Origin and History
Shortly after he had inherited the County of Schaumburg-Lippe in 1748, Count Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe began to raise an artillery corps in the Bückeburg garrison. By February 1750, this artillery corps consisted of 18 men, 1 equipment master and 1 NCO.
By 1752, the artillery corps had been increased to 66 men. On 1 April, this “Canonier-Compagnie” was temporarily merged in the Bückeburg Garrison Battalion. The corps was raised in the principality; no costs were spared for its training, equipment and weaponry. The artillery officer Römer made quite a reputation during the Seven Years’ War as one of the leading engineers of this corps. Other prominent officers included Major Claude-Henri Dufresnoy, Major Stork, Lieutenant Wieting, Lieutenant Bramayer and Engineer-Captain Etienne.
In 1755, Count Wilhelm created an engineer and mining corps of 10 men, which brought the total of his artillery corps to 74 men.
An artillery piece still on display at the Castle of Bückeburg has a light grey carriage with black metal works.
During the Seven Years’ War, Römer and Dufresnoy supervised most of the sieges which were undertaken by the Allies in Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Hesse, in particular those of Harburg, Rothenburg, Minden, Münster, Wesel and Kassel.
The regimental inhaber was:
- from 1752: Count Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe
Service during the War
At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, the corps took the field with the Allied army and eventually grew to have between 300 and 400 men (including the train), with 29 three-pdrs, 4 eight-pdrs, 2 twelve-pdrs, 3 eighteen-pdr cannon, 3 howitzers and 4 heavy mortars. Other guns were left in Bückeburg arsenal.
In 1757, a subsidy agreement was arranged with Hanover. This agreement covered infantry and artillery forces. At the end of July, the Bückeburg artillery joined the Hanoverian army in the camp of Nienburg. At that time, the corps consisted of 1 major, 1 lieutenant, 1 junker, 8 fireworkers, 1 drummer, 100 constables (gunners), for a total of 112, with 20 miners, who, at that time, were the only miners of the Allied army. However, this small artillery corps was not sufficient to operate all the Schaumburg-Lippe artillery pieces. Therefore, a number of these pieces had to be temporarily transferred to the Hessian Artillery and Brunswick Artillery.
N.B.: there are many mentions of a corps of 100 miners but these figures include infantrymen detached for entrenchment work.
On October 10, 1758, the corps took part in the Battle of Lutterberg. After the defeat, Lieutenant Wieting, who was on the left wing with 28 Bückeburger artillerymen and 2 twelve-pdr cannon, was attacked by some French cavalry. Being unable to move their cannon, the artillerymen continued to fire on the attackers but were soon overwhelmed and killed or captured.
In 1759, the corps (139 artillerymen with 18 engineers and miners) was detached to the Hessian Brigade. By then, there were nine 3-pdrs with the grenadier battalions, eight 6-pdrs and ten 12-pdrs with the battery and the artillery park. In June 1759, the regiment was part of the Allied Main Army under the command of the Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick. On August 1, the regiment took part in the Battle of Minden where part of it was deployed in the first line of the 6th column under Major-General von Toll and the other part, in Wangenheim's Corps between Kutenhausen and the Weser, in the first line of the infantry centre, escorted by the battalion of Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg Infantry.
In 1760 and 1761, the principality also provided sixteen 1-pdr falconets, two with each infantry company, a total of 28 pieces, well horsed and manned; this was a major effort.
By 1761, Count Wilhelm had managed to increase his artillery corps to 700 men (300 artillerymen, 250 stable masters, 150 infantrymen to serve the pieces) and 600 horses. The park included 6 three-pdr and 4 twelve-pdr cannon, 2 eight-pdr and 4 thirty-pdr howitzers. The artillery of the principality thus included all the calibres of the artillery of the major states. On March 7, during the siege of Kassel, Lieutenant Brameyer and his men, who were serving a battery, were attacked during a sortie of the defenders and were all killed or wounded while defending their artillery pieces.
In 1762, when Count Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe was sent to take command of the Portuguese Army during the Spanish invasion of Portugal, he was accompanied by some engineers, miners and artillery men of this corps. They distinguished themselves at Fort St. Julien where an engineering school was established for the Portuguese Army. When the count returned to Bückeburg, Engineer-Captain Etienne remained in Portugal.
Meanwhile on June 24, 1762, in Western Germany, the corps took part in the Battle of Wilhelmsthal.
Description of the uniform of 1762 based on Wilmans' document kept in the Staatsarchiv Bückeburg. Several authors, including Richard Knötel, depict a light blue uniform. This is a common error, because the light blue artillery uniform appeared in an 18th century French tableau. The archives of the Duke of Schaumburg-Lippe in Bückeburg contain a manuscript source written in 1762 which shows dark blue artillery uniforms (dark blue coat and breeches). This manuscript is entitled:
M. Wilmans: Anciennete von Seiner Hoch-Reichs-Gräflichen Erlauchten! des Regierenden Herrn Graffen zur Schaumburg-Lippe, und Sternberg, Ritter des Königl-Preushen Grossen-Ordens, von Schwarzen Adler! General en Chef Seiner Königl. Maj. von Portugal Combinirten Armée, Infanterie Regiment, Grenadier-Garde, Carabenier zu Pferd, und Jäger zu Füss, imgleichen Artillerie, wie auch Ingenieur, und Mineur-Corps; Benebst denen Fahnen-Divisen, und Uniform. Bückeburg den 12. Juny 1762. Staatsarchiv Bückeburg au F 1 A XXXV 18 Nr 73.
|Coat||dark blue with pewter buttons
Artillerymen carried carbines on brown slings.
Engineers had the same uniform as miners.
NCOs wore the same uniform as privates with the following distinctions:
- double silver braids edging the cuffs and, for miners and engineers, collar
Officers wore a gorget.
No particulars known.
The 12-pounders were crewed by 16 men each, the 6-pounders by 12 and the 3-pounders by eight men each. Apart from this, each piece had one or two bombardiers. The 12-pounders had twelve-horse teams, the 6-pounder six, the 3-pounders had three and each ammunition wagon had a six-horse team.
The gun barrels were designed by Count Wilhelm himself and were recognized as being of high quality. The 12-pounder had an internal barrel length of 21 calibres and a powder charge of four pounds, which, at an elevation of 1,5 degrees, reached a range of 880 paces.
The 1-pound falconet also had a barrel length of 21 calibres, fired a lead ball of 14 Loth (1 Loth = 1/2 ounce), with a charge of 10 Loth and at an elevation of 1,5 degrees, it reached a range of 550 paces. With an elevation of 2 1/2 degrees, the range increased to 750 paces and with 4 1/2 degrees it increased to 1060 paces.
Count Wilhelm also designed his own artillery regulations and the crews were well trained by shooting at targets. On one occasion, the count had invited several Hanoverian officers to lunch in the field; he ordered his gunners to fire at the flag on top of the tent in which they were dining. The first shot was a little high, the subsequent shots all went through the top of the marquee at the same height.
It is also recorded that Count Wilhelm acted as his own gun commander in some of the battles of the Seven Years War and duelled with the opposing artillery. He also conducted artillery field training exercises on the banks of Lake Steinhude (northeast of Minden) and the training of the artillery together with infantry and cavalry. He also laid great emphasis on the tactical cooperation between the infantry battalions and their light pieces.
Count Wilhelm also wrote the pamphlet, Nouveau systeme de tactique, in which he emphasised that a force of 400 - 600 infantry, operating with their light guns, would be able successfully to defend themselves against large bodies of enemy cavalry.
The famous Scharnhorst, then an ensign in Count Wilhelm's artillery, wrote: “The annual exercises, field training manoeuvres, the building of defensive field fortifications, artillery drills, etc. were training for him and his officers, experiments in the basic rules of the use of artillery, tactics and the attack.”
From 1762, Count Wilhelm also spent some years serving in Portugal, reforming their army and artillery.
The ducal military academy was located in Schloss Wilhelmstein, a tiny island in Lake Steinhude and was highly regarded by many of the leading European military men. The fortress was built between 1761 and 1765.
In 1770, the count produced the instructional manuals for this academy. No student was accepted into this institute unless he had spent time as a cadet in the Count's artillery corps, gathering practical experience.
The syllabus in this academy included artillery ballistics, military and civil engineering, mathematics, physics, draftsmanship, general and military history, practical geometry, geography, tactics and languages.
Ethics were also included. The theoretical knowledge gained was reinforced with practical experiments such as making fireworks, building mines and defensive works. The casting of gun barrels was also taught.
All the instructors were artillery officers. Periodic examinations were set, diplomas and medals awarded for the appropriate performance.
Director of this academy was Major St-Etienne, a French officer. In 1776, Count Wilhelm had trained so many successful artillery officers, that he was able to send 16 of them to Portugal, to assist in the reforms of their artillery.
This article is essentially a translation by Digby Smith of a section of the following book which is now in the public domain:
- Wiessenbach, Stack von; Regierender Graf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe, bezueglich seine Leistungen als Artillerist, insbesondereim Siebenjaehrigen Krieg, Ludwigsburg 1884.
Düring, G. W. von, Geschichte des Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburgischen Karabinier- und Jäger-Korps. Berlin 1828 - online Google books
Klein, Hans. H.: Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück 1982
Knötel, R., Uniformkunde, Lose Blätter zur Geschichte der Entwicklung der militärischen Tracht, Rathenow, 1890-1921, Vol. XV, Plate 36, Schaumburg-Lippe-Bückeburg. Jäger, Grenadier, Musketier, Bombardier, Ingenieur. 1765.
N.B.: the section Service during the War is partly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.