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Information on Garde-Dragoner Regiment


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I have a sword inscribed on one side of the blade as follows:

2.D.G.Rgt Kaiserin Alexandra von Russland - in Gothic letters, plus the letter A with what looks like a Russian crown above it. On the reverse side it has the W.K&C mark and there is a row of mounted soldiers plus the insignia Suum Cuique. It has a single eagle basket hilt. I believe that the regimental base was Berlin and it was part of the 3 Garde Kavallerie Brigade. I am also aware that such ornate swords were not uncommon, It would be nice to know if this was a parade/dress or retirement sword and if it belonged to an enlisted man or an officer. There is no discernable personal name inscribed on it anywhere.

More importantly, I am now intrigued and interested to know more about this regiment and its function. The historical dates suggest that the Regiment could not have seen any action (Alexandra married in 1894 and the Revolution was in 1917) . I cannot find any information as to when the regiment took her name, or indeed anything whatsoever about the regiment itself. Regarding any reference points, I regret I speak no German. Can anyone help me flesh out the story of this attractive piece of history please.

Thank you - Apollo

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That is a standard enlisted pattern cavalry sword, with the sort of regimental blade very often found as a souvenir item (a very expensive and impractical souvenir item! :speechless1::cheeky: ) when the draftee had finished his compulsory service years. Any time you find a UNIT specified and no person's name, you know it is this sort of blade.

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Thank you for the information on the sword.

However, my main interest is finding information about this particular regiment. Could any member with specific knowledge of Imperial Prussian Military history advise me of a site I could visit that would at least kick start my own personal research. A broad subject, but everyone has to start somewhere - hence my visit to this recommended forum.

Thank you

Apollo

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Apollo,

You probably already have most of the information that can be related to the sword.

Garde-Dragoner-Regiment Kaiserin Alexandra von Ru?land Nr. 2 was established in Berlin in 1860 and was one of the Imperial German Guards units (whose motto was "Suum Cuique" (To Each His Own) as featured on the sword).

The regiment was named after Empress Alexandra of Russia, born Charlotte, Princess of Prussia, who died in 1860.

Together with its sister regiment Garde-Dragoner-Regiment K?nigin Viktoria von Gro?britannien und Irland Nr. 1, the regiment formed the Berlin-based 3. Garde?Kavallerie?Brigade, which was part of the Garde-Kavallerie-Division at the outbreak of WW1. As the largely static nature of fighting rendered cavalry superfluous in the course of the war, most cavalry formations were reorganised and their various elements were spread among other formations. At least one squadron of the regiment became part of 3. Garde-Infanterie-Division towards the end of World War 1, for example.

As Rick mentions above, the sword was probably kept by a soldier and decorated to commemorate his pre-WW1 military service.

I don't know of any site that contains much specific information on the regiment, but a smattering of German will probably help.

David

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David

Thank you for your reply and the information. The picture is now clearer in my head. Historically I was originally chasing the wrong Tsarina Alexandra thinking that something would show up somewhere down this route, so thanks for putting me right. I doubt that my existing but tiny smattering of German will be of any use to me when it comes to the complexity of terminology - but I shall pursue this project as best I can for my own satisfaction.

Apollo

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Apollo;

There is a fair chance, say 50%, that a unit history exists, given the prominence of the unit, and about a 10% chance that it could be bought on CD.

Unit histories are expensive. Often with old regiments there also are unit histories that extend only to, say, 1900, and these tend to be a lot cheaper, due to the lack of WW I material in them. Sometimes dealers are not completely clear about such histories when they advertize them. Such a history might be a nice companion for your sword, and like the weapon it is probably not a bad investment as well as a collector's item. You never know, you might wake up one day and be able to read German. I taught myself to read it when I was about 61 ("old dogs, new tricks"), and now I read several hours a day, on average.

Bob Lembke

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Bob - Thank you for your interest and the helpful suggestion about seeking out the regimental history. I have started the search already via the computer (the computer being my most recent 'old dog new tricks' learning curve) I suspect that the regimental history search will be very much an ongoing project. Along the way I did find their rather splendid uniform on line which helps to build a picture.

Many thanks again

Apollo

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Dave

Thank you. Your help is much appreciated, especially as I can click into English translations. My main problem is that I find that I am now side tracking into reading everything and find that my interest is expanding way beyond the start point of just one sword and its background.

All very enjoyable. However, if anyone else has any further guidelines/pointers/names that will throw light and add colour to this regiments very early history from 1860 onwards, this information will be more than welcome.

Apollo

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Dave

Thank you. Your help is much appreciated, especially as I can click into English translations. My main problem is that I find that I am now side tracking into reading everything and find that my interest is expanding way beyond the start point of just one sword and its background.

All very enjoyable. However, if anyone else has any further guidelines/pointers/names that will throw light and add colour to this regiments very early history from 1860 onwards, this information will be more than welcome.

Apollo

Geschichte des 2. Garde-Dragoner-Regiments Kaiserin Alexandra von Russland 1860-1902: http://books.google.com/books?id=SVMRAAAAYAAJ

If you can't access the full copy of the book, let me know. To avoid potential overseas copyright issues, Google sometimes limits non-U.S. access to the full text of the books it scans. It is 8.1 megabytes, so I should be able to download it and host it on my website for you to download.

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Dan -

Thank you for your help and very generous offer. As you suspected, I could not download it. My main hurdle is that it only comes in German and I do not speak German. I am now assessing all available options to overcome the linguistic problems which may take me a little while. I certainly do not want to waste your time so until I find a solution, please do not download it for me. I would however appreciate it if you would keep your offer open.

Meanwhile, I am not yet ready 'to fall on my sword' so am taking myself back to 'school' and books to give myself a better grounding in Prussian history of that period, which inevitably will involve military matters.

As the saying goes - from little acorns large oak trees grow.

Thank you again

Apollo

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Apollo;

You should really consider taking a run at German. I taught myself to read it, and the old Suetterlin and Kurrent hand-writing systems, at age 61. I probably now read it on average two hours a day.

Three years ago I met and had with dinner in Dubrovnik a German (literally) brain scientist, and he said that learning a new language is absolutely the most effective brain exercise for keeping the brain functioning at a high level as we age. English is in the family of Germanic languages, I believe, although the one furthest out, and German has the difficult Latin grammar. But there is a lot of shared vocabalary, once, for example, you figure out that "ein Glas Wasser" is "a glass of water".

My wife can and does, literally, read in many dozens of languages, including several ancient languages. She has bought, on average, $10,000 worth of books a day for 30 years, mostly in one of the 297 foreign languages that her library has books in. And she is very English! So she proves that the suspected "English gene" that prevents Brits from reading foreign languages is only a myth.

Bob Lembke

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