Friday, December 10, 2021

Things Are Going To The Dogs Around Here


Carl Rochling depicts Frederick hiding from some Croats whilst going on one
of his solo reconnaissance rides during his early years, before he knew any better.

I bought this nice figure of Frederick the Great and his two greyhounds on eBay a couple of weeks ago. The figure is made by Preisser-Elastolin of Germany. I actually have two of these sets because the recent version had a better paint job than my first set.

Preisser Elastonlin King Friedrich II of Prussian and his greyhounds.

It seems that it has become popular in certain wargaming circles to add hounds onto a general's command stand running alongside the mounted commander. It's not my cup of tea, but have at it if you wish. I can only think of one historical example of a commander's dog running about the battle field, that being Prince Rupert's dog Boye during the Battle of Marston Moor. Boye didn't fare very well. He died in the battle. 

Boye meets his maker at the Battle of Marston Moor.
(source: Wikipedia)

I suppose that there might be more, but I can't find them. 

I would think that your average hound would not like the sounds of war, you know, the explosions and all that. I think of how my dogs utterly deplore The Fourth of July holiday in the United States.  It seems that everyone in my neighborhood is firing off fireworks and my dogs do not like it. I mean they really, really, really do not like the sound of the big bang. One of our first dogs, Katie, refused to go outside during the 4th of July holiday. She would tremble in fear and dig her paws into the floor. I literally had to drag her out the door so that she could do her you know what. Based on my experience there probably weren't many dogs bounding alongside their masters who were riding to the sound of the guns.

It is more likely that a senior general might bring along a dog or two as part of his personal baggage, if he were to bring one in the first place. I could see the hounds being left in the camp as all of the soldiers marched off to the battle. 

There is a story from the Seven Years War where some Austrian hussars and Croat infantry raided Frederick the Great's baggage train during one of the battles. They kidnapped (dognapped?) Frederick's favorite dog, Biche, as well as his leather bound case of maps. The Austrian general Leopold von Daun did Frederick the favor of returning Biche to him, but he (Daun) held onto the map case.

The picture at the top of this page was drawn by Carl Rochling and depicts an incident where Frederick has gone out on one of his famous solo reconnaissance rides during the Second Silesian War (1744-45). He was nearly captured by the Austrians and the picture imagines Frederick hiding underneath a bridge, waiting for the Austrians to pass on by. He holds the muzzle of his dog shut so that she does not bark and give away his hiding place. This incident appalled his generals and they implored him to not go on a recon without an escort.


  1. During the 2nd Boer, Major Plumbe of the Royal Marines Light Infantry at the Battle of Graspan on 25th November 1899. His Jack Russell ‘Dickie’ is behind him, who was found guarding his master’s body after the battle.

    I once was in an ECW game playing the Scots and I made a Highland charge and during the ensuing melee Prince Rupert died. The enemy retreated I was left exposed. I had to retreat I stoled the dog brought as a battle trophy.

    1. That reminds me of Bobbie the mascot of the Berkshires at Maiwand

  2. One of my hounds would the bangs from gunfire but I suspect the other one would be too busy looking for a squirrel or a fox to notice!

  3. I think that was the Battle of Soor, 1745, where Frederick's dog, Biche, was stolen by the Pandour raiders at the end of the battle. It was Charles of Lorraine (von Lothringen), commander of the Austrian army, who returned her to Frederick.

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  5. Their was a dog at the Battle of Maiwand in Afghanistan late nineteenth even get a model of it with the Perry Plastic set! Our dog hates the week...or two...sound Nov Fifth...Guy Fawkes that's when people let most of their fireworks off here in New Zealand, although many hang on to a few for New Year. They are only legally on sale to over eighteens for about three days a year, yet that doesn't restrict the number of bangs the dog has to endure, which he growls and barks at constantly! Dogs can be trained to put up with anything of course...look at gun dogs for a start, so perhaps Fred's were hunting dogs as well as pets...?