Canitz Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hesse-Kassel Army >> Canitz Infantry

Origin and History

Grenadier of Hessenstein (later Canitz) Infantry in 1749. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde from User:Zahn's collection

The regiment was raised in 1702 by Colonel Schenck von Schweinsberg.

From 1734 to 1736, the regiment constituted a Kreis regiment which formed part of the Reichsarmee.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:

  • since 1753: Colonel von Canitz
  • from 1759 to 1766: Colonel von der Malsburg

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Kommandeure assuming effective command of the regiment were:

  • since 1753: Colonel von Canitz
  • from 1759: Colonel von Westernhagen
  • from 1760: Colonel Keppel
  • from 1762: Colonel von Knyphausen

During the War of the American Independence, the regiment was sent to North America in 1776 and served with the British Army against the insurgents.

In 1789 the regiment was amalgamated with Garnisonregiment Nr. V.

Service during the War

On July 24 1757, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Combat of Lafferde. Two days later, on July 26, it was at the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the first line of the centre.

In May 1758, while the French assembled an army for an offensive in Hesse, the regiment was part of the detachment of the Prince von Ysenburg who had been sent from Westphalia to Marburg to organise the defence of Hesse. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was initially deployed in the centre. The Prince Ysenburg was forced to draw this regiment along with his converged grenadiers from his centre to reinforce a crumbling left flank; leaving only the Hessian militia in the centre. The French commander, the Duc de Broglie, seeing this, ordered Rohan Montbazon Infanterie, Beauvoisis Infanterie, Royal Bavière Infanterie and Royal Deux-Ponts Infanterie, all of which had exhausted their powder, to charge the Allied centre at the point of the bayonet. These regiments managed to rout the Hessian militia troops, forcing the Allies to withdraw. On October 10, the regiment took part in the Battle of Lutterberg where it fought in the first line of the centre as part of Diepenbroick's Brigade, suffering very heavy casualties.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Linstrow's Brigade in the second line of the infantry centre. On March 1, its grenadier company took part in the attack on Friedewald. On April 13, the regiment took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second column under the Prince von Ysenburg who led the assaults on the village of Bergen. The Prince Ysenburg was killed while leading repeated assaults up a steep slope against abatis around the village without artillery support; the artillery was still in the rear of the baggage train. The French units in Bergen were strengthened by a reserve who blunted the repeated attacks. After repeated attempts to storm the village, the Hanoverian and Hessian troops finally withdrew. In June, the regiment was part of Imhoff's Corps operating in Hesse. On July 15, it was among the Allied troops who occupied Bremen. On August 1, the regiment was part of the centre of the Corps of the Hereditary Prince who attacked and defeated Brissac's French Corps at the engagement of Gohfeld. While pursuing the defeated French army, the regiment fought during the combat of Einbeck (August 7) and Dransfeld (August 10). On August 28, it was also present at the attack on Wetter. From September 4 to 12, it took part in the siege of Marburg. Then, on October 11, it was among the reinforcements sent to the Allied corps besieging Münster.

On July 10 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to the left column under Lieutenant-General Griffin.

From February 19 to March 28 1761, the regiment was present at the siege of Kassel. On August 5, it took part in the combat of Kloster Bredelar.

On July 23 1762, the regiment participated in the assault on the Kratzenberg. From August 17 to November 1, it was present at the siege of Kassel. Finally, on September 21, it took part in the Combat of Amöneburg (aka Brücker-Mühle).

Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier headgears. The stock was red for the other ranks and white for officers.

Pre-1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with yellow pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a white metal plate, a yellow sack and base with white lace and pompom.
Neck stock red
Coat dark blue with 1 white button on each side at the small of the back and 3 white buttons under the left lapel
Collar yellow
Shoulder Straps n/a
Lapels yellow, each with 6 white buttons grouped 2 by 2
Cuffs yellow, each with 2 white buttons on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks yellow
Waistcoat yellow
Breeches yellow (maybe still blue in 1756)
Gaiters white in summer; black otherwise
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket carried using a leather strap.

Officers

Officers wore a white stock and, as a sign of their commissioned rank, a gorget in button colour, and sash. The sash was of silver silk shot with red flecks .

NCOs

NCO's carried the Prussian style partizan. The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. Drummers now wore the same dark blue coat with white and red livery lace placed along the coat seams in seven inverted chevrons along the sleeves and around the 'swallow nests' on the shoulder. Very much a copy of the Prussian style.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian Lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian Lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating white and orange diagonal stripes.

1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1761 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with yellow pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a silver plate, a yellow sack and base with white lace and pompom
Neck stock black
Coat dark blue with 2 white buttons and 2 white button loops under the lapel and 1 yellow button and 1 white button loops in the small of the back
Collar yellow
Shoulder Straps yellow attached with a white button
Lapels yellow, each with 6 white buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal, each with 3 white buttons
Cuffs yellow, each with 2 white buttons and 2 white button loops on the sleeve above each cuff
Turnbacks yellow fastened with a small white buttons
Waistcoat yellow
Breeches yellow (maybe later changed to white, at least during summer)
Gaiters white in summer; black otherwise
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket carried using a leather strap.

'Other interpretations

A document from the State archive Marburg (Nr. Best 4 h - 4203/1) gives, for the uniform of 1760: no lapels, red turnbacks and blue/yellow pompoms.

Colours

To the present day, a definitive reconstruction of the Hesse-Cassel colours during the Seven Years' War is non-existant. All existing publications are mostly speculative. The Leib (colonel) colour was probably white (maybe red) and the regimental colour assumed pale orange.

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these colours used till 1767.

Leib Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Europa kämpft in Flandern... Die Morier-Bilder in Windsor Castle, Teil IV: Hessen-Kassel 1748, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, XXX Jg. (1960), Nr. 207, S. 122-125 and Nr. 208, S. 166-168

Böhm, Uwe Peter: Hessisches Militär: Die Truppen der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1672-1806, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Beckum 1986

Cookman, D.: Sandershausen 1758, Battlefields Vol. 1 Issue 6

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Band 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin 1903

Henry, Mark: Hessian Army of the 7 Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VII No. 3

Manley, S.: Uniforms of the Danish and German States armies 1739-1748, Potsdam Publications

Mohr, Kurt: Einiges über die Hessen-Kasselsche Infanterie 1760, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 106-107

Mulder, Luke: Some Notes on Landgraf Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel Re-Organization of 1760, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 2

Noeske, Rolf: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, 1. Ergänzung Hessen-Kassel, KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt 1989

Ortenburg, Georg: Das Militär der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel zwischen 1783 und 1789, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Potsdam 1999

Pengel & Hurt: German States in the Seven Years War 1740 to 1762, Imperial Press

Renouard, Carl: "Geschichte des Krieges in Hannover, Hessen und Westfalen von 1757 bis 1763", 3 Bände, Cassel, 1863-64

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

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Infanterie des Landgrafentums Hessen-Kassel während des Siebenjährigen Krieges, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 104-106

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007

Zahn, Michael: Stammliste und Gefechtskalender der Regimenter der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel im Siebenjährigen Krieg (1756-1763) - Teil 1: Infanterie, Metzingen, 2009

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