Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Heidebrecht Regiment....

Something of a milestone today as according to Blogger this is my 250th post!

Anyway - here is yet another demonstration, if any were needed, that Steve's painting funk may be coming to a close... another War of the Spanish Succession unit, but this time some infantry... just an advanced view - they need to be based.

An unusual regiment this time - not in terms of uniform which is pretty standard for the period, but in terms of nationality. This is the Heidebrecht Regiment (named as was usually the case after their colonel) who come from the Margraviate (click here)of Ansbach (click here) a very small country, and part of the Franconian Circle (click here) - that's their heraldic emblem up to the left.. Ansbach troops (like the Swiss) served in the pay of Holland.

There's little other information about Heidebrecht the man I'm afraid... in fact nothing at all other than the fact he was a major general. I do know that the regiment was present at Blenheim where they served in the 1st Line of the Allied Centre in the Prince of Holstein-Beck's Brigade, under Lieutenant General Horn.

Grant (click here)
indicates that the regiment passed to a gentlemen named Friedrich Heinrich, Count von Seckendorf in 1705 (so the year after Blenheim - that's him to the right), and there's a lot more about him as he seems to have been a politician as well as a soldier.. Undoubtedly brave, Seckendorf seems on the face of it to be a particularly difficult man to like - he also had a long and eventful life!

In 1693 he served in the allied army commanded by William III & became a cornet in a Gotha cavalry regiment in Austrian pay. Leaving the cavalry he became an infantry officer in the service of Venice, and ended up in Ansbach in 1698 when his regiment was transferred to imperial army.

In 1699 as lieutenant-colonel of dragoons his Ansbach regiment was taken into the Dutch service. During the War of the Spanish Succession, Seckendorf led Ansbach's regiment and, at the head of a regiment of dragoons captured 16 standards at Blenheim. Promoted to Oberst (colonel), he was also present at Ramillies, Oudenaarde (where he distinguished himself) and the siege of Lille (where he was severely wounded).

Disappointed not to be promoted further by either Holland or Austria, he entered the Polish-Saxon army as a major-general and fought as a volunteer at the siege of Tournai and the battle of Malplaquet.

After our period he continued to serve in a diplomatic capacity in the peace negotiations, before ...

  • in 1713 suppressing an insurrection in Poland
  • in 1715, as a lieutenant-general, commanding the Saxon contingent at the siege of Stralsund, defended by Charles XII of Sweden.
  • in 1717 in the service of the emperor, and with the rank of lieutenant field marshal, he was present at the siege of Belgrade with Prince Eugene.
  • in 1718 and 1719 he fought in Italy, where in 1719 he was made a count of the empire.
  • in 1726, at the request of Prince Eugene he was made the Austrian representative at the court of Prussia. He remained at Berlin, with short intervals, up to 1735, and for the greater part of this time exercised a strong influence over Frederick William II. He was deeply involved in the family quarrels which embittered the lives of Frederick William, his queen and the crown prince (Frederick the Great), & which culminated in the prince's condemnation to death by court martial.
  • in the same year he was also appointed general of cavalry of the army of the Holy Roman Empire, and served with such distinction as was to be gained in a war of positions in the Rhine campaigns of the War of the Polish Succession (1734-35)
  • in 1737 the emperor Charles VI, made Seckendorf commander-in-chief in Hungary, at the same time promoting him field marshal. The new commander began well, but failed at the end, and his numerous enemies at Vienna brought about his recall, trial and imprisonment.
  • He remained in jail until 1740 (when he was 67 years old), and was then reinstated by order of Maria Theresa, but being denied his arrears of pay he gave up all his Austrian and Imperial offices and accepted the rank of field marshal in the Bavarian service from the emperor Charles VII, elector of Bavaria.
  • His last campaigns were those of 1743 and 1744 in the Austrian War of Succession where after the death of Charles VII and the election of Maria Theresa's husband to the imperial crown, he became reconciled with the Austrian court.
  • He largely retired in 1745, and after the death of his wife in 1757 his health broke (not surprising at the age of 84!). This wasn't the end of his eventful life however, as in December 1758 he fell into the hands of a Prussian hussar party and was held prisoner for five months by his old enemy Frederick the Great (who had little love for him either as his former court enemy, or as his unsatisfactory ally in the first Silesian war).
  • He died at Meuselwitz on the 23rd of November 1763 aged 90....

    As I say - undoubtedly brave but an almost universally disliked man! The historian Carlyle (in his book "Frederick the Great", vol. ii.) described him as a cold, passionless intriguer, taciturn, almost stolid, and absolutely unscrupulous in the furtherance of Austrian political aims. Frederick the Great wrote that "He was sordidly scheming; his manners were crude and rustic; lying had become so much second nature to him that he had lost the use of the truth. He was a usurer who sometimes appeared in the guise of a soldier, and sometimes in that of a diplomat". With a description like that I feel sure he would have been right at home amongst the vile Stagonians...!

    Having said that, it was the death of his wife that caused his health to break and he was quite obviously devoted to her... obviously brave... better to say that he was a complex character I think.

    Figures are by Minifigs in 15mm. As recommended/suggested by Flanderkin Serjeant (click here) this unit was the first time I had used mostly inks rather than paints to complete the regiment. Worked well, and I especially like the effect I got with the deep blue ink over black primer with a quite drybrush with white..

    Inks were FW (Daler Rowney) for the red:
    ..and the Dark Blue Windsor and Rowney Calligraphy (as opposed to normal) ink - I've always been a fan of the black, the dark blue is going to be as popular. I may get the scarlet in this range as well as it was marginally easier to use than the FW which was a little thicker...
    In fact the only paints I used on these were white, grey, metallics for the muskets and lace, and a tadge of pink for the officers sash... overall impression is one of speed, inks are quicker to paint with than paints... much more useable...

    I'll post some more pictures once the unit is based...

    1. Interesting post there.
      Figures look very good indeed. Using inks seems several steps up from using a wash but a lot faster.

    2. Steve,

      I particularly like the 'slightly weathered' look that these figures have . . . it might well be worth a sort of tutorial with step-by-step photos of the whole process.

      An interesting character indeed . . . he led quite a life.

      -- Jeff

    3. Steve

      Many congratulations on your 250th post! And a very interesting post too...

      Bets wishes


    4. Great 250th! von Seckendorf's CV fascinating...as is the use of the inks will experiment. Your blog is always a good read & a great resource for the WSS period.