The Bromberg Trophies 1657


In early February 1657, Polish forces under the command of General Czarniecki on their way to Danzig to retrieve King Jan Casimir overran a Swedish force near Bromberg (Bydgoszcz) in Poland. The Poles captured nine cavalry standards and four dragoon colours, which are described in some detail in Theatrum Europeaum, VII, pages 1059 and 1060. One of the cavalry standards belonged to the Konigsmarck Cavalry Regiment, a Swedish enlisted regiment. The other eight standards are Brandenburg in origin as they bear the name of the Kurfürst, Friedrich Wilhelm, and that of his new, very young son, the Kurprinz Carl Æmil (born 1655). Georg Tessin and others have identified these standards as belonging to a Regiment zu Pferde under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Georg Friedrich von Kanitz.

In an agreement signed on 17th January 1656 with King Carl X Gustav of Sweden, Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm agreed to provide 500 cavalry and 1,000 infantry to Sweden. The cavalry unit designated was, according to Jany and Tessin, that of von Kanitz. In early 1656, Kanitz' regiment contained only four companies, and throughout its service was only referred to as a "squadron". This begs the question, then why eight standards? In all probability, the original plan was to form a complete regiment of eight companies, and eight standards were obtained. When the unit entered Swedish service, it was incomplete, and never had the opportunity to complete the remaining four companies. The standards for these intended companies were probably carried in the unit's train. A subsequent agreement between the Elector and King of Sweden on 20th November 1656 transferred the unit to Sweden and it was dropped from the Brandenburg rolls. Neither Jany nor Tessin specify that there was a that there was a Kurprinz cavalry regiment with Carl Æmil as Colonel-Proprietor. Perhaps Kanitz was trying to honor the new Kurprinz, or gain favor with the Elector by using the name of the Kurprinz on the standards.

The dragoon colours are more difficult to assign. One of the colours bears the letters: C. Æ. C. L. Z. B. These possibly mean Carolus Æmiliius Churfürst Latens (in waiting?) Zu Brandenburg, which would indicate that it is Brandenburg in origin. Since the other three colours are similar in appearance, they all probably belong to the same unit. Tessin indicates that there was a Regiment Dragoner Elias von Kanitz that was raised in 1655, and that it consisted of four companies; however, neither he nor Jany indicate that it was ever in Swedish service. The fact that one colour bears the initials of the Kurprinz would seem to tie it to the cavalry standards. It was not uncommon at the time to have a number of dragoon companies as part of a cavalry regiment. There was a need for mobile firepower during the war in Poland, and in fact, infantry were often converted to dragoons for that purpose. Perhaps these dragoon companies were raised from the Brandenburg Regiment zu Fuß von Kalckstein, which entered Swedish service at the same time as the Regiment zu Pferde von Kanitz. In any case, we will probably never know for certain.

Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Robert Hall for his invaluable advice and technical assistance in producing the two plates that accompany this article.


Northern Wars

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