Fabrice Infantry

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Origin and History

Regiment of Foot Fabrice (Krough in 1748) - Source: Gmundner Prachtwerk, a manuscript in the library of the Prince of Hannover

The regiment was raised in 1717 by the Duke Ernst August von Braunschweig-Lüneburg as Bishop of Osnabrück. It initially counted five companies.

At Ernst August's death in 1728, the regiment was ceded to the Electoral House of Braunschweig-Lüneburg. In 1731, it received two additional companies.

In 1733, at the outbreak the War of the Polish Succession (1733–35), the regiment served on the Rhine against the French. In 1735, it took part in the victorious Battle of Clausen.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), the regiment was part of the relief corps of 16,000 men sent by the Elector of Braunschweig-Lüneburg to assist Maria Theresa. In 1743, it was attached to the Reserve in the camp of Hanau. In 1744 and 1745, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine. In 1746, it returned to Hanover. In 1747, it was sent to the Netherlands. In 1748, it took part in a combat near Rosenthal where Captain von Grothaus was mortally wounded.

The regiment garrisoned at Minden and Neustadt.

During the Seven Years War the regimental inhabers were:

  • since 1752: Colonel Georg Philipp von Fabrice (retired in 1757)
  • from 1757 to November 27 1774: Colonel Johann Daniel Victor von Scheele (promoted to major-general in 1759 and to lieutenant-general in 1761)


Service during the War

On May 11 1756, George II sent a message to both houses of the Parliament to request funding for the defence of the country. The Parliament granted him one million pounds. Meanwhile, from May 11 to 14, a Hanoverian contingent of 12 battalions (including the present regiment) gradually embarked aboard 21 British transports at Stade for the reinforcement of Great Britain. On May 22, the Hanoverian contingent disembarked in England and the regiment marched to Canterbury. In August, it was transferred to a newly formed camp at Coxheath near Maidstone. At the beginning of November, it became clear that Brunswick-Lüneburg (aka Hanover) was more seriously threatened than England and it was decided to gradually send the Hanoverian contingent back to the continent. The regiment then took up its winter-quarters in Maidstone. Bad weather then postponed its departure till the end of February 1757.

At the beginning of March 1757, the last Hanoverian battalions disembarked at Cuxhaven and returned to their respective garrison places. In April, the regiment marched to Hameln and then rejoined the army assembling near Bielefeld to counter the French invasion of Hanover. On July 26, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed on the right wing under the command of General Block. It was initially posted near the Afferde watchtower and suffered heavy casualties. In August, the regiment under the command of General von Hardenberg defended the pass near Oldersberg and covered the retreat of the Allied army. In December, it took part in the expedition against Zelle.

In March 1758, during the Allied winter offensive in Western Germany, the regiment was part of the army of Ferdinand of Brunswick who laid siege to Minden. After the surrender of the place, on March 14, the regiment advanced on Münster and took up cantonments at Warendorf. On May 26, the regiment was with Ferdinand's main force in the camp of Nottuln. On May 31, it accompanied Ferdinand in his offensive on the west bank of the Rhine. On June 12, the regiment was at the action near Rheinberg. On June 23, the regiment took part in the Battle of Krefeld where it was deployed in the centre in Lieutenant-general von Oberg's Brigade (6 battalions). At the opening of the battle this brigade was ordered to make diversion towards Sankt-Tönis. After the battle, the regiment pursued the French up to Roermond. It then rejoined the army who retired to the Rhine. It then encamped near Drensteinfurt. On October 24, the regiment was forced to retire to Münster. In November, it was posted at Olphen.

On February 9 1759, the regiment took up its winter-quarters in the Bishopric of Osnabrück. In April, it took up cantonments near Erwitte under the command of General von Hardenberg. On May 26, it was transferred to a nearby camp. In June, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On June 3, under the command of the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick, it took part in the surprise attack on a French outpost at Elberfeld. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where it was deployed in the first line of the 4th column under Major-General von Scheele. The regiment captured two standards. It then pursued the defeated French up to Krofdorf in Upper-Hessen. In the night of September 15, it marched with three British squadrons under command of the Hereditary Prince to attack the Chasseurs de Fischer posted at Wetter. It attacked them and drove them out of Wetter. The regiment then took up cantonments in Dorlar.

In January 1760, the regiment marched to the relief of the British cantonments at Tillerburg. On June 25, it took part in the affair of Neustadt and, on July 25, in the combat of Wolfhagen.

In May 1761, the regiment took part in actions at Linsingen and Fritzlar. In July, it was at the affair of Birkenbaum near Werle. On July 16, it took part in the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was attached to the reserve. On August 31, as part of the garrison of Münster under General von Kielmannsegg, it attacked the French at Schapdetten and Roxel but was forced to retire under the cannon of Münster.

By May 23 1762, the regiment was attached to the main Allied army in Lieutenant-general von Gilsa's Division. On June 24, the regiment took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal. On July 23, it was at the Combat of Lutterberg. In this combat, the regiment captured a cannon and a Saxon grenadier company; it lost Lieutenant von Holstein, killed; and Lieutenant-Colonel von Scharnhorst severely wounded. In September, it advanced on Münden and then on Marburg, to lay siege to the castle. In November, it garrisoned Osnabrück.

Uniform

Privates

Uniform in 1759 - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Musketeer black tricorne laced white with a sprig of oak leaves, three Yellow/red pom poms and a black cockade
Grenadier
Fabrice Infantry Grenadier Mitre Cap - Source: Hannoverdidi
Prussian mitre in the British pattern with a small front flap. Red front with yellow decorations, crowned shield with GR in centre, Order of the Garter below. Small white flap with springing horse with the scroll Nec Aspera Terrent. Red sack, straw base lined with white lace.
Neck stock black
Coat red lined straw, with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes under the lapels
Collar none
Shoulder Straps red (left shoulder)
Lapels straw, each with 7 pewter buttons and 7 white buttonholes
Pockets horizontal pockets, each with 2 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes
Cuffs straw (slashed in the British pattern), each with 3 pewter buttons and 2 white buttonholes just above each cuff on the sleeves
Turnbacks straw fastened with a pewter button
Waistcoat straw with 2 horizontal pockets, each with 3 pewter buttons
Breeches straw yellow
Gaiters white
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt natural leather
Waistbelt natural leather
Cartridge Box black
Bayonet Scabbard black
Scabbard black
Footgear black


Troopers were armed with a musket and a sword (brass hilt), and carried a dark brown haversack with a metal canteen on the left hip.

Officers

Officers had silver lace lining the cuffs and lapels, a black cockade hat, a gold gorget with the arms of Hanover in the centre and carried a yellow sash slung over the right shoulder. Sergeants wore straw gloves. Partizans were carried.

Musicians

Drummers wore a red coat with swallows nest and lace in white.

The drum pattern had hoops in alternating straw and red diagonal stripes, white drum cords over a brass drum with the Arms of Hanover in the centre.

Colours

Colonel Flag: White field bearing the arms of Hanover (common to all Hanoverian infantry regiments except 10-B).

Colonel Colour - Source: Hannoverdidi

Regimental Flag: Pale straw field long thin laurel wreath surrounding a trophy of arms. Scroll above reads NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE. Hereafter, we present an illustration from the Reitzenstein Sammlung, dating from circa 1761 (left) and the interpretation of Hannoverdidi (right).

Regimental Colour - Source: Interpretation of the Reitzenstein Sammlung (circa 1761)
Regimental Colour - Source: Interpretation of user Hannoverdidi

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

Other sources

Biles, Bill: The Hanoverian Army in the 18th Century, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VI No. 3

Gmundener Prachtwerk, circa 1761

Knötel H., and Hans M. Brauer: Heer und Tradition

Niemeyer Joachim and Georg Ortenburg: The Hanoverian Army during the Seven Years War

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

Reitzenstein Sammlung, Bomann Museum, Celle

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

Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar