Difference between revisions of "1757-07-26 - Battle of Hastenbeck"
(Added info from the work of the Grosser Generalstab about the campaign of 1757)
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*Hessian [[Miltitz Cavalry|Miltitz]] (1 sqn of dismounted recruits)
*Hessian [[Miltitz Cavalry|Miltitz]] (1 sqn of dismounted recruits)
East of Afferde under Colonel Dachenhausen
East of Afferde under Colonel Dachenhausen
*[[Dachenhausen Cavalry]] - 2C-A (2 sqns)
*[[Dachenhausen Cavalry]] - 2C-A (2 sqns)
Revision as of 10:45, 11 September 2018
Prelude to the Battle
At the beginning of July 1757, during the invasion of Hanover, the French Army of the Lower Rhine under the Maréchal d'Estrées had successfully crossed the Weser River. After retiring in front of this superior French army for two weeks, the Duke of Cumberland decided to make a stand and selected a strong defensive position between the fortified City of Hameln and the Obensberg Hill.
In the evening of July 25, d'Estrées gave orders to launch an attack on the Allied positions the next day. From the height of the Bückeberg, where he stood, he could see all details of the terrain around Hastenbeck. It was clear that the Haste would seriously hinder any advance against the right wing of the Allies. An attack in the centre, between Hastenbeck and the wooded slopes of the Obensburg would benefit from a temporary cover in the low ground along the Haste but it would be very costly if the French failed to silence the strong battery of the Kässiegsgrund. To the east, the steep and wooded slopes of the Obensburg protected the positions of the Allies. The dense forest made it impossible to estimate the quantity of Allied troops deployed in these quarters. However, if the Obensburg could be occupied, Cumberland's whole position would become untenable. The forest gradually descended from the Obensburg to the saddle east of Voremberg where it reached the wooded heights of the Hasselburg. On July 25, Lieutenant-General de Chevert had already reconnoitred the area, discovered that the edge of the forest were unoccupied, and determined that it was possible to climb the slopes of the Obensburg from the saddle east of Voremberg. He reported the situation to d'Estrées who, after some hesitations, finally agreed to launch an attack there.
Chevert at the head of the infantry brigades Picardie, Navarre and La Marine with 12 grenadier coys and a screen of light troops coys was charged to conquer the Obensburg. He should launch his attack at 9:00 a.m. The right wing of the army would start its advance at 8:30 a.m. towards Voremberg and then along the forest towards the Allied positions. While the right wing would conquer these positions, the centre and the left wing would advance against Hastenbeck. The artillery who had already established its superiority over the Allied artillery should open fire at daybreak to silence the Allied batteries. The entire cavalry was kept in reserve on the extreme left wing and behind the centre.
The battlefield was delimited by the wooded heights of the Hellberg to the south and of the Schecken to the east; the Weser to the west; and the Hamel and its affluent, the Remte, to the north. The Haste flowed north-westwards across the battlefield from the heights east of Voremberg. In its upper course, it did not represent an obstacle for the infantry. However, to the south of Hastenbeck, its banks gradually became swampy. From there to its confluence with the Hamel, it was passable by only a few bridges. The Schecken; with its two highest crests, the Obensburg and Stolle; was very difficult to climb from the south and west. Its eastern slope was somewhat easier to climb for infantry. The dense undergrowth made advance even more difficult. However, to the north, it gently sloped towards Hastenbeck and offered no obstacle to the movement of troops.
From the Bückeberg height, east of Ohsen, the view was unhindered down to Hameln and to the heights bordering the north bank of the Hamel River. However, to the north-east and east, the view was blocked by the summit of the Schecken and by the heights to the east of Voremberg.
From the slopes of the Hellberg, the French had a clear view of the Allied positions to the north of the Haste. The rugged Haste Valley west of Voremberg and the deep ravines that climb up to the Obensburg from there offered a good cover for an attacker.
At the time of the battle, corn was ready to be harvested in the fields, occasionally hiding movements of individual detachments.
The village of Hastenbeck consisted of a church and massive farmhouses of thatched farmsteads and was only surrounded by hedges and fences. A quite indefensible position.
From the plain between the Haste and the Hamel to the Fortress of Hameln covering his right flank, a distance of approx. 2,500 m., Cumberland had deployed only 6 Hessian bns and 9 Hanoverian bns in a single line between the road leading from Hastenbeck to Afferde and the northern crest of the Sintelberg. A battery of four 12-pdrs swept the only access road leading to the Haste east of the village of Hastenbeck.
The centre of Cumberland's positions, deployed on a front of approx. 1,300 m. behind Hastenbeck, consisted of 9 Hessian and Brunswicker bns in the first line, supported by 4 Hanoverian bns in the second line. A battery of five 12-pdrs and four 6-pdrs planted some 300 m. north of Hastenbeck covered the northern débouché from the village.
Cumberland's left wing consisted of five Hanoverian and Brunswicker bns along the road leading from Hastenbeck to Diedersen. A battery of eight 12-pdrs and four howitzers north of the Kässiegsgrund defended the approaches, dominating the slopes descending to the Haste and the heights rising to the south of the stream. This battery was covered by 4 bns (1 Brunswicker, 1 Hessian and 2 Hanoverian) under Major-General von Hardenberg.
Cumberland had also posted the Hanoverian Jägerkorps behind abatis on the Obensburg.
A new battery (2 x 12-pdrs, 2 howitzers and 6 battalion guns) had been erected to the east of Voremberg in the night of July 25 to partially cover the Haste Valley. Behind this battery, 1 Hanoverian grenadier bn, 1 Hessian grenadier bn and 1 Brunswicker grenadier bn under Major-General Count Schulenburg had been deployed in support
Cumberland had also placed a Reserve of 2 Hanoverian bns under Major-General von Hodenberg in the forest behind his left wing.
All of Cumberland's cavalry was deployed behind the infantry of his right wing. Indeed, the terrain in the centre and left of his positions did not allow to deploy cavalry.
Furthermore, 2 Hanoverian bns and 4 sqns were posted at the watchtower of Afferde to defend the passage of the Hamel; and 4 other sqns with light troops were sent further west.
Finally, Colonel von Breidenbach with 3 Hanoverian bns and 2 sqns occupied the narrow pass of the Schecken on the road leading from Diedersen to Afferde. He had been reinforced in the afternoon of July 25 with 4 sqns under Colonel von Dachenhausen who had taken position east of Afferde.
The French army was assembled on the heights of Ohsen, its left reaching the Weser. There was an impracticable marsh in front of the French left.
Description of Events
At 9:00 p.m. on July 25, Chevert set off from his camp and started his long flank march in the direction of Voremberg towards the Allied left flank. The 12 grenadier companies formed the head of the column, followed by 4 guns, and by the brigades of Picardie (4 bns), Navarre (4 bns) and La Marine (4 bns).
The officer who had reconnoitred the area on the previous day, guided the column. The grenadier coys led the column, followed by Picardie Brigade. During the night march, there was some confusion in Chevert's ranks. Navarre Infanterie soon lost connection and mistakenly headed straight towards the village of Voremberg while the Picardie Brigade turned right into sunken roads in the woods. This error could have been fatal to Chevert's plan. However, the Marquis de Valfons, Chevert's very active chief of staff, stopped Navarre Infanterie when it was almost in contact with the Allied first outposts manned by Hanoverian Jägerkorps. The regiment retraced its step eastward to join La Marine Infanterie to the left of Picardie Infanterie.
Around 2:00 a.m. on 26 July, Chevert's entire corps was assembled in a glade east of Voremberg and deployed for the attack: the grenadiers in front, then the 3 brigades side by side, each battalion formed in “column of platoons.” The 200 cavalrymen accompanying the corps secured the right while the light troops protected the left. Chevert then waited for daybreak.
Meanwhile, d'Estrées, realizing that the success of the day depended on the success of Chevert's attack, decided to send him reinforcements. He redirected the 4 bns of the Eu Brigade, who had just rejoined the army as part of the corps of the Duc de Randan towards Chevert's positions. The Comte de Lorges, who led this brigade, got lost in the dark.
A considerable fog raised from the Haste Valley at daybreak and the armies could see each other only at 5:30 a.m. The Allies then began a cannonade which was feebly answered while the French still awaited M. de Chevert's signal.
At 6:00 a.m., the French artillery opened fire on the batteries of the Allies. During the ensuing artillery duel, the numerical superiority of the French artillery began to tell.
Shortly after the beginning of the artillery duel, the French infantry came out of its camp and deployed for battle.
At about the same time, Cumberland set off from Hastenbeck to join the troops of his left wing at the edge of the forest.
As the French artillery gradually silenced the Allied batteries, the French infantry advanced.
At 8:00 a.m., Eu Brigade finally reached his assigned position in Chevert's Corps.
Chevert's Corps was gradually drawing closer to the Obensburg with his grenadiers and light troops in the van, followed by the infantry brigades Picardie, Navarre and La Marine, themselves followed by the Eu infantry brigade.
At 9:00 a.m., using battalion columns, Chevert launched his attack on the Allied left flank in the woods where his troops soon bumped on Hanoverian outposts and patrols who were easily pushed back. Chevert's left wing then entered into the forest and had to slow down its advance. Therefore, the Picardie Brigade, forming his right wing, was the first to engage elements of the Hanoverian Jägerkorps between the Obensburg and Sachsenwall. The right of the Allied position attacked by Chevert was anchored on a steep rock more than 12 m high. This obstacle just inside the wood was securing its right and rear. Big oak trees stood in front of the Allies and between these trees other fallen oak trees formed formidable breastworks. A very dense wood completed the position. The rifle armed Jägers were waiting for the French hidden behind these breastworks and let them get closer. They then suddenly opened a deadly fire. Part of the attackers precipitously retired to the cover of the forest. However, the example of the French officers, who showed the greatest intrepidity, soon brought back order in the ranks. The French took cover behind trees and an indecisive firefight ensued. While Picardie Infanterie fought the Hanoverian Jägerkorps, Chevert's left wing continued to slowly advance in the forest. As it approached the Obensburg, it was suddenly fired upon from the left by the Hessian grenadier bn, under Major von Stockhausen, who had earlier been sent forward by Schulenburg. There too a firefight broke out, preventing the French to make any progress.
During this time on Chevert's right wing, the officers finally realised that they were opposed only by a small unit of Jägers and ordered Picardie Infanterie to storm the position at the point of the bayonet. Part of the regiment stormed the Obensburg. Soon a colour was planted on the bald summit to signal the capture of the Obensburg to the French army deployed in the plain. Repulsed from this initial position, the Allies retired on a second height, having a ravine in front of them. Gradually, the Hessian grenadier battalion gave way too and Chevert's Corps penetrated into the dense forest behind the Obensburg. Part of Chevert's men had laboriously dragged part of their 16 battalion guns on the narrow and steep forest paths to the top of the Obensburg where they were deployed. They then opened fire on the Hanoverian positions.
When the sound of the engagement on the Obensburg was heard, the right wing and the centre of the French army began to advance in columns (more probably in ordre profond). Shortly afterwards, the French left wing under Broglie advanced too. Meanwhile, the French artillery kept a devastating fire.
On the right wing, Lieutenant-General d'Armentières led 4 brigades (Belzunce, La Couronne and Alsace, supported by the Austrian Brigade and by dismounted dragoons) against Voremberg to attack the Allied redoubt and batteries.
In the centre, Lieutenant-General de Contades at the head of the Orléans, Vaubécourt, Lyonnais and Mailly brigades began a slow advance towards the ravines between the Obensburg and the village of Hastenbeck in the direction of the Schmiedebrink.
The first line of the left wing infantry, led by MM. de Guerchy and de Saint-Pern, also began a slow advance in 3 columns against the village of Hastenbeck.
Dense dust clouds obscured part of these movements but revealed the general advance of the entire French line.
The difficult terrain chosen by Cumberland to make his stand did not allow the French cavalry to charge. So d'Estrées had assigned it to support the infantry. It was to debouch into the plain once the main infantry attack had taken place.
As the sound of gunfire coming from the forest of the Obensburg grew louder, Cumberland finally realized that his left wing was in danger of being outflanked. He sent Captain du Plat with orders for Colonel von Dachenhausen and Colonel von Breidenbach, who were posted at the narrow passage north of the Schecken, to advance through Diedersen and to attack the French on the heights of Voremberg. Immediately after receiving Cumberland's command, Dachenhausen and Breidenbach set in motion. However, these forces would require hours to reach these new positions, much too late to timely reinforce the Hanoverian Jägerkorps defending the Obensburg.
As the sound of fighting drew closer to the positions of Major-General Count Schulenburg near the small battery, he sent forward a Hessian converged grenadier bn to support the Hanoverian Jägerkorps in the forest. However, the steep slope and the dense undergrowth delayed their advance.
Cumberland then ordered Hardenberg to join the fight in the forest with 3 grenadier bns. With the ongoing French frontal attack, Cumberland could not spare more troops for his left flank.
Around 10:00 a.m., the woods on the right became the focal point of the battlefield while the rest of the field belonged to the French artillery who made superior execution. Navarre Infanterie stormed the second position occupied by the Allied units on their extreme left flank. Chevert continued to make gains against the enemy flank. Behind the Obensburg, Chevert's Corps bumped into Hardenberg's 3 grenadier bns. The Allied grenadiers were able to hamper their progress but could not reconquer the Obensburg which remained in the hands of the French. The arrival of the 2 bns sent by Cumberland from the Schecken did not alter the general situation in this area.
When the Eu Brigade finally reached the top of the Obensburg where it halted, the leading brigades had already advanced further.
Around 11:00 a.m., when d'Armentières advancing on Voremberg with the French right wing saw a French colour on top of the Obensburg. He immediately gave the signal to attack. The infantry brigades Belzunce, La Couronne, Alsace and Imperial (the Austrian Contingent) easily advanced through Voremberg and entered in the forest behind the village. However, deep ravines then hindered their advance. The small Allied battery established nearby fired on the companies visible at the edge of the forest, causing heavy casualties. D'Armentière's Corps came to a halt. The Hessian grenadiers, who had previously fought against Chevert, took position in front of the French corps and soon a firefight broke out.
Meanwhile in the centre, the infantry brigades Orléans, Vaubécourt, Lyonnais and Mailly, under Lieutenant-General Contades, advanced against the Schmiedebrink. Furthermore, Broglie at the head of 18 bns took the direction of Hastenbeck.
The small Allied force posted in Hastenbeck evacuated the village who was soon set afire by the French artillery.
Contades' Corps found cover in the deep Haste Valley and prepared unmolested for the attack. Soon it advanced to the height of the Schmiedebrink and came under fire of the large Allied battery established on the Kässiegsgrund.
During this time on the French right wing, d'Armentières had slightly modified the direction of his advance and got entangled in the woods. This manoeuvre mixed up the general order of battle. The situation was corrected by launching the reserve under M. d'Anlézy (Champagne and Reding brigades) against the small Allied battery of 8 guns. The regiment fell into disorder at the first salvoes. However, it soon rallied and captured the battery with the support of the Alsace Brigade. Reding Brigade then covered the edge of the woods.
Soon the big Allied battery on the Kässiegsgrund met with the same fate while Broglie's grenadiers reached Hastenbeck. French heavy pieces were planted on the Schiedebrink and opened on the Allied positions.
The young Hereditary Prince of Brunswick was posted a few hundred paces northward with the Brunswicker Behr Infantry. When he saw French troops appear in front of the battery, he rode to II./Behr Infantry and led it to the attack. After a short fight, the French troops opposing him gave way and he reconquered the battery. However, he had no support to the exception of the Brunswicker Leib-Regiment, the other Allied troops retiring. Nevertheless, the French battalions facing him retired behind the Schmiedebrink in the Haste Valley. Then came the news, that the Allied army had begun to evacuate its positions. Abandoning the reconquered battery, the Hereditary Prince retired.
From his point of observation on the Bückeberg, d'Estrées saw the steady progress of his army and decided to go to the heights south-west of Voremberg to be closer to the action.
At this moment, with Guerchy and Saint-Pern in position in front of Hastenbeck, d'Estrées ordered an attack against the village. The approaching French columns were still at half a cannonshot from Hastenbeck when the village took fire. Nevertheless, the Grenadiers de France advanced into the village while Du Roi Infanterie and the Grenadiers Royaux de Solar took position on each side of the village. When the Grenadiers de France debouched from Hastenbeck they were fired upon with canister by the Allied battery established at the edge of the woods. The grenadiers charged and captured these guns.
During this time on the Allied left flank, Chevert had cleared the woods in front of him and ordered his corps to advance into the plain, taking the Allied redoubts in rear. However, de Lorges, commanding the Eu Brigade, did not obey orders and remained on the plateau.
Meanwhile, Dachenhausen and Breidenbach had marched southwards through Diedersen, then south-westwards in the direction of Voremberg. As they arrived near Voremberg, they heard the din of a firefight coming from the forest to the north of the village. Breidenbach advanced to a few hundred paces of the forest of Bütebrink and deployed his 3 bns side by side. As Breidenbach was preparing for the attack, Colonel von Dachenhausen arrived at the head of Breidenbach Dragoons (2 sqns) and Dachenhausen Dragoons (2 sqns). He marched southwards in an attempt to locate a suitable terrain for a cavalry attack. Breidenbach then advanced with his 3 bns against the heights from where the sound of the firefight came, even though he could not see any enemy. His bns reached the edge of the forest unopposed. The slope was quite steep and soon the battalion guns had to be unlimbered and drawn by soldiers. Finally they were spotted by a French hussar when they had almost reached the summit of the height. The Eu Brigade, taken by surprise by this attack on its flank, received them with musket and artillery fire. Without firing back, the Hanoverian bns advanced to 80 paces before opening fire. Lieutenant-Colonel von Linstow then launched an attack at the point of the bayonet and drove back the Eu Brigade who retired in disorder towards the forest near Voremberg.
To complete the disaster, the fleeing Eu Brigade ran into the Swiss Reding Brigade who had been sent forward in the forest by d'Armentières. Seeing the red uniforms of the Swiss, the Eu Brigade thought that it was facing Hanoverian troops and opened fire on them. The Reding Brigade then joined the rout towards Voremberg. Many of those who tried to gain the open ground to the east of Voremberg were charged by Dachenhausen's sqns and cut to pieces.
The rumour quickly spread up to Börry and Vellinghausen, where the French baggage had been left, that the Allies were counter-attacking and soldiers began to flee. Breidenbach's attack had been more successful than anticipated. He had captured 13 artillery pieces which he redirected against the French positions on the Obensburg and the Schmiedebrink.
Around 1:00 p.m., considering the general situation, Cumberland gave order to retreat. The troops deployed north of Hastenbeck began to retire in good order. In the direction of Afferde and of the Afferde Watchtower. Major-General Count Kielmansegg received the order to take position on the narrow pass north of the Schecken with 2 bns to support Breidenbach and Dachenhausen during their retreat. In fact, Cumberland did not know about the recent successes of these two officers.
The French cavalry now had ample room to deploy into the plain to support the general advance. However, the Grenadiers de France received the quite surprising order to withdraw into the village of Hastenbeck.
When d'Estrées saw French troops pouring out of the woods near Voremberg, he tried in vain to reach the edge of the wood to rally them. At his moment, he received a message from Chevert announcing that he had defeated his opponents. Apparently this message was outdated because d'Estrées could clearly see artillery pieces firing on his troops from the Obensburg. Furthermore, d'Estrées was wrongly informed by the Comte de Maillebois, who led the attack on the French left wing, that a force of some 10,000 Allies (2 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades ) had been redirected to turn the French right wing. D'Estrées immediately ordered all his light troops to retreat to the camp to protect it and he sent almost all of his cavalry and an infantry brigade to plug this hole in his lines. Orders were issued to all the infantry to halt its advance and to the artillery to move back. However, these orders did not originate from d'Estrées... The Royal-Pologne Brigade which was debouching in the plain on the French left flank was also ordered to stop in front of retreating Allied units. Finally, Broglie sent a message asking to d'Estrées whether he should comply with an order received from the Duc d'Orléans to send troops to cover the narrow paths in the forest leading to Börry and Latferde. D'Estrées confirmed the order of the Duc d'Orléans. Bad news also came from the forest of Voremberg where the brigades were reported to suffer heavy losses. Finally, the Allied cavalry was reported to be advancing on Bessinghausen. These confusing orders, the movements that they caused and the disordered French infantry retreating in front of the Allied counter-attack interrupted all other attacks for almost 2 hours.
The French infantry deployed between the forest and Hastenbeck was instructed to recross the Haste. The artillery pieces established on the height of Schmiedebrink were drawn back with difficulty under the cover of the Champagne Brigade and of the grenadiers. Chevert was ordered to rejoin the main army and measures were taken to protect the baggage and train at Bessinghausen and Börry. The French infantry recrossed the Haste and retired to the wooded heights of the Bückeberg and Hellsberg while the artillery was redeployed on the left bank of the Haste. Soon the French infantry was sent through forest roads towards Latferde, Börry and Bessinghausen to cover the line of communication of the army.
This pause in the combats gave the Allies the opportunity to begin an orderly retreat. They had already passed the Hamel River at Afferde, burning their camp upon leaving it.
At that moment, d'Estrées was informed by the troops still deployed on the north bank of the Haste that the entire Allied army was retiring and that most of it had already reached the Hamel River. Indeed, fire from the woods had ceased and dust clouds indicated that the Allies were retreating from those parts. Preoccupied with the danger to their own wings and busy organising the retreat, the French generals had not timely noticed the retreat of the Allies. Realizing that he had been misinformed, d'Estrées decided to resume the attack of the Grenadiers de France, supporting it with the Royal-Carabiniers and the Royal Pologne brigades who had now debouched into the plain. He also gave orders to his retiring brigades to halt and to recross the Haste. By the time troops had received these news orders, the Allies were out of reach behind the Hamel.
At 4:00 p.m., d'Estrées reached the heights between Hastenbeck and Afferde.
At 6:00 p.m., the Allied army was out of sight. D'Estrées sent troops to follow them up to the village of Afferde. But, seeing that the enemy was retreating in good order and being master of the battlefield, he encamped his army north of Hastenbeck and simply pushed a detachment to cover Hameln.
Throughout the day, the French artillery under the supervision of Vallière had performed outstandingly.
In this battle and in the skirmishes of July 24 and 25, the Allies lost 12 officers and 309 men killed; 46 officers and 840 men wounded; and 1 officer and 206 men missing or taken prisoners (including 1 major-general and 2 officers). Furthermore, 9 guns, 2 howitzers and 15 ammunition wagons had been captured.
For their part, the French lost 1,500 men killed or wounded. The Marquis de Laval, aide maréchal général des logis, was killed while M. du Châtelet and M. Belzunce were wounded. They also lost 13 artillery pieces but the Allies had managed to bring only 6 of them back with them and had had to make the other ones unusable.
The French victory eventually led to the Convention of Klosterzeven whereby Cumberland agreed to disband his army and to allow the French to occupy Hanover.
Order of Battle
Allied Order of Battle
Commander-in-Chief: Duke of Cumberland
|First Line||Second Line|
|Right Wing under Lieutenant-General Zastrow
||Right Wing Cavalry
|Center under Lieutenant-General Wutginau
|Left Wing under Lieutenant-General Imhoff||Left Wing|
Advance Guard of Left Wing Protecting Forward Batteries
- von Hardenberg Brigade of converged grenadiers
- Hanoverian Grenadiers (2 bns)
- Hessian Grenadiers (1 bn)
- Brunswick Grenadiers (1 bn)
- Artillery Battery #3 (east of Hastenbeck): 4 howitzers and 8 x 12-pdrs
- von Schulenburg Brigade
- Brunswick Grenadiers (1 bn)
- Hessian Stockhausen Grenadiers (1 bn)
- Hanoverian Grenadiers (1 bn)
- Artillery Battery #4 (left wing northwest of Voremberg): 2 howitzers, 2 x 12-pdrs and 6 3-pdrs
Detachment on the Obensburg under Major von Freytag: Hanoverian Fuss Jäger (3 companies)
Scouts on Right Wing: Hanoverian Jäger zu Pferde (2 companies)
Detachment on the Weser
Detachment around the Afferde Watchtower under von Ledebur (Hanoverian)
- Dachenhausen Dragoons - 5C (2 sqns)
- Leib-Regiment - 1C-A (2 sqns)
- Ledebour - 4A (1 bn)
- Fabrice - 2B (1 bn)
Detachments in and near Hameln (Hanoverian)
- Commandeered Infantry (2,000 men) from various regiments
- 1st Garrison Battalion (1 bn)
- Hessian Miltitz (1 sqn of dismounted recruits)
East of Afferde under Colonel Dachenhausen (Hanoverian)
Detachment on the Schecken Height between Afferde and Diedersen under Breidenbach (Hanoverian)
- Breidenbach Dragoons - 6C (2 sqns)
- Sporken - 2A (1 bn)
- von Hardenberg - 6A (1 bn)
- Zandre de Caraffa - 6B (1 bn)
French Order of Battle
Commander-in-Chief: Maréchal d'Estrées
Total force: 50,000 infantry and artillery in 84 battalions, 10,000 cavalry in 83 squadrons, supported by 68 heavy guns, 84 battalion guns and 8 howitzers.
These figures are given according to the information in Grosser Generalstab. They are based on a “plan” of the French camp on the battlefield in the afternoon of July 26 “…listing all regiments by name and in strength of 70 bns and 63 sqns. To this force, the troops of Broglie's Reserve (8 bns and 12 sqns) which recrossed the Weser River the same day, 2 bns of the Grenadiers Royaux de Solar, the 4 bns brigade d'Alsace, that are not listed as with d'Armentières force, but took part in the battle, and 8 sqns from Randan's Reserve and d'Armentières's vanguard would have to be added” – all apparently detached. “This gives a strength of 84 bns and 83 sqns for the French army” … (incl. 2 bns of artillery).
Cavalry generals are speculative, though based on fragmentary record elsewhere – no confirmation on the commands here. Cavalry regiments and brigading should be exact at about 80%, that of the infantry near 100%.
N.B.: most sources, except Jomini, agree with the German Grosser Generalstab on the total force of the French Army.
|First Line||Second Line||Reserve|
|Right Flank: Division under M. de Chevert assisted by Maréchaux de Camp de Vogüé and de Maupeou
|Right Wing Infantry under the Marquis d'Armentières
|Infantry Centre under the Marquis de Contades||Right Wing Cavalry under the Duc d'Orléans (behind Contades Centre Division)||Right Wing Cavalry|
|Left Wing Infantry Division under the Duc de Broglie||Left Wing Infantry Division under the Duc de Broglie
Infantry Division under M. de Souvré and M. d'Isselbach
|Left Wing Cavalry under the Duc de Brissac (behind Broglie's Left Wing Division)||Left Wing Cavalry|
Cavalry Reserve under the Marquis de Poyanne
- Royal-Carabiniers Brigade Maisne (2 sqns)
- Royal-Carabiniers Brigade Saint-George (2 sqns)
- Royal-Carabiniers Brigade Rosen (2 sqns)
Artillery under M. Joseph Florent de Vallière (in front of the center and right wing of the army)
- Corps Royal de l'Artillerie - Lamotte Battalion
- Corps Royal de l'Artillerie - Menouville Battalion
- 6 groups of about 10 to 12 guns each, consisting of:
- 25 x 12-pdrs and 16-pdrs
- 4 x 24-pdrs
- 8 howitzers
- 8 x 8-pdrs (with Broglies reserve)
- 27 x 4-pdrs
Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, p. 78
Beringer, Ingo: Guns and Brigades at Hastenbeck, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 4
Évrard, P.: Praetiriti Fides
Du Bois: Camp Topographies of the Campaign of 1757, in Westphalia. Begun by M. le maréchal d’Estrées, continued by M. le duc de Richelieu, & concluded by Mgr. le comte de Clermont: With a journal of its operations, & some other very courious Piece. (original "Camps topographiques de la Campagne de 1757 en Westphalie ect., par le Sr. Du Bois", Le Hague, 1760). Translation by James J. Mitchell, publ. Old Battlefields Press, USA, 1996.
Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 5 Hastenbeck und Roßbach, Berlin, 1903, pp. 93-108
Rogge, Christian: The French & Allied Armies in Germany during the Seven Years War, Frankfurt, 2006
Vial, J. L.: Nec Pluribus Impar
West, Dean: Additional Thoughts on Hastenbeck - Definitive Order of Battle?, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. VII No. 3