Sunday, 29 September 2013

IR2 Haudring

Here is the second of the Hessian Infantry regiments. This was commanded by Colonel Haudring up to his death at the Battle of Hestenbeck. I particularly like the orange facings.
Figures are from Foundry (as usual) with the exception of the command figures which are from a new German company called Black Hussar Miniatures. These are beautiful figures – crisp, delicious little sculpts full of character and absolutely flawless! They are Prussians being used as Hessians. Their range is developing all the time but I bought a few samples to see whether they were compatible with Foundry, which, as you can see, they are.
I have seen a comment on TMP to the effect that their bayonets are a bit fragile but I can’t comment on this as I didn’t buy any rankers with muskets. The standard bearers come with their standards separate (hands are attached to the pole). Obviously they come out of new moulds which accounts for their crispness but I’m confident these guys will not let the quality slip over time. As for price, they come in at 1.50 euros each so in tune with other manufacturers.
In email correspondence with them I have established that they have serious ambitions to finish the Prussian line and to start on other nationalities. I have a link to their website on the right and encourage all aficionados to try their figures out.  I’ve also purchased a 3pdr Beauvrye battalion gun and limber from them which are terrific value for money as well as being so detailed that you can see the two griffins on the barrels.
Lastly, there is a picture of the converged grenadier elements from the two regiments I have painted so far.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

IR1 Leibgarde zu Fuß

I’ve had a St.Paul on the road to Damascus mini-moment – which is a very grandiloquent statement but perhaps you can forgive me. As you know I do all my 18th century stuff with the intention of using Carnage & Glory II computer rules. These provide two ground-scales 1mm = 1 pace and 1mm = 2 paces. Nigel, of C & G II fame, has kindly let me put the two charts on my blog and so they are attached. I normally use the 1mm = 1 pace version (see the green chart) which requires large battalions and probably looks best – certainly my 40mm are based to this system and I had planned, almost automatically, to use this again with the25mm infantry units consisting of 28 figures and 6 figure squadrons. My catharsis was the realisation that I was, as usual, biting off more than I could chew.

Twenty eight figure battalions would take me for ever to paint as I have to slot this project in with what else is going on – not to mention the cost! So I have halved the battalions (roughly speaking) and gone for the ground-scale of 1mm = 2 paces (see the blue chart). This will produce 18 figure battalions and 4 figure squadrons, so much more manageable.

I've decided to paint the infantry as they are listed numerically on Kronoskaf. The numbering system did not exist at this time but it makes perfect sense when trying to track these Hessian regiments through their changes of colonels. If you have ever read Pengel & Hurt's volumes on the subject you will certainly be perplexed as the details jump all over the place and pinning them down to a particular regiment at any particular time is work worthy of a genius with a photographic memory, which rules me out straight away. So, trust me, go with the Kronoskaf guide.

So I've started with regiment one, Leibgarde zu Fuß . The grenadiers are separate (3 figures) and have been painted but I won't show them until I have combined them with the grenadiers of another regiment. A converged grenadier battalion (there will be two in total) will be made up of the grenadiers from six regiments. I've used Foundry Prussians (designed years ago by Copplestone) as these are probably my favourite figures of all time. But for some of the other battalions I'll probably mix with other manufacturers (Perry, Crusader and Black Hussar, a new company). In terms of uniform detail, there are a few small issues when using these Foundry Prussians as Hessians. Firstly they have a sword-knot but there is no evidence that the Hessians had them. In this instance I have painted the sword-knot the same colour combination as the pompom which makes sense but for which, as I have said, there is no evidence. Secondly, the Prussian figures have turn-back tabs on the back of the coat and there is, again, no evidence that the Hessians had these. Never mind, the figures are pretty close in all other respects.

Before I go onto organisation, I wanted to discuss dates. The SYW started in 1756 and our Landrave died in 1760. So these troops will represent the Hessen-Kassel army between 1756 and 1760. Even within this small four year period, regiments changed their names as Colonels retired or were killed in battle. This four year period was the most intense period for battles. Of course there were battles in the second period of the SYW (1760-1763) but all sides were becoming increasingly exhausted so most of the major battles happened in the first half (Hastenbeck, Krefeld, Bergen, Minden to name just a few). But the changes of colonels leads us to a problem and so I have arbitrarily chosen 1756 as the date for this army and officers will be shown as of this date with their rank as of this date. This will produce a slight problem with the artillery but I'll leave that discussion for another day.


Excluding militia, there were twelve regiments of foot, each of one battlion, in 1756. Eight of them had been shipped to England one year earlier (to protect it from an expected French invasion – remember the British and French had been at war 'unofficially' in the Americas since 1754) but had returned by the start of the SYW.

According to the 1754 Hesse-Cassel Reglement for the infantry, each regiment formed a single battalion with 10 companies including a grenadier corps of 8 men within each company. A grenadier company was to be formed when on campaign. Total force was 809 men including regimental staff with 26 non-combatants in 1757. The strength was augmented during the course of the SYW amounting to about 950 men 'book strength' by 1759. Using Nigel Marsh's basing system my battalions consist of 3 bases (each 1.75” wide so 271 men) or about 810 men plus officers. These are very strong regiments as they might have appeared on 'Day One', the 29th August 1756 when Frederick invaded Saxony.

Each battalion carried two colours and was organised in 4 divisions and 8 platoons for combat, excluding the grenadiers. For battle, the battalion formed in 3 ranks, different to the 1757 Hanoverian infantry, which still formed in 4 ranks up to the battle of Hastenbeck. The grenadiers were usually combined to form ad hoc grenadier battalions, however, a regular establishment of grenadier battalions with the Allied Army was introduced only in June 1759 on Ferdinand of Brunswick's order. Beforehand, the size and number of battalions depended on circumstance. Up to the campaign of 1760 it was usually two battalions formed of 5 to 6 companies each. For the changes made in 1760 please see my other blog, looking under the label 'SYW Pragmatic' going back to the post of 28th June 2010.

Lastly, I'm showing a map of Hessen-Kassel in 1762 which was the same as it was in 1756. The inset map of the Schaumburg Enclave shows that Hessen-Kassel had feudal rights there ( recruitment etc) but in practice it was ruled by Wilhelm, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg .

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Landgrave William VIII

William VIII of Hesse-Kassel was born on March 10, 1682 in Kassel, and died on February 1, 1760 He ruled as Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1751 until 1760.

William was the sixth son of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730) from his marriage to Marie Amalia (1653-1711), daughter of Duke Jacob Kettler of Courland. They had seventeen children in total!

After a customary Prince’s education he undertook his Grand Tour which included visits to Geneva and Paris. Together with his older brother, Charles (1680-1702), he participated in the WSS in the service of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces ("Holland") and began his military career, which was helped by the fact that his godfather was William III of Orange. In 1709 he became a lieutenant-general and four years later Governor of Breda. In 1723 he was appointed Governor of Maastricht (a crucial barrier fortress) and, finally, in 1727 promoted to the rank of Dutch cavalry general. In 1747 he resigned his commission in the United Provinces. After his older brother Frederick was crowned King of Sweden in 1720 and the death of his father in 1730, William took over the administration of the country as regent for his brother. Under William's reign the Hessian army was increased to 24,000 men. After the death of his brother Frederick in 1751 William succeeded him as the reigning Landgrave.

William married on 27 September 1717 Dorothea Wilhelmine (1691-1743), daughter of Duke Moritz Wilhelm of Saxe-Zeitz, and they had three children:
Charles (1718-1719), Frederick II (1720-1785) and Maria Amalie (1721-1744)

In 1736, by inheritance, the county of Hanau was joined to the Landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel after the last Count Johann Reinhard III had died.

William was a personal friend of both the Prussian King Frederick II of Prussia as well as the brief Bavarian Emperor Charles VII. He signed an agreement with Charles in 1742 in Frankfurt whereby 3,000 Hessian soldiers (another source shows 6,000 men) were offered in exchange for a guarantee of the integrity of all the Electoral territories. This led to the bizarre situation where 6,000 Hessian troops were serving with the Pragmatic (British allied) army in Flanders in support of Maria Theresa's inheritance while another 6,000 troops were serving the Bavarian Emperor in central Germany against the army of Maria Theresa. The agreement with the Bavarians for the first time included a blood money clause providing extra compensation for dead and wounded. Despite serving on both sides the Hessians sustained and enhanced their reputation for rock steadiness. In 1745 and again in 1756, Hessian regiments were shipped out to a Britain fearful of invasion by French and Scots. Landgrave William clearly viewed them as a financial resource when he said: "These troops are our Peru. In losing them, we would forfeit all our resources."

On June 18 1754, during his sojourn on the continent, King George II of Great Britain concluded another treaty with Hessen-Kassel. By this treaty, Hessen-Kassel had to supply 6,600 foot and 1,400 horse to serve in the British service (this force could be increased to 12,000 men upon the king's request). The treaty stated that each battalion of foot should have 2 guns. These troops would not serve aboard the fleet or overseas. (Hessian forces had served in Great Britain during the Jacobite rebellion in other words 'overseas' and would do so again during the American Revolution so this later clause must have been revised at some stage).

Of domestic political importance was his son's (the future Landgrave Frederick II) change of religion to Catholicism in 1749 which some have attributed to his desire to become King of Poland. It was the reigning sovereign's right to determine the form of state religion (under William this was Calvanist) and this required negotiation between William, his son and the Hessian estates in 1754 which resulted in a number of regulations whose central element was the 'Assekurationsakte' . This stipulated that there would be no public Catholic worship, that Catholics were prevented from occupying any state administrative offices and even limited to one catholic officer per foot regiment. In addition, the county of Hanau was separated from Hessen-Kassel's ownership and bypassed Frederick going instead to his son, the future Landgrave William IX. With all these provisions in place Frederick would be able to inherit the Landgraviate on the death of his father in 1760 without serious difficulty. It was Hessen-Kassel's own mini-pragmatic sanction.

At the start of the SYW William was 74 years old so too old to take command of his own forces. He sided with Prussia and Britain with his army serving in the Western theatre of the war. This meant that the country became an important battlefield and consequently suffered severe devastation. Among other things, the French occupied Kassel several times.

Under William the foundation stone for the Schloss Wilhelmsthal was laid in 1753. He was also the founder of the Kassel Art Gallery and was quite an avid collector of Old Masters.He summoned the painter Johann Heinrich Tischbein (who painted the painting at the top of this blog which is of the future Landgrave Frederick II in the uniform of Prussian regiment 45 of which he was honorary colonel) and the sculptor Johann August Nahl at the Kassel court and encouraged the builder Simon Louis du Ry .

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

First Post

This is my first posting on my new blog. Some of you may know that I have another blog called ‘Painting Wargames Figures’ (see link on the right hand side under ‘Links’) so the question I must answer is why another one. I’ve felt for a while that my blog jumps all over the place with the various different projects I do. If you find that sometimes confusing, so do I. I paint professionally and many of my postings relate to what I’m doing at any given time for my clients. I’m pretty fussy about what I will paint so almost everything I paint professionally is focused in the 18th century. Then sometimes I take a week off here and there and that’s when I paint for my own collection (talk about a busman’s holiday!). My personal collections include (in 25mm) Ancients, ACW, Eastern Renaissance, Napoleonics and in 40mm, the WAS/SYW. These I will continue with and they will appear on the other blog as will my professional work, which, by the way, is booked through to 2018.
But I wanted to work in greater detail on one of my favourite armies of the SYW and that is Hessen-Kassel. My plan is to paint the entire army prior to 1760. It was, actually, a small army of 12 battalions of foot (plus two battalions of converged Grenadiers), 4 regiments of Horse, 2 regiments of Dragoons, a small artillery part plus a few light troops. So this is do-able in 25/28mm. For sources I will use Kronoskaf (see link on the right) as well as my Pengel & Hurt booklets, Mollo etc. I’m also in contact with the Museumlandschaft which is situated in the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, so if I can dig up any new information it will be on here. Although I expect there will be many fewer posts here each of them will be more substantial and I will also try to do min-biographies of the individuals who commanded the Hessian forces.
I’ve also been in communication with Franco Saudelli and Marco Pagan, which has been a real pleasure as I’ve been able to dust off my rarely used Italian. Franco is a magnificent illustrator who has done many original colour illustrations for Kronoskaf. They have kindly allowed me permission to show their work on this blog and, to wet your appetites, I’m showing one of their drawings here. Expect to see many more.
I have ordered Foundry infantry so expect to see my first battalion quite soon