Saturday, September 8, 2007

I Obey The King, And You Shall Obey Me!

Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz (Suren Figure - by Der Alte Fritz)

Officers of CR2 Prinz von Preussen Regt. (Elite Miniatures & GMB Flag)

Prinz von Preussen Cuirasseris (Elite Miniatures - Der Alte Fritz)

Von Seydlitz: Possibly the most famous cavalry commander of the 18th Century was the Prussian Lt. General von Seydlitz, whom I have depicted in the first picture above with one of the Suren/Willie 30mm figures in my collection. I think that he strikes a rather jaunty pose on his leaping charger and with his sword held aloft. Were I more adept at minor conversions, I suppose that I could have had Seydlitz tossing his clay pipe into the air, as at Rossbach. Instead, I gave him a stouter RSM sword to replace the rather feeble Suren sword that he came with. You will also note the usual round base that indicates one of my army or brigade commanders in our Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (BAR) rules.

Von Seydlitz began his career as a cornet in the Rochow Cuirassier regiment at the start of the War of the Austrian Succession in 1741. He first came to the attention of King Frederick while serving as an orderly officer during a skirmish with the Austrians. Von Seydlitz overheard Frederick ask what the calibre of gun was that was firing on his flank. So Seydlitz impetuously rode toward the battery and picked up a spent round from the ground, wrapped it in his handkerchief and presented it to the King. He was promoted to captain in the Natzmer White Hussars (HR4) in 1743, was promoted to major after serving with distinction at Hohenfriedberg and Soor in 1745. He was later promoted to Lt.-Colonel of the White Hussars in 1752 and promted to full colonel by 1755, prior to the outbreak of the SYW.

In command of a brigade of cuirassiers at Lobositz in 1756, Frederick asks Seydlitz for his assessment of the Austrian position and asks him if his cuirassiers can overthrow the Austrian horse. "Yes, but the cannon of Lobosiz will soon bring me to my senses," replies Seydlitz.

His perfermance at Kolin in June 1757 was where his star really began to shine. With the death of Major General von Krosigk, Seydlitz assumes the command of a heavy brigade of 10 squadrons of cuirassiers and 5 squadrons of dragoons. His spirited attack of the Austrian position on Krechor Hill rides down the Wurttemburg Dragoons, the Saxon Carabineers, and the Hungarian foot regiment of Haller. The German regiments of Baden and Deutschmeister are also pushed back, but the Botta regiment holds firm and Seydlitz had to retire his blown horses and reorganize.

In recognition of his valor at Kolin, Seydlitz was awarded the Pour-le-Merite and promoted to Major General. When congratulated by Zieten on his promotion, he replied, "it is high time Excellency, if they want to get anything more out of me, I am already thirty-six." Seydlitz is effectively made commander of all Prussian cavalry prior to Rossbach (November 1757), surpassing other more senior officers in the jump. To those who claim seniority, he merely says, "Gentlemen, I obey the King, and you will obey me!" And the rest, as they say, is history as Seydlitz's attack of the Austrian-French cavalry is followed up by a crushing second attack into the flank of the Allied infantry, sweeping them off the field of Rossbach.

Now tell me, who wouldn't want such a man leading his cavalry into battle? Der Alte Fritz certainly appreciates the talents of von Seydlitz. In our BAR games, I gladly pay the points to include an "elite" cavalry general in my army - von Seydlitz - at the expense of another trooper or two. His effect on the morale of his troops has come in handy in many a battle, proving to be the difference between wining the melee or routing off the field.

Prinz von Preussen Cuirassiers: The third picture from the top depicts all 5 squadrons of my rendition of CR2 (Prinz von Preussen - inhaber). The figures all come from the Elite Miniatures range of SYW Prussian cavalry. I really like the animation in the horse that Peter Morbey sculpts and when you put a bunch of them together, the whole unit seems to be in motion. Each squadron of 12 riders includes one officer, one trumpeter and one cornet (standard bearer) holding a GMB Designs standard. If you look closer at the middle picture (click to enlarge all pictures) you will see that I used some twisted florist's wire to make flag cords.

Given that we call Bill Protz's French Carabiniers "The Thundering Herd", I had to come up with an equally evocative moniker for my large regiment. I finally settled on the title, "Death By Cavalry". I chortle when I recall the look on the faces of the French when they saw all five squadrons (60 figures) for the first time. Ah yes, it makes for a rather fond memory for Der Alte Fritz.

What could be next, ten squadrons of the Bayreuth Dragoons (120 figures)? Hmm, there is an idea worth pursuing.


  1. They look very fine and now I want some.

    Where is my Credit Card???

  2. They rather dwarf your RSM figures though, so that may be a problem.

  3. More pictures of more units, please. The eye candy is inspirational.

    -- Jeff

  4. Would you like me to do a regimental history of each of the battalions in my Prussian army, along with a picture of the wargame unit?

    I'm up to 14 battalions now so the infantry alone could cover a couple of weeks.

  5. Dear Fritz,

    who would not enjoy seeing and reading about each of these splendid regiments?

    In something like comment 12 on your previous infantry blog I ask whether any of the units are posed to represent firing by grand divisions rather than by ranks. Any thoughts?

    your servant,
    Duke of Baylen

  6. Jim,

    How about a figure comparison of RSM, Willie, Suren, et al side by side with your comments and obeservations? It would be interesting to see how each of these ranges stack up against each other.

    Best Regards,


  7. I look at them as being big men on big horses...

    Does size really matter in this context?

    A fine effort indeed.



  8. Jim,

    Sure, I would enjoy a "roll call" of your units . . . but only if it didn't interfere with your other posts.

    In other words, use them as a sort of "filler" when you don't have something else you wish to share with us.

    -- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

  9. BAR is now officially on my "too buy" list.

  10. Wow!!

    I love the cavalry! Talk about the wall of lead bearing down!

    Excellent paint job- an inspiration to me. Now I need to get off my backside and get some! :-)