Lützow Free Corps
|Lützow Free Corps|
A painting of Jena students in the Free Corps by Ferdinand Hodler
|Country||German Kindom of Prussia|
|Allegiance||Kingdom of Prussia|
|Nickname||Schwarze Jäger (English: Black hunters)|
|Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow|
Lützow Free Corps (German: Lützowsches Freikorps) was a voluntary force of the Prussian army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was named after its commander, Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow. They were also widely known as "Lützower Jäger" or "Schwarze Jäger" (Black Jäger).
The unit was officially founded in February 1813 as Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow (Royal Prussian Free Corps von Lützow). It was alleged to have consisted mostly of students and academics from all over Germany who had volunteered to fight against Napoleon I of France. However, in reality they amounted to no more than 12% of the total force, which consisted mostly of craftsmen and labourers.
Because the Kingdom of Prussia already had problems financing and equipping its regular forces, the volunteers had to equip and supply themselves by their own means, as they were not paid wages. This led to the adoption of black as the colour of the unit's uniforms, because this was the only colour that could be used to dye the civilian clothing; with all other colours the final outcome was influenced by the clothing's original tone, resulting in an unacceptable mix of colours for the corps as a whole.
Red trim was chosen for the rank insignia. With the addition of brass buttons, the unit wore a black-red-gold colour scheme, a combination that became associated with republican ideals.
As the volunteers often had to dress himself, was for the infantry, the volunteer riflemen Detachment and later for the artillery, the tunic - the so-called Polish citizens Rock - elected with 2 folds back and without slot. The tunic was made of black cloth, and the collar and cuffs, a red push was taken of found himself on the front edge of the tunic. On the front 2 rows of eight yellow, raised buttons were installed. The trousers were also in black.
On the officer's uniform of the collar and the cuffs with velvet was reinforced. Volunteers who had a special social status in civilian life, were allowed to wear it as a hunter, the officer's uniform. They could be transported through election to the so-called volunteer officers. The hussars and lancers carried the doll man she often brought from their former units. This was dyed black. The red skirt was waived. The only colors at hussars and lancers were black and white. Officers wore instead of white, silver cords. In addition, the officers still wore black fur. Lützow was wearing the black hussar uniform. Remained an exception to the way the Tyrolean hunters. The unit, which came after the armistice of summer 1813 to volunteer corps were retained by their AKO Tyrolean national dress, a gray suit with green facings and an opened round hat. The formation leader Lieutenant Riedl and Ennemoser have 1809 yet with Andreas Hofer fought for the liberation of Tyrol. To resolve the prevailing lack of uniforms, often private clothing or uniforms were dyed black booty. Nor was the quality of the material is often much to be desired, as each volunteer had to finance their uniforms themselves.
The shako infantry corresponded to that of Schill's corps of 1809. It consisted of a black shako with clasp and a side trip wire and falling hair bush. The cavalry wore a felt shako, which was often worn with a black oilcloth as weather protection. On shako there were a yellow shed schwarzlederner chain and a chin strap. Some cavalry shakos were made by the then scarcity even cardboard. For parades should cavalry still wear a black horse hair hanging bush and a black cordon. The shako models of the Free Corps have been very different. Often was - against superior orders also a symbol of a country club attached to the shako. In the early days the Lutzow also wore a skull on shako, but the decrease was by royal command.
Theodor Körner 
Theodor Körner left Vienna on the 15th of March, 1813, with good recommendations to the most influential men in the Prussian army. On his arrival at Breslau, he found that (the then) Major von Lützow had announced the formation of the free-corps known by name. At his call, young youths poured in, on all sides, to fight for the deliverance of Germany. Volunteers from all classes; official men, authors and artists, last holders, and youths full of hope were assembled in his corps. Theodor Körner felt himself irresistibly attracted towards such a combination, and his joining the corps followed on the 19th of March, at his own request.
The Lützow free-corps distinguished themselves by their gallantry during the remainder of the war, and proved a source of constant annoyance and hostility to the French. They differed from the mass of the army, in that they were a voluntary association, and were also remarkable for superior activity, energy and enterprise. Many of them made a vow to neither cut their hair nor their beards, till they had driven the French out of German lands.
Since the corps was voluntary, black trenchcoats became the uniform, being easy to gain without a large expense. Red trim was chosen for the rank insignia. With the addition of brass buttons, the unit wore a black-red-gold colour scheme, a combination that became associated with republican ideals. Throughout the 19th century, these anti-Napoleonic Freikorps were greatly praised and glorified by German nationalists, and a heroic myth built up around their exploits. This myth was invoked, in considerably different circumstances, in the aftermath of Germany's defeat in World War I.
The average size of the corps was 2,900 infantry, 600 cavalry and 120 artillery, varying throughout the war. It fought in many battles, operating first independently in the rear of the French troops, later as a regular unit in the allied armies.
After the peace of 1814 the corps was dissolved, the infantry becoming the 25th Regiment, the cavalry the 6th Ulans. After Napoleon's return from Elba, both regiments fought at Ligny and Waterloo during the Hundred Days.
The Freikorps were converted into regiment Nr 25 as regular infantrymen. Their composition of units was unique and had the impact of Lützow still. Wearing the same black litwega and shako. The Tyrolean hunters remained unchanged along with Jagers. Freikorps in 1815:
25th Infantry Regiment Later known as: 1st Rhine (from November 5, 1816) [Reforms in 1816] Corps commander: Major von Petersdorff Employees: 3 battalions: 2419 men (82 officers / 2337 troops) 1st Battalion 2nd Battalion 3rd Battalion Notes: The 25th Infantry Regiment replaced the Volunteer Corps of Major General Lützow.
Despite its relatively small size, the corps became famous after the war, as it was the only unit in the army consisting of people from all over Germany. Also, it contained academics, writers and other well known people such as Karl Theodor Körner, Friedrich Friesen, Joseph von Eichendorff and Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. The educator Friedrich Fröbel, who later developed the concept of the kindergarten, also belonged to the corps. In addition, two women, Eleonore Prochaska and Anna Lühring, had managed to join in disguise.
As many Lützow Free Corps veterans took part in the first Wartburg festival of 1817, demanding German unity and democratic reforms, their black-red-gold uniform colour scheme became associated with republican ideals. During the Hambacher Fest of 1832 and Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, flags with these colours were used. This combination, reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, was selected as the official national colours of Germany, as the flag of Germany in 1919, and again in 1949.
- Freikorps Lützow in the Axis History Factbook