At the time of starting to write this post, we should have been refighting Cornwallis’ flank-attack at the Battle of the Brandywine 1777 at the Carmarthen Old Guard. However, for the last week it’s been unusually cold here in tropical Pembrokeshire (‘Delaware-crossing weather’ in AWI terms) and then last night it rained onto the frozen ground, so everything’s covered in half an inch of ice and I can’t even get to the main road, let alone drive the 32 miles to club! So that’s ANOTHER scenario we’ll have to play next year… 🙁
So it’s time for some more pictures of toy soldiers! 🙂 In Part 1 of this series I looked at Von Donop’s Hessen-Kassel Grenadier Brigade. This time I’m looking at a couple of Hessen-Kassel line infantry regiments and Lieutenant General von Knyphausen.
The ‘Hessian’ contingent of the King’s forces in America was very large indeed: Hessen-Kassel supplied fifteen infantry battalions, four combined grenadier battalions and artillery, jäger and mounted jäger detachments. Brunswick supplied four infantry battalions, a grenadier battalion, a light infantry battalion, a dragoon regiment and a jäger detachment. Ansbach-Bayreuth provided two infantry battalions, two grenadier companies, a jäger detachment and an artillery detachment. Hessen-Hanau supplied an infantry battalion, grenadier company, artillery detachment and jäger detachment. Anhalt-Zerbst supplied an infantry battalion and grenadier company, while Waldeck just provided an infantry battalion. Note that not all of these units served in America at the same time.
However, while Hessen-Kassel fielded a full division of nine battalions plus jäger, organised into three brigades during the Long Island and New York Campaign of 1776, the ‘Hessians’ were rarely present in very large numbers at any of the major battles and were increasingly used for garrison duties, so a single ‘line’ brigade of three or four musketeer and fusilier battalions and a grenadier brigade of three battalions, plus jäger and artillery will suffice for almost all historical scenarios. The Prussian-style appearance of most of the contingents also means that I’m not feeling the urge to paint any more contingents (such as the Brunswickers for the Saratoga Campaign), though I will eventually paint the one remaining battalion (the Rall Grenadiers) and a couple of generals languishing in my Lead Dungeon.
That said, one more infantry battalion might be handy for scenarios such as von Knyphausen’s frontal attack at the Brandywine, where von Stirn’s Brigade had four battalions present, so I may add another one in the future, but that’ll be the limit of my Hessian army.
Above: The Musketeer Regiment Von Donop was one of seven Hessen-Kassel Musketeer Regiments to serve in North America during the course of the war. The regiment was named for its Chef (Colonel-Proprietor), Oberst Carl Emil Ulrich von Donop, who I profiled in Part 1. These are lovely 28mm figures by Perry Miniatures.
Above: Although they were broadly modelled on the Prussian Army, the Hessians only fielded single-battalion regiments in North America. This is curious, as a major reorganisation in 1760 sought to ape Prussian two-battalion regimental organisation (as discussed in this article). Similarly and as discussed in Part 1, their combined grenadier battalions were made up from four regimental contingents, as opposed to Prussian-style grenadier battalions made from two contingents. Again, this seems to have reversed the 1760 reorganisation.
Above: The uniform of the Von Donop Regiment had straw-coloured facings and smallclothes, red coat-linings and pocket-piping and yellow ‘metal’. There was also a pair of yellow lace buttonholes above each cuff and below each lapel. Officers’ buttonhole lace was gold, but was usually removed on campaign. The musketeer regiments all wore Prussian-style cocked hats with white lace edging; those of the Von Donop Regiment had yellow pompoms. Note that unlike their grenadier comrades, the musketeers and fusiliers did not have fierce, martial moustaches.
Above: As mentioned above, the smallclothes (waistcoat and breeches) were officially straw-coloured, but regiments in America often wore long, locally-made ‘American trowsers’, which had a lap over the shoe and a strap under the instep, so they doubled as gaiters and are also often referred to as ‘gaiter-trousers’. These could be made of lightweight linen for summer wear, or of hard-wearing material such as canvas, sail-cloth or ‘ticking’ material used for making mattresses. This cloth, coming from various local sources, came in various colours and in particular the ticking was described as being striped in blue, red and brown. However, I almost lost the will to live painting the stripes on the grenadiers’ trousers (see Part 1) and so these regiments had clearly found a stash of nice, plain linen from which to make their ‘trowsers’!
Above: Each Hessian regiment/battalion followed the Prussian practice of issuing one flag to each of the five companies in a battalion, with the grenadiers carrying no flags (the exception being the Rall Grenadier Regiment, who were essentially just Musketeers in funny hats). The 1st or Leib Company would carry the regimental Leibfahne, while the other companies each carried a Kompaniefahne. In battle these would be grouped together as five flags in the centre of the regiment. For example, in the painting at the top of this article you can see the regimental colour-party of the Rall Grenadier Regiment, with the green Kompaniefahnen grouped behind the white Leibfahne. For modelling purposes this is scaled down to two flags; the Leibfahne and a single Kompaniefahne.
There is some debate as to whether the Von Donop Regiment’s Leibfahne was a plain facing-coloured flag, as shown here or whether it was white, as per the usual Prussian practice. However, GMB Designs‘ lovely flags are too good not to use, so I’m not remotely bothered if the Leibfahne should be white! 🙂
Above: The Fusilier Regiment Von Lossberg was one of three Hessen-Kassel fusilier regiments to serve in North America and took its name from the regimental Chef, Lieutenant General Anton Heinrich August von Lossberg. In 1780 the regiment became the Alt-Lossberg Regiment when the former Von Mirbach Regiment adopted Lieutenant General Friedrich Wilhem von Lossberg (Anton Heinrich August’s younger brother) as its Chef and therefore became the Jung-Lossberg Regiment.
These models again are by Perry Miniatures.
Above: There was no organisational or tactical difference between musketeers and fusiliers. The difference was purely cosmetic, namely the Prussian-style, fusilier-pattern mitre cap.
Above: The Von Lossberg Regiment’s uniform consisted of the usual blue coat with orange lapels, collar and cuffs, with yellow metal buttons but without lace. The orange facing colour is described as ‘scarlet’ in some sources, but uniform plates from the 1780s show it as a distinctly more orange shade than the other reds used by the Hessen-Kassel Army. The fusilier cap had a black bowl and yellow metalwork. Smallclothes were white, though the regiment here again mostly wears locally-made ‘trowsers’ in white linen. Note that the officers of fusilier regiments and grenadier battalions wore cocked hats.
Above: The flags by GMB Designs again depict the regimental Leibfahne as being of the facing colour (as with the Von Donop Regiment’s flags, the Kompaniefahnen have blue ‘flames’ in the corners). However, there are those who again state that the Leibfahne should be white.
Note that the standard-bearers typically carried the ‘condom’ for the flag (yes, that is what they were called!) rolled en bandolier over the left shoulder. These were usually made of dark purplish-red Morocco leather and were capped with brass, to stop the spearpoint finial poking through the leather (the brass cap is visible at the right hip).
Above: Sources are split over whether the tail-turnbacks were orange or the more typical poppy red. The famous set of 1780s uniform prints (below) shows orange and also shows other regiments with various shades of red (such as crimson and rose) having matching turnbacks, while those regiments with other colours such as white, yellow or black had poppy red turnbacks. I went with the orange.
Above: This print shows orange turnbacks, but it’s possible that this only came into being after the war, along with the bearskin cap shown for the grenadier.
Above: Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen came to America in 1776 as second-in-command to Lieutenant General Phillipp von Heister, the General Officer Commanding all ‘Hessian’ forces in America. However, following the Christmas 1776 débâcle at Trenton, Knyphausen was elevated to replace Heister as GOC Hessian Troops.
While he never really set the military world alight, Knyphausen proved to be a dependable and competent leader. In 1777 he successfully commanded the main body of Cornwallis’ army at the Battle of the Brandywine and then commanded the vanguard of the army as it withdrew from Philadelphia, culminating in the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse. Knyphausen and most of the ‘Hessians’ then spent the rest of the war garrisoning New York and Manhattan Island.
Perry Miniatures didn’t produce any mounted Hessian officers when I painted this army, so I used Seven Years War Prussian figures by Front Rank Miniatures. The Perries have since produced a pack of Hessian officers and I do have them, but have never got around to painting them.
Above: There was no stipulated uniform for general officers in the Hessian army of the period (nor indeed any German army within the Prussian sphere of influence), so generals would wear a version of regimental uniform; either the regiment they owned as Chef, or the regiment into which they were commissioned. Knyphausen is therefore shown wearing the regimental uniform of his own Knyphausen Fusilier Regiment; namely a blue coat with black lapels, collar and cuffs, poppy red turnbacks, yellow metal and without lace. Smallclothes were straw-coloured.
Knyphausen’s aides are officers of the Leib Musketeer Regiment and are wearing their full dress uniform of blue coat with lemon yellow lapels, collar and cuffs (heavily decorated with silver buttonhole lace), poppy red turnbacks and lemon yellow smallclothes.
Anyway, that’s enough for now! I’m pleased to report that I finally completed the remaining Light Infantry and Grenadier battalions of Cornwallis’ Elite Corps in time for the Brandywine game that didn’t happen and I’m even more pleased that I can now get back to painting my beloved 15mm SYW. We’ve now set a firm date of 14th January for the postponed Kolin refight, so I’ve painted a new regiment of Saxon Carabiniergarde (below), as well as the first twelve of 48 new Prussian hussars. Once they’re done I’ll need to paint six more Austrian battalion guns and rebase a load of Grenzer before the game, so there’s plenty to keep me busy.
In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas! 🙂