Prinz Karl Infantry

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Origin and History

The unit was raised by von Wartensleben in 1702. It fought in many of the battles of the War of the Spanish Succession.

From 1733 to 1737, the regiment was part of the Imperial District contingent stationed along the Rhine. It continued to serve the Imperial District in the War of the Austrian Succession.

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Chefs of the regiment were:

  • since 1709: Prinz Georg von Hessen
  • from 1755: Prinz Karl von Hessen

During the Seven Years' War, the successive Kommandeure assuming effective command of the regiment were:

  • since 1744: Colonel von Gilsa
  • from 1759: Colonel von Bartheld
  • from 1760 to 1770: Colonel von Lossberg

In the American War of Independence, the regiment fought at White Plains and at the siege of Newport.

In 1789 the regiment was amalgamated with Infanterie Regiment No. 8.

In 1806, the regiment was disbanded.

Service during the War

On March 28 1756, George II informed the Houses of Parliament of Great Britain that the French Court was planning the invasion of Great Britain and that, consequently, he intended to requisition a body of Hessian troops and to use it as reinforcement in Great Britain. The same day, the contingent of the Hesse-Kassel Army started to assemble in Germany. It consisted of 8 regiments including the present regiment. From March 28 to April 20, the Hessian contingent marched towards Bremen. On May 2, it embarked aboard 48 British transports at Stade. On May 15, it landed at Southampton. From May 19 to 22, the Hessian contingent was transported to the region of Salisbury where it took its cantonments. By May 23, it had been quartered in Hampshire. From July 11 to 14, the Hessian contingent moved to its new encampment at Winchester. In December, it took its winter-quarters in the Counties of Chichester, Salisbury and Southampton.

From April 23 to 27 1757, the Hessian contingent embarked aboard 43 British transports at Chatham to return to Germany. On May 1, the convoy sailed from Chatham. From May 11 to 16, the convoy gradually reached Stade after having suffered a severe tempest. On July 26, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it fought in the first line of the centre.

On May 26 1758, the regiment was with the corps of the Prince von Holstein in the camp of Dülmen. On May 30, it occupied Emmerich in preparation for the Allied offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. On June 2, it passed the Rhine at Emmerich to join Ferdinand of Brunswick on the left bank. On June 12, during the aborted attack on the French positions at Rheinberg, the regiment was in Holstein's (third) column of attack under Major-General von Gilsa. On June 17, the regiment was part of Holstein's Corps who marched towards Hüls. On June 19, it joined the corps of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Kempen. 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 Hereditary Prince. Towards the end of the battle, the Hereditary Prince and Gilsa rallied the battalion along with Wutginau Infantry and other Allied infantry units and advanced onto the plain. The Comte de Gisors at the head of 4 squadrons of the Corps des carabiniers de Monsieur le Comte de Provence 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. On August 10, the regiment was involved in skirmishes while the Allied army recrossed to the right bank of the Rhine. On October 18, the regiment took part in an engagement near Soest.

During the first half of 1759, the regiment formed part of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick. It was attached to Gilsa's Brigade in the first line of the infantry centre. On April 13, it took part in the Battle of Bergen where it formed part of the second column under the Prince von Ysenburg. After repeated attempts to storm the village of Bergen, the Hanoverian and Hessian troops withdrew. Prince Ysenburg, who had been a rallying point for Hessian resistance against the French, fell leading the repeated assaults up a steep slope against the abatis situated around the village. The French units in Bergen were strengthened by a reserve who blunted the repeated attacks. In June, the regiment was part of Imhoff's Corps operating in Hessen. On July 30, Gilsa marched from the Allied camp near Minden at the head of 3 bns, including this regiment, to take post at Lübbecke to maintain communication with the Hereditary Prince. On August 1, during the Battle of Minden the regiment was still deployed in Gilsa's detachment at Lübbecke.

On July 10 1760, the regiment took part in the Combat of Corbach where it was deployed in the left column of the main body under Lieutenant-General Griffin.

On March 6 1761, the regiment took part in the combat near Florstadt and Wickstadt. On July 4, it was at the combat of Unna; on July 15 and 16, at the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was deployed on the right wing under the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. On August 30, the regiment was at the combat of Albachten.

On August 23 1762, the regiment was at the Combat of Lutterberg; on August 25, at the combat of Grüningen; and on August 30, at the Combat of Nauheim.

Uniform

Pre-1760 Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier hat. Until 1750 the trousers were dark blue and the regiment wore a buff vest. The stock was red for the other ranks and white for officers.

Privates

Uniform in 1756 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a small white button and blue pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a white metal plate, a dark blue sack and white base with white lace, white pompom. The white metal plate and base had Hessen coat of arms and Lion
Neck stock red
Coat dark blue lined scarlet with a white button on each side at the small of the back (maybe white buttonhole) and 3 white buttons under the left lapel (maybe still with white buttonholes)
Collar none
Shoulder Straps scarlet fastened with a white button
Lapels scarlet laced white, each with 6 white buttons grouped 2 by 2 (maybe gold or white buttonholes)
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 white buttons
Cuffs scarlet laced white with 2 white buttons and a white lace on each sleeve above each cuff (maybe no lace at all)
Turnbacks scarlet fastened with a small white button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters white in summer, black otherwise
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a brass plate carrying the arms of Hessen
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket which was carried using a leather strap.

Officers

Officers wore a white stock and, as a signed of their commissioned rank, a gorget, in button colour, and sash. The sash was of silver silk shot with red flecks. NCO carried the Prussian style partizan. The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. Drummers now wore the same dark blue coat with white and red livery lace placed along the coat seams in seven inverted chevrons along the sleeves and around the 'swallows nests' on the shoulder. Very much a copy of the Prussian style.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion surrounded by a laurel wreath with a crown above. The Hessian lion was striped red and white with a red tongue on a royal blue background. The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating red and white diagonal stripes.

1760 Uniform

Privates

Uniform from 1760 - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a white button and blue pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a white metal plate, a dark blue sack and white base with white lace, white pompom. The white metal plate and base had Hessen coat of arms and Lion
Neck stock black
Coat dark blue lined scarlet with 3 white buttons under the left lapels and 1 white button on each side in the small of the back
Collar scarlet
Shoulder Straps scarlet fastened with a white button
Lapels scarlet edged with a white scalloped lace, each with 6 white buttons grouped 2 by 2
Pockets horizontal, each with 2 white buttons
Cuffs scarlet laced white, with 2 white buttons on the sleeve and a white lace above each cuff
Turnbacks scarlet fastened with a small white button
Waistcoat white
Breeches white
Gaiters white in summer, black otherwise
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white
Cartridge Box black with a brass plate carrying the arms of Hesse
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) and a musket which was carried using a leather strap.

Colours

To the present day, a definitive reconstruction of the Hesse-Cassel colours during the Seven Years' War is non-existent. All existing publications are mostly speculative. The Leib (colonel) colour was probably white and the regimental colour assumed green.

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these flags used till 1767. The flag poles were black.

Colonel Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert
Regimental Colour - Source: Frédéric Aubert

References

Bleckwenn, Hans: Europa kämpft in Flandern... Die Morier-Bilder in Windsor Castle, Teil IV: Hessen-Kassel 1748, in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, XXX Jg. (1960), Nr. 207, S. 122-125 and Nr. 208, S. 166-168

Böhm, Uwe Peter: Hessisches Militär: Die Truppen der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel 1672-1806, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Beckum 1986

Großer Generalstab, Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II (Publisher). Die Kriege Friedrichs des Großen. Dritter Teil: Der Siebenjährige Krieg 1756–1763. Band 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin 1903

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

Manley, S.: Uniforms of the Danish and German States armies 1739-1748, Potsdam Publications

Mohr, Kurt: Einiges über die Hessen-Kasselsche Infanterie 1760, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 106-107

Mulder, Luke: Some Notes on Landgraf Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel Re-Organization of 1760, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 2

Noeske, Rolf: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, 1. Ergänzung Hessen-Kassel, KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt 1989

Ortenburg, Georg: Das Militär der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel zwischen 1783 und 1789, Herausgegeben im Auftrag der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Heereskunde e.V., Potsdam 1999

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

Renouard, Carl: "Geschichte des Krieges in Hannover, Hessen und Westfalen von 1757 bis 1763", 3 Bände, Cassel, 1863-64

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

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756 - 1763. KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg e.V., Magstadt, 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Infanterie des Landgrafentums Hessen-Kassel während des Siebenjährigen Krieges, in: Artikel für KA7-Sammler aus alten "Zinnfigur" Heften (1924-1944), KLIO-Arbeitsgruppe 7jähriger Krieg, Manuskript, Köln 1980, S. 104-106

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Allierten Armee 1762, bearb. u. hrsg. von Ingo Kroll, Norderstedt 2007

Zahn, Michael: Stammliste und Gefechtskalender der Regimenter der Landgrafschaft Hessen-Kassel im Siebenjährigen Krieg (1756-1763) - Teil 1: Infanterie, Metzingen, 2009

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