“King George Commands And We Obey”: My Seven Years War British Army

Sorry for the sparsity of posts over the last few weeks.  Mrs Fawr has been cracking the whip… 🙁  Thankfully however, my rate of painting has been maintained and I’ve been making good progress on my new ‘Western Allied’ army for the Seven Years War, starting with the British. 

I always like to use a historical order of battle as a ‘To Do’ list, so I arbitrarily picked the  order of battle for the Battle of Minden 1759.  At this stage of the war, the British contingent in Germany was small, consisting of only six infantry battalions, a combined grenadier battalion, six regiments of cavalry and a brigade of artillery.  As the war went on, the British presence in Germany was more than doubled, so there are plenty of further options for army expansion, including Highlanders and Foot Guards.

Above:  At Minden, the British infantry battalions were grouped in two brigades under the command of Major Generals Waldegrave and Kingsley, along with the two battalions of the Hanoverian Foot Guards Regiment, who were attached to the left of Waldegrave’s brigade in the first line (the Hanoverian ‘Hardenberg’ Regiment – not shown here – also somehow became attached).  This force was designated as the 3rd Column, under the command of the Hanoverian General of Infantry Lord August Friedrich von Spörcken

At Minden, Spörcken’s column formed up in its (exposed) allotted position well ahead of the rest of the Allied army.  Then, whether through a misunderstanding of orders or sheer impetuosity, they advanced alone against the entire French army, even leaving behind their regimental artillery in their enthusiasm to get ‘stuck in’!  Immediately taken to task by a huge mass of French cavalry, Spörcken’s infantry, alone and unsupported, completely defeated the French horse, taking numerous standards.  It was an astonishing achievement and won the regiments involved a very well-deserved Battle Honour.  Later in the battle, the British infantry picked roses to wear in their hats as a mark of celebration and the ‘Minden Rose’ has been worn (and even eaten!) by their descendant regiments on Minden Day (1st August) ever since.

Above:  Lord von Spörcken is shown here wearing the regimental uniform of his own Hanoverian ‘Spörcken’ Infantry Regiment (numbered 2-A under the post-war numbering system).  There was no stipulated uniform for British or Hanoverian general officers during this period, so they invariably wore a version of their own regimental uniform.  A 1770 portrait of Spörcken shows him wearing the dark blue facings of the Hanoverian Foot Guards Regiment, of which he became Colonel during the winter of 1760/61. 

The uniform of the ‘Spörcken’ Regiment consisted of the usual British-Hanoverian scarlet coat, with facings and waistcoat coloured ‘pale straw’, with gold buttons, lace and aiguillette.  By 1759 the Hanoverian Army had simplified its infantry uniform somewhat, removing all the extraneous lace edging to lapels, cuffs and waistcoat and just leaving the buttonhole lace.  However, as a general officer, he’s retained some gold lace on his waistcoat.  His breeches are a darker shade of yellow-buff and the yellow sash, worn British-style over the shoulder, was the ‘badge of office’ for Hanoverian officers.  

Above:  Lord von Spörcken.  I couldn’t find information on Hanoverian infantry officers’ horse furniture, but assumed that it followed the British pattern of being coloured according to the regimental facing colour and then edged in the regimental ‘metal’ colour.

Above:  Waldegrave’s Brigade at Minden.  This brigade formed the first line of Spörcken’s command and consisted of the 12th Foot (Napier’s) formed on the right, with the 37th Foot (Stuart’s) in the centre and the 23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers) on the left.  As mentioned above, they were further reinforced on their left by the Hanoverian Foot Guards.

Above:  12th Regiment of Foot (Napier’s).  The standard British infantry uniform of the period was the classic red coat with half-lapels, large cuffs with a deep v-shaped slash, voluminous coat-tails turned back to reveal the lining colour (which always matched the facing colour on cuffs and lapels) and a matching red waistcoat, all very heavily decorated with lace that changed slightly in terms of colour and positioning from regiment to regiment.  Most regiments wore red breeches, though ‘Royal’ regiments wore blue and some regiments wore other unofficial colours.  Gaiters were white for full dress, secured with a black strap under the knee.  However, brown, grey or black gaiters were worn on campaign, with black becoming standard in 1759.  Neck-stocks were white.  Belts were buff (a paler shade than that used by the French).  Hats were always edged in white lace, regardless of the regimental ‘metal’ colour and the only other decoration was a black cockade. 

Officers wore lace of the regimental ‘metal’ colour, as well as an aiguillette on the right shoulder.  Their badge of office was a crimson sash, worn over the right shoulder.  Officers coat-tails were not normally turned back.  Some officers also wore fashionably buff waistcoats.

The 12th Foot had yellow facings and yellow ‘metal’.  Note that the rank-and-file always wore white metal buttons.  Only the officers (and sometimes NCOs) wore buttons of the regimental metal colour.  The regimental lace was white with a wide central yellow stripe, so I was considering painting it in a pale yellow shade, but in the end just went with plain white.

Above:  12th Regiment of Foot (Napier’s).  Note that the tail-pockets were edged with the regimental lace and the cuffs had a ‘ladder’ of buttonhole lace running up the lower sleeve.  This was the most common arrangement of lace on British infantry uniforms.  Note also that the 12th curiously didn’t use ‘reversed colours’ (i.e. a yellow coat with red facings) for its drummers and instead issued them with a red coat, albeit with ‘false’ sleeves on the back and extra lace decoration on the sleeves.

I’d better mention here that I realised after painting this (my first) regiment that the muskets have been wrongly modelled with barrel-bands.  The British Brown Bess musket of course lacked such things.  There’s not much I can do about them, but I didn’t paint the bands on subsequent units.

Above:  The Grenadier Company of the 12th Regiment of Foot (Napier’s).  The grenadiers were almost always separated from their parent regiment on campaign, so they’re unbased here, awaiting basing with the rest of Maxwell’s Grenadier Battalion (see below).  Although the actual role of grenade-lobbing was long gone, the traditional and distinctive items of grenadier dress; the brass match-case on the cross-belt, the ornately decorated mitre cap and the basket-hilted short sword were still worn.  Lace ‘wings’ had also been added to the shoulders during the 1750s.

The grenadier cap was invariably fronted with the regimental facing colour, with the back of the cap being red, though with the lower band being of the facing colour.  Above the brow was a false turned-up flap, which was usually red and was decorated with the white running horse badge of Hanover (which at this scale looks like a badly-inflated balloon animal), edged with the motto ‘Nec aspera terrent’.  Above the flap was usually the crowned royal ‘GR’ cypher, flanked by sprays of foliage.  Some regiments had ‘ancient badges’ in lieu of the cypher.  The sides and rear were then piped in white and the cap was topped with a woollen tuft (often in the shape of a bursting grenade) which was usually white, but could have other coloured threads worked into it.  In the case of the 12th, the cypher and foliage were embroidered in red and the Roman numeral ‘XII’ was embroidered in red on the back, with a red grenade badge separating the ‘X’ and the ‘II’.  The regimental number was flanked by more red foliate embroidery and there were white ‘flames’ embroidered up the red segments of the cap’s rear.

Above:  37th Regiment of Foot (Stuart’s).  The 37th had yellow facings like the 12th, but this time had white ‘metal’.  The regimental lace was a complicated pattern, being mainly white, but incorporating fine yellow lines and blue zig-zags (I just painted it white!).  Unlike the 12th, the lace of the 37th formed a ‘herringbone’ pattern on the lower sleeves and coat-tails and is clearly shown in the photo below.  This style of lace was fairly uncommon, but was also used by the Royal Artillery.

In terms of organisation, each battalion consisted of nine ‘battalion’ or ‘hat’ companies and one grenadier company.  In peacetime these companies would number 81 men of all ranks and in Ireland the number was far lower, with only 37 men per company.  In wartime these companies would theoretically be expanded to 114 men per company, though with the exception of a few Scottish regiments, would hardly ever reach that strength.  In any case, not all men would be deployed abroad and a field strength of 50-70 men was far more common.  I’ve therefore organised these at ‘field strength’ of 12 figures (roughly 400-800 men) for ‘Shako’ rules, as that seems to be typical for British regiments in Germany.

Above:  37th Regiment of Foot (Stuart’s).  Like the 12th Foot, the drummers of the 37th did not wear reversed colours and instead wore red coats with yellow facings, though decorated with additional lace on the sleeves.  Note that British drummers of all companies wore a mitre cap that was very much like that of the grenadiers, though was a few inches shorter and lacked the tuft on the top.  They also sometimes had a different embroidered design on the front, though I’ve gone with the usual ‘GR’ cypher here.  Many of these cap designs are not known, though a design showing ‘piled trophies’ was popular.

Above:  The Grenadier Company of the 37th Regiment of Foot (Stuart’s).  The grenadiers of the 37th wore a cap very similar to those of the 12th above, with cypher and foliage embroidered in red.  However, the regimental number ’37’ was embroidered on the rear band in Arabic rather than Roman numerals and the back lacked the embroidered ‘flames’.  Note also the ‘hat company’ Sergeant, carrying a pole-arm and wearing a sash around his waist.  The Sergeants’ pattern of sash was crimson with a central facing-coloured stripe.

Above:  23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).  The three Fusilier Regiments (7th, 21st and 23rd) were authorised during the late 17th Century to operate as grenadiers and would therefore wear grenadier-style uniforms, including mitre caps for the whole regiment.  In theory the cap was meant to be shorter than that of the grenadiers, though paintings from the period show no appreciable difference other than the tuft, which tended to be smaller for the Fusiliers and larger and grenade-shaped for the grenadiers.

Above:  23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).  The 23rd wore blue facings and as a Royal regiment also had blue breeches, though waistcoats remained red.  The regimental lace was white with thin black and red lines, though again, I’ve just painted it plain white.  The 23rd were one of the few regiments authorised to wear an ‘ancient badge’, in this case the three feathers of the Prince of Wales.  For the battalion companies, this was flanked by yellow foliage and the ‘flap’ seems to have been in the facing colour.  The detached grenadier company (not shown here) seems to have had a red flap and white foliage, as well as a grenade-shaped tuft.  Officers’ mitres were invariably embroidered with expensive metallic thread and as a consequence were usually replaced by hats in the field (but that’s boring…).

Note that as a ‘Royal’ regiment, the 23rd DEFINITELY had yellow ‘metal’ (confirmed by my own visits to the RWF Museum at Caernarfon Castle), though Kronoskaf mistakenly lists white metal, so beware of this trap if you’re painting them!

Above:  23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).  The 23rd had lace ‘ladders’ on the lower sleeves and lace edging to the tail pockets.  The regiment’s drummers meanwhile, wore Royal Livery, which was a red coat, faced with blue and heavily decorated with golden-yellow lace with thin lines of purple running through it (I’ve just painted it yellow).

Above:  23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers).  The 23rd’s mitre caps were decorated with the regimental number ’23’ in Arabic numerals.  Note also that the battalion companies lacked the shoulder wings of the grenadier company (these would be added in later years, but were not a feature of the uniform at this time).

Note that as these figures lack shoulder-wings and belly-boxes they would actually be perfect for Hanoverian grenadiers… I just wish I’d realised that before buying British grenadier figures for the Hanoverians…

Above:  The Hanoverian Foot Guards Regiment.  This regiment uniquely put two battalions into the field and I thought I’d include a picture of these here, as they were part of Spörcken’s command, but I’ll cover the Hanoverians in detail in a future article.  The uniform style was very similar to that of the British infantry, but there were quite a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences, which I’ll cover next time.

Above:  Kingsley’s Brigade formed the second line of Spörcken’s command at Minden, though the intense nature of the fighting during the French cavalry attack meant that they had no better a time of it than Waldegrave’s Brigade.  The brigade again consisted of three British infantry battalions; the 20th Foot (Kingsley’s) on the right, the 51st Foot (Brudenell’s) in the centre and the 25th Foot (Home’s) on the left.

Above:  20th Regiment of Foot (Kingsley’s).  This regiment had pale yellow facings and white ‘metal’.  The pale yellow shade is akin to a  primrose flower, though Kronoskaf and Maverick Models have gone for a more pale cream shade for the Regimental Colour (i.e. the flag), so I’ve aimed somewhere between the two, as in reality the facing colour would exactly match Regimental Colour.  The regimental lace was white with thin red and blue stripes.  From a distance, the lace where it lies on top of the pale yellow facings looks quite red and I did consider painting it as red or pink on the cuffs and lapels, but in the end decided to just stick with white (again).

Above:  20th Regiment of Foot (Kingsley’s).  The tail pockets were edged with lace and the lower sleeves had the ‘ladder’ design. On this occasion the regimental drummers wore reversed colours.

Above:  The Grenadier Company of the 20th Regiment of Foot (Kingsley’s).  Again, the 20th used the ‘GR’ cypher as their badge, but the embroidery colour is not recorded, so I’ve gone with black to make it stand out from the pale yellow and look a bit different from the others.  The back of the cap was once again decorated with the regimental number and both the Roman ‘XX’ and Arabic ’20’ are recorded, so I’ve gone with ‘XX’.

Above:  51st Regiment of Foot (Brudenell’s). It should be noted that this was the second regiment numbered 51st to have fought in the Seven Years War.  The first iteration had red facings and was captured in 1756 at Fort Oswego in North America.  This is therefore the second iteration of the 51st, which was raised in September 1757.

Sources are confused regarding this regiment’s facing colour.  Some say ‘gosling green’, which was a horrible pale khaki shade, famously worn by the 5th Foot and often referred to as ‘gooseshit green’.  Others meanwhile, describe it as ‘dark green’ and a number of paintings show it as quite a grassy shade.  I’ve erred toward a darkish grassy shade, roughly matching the Regimental Colour supplied by Maverick Models, which also matches the colour plate in Stuart Reid’s Osprey book on the western allied armies.  Stuart Reid also makes the case for green breeches in this regiment, so given an inch, I’ve taken the proverbial mile and gone with the green breeches look! 🙂

Above:  51st Regiment of Foot (Brudenell’s).  The lace colour for the regiment was generally white, though the exact pattern of lace is unknown.  Again, this regiment had lace edging to the pockets and ‘ladders’ on the sleeves.  The regimental ‘metal’ colour was white and the drummers wore reversed colours.

Above:  The Grenadier Company of the 51st Regiment of Foot (Brudenell’s).  Again, this regiment wore the ‘GR’ cypher as it’s badge, this time embroidered in white and flanked by white foliage.  The rear band was decorated with the Roman numeral ‘LI’.

Above:  25th (Edinburgh) Regiment of Foot (Home’s).  This regiment had ‘deep yellow’ facings and white ‘metal, though the officers’ gorgets were gold.  The regimental lace was white, though edged with thin lines of dark blue, yellow and red.  The ‘deep yellow’ shade is difficult to pin down, though it’s also described as ‘almost buff’.  That said, I’ve studied surviving samples of the facing cloth and it doesn’t look any different to the yellow of the 12th or 37th.

Above:  25th (Edinburgh) Regiment of Foot (Home’s).  Again, the 25th had lace edging to the pockets and a ‘ladder’ pattern on the lower sleeves.  The regiment’s drummers wore reversed colours.

Above:  The Grenadier Company of the 25th (Edinburgh) Regiment of Foot (Home’s).  Again, this regiment used the ‘GR’ cypher as it’s badge, this time embroidered in white and flanked by white foliage.  The rear was decorated with the regimental number, though both ‘XXV’ and ’25’ are recorded.  I’ve gone with ‘XXV’.

Above:  Maxwell’s Grenadier Battalion.  The grenadier companies of the six British infantry battalions were detached and grouped as a combined grenadier battalion under the command of one Major Maxwell and were brigaded with Hanoverian, Hessian and Brunswicker grenadier battalions as part of Wangenheim’s Corps on the left flank.

Above:  Maxwell’s Grenadier Battalion.  Note that I made a mistake with the ordering of the regiments here.  I’ve lined them up in the usual order of seniority for most nations; the senior regiment (12th) on the right and the junior (51st) on the left.  However, I completely forgot that the British alternated seniority by flank, starting with the most senior on the right flank, but then having the second most senior regiment on the left and then alternating on each side, with the most junior in the middle!  The order from the right flank to the left flank should therefore be 12th, 23rd, 37th, 51st, 25th, 20th.

Above:  Maxwell’s Grenadier Battalion.  When the reinforcement wave of a further six regiments arrived (5th, 8th, 11th, 24th, 33rd & 50th), a second grenadier battalion was formed.  However, all twelve regiments were apparently mixed up and I can’t for the life of me discover how they were mixed.  I’ll probably just create a new battalion using the six new regiments.  The grenadiers of the two Highland regiments (87th and 88th) remained with their regiments.  The three Foot Guards battalions sent to Germany massed their grenadier companies in a half-strength Guards Grenadier Battalion of only three companies.

These models are all Eureka Miniatures 18mm figures and the flags are by Maverick Models.  

In the next SYW instalment I’ll be looking at the first of my Hanoverian, Hessian and Schaumburg-Lippe troops…

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War British & Hanoverian Armies, Shako Rules. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “King George Commands And We Obey”: My Seven Years War British Army

  1. Dinos Antoniadis says:

    Marvelous! Marvelous! You did an awesome job, I adore especially the grenadier’s caps! Excellent faces and these Eureka figures are gorgeous! Cheers!

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Cheers Dino! Yeah, I’m very pleased with how they came out. I do now understand why you don’t see many British SYW armies…

  2. Paul says:

    I wondered where you’d been, but the wait turns out to have been worthwhile. A fabulous job, as always, and a great article. I’m with Dinos on the grenadier caps – they look superb!

  3. James Fisher says:

    A fine, fine body of men; no wonder the ponce on the horse looks so pleased with himself!
    Brilliant yet again, all of it, but particularly the gren. caps as others have already said.
    Regards, James

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks James! Thankfully, with the exception of the RWF, there aren’t many caps to do! And I had plenty of practice painting PoW feathers with the Fishguard 1797 and VBCW 1938 projects. 🙂

  4. Keith says:

    Very nice work…I had to read right to the end to realise these were not 28mm figures ….the paint work is superb for 18mm.

  5. Pingback: ‘Hannover Siegt, Der Franzmann Liegt’: My 15mm SYW Hanoverian & German Allied Army (Part 1) | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

  6. Pingback: ‘Hannover Siegt, Der Franzmann Liegt’: My 15mm SYW Hanoverian & German Allied Army (Part 2) | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

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