Thursday, September 08, 2011

Brunswick Jaeger Companys

Triggered by the awesome plate in the Osprey book on the British Army in North America (that's it to the left - painted by the inestimable Gerry Embleton) I decided that for my next mini-project I'd tidy up and base some Jaeger that I bought ready painted a long time ago (in 2007 I think) from a fellow member of the Old School Wargame forum (Hi Jim - sorry about how long it took! celebrity fashion gallery)

The more I read about the Jaeger's, the more I realise that my original basing (see below...) which was based on my very poor knowledge of the war at the time, was incorrect - you can see that I've based them as close order troops, when in reality they were light infantry, so this time I'd base them as lights, to be used in that role for skirmishing against the flanks of formed troops.

Brunswick (or more properly Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel) was the first of the German state-lets (it was actually a Duchy) to agree to provide George III with soldiers to send to the colonies. Karl I (the Duke) agreed to send 4,000 soldiers: four infantry regiments, one grenadier battalion, one dragoon regiment and one light infantry battalion all to be commanded by General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel.

These soldiers comprised most of the German regulars under Burgoyne in the Saratoga campaign of 1777, the Brunswick troops were known for being especially well-trained. At Hubbardton they made a notable presence, singing a Lutheran hymn while making a bayonet charge against the American right flank, which may have saved the collapsing British line!.

After Burgoyne's surrender, 2,431 Brunswick'ers were detained until the end of the war. In total 5,723 troops went to North America, 3,015 did not return in the autumn of 1783 (but many of those would have been deserters choosing to stay and live in America).

Among the troops being sent was one company of Jaeger's (under the command of Captain Carl von Geyso) - probably four platoons [total 4 officers and 120 combatants]; the company was part of the Light Battalion, nominally its 2nd Company, but often operated separately.

Jaeger's were typically recruited from amongst the huntsmen and foresters, they were often "middle class" in background or even lesser nobility. As professionals or semi-professionals they were skilled in weapons and horses, and were primarily used for reconnaissance, skirmishing or screening bodies of heavier troops.

"Jäger were not just skilled riflemen, they were also able to handle and maintain delicate, accurate rifles in an age when very few people had any mechanical skill.

Jäger were excellent snipers able to inflict heavy casualties among enemy officers. Their ability to lay exceptionally accurate rifle fire also made them good for providing covering fire for other more vulnerable troop types such as sappers or engineers constructing forward trenches. For fights in close quarters the Jäger carried a straight-bladed hunting dagger (Hirschfänger), a short sabre or a falchion" (from the Perry website which is just a mine of information)

These are (of course) Minifigs 25mm and are base no's 46 & 47 (and the start of box no. 3 of AWI British and Allied troops!)


  1. They look good, Steve.

    -- Jeff

  2. Good figures and good history as usual.

  3. Interesting info and really nice painting.

  4. That rebasing definitely works better.

  5. Much more skirmishy!

    I remember when the Minifigs AWI figures came out! Much excitement at the time -1976 I think!