Saturday, June 18, 2011

British & Hessian Regiments - part the first..

By way of a change - some British troops this post - or more specifically Hessian troops - John loved the German troops (I think he was a fan of Frederick) so I had a lot of German troops to sort through...

Rogers Rangers - 1st & 2nd Battalion

A bit of an anachronism to start the British roll... At the end of the French and Indian War, my research indicated that most of the Rogers Rangers soldiers had returned to civilian life, but at the outbreak of the American War of Independence, former Rangers were among the Minutemen firing at the British at Lexington and Concord. After these events, Rogers offered his help to Washington, but Washington refused, fearing that Rogers was a spy. Infuriated by the rejection, Rogers joined the British, where he formed the Queen's Rangers (1776) and later the King's Rangers. These guys are those very early forerunners of the Queens Rangers... and yes I know they aren't wearing the correct uniforms for the Queen's Rangers - they hadn't arrived yet...smiley emoticons Base no's. 1A, 1B, 2A & 2B

Brunswick Jaeger's - 1st, 2nd & 3rd Battalion

Based on plate no. 126 in the Mollo "Uniforms of the American Revolution" book. During the American Revolutionary War, Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel and other German leaders hired out about 30,000 of their conscripted subjects as auxiliaries to Great Britain to fight against the Americans. The gentlemen depicted here were subjects of Duke Charles I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel a blood relation of George III; and the first ruler to sign a contract to send troops to North America. The contract was approved by the duchy’s Landstands (parliament). "The money received was invested for the general good and the interest was still helping to relieve the tax burden on the general populace of the region in 1918!"

The corps of 4,300 men (176 officers, 389 NCO's, 102 Drummers, 3372 soldiers and 261 servants) received their pay direct from the British government – at the higher rate paid to its own troops – and all equipment was purchased in Brunswick in order to support the local economy.

Theoretically there were only a company of these troops, but I had enough to make two and a half battalions, so if needs must they can also fill in as Hesse-Cassell Jaegers when the need arises. Lots of this information from the Perry website - well worth a read.

Base no's. 3 to 7

Brunswick Battalion von Barner - 1st & 2nd Battalion

More Brunswickers. Plate no. 127 in the Mollo book - and along with the Rangers these were some of the the easiest units to identify. This regiment comprised picked men, and was classed as light infantry (though I have them based in close order).

They were commanded by Major Friedrich Albrecht von Barner. This was a newly raised Battalion of Chasseurs (Jaegers) supplemented by light Infantry from other Brunswick Regiments. They arrived in Quebec in Sep 1776 with the 2nd Division and became part of Burgoyne's army. Fought in the battles of Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, Freeman’s Farm, Bemis Heights, and Saratoga. Base no's. 8 to 10

Infantry regiment Erbprinz

The elite of the elite, and therefore guaranteed to get trounced on every table top outing! smiley emoticons.. Based on plate no. 138 in Mollo. Specifically the plate shows the grenadier, but early in my research I missed the fact that the rest of the battalion would have worn the tricorn... ("Composition – one grenadier and five musketeer companies [24 officers and 522 combatants]; this unit is often wrongly described as being all grenadiers." from the Perry site)

In retrospect I should have chosen them to represent Grenadier Regiment von Rall (or at a pinch one of the Fusilier regiments with their slightly smaller mitres); they may still do if I can summon up enough nerve to have a go at the red stripes of the von Rall trousers! Base no. 11 & 12

Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions

One of the sadder stories to come out of my reading for the war - identified from plate no 125 in the Mollo. This four squadron regiment of Dragoons arrived in Quebec without their horses, but with all the equipment to make them mounted once horses were sourced... they never were and the regiment served on foot throughout the war.

"The only German auxiliary cavalry regiment to serve in America, the regiment was 336 men strong and was part of the 1st Division, arriving in Quebec in June, 1776. They did not bring their horses with them, hoping to procure them in America. Very few horses were obtained, only enough for small units to act in patrol work, etc. The remainder of the regiment fought in infantry. Their heavy cavalry boots were exchanged for long overalls made from striped ticking material, but much of the remainder of their cavalry dress was retained. They were another of the regiments taken into captivity at the surrender of Saratoga as part of General Burgoyne's Army, although many men were exchanged, escaped from captivity, etc., to re-form the Regiment around the detachment left in Canada." from here

Base no's 13 to 20

New York Loyalist Artillery - Medium

An entirely fictional unit, and one of three artillery pieces on the British side (same for the Americans). I suspect I picked New York because of the brown coats, but I have no idea who these guys were actually painted to represent..

Base no. 21

New York Loyalist Artillery - Light

As per the previous entry, a fictional unit.

The gun by the way is one of the only plastic pieces to survive the first awakenings of the project - I have no idea what kit it came from though I think it might have been Revell - perhaps an ECW or 30 Years War set, as the gun is slightly old fashioned, but ideal in size for a smaller calibre artillery piece..

Base no. 22


..and that's more than enough for now - more later....


  1. An interesting array of Tories.

  2. Rhode Island had a battery in brown faced red but with leather caps. It was a common enough combination given the shortages of blue that it was probably not unique. Some of the Loyalists were as hardpressed for uniforms early on so who knows? (or maybe the Brits hired mercenary Austrians as well as Hessians...)

    I wouldn't worry about the striped gaitoer trousers for Erb Prinz. As far as I can tell, all regiments arrived in gaiters and wore them at the engagement at Trois Rivieres in 76' but all were re-equipped with the 1 piece gaiter-trousers before the Saratoga campaign, striped or not. So both are correct at different times.

    As for the poor dragoons, at least a handful managed to execute a sword in hand charge at Bennington even without horses!

    Very much enjoying this review.

  3. Another great post, I seem to have missed this when you posted it!!!

  4. While it's common to see illustrations of German Auxiliaries in red or blue striped gaitered trousers I've yet to see a period illustration that depicts this.

    Friedrich von Germann painted watercolours of Burgoyne's army. He depicts the Germans in gaiters.

    In his journal, von Pausch of the Hesse-Hanau Artillery mentions buying gaitered trousers for his men. It is either this journal or another that describes these trousers as being made of "matrress ticking". When Mollo did his artwork mattress ticking was cotton canvas with thin red or blue stripes. Assumptions were made . . .

    Most likely the gaitered trousers would be made from undyed linen canvas, which varies from ivory through to very light grey.