at left: Cuirassier trooper (left) and officer (right), 1798 uniform. Note the trooper's white lambskin saddle cover and the officer's black, the colouring specified originally by the 1798 regulations. The unit illustrated has the scarlet facings and yellow buttons of the 8th (Hohenzollern) Regt.
(Print after R. von Ottenfeld)
The 1798 regulations changed the appearance of the cavalry as radically as that of the infantry, especially by the adoption of the crested black leather helmet, identical to that ordered for the infantry, with a brass front plate bearing the Emperor's cypher 'F.II', (changed to 'F.I' when the title 'Holy Roman Emperor' was relinquished [1804-06] ), and a leather comb topped by a crest of black over yellow, for details on the helmet's construction see the section on the *1798 uniform for the infantry. They are applicable equally to the cavalry helmet, including the use of the green foliage Feldzieichen (a relic of the old 'field sign' of the 17th century, retained by the Austrian army as late as the 20th century), usually of oak in summer and fir in winter, affixed behind the left chinstrap boss and worn as high as the top of the helmet.
The 1798 coat was white, single breasted, with a white standing collar 3cm high bearing a facing coloured patch 2.5cm wide by 4cm long, with a small button. The cuffs were facing-coloured, the skirts less voluminous and the turnbacks white with facing-coloured edging. Ten large buttons were on the breast and two on the rear, with two samll buttons on each cuff and one to each pair of turnbacks. A single strap was carried at the rear of the left shoulder, with a small button, and another strap (10cm long by 2.5cm wide), also of the coat colour, was carried at the left waist, fastened by a large button to secure the waist-belt. A white sleeved waistcoat with standing collar was worn under the coat, or carried in the valise in hot weather.
Cuirassier Trooper 1798 - In this year the bicorne was replaced by the classical helmet. German cavalry wore infantry style tunics with turnovers front and back; the breeches wee grey or white. Saddle furniture was red, edged in black-yellow lace and the Imperial cypher in the rear corner. A sheepskin saddle cloth covered the saddle holsters. Harness was black with brass fittings.
(Plate from: The Vienna Army Museum)
The black stock, white cloth breeches and stockings were similar to those worn by the infantry. The riding boots were reduced to a height 5cm below the kneecap, with spurs with a 2.5cm neck screwed into the heel. For service dress, overalls of 'mixed grey' cloth extended to the ankle, buttoned on the seaam, lined with canvas and strapped under the foot; only rarely are they shown in contemporary pictures with leather reinforcing. The overcoat remained as before, with a 6.5cm high standing collar bearing a facing-coloured patch 4cm high by 6.5cm long. Forage cap and mittens were in the same colour as the waistcoat. The white leather waist belt was worn over the coat, fastened with a brass S-clasp, and had sabre slings with two loops on the left side, to enable the scabbard to be raised up away from the legs, and for a pistol to be carried, on dismounted duty. The sabre was similar to that carried before, with the same white leather knot. The cartridge box held 30 cartridges, had no plate, and was worn upon a white leather shoulder belt 4.5cm wide.