Hessen-Darmstadt Line Infantry Organisation

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Introduction

The history of the Hessen-Darmstadt military establishment began in the XVI Century; on March 21 1621, when the Leib-Regiment was raised; this was then split into the 1st and 2nd Grenadier-Leib-Kompagnien, the 1st on September 1 1745, the 2nd on April 1 1768.

Development of the army

In 1635, under count Georg II, there is mention of a Regiment von Baumbach, "the old, or red infantry regiment" and the von Stechenberg'schen, or "white infantry regiment". The colours referred to the colour of the regimental flags, as uniform clothing had not yet been introduced.

On June 1 1636, orders were given to procure 25 flags for the infantry, 8 guidons for dragoons and 9 cavalry standards.

In the reign of Ludwig VI, in 1663, the two Hessian states sent contingents to help the Holy Roman Empire fight the Turks. "Every company had a blue flag, decorated with the Hessian lion; those of the Kassel companies bore a golden "W" under the crown; those of the Darmstadt companies bore a golden "L".

Under Landgraf Ernst Ludwig of Hessen-Darmstadt, the Regiment Schrautenbach wore dark blue coats with red collars and cuffs; it was called "The Red Regiment".

In 1697, the "Kreis-Regiment" was raised; it wore dark blue, with white facings and was also known as "The White Regiment".

On April 28 1717, Hessen-Darmstadt had the white and red regiments and four battalions of Land-Miliz (militia), from the towns of Dallwisch (white coats with red facings), Düring (white with yellow facings), Geissmar (white with green facings) and Lehrbach (white with blue facings); these had been raised in 1699. There was also the Leib-Garde zu Pferde, a company of Horse Grenadiers, and the Darmstadt company of Sharpshooters. The artillery had 36 guns.

On September 1 1745, the 1st Grenadier-Leib-Kompagnie was raised from the Leib-Regiment.

Composition in 1768

On April 1 1768, the 2nd Grenadier-Leib-Kompagnie was raised.

At the time of the death of Ludwig VIII, on October 17 1768, Hessen-Darmstadt's military establishment consisted of: Leib-Grenadier Corps (two companies, raised in 1748), IR Erbrprinz (poppy red facings), IR Prinz Georg Wilhelm (Kreis-Regiment, with white facings), four Regulirte Land battalions: 1st (von Hoffmann), 2nd (von Rabenau), 3rd (von Nagel) and 4th (von Löwenfeld). There were also two companies of garrison troops in Giessen, one in the Marxburg fortress, the Leibgarde zu Pferde in Darmstadt, the Leibregiment Garde de Dragons in Arheilgen and Pfungstadt, the Husarenkorps (a type of Gendarmerie, scattered over the realm) and the artillery, with depots in Darmstadt, Giessen and in the Marxburg.

References

Beck, Fritz, Geschichte der grossherzogl. Fahnen und Standarten, Berlin 1895

Bredow-Wedel, Historische Rang- und Stammliste des deutschen Heeres, volume II, pp. 761–797

Acknowledgments

Digby Smith for the initial version of this article.