Friday 18 November 2022

Goodbye and thank you to Professor Christopher Duffy

I felt I must pay my own small tribute to Professor Christopher Duffy, who died on Wednesday, and without whose inspiring work this blog and these flags would almost certainly not exist. It was his books (and Charles Grant's The War Game) that first got me excited about 18th century military history and wargaming nearly 50 years ago. I have all his books that I have been able to get my hands on, regardless of subject, as he always contrived to write well and interestingly about anything to which he turned his hand. I had some correspondence with him in the early 1990s about his books and he was very courteous and kind and helpful, just as many others have said of him. He was very much the gentleman scholar but also an iconoclast who overturned many misconceptions about 18th century military history. He did look very frail in the pictures from July of the Festschrift in London and I knew that his health had not been good for some years. Even so, it was a shock to hear that he has died. I very much regret that I never met him and wish I had been able to go on one of his European battlefield tours.

Menzel - Maria Theresa Reviewing Her Troops

And Christopher Duffy describing the action at Kolin 1757 (one of his favourite battles of the period; he once described it as "a great day for humanity"!) on his battlefield tour in 1994 - this picture courtesy of Jim Purky who took it:

(More pictures and a tribute to Christopher Duffy can be found on Jim Purky's blog at: )

Sunday 13 November 2022

The Reichsarmee: Standards of Swabian Cuirassier Regiment Hohenzollern

Regiment first raised 1683 as a horse regiment and became Cuirassiers in 1691. Establishment was 4 squadrons of 2 companies each, a total of 607 officers and men. Made up of 61 contingents, a record for the Reichsarmee. Actual strength on the 31st May 1758 was recorded as 566 men and 561 horses. Although mostly recorded as 4 squadrons some of the records in Zweybrücken In Command - Cogswell, Helion 2019, give the regiment 5 squadrons on occasion.

Christopher Duffy says of it that, despite its extremely varied composition, usually an indication of a poor regiment, it was "probably the best heavy mounted unit of the Reichsarmee" (By Force of Arms).

The regiment served throughout the war with the main body of the Reichsarmee. In 1757 the regiment was with the Reichsarmee in Thuringia and Saxony campaigning against the Prussians. At Rossbach on 5th November it was caught trying to deploy as part of the allied vanguard by the Prussian cavalry and swept away along with the rest (see Duffy, Prussia's Glory). At Korbitz on 21st September 1759 it struck a decisive blow against the Prussians, along with the Austrian Serbelloni and Bretlach Cuirassiers. At Strehla on 20th August 1760 it prevented Prussian dragoons from massacring the Esterhazy Regiment: "Captain Seeger of the Austrian staff ... "advanced with the Swabian Circle Regiment of the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers, forcing the enemy cavalry to cease hacking away, and finally driving them off"" (Duffy, By Force of Arms). At Freiberg 29th October 1762 it performed well against Kleist and Seydlitz's flank attack, in support of the Bayreuth Cuirassiers: "GM Tresckow [the Austrian general, not the Prussian of the same name!] did wonders with the under-strength Reichs Bayreuth Cuirassiers "which hewed into the enemy cavalry, put it to total flight, made many prisoners and then reformed by squadrons thirty paces from the wood to cover my flank; the two squadrons of the Hohenzollern Regiment [of Cuirassiers] had come up to hack into the rear of the same enemy cavalry, and likewise reformed"" (Duffy, By Force of Arms).

And this was the uniform in 1756: