Uniform of Landwehr cavalry officers

Uniform of Landwehr cavalry officers Model 1868

Landwehr Kavallerie Plate 1

Kingdom of Prussia

Uniform and equipment of Prussian Landwehr cavalry officers (Landwehr-Kavallerie-Offiziere) was regulated by the Supreme Cabinet Order (Allerhöchste Kabinettsorder) of April 11, 1868. The tunic (Waffenrock) of line Infantry was introduced but traditional cuffs were changed to those of Lancers. Upper and front parts of stand-up collar as well as cuffs had a 2,25 cm wide gilt patterned braid bordered with a thin silk crimson cord. Guard Landwehr officers had distinctive gilt Litzen on cuffs and collar, while cavalry officers from Provincial Landwehr (Provinzial-Landwehr) had a thin gilt cord forming an eyelet on rounding and an intricate “Hungarian knot” (“ungarische Knoten”) made of same cord right below the cuff button.

Shoulder pieces (Achselstücke), epaulettes and shoulder straps, or passants (Passanten) were the same as for line Infantry officers. Epaulettes had crimson underlay, while their field colour as well as that of base of shoulder pieces depended on the particular Army Corps a Landwehr cavalry unit belonged to. The following colour scheme was instituted: white – I, II, IX and X Army Corps, crimson – Guard, III, IV and XI; yellow – V, VI and XIV (Supreme Cabinet Order of February 15, 1877); blue – VII, VIII and XV Army Corps. 

Gilt metal number of the Army Corps in Arabic numerals was attached to epaulettes and shoulder pieces.

Prussian Landwehr cavalry officers wore Lancers frock coat (Überrock), paletot (Paletot) and overcoat (Mantel) with gilt buttons and crimson branch colour. Frock coat had no passants as only shoulder pieces were worn with that type of uniform.

According to an Order of September 23, 1870, Prussian Landwehr cavalry officers wore Dragoon’s footgear and trousers. Supreme Cabinet Order of February 17, 1870 introduced long gala trousers (Lange Gala-Beinkleider). They were sewn of dark-blue cloth, but instead of traditional red piping trousers had 1,5 cm wide gilt patterned braid similar to that on cuffs and collar.

Cavalry officers of Prussian Landwehr wore Dragoon’s spiked helmet with gilt metal fittings. Supreme Cabinet Order of August 10, 1886 authorized white plume made of horse hair to be worn by Guard officers together with a specific eagle (Garde-Landwehr-Adler) that had a star made of German silver and gilt Landwehr cross (Landwehrkreuz). Provincial Landwehr officers wore black plume and had a Dragoons’ eagle (Dragoner-Adler) without band and inscription but with a Landwehr cross made of German silver.

Sash (Bandelier) and cartouche pouch (Kartuschkasten) with gilt braid were the same as worn by Lancer officers. Cartouche pouches worn by Guards had additional distinction in a shape of  “Guard Landwehr Star” (Garde-Landwehr-Stern) made of silver with gilt Landwehr cross.

Weaponry and riding horse equipment (Reitzeug und Saddelzeug) was the same as those of Lancers. Saddle blanket (Sattelüberdecken) had crimson piping and braid, Guards had “Guard Landwehr Star” on each of four corners.

Grand Duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Landwehr cavalry officers from both Grand Duchies wore uniform described above except the following details. Tunic, paletot, epaulettes and shoulder pieces were of Mecklenburg pattern. Epaulettes had white underlay and crimson field, base of shoulder pieces was white. Arabic number “9” made of gilt metal was fixed to epaulettes and shoulder pieces.   

Mecklenburg-Schwerin officers wore Dragoons officers’ spiked helmet of their state, while those from Mecklenburg-Strelitz – Prussian Dragoons’ pickelhelm with a special star. Black plume was authorized to be worn. Visor cap had Mecklenburg cockade with gilt Landwehr cross.

Sash, cartouche pouch, weaponry as well as riding horse equipment were same as that of Mecklenburg Dragoon officers. However, Mecklenburg-Strelitz officers were equipped with a Prussian cartouche pouch carrying gilt cipher of Friedrich Wilhelm II, Großherzog von Mecklenburg-Strelitz (17.10.1819-30.05.1904) – crowned letters  “FW”.

Grand Duchy of Hesse

Hessian officers of Landwehr units wore Prussian uniform discussed above except several details. Cockades and piping were of state colours. Epaulettes had crimson field but no numbers. Spiked helmet was the same as for Hessian Dragoons with gilt metal fittings. Sash and cartouche pouches also of Hessian pattern.

Grand Duchy of Baden

Officers of Baden Landwehr units wore Prussian uniform discussed above except state cockade, Baden weaponry and North German Confederation-pattern sash and sword-belt (Bundes-Schärpe und Portepee). 

Uniform of Landwehr cavalry officers Model 1910

Landwehr Kavallerie Plate 2

Landwehr cavalry officers except those from the Kingdom of Bavaria wore special uniform that differed from that of their own regiments. Quite the contrary, Bavarian Landwehr cavalry officers wore their regiments’ uniform.

The field tunic of Landwehr cavalry officers was exactly like their pre-war dark blue tunic (Waffenrock) with a stand-up collar and gilt buttons but was made of field-grey cloth with poppy-red edging. Its most distinctive features were Polish cuffs with a border of wide patterned field-grey braid and piped edge. A 7 cm intricate knot (“Schnurknoten”) made of grey cord was situated right below the cuff button. Front and upper parts of a collar also had a special border of wide patterned matt field-grey braid with red piping together with a grey cord forming an eyelet on rounding. 

Guard units of Landwehr cavalry also wore tunic described above but with additional matt-silver Litzen on the collar and cuffs.

Shoulder boards had a base in the color of the Army Corps a Landwehr unit was attached to as well as the gilt number of the Army Corps in Arabic numerals. Before introduction of field uniform M1915/1916 officers from Guard units of Landwehr cavalry wore shoulder boards with scarlet base without any numbers.

Saxon officers had different base colors depending on the Saxon Army Corps a Landwehr unit was attached to. Thus shoulder boards of Landwehr cavalry officers from the XII.(I.Königlich Sächsisches) Armee-Korps had white base, while those from the XIX.(II.Königlich Sächsisches) Armee-Korps had scarlet base.

After new uniform regulations of 1915/1916 became effective, a cornflower-blue base was introduced for all shoulder boards, Army Corps numbers remained as before.

Landwehr cavalry officers wore Dragoons’ spiked helmets with an addition of a metal Landwehr cross in front. Field visor cap had a poppy-red cap band and piping of the same color.

List of WWI Landwehr cavalry units

- Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr.1. Raised on August 02, 1914 as a part of 3.Landwehr Division. Renamed Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment 10 at the end of December 1916.

- Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr.2. Raised on August 02, 1914 as a part of 4.Landwehr Division. Renamed Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment 11 at the end of December 1916.

- Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr.90. Raised in August 1915.

Two units were subsequently raised from the cadre of the above mentioned regiments, viz. Landwehr-Kavallerie-Schützen-Regiment Nr.11 and Landwehr-Kavallerie-Schützen-Regiment Nr.12.

- Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr.91. Raised in August 1915, disbanded in 1918.

- Landwehr-Kavallerie-Regiment Nr.92. Raised in August 1915, disbanded in 1918.

Immediately after the Great War broke out Landwehr cavalry squadrons (Landwehr-Kavallerie-Eskadron) were allotted to Army Corps on August 02, 1914.

- V, XIII and XVIII Army Corps – four squadrons each;

- Guards, II, VI, VII, IX, X, XI, XVII and ХХ – three squadrons each;

- III, VIII, XIV and XIX Army Corps as well as I.Königlich Bayerische Armee-Korps – two squadrons each;

- IV, XII and XXI Army Corps as well as II. and III.Königlich Bayerische Armee-Korps – one squadron each.

All the Landwehr cavalry squadrons were disbanded by October 1916.