2nd Dragoons

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Origin and History

Three independent companies of Scot Dragoons were raised in 1678. In 1681, Charles II raised 3 additional companies and formed the "Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons" with these 6 companies.

In 1694, the regiment was sent to Flanders where it served till 1697.

At the beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession, in 1702, the regiment, now known as the "Scots Greys" was sent once more to Europe to serve under the command of Marlborough. On August 13 1704, the regiment took part to the battle of Blenheim. On May 23 1706, it distinguished itself at the battle of Ramillies, receiving the distinction of wearing the grenadier mitre cap for its conduct.

After the unification of 1707, the regiment became known as the "Royal Regiment of North British Dragoons". From 1713, it ranked as 2nd Dragoons.

In 1715, the regiment served in Scotland where, on November 13, it took part to the battle of Sheriffmuir.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, the regiment was sent to the Low Countries in 1742. On June 27 1743, it fought at the battle of Dettingen. On May 11 1745, it took part to the battle of Fontenoy.

The regiment had 2 squadrons and was always mounted on grey horses.

On July 1 1751, when a Royal warrant reorganised the British cavalry, the regiment was designated as the "2nd (Royal North British) Regiment of Dragoons".

At the end of 1755, a company of light dragoons was added to the regiment.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was under the command of:

  • in 1758: Campbell

Service during the War

In the summer of 1758, the regiment was among the first British contingent (6,000 men) sent to reinforce the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Germany. The contingent embarked at Gravesend on July 19, disembarked at Emden on August 3 1758 and arrived at Coesfeld on August 17, after marching through a very heavy rain. However, the 2nd Dragoon was delayed at sea and only arrived at Coesfeld on August 31, two weeks after the rest of the contingent.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Mostyn division in the first line of the cavalry right wing. On April 13, the regiment took part in the battle of Bergen where it was deployed in the first column under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. In June, the regiment was still part of the main Allied army under the command of the duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, it was present at the battle of Minden, in the second line of the right hand column under lord George Sackville. This cavalry corps did not take part to the battle despite several orders requesting its intervention. Lord Sackville was later court-martialed and lost his command.

On July 31 1760, the regiment took part in the battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the second line of Granby's cavalry. Granby charged and broke the French cavalry right wing then wheeled and hit the French infantry in the flank, winning the day for the Allies.

On July 16 1761, the regiment took part in the battle of Vellinghausen where it was attached to Granby's corps.

To do: more details on the campaigns from 1760 to 1762

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1758 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform in 1758
Headgear British mitre with: a blue front carrying the badge of the regiment (thistle within the circle of St. Andrew) and a crown over it; a small red front flap with the white horse of Hanover surmounted by the motto "Nec aspera terrent"; red back; a blue headband with a thistle embroidered between the letters “II. D.” in the middle part behind
Neck stock white
Coat double breasted red lined blue with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes grouped 2 by 2
Collar red
Shoulder strap right shoulder: white aiguillette
Lapels none
Pockets long vertical pockets with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern
Cuffs blue (slashed in the British pattern) with white buttons and very narrow white buttonholes in a chevron pattern on the sleeve
Turnbacks blue
Waistcoat blue with very narrow white buttonholes
Breeches blue with white knee covers
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white leather
Waistbelt n/a
Cartridge Box natural leather
Scabbard n/a
Bayonet scabbard n/a
Footgear black boots
Horse Furniture
Housings blue with rounded corners decorated with the regimental badge (thistle within the circle of St. Andrew); bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Holster caps blue with pointed corners decorated with the golden crowned white king's cipher and the rank of the regiment (II. D.) underneath; bordered with a yellow braid with a blue stripe
Blanket roll blue and white


Troopers were armed with a sword, a pair of pistols and a musket.

Officers

As per the regulation of 1751, the officers wore the same uniform with the following exceptions:

  • a narrow silver lace at the lapels, cuffs and pockets
  • a crimson silk sash worn over the left shoulder
  • crimson and gold striped sword knot
  • blue housings and holster caps laced gold

NCOs

Sergeants were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the lapels, cuffs and pockets; a silver aiguillette; a blue worsted sash about their waist.

Corporals were distinguished by a narrow silver lace on the cuffs and shoulder strap; white silk aiguillette.

Musicians

Drummers rode grey horses. They wore red coats lined and turned up with blue and laced with the royal lace (yellow and blue). Blue waistcoats and breeches.

Drummers wore a mitre cap similar to the grenadier mitre cap but with a lower crown and the tassel hanging behind. Blue front decorated with regimental badge (thistle within the circle of St. Andrew); little frontal red flap with the White Horse and the the motto “Nec aspera terrent”; red backing, blue headband with a drum and the rank of the regiment (II. D.) in the middle part behind.

The drums were of brass with a blue forepart carrying the regimental badge (thistle within the circle of St. Andrew).

Colours

The guidons were made of silk, fringed and embroidered with gold and silver. The tassels and cords were of crimson silk and gold mixed.

King's Guidon: crimson field decorated with the rose and thistle conjoined surmounted by a crown. Underneath the central decoration: the king's motto “Dieu et mon Droit”. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment (II. D.) in silver characters on a blue ground.

Regimental Guidon: blue field with its centre decorated with the regimental badge (thistle within the circle of St. Andrew) with the regimental motto (Nemo me impune lacessit) underneath. In the first and fourth corners the White Horse in a red compartment. In the second and third corners: the rank of the regiment on a red ground within a small wreath of roses and thistles.

King's Guidon - Source: PMPdeL
Regimental Guidon - Source: PMPdeL

References

Fortescue, J. W., A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899

Funcken, Liliane and Fred, Les uniformes de la guerre en dentelle

George II, The Royal Clothing Warrant, 1751

Lawson, Cecil C. P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II

Mills, T. F., Land Forces of Britain the Empire and Commonwealth (an excellent website which unfortunately does not seem to be online any more)

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.