HANOVERIAN ARMY – SEVEN YEARS’ WAR

HANOVERIAN CAVALRY

The Guard cavalry comprised one regiment designated as Garde du Corps, with three companies forming a single squadron, and mustering at the outset a total of only 188 officers and men. A second regiment was designated as Grenadieren zu Pferde (Horse Grenadiers), and while organized in two companies rather than three it had a near identical establishment of 187 officers and men.

Both regiments wore red coats, with straw-coloured waistcoats and breeches. The Garde du Corps were distinguished by red cuffs, dark blue turnbacks and silver lace; the Grenadieren zu Pferde had black cuffs and lapels, red turnbacks, and cloth mitre caps in place of cocked hats. These had black fronts bearing the arms of Hanover in gold with gold scrollwork; the frontal `little flap’ was red, with the white horse of Hanover and the motto Nec Aspera Terram in white. The rear of the cap was in reversed colours, the main `bag’ part being red piped in gold, with a black headband embellished with gold grenades.

As quasi-dragoons the Grenadieren zu Pferde carried infantry-style cartridge boxes on the right hip and belts in buff leather, and a `booted’ musket (i. e. slung from the shoulder, with its butt held in a pocket or `boot’ strapped to the saddle in front of the right leg), in place of the carbine hooked to a crossbelt, as issued to cavalry regiments proper such as the Garde du Corps. Both regiments had red saddle housings (horse furniture), bordered in silver for the Garde du Corps and in yellow and black for the Grenadieren zu Pferde. One source states that the former were mounted on grey horses.

The Line cavalry were similarly divided, between cuirassiers and dragoons; the principal difference between the two was in internal organization. The Leib-Regiment (`body[guard] regiment’) and seven regiments of Kürassiere each comprised six companies, formed into two squadrons, with a total establishment of 361 officers and men. The four dragoon regiments were considerably larger, each having eight companies organized in four squadrons, with a total of 715 all ranks.

All cavalry regiments wore white coats with facing-coloured collar, cuffs and turnbacks; straw-coloured `smallclothes’ (waistcoats and breeches); and either tin or brass buttons matching their hat-lace colour. Notwithstanding their designation, none of the cuirassiers actually wore armour at this period. Dragoons differed in having facing-coloured lapels on the front of the coat, and their original status as mounted infantry was also marked by one of the eight companies being designated as grenadiers, distinguished by wearing mitre caps. Equipment comprised buff belts, a steel-hilted sword, a pair of pistols in saddle-holsters and a carbine. Like the Grenadieren zu Pferde, dragoons carried infantry-style cartridge boxes, belts in buff leather, and a `booted’ musket in place of the carbine and belt issued to cavalry regiments.

Regimental numbers were not allocated until the post-war re-organization; as was customary in most armies, each unit was instead referred to solely by the name of its current Inhaber or colonel-proprietor.

Regimental distinctions – Cuirassiers

Leib-Regiment Yellow facings and lace; white/red hat pompons. Yellow saddle housings, red edging with black half-circles; device of cypher within crowned garter, with white and red scrollwork

Skolln Orange facings, yellow lace, white pompons. Orange housings edged with two bands of light blue with a double zig-zag in yellow; white horse badge within crowned garter, no scrollwork

Dachenhausen Light green facings, white lace, white pompons. Light green housings edged with yellow/white/red scroll pattern; white horse within crowned garter

Hammerstein Dark green facings, yellow lace, green/white pompons. Dark green housings, with a border of yellow and white rectangles edged in red; cypher within crowned garter, with red, yellow and white scrollwork

Grothaus Crimson facings, yellow lace, silver pompons. Crimson housings, edged with white spiral scroll edged yellow between two yellow stripes; white horse within crowned garter, yellow and white scrollwork

Hodenburg Scarlet facings, white lace, blue pompons. Scarlet housings edged with border of three stripes of red and black diagonals edged yellow; cypher within crowned garter, white and yellow scrollwork

Walthausen Dark blue facings, yellow lace, blue pompons. Dark blue housings edged with white and yellow diagonals; white horse within crowned garter; red, white and yellow scrollwork

Gilten Sky-blue facings, white lace, white pompons. Sky-blue housings, with broad red border edged yellow/blue/yellow; white horse within crowned garter, no scrollwork.

Regimental distinctions – Dragoons

Dachenhausen Red facings, white lace, white pompons. Red housings with border of the same edged white and black; white horse within crowned black and white scrollwork

Breidenbach Light blue facings, white lace, white pompons. Light blue housings with narrow outer edge of one red stripe on white, and an inner border of two red stripes on white; white horse within crowned garter, white scrollwork

Bussche Bright blue facings, yellow lace, white pompons. Bright blue housings with outer border of white edged yellow with blue zig-zag, and inner border of red edged yellow, with white scroll intertwining a white central stripe; white horse within crowned white scrollwork

Bock Scarlet facings, yellow lace, white pompons. Scarlet housings, yellow border bearing pattern of red diamonds with blue centres, edged first with blue, and then on either side a red stripe edged with white with a white zig-zag. Device of white horse within crowned garter placed entirely within unusually broad border.

HANOVERIAN INFANTRY

Aside from the Fussgarde, which boasted two battalions, Hanoverian infantry regiments each comprised a single battalion of seven companies, with an authorized establishment of 122 officers and men in each company, and a regimental staff of 19 (the Fussgarde had 20 staff, covering both battalions). Each company included (administratively) eight grenadiers, who were detached to provide the personnel for a composite company; this was itself assigned to one of three consolidated grenadier battalions for the duration of the campaign (except in the case of the Fussgarde, whose grenadiers were permanently assigned to protect Ferdinand of Brunswick’s headquarters). The initial establishment of 29 battalions thus consisted of two Fussgarde battalions, 24 musketeer battalions and three grenadier battalions. Two further musketeer battalions were subsequently raised in 1758, with only five companies apiece and apparently without grenadiers.

A notional increase of a different sort was the decision to take a number of composite grenadier battalions into the line as units in their own right. Grenadier battalions were always regarded as a drain on their parent units, because the nature of their duties resulted in a higher degree of attrition than normal; these casualties then had to be made good by taking drafts from the musketeer companies, which in consequence sometimes dwindled alarmingly. Turning the consolidated grenadier battalions into permanent formations did not therefore increase the actual establishment of the army, but compelled the grenadiers to maintain themselves by regular recruitment rather than by simply milking the musketeer units.

All regiments wore red coats, with regimentally-coloured facings and (usually) waistcoats, and straw-coloured breeches. The grenadiers’ cloth mitre caps had facing-coloured fronts and red `bags’. As with the cavalry, regimental numbers were not allocated until the post-war re-organization, and until then units were referred to by the name of the current Inhaber; those listed below are the designations in 1757.

Regimental distinctions

Fussgarde Dark blue facings, yellow lace; white/yellow hat pompons

Scheither Dark green facings, yellow lace; green/yellow pompons

Alt-Zastrow White facings, yellow lace; red/yellow pompons

Spörcken Straw-coloured facings, yellow lace; red/yellow pompons

Fabrice Straw-coloured facings, white lace; straw/red pompons

Knesebeck Black cuffs and lapels, white lace; white waistcoats and turnbacks; red/black/white pompons

Druchtleben Black cuffs and lapels, yellow lace; yellow waistcoats and turnbacks; black/red pompons

Ledebour Medium blue facings, white lace; red/blue/white pompons

Stolzenberg Black cuffs and lapels, red turnbacks, white lace; straw-coloUred waistcoats; yellow/white pompons Grote Deep yellow facings, white lace; red/yellow/white pompons

Hodenberg Orange or straw-coloured facings, yellow lace; yellow pompons

Hardenberg Orange facings, white lace; red/yellow pompons

Caraffa Yellow facings, white lace; yellow/red pompons

Wangenheim Straw-coloured facings, white lace; straw-coloured pompons

Hauss Straw-coloured facings, yellow lace; straw/red pompons

Diepenbroick White facings and lace; red/white pompons Block White facings and lace; red/white pompons

Sachsen-Gotha Green facings, white lace; green/red pompons. (Until absorbed into Hanoverian army in 1759, white coat faced green)

Jung-Zastrow Dark green facings, white lace; dark green/white pompons

Post Green facings, white lace; white turnbacks and waistcoats; red/green/white pompons

Marschalk Red facings, white turnbacks and waistcoats, white lace

De Cheusses Yellow facings, yellow lace; straw-coloured turnbacks and waistcoats; red/yellow pompons

De La Chevallerie Yellow facings and lace; yellow/red pompons

Kielmansegge Light green facings, white lace; green/white pompons

Brunck Red facings and waistcoat, white turnbacks; white lace on hat only, green/white pompons

Halberstadt Blue facings, white lace; blue/red pompons

Wrede Red facings, white turnbacks and waistcoats; white lace on hat only, white/red pompons

HANOVER ARTILLERY

At the outset of the war the Hanoverian artillery comprised six companies each of 67 officers and men, but under Ferdinand it was reorganized into four field brigades each of two to three companies.

All artillerymen wore light blue-grey coats, sometimes referred to as steel-grey, with red cuffs, lapels and turnbacks. Officers had straw-coloured waistcoats and breeches, while all other ranks had red waistcoats and straw-coloured breeches. Lace was yellow or gold according to rank, and equipment was buff leather. As with the infantry, they started the war with a generous amount of lace trimming on the lapels and waistcoats, but this was soon abandoned. Drivers had red coats with red turnbacks, but bright blue cuffs and lapels, with brass buttons in pairs. Waistcoats were straw-coloured, and buff breeches were worn with heavy boots; the hats were plain black.

HANOVER LIGHT TROOPS

The Hanoverian light troops fell into two ill-defined categories: those which were specifically raised as part of the Hanoverian Army, and those paid for by the British government.

It would appear that there were no light troops of any description prior to the war, but in May 1757 a Jäger corps was formed by Graf von Schulenburg; as was customary, this comprised two companies, one of mounted and one of foot Jägers. At about the same time Luckner and 54 of his `free hussars’ came over from the Dutch service (see above), and from this modest beginning a considerable expansion soon took place.

Luckner’s Hussars mustered 90 men by the end of 1757, but in the following year they doubled their strength to two companies totalling 8 officers and 174 men. In 1759 they redoubled to four companies, and by 1760 there were no fewer than eight companies, paired in four squadrons, with an official establishment of 32 officers and 632 hussars. The original uniform of Luckner’s light horse. However, as the combination of black Flügelmütze `winged cap’, green dolman and pelisse, and red breeches was virtually indistinguishable from the uniform of the French Army’s Chasseurs de Fischer, a different outfit was soon adopted – probably during the first increase in establishment. This comprised a white dolman and breeches, and a red pelisse with yellow cords and black fur edging; the `winged cap’ was replaced with a grey fur Kolpack with a red bag, and the original green barrel-sash was exchanged for a yellow one, though the original yellow boots were retained. The saddle cloth was red with yellow trimming, and officers seem to have had a dark brown fur shabraque with red vandyked edging.

The expansion of the Jäger corps was at first less dramatic, with only two additional foot companies being added in the course of 1758, and then an additional mounted company during the following year. At that point Col Freytag succeeded to the command of the corps, and the strength was raised considerably thereafter. It was expanded to no fewer than six companies each of Jäger zu Pferde and Jäger zu Fuss, and while the establishment of the mounted companies remained at 106 all ranks, that of the infantry companies went up from 156 to 206 – on paper, at least. In the long run this expansion proved unsustainable; in 1762 Freytag’s Jäger corps was amalgamated with another raised by Maj von Stockhausen, to make a single battalion of just four companies, with a total of 804 officers and men. Stockhausen had first raised a Schützen battalion in 1759, comprising one grenadier and two Jäger companies; although he added two companies of Jäger zu Pferde the following year it seems unlikely that the full 500-man establishment was ever achieved, hence the amalgamation with Freytag’s unit in 1762.

The uniform of both corps was broadly similar. All wore the traditional dark green coats, with green facings, green waistcoats, tin buttons, straw-coloured breeches, plain black hats, and either boots or gaiters depending on whether they were mounted or on foot. Horse furniture for the mounted element of both corps was green with white or silver trimming. The only distinguishing features were the absence of lapels from the coats worn by the mounted element of Stockhausen’s corps, and the curious grenadier caps worn by some of his men. These resembled the Kaskett then being worn by some Prussian and Austrian light troops, with a cylindrical leather skull and low frontal plate, similar in size to fusilier caps but more rounded. In the case of Stockhausen’s grenadiers the caps were green and bore the arms of Hanover on the front in silver; although it is uncertain whether these were embroidered, or if the front was tin with a green-painted ground, the latter seems more likely. In theory, as Jägers all of the men in both corps should have been armed with rifles, but it is more likely that ordinary infantry muskets predominated, and these were certainly carried by Stockhausen’s grenadiers.

Scheither’s Freikorps was formed by Capt H. A. Scheither in May 1758 as part of the process of expansion of light troops following the lessons of Ferdinand’s first campaign. Initially it comprised a single company apiece of carabiniers, grenadiers and Jägers, but by 1761 it had increased somewhat to muster four companies of carabiniers and two of fur-capped grenadiers, besides the Jäger company and an artillery detachment. There are also suggestions that there may have been a troop of Uhlans, but this was most likely the one which ended up in the Brunswick Auxiliary Volunteers as `Bosniaks’.

The carabiniers had a very pale straw-coloured coat or Kollet with dark green collar, cuffs, turnbacks and trimming, a straw-coloured waistcoat and breeches, and green horse furniture trimmed in white. Hats were plain black with a green cockade; as their designation suggests, they were armed with straight swords and short hussar-style carbines slung on a swivel belt. Both the musket-armed grenadiers and rifle-armed Jägers wore green coats with green facings, and straw-coloured waistcoats and breeches; apart from the grenadiers’ brown fur caps they were further distinguished from Freytag’s men by a vandyked lace pattern on collar and cuffs.

To improve their self-sufficiency each infantry company had a six-strong detachment of Zimmermen or carpenters, wearing the same uniform but distinguished by a low-crowned helmet with a crest and a green turban trimmed with white, bearing the white horse of Hanover on the front. The corps’ artillery were probably detached from the regulars, as they appear to have worn the same steel grey/blue uniform with minor distinctions as to the cuffs and waistcoat.

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