PRUSSIA – EPAULETES – ONE YEAR VOLUNTEER – 3rd GARDE-ULANEN-REGIMENT IN THE ORIGINAL STORAGE CARTON
These are a very scarce pair of Kingdom of Prussia’s 3rd Garde-Ulanen-Regiment epaulets. This very elite regiment was founded in 1860 during König Friedrich Wilhelm IV’s final year’s reign. His younger brother, Wilhelm I, was serving as regent, until Friedrich Wilhelm’s death in 1861, when he assumed Prussia’s throne as king. Wilhelm I served in this capacity since Friedrich Wilhelm’s 1858 incapacitating stroke. The 3rd Garde-Ulanen-Regiment was garrisoned in Potsdam along with the other elite Garde-Regiments such as the Regiment des Garde du Corps and 1. Garde-Regiment zu Fuß. Like all Garde-Regiments, the 3rd Garde-Ulanen-Regiment was attached to the GardeKorps.
In addition to being from a very elite regiment (the last Garde-Ulanen-Regiment formed), this pair of epaulets is made more special as they belonged to a One-Year-Volunteer (OYV). OYV’s made up the smallest portion of any enlisted men/NCO’s in any regiment. In many cases, there were fewer OYV’s than there were officers. Since Kavallerie Regiments were smaller than Infantry Regiments, even fewer of them were OYV’s.
We have chronicled OYV’s particulars in more detail elsewhere. Briefly, OYV’s generally hailed from middle class families of means. They enlisted for a one-year-period rather than ordinary enlisted men’s two-year enlistments. OYV’s were responsible for their own equipment, to include uniforms and headdresses. They were also responsible for their own housing and meals. In return, they were allowed some latitude in their uniforms’ and headdresses’ embellishments.
Each epaulet’s surface is yellow, with no regimental designation. Its “moon” (metal trim) is silver. Its trim is also silver, which separates enlisted men/NCO’s epaulets from those of officers. Each epaulet sports a silver button inscribed with the number “2.” This indicates Eskadron (Squadron) Nr 2. [Kavallerie Regiments had Eskadrons rather than Kompagnies (Companies)]. Peeking out from under the epaulet’s “tongue” is the black and white cord indicating an OYV. [THIS is what makes these epaulettes so special]. The epaulet’s underside backing is also yellow. Furthermore, we can see the brass clips that allowed the epaulets to slide into place on the man’s ulanka (the special tunic worn only by Ulanen).
Aside from some soiling (due to the yellow material’s light shade), the epaulets are in very fine condition. The final addition to these scarce epaulets is the original storage carton that they came in.
These epaulets are a real find for avid collectors!