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PRUSSIA


PLate E1

Main Contents Page

The Infantry

The Cavalry

The Artillery

Organisation &Tactics

Arms & Equipment

Bibliography & Sources


PLate E2
Prussian Flags & Standards

The Cavalry Standards

Prior to the 1807 reorganisation, mounted regiments carried one flag per squadron; a square standard for the cavalry regiments and a swallow tailed guidon for the Dragoons and Hussars. As with the the infantry, the basic pattern dated from the time of Frederick the Great. In all cases the eagle was black with gold beak, crown, claws and where appliccable lightning and sword hild; the sword blade was silver. The central wreath was a mixture of green and gold foliage with red berries and was tied at the base with red ribbon; the cornerwreaths were green. The scrolls and backgrounds to the corner cyphers were in the colour opf the field unless otherwise stated.

Only the infantry patter A and B were employed, but the cuirassiers also had two distinctive centre emblems, as shown in Plates E1 and E2 at left. In E1, the eagle is in flight without sword and with the scroll to it's left; in E2, the eagle is as for pre-1807 infantry flags but the scroll above its head is in a more extended form.

After 1807 reorganisation, only on the Cuirassier and Dragoon regiments were allowed to carry flags, at first 1 per squadron, but from October 1st, 1811, only one per regiment in the field, that one being the Leibstandarte of the 1st Squadron. As before the Cuirassier pattern was square, the Dragoon one was swallo-tailed, but when the old flags were reissued in 1807 one Cuirassier regiment, (the 2nd) received a guidon which had previously belonged to the Dragoon Regiment Auer. The other three heavy cavalry regiments had standards.

Known details of the flags carried are set out in the following pages. Colour detail fort he eagles and wreaths remain unchanged.

Uhlan and Hussar regiments were granted permission to carry standards towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars, but these were not presented until after Waterloo, and the same applies to those regiments raised in 1815 for the 100 Days campaign.

All the English-language sources, bar Mr Riehn, emphasise that the standards date from the time of Frederick the Great. This is, as the German-language sources and Mr Riehn show, incorrect. In fact most of the cavalry flags date from the time of Frederick Wilhelm 1, were presented during his reign and carried his FWR monogram. This means that they were nearly 100 years old by the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Feibig mentions two items of interest- the standards were regularly repaired and Frederick Wilhelm ll supposedly made "issues in kind" in the 1790's, replacing the standard with a copy, irregardless of it being an FWR or FR design. Riehn discusses this point at length and comes to the conclusion that the repaired standards were probably in better condition than those issued by Frederick, hence the reason why so many FWR patterns were carried.

The centre device and corner monograms easily identify the two differing patterns. The "FWR" pattern issued prior to Frederick the Great coming to the throne carried that corner monogram and the centre device displayed in figure 1. Those presented by Frederick carried an "FR" monogram and a centre device like that of Figure 3. I will refer to the two types as FWR and FR throughout this article.

Before 1811 each squadron carried a standard so it was possible for more than one of the pre-1808 regiments to be represented in each new regiment. From 1811 only one standard per regiment was carried and to help obscure matters this was not always either a Leib-standarte nor even that of the more senior regiments from the pre-1808 army. The large number of flags captured by the French in 1806 would have provided an excellent source of data had they been available. However, in what appears to be a spiteful and petty act of revenge, the French burned all the captured flags they held prior to the fall of Paris in 1814. There are surviving examples extant, though, including a standard of the old gth Kurassiere in Ghent and a Regiments-fahne of the 15t Dragoner in Vienna. There may also be two surviving examples from DR Nr 6 in St Petersberg.

On the following pages I propose to deal with each regiment individually, giving the details of the standards carried and the colour of the staff and colour baldric according to each source.