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Raise high ze black flags my children! - The Prussian Army of 1813-1815

Raise high ze black flags my children! - The Prussian Army of 1813-1815

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A Wargamers Guide to Prussian Landwehr Cavalry

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2nd Squadrom Elbe Landwehr Cavalry Regiment (Warlord Games)2nd Squadrom Elbe Landwehr Cavalry Regiment (Warlord Games)

First off a disclaimer, the intention of this guide is to provide wargamers a point of reference when it comes to using Prussian Landwehr Cavalry in their games. While I’ve tried to research and be as accurate as possible the intention here is to provide enough information to guide and inform choices on the tabletop.

Formed in March 1813 the Landwehr Cavalry was a large mounted militia force raised in a similar way to the Landwehr Infantry and consisted of 30 regiments, raising to 34 in 1815.

A Regiment would consist of 4 squadrons of 72-100 men (the exact number varies depending on the source but generally falls into this ballpark) and the command staff. These squadrons would then be further split in 4 platoons.

Regiments were raised in each province of Prussia, the number of regiments varying in each, the most numerous being those from Kurmark, Silesia and East Prussia, probably the most recognisable to a wargamer from their red and yellow facings being common on artwork.

  • East Prussia – 5 regiments
  • West Prussia – 3
  • Pomerania – 3
  • Neumark – 2
  • Kurmark – 7
  • Silesia – 8
  • Westphalia – 1
  • Elbe – 1
  • Rhineland – none (3 regiments after November 1815)

They saw action throughout the 1813-1814 campaigns with some excellent engagements, which you can read more about in the sources, generally brave and reckless to abbadon they were undisciplined, poorly trained and equipped but enjoyed several successes.

During a charge, they were brave to the point of forgetting all obedience and order; during a retreat, on the contrary, after a charge that had been repulsed, only natural obstacles were, as a rule, able to stop them.

The battle of Leipzig gives a good example of how the Landwehr were deployed, with most infantry brigades seeing 1 or 2 squadrons attached and a Landwehr cavalry briage making up part of each crops cavalry reserve.

Allied order of battle at Leipzig

During the hundred days campaigns the Landwehr Cavalry made up 40% of the Prussians cavalry.

Uniforms and Equipment

Cavalrymen wore a dark blue Litewka (Long Coat) and were armed with a Lance and curved Sabre.

Belts and leatherwork would be black, buttons either white/yellow and collars and cuffs in provincial colours. Headwear was a covered shako with the white cross.

From a painting perspective these are very similar to the Landwehr infantry, the main distinctions being the addition of the lance pennon which varied across provinces and regiments and of course the horses.

The following table gives an overview of provincial colour diferences.

Province
# of Rgts
Collar/Cuffs
Buttons
Lance Pennons
East Prussia
5
Poppy Red
White
red/white
Kurmark/Neumark
2/7
Poppy Red
Yellow
white/black
West Prussia
3
Black *
White
yellow/crimson
Pomerania
2
White
Yellow
white/black
Silesia
8
Yellow
White
white/yellow
Westphalia
1
Green
White
orange?
Elbe
1
Light Blue
Yellow
blue/red
Rhineland
0/3
Madder Red
Yellow
white/crimson

The following plate gives an example of the uniform worn by the 4th Regiment of Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry. Note the white and black lance pennon. Epaulettes varied based on the squadron within the regiment, in this case white being the 1st squadron, the unit I’ve previously painted had red epaulettes and would represent the second squadron.

The following plates give examples of how the uniform varies based off regiment, these are all taken from the excellent resource http://centjours.mont-saint-jean.com/unitesPR.php

1st Squardron 4th Regiment of Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry1st Squardron 4th Regiment of Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry

In Games

In Black Powder Landwehr Cavalry are covered in  Albion Triumphant Volume 2 – The Hundred Days Campaign.

Two options are available for fielding based off The Prussian Army, 1815 List:

0-1 Small Landwehr Cavalry Regiments can be taken as  Brigade Support for Each Prussian Infantry Brigade.

This represents the role the Landwehr Cavalry played well, with the often being split into smaller formations and attached to Infantry to provide support, reconnaissance and scouting duties.

As a landwehr Cavalry Brigade (1 per two infantry brigades)

This formation allows you to field a brigade of Landwehr Cavalry consisting of 2 to 5 Regiments plus the option for Horse artillery support. This allows you to field a large mass of cavalry which represents the Cavalry Reserve of a Corps.

Sources

The following are a collection of sources I used in creating this guide, these may also be useful in your own research.

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