Death’s Head pennant from the Marne, and its echos

Leib-Husaren-Regiment Königin Viktoria von Preussen Nr. 2 pennant german hussar captured at Marne 1914This 26-inch long, 13-inch wide cavalry pennant came currently on display at the Imperial War Museum in London may look like it comes from the Napoleonic period but in fact is a century newer.

From 1889 all cavalry units of the Imperial German Army carried lances and each was fitted with a pennant, the colors indicating the state from which the regiment was recruited. The two regiments of “Death’s Head Hussars” were however the exception, having a skull and crossbones (Totenkopf) design. That of 1 Leib-Husaren-Regiment Nr.1 adopted a white Totenkopf on black, whilst 2 Leib-Husaren-Regiment “Königin Viktoria von Preußen” Nr. 2 featured reversed colors, black on white.

On active service the pennant was conventionally rolled around the shaft of the lance.

This lance pennant was picked up on the Battlefield of The Marne in 1914 where both of the above regiments saw action together in the Hussar Brigade.

Transferred to the Eastern Front in autumn 1914, the brigade fought first in Galicia and in the Battle of Riga and were involved in the occupation of the islands Oesel and Dago. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia on 3 March 1918, the units remained as occupation forces in Russia, returning in January 1919 to Danzig, they were disbanded after 178 years service though their lineage, flags, and trophies were retained in the 2nd Squadron of the 5th (Prussian) Reiter (Mounted) Regiment in the Reichswehr stationed at Stolpe throughout the 1920s and 30s.

The Wermacht distanced themselves from much of the old Imperial trappings and the hussars were not reconstituted after 1935– though of course the Totenkopfhusaren skull went on to greater infamy in the Nazi regime.

Princess Viktoria Luise, only daughter and the last child of Wilhelm II, and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, as noted from the unit’s title was the honorary colonel of the regiment and regularly inspected the hussars, complete in her uniform. The unit dated back to 1741 when Fredrick III founded it as Husaren-Regiment (H 5).


Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia wears the uniform of the Leib Husaren Regt Nr. 2. in these photos from around 1910

Princess Victoria Louise of Prussia wears the uniform of the Leib Husaren Regt Nr. 2. in these photos from around 1910

If the busby (fur shako hat) looks familiar, it is very similar to the one was famously worn by 1 Leib-Husaren-Regiments Nr. 1 vet, German Field Marshal August von Mackensen throughout his career.

August von Mackensen in der Uniform des 1. Leib-Husaren-Regiments Nr. 1

Now that’s a mustache only a Kaiser could love. He won the Iron Cross around his throat as a volunteer with the 2nd Life Hussars Regiment during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and went on to command the 1st regiment in 1893, continuing to wear the uniform the rest of his service career. Note the black silk cover denoting the busby is that of the 1st Life Hussars. In the images above the silk is white.

During the Nazi era, Von Mackensen remained a committed and unreformed monarchist and appeared at official functions in his First World War uniform just as a particular “eat shit” to the little corporal. He lived past the last Reich, passing away Nov 1945 at age 95.

Among his nicknames was “The Last Hussar.”

Viktoria Luise, the final Regimentschefin und Oberst à la suite of the Regiment, passed away in 1980 in Hanover, reportedly still quite an equestrian even late into her life.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Writer in Black

News and views from The Writer in Black

Stephen Taylor WW2 Relic Hunter

World War 2 Historian, Relic Hunter and expert in identification of WW2 relics

USS Gerald R. Ford

Mission Ready, Qualified & Competent, On Time Execution!

The Unwritten Record

Exploring History with the National Archives Special Media Division

Stuff From Hsoi

Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.

Louisville Gun

Thoughts and Musings on Gun Control & Crime

Ted Campbell's Point of View

An old soldier's blog, mostly about Conservative politics and our national defence and whatever else might interest me on any given day


Identifying the Best Training, Tools, and Tactics for the Armed Civilian!


Nous Defions!

Under Every Leaf.

A Site for the British Empire 1860-1913


Military wings and things

Western Rifle Shooters Association

They hate you. Plan and act accordingly.

Meccanica Mekaniikka Mecanică

The Mechanix of Auto, Aviation, Military...pert near anything I feel relates to mechanical things, places, events or whatever I happen to like. Even non-mechanical artsy-fartsy stuff.


Where misinformation stops and you are force fed the truth III

The LBM Blogger

Make Big Noise

Not Clauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist who fled the toxic Smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat-wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Coastal Elite Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~ with guns, off-road moto, boulevardier-moto, moto-guns, snorkeling, snorkel-guns, and home-improvement stuff.

%d bloggers like this: