Black Brunswickers

A statue of Frederick William, located in Braunschweig
Braunschweiger Totenkopf (Brunswick skull) badge
Soldiers of the Leib-Bataillon with their distinctive horse hair plumes.
Brunswick line infantry at Quatre-Bras. Jagers of the advance guard are on the left.
Brunswick Oels infantry and sharpshooters (right), 1809
Brunswick Oels uhlans (left) and a hussar, 1809
The Black Brunswicker by John Everett Millais, painted in 1860

The Brunswick Ducal Corps (Herzoglich Braunschweigisches Korps), commonly known as the Black Brunswickers in English and the Schwarze Schar (Black Troop, Black Horde, or Black Host) or Schwarze Legion (Black Legion) in German, were a military unit in the Napoleonic Wars.

- Black Brunswickers

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War of the Fifth Coalition

European conflict in 1809 that was part of the Napoleonic Wars and the Coalition Wars.

Strategic situation in Europe in February 1809
The general situation from 17 to 19 April involved the Austrians moving towards the strategic city of Regensburg in hopes of attacking the isolated French III Corps.
The Landshut Maneuver and the expulsion of Austrian forces from Bavaria
The strategic situation and the Battle of Aspern-Essling on 22 May 1809
The strategic situation and the Battle of Wagram in early July 1809
A depiction of the evacuation from Walcheren
A depiction of the Battle of the Basque Roads
A 1901 depiction of Tyrol rebels

Austrian invasions of the Duchy of Warsaw and Saxony (where they fought alongside the Black Brunswickers) were repulsed and they were driven out of their territories in Italy.

Battle of Quatre Bras

Fought on 16 June 1815, as a preliminary engagement to the decisive Battle of Waterloo that occurred two days later.

Quatre Bras (Black Watch at Bay) by William Barnes Wollen in the collection of Black Watch Museum.
Map of the Waterloo campaign
The Prince of Orange (1815)
Brunswickers during the Battle of Quatre-Bras.
The Prince of Orange leads his Dutch troops at Quatre-Bras
The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras - (at approximately 17:00) - Elizabeth Thompson - (1875)
Monument erected in remembrance of the battle
Monument to the British and Hanoverian Troops.
Brunswick Monument.
Monument to the Dutch Cavalry regiments.
Monument to the Belgians.

The Brunswick Corps, under the Duke of Brunswick, now reached the field, but their commander received a mortal wound while leading a charge and the attack failed.


German word for the skull and crossbones symbol.

August von Mackensen, German field marshal in hussar full dress prior to 1914, with the Totenkopf on his fur busby
Hussar from Husaren-Regiment Nr.5 (von Ruesch) in 1744 with the Totenkopf on the mirliton (Ger. Flügelmütze)
Totenkopf badge worn by the Brunswick Leibbataillon ("Life-Guard Battalion") at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
German Empire era Totenkopf
A Garford-Putilov Armoured Car used by the Freikorps in 1919, with a Totenkopf painted on the side.
Infante Fernando wearing the uniform of Spain's 8th Light Armoured Cavalry Regiment "Lusitania", 1915
Australian commandos in New Guinea, 1945
Calico Jack Rackham's flag
Emanuel Wynne's flag
Stede Bonnet's flag
Depiction of Stede Bonnet's flag as described in a report from the 1718 Boston News-Letter<ref>{{cite web| title = Pirate Flags| author = Ed Foxe| date = 2005-01-17| url =| access-date = 2007-07-12| url-status = dead| archive-url =| archive-date = 2008-01-15}}</ref>
Edward England's flag
Insignia for the USMC Marine Raiders
The first version of the SS-Totenkopf; used from 1923 to 1934
The second version of the SS-Totenkopf; used from 1934 to 1945
Junkers Ju 88 of Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG 54) in France, November 1940
The "standalone" version of the WW II Luftwaffe KG 54 wing's dead's head unit insignia
German Panzer totenkopf
German SS uniform. Peaked visor cap with skull emblem (Totenkopf)
A French {{lang|fr|Hussard de la mort}} (1792)
Alexander Ypsilantis, founder of the military force The Sacred Band, shown wearing the fighting force's uniform, complete with mandible-less totenkopf. (1821)
Spanish Carlist flag (1838)
Cap badge of the British 17th Lancers
Swedish hussars in 1761
Kornilov's Shock Detachment flag bearer and honor guard (1917)
Pin worn by veterans of the Battle of Lwów. The G.S. stands for Góra Stracenia (Execution Mount) (1918)
Polish Voluntary II Death Squad in Lviv, Ukraine (1920)
The "death's head" was the insignia of Polish Death Hussar Divisions, 1920 (Polish–Soviet War)
Helmet of a Finnish Light detachment 4 (World War II) in skeletal paint scheme.
Insignia of the Estonian Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion
Stylized Totenkopf on shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Air Force 400th Missile Squadron uniform sometime between 1995 and 2005
United States Army’s 24th Infantry Regiment's "Deuce four skull" symbol used to mark buildings where enemy combatants had been killed in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004)
Totenkopf inspired patch depicting Punisher (Marvel character) skull symbol, without optional leg bones, worn by US Navy SEALs (2012)
Insignia of the Syrian Republican Guard (2021)
Peaked visor cap of the Sicherheitsdienst SD with skull emblem. Norwegian Armed Forces Museum, Oslo, Norway.(1936)
Official logo of the Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (FAES), command of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), Venezuela (2016)
"Thin blue line" variation of the totenkopf used on police vehicles in Solvay, New York.(2017)
Armored personnel carrier used by the Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (BOPE). According to the official BOPE website, the logo represents victory over death.<ref>{{cite web|url=|title=Símbolo - BOPE - Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais|access-date=11 May 2015|archive-url=|archive-date=25 February 2016|url-status=dead}}</ref> (2018)
Challenge coin used by the Firearms Training branch of the Calgary Police Service. (2020)<ref>{{Cite web|url=|title='Unbelievably inappropriate': Calgary police prohibit distribution of 'offensive' coin}}</ref>

The Brunswick corps was provided with black uniforms, giving rise to their nickname, the Black Brunswickers.


City in Lower Saxony, Germany, north of the Harz Mountains at the farthest navigable point of the river Oker, which connects it to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser.

Dankwarderode Castle
Brunswick in the 16th century, from the Civitates orbis terrarum by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg.
Brunswick Cathedral, St. Blasius, with lion statue
Landschaftliches Haus, Landtag building of the Duchy and the Free State of Brunswick.
Braunschweig around 1900
Braunschweig on the night of 15 October 1944
Pedestrian zone in the city centre
Tram in Braunschweig
Braunschweig University of Technology
1904 postcard showing typical food of Braunschweig
Piëta, by Menashe Kadishman, Braunschweig
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
Villa Salve Hospes
The first German version of the rules of football by Konrad Koch
Eintracht-Stadion, the stadium of 3. Liga club Eintracht Braunschweig
Burgplatz, with Castle, Cathedral, lion, and Town Hall.
Brunswick Lion, original on display in castle museum.
Town Hall
Veltheimsches Haus (left) and Gildehaus (right)
Altstadtmarkt, with Old Town town hall (left) and Stechinelli-Haus
Church of St. Martin
Altstadt ("Old Town")
Haus zum Stern on Kohlmarkt
Church of St. Catherine and Henry the Lion's Fountain
St. Magnus' Church
Happy Rizzi House
Alte Waage
Church of St. Giles
State Theatre
Rebuilt exterior of Brunswick Palace
Schloss Richmond (Richmond Palace)
Riddagshausen Abbey
Boroughs of Braunschweig
Stadtteile of Braunschweig
Östliches Ringgebiet
Westliches Ringgebiet
Riddagshausen (Wabe-Schunter-Beberbach)

The exiled Duke Frederick William raised a volunteer corps, the Black Brunswickers, who fought the French in several battles.

Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

German prince and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Oels.

Painting by Johann Christian August Schwartz, 1809
Statue of Frederick William at Braunschweig, by Ernst Julius Hähnel
Tod des Schwarzen Herzogs (German: "Death of the Black Duke") at the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815. An 1835 painting by Friedrich Matthäi now displayed in the Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum.
Tomb of Frederick William, in the crypt of Brunswick Cathedral

Nicknamed "The Black Duke", he was a military officer who led the Black Brunswickers against French domination in Germany.


Tall, cylindrical military cap, usually with a visor, and sometimes tapered at the top.

A French Naval Fusilier's shako, c. 1830
Members of the Hungarian Károlyi Hussar Regiment wearing shakos, 1849.
Portrait of George Anthony Legh Keck holding a shako
Shako of the French Royal Guard as worn from 1816 to 1830.
Swedish shako m/1815 of the Kronoberg Regiment, worn from 1815 to 1831.
Depiction of Prince Albert demonstrating the Albert shako for the British Army
Photo portrait of Alfred Redl, an Austrian military officer, in a shako, 1907.
Members of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band wearing shakos.

This style of shako was worn by the Black Brunswickers alongside shakos of the Austrian pattern.

7th Infantry Division (United Kingdom)

Infantry division of the British Army, first established by The Duke of Wellington as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army for service in the Peninsular War, and was active also during the First World War from 1914 to 1919, and briefly in the Second World War in 1939.

The divisional insignia during the First World War (1916 onwards)
Column of the 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders marching to the trenches along the Becordel–Fricourt road, France, October 1916.

Brunswick Oels

The Black Brunswicker

Painting by John Everett Millais.

It was inspired in part by the exploits of the Black Brunswickers, a German volunteer corps of the Napoleonic Wars, during the Waterloo campaign and in part by the contrasts of black broadcloth and pearl-white satin in a moment of tender conflict.

Battle of Halberstadt

The Battle of Halberstadt took place on 29 and 30 July 1809 at Halberstadt in the Kingdom of Westphalia, during the War of the Fifth Coalition.

Plan of the storming of Halberstadt
An artist's impression of Duke Frederick William leading the storming of Halberstadt. Engraving by Hermann Lüders (1836–1908) published in 1870.
An artist's impression of Brunswick line infantry (left) and sharpshooters (right), as they appeared in 1809

A Westphalian infantry force attempted to halt the Black Brunswickers under Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel who were heading for North Sea coast.

Kampfgeschwader 54

Luftwaffe bomber wing during World War II.

Rotterdam's burning city centre after the bombing.
Heinkel He 111Ps equipped KG 54 in May 1940 - the displayed aircraft nears KG 4's wing insignia.
Junkers Ju 88 of Kampfgeschwader 54 (KG 54) in France, November 1940

The Totenkopf motif was inspired by the Braunschweiger Black Hussars.