Monday, July 07, 2008

Infantry Regiment Rechteren..

As promised a post on the regiment that didn't quite manage to make the June painting totals...

Rechteren's Regiment of Foot, were a Dutch regiment from the Overijssels region of Holland (a province of the Netherlands, in the central eastern part of the country) their official number was Infanterie Regiment 672h, and they were established in 1672, as Polentz's Infantry (as usual named after their first colonel, A Willem van Polentz).

From 1695 the regiment was under the command of Ernst Lodewijk van Wilcke, from 1704 however, Reint van Rechteren took over - there are some interesting people involved here so apologies for the small detour..

Wilcke was from Saxony but entered Dutch service in 1689 at the fairly late age of 39 - given he entered service as a Major in IR 671D (also known to those of you who follow my units as Regiment Goor, another Dutch unit I've just completed), I'm assuming he was gainfully employed elsewhere before he took the post. He served as major for two years, before taking the post of Lieutenant Colonel of IR 673B (van Keppel's) for four years, before finally taking command of this regiment in 1695.

While in command he was promoted to brigadier (in 1702), and it was shortly after this that Rechteren was promoted to the position of Kolonel-commandant. Apparently this was usual in the Dutch army - any regiment with a general officer had a Colonel Commandant - presumably to lead the regiment while the senior commander was away doing other duties.

Following disagreements** over promotion he went into service with Hessen-Kassel as a major general in 1704, shortly before the Schellenberg/Blenheim campaign, at which point Reint van Rechteren took full command of the regiment before being promoted Colonel in 1705.

Wilcke finally went on to make general in 1714 after service with Hesse-Kassel he went into the service of the Elector of Saxony - and eventually died in 1725 aged 72 - not bad in those days.

Reinhard (Reint) van Rechteren, was born in 1659 so was six years younger than Wilcke, and also had a title of Heer van Westerveld. One is tempted to think that there may have been a little friction between the grizzled veteran, and the young titled upstart, when Rechteren took the position of Colonel Commandant - but no evidence of any kind to back it up!

Rechteren had been Lieutenant Colonel in another regiment before getting this promotion - but only for a year - I can't find any other evidence of his serving elsewhere, so obviously there was plenty of "interest" being called on... I think that Reint's brother may have been Adolf Hendrik van Recheren, who was responsible for organizing the logistical support for Marlborough's march to the Danube in 1704. As it happens he was also Field Deputy for Overijssel during the War of the Spanish Succession - and therein may lie the clue to Reint's rapid promotion???

The interweb tells me that Rechteren lived in a manor house 3.5 km from the center of Zwolle in what is today called 'het westerveldse bos' or the Westerveld forest. There's none of it left any more so I can't show you pictures, but as it happens, Zwolle is in the Overijssels region - which is also where the regiment originated. The only other informnation I have is that the manor house belonged to Reint until he died in 1732, before being passed on to another member of the family.

Apologies for the overload of information - I find it almost impossible not to find this kind of stuff interesting when studying the units I am representing on the wargame table!

The figures are all 15mm Minifigs - there is no known information on what the regimental colours would have been so I had to make a guess. Given the regiment came from the Overijssels area, and that their Colonel also came from Zwolle, I decided to use the city colours for Zwolle..

Anyhow - the regiment served at most of the major engagements of the period including the Boyne:

1690 Boyne
1704 Schellenberg, Blenheim
1706 Oostende
1708 Rijssel, Oudenard
1709 Malplaquet

At the Schellenberg they were in Beynheym's/Beinheim's Brigade (6 battalions of Foot) with Goor (Dutch), Beinheim (Dutch), Hirzel (Swiss/Dutch), Sturler (Swiss/Dutch) & Heidebrecht (Ansbach). At Blenheim with very little change they were in Major General the Prince of Holstein-Beck's Brigade of 5 battalions of Foot with Heidebrecht (Ansbach), Sturler (Swiss/Dutch), Hirzel (Swiss/Dutch) and Goor (Dutch).

** My thanks to Dan Schorr for the following - Apparently Wilcke's departure from Dutch service was the result of being passed over for promotion to Major General. On 14 April 1704 Beynheym and Pallandt were promoted Major Generals. Wilcke thought that he was the senior to these two and should have been promoted before these. Marlborough got involved writing to the Dutch authorities in June 1704 for clarification. Apparently, the result was not in Wilcke's favor and he left Dutch service around that time. Wilcke entered Hesse-Kassel service as a Major General prior to Schellenburg/Blenheim. He commanded a brigade of Hesse-Kassel troops under Cutts on the left wing during the battle.


  1. Steve,

    Please don't apologize for your historical notes on your units and officers . . . I find these tidbits to be very very interesting. I for one really like them; please give us more.

    -- Jeff

  2. Steve,
    Here, here - fascinating to hear such detail!

  3. Excellent work Steve and well worth the read.

  4. I appreciate your historical background of your units. Keep up the good work!...Bill

  5. Great stuff Steve! I always mean to visit the Boyne though I've never managed it. This year maybe.

  6. ..please visit aforesaid battlefield immediately - love to see some pictures, and your views on the terrain...

  7. Very nice looking unit there, Steve. And I agree with everyone else about your historical notes!

    Best wishes


  8. i thing, there's a mistake about number regt... ;)
    Belaubre's and Goldberg's work give this one as Number 40 based on OVERJISSEL province...
    all we know about colours are copper buttons, and gold stripes for the hats. around 60 men died and 200 wounded at malplaquet. With Savoie's army in 1712.

  9. JL my information came from this site... Dutch is not good though!

  10. the site info of your link gives:
    It mainly consists army regiments, consisting of companies. Later in the regiments into battalions or squadrons of these companies (cavalry) classified. In addition, we also find some independent battalions, squadrons and companies should, but also banners (predecessor of the Cavalry Regiment), corps (Hunter) and brigades to. All army units have been following me for a (fictional) numbered, eg IR577a (th Infantry Regiment formed in 1577) etc.
    translation made with google (not very good but quite clear on numbers choosen)..i'm like you, for Dutch language but 672 number was quite larger to my eyes to be a "real" regimental number. (hope my English is quite clear also, i'm French).
    Bravo for your blog !!

  11. JL - well done - I never knew that - so basically this was they were one of 30 regiments of foot (h) raised in 1672... a huge expansion of the Dutch army (similar to the expansion under Louis in the French army in 1684...!)