Wurmb Militia

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

Origin and History

The unit was originally a Landmiliz (militia). In 1760, when the new Landgrave Friedrich II reorganised his army, the unit became a "Garrison Battalion" counting 4 companies. This battalion was initially intended to free up the regular troops for service. By 1762, the unit was converted into a Land Regiment and entered field service.

The regimental Chefs were:

  • from 1754: von Wurmb
  • from 1762: von Kutzleben
  • from 1763: von Stein
  • from 1778: von Seitz
  • from 1783: von Porbeck

During the American War of Independence, in 1776, the regiment formed part of the Hessian contingent sent to North America. It fought at Fort Washington. In 1778, it was transferred to Halifax (Canada), remaining there until its return to Hessen in 1783.

The regiment was disbanded in 1788.

Service during the War

In the spring of 1758, Hessian militia were assembled and used, along with Hanoverian jägers, to guard the roads of the country. On July 23, the regiment took part in the Combat of Sandershausen where it was placed in the centre. After the initial engagement, it fell into disorder. The grenadiers of the regiment had been grouped with the grenadiers of the other Landmiliz units present at the battle and placed on the right wing near the Fulda River. Throughout the battle, these grenadiers poured a deadly fire on the French infantry causing very heavy casualties.

Uniform

Hessian troops wore a uniform in the Prussian style including the grenadier and fusilier hat.

Privates

Uniform in 1757
Source: Frédéric Aubert
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a small pewter button and orange pompoms
Grenadier Prussian style mitre with a dark blue sack, white lace, white base. The pewter plate and base were decorated with the Hessian Lion surmounting the cipher “FL” on a blue field.
Neckstock black
Coat dark blue with 6 large pewter buttons arranged 2-2-2 on the chest; 2 smaller pewter button on the right side at the waist; 3 small pewter buttons on each side to fasten the basques
Collar orange
Shoulder Straps orange fastened with a pewter button
Lapels none
Pockets horizontal, each with 3 pewter buttons
Cuffs orange, each with 2 pewter buttons on the sleeve above the cuff
Turnbacks red fastened with a small pewter button
Waistcoat dark blue
Breeches dark blue
Gaiters black fastened with small pewter buttons
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt white
Waistbelt white with a brass buckle
Cartridge Box black with a metal plate
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a sword (brass hilt) a bayonet and a musket which was fitted with a leather carry strap.

Officers

Officers wore the same uniform as the privates with the following differences:

  • a white stock
  • a silver gorget
  • no shoulder strap
  • no turnback
  • a silver silk sash shot with red flecks.

NCOs

NCOs wore the same uniform as the privates without shoulder strap with a silver edging on each cuff as their sole distinctives. They carried the Prussian style partizan. The standard staff was black.

Musicians

By the Seven Years War the convention of wearing reversed colours had disappeared. The Garrison Regiments drummers now wore a simpler version of the usual drummer uniform. They had the same dark blue coat but only white and red livery lace placed around the 'swallows nests' on the shoulder.

Drum barrels were of polished brass and were decorated with the Hessian lion The drum cords were white and, for this regiment, the rim was a pattern of alternating red and white diagonal stripes with a thin sky blue stripe edging every diagonal.

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 orange.

Here follows a tentative reconstruction of these colours used till 1767 (black flag poles).

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


References

Uniformen von Hessen-Cassel, 1769 unter Landgraf Friedrich, nach gleichzeitigen colorierten Zeichnungen vom Hauptmann Bornemann in der Bibliothek des Hessischen Geschichtsvereins

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

Thalmann, G.F.: Abbildungen und Beschreibung des Fürstes Hessen-Casselschen Militair-Stantes unter der Regierung Landgraf Friedrich des Zweiten bis zum Jahre 1786 (Hessisches Staatsarchiv Marburg, no. E195/2)

Witzel, Rudolf: Hessen Kassels Regimenter in der Alliierten Armee 1762, Norderstedt 2007

Acknowledgements

Michael Zahn for the research and Frédéric Aubert for the plates