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 .