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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Freikorps Pfaffenhofen

The Streifkorps Mussinpuschkin will be working in close cooperation with the Freikorps Pfaffenhofen.

This unit has a unique and interesting- if little known- history.
Herzog Reinhardt Avenberg von Loseth-Pfaffenhofen, Hereditary Duke of Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen held lands in Austria bordering on the Tyrol and Bavaria, and his family had faithfully served the cause of the Habsburg monarchy for centuries. Much of his considerable wealth came from the silver mines that were located in this small, but prosperous, enclave.

Reinhardt Avenberg von Loseth-Pfaffenhofen,
Duke of Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen


But others naturally coveted the Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen lands, and the Duke saw much of his holdings seized by the Emperor Napoleon and awarded to the Bavarian monarchy after Austerlitz in 1805. What remained of the Duchy was confiscated in its entirety after the failed campaign of 1809. The proud and outspoken Duke chose exile and service with the Russians, rather than face the humiliation of having to pledge his allegiance to the Corsican upstart.

Thus the Duke nurtured a bitter hatred towards Bonaparte, and his desire for revenge and the restoration of his rightful inheritance had no bounds. As his family had amassed considerable wealth and influence in many of the courts of Europe, he lost no time in taking advantage of the French disaster in Russia, and during the armistice of 1813 he petitioned the Russian and Austrian Emperors for permission to raise a Freikorps, at his expense but clothed and supplied by the respective governments.

This permission was duly granted, and when hostilities resumed in the late summer of 1813 the Freikorps took to the field and began making life extremely difficult for the French forces unfortunate enough to be within the energetic Duke's reach.

The Freikorps Pfaffenhofen consisted of the following units.

1 Jagerbattalion:

This was uniformed in the Austrian style, as the Austrian Emperor allowed Duke Pfaffenhofen to raise them on the condition that after the peace, the regiment would be incorporated into the Austrian service whereupon the Duke would be compensated accordingly for his expense.

The uniform was identical to the Austrian jagers, except for the initials L-P engraved on the brass buttons. This was a highly drilled and well-disciplined unit.

Two squadrons of hussars:

Dressed in the Russian style, in uniforms provided as a gift from the Emperor Alexander himself, these men wore black dolmans and pelisses with rose facings.

Two squadrons of Uhlans:

Also dressed in Russian style, and in the black and rose ducal livery. Pennons rose over light blue.

One section of artillery:

Supplied and equipped as with the Austrians, but again with black coats and rose facings. Guns were of the 6pdr Austrian pattern, and carriages in the original yellow ochre.

Leib-Jaeger section:

These were men of the original Ducal
Jaeger-garde of Avenberg-Pfaffenhofen, who found themselves pressed into Bavarian service upon the duchy's incorporation into the Bavarian kingdom. Fiercely loyal to the rightful Duke, through various stratagems they managed to avoid having to take an oath of fealty to their new masters, and when the opportunity came to desert from the Bavarian service soon after the Grand Armee began its retreat from Moscow, they promptly went over to the Russians.

With
the raising of the new Freikorps after Austria formally joined the Coalition, the jaegers were reunited with their rightful ruler, to whom they were to give excellent service in the coming campaign. They are recorded as having worn dark green uniforms with rose facings, still dressed in Bavarian uniforms including the distinctive raupenhelm. They had a reputation for being crack shots, and were considered by Sir Robert Wilson as being equal to any member of the 95th Rifles in enterprise, skill and discipline.



3 comments:

JAM said...

Thanks for the link Robert, I have reciprocated.

John

ps again great design

abdul666 said...

Great uniforms designs for an unit with a very interesting background!
Looking forward to discover the Freikorps Pfaffenhofen in its painted glory.

pliza27 said...

Thanks to your site I was able to identify the button that I found on a hill Botzen CR thank you.