Hanoverian Foot Guards

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Origin and History

Regiment of Foot Guards - Source: Gmundner Prachtwerk, a manuscript in the library of the Prince of Hannover

The regiment was formed in 1678 and garrisoned at Hanover. Exceptionally, it consisted of two battalions (line infantry regiments all counted only one battalion). However, there was only one regimental staff for the two battalions for a total of 1,620 all ranks.

The grenadier companies of these two battalions were permanently assigned to the guard of the headquarters.

During the Seven Years War the regimental inhabers were:


Service during the War

Grenadier Garde in 1759. - Source: Richard Knötel Uniformkunde

In the spring of 1756, the two battalions of the regiment joined the Allied reinforcement destined to Great Britain because King George II feared a French invasion. On May 21, they arrived at Chatham. The regiment spent the rest of the year in Great Britain. At the beginning of November, it became clear that Brunswick-Lüneburg (aka Hanover) was more seriously threatened than England and it was decided to send the Hanoverian contingent back to the continent. Accordingly, the regiment marched out from the camp at Coxheath by Rochester up to Chatham. Contrary winds considerably delayed their departure. Finally on December 5, they re-embarked at Chatham to return to Germany.

From 1757, both guard battalions were usually assigned at the guard of the headquarters. On July 26, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the second line of the left wing.

By mid February 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of a small Allied force who advanced through Lüneburg to Amelinghausen. In December, when the Allied army took its winter-quarters in Westphalia , the regiment was quartered in Münster where Ferdinand of Brunswick had established his headquarters. On May 26, the regiment was with Ferdinand's main force in the camp of Nottuln. On May 31, it accompanied Ferdinand 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 on the left wing under the command of Lieutenant-General Spörcken.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, it took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 3rd column under Major-General Waldegrave. Misinterpreting orders, Waldegrave advanced straight upon the cavalry deployed on the left of the French centre. The first line of French cavalry (11 sqns) charged Waldegrave first line but was thrown back. The second line of French cavalry was equally repulsed though with more difficulty. Now the French reserve, consisting of the Gendarmerie de France and the Carabiniers, attempted a third attack upon the 9 brave battalions. It charged and broke through the first line of Allied infantry. However, the second line received them with a deadly fire and forced them to retire. The astonishing attack of the Allied infantry had virtually gained the day. On November 28, the regiment was part of the force under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick destined to dislodge the Würtemberger Contingent from Fulda and then to reinforce Frederick II in Saxony. This force set out from Marburg and marched to Kirtorf. On November 29, the force marched to Angersbach and Lauterbach. On Friday November 30, this force launched an attack on Fulda, forcing the Würtemberger Contingent to retreat precipitously southwards on Bruckenau in the general direction of Frankenland and Württemberg. On December 18, the Hereditary Prince at the head of his corps arrived at Erfurt. On December 25, the Hereditary Prince formed a junction with Frederick at Leipzig in Saxony.

On November 29 1760, a skirmish took place at Hedemünden on the Werra between Major-General Breitenbach's detachment (Hanoverian Gardes (2 bns), Brunswicker Leib-Regiment with some cavalry and artillery) and the French garrison under Monfort who was forced to abandon the place and to take refuge in the woods of Münden. Part of the garrison entrenched itself in a redoubt along the river while the other part passed it by boats. The French then resisted all attempts to dislodge them from their entrenchments. The Allied finally retired into the town before retreating during the night. In this action, the Allies lost about 150 men, including 5 officers killed and 6 wounded.

To do: campaigns from 1761 to 1763


Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced yellow with a sprig of oak leaves, three white and yellow pompoms and a black cockade
Grenadier Prussian mitre in the British pattern with a small front flap. Blue front with yellow scroll, silver star of the garter surmounted by a crown. Small brass flap with springing horse. Red sack, blue 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 Strap red (left shoulder only)
Lapels blue, each with 7 brass buttons and 7 yellow buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 brass buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes
Cuffs blue (slashed in the British pattern), each with 3 brass buttons and 2 yellow buttonholes just above each cuff on the sleeves
Turnbacks blue fastened with a brass button
Waistcoat blue 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, 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 blue 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).

Regimental Colour: white field bearing the arms of Hanover.

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi
Regimental Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

References

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

Knötel, R.: Uniformkunde: Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow 1890-1921

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

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

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

Sapherson Alan: A Basic Guide to Armies & Uniforms of the Seven Years War, No. 6 - Hanoverian

Vial J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar