Hesse-Kassel Hussars

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

Origin and History

Rittmeister von Riedesel of the Hessen-Kassel Hussars in 1760 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan

The unit was originally raised in 1702 by Major Bamfy.

During the War of the Spanish Succession, the troop quickly grew to a large unit supporting the British operations. At the end of the war, the unit was dispersed into the Prinz Friedrich Dragoons and the Spiegelschen Reiter Regiment.

During the War of the Austrian Succession, in 1744, the unit was raised again as the Husaren Corps. The unit was created around a group of Austrian horsemen and the dress of the Hessian Husaren Corps was modeled along Hungarian lines. It was sent to England. In 1746, it was transferred to Scotland where it disembarked at Perth. The Hessians refused to engage the Jacobite at Killiecrankie Pass and the latter were forced to retire because they had insufficient troops to attack the Hessian contingent in the open.

In 1753, the unit counted only 64 men.

In 1757, at the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the squadron was augmented to 114 horsemen. The unit was later increased to regimental strength, now counting 2 squadrons.

In January 1760, at the death of Wilhelm VIII, the new Landgrave Friedrich II changed the organization of the army. After the “New Augmentation” or - in German - the Neue Augmentation, the peak of a regiment of four squadrons, each of 120 men, was reached. A regimental staff was created only in April 1762.

After the Seven Years War, the unit saw no action until the French Revolutionary War.

Its name changed several time:

  • 1786: Husaren Regiment
  • 1791: Prinz Solms Hussars
  • 1813: Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hus. Rgt.
  • 1845: 2. Hus. Rgt. genannt Herzog von Sachsen-Meiningen
  • 1864: 2. Hus. Rgt. (Herzog von Sachsen-Meiningen)
  • 1867: 2. Hess. Hus. Rgt. Nr. 14
  • 1889-1919: Hus. Rgt. Landgraf Friedrich II. von Hessen-Homburg (2. Hessisches) Nr. 14
  • 1922-1935: in the Reichswehr 6th coy (later 3rd coy) Reiterregiment 16

The regiment was disbanded on October 15, 1935 and used for the formation of the "Kradschützen-Bataillone" 1, 2 und 3.

Service during the War

Trooper of the Hessen-Kassel Hussars in 1760 - Copyright: Franco Saudelli and Dr Marco Pagan

During the Seven Years War, the regiment operated in conjunction with the Hessian Jägers. This meant they saw a lot of skirmish action but did not participate in the large set piece battles. This was typical of the hussar duty.

On July 23 1758, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was placed in the second line of the left wing.

On April 1 1759, during the Prussian incursion into Thuringia, Colonel Stockhausen with some Hessian hussars and light troops attacked the Prinz Savoyen Dragoons, capturing 2 of their standards. By June, the regiment was part of Imhoff's Corps operating in Hesse.

By May 21 1760, the regiment, then belonging to Spörcken's Corps, had taken position at Dortmund. On June 14, Colonel Bülow at the head of the Hesse-Kassel Hussars and part of the Légion Britannique attacked the Chasseurs de Fischer between Emscher and the Ruhr, driving them out of their positions and capturing 50 men.

Uniform

From 1744, when this troop of light cavalry (the sole in the Hessen-Cassel Army) was raised, since to 1763, when the unit was reduced again to a squadron, several changes in organization were made. The continuous modification in strength for sure affected the dress and equipment.

We have no clear information about the first uniforms of this unit.

In 1762, probably for the first time, the uniform of the Corps was regulated.

The Mondirung-Reglement für 1761 was, however, quite schematic and even if the general uniform was prescribed no minute details were given. Our information is completed by the existence of an officer’s portrait in Eisenbach Castle. The portrait, dated circa 1760, shows the Rittmeister (Captain) von Riedesel wearing his best off-duty garments. The distinctive red color of the unit appears on the cuffs of the blue dolman. The pelisse hanging from the left shoulder was also blue and grey/white furred. Cordons and laces were golden. The typical hussar's sash around the waist was red with white elements. The Rittmeister sports expensive red tissue breeches embroidered in gold. When on duty Officers wore cheaper riding breeches made of leather like the troopers.

Troopers used black Hungarian low boots edged by yellow lace with pendants but, our Officer, the Rittmeister von Riesedel, had elegant red morocco boots edged in gold.

The unit’s headgear was a tall black felt mirliton with the black flame normally rounded around the hat body. This was golden edged for officers (black for troopers) and sported a small crest with the Hessian lion or ciphers on the front. The light cavalry sabre hanging on the left side had a black leather scabbard with golden tips and fitting. The sabretache of the officers had blue field, was edged in gold and had in the middle the Hessian rampaging lion with reared head resting on a triumph on his right.

Troopers had a simpler blue field sabretache, edged in yellow lace. In the center there was an embroidered Landgrave’s FL cipher under a crown on red field.

Privates

Uniform in 1756
Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear tall black felt mirliton with a black flame normally wound round the mirliton; decorated with a small crest with the Hessian Lion or ciphers on the front
or, as per Scharf, a brown fur kolback with a red bag and a white plume
Pelisse medium blue
Fur trim black
Lace golden
Buttons yellow
Dolman blue
Collar blue edged yellow
Cuffs red pointed cuffs edged yellow
Lace golden
Buttons yellow
Barrel sash red with yellow barrels
Breeches leather with blue overtrousers edged yellow
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Scabbard black leather scabbard with white metal tips and fitting
Boots black Hungarian low boots edged by yellow lace with yellow tassel
Horse Furniture
Saddle-cloth Sheepskin saddle, red saddle-cloth edged with a yellow van-dyked border in the Hungarian style
Sabretache blue edged yellow decorated with the crowned Landgrave’s cipher "FL"
Blanket roll medium blue


Troopers were armed with a short, curved sabre, two pistols and a carbine. The carbine was slung from the cross belt on a swivel hook.

Officers

The officers had silver lace trim and buttons rather than white lace trim and pewter buttons.

Musicians

Individual information about the Hessian musicians has not been found. That said, given the very Prussian style, it can be assumed that the musicians would have followed the Prussian pattern.

Trumpeters would have worn the same uniform as any troopers. They usually rode grey or white horses.

Standards

The unit received no standards.

References

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

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

Trenkle, K.: Nix wie weg… die Hesse komme, Verlanganstalt Marburg

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