“Hanover wins, the Frenchman lies down.”
As mentioned recently, I’m presently building a British-Hanoverian-German Allied army for the Seven Years War, using the order of battle for the Battle of Minden 1759 as my initial ‘To Do’ list. Having finished the British infantry, I’ve now moved on to the Hanoverians, by way of some other allied contingents.
Hanoverian Infantry Uniforms
At first glance, Hanoverian infantry uniforms look identical to the British, but there were quite a few subtle and not-so-subtle differences and I know a few people who have used Prussian and/or Austrian infantry figures instead of British infantry figures to represent Hanoverians. Eureka don’t do specific Hanoverian figures and none of the available options are perfect, but the big cuffs with deep v-shaped slashes, the voluminous coat-tails, the buckled cross-belts and the officers with sashes over the shoulder make British infantry the nearest match (I can live with the belly-boxes).
Button and Lace Colouring: In the British Army, only the officers (and sometimes the NCOs) followed the regimental ‘metal’ colour; either silver or gold. The rank-and-file always had white metal buttons and white hat-lace, regardless of regimental ‘metal’, while the coat-lace followed a regimental pattern and colouring, which was often quite intricate. In the Hanoverian Army, the buttons of all ranks followed the regimental ‘metal’ colour and the other ranks’ lace on both hat and coat was either plain yellow or white accordingly.
Lace: Hanoverian coats and waistcoats were initially laced very heavily, in much the same manner as the British. However, in 1759 they removed all the lace from the waistcoat as well as all the lace edging from lapels, cuffs, cuff-flaps and pockets, plus around one-third of the buttonhole lace, leaving only three pairs of buttonholes on each lapel, a pair of buttonholes below each lapel, one buttonhole in the top corner of each lapel, two buttonholes above each cuff and two or three buttonholes on each tail-pocket. From an aesthetic point of view, this does make the facing colours of Hanoverian units really stand out when compared to the British, whose heavy lace tends to blur out the facing colours.
Waistcoat: British waistcoats were invariably coloured red and were heavily laced, but Hanoverian waistcoats were usually coloured to match the regimental facing colour and in 1759 they removed all the lace. A few Hanoverian regiments (mainly those with black facings) had waistcoats of a different colour.
Breeches & Gaiters: In the British Army breeches were usually red (blue for Royal regiments). In the Hanoverian Army they were invariably buff. They were also described as ‘Chamois’ or ‘Straw’, though were a deeper yellowy shade than the ‘straw’ facings. The Hanoverians also seem to have used white canvas gaiters for all forms of dress, including campaign dress, whereas the British adopted darker colours for campaign dress (settling on black by 1759), retaining white gaiters purely for parade dress.
Hats: As mentioned above, Hanoverian hats were laced according to button colour. The cockade was black. Unlike the British, Hanoverian hats were decorated with three small very pompoms; one above the cockade and one at each side-corner. Although British infantry figures don’t have these decorations, their small size meant that I found it easy enough to simply represent them by adding a blob of paint of the appropriate colour at the top of the cockade and in the corners of the hat. A sprig of oakleaves (or other greenery) was also often added as a field-sign, but these would not have been universal (certainly not in winter!), so I’m not bothered if it’s not there.
Equipment: Personal equipment was much the same as the British, consisting of a pale buff leather cross-belt buckled at the front, a buff waistbelt and a black cartridge box. However, unlike the British, all companies were armed with a ‘hanger’ (short sword) and not just the Grenadiers. They also don’t appear to have used belly-boxes like the British, which is a pain when using Eureka British figures!. The lack of a hanger on the figures isn’t obvious, but the belly-box is impossible to hide and I just have to live with it. However, Hanoverian muskets were banded, so the wrongly-banded musket on Eureka’s British infantry actually fits! 🙂
Grenadier Distinctions: Like the British Grenadiers, Hanoverian Grenadiers wore mitre caps and brass match-cases on their cross-belts as a mark of their élite status. In most cases the caps roughly conformed to the British theme, having the front-piece and headband in the facing colour, the ‘bag’ in red and the piping and tuft in the lace colour. However, some regiments diverted from that theme, having the front-piece and/or band coloured red instead of the facing colour. Some regiments decorated their caps with a lot of metalwork, with at least one regiment having a Prussian-style all-metal front-piece. Also note that while the British Grenadiers adopted shoulder ‘wings’ during the early 1750s, the Hanoverians do not appear to have followed suit.
Officers’ & NCOs Distinctions: Hanoverian officers followed the general theme described above, though with expensive metallic gold or silver lace. A yellow sash was worn over the right shoulder and a gorget was worn at the throat (which was gold for all regiments). Hanoverian officers would also be clean-shaven, while the rank-and-file (unlike the British) had moustaches. Hanoverian NCOs didn’t wear sashes like their British counterparts, but wore straw-coloured gloves and carried polearms as their ‘badge of office’.
Drummers’ Livery: Hanoverian drummers, unlike their British counterparts, did not wear reversed colours. Instead they wore the standard regimental uniform, with the addition of facing-coloured ‘swallows’ nests’ on the shoulders and lace decoration down the sleeves. They did not have ‘false sleeves’ on the back of the coat. They also wore standard hats and did not wear the short mitre cap worn by British drummers (grenadier drummers presumably wore standard grenadier mitre caps). I’ve therefore used Prussian drummers for my Hanoverians. Drums were brass, often decorated with the Badge of Hanover and with hoops painted in diagonal stripes of red and the regimental facing colour.
Above: The Foot Guards (Fuβgarde) Regiment. This regiment was unique in the Hanoverian Army for having two battalions, though after the war the line infantry regiments were also paired up to create two-battalion regiments. As discussed last time, at the Battle of Minden, the Hanoverian Foot Guards were grouped with the British infantry under the command of Lord Spörcken’s 3rd Column. The Hanoverian ‘Hardenberg’ Regiment also somehow became attached. This combined force carried out an astonishing unsupported attack against the French army and then ripped the heart out of the French cavalry counter-attack. The Foot Guards and ‘Hardenberg’ Regiments captured numerous French cavalry standards during the action.
Above: The Foot Guards Regiment had dark blue facings and waistcoats with yellow lace and ‘metal’. Pompoms were yellow-over-white. I haven’t painted any grenadiers for this regiment, as they were perpetually assigned to the security of headquarters and baggage and were never assigned to a combined Grenadier Battalion in the field.
All Hanoverian infantry regiments carried a Colonel’s Colour of a standard pattern, which consisted of a white field, with the Arms of Hanover on the obverse and the Arms of George II on the reverse, with a crowned GR cypher in each corner on both sides. This was paired with a Regimental Colour, which in the case of the Foot Guards was a white field with the Badge of Hanover and crowned GR corner-cyphers on both sides. However, I’ve no idea if the regiment had a single Colonel’s Colour carried by the 1st Battalion (German-style) or if each battalion had a Colonel’s Colour (British-style). I’ve opted for the British style, with each battalion having a Colonel’s Colour and a Regimental Colour.
Above: A rear view of the Foot Guards Regiment, showing the obverse of the Colonel’s Colours (note that the central device is now the Running Horse badge of Hanover rather than the Royal Arms). The tail pockets each have two lace buttonholes.
Above: The ‘Sachsen-Gotha’ Infantry Regiment started the Seven Years War as the major part of the Army of the Duchy of Sachsen-Gotha, though was organised along Hanoverian lines. On 15th April 1757 the regiment was placed under Hanoverian command as an auxiliary regiment, paid for by the British, though still formally belonging to the Duchy of Sachsen-Gotha. The regiment at this time wore white coats with green facings and waistcoats, with white lace and metal. However, on 25th January 1759 the regiment was formally transferred to the Hanoverian Army and received new red coats, still with green facings and white lace & metal. The old white coats were turned into new waistcoats and so this regiment was one of the few whose waistcoat did not match the facing colour.
At Minden the regiment acted as artillery guards with Major Haase’s 2nd Column. After the war the regiment became half of the 9th Infantry Regiment, being designated 9-A. As with many Seven Years War armies, the post-war regimental numbering system is often used anachronistically in histories, as it’s often easier than using regiment names which often changed (although as it happens, ‘Sachsen-Gotha’s regimental title never did change).
Above: As discussed above, the ‘Sachsen-Gotha’ Infantry Regiment had green facings that are actually described as dark green. However, artistic depictions often show them wearing quite a bright shade and that’s reflected in this Regimental Colour by Maverick Models. I’ve therefore given them a middling shade of green, so that the flag doesn’t look too far removed from the facing colour! Lace and metal was white and the pompoms were red-over-green.
Above: A rear view of the ‘Sachsen-Gotha’ Infantry Regiment. Note that the tail-pockets had two lace buttonholes. The regimental colour featured a lion holding a sword in its paw, surrounded by a laurel wreath, with a white scroll above.
Note that Hanoverian battalions were very strong, typically fielding over 800 men (over 1,000 for the two ‘New Battalions’) and considerably stronger than their British and French counterparts. Consequently, I’ve done these as 16-figure units (like Austrians) rather than the usual 12 figures typical of British, French and Prussian battalions in the field.
Above: A Grenadier of the ‘Sachsen-Gotha’ Infantry Regiment. Although they typically had much stronger battalions than the British, the Grenadier ‘corps’ of a Hanoverian battalion was far weaker, with only 65 men, equating to roughly a single figure in game terms (it wasn’t strong enough to be termed a ‘Company’). In the early part of the war the Hanoverian Army just created ad hoc grenadier battalions from whatever was at hand (like the Austrians) and these varied wildly in strength from around 200 men to over 1,000 men. From 1759 onward, three permanent Grenadier Battalions were formed for the duration of each campaign, though these were weak units, numbering only 400-500 men at the very most. I think I’ll rationalise this for campaign purposes as two ‘normal-sized’ 12-figure units (I’ve encountered the same problem with the Swedish Army in Germany; four grenadier battalions, but each only 300-350 men strong).
Above: The brigade of Major General Johann Daniel Victor von Scheele (also spelled ‘Schele’ in many sources) formed the first line of the 4th Column, which was in turn commanded by Lieutenant General Prince Carl Leopold of Anhalt-Bernburg. The brigade consisted of three Hanoverian infantry regiments; ‘Scheele’, ‘Reden’ and ‘Hardenberg’. However, as mentioned above, the ‘Hardenberg’ Regiment somehow managed to get itself entangled with Spörcken’s column during the approach march and was sucked into Spörcken’s attack.
With Spörcken heavily engaged and seemingly about to be be overrun by French cavalry, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick (the C-in-C of the Allied armies) ordered Scheele to take his remaining two battalions, as well as those of Wissembach’s brigade in the second line (the Hanoverian ‘Stolzenberg’ and ‘Estorff’ Regiments and the Hessian ‘Erbprinz Friedrich’ Regiment) in an effort to relieve Spörcken’s right flank, which was in danger of being turned (it’s not clear what the Prince of Anhalt was doing at this moment or why he’d just had his entire division handed over to Scheele!).
In the event, the French cavalry struck Spörcken’s left flank, not the right, yet it made little difference as the magnificent British and Hanoverian infantry held their ground until Wutginau’s Hessians stabilised the situation. This remarkable action was one of the most celebrated infantry actions of the 18th Century and is still commemorated every 1st August by the successors of the British regiments under Spörcken’s command.
Above: The ‘Scheele’ Infantry Regiment. This regiment had actually been titled titled ‘Fabrice’ until 1757, when the former inhaber (Colonel-Proprietor), Colonel Georg Philipp von Fabrice retired and the regiment was passed to Major General Johann Daniel Victor von Scheele. After the war the regiment became half of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, being designated 2-B.
Above: The ‘Scheele’ Infantry Regiment had straw-coloured facings and waistcoats with white lace and metal and red-over-yellow pompoms.
Above: A rear view of the ‘Scheele’ Infantry Regiment. This regiment had three lace buttonholes on each tail-pocket. The Regimental Colour matched the facing colour and featured piled trophies of war, surrounded by a laurel wreath.
Above: A Grenadier of the ‘Scheele’ Infantry Regiment. Note that for some reason, this regiment was one of a few which didn’t use its regimental facing colour for the front-piece of the mitre cap, instead using red. The rear headband was coloured straw, however.
Above: The ‘Reden’ Infantry Regiment. At the start of the war this regiment was titled ‘Knesebeck’ for its then inhaber, Ernst Friedrich von dem Knesebeck, but the regiment was passed in 1758 to Johann Wilhelm von Reden, who owned it for the rest of the war. The regiment was designated 3-A in the post-war numbering system.
Above: The ‘Reden’ Infantry Regiment had black as its facing colour, with white lace and metal and black-over-red pompoms. However, Hanoverian regiments with black facings invariably had waistcoats and coat-linings of some other colour and in this case the waistcoats were white, as were the coat-linings.
Above: The ‘Reden’ Infantry Regiment‘s white coat-linings are visible here in the form of tail-turnbacks. Note that this regiment had three lace buttonholes on each tail-pocket.
As with the waistcoats and linings, regiments with black facings never had a matching Regimental Colour and in the case of the ‘Reden’ Regiment, the Regimental Colour was red. The central device was an elaborate painted scene, showing an armoured knight standing on green grass, under a blue sky, in front of a fortress tower, from which a volley of flaming shells is being fired.
Above: A Grenadier of the ‘Reden’ Infantry Regiment.
Above: The ‘Hardenberg’ Infantry Regiment. This regiment kept the same inhaber and title throughout the Seven Years War, namely Christian Ludewig von Hardenberg. It was designated 6-A in the post-war numbering system. As mentioned above, this regiment became tangled up with Lord Spörcken’s column during the approach-march to Minden and ended up fighting alongside the British infantry and the Foot Guards during their legendary engagement, capturing several French cavalry standards.
Above: The ‘Hardenberg’ Infantry Regiment had orange facings and waistcoats with white lace and metal and red-over-orange pompoms. The orange shade is described as ‘light orange, almost buff’.
Above: The ‘Hardenberg’ Infantry Regiment had two lace buttonholes on each tail-pocket. The Regimental Colour was orange and featured a lion, holding a curved ‘Falchion’ sword in its paw, standing on piled trophies of war, with a blue scroll above and a flower in each corner.
Above: A Grenadier of the ‘Hardenberg’ Infantry Regiment. This regiment’s mitre caps had a lot of white metal decoration on the front; the ‘flap’ was all metal and embossed with the running horse, while the main part of the front-piece featured the Royal Arms in metal.