Royal Saxon Army Heavy cavalry – 1809 part 2Ragnar
There were four regiments of heavy Cavalry in the Royal Saxon Army of 1809. All rode big, heavy and expensive German horses that should be black for the Garde du Corps regiment dark browns for the others. Squadrons should have uniformly coloured mounts. Trumpeters were mounted on brown horses. It’s up to debate if in times of war and on campaign such requirements could be fulfilled.
We know that after the disastrous campaign of 1806, in which the Saxon cavalry had to give their horses and part of their equipment to the victorious French, that Saxony had enormous problems with mounting and equipping all its troops. Some squadrons could not even leave their barracks and march out.
Each regiment of heavy cavalry had four squadrons with two companies each. Each squadron carried a cavalry standard. The standard pole and bandolier was in the regimental facing colour.
In 1809, the heavy cavalry were still wearing the old-fashioned tall hat. The front of the hat was decorated with a large white rosette-shaped cockade held with a leather cockade-strap with a brass button. A white feather plume was worn.
The Garde du corps did wear a golden lace around the hat.
The pompom were either white or white with a crimson centre.
Traditionally in the past, the coats were of buff leather and this is still reflected by the now woolen tunics of the Garde du Corps which were straw (paille) coloured while the rest of the cavalry had white coats for the Carabiniers Regiment, the Leibcüraßiersgarde Regiment and von Zastrow Cüraßiers Regiment. The white wool was not bleached to modern understanding but still retained an off white or natural warm white hue.
It was a simple short tunic with the usual turn backs.
The Swedish or open cuffs, the collar and the turn backs were all of the regimental facing colour trimmed with the unique regimental lace that also ran down at the front of the coat.
The Regimental colours were:
|Regiment||Regimental Facing Colour||Regimental Lace|
|Garde du Corps||Bright blue||Bright Blue / red / yellow / red /bright blue|
|Carbiniers||Red (sometimes referred scarlet)||Red & black diagonals / yellow / Red & black diagonals|
|Leibcüraßiersgarde||Red (sometimes referred scarlet)||Red / yellow / red|
|Von Zastrow Cüraßiers||Bright Yellow||White / black / bright yellow / black / white|
Note: The Officers of the von Zastrow regiment had silver button colour and silver officer details.
Some sources describe the coat with one shoulder strap, but two in regimental lace seem more realistic. There were two coat coloured straps at the waist with a brass button to support the belt.
Two regiments – the Garde du Corps and Carabiniers-Regiment – did not carry a cuirass.
The regiments Leibcüraßiersgarde and von Zastrow did wear a cuirass breastplate of blackened iron, lined with padded wool of yellow for the von Zastrow and red for the
The breastplate was fastened with white leather cross belts with brass buckles and a narrow white strap around the waist.
White leather breeches were worn on campaign, stuck into high riding boots with strap on spurs.
Some pictures depict overall trousers in either white or grey with a row of large buttons on the outer seam.
Each cuirassier carried a heavy cavalry Pallasch sword in a black scabbard for the Garde du Corps and a brown scabbard for the other regiments as well as a musket and a brace of pistols.
Cuirassiers carried their sword on a wide white leather waistbelt. The pouch belt was of white leather with a brass buckles and fittings and supported a plain leather pouch. The pouch itself was white.
The horse shabraques were probably of the typical type of heavy cavalry: half-shabraque with rounded, probably slightly elongated rear corners of the regimental facing colour, edged with a regimental lace. The Garde du corps seem to have had a slightly different lace on their shabraque than on their coat and also had it in two stripes of laces on their shabraque.
A royal cypher FA topped with a crown was stitched onto the rear corner of the shabraque and on the pistol holsters covers.
For campaign, a black sheepskin was worn over the shabraque, or sometimes even replacing it, leaving only the wool horse blanket beneath.
The cloak was rolled and carried behind the saddle, or the cloak was folded and carried across the front of the saddle as a protection against bayonett thrusts.
Officers shabraques on campaign seem to be almost identical to the other ranks, only that the regimental lace was most probably be replaced with gold or silver lace and the royal cypher and crown in metal cords.\
NCOs were recognized by the gold lace on their hat and by their cane that was either carried at the belt or, when mounted, at the scabbard.
Trumpeters did not wear a cuirass. Trumpets were brass and the cords of the trumpets were probably of button colour mixed with the regimental facing colour.
Trumpeters did wear a white plume with either a black or a regimental facing coloured tip.
Also for distinction they had so called trumpeter’s false sleeves hanging at the back of each shoulder down to the waist.
Officers wore the big black felt hat with scalloped gold lace at the edges, a white silk bow that was held in place by a gold lace cockade-strap. Gold hat cords were worn that ended in white pompons with crimson centre at the tips.
The big white feather plume was white with a black base.
On campaign the hat was worn without the expensive gold lace.
Officers wore a coat in the same cut as the other ranks but in much finer quality. What was the regimental lace on the coat for the other ranks was replaced by either gold or silver lace according to the button colour.
The officers of the Garde du Corps had red coloured coats with a golden aguillette.
Often on campaign the Überrock was worn, which looks like a long riding coat being dark blue for the usual regiments but red for the Garde du Corps. Collar and cuffs were of
regimental facing colour. Obviously, cuirassier officers would wear their cuirass over their coat.
The intention by creating those plates was to provide a basic guide for painting the miniatures of Perry Miniatures. Discussing all the details of Saxon Heavy cavalry uniforms, organization, arms and tactics is beyond the scope of this presentation.
Sources: Hess 1806/ 1809, Reilly 1797, Hessen 1797, Stammliste 1809, Knötel
My biggest thanks goes to Hans-Karl Weiss for the always good cooperation, never getting
tired when I had a question and for the unbelievable, never-ending knowledge and willingness
Stephan Huber, August 2022.