Hanoverian Garde du Corps

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Origin and History

The House of Braunschweig-Lüneburg probably had a Lifeguard since many centuries. For example, in 1514, “Heinrich the Young” already had “Trabanten” to guard him. Similarly in 1578, when Duke “Erich the Young” travelled to Spain, he was accompanied by guards. Finally, in 1606 after the relief of Braunschweig, when Duke Heinrich Julius von Braunschweig disbanded his army, he kept 160 men in two companies as his bodyguard.

The regiment was raised in 1631 as the “Braunschweig-Lüneburgisches Leibregiment”. In 1648 it became the “Hannover Leibwache” and later the “Leibgarde”.

In 1673, during the Franco-Dutch War (1672-78), the two squadrons of the regiment joined the troops of the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg at the camp of Leese. In 1674, these troops marched to the Rhine, advancing in Palatinate and Alsace and engaging Turenne’s Army in the inconclusive Battle of Entzheim. In 1675, the regiment campaigned on the Meuse; it also took part in the siege of Trier and in the Battle of Konzer Brücke before being recalled to Hanover which was threatened by a Swedish army. In 1676, it returned to the Rhine and was at the siege of Maastricht. In 1677, it was at the siege of Charleroi and at the Battle of Saint-Denis.

In 1679, after the Treaty of Nijmegen, the troops of the Duchy of Braunschweig-Lüneburg were seriously reduced. However, the Leibgarde was increased to 120 men by the incorporation of officers and NCOs from disbanded units. In 1680, the Leibgarde was reorganised to incorporate the Osnabrück Guards, only 60 Hanoverian and 40 Osnabrück guards were kept and the rest disbanded.

In 1683, at the outbreak of the Great Turkish War (1683-99), the regiment formed part of the force sent to relieve Vienna, besieged by the Turks. It took part in the victorious Battle of Vienna and in the conquest of the fortresses of Gran, Silleck, Waitzen and Novigrad. In 1684, it participated in an action at Waitzen and in the siege of Ofen; in 1685, in the Battle of Gran and in the capture of Neuhäusel; in 1686, in the covering of the siege of Ofen.

In 1688, the Leibgarde was increased to 150 men. When the Nine Years' War (1688-97) broke out, it marched to the Rhine. In 1689, it took part in the capture of Bonn. In 1690, it formed part of the Hanoverian contingent sent to Netherlands and took part in Battle of Fleurus. In 1693, it fought in the sanguinary of Landen. In 1695, it took part in the siege and capture of Namur. In 1697, it returned to Hanover.

In 1706, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), the Leibgarde incorporated the former Guards of the Duchy of Celle. On 23 May of same year, it took part in the Battle of Ramillies. In 1707 and 1708, it campaigned against the Maréchal de Villars. In 1709, it formed part of the army who passed the Rhine and tried to attack the French lines. From 1710 to 1714, the regiment campaigned on the Rhine.

In 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48), the regiment took part in the Battle of Dettingen. In 1744, it campaigned in the Netherlands; and in 1745, on the Rhine. In 1746, it returned to Hanover.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the unit comprised;

  • 1 adjutant
  • 1 auditor
  • 1 chaplain
  • 1 regimental surgeon
  • 2 assistant-surgeons
  • 1 kettle-drummer
  • 1 ensign
  • 1 provost
  • 1 servant
  • 1 squadron (organised in 3 companies) totalling
    • 9 officers
    • 12 NCOs
    • 4 trumpeters
    • 156 troopers usually riding white or dapple-grey horses

The successive regimental Inhabers were:

  • from 1693: Lieutenant-General Christian Ludewig von Weyhe
  • from 1708: Colonel Hildebrand Christoph von Hardenberg
  • from 1737: Colonel Ernst August Wilhelm von Grote
  • from September 1753: Major-General Georg Ludewig Count von Platen-Hallermünd (retired in 1757 as lieutenant-general)
  • from 1757: Colonel Johann Friedrich von Zepelin (promoted to major-general in 1757, retired in 1759 as lieutenant-general)
  • from 1759 to 1784: Colonel Johann Ludewig Imperial Count von Wallmoden-Gimborn (promoted to major-general in 1761; to lieutenant-general in 1776; and to General of Cavalry in 1784)

In 1763, the unit was amalgamated with the Grenadiers zu Pferde.

The unit was disbanded in 1803.

Service during the War

Throughout the war, the unit was mainly used to guard the headquarters.

On June 26 1757, during the French invasion of Hanover, the regiment took part in the Battle of Hastenbeck where it was deployed in the second line of the cavalry right wing. The cavalry was not really tested in the battle. They were superbly mounted, but drilled in the old German style tactics that meant that they were steady, but slow. They would have charged at a trot and quite likely would have received an enemy charge at the halt, trusting their firearms.

In March 1758, the regiment was at the siege and capture of Minden. On May 26, it 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 23 at the Battle of Krefeld, the squadron was part of the strong Hanoverian cavalry presence on the left wing. At the opening of the battle, the unit was part of Oberg's Division ordered to make diversion towards Sankt-Tönis. In December, when the Allied army took its winter-quarters in Westphalia, the unit was quartered in Münster where Ferdinand had established his headquarters.

In June 1759, the regiment was part of the main Allied army under the command of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, it was present at the Battle of Minden in the first line of the cavalry right wing, commanded by Lord Sackville whose deliberate inactivity kept the unit out of any serious action. At the end of the battle, the squadron took part in the capture of a French battery near Malbergen and drove the Touraine and Rouergue infantry brigades out of their defensive positions.

By the end of January 1760, 1 squadron of the unit was attached to the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick.

On July 16 1761, the unit was at the Battle of Vellinghausen where it was part of Lieutenant-General Wutginau's Corps supporting the left wing.

On June 24 1762, the regiment fought in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal where it formed part of the 7th column.

Uniform

Accurate Vorstellung der saemtlichen Churfürstl. hannöverischen Armee zur eigentlichen Kentniß der Uniform von jedem Regimente nebst beygefügter Geschichte, worinne von der Stiftung, denen Chefs, der Staercke und den wichtigsten Thaten jedes Regiments Nachricht gegeben wird Nürnberg: Raspe 1763 (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt)

Privates

Uniform - Source: Hannoverdidi
Uniform Details
Headgear
Trooper black tricorne laced silver with oak leaves as a field sign, a black cockade
Grenadier n/a
Neckstock black
Coat red
Collar blue edged silver
Shoulderknot gold and black aiguillette
Pockets edged with a silver lace
Buttons six pewter buttons on the front of the coat, buttonholes laced in silver
Cuffs blue edged silver, each with 3 pewter buttons 3 silver buttonholes (Schirmer mentions that the cuffs could also have been red)
Turnbacks blue
Waistcoat straw
Breeches chamois
Leather Equipment
Crossbelt buff
Waistbelt buff
Cartridge Box black
Scabbard black
Footgear black
Horse Furniture
Saddlecloth basic color crimson; border silver; emblem of a royal blue garter with yellow lettering surmounted by a Royal Crown in gold with various colored jewels and red interior
Sabretache see saddlecloth
Blanket roll dark blue


Troopers were armed with a Pallasch (straight steel hilted sword), two pistols and a carbine. The carbine was slung from the shoulder belt on a swivel hook.

Officers

Officers wore a yellow silken sash around the waist; a silver gorget, a silver porte-epee; silver lace on the tricorne and gold lace around the collar and cuffs. They did not carry any cross-belt.

NCOs

NCOs had silver laces on the cuffs, pockets, and waistcoat. They did not carry any cross-belt.

Musicians

Musicians comprised trumpeters and one kettle-drummer. They were dressed in reverse colours and probably had swallow nests at the shoulders. Staff trumpeter probably carried NCO distinctives.

The trumpets and kettle-drums were made of solid silver.

The apron of the kettle drums and the banners of the trumpets carried the same device as the Leibstandarte generously embroidered in silver.

Colours

Colonel Standard (Leibstandarte): white silken standard fringed in silver

  • obverse: centre device consisting of the Arms of England supported by a crowned lion and a unicorn all embroidered in silver within the Garter; the motto “DIEU ET MON DROIT” underneath
  • reverse: similar to the obverse
Leib Standard – Source: rf-figuren

The unit had no regimental standard.

References

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

Other sources

Deutsche Uniformen, Bd. 1, Das Zeitalter Friedrich des Großen, 240 Bilder von Herbert Knötel d. J., Text und Erläuterungen von Dr. Martin Letzius, hrsg. von der Sturm-Zigaretten GmbH, Dresden 1932

Knötel, R.: Farbiges Handbuch der Uniformkunde: Die Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht der deutschen Staaten, Österreich-Ungarns und der Schweiz. Begründet von Prof. Richard Knötel. Grundlegend überarbeitet und bis zum Stand von 1937 fortgeführt von Herbert Knötel d.J. und Herbert Sieg. Dem Stand der Forschung angepaßt und ergänzt von Ingo Pröper, überarbeitete Neuauflage, Stuttgart 1985

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Part I : Das Heer von 1763, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 1-4 (1909), page 3-15

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Part II: Das Heer von 1770, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 4-5 (1909), page 15-20

Knötel, Richard: Die Uniformen des Hannoverschen Heeres 1763 und 1770. Kurze Stammliste. 1617 bis 1803, in: Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der militärischen Tracht, vol. XVI, no. 6-11 (1909), page 22-42

Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army - from the Beginnings to 1760, vol. II

Manley, S.: Uniforms of the Danish and German States' Armies 1739 - 1748, Potsdam Publications

Niemeyer Joachim and Georg Ortenburg: Die Chur-braunschweig-lüneburgische Armee im Siebenjährigen Kriege: Das Gmundener Prachtwerk, Beckum 1976

Niemeyer, Joachim and Georg Ortenburg: The Hanoverian Army during the Seven Years War; Deutsche Gesellschaft für Heereskunde

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

Pengel, R.D. and G. R. Hurt: Seven Years War. Brunswick-Luneburg (Hanover). Hessen Cassel. Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel. Schaumburg Lippe. Supplement, Birmingham 1984

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Heere der kriegführenden Staaten 1756-1763, hrsg. von der KLIO-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg, überarb. u. aktual. Neuauflage 1989

Schirmer, Friedrich: Die Uniformierung der kurhannoverschen Infanterie 1714 - 1803 in: Zeitschrift für Heereskunde, 1970

Schirmer, Friedrich: Nec Aspera Terrent: Eine Heereskunde der hannoverschen Armee von 1631 bis 1803, Niedersächische Hausbücherei, Bd. 3, Hannover 1929

Sichart, Louis von: Geschichte der Königlich-Hannoverschen Armee. Dritter Band. Vierter Zeitraum. 1756-1789, Hanover 1870 [google books]

N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.