Hardenberg Infantry

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Origin and History

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

The regiment was first raised in 1631 during the Thirty Years' War. At the end of the war, in 1648, it was reduced to four companies.

In 1662, when Emperor Leopold experienced troubles with Rákóczi, supported by the Turks, in Transylvania, the regiment was increased to 12 companies. In 1664, it was sent to Hungary. The Imperial army tried to stop the Turks on the Raab (present-day Rába River) and then defeated them in the Battle of Saint Gotthard. The regiment then returned to Hanover.

In 1666, the regiment took part in the relief of Bremen, bombarded by the Swedes.

In 1668, during the War of Devolution (1667–68), the regiment, who had been placed in Dutch pay, marched through the County of Bentheim and encamped near Hardenberg. However, peace was concluded before its arrival in the Dutch Republic.

In 1671, the regiment took part in the capture of the City of Braunschweig.

In 1685, during the Morean War (1684-99), the regiment (8 companies of 100 men each) was sent to Greece to assist the Venetians in the conquest of Morea. In 1686, it received four additional companies and took part in the Battle of Argos. In 1687, now counting only eight companies, it took part in the siege of Patras and in the siege and capture of Athens before returning to Venetia.

In 1688, at the outbreak of the Nine Years' War (1688–97), the regiment returned to Hanover. In 1689, it was sent to the Dutch Republic and took part in the siege of Mainz and in the capture of Bonn. In 1690, it campaigned in the Netherlands. In 1692, it was reduced to 8 companies and then to 7 companies in 1697.

In 1700, the regiment was sent to Holstein to drive the Danes out.

In 1702, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13), the regiment went to the Netherlands where, it took part in the siege and capture of Venlo. In 1703, it participated in the Battle of Ekeren; in 1704, in the Battle of Blenheim; in 1706, in the Battle of Ramillies; in 1708, in the Battle of Oudenarde and in the siege and capture of Lille; in 1709, the siege and capture of Tournai, in the Battle of Malplaquet and in the siege and capture of Mons.

In 1733, part of the regiment joined the force who quenched revolt in the City of Mühlhausen.

In 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment joined the Reserve Corps at Dornickheim near Hanau. In 1744 and 1745, it served on the Rhine. In 1746, it was transferred to Brabant and fought in the Battle of Rocoux. In 1747, it took part in the Battle of Lauffeldt. In 1748, it returned to Hanover.

During the Seven Years' War, the regiment was commanded by:

  • from 1748 to November 1781: Colonel Christian Ludewig von Hardenberg (promoted to major-general in 1757 and to general-lieutenant in 1759)


Service during the War

On May 11 1756, George II sent a message to both houses of the Parliament to request funding for the defence of the country. The Parliament granted him one million pounds. Meanwhile, from May 11 to 14, a Hanoverian contingent of 12 battalions (including the present regiment) gradually embarked aboard 21 British transports at Stade for the reinforcement of Great Britain. On May 22, the Hanoverian contingent disembarked in England and the regiment marched to Canterbury. In August, it was transferred to a newly formed camp at Coxheath near Maidstone. At the beginning of November, it became clear that Brunswick-Lüneburg (aka Hanover) was more seriously threatened than England and it was decided to gradually send the Hanoverian contingent back to the continent. On December 5, the 4 first battalions (including the present regiment) of the Hanoverian contingent re-embarked at Chatham to return to Germany.

In 1757, the regiment, who had initially been placed in garrison in Einbeck, went to the camp of Tündern near Hameln. On July 26, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed in a detachment posted between Afferde and Diedersen. This detachment executed an outflanking movement against the French offensive at Hastenbeck and caused near panic among the French towards the conclusion of the battle. In September, it was with the Allied army when it capitulated at Stade. At the end of November, after the disavow of the capitulation by George II, the regiment took part in the Allied counter-offensive in Hanover and in the siege and recapture of Harburg under Lieutenant-General Hardenberg. Captain Behr was wounded during that siege. The regiment then returned to Bremen.

In March 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment took part in the siege and recapture of Minden under Lieutenant-General Oberg. On March 14, Minden surrendered. 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 right wing under the command of the Erbprinz (Hereditary Prince) of Brunswick. At 1:00 p.m., it followed the Hereditary Prince in his attack against the wood held by Saint-Germain Division. Towards the end of the battle, the Hereditary Prince and Gilsa rallied Allied infantry units (probably including this regiment) and advanced onto the plain. The Comte de Gisors at the head of 4 squadrons of Carabiniers charged these advancing battalions who let them close in to about 20 paces before firing a devastating volley mowing down in an instant most of the first rank. A single squadron managed to break through but the third rank of infantry knocked it down. In this battle, Lieutenant Mühlenfeld of the regiment was wounded. The regiment then took part in the capture of Düsseldorf where it was placed in garrison. At the beginning of August, the garrison recrossed the Rhine to join the retreating Allied army. In October, when the Allied army marched from Münster to Lippstadt, the regiment guarded the bridge of Bennighausen to cover the army.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, the regiment took part in the battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 4th column under Major-general von Scheele. Ensign von Wersabe was killed in this battle.

On November 13 1761, when Ferdinand established his headquarters at Einbeck, the Allied army took its cantonments to the exception of a corps placed under the command of Lieutenant-General Conway who took position along the Huve near Einbeck. The regiment formed part of this corps.

By May 23 1762, the regiment served with the Main Allied Army in Major-general von Bock's Brigade. On June 24, it took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal under the command of Ferdinand of Brunswick.

At the end of the war, the regiment was placed in garrison in Hameln.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with red and orange pom poms with a black cockade and a sprig of oak leaves
Grenadier
Hardenberg Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Hannoverdidi
Prussian mitre in the British pattern with a small front flap. Orange front and small silver flap embossed with the Hanoverian White Horse. On the front was a silver crowned shield supported by the lion and unicorn bearing the arms of Hanover. The small flap had a white border, bomb and scroll work, red sack, orange back base all piped in white lace.
Neckstock black
Coat red with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes under the lapels (hidden by the sleeve in our plate)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red (left shoulder)
Lapels orange with 7 pewter buttons and 7 white buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes
Cuffs orange (slashed in the British pattern) with 3 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes just above each cuff on the sleeves
Turnbacks orange fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat orange with 2 horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Breeches straw yellow
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


N.B.: all textual sources indicate orange as the distinctive colour but graphical sources show a rather pale orange (almost buff). Furthermore, Wissel mentions that the waistcoat was changed to white in 1761 while lapels and cuffs were changed to citrus yellow.

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 silver 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

Drummer uniform in 1759 - Source: Hannoverdidi

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

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

Colours

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

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

Regimental Flag: Orange field, lion rampant armed with a sword, below a trophy of arms, white scroll, motto above "OFFENDO ET DEFENDO", flower blossoms on the edge of the flag. 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. d. J. and Hans M. Brauer: Uniformbogen Nr. 45, Berlin

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

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