Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hirzel's Regiment

The paint brushes have been fairly flying this month, and another regiment now joins the ranks of my forces of the War of the Spanish Succession.. this time, so as to balance forces after the Champagne Regiment, it's another Dutch regiment - this time, Hirzel's.

Hirzel’s are more accurately known as Infantry Regiment 693a (click here) in the Dutch army – but like most armies at the time the regiments carried the name of their current Colonel.

The regiment was established in 1693, and like my previous post on Sturler’s (click here) comprised Swiss troops hired by the Dutch as a result of a special agreement/contract. The regiment recruited from the Zurich canton of Switzerland, and partly from Oost-Zwitserland (east Switzerland?).

The first company commander of the regiment was a gentleman called Hans Heinrich Lochmann (which explains why the regiment is referenced as "Lochmann's" in Charles Grant’s book) and the first soldiers appear to have been recruited from troops returning from France. It appears to me it must have been “messy” on the battlefields of the Spanish Succession, as the Swiss fought for both sides, and it must have been sad indeed to have had to fight against someone who may well have been a neighbour…

In 1701, one company was transferred to a newly established Swiss regiment known as Albermarle’s (Infantry Regiment 701d) but Hirzel’s lived on (under various colonels) until 1714 when it was permanently divided between the other Swiss Dutch regiments (mostly Albermarle’s).

The regiments namesake colonel was a man named Johan Caspar Hirzel. From what I can tell Johan was obviously a man of some importance – he was even mayor of Zurich for a short period (February to September 1669). His army career seems to have started as lieutenant colonel of Infantry Regiment 697B (another Swiss regiment in Dutch service known as Sacconay’s) which he was promoted to on the 1st July 1694. He also had an (older?) brother, Salomon, who also started his career in this regiment.Either way, it would appear Johan had an interesting time, as the regiment was transferred to the Republic of Savoy’s army in 1697 (Savoy being a Dutch ally).

Johan became colonel, and took over the regiment from Lochmann, on the 22nd February 1704. He retained the colonelcy until his death at the siege of Lille on the 23rd October 1708.

At the assault on the Schellenberg the regiment served in the first line under Lt General Goor (you may remember him from one of my previous posts - he was killed leading the assault) in Beinheim's Brigade of Dutch, Swiss/Dutch & Ansbach troops comprising the Heidebrecht Infantry Regiment, Stürler’s, Rechteren’s, Goor’s & Beinheim’s.

At Blenheim the regiment fielded 561 men and fought in the Centre division (commanded by Marlborough’s brother Charles Churchill). They were again in the first line (comprising infantry) in Lieutenant General Horn’s Division, brigaded with the same regiments that they had fought with at the Schellenberg (with the exception of the Beinheim’s). The brigade was commanded by Major General the Prince of Holstein-Beck, and was almost 3000 men strong – and that’s a big brigade!

Figures are 15mm Minifigs with the exception of the gentlemen representing Hirzel, and the standard bearer, who are from the little sample of figures that Mike at Black Hat (click here) sent me – they are from a new range, and they just have the biggest personality… very nice, I have ordered enough infantry for two regiments to pick up at the Warfare show in Reading this weekend.

The flag was from one of the gents on the "Warflag" Yahoo group (click here); this is the Yahoo group that supports the excellent Warflag site which is where I get most of my flags - many thanks Yves..!


  1. Again with the history you've done a great job. All the deciphering of colonels & regiment numbers is tricky work.

    Nice work Steve as always.

  2. Fascinating history and figures painted. You're putting me to shame Steve. I gotta get back to the painting table!