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"Prussian flags, 1815" Topic

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donlowry28 Apr 2006 6:21 p.m. PST

I'll soon be painting Prussians to go with my Waterloo-era French and Allies, but I'm not very "up" on them. Did every musketeer battalion carry a flag? How about LW, reserves, etc.? Were they carried by officers (ensigns) or enlisted men?

Also, did LW officers wear uniforms similar to their troops or more like those of the regulars?

Can anyone recommend a good illustrated book on Prussians uniforms, flags, etc. of 1815?

vtsaogames28 Apr 2006 7:32 p.m. PST

Every musketeer battalion carried a flag.
Reserve units and Landwehr were not supposed to but did anyway.
Officers with Reserve units were seconded from the parent regular regiment and often wore regular uniforms.
Landwehr officers were usually not regular officers and thus wore Landwehr dress.

I suggest the "Prussian Army 1813-1815" by Nash but it is out of print.

Vaubanner graphics makes very nice flags. My Prussians are decked out with them.

Dan Beattie28 Apr 2006 9:56 p.m. PST

The best book I've found for 1815 Prussians is Uniforms of Waterloo in Color by Philip Haythornthwaite (1974). It has lots of good information on former reserve regiments. The Ospreys are accurate but incomplete. and a bit disorganized.

The best source for Prussians is the long-out-print booklet The Prussian Army, 1808-1815 by W. J. Rawkins (1979). You might try contacts in the UK to get it. It's worth the effort.

Digby Smith's The Prussian Army— to 1815 (2004) has some information on flags. Warflags website has the line flags; its landwehr flags are speculative. It's impossible to track down the landwehr and reservist flags; information is very slim. The best selection of flags is from GMB Flags.

I'm doing Prussians of 1813 myself just now, with accompaning periodic headches: it's damn complex!

Dan Beattie28 Apr 2006 9:59 p.m. PST

Try also :


Sir Able Brush29 Apr 2006 3:21 a.m. PST

GMB Flags has done a brilliant job of organising it's products to help you choose the right flag (s) for the righ units. You can find lists here:


beautiful products.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2006 5:05 a.m. PST

G'day, Don.

I'd get the Warrior on the Prussian Infantry by Oli Schmidt. By 1815 some of the old Reserve Regiments had been given "official" uniforms, at least in part, and the older 1813-1814 Reserve Infantry uniforms may not be appropriate. For the flags, there's not much available for cavalry post-1806 (and what little there is is often wrong, including Nash and Rawkins), though the infantry is well covered. Any of the books mentioned above can help and Peter Hofshröer's Osprey on artillery and staff has a good section on the flags.

As for flags, the musketeer battalions of IR 1 to 9 and 11 had them (though 1, 3, 4 and 5 were not present). IR Nr 10 had lost their colours at Etoges, on 14 Febrruary 1814, and these had not been replaced as yet (they were after Waterloo). The other musketeer battalions and the fusilier battalions would start to receive their colours after Waterloo, starting in September.

The LW did not carry colours at Waterloo. Under an army order of October 1813 the carry of unofficial flags was forbidden. So with the main army (I, II and III Corps) the flags of the Reserve and Landwehr were out of the field by November 1813, under threat of confiscation. They may have lasted longer in the IV Corps units, as these were away from the main army.

However, that doesn't stop you from giving your units flags, if you want to (wargamer's licence!). IR Nr 10 was given two of their previously laid up colours while the other regiments received colours identical to the Regimentsfahne carried by IR3 (ie black cross on white field, orange centre with eagle, etc).

For the cavalry only the kürassiere and dragoons carried flags at Waterloo. These all dated from before 1763 and were in fact carried in the SYW. The exceptions are the newly raised DR7 and 8, who didn't get their standards until after Waterloo. They were both issued black standards with red corner flames (from the original DR7 of Fred the Great's time), but I can't be sure whether they got "old" (pre-1742) or "new" (post 1742) designs.

Similarly the hussars, unlans and landwehr all started receiving flags in 1816. These were of new designs and I don't know if anyone makes examples, though you may find them in Franco-Prussian War sets for the Prussians.

When Ioannis posts the flags I did on his webpage there will be notes as to which "SYW-pattern" flags were carried post-1806. Or if you want to check the thumbnails I put up, see link . And as

Hope this helps.


Dan Beattie29 Apr 2006 11:05 a.m. PST

It's unfortunate that in this case, Dal is excessively modest.

He forgot to mention his own brilliant essay on Prussian Napoleonic cavalry flags. They are stiil accurate descriptions, Dal?

Dan Beattie29 Apr 2006 11:06 a.m. PST

Oops, here is the link:


Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP29 Apr 2006 9:20 p.m. PST

G'day, Dan.

Thanks for the kind words, mate. Honestly, I'd forgotten about that article.

The central design on the pre-1742 dragoon fahnen is one area where I have doubts. In the Dessauer Manuscripts it resembles the one on that page I linked to. But a surviving flag in Vienna has an eagle like that used by the curassier standards from pre-1742, but lacking the terrain under the eagle. It's this latter type I used in my article.

I'll probably end uyp doing both types, if Ioannis has the room, so people can decide which they think is correct. If only the French hadn't burned all the captured trophies in 1814….



donlowry30 Apr 2006 3:36 p.m. PST

There weren't any Prussian currassiers at Waterloo (or Wavre or Ligny), were there?

Oliver01 May 2006 1:53 a.m. PST

No, the four cuirassier regiments (the 3 old line cuirassiers, and the newly formed "4. Cuirassier-Regiment") were all part of VI army corps (General Tauentzien von Wittenberg) in 1815.

The "Garde du Corps" was with the "Garde-Brigade"

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2006 2:57 a.m. PST

G'day, Don.

Sorry for the confusion. I meant to type "at the time of Waterloo". As Oli says, they weren't present. Though if you do a Waterloo period Prussian army, there's nothing to stop you fielding the kürassiere and Garde as a "what if….".



donlowry01 May 2006 3:15 p.m. PST

>"…there's nothing to stop you fielding the kürassiere and Garde as a "what if…."<

Very true, and if there is "world enough, and time" I probably will someday. But for now I will start with those units that actually made it to Waterloo (4th Corps, most of 2nd Corps, bits of 1st Corps), then, eventually to the rest of Blucher's army (and Napoleon's Right Wing, and the Allied troops at Hal, etc.), after that perhaps the Prussian 6th Corps and other French and Allied armies of 1815.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2006 2:26 a.m. PST

G'day, Don.

That sounds like a great plan, mate. If you do raise the Garde infantry regiments even the fusilier battalions had colours in 1815, "Napflags" shows the details for them.



donlowry02 May 2006 2:00 p.m. PST

And what about the color-bearers? officers or NCOs?

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2006 3:01 a.m. PST

NCO's, Don. You don't trust officers with anything as important as the colours, guidons and standards. (Or, in our army, you surround Ensigns with armed SNCO's and WO's who will hopefully keep them from making really bad errors grin ).


donlowry04 May 2006 6:58 p.m. PST

Salute when you say that!

Greystreak05 May 2006 2:47 a.m. PST

"Don't salute me, son, I WORK for a living!"


donlowry05 May 2006 2:33 p.m. PST

OK, the NCOs can have the important stuff, like colors, and us officers will take care of the piddly stuff, like rations and grog.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP06 May 2006 1:48 p.m. PST

Salute when you say that!

Yes, Sir! With how many fingers?

OK, the NCOs can have the important stuff, like colors, and us officers will take care of the piddly stuff, like rations and grog.

Bleep! A point to the claret and silverware set.



Idler20326 Oct 2020 8:06 a.m. PST

How have people treated Prussian units without flags? For instance, take the 24th Regt from von Steinmetz 1st Bde at Waterloo:

"The 24. Infanterie-Regiment was formed on 1 July, 1813. The regiment was formed from 3rd East Prussian Reserve Battalion and the 4th and 5th Reserve Battalions of the Leib-Infanterie-Regiment. It was titled 12th Reserve Infantry Regiment at this time and was considered to be an ad-hoc and temporary unit. With the reorganisation of the Prussian army in March 1815, the unit was made a part of the new regular army, taking the title 24th Infantry Regiment on 26 April 1815. The regiment was not officially granted the title "4. Brandenburisches IR Nr 24" until 10 March 1823…. The regiment had no colours until 3 September 1815, when new colours were presented to the unit in Paris. The Duke of Wellington was one of those who was invited to nail the new colours to the colour pike.(

Did units really have no flags? Even if a regt did not have specific colours surely there was a need to be waving around a big piece of cloth as a rallying point? So what to do: run with a standard bearer and no flag, no standard bearer at all or a standard bearer and a best guess for the flag? I am inclined to just stick a green cross white background flag on the unit so it can also serve as generic Prussian.

von Winterfeldt27 Oct 2020 3:54 a.m. PST

the solution is simple, in case they have no colours, no need to invent fantasy rags of gigantic dimensions, the Prussian grenadier battlions of the 7YW did not have colours either.

Camcleod27 Oct 2020 6:37 a.m. PST


I just happened to be finishing off my version of the 24th and was pondering if I should include a standard of some sort.
Officially they didn't carry one, but I decided to include a black cross on white field with a slogan for the 1st Bn. They do look a bit naked without.
Warflag has a few crosses in black/white for Landwehr that could do for the Reserve Regts.
I've also wondered if the Prussians had some sort of company marker flags ? Never came across any.

Oliver Schmidt Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

There is one reference in memoirs for the infantry of Lützow's Freikorps (which also did not have flags), that the colour bearer still served as a marker without carrying a flag.

The Füsilier battalions of the eleven old line regiments and of the two foot guard regiments) also received colours as late as after the 1815 campaign.

Oliver Schmidt Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 6:59 a.m. PST

For the 12. Reserve-Regiment,

on 25 March 1815 it was named: 24. Infanterie-Regiment,

on 16 November 1816 (general introduction of provincial denominations): 24. Infanterie-Regiment (4. Brandenburgisches),

on 10 March 1823 (general abolition of provincial denominations): 24. Infanterie-Regiment.

As late as 4 July 1860, provincial denominations were generally re-introduced, but the details of naming continued to change, see:


Oliver Schmidt Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 7:04 a.m. PST

And no company marker flags.

The only exception I know of is the 3rd battalion of the 3. Ostpreußisches Landwehr-Infanterie-Regiment (formed in 1813 in Königsberg), which originally had them, but their use was quickly forbidden.

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