Monday, August 22, 2011

Uhlan of the Dziewanowski regiment from the Towarzysz regiment 1806-7

 Let us turn for a moment to the Napoleonic era and the glorious year 1806 when Napoleonic armies liberated a small portion of Old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the events leading to creation of Duchy of Warsaw, with the most dashing cavalryman at the helm of the Duchy army- prince Józef Poniatowski.
The subject of today's post is a Towarzysz of the  Dziewanowski regiment ('pułk') - winter 1807.
There was this cavalry  in Prussian army, called 'Towarzysze'' or companions (called Das Korps Towarczys -in the army order Hussarenregiment No.9:  a regiment of 10 squadrons and a battalion of 5 squadrons - here in Knotel's reconstruction  ), created from petty noblemen (companions) and peasants (retainers) of the newly conquered Polish provinces in 1799-1800, including one squadron of 'Polish Tatars' (
''Tartaren Schwadron'' ), and organized along the lines of then nonexistent Polish National cavalry regiments, with companions armed with lances and retainers with pistols and carbines, or as I found elsewhere the companions carried lances painted in white and the retainers painted in two colors (perhaps more research into the German sources could elucidate on this element of their equipment). 
During the war of 1806 when Prussian army was beaten by Napoleon and his commanders, and French armies entered Poland, some of the Towarzysz regiment cavalrymen deserted to the newly organizing Polish cavalry allied with Napoleon - here a discussion in Polish, fantastic forum on the Napoleonic period,  about the period 1800-1807 - while the Towarzysz battalion was destroyed at the battle of Bieżun, where uhlans surrendered to the French, in December  1806.
They were grouped under the command of Dominik Dziewanowski  and valiantly fought the Prussians and Russian during the Winter and Spring of 1807. Historian and Napoleonic reenactor Andrzej Ziółkowski , who is writing a book on the 6th and 2 more uhlan regiments, kindly shared with me a piece of his writing on these cavalrymen where I read that they had worn Prussian uniforms while back in our Polish Homeland service and had horse hair plumes attached to their headgear- black peakless shako.  In spite of the risks involved, wearing the uniform of the  former command and present enemy, these uhlans performed fine service during the numerous skirmishes and battles of the reconquest of Gdansk Pomerania from Prussia.   These uhlans eventually became the core element of the 6th regiment of uhlans of Duchy of Warsaw, commanded by Colonel Dziewanowski, the best cavalry regiment of the Polish Napoleonic army (Vistula Lancers and Polish Chevaulegers were part of the French Napoleonic army).
 Here a text on the early life future German emperor Wilhelm (William I) and his infatuation with the Towarzysz regiment :  ''he saw the uhlan regiment
Towarczysz, at that time the only one in Prussia,
and was so charmed with its singular uniform
that he begged his father for one like it. The
King, always ready to encourage his military tastes,
granted his wish, and from that time he alternated
between a uhlan and a hussar.''

Prussian cavalry in 1805, when Poland's Warsaw was but a medium Prussian city
A good introduction to the Prussian cavalry of the era  Prussian-Cavalry-Napoleonic-Wars-Men-At-Arms 1

And here, at the Kujawsko-Pomorska Digital Library, a book by Janusz Staszewski on the Pomeranian campaign  in 1806-07 , can be downloaded in djvu format.
I did not give him the sabretache that they normally carried at the belt while in the Prussian service.
Some German info:
Regiment Towarczys Nr. 9, mit Lanzen bewaffnet, 10 Escadrons. Focht 1807 in Preußen und blieb bestehen. Es hatte kein Depot.
Bataillon Towarczys, 5 Escadrons. Focht in Preußen und blieb bestehen, Inspektion der Towarczys: General Lieutenant v. L'Estocq.
1. Das Regiment Towarczys.
Inspektion des General-Lieutenants v. L'Estocq. Garnison: Tulczyn, Drohyczin, Iabludow, Lomza, Ostrow, Bransk, Ostrolenka, Knyszyn, Boczky, Wyztowo. Chef: General-Lieutenant L'Estocq, General-Major v. Kall Commandeur.
2. Das Bataillon Towarczys.
(Hieraus wurde das jetzige Westpreuß, Ulanen-Regt. Nr. 1 u. das Schles. Ulanen-Regt. Nr. 2 formirt.)
Garnison: Augustowa, Raigrod, Suchawolla, Ianow, Lipsk.
Major und Commandeur: Schimmelfennig v. d. Oye.


Kadrinazi said...

Interesting one. What was real surprise for me that Prussian regiment was divided into two batallions (each of 5 squadrons). Quite odd for cavalry, I guess.

Dario T. W. said...

czolem Michale,
actually they, Das Korps Towarczysz, were divided into a regiment of 10 squadrons and a battalion of 5 squadrons, my German's too weak to determine why etc.

Kadrinazi said...

Actually from discussion on gery forum that You've posted it appears that regiment was also divided into batallions:
"W 1806 r. w armii pruskiej był pułk towarzyrzy (nr 10) o 2 baonach i 10 szwadronach. Jego szefem był gen. por. Lestocq, a komendantem płk Kall. Istniał również baon towarzyszy o 5 szwadronach. Komendant: mjr Schimmelpfenig v.d. Oye"

Dario T. W. said...

You know, I have been skimming through the sources I have, especially German and I see no trace of Das Regiment having 2 battalions, just 10 squadrons, the battalion (das batallion) seems to have been unique (well, Prussian army had two hussar command/commandos in 1806 in addition to the 9 hussar regiments). I am going to write more about their organization, colors and uniforms etc

Yuukale Narmo ~ said...

Salve! My name is Hiram and I'm an undergrad history student and just read your review on A. Karasulas mounted archers of the steppe, on and got curious about what would be good (and up-to-date with the historiography and archaeology) books about the subject. Could you share with me a couple of books I should look up on amazon?
Many thanks

Hiram Alem

Dario T. W. said...

Hiram, I have given here links to books on the Eurasian mounted warriors, in various posts, I think most of that literature represents quite updated, good research. As per book by Mr. Karasoulas, well, I still think the idea of 'squishing' 2,500 years of mounted archery and warriorhood and warrior lore of Eurasia in one volume is preposterous. And the plates painted by late Mr. McBride are some of the poorest, historically speaking, reconstructions of these warriors painted in recent times. Please note that in the multiple Osprey publications we are treated with books on countless Nazi Germany and other War World Two 'warriors' (how this devalues the notion of warriorhood I am beyond words), while real warriors of the ancient world are afforded short and insufficient book or two by that publisher etc.