Ottoman Uniforms
Ottoman Uniforms

BOSNIAK LANCER CORPS (1745-1786)

In 1740s the Prussian Bosniaken Korps, which was initially composed of former Ottoman cavalry adopted a uniform, very similar to the 18th century Polish Janissary (which it used till around 1786), in particular (see Right) [1] [2]:

  • Short sleeved open over coat, with lace chest loops.
  • Domed fez, and turban – which is seen in some illustrations of the officers in the Polish Janissary.

In 1744, preparing for a new war, Saxon military emissaries were sent to the Ukraine in 1744 to recruit men for the cavalry.

  • 100 Bosniaks – light horsemen armed with lances, who were guarding the Turkish border in the Ukraine, were lured from the Turkish army.

The Bosniaks came to Dresden, and three Prussian emissaries in Saxony successfully recruited them.

The Prussian Army, founded in 1745, a regular Bosniaken Korps, one troop in strength, which became part of the 5th (Black: Totenkopf) Hussars.

  • In 1756, Prussia expanded the Bosniaken Korps, recruiting light horsemen from the east – Poles, Lithuanians, Tartars and Muslims; and by 1760, the corps had grown to 10 squadrons, and were converted to the 9th regiment.
  • In 1763, the regiment was reduced to one squadron, used for ceremonial purposes.
  • In 1771-1778, they were formed into a separate regiment, titled ‘Regiment Bosniaken Nr 9.’ This regiment contained mainly recruits from the Ukraine and Poland.

Prussia later recruited 15 squadrons of light horsemen from Poland, and continued to call these the ‘Bosniaks’; however, as these were mostly Poles, the unit was renamed the ‘Korps Towarczys’, in 1799. This corps was disbanded after the Prussian defeat by Napoleon in 1806.

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[1] There was also a unit of Danish Bosniak Lancers around 1801, who wore a similar uniform to the original Prussian Bosniaken Korps (Right): There was only one squadron of these lancers. They were named Jyske Lanselegion, and were formed to protect the Jylland from Cossack patrols.  The Danish bosniaks were Danes, but their weapons and uniforms where modelled after the Polish originals and were called bosniaks.

[2] The Freikorps von Kleist Uhlanen: Polish lancers (1760-1763) wore a very similar green uniform, incorporating the same features.

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