This regiment was the oldest of the Austrian army. It was raised in 1618 for the general of cavalry Heinrich du Val count Dampiere and took his name. It initially was under pay of Cosimo II of Medici. It soon had the opportunity to show its bravery and acquired great fame when, on June 6 1619, Kaiser Ferdinand II met 16 Austrian deputations requiring some accomodements. During these negotiations, the impertinent Andreas Thonradel seized the emperor by his waistcoat saying “Ferdinand will you not sign!”. The trumpets of the regiment immediately sounded. The inhaber of the regiment, general count Dampiere, sent colonel Gebhardt baron Saint-Hilaire with 500 of his cuirassiers towards Vienna where the deployed on the town place. The frightened deputies fled and Kaiser Ferdinand II thanked the brave cuirassiers who had saved him. In recognition for this action the monarch gave to the regiment the marked privilege of, when under duty, marching at the sound of trumpets and with flying standards through the Hofburg and Residenzstadt. Furthermore the regiment was allowed to deploy on the Hofburgplatz (now Franzensplatz) and to set up tables for recruitment on this same place. The commander of the regiment had his quarters in the Hofburg, bringing with him the standards of the regiment. The commander of the regiment was also allowed to present himself in full arms to the Kaiser. The regiment also received the assurance that it would never be disbanded or reduced. Finally, no member of the regiment could be executed for a crime. Exceptionally, when someone had to receive death punishment, he had to be transferred to another regiment before the execution of the sentence. These privileges were maintained by the successors of Ferdinand II.
In 1626, the unit was converted into a cuirassier regiment.
In 1626, the unit was converted into a cuirassier regiment.
In 1631, the regiment was brought back to full strength (10 coys). It took part to all the campaigns of the Thirty Years' War, participating to the battles of Leipzig (1631), Lützen (1632) and Nördlingen (1634).
From 1673, the regiment took part to the campaigns against the French on the Rhine. In 1674, it fought at the battle of Sinzheim under the command of the duke of Bournonville. In 1675, it fought at Altenheim. In 1676, it took part to the siege of Philippsburg.
In 1683, the regiment took part to the campaign against the Turks. It was at Vienna during the siege of the city. On August 18, the colonel (and owner) of the regiment, baron Ludwig Dupigny, with 60 cuirassiers, without orders from the commander of the place, attempted a sortie. Dupigny, the Rittmeister (squadron leader) Chavellico de Chovari and 30 cuirassiers were killed during this failed attempt. However, the Turks lost even more men. Later during the siege, Rittmeister Dudare was also killed. In 1684, the regiment was at the siege of Ofen. In 1686, it took part to the expedition in Upper Hungary and to the encounter of Szegedin. In 1687, it was at the battle of Mohacs, in 1688 at the siege of Belgrade, in 1689 at the encounter of Patacin. At the engagement of Nissa, it was part of the rearguard under general Veterani which saved the artillery and baggage train from the attacking Turks. In 1691, it fought in the battle of Salankamen. In 1692, it took part to the attempt against Gyula and to the siege of Gross wardein.
In 1701, at the beginning the War of the Spanish Succession, the regiment left its quarters at Enns in Upper Austria and marched towards Italy by Salzburg and Tyrol. At this time it consisted of 12 companies of 100 horse each. The train of prince Eugen of Savoy accompanied the regiment. On August 16, lieutenant-colonel count Mercy engaged the enemy near Pontoglio while reconnoitring its positions. In Sepember, Rittmeister Hautefort took some prisoners during another engagement. On October 5, at the head of a small force of infantry and cavalry (about 1,400 men) fought an engagement near Pizzighelone. On November 17, Rittmeister Hautefort led a successful raid against the enemy headquarters. On February 1 1702, the regiment took part to the assault of Cremona where count Mercy distinguished himself so much that he soon received the colonelcy of a newly raised regiment. On August 15 of the same year, the regiment fought at the battle of Luzzara. During the campaign of 1703, it served in the army of count Guido Starhemberg. In 1705, it fought at the battle of Cassano where its Inhaber prince Josef Lothringen was mortally wounded. In 1706, the regiment took part to the relief of Turin. In 1707, it was trnsferred to Hungary to fight the local insurrection. In 1712, it was in the Netherlands at the sige of Quesnoy.
In 1716, the regiment participated to the campaign against the Turks where it fought at the battle of Peterwardein and besieged Temesvar. In 1717, it took part to the siege of Belgrade in general Martigni's Corps. It also fought in the battle of Belgrade on August 16.
During the War of the Polish Succession, the regiment initially served on the Rhine against France in 1734 and 1735. Saint-Germain, the future French minister of War under Louis XVI, then served as Rittmeister in the regiment.
During the war against the Turks, the regiment fought in the engagement of Timok in 1737. The same year, it protected the artillery and baggage trains during the retreat from Fort Elisabeth. In 1738 it participated to the engagement of belgrade and, in 1739, to the battle of Krotzka where it suffered very heavy losses (its colonel, 5 squadron leaders, 4 officers and 92 men killed, 5 officers and 76 men wounded).
At the beginning of the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was stationed in Hungary. In 1741, it was at the battle of Mollwitz. On May 17 1742, it fought at the battle of Czaslau. Later the same year, it was at the siege of Prague. During the campaigns of 1743 and 1744, the regiment was assigned to the army of prince Carl von Lothringen and served on the Rhine. In 1745, it fought at Hohenfriedberg (June 4) and Soor (September 30). At the end of the war, it was stationed in Hungary.
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment inhaber was:
until 1756: count zu Hohen-Ems
1756: Erzherzog Ferdinand
from 1761 to 1780: Erzherzog Maximilian von Habsburg-Lothringen
During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:
since 1747: Christian baron Kölbel
1757: Franz count Thurn-Valsasina
1758: Hieronymus Minutillo
1760: Franz Josef baron Reischach