Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


Light Bn. Luneburg

Light Bn. Bremen-Verden

Light Bn. Grubenhagen

Light Bn. Osnabruck

Light Bn. Calenberg

Field Jaeger Corps

Harzer Schutzen Corps

Bibliography

Hanoverian Light Battalions: 1813 - 1815

By Ron McGuigan

 

In 1813, Hanover was liberated and the government-in-exile in Great Britain immediately began to organize an army in Hanover to defend its territory and help defeat Napoleon. Some of the first units raised were Light Battalions of which there were eventually five organized along with a Jager Corps and a Schutzen Corps. This is a brief overview of each unit with uniform details where known.

Hannoverian Light Infantryman

Hannoverian Light Infantryman
1813 - 1815

In February 1814, the independent battalions were regimented in 10 regiments of one Field Battalion and three Landwehr Battalions. However, they continued to act independently similar to the British manner. The Field Battalions were to be of 8 companies. In 1814, this was reduced to 6 companies and later to 4 companies. According to Sichart, the uniforms were based upon the King's German Legion with the Light Battalions and Jaegers in green and the others in red.

Light Field Battalion Luneburg

Light Field Battalion Luneburg was raised in 1813. By June, it was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel August von Klencke. It served in a Light Brigade with Count von Walmoden-Gimborn's Corps in 1813/14 in the campaign against Hamburg [April and May], in Mecklenburg [June to November] and saw action at The battle of the Gohrde [16 September 1813], in Holstein [December-January 1814], Blockade of Harburg [January-March]. It was stationed in the Netherlands 1814/1815 as part of the Hanoverian Subsidiary Corps, in the 2nd Light Brigade of the Light Division. At Waterloo, it was in the 1st Hanoverian Brigade. It was in France 1816-1818, in the First Brigade of the Hanoverian Corps of the Occupation Army. In 1814, it became the Field Battalion of the Luneburg Regiment. In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it became the 1st Battalion [Luneburg Light Battalion] of the Luneburg Infantry Regiment.

Its uniform was based upon the uniform of the Light Battalions of the King's German Legion: green jackets faced black with grey trousers.

Light Field Battalion Bremen-Verden

Light Field Battalion Bremen-Verden was raised in 1813 under Major Alexander de Vaux. In 1814 it was renamed the Field Battalion Bremen. It served in a Light Brigade with Count von Walmoden-Gimborn's Corps in 1813/14 in the campaign against Hamburg [April and May], in Mecklenburg [June to November] and saw action at The battle of the Gohrde [16 September 1813], in Holstein [December-January 1814], Blockade of Harburg [January-March]. It was stationed in the Netherlands 1814/1815 as part of the Hanoverian Subsidiary Corps, in the 1st Light Brigade of the Light Division. At Waterloo, it was in the 1st Hanoverian Brigade. It was in France 1816-1818, in the Second Brigade of the Hanoverian Corps of the Occupation Army.

In 1814 it became the Field Battalion of the Bremen Regiment. In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it became the 1st Battalion [Bremen Grenadier Battalion] of the Bremen Infantry Regiment.

Different sources disagree concerning its uniform. Haythornthwaite shows red jackets faced dark blue or black with some Light infantry details. Hofschröer says green jackets faced black with very dark blue trousers giving way later to red jackets faced black and dark blue trousers, but, Colonel Hugh Halkett says at Waterloo they were wearing green jackets with dark blue trousers.

Light Field Battalion Grubenhagen

Light Field Battalion Grubenhagen was raised in 1813 as the Harzer Schutzen [Sharpshooters] by Lieutenanty Colonel Carl von Beaulieu. By April 1814 it was known as Grubenhagen. It served in a Line Brigade with Count von Walmoden-Gimborn's Corps in 1814 at the blockade of Harburg [January-March]. It was stationed in the Netherlands 1814/1815 as part of the Hanoverian Subsidiary Corps, in the 1st Light Brigade of the Light Division. At Waterloo, it was in the 1st Hanoverian Brigade. It was in France 1816-1818, in the First Brigade of the Hanoverian Corps of the Occupation Army.

In 1814 it became the Field Battalion of the Grubenhagen Regiment. In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it became the 1st Battalion [Hoya Light Battalion] of the Hoya Infantry Regiment.

Its uniform was green jackets faced black and grey trousers.

Light Field Battalion Osnabruck

Light Field Battalion Osnabruck was raised in 1813/14 by Captain Heinrich von Anderten. In September 1814 it was renamed Field Battalion Duke of York [sometimes referred to as 1st Duke of York] It served in a Light Brigade with Count von Walmoden-Gimborn's Corps in 1814 at the blockade of Harburg [January-March]. It was stationed in the Netherlands 1814/1815 as part of the Hanoverian Subsidiary Corps, in the 1st Light Brigade of the Light Division. At Waterloo, it was in the 1st Hanoverian Brigade. It was in France 1816-1818, in the First Brigade of the Hanoverian Corps of the Occupation Army.

In 1814 it became the Field Battalion of the Osbabruck Regiment (also referred to as Duke of York's). In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it became the 1st Battalion [Osnabruck Light Battalion] of the Osnabruck Infantry Regiment Duke of York.

I have no details of its uniform. Sichart states that the uniforms of the 5 Light Battalions were based upon the unifoms of the King's German Legion and they wore green jackets.

Light Field Battalion Calenberg

Light Field Battalion Calenberg was raised in the winter of 1813/1814 by Colonel Hartwig Hedemann. There is growing evidence that this battalion did not remain a Light Battalion. It was not assigned to the Light Division of the Subsidiary Corps and in June of 1815, Wellington wanted the 6th Hanoverian Brigade to have some Light Troops and transferred the Field Battalion Luneburg to it in July. According to a source, it had a colour which would be unusual for a light battalion. I can find no reference as to when a change in its role may have occurred. It was stationed in the Netherlands 1814/1815 as part of the Hanoverian Subsidiary Corps, in the 6th Brigade of the 3rd Division. At Waterloo, it was in the 6th Hanoverian Brigade. It was in France 1816-1818, in the Second Brigade of the Hanoverian Corps of the Occupation Army.

In 1814 it became the Field Battalion of the Calenberg Regiment. In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it became the 1st Battalion [Verden Grenadier Battalion] of the Verden Infantry Regiment.

Its uniform, according to Hofschröer, was red jacket faced dark blue and grey trousers.

Field Jaeger Corps

Field Jaeger Corps was raised in 1813 of two and later 4 companies. Later under Colonel Friedrich, Count von Kielmansegge, it became known as the Kielmansegge Jaegers. It served with Count von Walmoden-Gimborn's Corps in 1813/14 in the campaign against Hamburg [April and May], in Mecklenburg [June to November and saw action at the battle of the Gohrde [16 September1813], in Holstein [December-January 1814], Blockade of Harburg [January-March], campaign in the Netherlands [March-April]. In 1814 it became the Field Battalion of the Gottingen Regiment. It was disbanded in September 1814 at Hameln. In April 1815, it was reformed as two companies under Major August von Sporken. At Waterloo, it was in the 1st Hanoverian Brigade.

In the reorganization of the Hanoverian Army in 1816, it remained the Field Jaeger Corps.

Its uniform, according to Hofschröer, was green jacket, grey trousers and a field cap similar to the Prussian type.

Harzer Schutzen Corps

Harzer Schutzen Corps was raised in 1813 and became the Light Field Battalion Grubenhagen. A new corps of two companies was raised in April 1815 under Major Claus von der Decken. It was in the Hanoverian Reserve Corps in 1815 until assigned to the 1st Hanoverian Brigade of the Field Army in July. It was not retained in the reorganized Hanoverian Army of 1816.

I have no details of its uniform, but, guess that it probably followed the Jaeger Corps.

 

Bibliography

Gurwood, J. (ed). General Orders, Portugal, Spain and France, 1810-1815 1834-39.

Gurwood, J. (ed). The Despatches of the Duke of Wellington1834-39.

Haythornthwaite, Philip. Uniforms of Waterloo London : Blandford;1979.

Hofschröer, Peter. The Hanoverian Army of the Napoleonic Wars London : Osprey; 1989.

Pivka, Otto von The King's German Legion London : Osprey; 1974.

Poten, B. von. Die Generale der Königlich Hannoverschen Armee Militar-Wochenblatt; 1903.

Siborne, H.T. The Waterloo Letters London : Arms & Armour Press; 1983.

Sichart, L. von and A. and R. von Sichart. Geschichte der Königlich-Hannoverschen Armee Hannover; 1898.

2nd Duke of Wellington (ed). Supplementary Despatches & Memoranda of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington 1858-1872.

Niedersächsische Hauptstaatsarchiv, Hannover.

Bomann-Museum, Celle

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Placed on the Napoleon Series: May 2000

 

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