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The Napoleon Series > Military Information > Organization, Strategy & Tactics

English Sources

German Sources





Prussian Cavalry Standards 1808 - 1815

By: Dallas Gavan

 For anyone researching Prussian cavalry regiments of the later Napoleonic Wars the question of what flags were carried can be fairly vexing, especially in the English-speaking countries. Paradoxically, the flags carried by the infantry regiments are very well covered for both the 1792-1807 and 1808-1815 periods. What I hope to do is to clear up the picture somewhat by comparing the most available English language sources and some German language sources.

A quick word on terminology first. Prussian infantry flags were referred to as "Fahnen" and Kürassier flags as "Standarten". The Dragoner- pattern, which was "swallow-tailed" and hence resembled a guidon, was also referred to as a "Fahne" during this period, not being officially recognised as a standard until 1891. I will refer to both patterns as "standards" throughout this article.

There's also some confusion about the "crosses" that appeared on the flags. Some authors say the cross was upright and the field formed the corners. David Nash, for example, is very particular about this. However the German-language sources I have, with the exception of Georges Alt, refer to the corners of the cavalry flags as "eckkeilen" or "eckflammen"- corner wedges and corner flames respectively. I'll also follow that convention throughout this article.

Colours are another sticking point. Quite often they do not translate readily into English and where there is some confusion (ie I can't find the translation in my German-English dictionary) I will put my best guess in brackets followed by a question mark, eg " (mauve ?)".

Finally, in accordance with German practice, I have used the symbol "ß" for "ss" in some words.

English Language Sources

The most readily available source for details of these flags is probably the "Men at Arms" series of booklets. Terence Wise wrote the three volumes concerning the flags carried during the Napoleonic Wars. Volume 2 deals with the Prussians, among other nations, and paraphrases the regulations concerning the number of flags carried, the designs and the colours. Generally he gives a very detailed, if concise, overview of the infantry Fahnen. The coverage of the cavalry Standarten is sparse and dwells mainly on the differences between "cuirassier-pattern" and "Dragoner-Regiment-pattern" standards. There is no attempt to give a complete listing of the flags but merely a few examples of the different types, ie Garde-du-Corps, Kürassier-Regiment Nr2 and Dragoner- -Regiment Nr 1, Nr 3 and Nr 5. He does include small colour plates of a Kürassier Regiments-Standarte, the Garde du Corps standard and a Dragoner-Regiment (Dragoner-Regiment Nr 2) standard.

The other sources I have in English are D. Nash's The Prussian Army of the Napoleonic Wars 1808 to 1815, Rawkins' similarly titled booklet from Anschluss Publishing and K. Over's Flags and Standards of the Napoleonic Wars.

Of the two most available sources on the Prussian cavalry of the period, Peter Hofschröer covers the standards carried in the period 1792 to 1807 in his book Prussian Cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars (1) 1792-1806 printed in the Osprey "Men at Arms" series. I have yet to buy the books on the Prussian Army written by George Nafziger and cannot say whether he touched on the issue of flags.

There is very little difference between all the works with the exception of Mr Hofschröer's Osprey volume. Mr Rawkins introduces the standard of Kürassier-Regiment Nr 1 and ascribes to it a similar pattern but different colouring to the example given for the Garde-du-Corps. Nash covers the same ground as Wise. Over disagrees with the others on the question of the design and colouring of the standard of Dragoner- -Regiment Nr 1 but, apart from this, the illustrations and information are very similar to the other sources.

Mr Hofschröer does not ascribe any of the standards described in his book to the 1808-1815 period regiments. However there is enough information given for one to try and extrapolate the standards carried by looking at which of the "old" regiments were used to form those of the "new" army. When the descriptions of the standards given in the previous sources are compared to those in this work there is a certain correlation but also some differences.

Mr Hofschröer presents no illustrations and but does list his references. Of these references one, Geschichte der Koenigl. Preussischen Kürassiere und Dragoner- 1619-1870 by Alt, will be one of the German language references discussed to try and get a concrete answer.

Of greatest value is the two-part article written by Richard Riehn and printed in Campaigns magazine. I'm indebted to John Cook for supplying me with this and Riehn's article on infantry Fahnen. Riehn is reluctant to ascribe any definite conclusions as to which standards were carried by some of the regiments, however. In particular Mr Riehn discusses the two surviving Dragoner-Regiment standards that were captured (at Kray by the Russians in 1759) and displayed in St. Petersberg. These colours are the cause of some confusion and this will be discussed at length in the relevant section.

Note that none of the English-language sources give any details of the baldric or staff used with any standard.

The German Sources

Premier-Lieutenant Im See-Bataillon Georges Alt wrote Geschichte der Königl. Preussischen Kürassiere und Dragoner- 1619-1870 in 1869 and it was published in Berlin in 1870. In the foreword he lists his sources as the records of the Royal Prussian General Staff, documents of the Royal War Ministry, the Secret War Chancellery, the library of the Crown Prince and Prince Alexander of Prussia, and various regimental records.

The book I have is the 1970 reprint. Each regiment has a section devoted to its history and giving details of its garrison locations, history, war record, Commanding Officers and, particularly important for this article, a section describing the history and appearance of the standarten. It is unillustrated but contains detailed descriptions of the standards as well as tables describing the standards carried by the kürassiere and Dragoner- in, although at times the written descriptions differ from the tables.

Reinhold Redlin had Die Fahnen und Standarten der preußischen Feldregimenter 1807-1918 published in the 1950s. I have only an incomplete photocopy of this work, unfortunately. It is quite impressive, giving not only detailed descriptions of the standards but also including quite detailed Dragoner-Regimentawings. Of all the references available, it is this one that I believe to be most accurate, combining as it does detailed descriptions and drawings of the flags obviously based on the Dessauer Spezifikationen.

Note: The illustrations I've used for this article based on this work and I believe they reflect the actual standards carried. All the colouring is my work and hence any difference between the colours on the illustrations and the written descriptions are my errors.

Geschichte der königlich preußischen Fahnen und Standarten seit dem Jahre 1807 was printed by the Royal War Ministry in 1889. It covers the history and design of the standards carried by the Prussians since 1807 and is very detailed. It will be referred to as "RWM" in the discussion.

Unsterbliche Treue was written by Ewald Fiebig and published in Berlin in 1936. It is a comprehensive work but barely covers the subject of this article. There's only one or two illustrations of standards that could have been used in this time and even they are only ascribed to the period prior to 1808.


The centre device and corner monograms easily identify the two differing patterns. The pattern of standard issued prior to Frederick the Great coming to the throne carried the "FWR" corner monogram and the centre device displayed in figure 1. Those presented by Frederick carried an "FR" monogram and a centre device like that of Figure 3. I will refer to the two types as FWR and FR throughout this article.

Most of the English-language sources, bar Mr Hofschröer and Mr Riehn, emphasise that the standards date from the time of Frederick the Great. This is, as the German-language sources and Mr Riehn show, incorrect. In fact most of the cavalry flags date from the time of Friedrich Wilhelm I, were presented during his reign and carried his FWR monogram. This means that they were nearly 100 years old by the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Fiebig mentions two items of interest- the standards were regularly repaired and Friedrich Wilhelm II supposedly made "issues in kind" in the 1790's, replacing the standard with a copy, irregardless of it being an FWR or FR design. Riehn discusses this point at length and comes to the conclusion that the repaired standards were probably in better condition than those issued by Frederick, hence the reason why so many FWR patterns were carried.

In correspondence with me Mr Hofschröer makes the point that the expensively embroidered corner and centre devices were probably kept when a standard was replaced with only the cloth being renewed. It's something hinted at in Mr Riehn's articles and in Mr Fiebig's book. However it's also a very valid assumption and one with which I can only agree. The cost of replacing the gold and silver (plated or alloyed?) wire alone would have been a very great burden.

It's also possible that FWR types were chosen in deference to Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Whatever the reason, as I show below it seems that all but two standards carried the FWR monogram, only that of the Garde du Corps post-dating Friedrich the Great (although some may have been "issued in kind" replacements).

After 1807 only the Dragoon and Kürassier regiments were entitled to carry standards. The hussars, uhlans and landwehr regiments were classed as "light cavalry" and were granted the right to carry standards again in 1815. These weren't issued, however, before the end of the Napoleonic Wars and fall outside the scope of this article. Similarly, the standards of Kürassier Regiment Nr 4 (post-1813 numbering) and Dragoner-Regiment Nr 7 and 8 weren't issued until after the defeat of Napoleon and again fall outside the scope of this work.

Before 1811 each squadron of the Dragoons and Kürassiere carried a standard so it was possible for more than one of the pre-1808 regiments to be represented in each new regiment. From 1811 only one standard per regiment was carried and to help obscure matters this was not always either a Leib-Standarte nor even one from the more senior pre-1808 army regiments.

The large number of flags captured by the French in 1806-1807 would have provided an excellent source of data had they been available. However, in what appears to be a spiteful and petty act of revenge, the French burned all the captured flags they held prior to the fall of Paris in 1814. There are surviving examples extant, though, including a standard of the old 9th Kürassiere in Ghent and a Regiments-Fahne of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 1 in Vienna. There may also be two surviving examples from Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6 in St Petersberg.

The following generalisations can be made about the standards:

  1. The fill in the bottom of the central crown is in red but the field shows through the crown's arches. The stones on the crown are in silver.
  2. The eagle is black except when a unit has a black centre, when the eagle is in gold.
  3. The crown, beak and claws of the eagle are gold, the tongue red and the eyes white.
  4. The sword and lightning bolts, when carried are silver and gold. The monogram on the eagle's (FR and Garde du Corps pattern) breast is gold.
  5. The ribbon tying the central wreath on the Kürassier pattern standards was red.
  6. The scroll in the centre was in the field colour except for that of the Garde du Corps, which was in the colour of the central device.


On the following pages I propose to deal with each regiment individually, giving the details of the standards carried the colour of the staff and baldric according to each source.

Schlesisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 1.

Formed from various regiments in 1808, the regiment inherited the standards of the old Wagenfeld Kürassier-Regiment Nr 4.

Alt: Purple with a white centre. The centre device the same as figure 1, the legend on the scroll is "NON SOLI CEDIT" (the legend was changed to "NEC..." on new standards issued after the Napoleonic Wars). The corner monograms are given as "F.W.R." with a silver background. The bandolier is given as black with gold edging while the staff is given as purple.

RWM: Also purple given as the colour of the field but, interestingly, qualified as "dark crimson" (ie in brackets after the description of purple). The bandolier as described by Alt but a white staff.

Schlesisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 1

Schlesisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 1

Nash, Over, Wise: Not given, although the standard given for the earlier Gessler (sic) Kürassier Regiment Nr 4 in Wise is described as mauve with the centre illustrated as in figure 1.

Rawkins: Purple field with silver/white centre device and backing to corner monograms. Gold embroidery and fringe, gold and green mixed wreaths around centre device. The new type of centre as described in figure 2. No details of the baldric or staff are given.

Redlin, Riehn: As Rawkins but with the older type of centre illustrated in figure 1, which is the illustration of this standard from Redlin's book, and white staff.

Conclusion: I believe the standard carried was a square, kürassiere pattern of the FWR type as illustrated in figure 1. The field colour was a bright purple to dark crimson colour with silver backgrounds to the centre devices and corner monograms. The crowns, wreaths and corner devices were gold and the palm fronds surrounding the centre wreath were green.

Ostpreußisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 2

Formed from the von Zeiten Dragoner- -Regiment Nr 6 ( 1st battalion) and the depot squadrons of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 9 and Nr 10. Also carried by Dragoner-Regiment Nr 2.

Alt: Red corner wedges, helllila (lit. light lilac- violet?) field and white centre (Note- in the table describing the standarten of 1806 the centre is given as red). The centre device is as described for Kürassier Regiment Nr 1. The staff is blue with gold nails and staff-head. Bandolier blue with gold edging. Note that there is no mention of the standard being of the swallow-tailed pattern.

RWM: Dark blue with poppy-red corner wedges, silver centre and gold embroidery. FWR monograms. Mention is made of the standards captured at Kray and the fact that they appear to have gold corner flames rather than red wedges. Cornflower blue bandolier with gold embroidery. Pale blue staff.

Nash, Over, Wise: A Regiments-Standarte as described above except the field is given as pale blue, the flag is a guidon type and the centre is the newer type shown in figure 4.

Rawkins: As Nash but the field is described as sky blue.

Ostpreußisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 2

Ostpreußisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 2

Redlin: As Alt but with the field described as "dunkelblau" or dark blue.

Riehn: As Alt but with a golden corner flames and a dark blue field.

As to the question of the standards captured at Kray, and (formerly?) displayed in St Petersberg, I only have the coloured sketch in Riehn as an illustration of the pattern. My thoughts on why there is such a discrepancy are given at the end of the descriptions.

An excerpt from the regimental history, Geschichte des Kürassier-Regiments Graf Wrangel (Ostpreußisches) Nr. 3 von 1717 bis 1892 describes the flag. In the appendix it is stated on page 3* f., that the regimental standard, still carried in 1892, had been of the former dragoon-pattern with wedges, given to the Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6 (Auer in 1806).

According to Orlop, the field had been dark-blue and the wedges "mohnrot" (poppy-red). The middle was silver and the ribbon blue. It had been inscribed "Non soli cedit" for the Leib-standarte and "Pro Gloria et Patria" for the Regiments-Standarten. All embroidery was in gold.

But by 1892 the cloth was destroyed and only the linen layer of "lichtblau" (light-blue) colour under the silk had survived, as well as a small part of "bläulich" (bluey) silk under the nails.

The staff in 1892 had a length of 255 cm, was painted "lichtblau" and "mit Silber gereifelt" (had silver ribbed grips).

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a Dragoon pattern of the FWR type. The field was dark blue with poppy-red corner wedges, a silver centre and gold embroidery. See figure 2.

Garde-du-Corps Kürassier Regiment Nr 3.

There was no need to reform this unit after 1806.

Alt: On 17 July 1798 new standards of drap d'argent (cloth of silver) with gold embroidery and a new-pattern eagle below an orange ribband with the legend "PRO GLORIA ET PATRIA", as in figure 3, were issued. The staff is given as white with gold nails and staff-head. All standards were of the same pattern ("hatte nur Leib-Standarten").

RWM: As above but with mixed silver and gold embroidery (crowns and monograms in gold, wreaths in silver and green). Stated to be the Leib-Standarte. Poppy-red bandolier with silver embroidery.

Garde-du-Corps Kürassier Regiment Nr 3

Garde-du-Corps Kürassier Regiment Nr 3

Nash, Redlin, Riehn: White with gold embroidery (ie crowns and monograms) and orange centre and background to corner monograms. Silver and green mixed wreaths around the centre device and monograms. See figure 3.

Over: As Nash but embroidery given as silver.

Rawkins, Wise: As Nash but wreath described as being in natural colours.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a Kürassiere pattern of the FR type but with FWR monograms. The field drap d'argent with orange centre and background to the corner medallions. The embroidery, crowns and monograms of mixed silver, gold and green thread as described Riehn. See figure 3.

Brandenburgisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 4.

Formed from various regiments, this regiment is stated to have carried a Regiments-Standarte of von Quitzow Kürassier-Regiment Nr 6.

Brandenburgisches Kürassier Regiment Nr

Brandenburgisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 4

Alt: Described as "einmal ausgezackt" (lit. "cut out once") it is swallow-tailed and has a blue field, silver centre, silver embroidery and a centre device as in figure 3. The bandolier and staff are Russian Blue, the former with gold edging and the latter with gold nails and staff-head.

RWM: As above but not stated to be a dragoon pattern standard. Blue staff and Russian blue bandolier with gold embroidery.

Nash, Over, Rawkins, Wise: Not given although Wise gives details of the old Schonaich (sic) Kürassier Regiment Nr 4 as being similar to that described by Redlin.

Redlin, Riehn: As Alt, but a square pattern standard and pale blue staff. Figure 4 is the illustration given in Redlin for this standard.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a Kürassiere pattern of the FR type. The field is cornflower blue and the centre is silver. All embroidery is in gold. See figure 4.

Königin Dragoner-Regiment Nr 1.

Raised 2 April 1717. This regiment continued to use their Leib-Standarte carried prior to 1806. Dragoner-Regiment Nr 5 carried a Regiments-Standarte of this regiment.

Alt, Redlin, RWM: White field and black centre. The eagle on the centre type is the old type, gold, flying up towards a sun in the upper right of the centre. The ribband is white and the legend "NON SOLI CEDIT (given as "NEC" by Alt). Redlin is indeterminate as part of this section is missing. Swallow-tailed dragoon pattern. Embroidery and stitching in gold. The staff was black with gold fittings and the bandolier crimson with silver edging. Alt states this standard had FWR monograms in the corners and that it was presented in 1725.

Nash, Rawkins, Wise: As above but with "new" style centre.

Königin Dragoner-Regimentagoner Regiment Nr

Königin Dragoner-Regiment Nr 1

Over: Red field with large, black, wavy-sided cross. Pale blue centre and gold embroidery. "New" style centre as in figure 3. No standard of this type was carried by either the old Dragoner-Regiment Nr 5 (from which this regiment was formed) nor the new regiment.

Riehn: Although the basic colouring is given as in accordance with Alt, etc, Mr Riehn is reluctant to ascribe the pattern of the standard. However I have trusted Alt on this point as he had access to the surviving standard and while the colours may fade and change, the embroidered wire monogram would still be easily determined.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern, FWR type. The field is white and the centre black. The embroidery is in gold.

Westpreußisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 2.

Formed from the von Zeiten Dragoner--Regiment Nr 6 (2nd battalion) and the depot squadrons of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 9 and Nr 10. Also carried a Regiments-Standarte of the old v. Zeiten Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6.

Alt, RWM: Orange bandolier with silver edging (Alt) or rose-red with silver (RWM), otherwise as described under Kürassier Regiment Nr 2. The standard was recorded as having been presented in 1737 and as having FWR monograms.

Nash, Over, Rawkins, Redlin, Wise: As given under the respective descriptions of Kürassier Regiment Nr 2.

Riehn: Again, the pattern is not stated although the colours of dark blue field and golden corner flames are given.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern of the FWR type. The field was dark blue with poppy-red corner wedges, a silver centre and gold embroidery.

Littauisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 3.

Formed from the von Baczko Dragoner Regiment Nr 7. A Regiments-Fahne of this regiment was carried.

Alt: Light blue staff and gold fittings. The standard is given as having scarlet corner wedges, a light blue field and a red wavy-sided cross. The centre is given as black. Gold embroidery. The table from the book gives the small wavy-sided cross as white. The bandolier is given as cornflower blue with gold edging. Presented in 1741 to replace a standard lost (at Mollwitz?).

Littauisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr

Littauisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 3

RWM, Riehn: Black with red corner flames. Silver centre and gold embroidery. Riehn doesn't ascribe the pattern but the RWM gives the monograms as FR. Pale blue staff, poppy-red bandolier with gold embroidery (RWM).

Nash: None given.

Over, Rawkins, Wise: Poppy-red corner wedges, black field with silver centre. "New" style centre as in figure 3.

Redlin: Swallow-tailed, red corner flames and black field. Silver centre of the type in figure 1. Light blue staff.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern of the FR type. The field was black with poppy-red corner flames, a silver centre and gold embroidery.

Westpreußisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 4.

Formed principally from the von Esebeck Dragoner-Regiment Nr 8. Handed in all its standards in 1811 and did not carry one until the 1814 abdication, when a Regiments-Fahne was carried.

Alt: Red corner flames and blue field, centre blue as in figure 1. Staff blue with gold fittings. The bandolier given as rose-red with silver edging. Corner medallions given as FWR and the standard supposedly dated from 1717 (possibly one of the issues in kind made by Friedrich Wilhelm II?).

Westpreußisches Dragoner-Regiment
         Nr 4

Westpreußisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 4

RWM, Riehn: As for Dragoner-Regiment Nr 3 above but an FWR pattern with pale blue staff and rose-red bandolier with gold embroidery (RWM). Pattern not ascribed by Mr Riehn.

Nash, Over, Rawkins, Wise: None given.

Redlin: Not available in my copy (missing page).

Note: The old 8th Dragoons were formed from the 7th Regiment, which was split to form two regiments by Friedrich the Great. Therefore the flags of the two regiments were of the same colouring and pattern with Mr Riehn stating both regiments ended up with mixed FWR and FR sets.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern of the FWR type. The field was black with poppy-red corner flames, a silver centre and gold embroidery.

Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 5.

Formed from Wilhelm, Prinz von Preussen Dragoner-Regiment Nr 1 and von Balliodz Kürassier Regiment Nr 5.

Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr

Brandenburgisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 5

Alt, Redlin, Riehn, RWM, Wise: Carried a Regiments-Fahne of the Königin Dragoner-Regiment. Swallow-tailed, black field, white centre and gold embroidery. Staff black (Redlin- natural wood) with gold trim, bandolier cornflower blue (Alt) or black (RWM) with gold trim

Nash, Over, Rawkins: As above but of FR pattern.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern of the FWR type. The field was black with a silver centre and gold embroidery.

Neumärkisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6.

Formed from the remnants and depots of von Irwing Dragoner-Regiment Nr 3 and von Kätte Dragoner-Regiment Nr 4.

Neumärkisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr

Neumärkisches Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6

Alt: The Leib-Standarte of the old Dragoner-Regiment Nr 3 was carried. This is described as swallow-tailed, white with the old centre device of the eagle flying towards the sun in the text but with an unknown centre colour. Described as having a lilac centre in the table. All embroidery gold, lilac staffs with gold fittings and a cornflower blue bandolier with gold trim.

RWM, Redlin, Riehn: Leib-Fahne of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 4 with a cornflower blue centre, rose-red bandolier with silver embroidery and natural wood staff.

Nash, Over, Rawkins, Wise: None given.

Conclusion: I believe this standard to be a dragoon pattern of the FWR type. The field was white with a cornflower blue centre and gold embroidery.


The information reproduced above seems to raise more questions than it answers. Pr-Lt Alt has inconsistencies between the tables and descriptions given in his book. He's also is inconsistent with the idea of Kürassier and Dragoon regiments carrying distinctly different patterns of standard. However this work was done with access to sources not available to most people and the inconsistencies may be a result of poor note taking when he was compiling his information, mistakes of copying when the work was edited or some other reason.

It should also be remembered that the age of many of these flags meant that the unstable organic dyes used on the cloth would have faded to a certain extent. Even some mixing of colours was possible by the time the descriptions were put to paper. Therefore the description of Kürassier Regiment 2 having a pale blue field in 1892 may be correct and may explain some of the colours described by Pr-Lt Alt.

The RWM states both the regulation colours and, on occasions gives the current colours. Thus the centre of the standard of Dragoner-Regiment Nr 6 is described as "graubraun, stark verwittert" and describes the centre device and monograms as "nicht mehr erkennebar". Not surprising when you consider that that standard was 177 years old at the time.

More confusing is the description of the standards of the Ostpreußisches Kürassier Regiment Nr 2 as having gold corner flames. The gold colour is particularly perplexing as the earlier entries for this colour were described in the Dessauer Specifications as poppy-red and the regulations called for this coloured field. However, bearing in mind the instability of the dyes already mentioned, it's possible that the poppy-red dye had faded to a golden hue. Reds are notoriously unstable and many fade to a yellowish hue over time, particularly if constantly exposed to sunlight. Furthermore, the standard of the Polish 1st Chasseurs-a-Cheval from the Duchy of Warsaw (currently reproduced in a photograph in Tradition's new book on the Poles) seems to have done just this. Apparently, looking at the photograph, the cloth is drtap d'or. In fact, this standard when produced was of the typical bright-crimson colour used by the Duchy from 1809 to 1814.

From this and discussions with various people I'd be prepared to say that the colour of the St Petersberg standards were originally poppy-red. They attained a golden colour through fading caused by continual exposure to sunlight possibly coupled to a chemical reaction with the silk cloth.

As for the shape of the corners, from the sketch in Riehn's article they appear to be neither as pronounced nor as evenly curved as those other examples that used the design. Whether this is an accident of manufacture, a poor sketch, a peculiarity of those two standards or the result of stretching to the fabric, I can't say. But given the dangers of not conforming to regulations and the fact that Frederick the Great personally inspected the troops, I doubt a commander would try to flaunt regulations and carry standards that deviated so far from the set regulations. For whatever reason, the cloth may have been cut to show a slight resemblance to corner flames but, unless the originals are still available for viewing, we'll never know.

Redlin seems to have described what he observed from surviving examples or the descriptions in regimental histories and other works. Although published in the 1950s there's a lot of information contained that exceeds what can be found from the Dessauer Spezifikationen, Fiebig, Alt or the RWM. Did Redlin have access to an unpublished manuscript from an earlier time or was he just "filling in the blanks" with speculation? Certainly he disagrees with some sources but is able to give details that aren't found elsewhere and yet are consistent with the regulations. His illustrations, in particular, must be drawn either from surviving, whole examples or earlier illustrations taken from originals. Whatever the source, his line-art is a valuable resource that even Mr Riehn makes use of.


I have been helped immeasurably by various people and without their help I wouldn't have had access to most of the information I have presented here.

Peter Hofschröer sent me my photocopy of Redlin and also obtained my copy of Alt for me. He's helped with advice on what to trust as a source and pointed out the unreliability of the English language sources. As well as reviewing this article and making corrections and suggestions, he's also unwittingly fed my hunger for information on the Prussians before we even met (via letter) with the many books he's authored over the years.

Oliver Schmidt sent me copies of Fiebig, the RWM, the Year Book of 1902 and many excerpts of regimental histories that allowed me to be more confident in my conclusions. He also obligingly translated much of the work that extended beyond the reach of my very poor German reading skills.

John Cook provided me with the articles written by Richard Riehn. This is the definitive English-language study of the subject that is known to me. It proved invaluable.

Thomas Hermann sent me the addresses of many German sites that revealed little nuggets of information.

John Staellart went to a lot of trouble trying to get copies of the missing pages from Redlin so that I could complete this article. Unfortunately the bureaucrats of the Toronto Public Reference Library, who refused to authorise an inter-library loan, blocked him. Nevertheless I appreciate the attempt.

Lastly thanks to Al Pendlebury and in particular to Bob Burnham, who made suggestions how to turn a rambling, disjointed article into one that was less rambling and disjointed.

Thank-you all, gentlemen.

Hopefully my attempt to sort out the confusion surrounding this subject isn't too far off the mark. Any errors I've made are mine and I take full responsibility for them. While Riehn was reluctant to ascribe a particular pattern to some regiments' standards I believe there's enough information to make a good stab at getting it right. However, I'm sure that somewhere there's someone who can correct the mistakes I've made and I'll be glad to hear from you, whoever you are.


Alt, Pr-Lt Georges. Geschichte der Koenigl. Preussischen Kürassiere und Dragoner-Regiment 1619-1870 Berlin 1870, reprinted 1970.

Fiebig, Maj(E) Ewald. Unsterbliche Treue Berlin 1936

Hofschröer, Peter. Prussian Cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars 1807-1815 "Men At Arms" # 172 London : Osprey;1986.

______________ Prussian Cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars 1792-1807 "Men At Arms" #162 London : Osprey;.

Nash, David. The Prussian Army 1808-1815 New Malden : Almark; 1972.

Orlop, Max. Geschichte des Kürassier-Regiments Graf Wrangel (Ostpreußisches) Nr. 3 von 1717 bis 1892 Berlin; 1892.

Over, Keith. Flags and Standards of the Napoleonic Wars London; 1976

Rawkins, W.J. The Prussian Army 1808-15 Anschluss Publishing.

Redlin, Reinhold. Die Fahnen und Standarten der preußischen Feldregimenter 1807-1918 Berlin, 195?

Riehn, Richard. "Prussian Cavalry Standards 1713 to 1815" Campaigns # 30 and 31. US 197?

Royal Prussian War Ministry. Geschichte der königlich preußischen Fahnen und Standarten seit dem Jahre 1807 Berlin; 1889.

Wise, Terence and Guido Rosignoli. Flags of the Napoleonic Wars (2) Men At Arms # 78 London : Osprey; 1978. Reprint 1995.


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