Friday, 28 August 2015

The Black Hussars – HR5 von Ruesch

The Black Hussars in a wild charge.
The Minden miniatures are full of details and animation.

As my 15mm WW2 collection is reaching a playable size; I look ahead to new projects for the fall and winter. One project that has been earmarked for expansion in 2015 is my WAS/SYW collection. Having been a long standing fan of Minden Miniatures and the sculpting style of Richard Ansell, I found it hard to resist their excellent Prussian hussars, which come in the variation of both mounted and dismounted/skirmishing.

Inspiration.

Having decided to start out with the mounted unit, the choice of what regiment to actually paint was really not that hard. As a kid, when reading about Frederick the Great for the first time, and studying the uniform plates of Preben Kannik, I was fascinated by the Black Hussars and their scull-marked mirliton.

Knötel's take on the HR5.

The Black Hussars was first raised in 1741 as part of the Prussian cavalry reformation, by taking a squadron of trained cavalrymen from the HR1 as a core supplement to the fresh recruits. They would become the 5th hussars regiment to be added to the ranks of Frederick’s growing army. The HR5 prefix is interesting, as it was the unglamorous and numbering system devised by the Prussian army’s Grand Old Man – Fürst von Anholt-Dessau a.k.a “Der alte Dessauer”, revealing the very pragmatic DNA of Prussian military values.

Another view of the unit.
I'm basing cavalry on 60x60mm bases from Warbases
with those nicely rounded corners.

During the War of Austrian Succession (Branching First & Second Silesian War) the unit served with distinction in the second part, particularly during the Battle of Hohenfriedberg and Hennersdorf. The nickname “Black Hussars” or even “Totenköpfe” was earned, and stuck all the way up to the elimination of the state/name Prussia after WW2. 

One of Preben Kannik's fantastic uniform plates.

Later during the Seven Years War, with Frederick hard pressed in a two-front war, the HR5 would be divided and serve simultaneously in both the eastern and western theatre, playing an active part in battles such as Zorndorf, Kunersdorf and of course the battle of Minden.

The Black Hussars as they looked later during the Franco-Prussian War.

In 1808 the regiment had become somewhat of a Prussian legend, and thus was elevated to official Leib-Hussaren (Royal Guard Hussars), a prominence they would keep through the Franco-Prussian War, on to the First World War while ending as a relic of the old Empire under the Nazi rules during the Second World War.

Here are some of the regiments most famous people

Prince Friedrich-Charles of Prussia.
(Franco-Prussian War)

Kaiser Wilhelm II (WW1)

Kaiser Wilhelm's son, Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (WW1)

General von Mackensen.
Famous WW1 General and author of two books on the Black Hussars.


Thank you very much for reading!

33 comments:

  1. Gorgeous! A fantstic post for this famous unit!

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    Replies
    1. Merci Phil, yes - I'm thinking these should be done also for the Franco-Prussian project, seems like they are a "must-have" for the Prussian player.

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  2. Fantastic brushwork as always! As a gamer and figure painter, the Death's Head Hussars will always be an attractive option for the painting table.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree, legendary unit and as you say attractive to paint!

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  3. Oooh, a favorite unit of mine - love the black and death's heads. That said, I've never painted up a unit of these - I have one 120mm Verlinden Napoleonic Leib Hussar (missing a hand :) ) http://www.displacedminiatures.com/Hachimantaro/image/1568/13161/

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    Replies
    1. Very nice Dean - I have a few Verlinden HYW products myself, and they are fantastic to work on. I'll have to check if they do anything for the Franco-Prussian period...

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  4. Remarkable work. Congratulations! 8)

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    Replies
    1. Cheers Klingula - they are great and crisp sculpts, and the horses are fantastic. Among the best metal casts I've painted.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Micke, couldn't resist the death scull logo as the first cavalry unit to do for my SYW collection! More on the way :0)

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  6. Lovely animated sculpts with great brushwork. Really nice touch (and clever!) with the semigloss boots.
    /Mattias

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh, you noticed :0) Thanks Mattias, really appreciate it. Do you remember the old Revell SYW range in 1/72? These Black Hussars were my favorite from that range too!

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  7. What about Princess Victoria Louise!! :-)

    Definitely one of my favorites and you have done them justice. Excellent job on these.

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    1. Thank a lot Jason, and you're right about Victoria Louise, there were actually a few very good pics of her when I researched the unit. I'm doing a dismounted unit later, and promise she will adorn that blog post with a reference :0)

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  8. A beautifully painted unit.

    Look forward to following your 18th century project.

    Regards
    John

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the visit and the comment John. I can promise more is on the way in terms of Frederick's army. Initially I'll focus on the Battle of Hochfriedberg, so next up is the Bayreuth Dragoons :0)

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  9. Lovely work, and I see that you've been won by the rounded bases :-)

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    1. Thanks Stephen, and yes the rounded corners are visually very attractive and blends in better on the table I think. I first started out with the Victrix 40x40mm plastic bases for Napoleonic infantry, but for the larger formats, like these 60x60mm, Warbases is my preferred supplier.

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  10. That's some spectacular painting once again! And you really should do a how to on your way to paint horses... I know, I know... I just bought a Panzer III to do my part in exchange ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks M, and you're right I've promise that Horse-painting guide for way too long. I'll further define my promise to say that I'll be adding that during september then :0)

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  11. These are great Soren, you done a great paint job, and i love all the horse colours. You have to say it, that Scull badge looks mighty menacing!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Chris, and yes - even the happy Crown Prince Friedrich gets a sinister look to him with that hat ;0)

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  12. Superb work as always Sören – those dappled horses are excellent! – and some interesting bits of history as well.

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    1. Thanks for the nice comment Jonas, I've promised to add a horse-painting tutorial in September so I'll probably include a few variants of horses (incl. that dappled version).

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  13. Oh these are simply fantastic! You nailed the black right on the head and of course your small history lessons are pleasure to read.

    Christopher

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