Military Units Formed and Led by the Princes of Schwarzenberg

30 Year's War

By the mid 1630s the Imperial cause was experienceing great difficulty in pursuing the Habsburg total victory plan in the 30 Year's War. Wallenstein and Papenheim were dead, the Swedish intervention had blunted what seemed like a drive to domination of Germany, and the French were fearing a too powerful Austria and beginning their intervention in favor of the Protestants. In 1636 the newly appointed Knight of the Golden Fleece Graf George-Louis, General of the Windisch Grenz on the Croatian borderlands, raised a Croatian regiment of 2,000 arquebusiers of which he was Obrist (colonel). They served in 1637-38 in the north of Germany and were present at Hatzfeld. The unit was not retained beyond the end of the war, but its presence shows the support given the Emperor by his nobles and the wide ranging resources available to the Empire. We also are able to see the level of support the Emperor required from those he rewarded. Napoleon noted this at a later date when he commented on the Legion of Honor that "men die for baubles such as this".

Napoleonic Wars

With the coming of the French Revolution and the beginning of 25 years of continuous conflict the traditional kingdoms of Europe were pressed to raise sufficient troops to meet the challange. As in other traditional countries, the Austrians relied on a medieval style feudal service army where great nobles raised and administered units as with feudal levies. The "Inhabers", much like the British honorary "Colonel of the Regiment", theoretically commanded the regiments but seldom led them in battle. They did have the right to make regimental-grade officer appointments (up to the rank of Hauptman), determine and deliver punishment and control regimental finances.

In 1790 a Uhlan Frei-Corps was raised in Galicia as part of the Austrian military build up. Uhlans were as fashionable then as hussars were a generation before, and were a noted Polish type of unit. Ultimately there were three squadrons of Frei-Corps Uhlans, the first two were absorbed into other cavalry regiments and the third continued as Uhlans under Prince Charles Philipp Schwarzenberg. The second commander of this unit was Oberst-Lt. Furst Charles Philipp Schwarzenberg, the later allied commander at Leipzig and afterwards. Schwarzenberg was the commanding officer in 1793-94 when the regiment served in the Netherlands. In 1792-93 they served at Neerwinden-Tirlemont, Famars, Vallenciennes and Bassuyan. They continued service in the northwest of Germany and in 1794 were at Landrecies, Pont-a-Marque and Guise; in 1795 at Maynz and Meissenheim; and in 1796 at Amberg and Geissen.

In 1798 the third squadron was taken into the Austrian army as the Galician Uhlan Regiment No. 2. Originally without an inhaber for the first two years, in 1800 Charles Philipp was appointed inhaber, a title he kept until his death in 1820. Out of respect for him, and unlike other regiments, the unit bore his name until the end of the Empire and did not take on the name of later inhabers. The regiment saw extensive service in the German and Austrian theaters of war until the fall of Napoleon. In 1799 they were at Ostrach, Stockach, Zurich and Mannheim am Necker; in 1800 at Lohsdorf, Biberach and Lambach. For service in these years two Maria Theresa Militar Orders (MTO) were awarded to the regiment, one to Oberst Moritz Furst von Liechtenstein who commanded the regiment.

With the outbreak of war again in 1805 they were part of the army in Germany under Archduke Ferdinand and the "unfortunate" General Mack. Most of the regiment was captured in the surrender of Ulm, but one squadron escaped with Archduke Ferdinand and fought at Austerlitz on the allied left flank. They once again served in Germany in the 1809 campaign where they were a part of FM Bellegard's Corp in the opening Bavarian invasion of Archduke Charles. The bulk of the regiment retreated with Archduke Charles and fought at Aspern, Wagram and Znaym. The squadron that remained in Bohemia under Lt. Carl Steindl fought a brilliant holding action against French probes. For this Lt. Steindl was award the MTO and promoted to major over 19 more senior officers which, in the rigidly traditional Austrian army, was a greater honor than the knighthood.

With the beginning of the Befreiungskreig in 1813 to drive Napolen from Germany, the regiment was attached to the army in Germany. In 1813 they fought at Hanau and St. Croix where officers of the regiment earned two MTOs and a Leopold Order for their valor. In the difficult 1814 campaign the regiment was part of the Austrian 5th Corps and fought at Brienne, Nugent, Nangis, Troyes, Bar and Arus-sur-Aube. With the return of Napoleon from Elba during the "100 days" the regiment was called up but did not see any action. The regiment was then on garrison duty until the Revolution of 1848 and the campaigns around the Empire to restore order.

Return to the Schwarzenberg Fleece Page
The Golden Fleece Insignia Page
Society of the Golden Fleece
Stephen Herold - Medals, Orders & Decorations