Drachtleben Infantry

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Armies >> Hanoverian Army >> Drachtleben Infantry

Origin and History

The regiment was raised in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), as a unit of the Principality of Brunswick-Celle which remained independent from Hanover until 1705.Its first Chef was Colonel Starcke from 1704 to 1706.

In 1704, immediately after its creation, the regiment was sent to the Netherlands. In 1711, it took part in the siege of Bouchain; in 1712, in the capture of Le Quesnoy and in the Battle of Denain. After the defeat, it retired to Marchiennes where it resisted for fourteen days before surrendering as prisoners of war. In 1713, the regiment was re-established in Einbeck.

In 1714, when plague broke out in Hamburg, the regiment was sent from Minden to take post along the Luhe down to Buxtehude.

In 1715, when the Electorate of Braunscheig-Lüneburg (aka Hanover) provided a contingent of 5,000 men to Denmark to campaign in Pomerania, the regiment took part in the blockade of Wismar. In 1716, it was the first Hanoverian battalion to enter in Wismar.

In 1717, the regiment garrisoned Ratzeburg and Lauenburg.

In 1719, the regiment campaigned in Mecklenburg where it took part in the engagement of Wallsmühlen against the Mecklenburgers and the Russians, pursuing the Mecklenburgers up to Malchin. It then occupied Schwerin. In 1720, it returned to Ratzeburg and Mölln.

In 1733, when Karl Leopold tried to re-establish himself in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the regiment marched to Gadebusch and Rostock and followed the peasants supporting the cause of Karl Leopold up to Crivitz where the Mecklenburger General Schwerin was taken prisoner. After dispersing the peasant, the regiment marched back to Ratzeburg.

In 1734, during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-35), the regiment the regiment was sent to Philipsburg on the Rhine where it crossed the Main and the Hundsrück and advanced to Trarbach. In 1735, it took part in the Battle of Clausen. It then returned to Hanover and took up quarters in Dannenberg.

In December 1738, 400 men of the regiment were sent to Steinhorst. They later came back to Mölln before being sent to Boitzenburg.

In 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment was sent to the Main and fought in the Battle of Dettingen. It then served until 1745 on the Rhine. In 1745, the regiment was sent back to Hanover and Göttingen. In 1747, it marched to the Netherlands where it fought in the Battle of Lauffeld where it lost 280 men killed or wounded.

From 1748 to 1757, the regiment garrisoned Stolzenau and Diepholz

During the Seven Years' War the regimental inhabers were:

  • since 1746: Colonel Gustav von Münchow (retired in 1753 as major-general)
  • from 1753: Colonel Wilhelm Ludewig von Druchtleben (promoted to major-general in 1758, retired in 1759)
  • from 1759: Colonel Alexander Jacob von der Schulenburg (retired in 1763 as major-general)

Service during the War

On July 26 1757, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed in the first line of the right wing under the command of Lieutenant-General Zastrow.

In March 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment took part in the siege and capture of Minden. On May 26, it was with the corps of the Prince von Anhalt in the camp of Coesfeld. On May 31, this corps accompanied Ferdinand of Brunswick in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed in the centre in Lieutenant-General Oberg's Brigade (6 battalions). This brigade was ordered to make a diversion towards Sankt-Tönis. On September 29, the regiment was part of the Corps of the Duke of Holstein who was surprised in its camp at Bork. It was thrown into the village of Bork to delay the French advance. It then retired in good order with the rest of the Allied corps.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of Wangenheim's Corps who had taken position at Dülmen in Westphalia to observe the movement of a French corps under the Marquis d'Armentières. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in Wangenheim's Corps between Kutenhausen and the Weser, in the first line of the infantry centre. It took part in the assault of the village of Todtenhausen on the right flank.

On January 7 1760, the regiment took part in the contested engagement of Dillenburg. It then marched to the Sauerland near Cologne where it took up its winter-quarters in Assinghausen and Hittefeld (more probably Hildfeld). On July 10, the regiment took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was attached to the left column under Lieutenant-General Griffin. At the end of July, the regiment was attached to the corps of Count Kielmannsegg which was attacked by a Franco-Saxon corps in its entrenchment near Kassel. On September 19, the regiment took part in an engagement near Löwenhagen. In October, it was transferred to Luckner's Corps who dislodged the French from the region of Eichsfeld. From November 20 to December 11, the regiment then took part in the blockade of Göttingen.

At the beginning of February 1761, the regiment formed part of the corps under General of Infantry von Spörcken who advanced in Thuringia. On February 15, the regiment took part in the Combat of Langensalza. From March 1, it took part in the unsuccessful siege of Kassel under the supervision of the Count von der Bückeburg.

In 1762, the regiment served under Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick in the siege of Kassel. On October 31, the regiment suffered heavy losses during a sortie of the defenders. On November 1, Kassel finally surrendered and the regiment formed part of the garrison. At the end of December, it was sent to occupy Hanau.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced yellow with a sprig of oak leaves, three black/red pom poms and a black cockade
Grenadier
Drachtleben Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Hannoverdidi
Prussian mitre in the British pattern with a small front flap. Black front with brass shield supported by lion and unicorn. Small brass flap with springing horse. Red sack, black base lined with yellow lace.
Neck stock black
Coat red with 2 brass buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes under the lapels (hidden by the sleeve in our plate)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red (left shoulder)
Lapels black with 7 brass buttons and 7 yellow buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 brass buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes
Cuffs black (slashed in the British pattern), each with 3 brass buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes just above each cuff on the sleeves
Turnbacks yellow fastened with a brass button
Waistcoat yellow with 2 horizontal pockets, each with 3 brass buttons
Breeches straw yellow
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a musket and a sword (brass hilt), and carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.

Officers

Officers had gold lace lining the cuffs and lapels, a black cockade hat, a gold gorget with the arms of Hanover in the centre and carried a yellow sash slung over the right shoulder. Sergeants wore straw gloves. Partizans were carried.

Musicians

Drummers wore a red coat with swallows nest and lace in yellow.

The drum pattern had hoops in alternating black and red diagonal stripes, white drum cords over a brass drum with the Arms of Hanover in the centre.

Colours

Colonel Colour: White field bearing the arms of Hanover (common to all Hanoverian infantry regiments except 10-B).

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

Regimental Colour: Yellow field, within a red scroll bordered by ivy; centre device consisting of a scene depicting Samson wrenching the lion's jaws apart; scroll carrying the motto NE MORTEM SED INFAMIAM VEREOR. Hereafter, we present an illustration from the Reitzenstein Sammlung, dating from circa 1761 (left) and the interpretation of Hannoverdidi (right).

Regimental Colour - Source: Interpretation of the Reitzenstein Sammlung (circa 1761)
Regimental Colour - Source: Interpretation of user Hannoverdidi

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

Gmundener Prachtwerk, circa 1761

Knötel H., and Hans M. Brauer: Heer und Tradition

Niemeyer Joachim, and Georg Ortenburg: The Hanoverian Army during the Seven Years War

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

Reitzenstein Sammlung, Bomann Museum, Celle

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

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar

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