Gotleib Graf von Haesler (1836-1919) was an important figure in the Prussian army from 1853 when he became a Leutnant in a Husaren-Regiment at the age of seventeen. Following this he served in the second Danish-Prussian War of 1864, Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. During the Franco-Prussian War he received not only the 1870 Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class but in 1873 the Orden Pour le Mérite.
At the time that he was a Major during and after the Franco-Prussian War he received his first regimental command which was Ulanen-Regiment Graf von Haesler (This regiment was named for him later, not in the 1870’s.) Nr 11. This regiment was founded in 1860 and was garrisoned at Saarburg where it was attached to the XXI. Armeekorps.
In the following years he assumed greater and greater responsibility and commanded larger bodies of troops. He also spent time in Berlin doing staff work at the Great General Staff. His final command was from 1890 to 1903 where he commanded the XVI. Armeekorps as a Generaloberst. Two years after his retirement in 1905, he was promoted to the rank of Generalfeldmarschall by Kaiser Wilhelm II. He was also ennobled by a grateful Kaiser. While he did not receive and active command during WW I due to his age he was tasked with being a military adviser to an army commander. Even in his 80’s he was active and diligent and even spent time at the front to better see what was happening and the reaction of troops. He survived the war and died in 1919.
We share with you an ulanka which was once his. It is tailored from the finest blue wool, dark blue. It is in very fine condition with a limited number of moth nips none of which are detractive to the overall condition of the tunic. There is bright yellow trim extending down the center of the tunic on both sides, skirt, sleeves, and collar. There are twin rows of brass buttons down the center with another high another pair high up. Those buttons are for decoration only as the buttons on the right open the ulanka. There is one button on each of the sleeves.
One of the most astounding features of this ulanka are the number of sewn in loops that can be seen. To begin we start with the loops for his ribbon or medal bar. There are no less than ELEVEN sewn in loops. There is also a small set of loops on the right side of the tunic which.
Then there are a further set of three sewn in loops on the left breast. These are certainly large enough for breast stars and probably too large for his 1870 Iron Cross 1st Class. Remember this was a HIGHLY decorated officer before his retirement.
The back of the tunic is also quite striking with its yellow trim and six brass buttons. Turning to the interior we see a complete interior which is a combination of red and black silk. High up on the collar are some numbers which I believe are from a museum. In the sleeve there is a black rubber stamp which consists of “GHT” with a crown in a circle over the letters. I believe this is an informal tailor mark or perhaps something a later collector added. There is another series of numbers inside the right sleeve which I also believe to be from a museum. Inside the tunic there are three pockets. Two are small and in the lower part of the tunic. There is a larger pocket over the left breast where he might have carried documents or perhaps cigars.
By now you have noticed that I have failed to describe the shoulder boards. I have saved the best for last. As previously stated he had commanded Ulanen-Regiment Graf von Haesler Nr 11 which was named in his honor after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. These large and impressive shoulder boards measure 5” x 2.5″ and are of the slip on variety. Each bear the crossed batons of a Generalfeldmarschall AND the numeral “11″ for the regiment. A further confirmation that this tunic was indeed his and for HIS regiment.
This is a very important historical tunic.
While we often see tunics to infantry, artillery, etc. Generals I can assure you that there were very few Ulanen Generals. Also included are five postcards of the Generalfeldmarschall in various poses.