Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Land Militia
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Origin and History
In 1748, when Wilhelm inherited the County of Schaumburg-Lippe, he immediately began to increase the “Leib-Grenadier-Kompagnie”. But, his thoughts went farther in direction of national defense, for the existence of this small, but independent County of Schaumburg-Lippe was difficult from the start. First of all, important facilities were used together with the Hesse-Kassel part, the County of Schaumburg, such as (only for a short time) the Landstände (estates of the country) of the County of Schaumburg, but above all the profitable mining of the Bückeberg mountains. Since the Landgraves of Hesse-Kassel continued to be the liege lords of the Bückeburg family, territorial independence was always in jeopardy. As a result of this endangerment, Count Wilhelm developed his specific form of national defense, although small in absolute numbers, but large for the country. His concept of a self-sufficient national defense is still evident today in the Wilhelmstein island fortress and military academy. All his efforts can be split into three periods with different objectives:
- prior to the Seven Years’ War (1748-1756), establishing an army of infantry, artillery and engineers as well as light forces (jägers and light horse), capable to fight independently and autarkically;
- during the Seven Years’ War (1757-1763), as it were an interruption of the mentioned ongoing efforts to convert and increase the forces available for the arising war, financially supported by the subsidies treaties with Braunschweig-Lüneburg (aka Hanover as in personal union with Great Britain) of 1757 and 1759;
- post-Seven Years’ War (1763-1777), decreasing the number of or dissolving units (here: jägers) and continue with the measures and construction work to strengthen the national defense (including the fortification works for the Fortress Wilhelmstein in the Steinhude Meer) into which the experiences in the western theatre of war in Germany during the Seven Years’ War as well as his commitment as Portuguese commander-in-chief (when he fought off an attempted Spanish invasion with the allied British and Portuguese troops in 1762 and began to reform the Portuguese Army before returning to his county in 1764) came into consideration, too.
So, in the first period, in 1749, Count Wilhelm established an enrollment system for the national defense regarding the country’s residents as born defenders of their country and as supplement resource for the standing troops, which registered all military able-bodied men by the civil authorities and swore them into the state.
Due to the lack of financial and human resources, the system required an organization that had to meet he following criteria:
- Training pre-school for large parts of the rural population for the standing troops;
- in an emergency, to support the standing forces in carrying out the defense of the country itself;
- keeping administratively the middle between the enrolled class and the standing troops in order to save the state budget and secure the professional practice of the individual enrolled.
This design comes very close to today's modern military service systems.
As a result, on April 19, 1751, the core of the new military constitution, so to speak, became the "Reglement für den Land-Ausschuß" (Rules for the Land Selection), which was the basis for the establishment of supplementary departments (or depots) and of a “Landmiliz” (land militia) unit, into which the fittest men of the “Land-Ausschuß” were transferred. This unit, sizing a company, was in command by an officer from the infantry battalion, his position called “Landlieutenant”. The NCOs were chosen from among the militia privates. The "Reglement" entered into force in July of the same year.
To make his subjects aware and able to defend their home country against invaders (tacitly Hesse-Kassel, one of his allies in the Seven Years’ War), they were obliged not only to hold scythes and pikes, but above all firearms; powder and lead were provided. Anyone who did not own a firearm, was provided with one. Since 1754 the enrolled were obliged to carry out weapons exercises such as shooting at targets on Sundays and holidays from March to May and September to November, for which Wilhelm even offered rewards.
The men of the land militia were normally on leave, doing their professions. They were only brought together in September every year to exercise as a unit, being regularly paid during this period. In December 1752, some of them were sufficiently trained to allow the first transfer of suitable militiamen into the “Grenadiercompagnie”. From then on, the infantry was continuously supplemented and increased from the ranks of the militia.
The unit was commanded by:
- from July 1751 until at least September 1756: Lieutenant Berckenbusch
Sometime after September 5, 1756, the date of the last strength list that had been issued, this unit seemed to have been disbanded, the commanding officer, Lieutenant Berckenbusch, returning to the Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry battalion and the men presumably distributed to all parts of the army which now needed all war-suitable men available.
Service during the War
This unit did not serve during the war.
Description of the uniform based on Hübinger (see below). All enrolled men of the depots were recognizable by the hat pompom and red neckstock. Those who were also part of the land militia wore a distinctive uniform.
|Headgear||plain black tricorne, probably with one pewter button|
|Coat||Prussian style blue coat with 6 pewter buttons on each side and 2 pewter buttons at the waist on the left side
Troopers were armed with a musket.
no information found
Same as the Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry.
Probably no musicians in this unit.
This unit had no colours.
Hübinger, Erich: Graf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe und seine Wehr, Verlag Robert Noske, Borna-Leipzig 1937
Klein, Hans. H.: Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe – Klassiker der Abschreckungstheorie und Lehrer Scharnhorsts, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1982
Studien zur Militärgeschichte, Militärwissenschaft und Konfliktforschung, Band 28, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1982
- German Edition – Grafschaft Schaumburg-Lippe retrieved on June 27, 2021
Boris Brink for the initial version of this article