Breidenbach Dragoons

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hanoverian Army >> Breidenbach Dragoons

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1689, during the Nine Years’ War (1688-1697), by Major Horn. It initially consisted of four companies in two squadrons. The same year, it campaigned against the French on the Rhine. In 1690, Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Johann Count von Bothmer was appointed commandant of the regiment which was sent to Brabant where it would campaign until 1697. In 1690, the regiment fought in the Battle of Fleurus. In 1691, a squadron of “Leib-Grenadier” was added to the regiment. In 1692, a fourth squadron was raised. The same year, the regiment took part in the Battle of Steenkerque. At the end of the war, in 1697, two companies were disbanded, reducing the regiment to three squadrons.

In 1700, the regiment took part in the campaign against the Danes in Holstein.

In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment was re-established at four squadrons. The same year, it participated in the invasion of the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and in the affair of Peer. In 1703, it took part in the Combat of Speyerbach; in 1704, in Marlborough's march to the Danube and in the battle of the Schellenberg and Blenheim. In 1705, at the death of Duke Georg Wilhelm of Celle, the regiment was incorporated into the Hanoverian Army. In 1707, the regiment was sent to Brabant. In 1708, it took part in the siege of Lille. In November and in the relief of Bruxelles; and in 1709, in the Battle of Malplaquet.

In 1742, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to Brabant. In 1743, it campaigned on the Main and fought in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1745, it took part in the Battle of Fontenoy. Later the same year, two of its squadron were at the affair of Melle and the entire regiment took part in the affair of Asch. In 1746, the regiment fought in the Battle of Rocoux; and in 1747, in the Battle of Lauffeld.

Voices from the Past
On March 23, 1761, Lieutenant-General Ernst Friedrich von Reden was buried at Grünberg

The successive regimental inhabers were:

  • from 1740: Colonel Otto Heinrich von Aldelebsen (promoted to brigadier in 1745 and to major-general in 1747, died on 3 March 1751)
  • from 1751: Colonel Friedrich von Heimburg (promoted to major-general in 1754, retired in 1757 as lieutenant-general)
  • from 1757: Colonel Maximillan Johann Christian von Breidenbach (died on 7 September 1759 as major-general)
  • from 1759: Major-General Ernst Friederich von Reden (promoted to lieutenant-general in 1761, and mortally wounded in the Engagement of Grünberg on March 21 1761)
  • from 1761 to 1776: Colonel Georg von Walthausen (promoted to major-general in 1761 and to lieutenant-general in 1775, died on 14 November 1776 in Göttingen)

Service during the War

On April 29, 1757, the regiment joined the Allied army in the camp of Hameln. On May 20, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment was posted near Paderborn. On June 4, it effected a junction with the Allied main army at Bielefeld. On July 15, this army recrossed the Weser and took position at Holzhausen. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where two of its squadrons fought on the right wing in the second line all brigaded under the command of von Dachenhausen. The two remaining squadrons were deployed on the Schrecken Height between Afferde and Diedersen. After this defeat, the regiment followed the army in its retreat through Nienburg and Verden towards Stade where the Allies finally capitulated in September. At the end of November, the regiment joined the Allied army assembling at Harburg under the command of Ferdinand of Brunswick. On December 5, during the Allied counter-offensive in Hanover, the regiment was part of General Schulenburg's Corps. It attacked and routed a detachment of Chasseurs de Fischer supported by Caraman Dragons near Ebstorf. In this combat, the regiment lost Lieutenant-Colonel von Alvensleben, Captain König and Lieutenant von Thangel killed; and Colonel Maximilian von Breidenbach, Lieutenant-Colonel von Bothmer and Lieutenant Duinsing wounded. On December 13, the regiment was part of the Allied forces who took position in front of Celle. In the night of December 24 to 25, it retired to Lüneburg where it took up cantonments.

On February 12, 1758, the regiment joined the Allied army in its winter offensive in Western Germany. After reconquering Hanover, Brunswick, Hesse and Westphalia, the regiment took position near Wesel on the Rhine. In April, it took up its winter-quarters at Albachten. On May 25 1758, the regiment joined the Allied main army of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick in the camp of Nottuln. On May 26, the regiment marched to Dülmen. On May 31, it accompanied Ferdinand in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. By June 8, it was encamped near Sonsbeck. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed on the left wing under the command of Lieutenant-General von Spörcken. On July 17, it escorted Ferdinand of Brunswick in a reconnaissance. On July, as part of Schulenburg’s Brigade, it was detached to Brüggen where it skirmished with the enemy. On August 2, it took part to another skirmish near Waldmil before joining the main army. On August 9, the Allied army recrossed the Rhine near Griethausen. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lutterberg where it was placed in the second line of the right wing. From November 18, it formed part of the cordon of troops deployed between Dülmen and Hamm.

On February 9, 1759, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in the towns of Grünberg and Iburg in the region of Osnabrück. At the beginning of April, it joined Hardenberg’s Corps near Erwitte. On May 26, it moved to the camp of Anröchte and later to Unna where the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick assumed command of the corps. On June 3, two squadrons of the regiment took part in the attack of a French outpost at Elberfeld. On June 11, the regiment joined the main army near Soest, accompanying it in its march to Stolzenau. On July 28, the Hereditary Prince detached Schleiffen with 40 hussars and a party of Breidenbach Dragoons (200 men) to relieve the small garrison of Vechta threatened by the French. On August 1, the regiment was present at the Battle of Minden in the first line of the cavalry right wing which was not engaged. By September 18, the regiment was encamped near Krofdorf.

On January 3 1760, the regiment took up cantonments in the towns of Asphe and Melnau near Marburg. On January 28, it took up its winter-quarters in Osnabrück. On June 20, the regiment joined Spörcken’s Corps at Dülmen. This corps then advanced by Bühren and Landau in the region of Waldeck where, on July 12, it established communication with the Allied main army encamped nearby at Sachsenhausen. Spörcken’s Corps encamped near Volkmarsen. On July 24, Spörcken was forced to retire towards Wolfhagen when the French tried to cut his line of communication with Ferdinand’s army. During this movement, the regiment formed part of the rearguard and had to constantly skirmish with the French. On July 25, Spörcken resumed his retreat to Liebenau. On July 31, the regiment took part in the Battle of Warburg where it was deployed in the third line of the centre between Ossendorf and Menne. On August 5, it was detached to Meerhof where it effected a junction with Wutginau’s Corps

On February 15 1761, the regiment took part in the Combat of Langensalza. On March 21, it was probably involved in the Engagement of Grünberg. On July 16, it was present at the Battle of Vellinghausen where it formed part of Wolff's Corps, detached by Spörcken from Herzfeld to reinforce Wutginau. It later rejoined the main army at Bühne near Borgentreich where it remained until mid-November. On November 11, the regiment crossed the Weser at Beverungen and joined Wangenheim’s Corps near Uslar. From November 25 to December 10, the regiment took part in the blockade of Göttingen.

On January 11, 1761, the regiment joined Kielmansegg’s Corps in its cantonments near Osterode. On January 29, this corps effected a junction with other Allied corps at Eichsfelde to form the left wing of the main army under the command of Spörcken. On February 13, Spörcken’s Corps marched towards Mühlhausen. On February 15, it assembled at Thamsbrück. A large corps under General von Stainville, mostly consisting of Saxon troops, was posted nearby. Spörcken attacked and defeated this corps in the Combat of Langensalza. Two squadrons of the regiment took part in this combat. On February 23, the regiment joined the corps of the Hereditary Prince at Vogelsberg. On February 28, two squadrons of the regiment took part in a surprise attack against an enemy post at Obersemen. On March 2, they took part in a similar attack at Büdingen. On March 10, the Hereditary Prince retired to Laubach and Grünberg. On March 21, two squadrons of the regiment took part in the Engagement of Grünberg where the chief of the regiment, Major-General Ernst Friederich von Reden, was mortally wounded and Lieutenant Brunsich, wounded. The Hereditary Prince was then forced to retire on Burg-Gemünden and to repass the Ohm, encamping at Fritzlar on March 29. By May 31, the regiment had joined Spörcken’s Corps at Warburg. At the end of July, after the French defeat at Vellinghausen, Spörcken’s Corps followed the French up to Erwitte. On July 29, the regiment effected a junction with the main army at Gesecke. On August 10, it was once more allocated to Spörcken’s Corps. By October 15, it was encamped near Seinde. The regiment took up its winter-quarters in Winzenburg in the region of Hildesheim.

On May 18, 1762, the regiment left its winter-quarters and joined [[Lückner’s Corps. On May 23, this corps, including two squadrons of the regiment, undertook an expedition against Göttingen. It later advanced on Uslar. On June 24, still part of this corps, the entire regiment fought in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. A few weeks later, om July 23, it took part in the second combat of Lutterberg. In September, the regiment was among the troops covering the siege of Kassel.

Uniform

Accurate Vorstellung der saemtlichen Churfürstl. hannöverischen Armee zur eigentlichen Kentniß der Uniform von jedem Regimente nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird Nürnberg: Raspe 1763 (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt)

Privates

Uniform in 1759 -
Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Trooper black tricorne laced silver with oak leaves as a field sign and a black cockade
Grenadier Prussian-style mitre cap; blue front carrying a Springing Horse on a red field within the Garter, surmounted by a golden crown with red cushions and decorated with silver scroll work; red flap decorated with a silver grenade; white sack; blue headband; red within blue pompom
Neck stock red
Coat white with 1 white button on each side in the small of the back
Collar none
Shoulderknot red and blue aiguillette on the right shoulder
Lapels light blue edged white, each with 7 white buttons and 7 white buttonholes (arranged 1-2-2-2)
Cuffs light blue Swedish cuffs edged white, each with 2 white buttons and 2 white buttonholes
Turnbacks light blue
Waistcoat light buff edged light blue (light blue until 1762 as per Wissel)
Breeches light buff
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff
Waistbelt buff
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black
Footgear black boots with white knee-covers
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth basic colour light blue; border from the inner edge out, lines of black-white-red-white-red-white-black; emblem of a white horse on red ground over green turf in a white floral wreath surmounted by a gold crown with red interior

N.B.: during wartime, the saddlecloth and holster-caps were probably plain light blue edged white.

Sabretache see saddlecloth
Blanket roll light blue


Troopers were armed with a Pallasch' straight steel hilted sword, two pistols, a musket and a bayonet.

Officers

Officers wore a yellow silken sash across the right shoulder; a silver gorget, a silver porte-epee; and silver lace on the tricorne. They did not carry a bandoleer.

NCOs

NCO had silver laces on the cuffs, pockets, lapels and waistcoat. They did not carry a bandoleer.

Musicians

Musicians were dressed in reverse colours and probably wore shoulder laces. The staff kettle-drummer probably carried NCO distinctives. His kettle-drums were made of copper and had a white apron fringed gold carrying a device consisting of the Springing White Horse on a red ground; the motto “EXEMPLA MAJORUM” above

As dragoons, musicians were drummers. The likely drum pattern would have been similar to the foot with hoops in alternating facing colour and red diagonal stripes, white drum cords over a brass drum with the Arms of Hanover in the centre.

Standards

The first squadron carried the Leibstandarte while the 3 remaining squadrons carried an Eskadronstandarte which varied from one squadron to the other.

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white field with golden embroideries; gold fringe

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Arms of England within the Garter supported by a crowned lion and a unicorn; the motto “DIEU ET MON DROIT” underneath
  • reverse: centre device consisting of a Lion Couchant holding a sword decorated with laurel and resting on a trophy of arms; the motto “PARTI TUERI” above
Leibstandarte – Source: rf-figuren

2nd Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): blue field with golden embroideries; gold fringe

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the initials “GR” within the Garter surmounted by a crown; the motto “DIEU ET MON DROIT” underneath
  • reverse: centre device consisting of an arm holding a sword (entwined with laurel) issuing from a cloud; the motto “CUM DEO ET GLADIO” above (underneath as per Schirmer)
2nd Eskadronstandarte – Source: rf-figuren

3rd Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): blue field with golden embroideries; gold fringe

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Arms of England and Brunswick-Lüneburg joined by 2 intertwining palm trees and a chain; the motto “ET STIRPS ET AMOR JUNGEBANT” underneath
  • reverse: centre device consisting of a column with even gold scales; the cipher “GR” at its base; a drawn sword resting on the column; a trophy of arms below the column and the motto “PRO LEGE ET GREGE” above
3rd Eskadronstandarte – Source: rf-figuren

4th Squadron Standard (Eskadronstandarte): blue field with golden embroideries; gold fringe

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Arms of England within the Garter; the motto “DIEU ET MON DROIT” underneath
  • reverse: centre device depicting St. George on a white horse fighting the dragon; the motto “VIRTUS ANIMI SUPERAT OMNIA” above
4th Eskadronstandarte – Source: rf-figuren

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

Other sources

Biles, Bill: The Hanoverian Army in the 18th Century, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VI No. 3

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Part I : Das Heer von 1763, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 1-4 (1909), page 3-15

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Part II: Das Heer von 1770, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 4-5 (1909), page 15-20

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Kurze Stammliste. 1617 bis 1803, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 6-11 (1909), page 22-42

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

Niemeyer, Joachim and Georg Ortenburg: The Hanoverian Army during the Seven Years War; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Heereskunde

Pengel, R.D, Hurt G.R.: German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Pengel, R.D, Hurt G.R.: Seven Years War. Brunswick-Luneburg (Hanover). Hessen Cassel. Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel. Schaumburg Lippe. Supplement, Birmingham 1984

Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Nec Aspera Terrent: Eine Heereskunde der hannoverschen Armee von 1631 bis 1803, Niedersächische Hausbücherei, Bd. 3, Hannover 1929