Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics



The Organization of the King's German Artillery 1814 - 1815

By Michael A. Taenzer
Captain of Engineers, KGL

KGA Horse Artillery

Gunner, KGA Horse Atillery

The King's German Legion was among the best units in the British army of the Napoleonic Wars. Although mostly two incidents involving the Heavy Dragoons, breaking up a French square at Garcia Hernandez, and the Light Infantry, defending La Haye Sainte at the battle of Waterloo, immediately spring to mind; the achievements of the Legion's artillery should not be forgotten. Its service on many battlefields of the Peninsula from the Lines of Torres Vedras to Bayonne, during the expedition to the Baltic Sea, in the Mediterranean and at Waterloo speaks for itself. This is a summary of its organization immediately before, during and after the battle of Waterloo.

According to Schwertfeger (vol. 1, p. 549f.), who cites Lieutenant Colonel Hartmann's Biography (Hartman was the overall commander of both the KGL Artillery and the Hannoverian artillery) and Reitzenstein, at the end of 1814 of the artillery were:

Lieutenant Colonel Georg Julius Hartmann together with Lieutenant Colonel F. Heinrich Brückmann and the adjutants in Brussels.

The 1st Horse Battery (Major Augustus Sympher) near Brussels.

The 2nd Horse Battery (Major Heinrich Jakob Kuhlmann) near Tournay.

The 1st and 2nd Foot Company (Captain Karl von Rettberg, Lieutenants Fredrich von Brandis and Wilhelm Rummel) near Lisbon - arriving at the army in the Netherlands in February 1815.

The 3rd Foot Company (Captain Bernhard Busmann) in Sicily, Ponza and near Genoa.

The 4th Foot Company (Captain Andreas Cleeves) with parts of the 1st and 2nd Foot Companies in Zellick near Brussels.

The staff of the Artillery Regiment, together with the incomplete 5th and 6th companies, was in Hannover. From there officers, NCOs and men were transferred to the new Hannoverian formations.

By the end of May 1815 Schwertfeger (vol. 1, p. 562ff.) gives the following information:

The 2nd Horse Battery (Major Heinrich Jakob Kuhlmann) with I Corps, 1 Division - at Leuze.

The 4th Foot Battery (Captain Andreas Cleeves) with I Corps, 3 Division - at Bausse.

The 1st Horse Battery (Major Augustus Sympher) with II Corps, 2 Division - at Meslin l'Eveque near Ath.

The Hannoverian Foot Battery (Captain Karl von Rettberg) with II Corps, 4 Division.

The Hannoverian Foot Battery (Captain Wilhelm Braun) with Reserve Corps, 5 Division.

Two British Batteries (Lieutenant Colonel Brueckmann) with Reserve Corps, 6 Division.

Colonel G.A. Wood, Royal Horse Artillery (in Schwertfeger, vol. 2, p. 297f.) reports on the 17 March 1815 from Brussels:

Staff: 2 field officers, 1 surgeon, 1 sergeant, 1 veterinary surgeon;

1st Horse Battery (Major Heinrich Jakob Kuhlmann): 2 captains, 1 subaltern, 1 surgeon, 4 sergeants, 3 corporals, 6 bombardiers, 66 gunners, 51 drivers, 5 craftsmen, 1 bugler, 168 horses with 5 six-pounder cannon, one 5 ý inch howitzer.

The 2nd Horse Battery (Major Augustus Sympher): 1 captain, 3 subalterns, 1 surgeon, 4 sergeants, 3 corporals, 6 bombardiers, 72 gunners, 58 drivers, 6 craftsmen, 164 horses with with 5 six-pounder cannon, one 5 ý inch howitzer.

Gunner, KGA Foot Battery

Gunner, KGA Foot Artillery

Foot Battery (Captain Andreas Cleeves): 1 captain, 4 subalterns, 1 surgeon, 4 sergeants, 3 corporals, 5 bombardiers, 65 gunners, 2 buglers - train: 3 sergeants, 5 corporals, 98 drivers, 15 craftsmen, 124 horses with 5 six-pounder cannon, one 5 ý inch howitzer.

Company Gesenius (probably Captain Georg Gesenius, half pay from 1 May 1815): 1 captain, 3 subalterns, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 3 bombardiers, 42 gunners, 1 bugler, 4 drivers, 1 craftsman.

Company v. Arentsschildt: 1 subaltern, 3 sergeants, 4 corporals, 2 bombardiers, 60 gunners, 2 buglers - train: 1 corporal, 4 drivers, 1 craftsman.

Detachment of 6th Company: 1 captain, 1 subaltern, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, 8 gunners.

According to a report from Lieutenant Colonel Hartmann of 30 April 1815 (in Schwertfeger, vol. 2, p.307) the following personnel from the Legion artillery served with Hannoverian units:

Battery Jasper (probably Captain Ludwig Jasper): 1 captain, 1 corporal, 1 bombardier.

Battery Braun (probably Captain Wilhelm Braun): 1 captain, 3 lieutenants, 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, 3 bombardiers, 9 gunners, 2 craftsmen, 4 drivers.

Battery Lieutenant Meyer (probably Lieutenant Georg Meyer): 3 lieutenants, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, 4 bombardiers, 9 gunners, 3 drivers.

A return for the KGL on 16, 17 and 18 June 1815 found in Beamish (vol. 2, foldout) lists:

Officer, KGA Foot Battery

Officer, KGA Foot Battery

Staff: Brevet Lieutenant Colonel (Major) Sir Georg Julius Hartmann.

1st Horse Artillery: Brevet Major (Captain) Augustus Sympher.

2nd Horse Artillery: Brevet Major (Captain) Heinrich Jakob Kuhlmann.

1st Foot Company: 2nd Captain Friedrich Erythropel.

2nd Foot Company (with detachments from the 4th, 5th and 6th): Captains Andreas Cleeves and Karl von Rettberg.

Captain (Brevet Major) Victor von Arentsschildt served with the Portuguese army since 1809, Captain Wilhelm Braun also served with the Portuguese from 1810 - 12.

The losses of the King's German Artillery at Quatre Bras and Waterloo out of 543 men (without officers) were (Schwertfeger, vol. 1, p. 630 and vol. 2, p. 155):

Killed: 1 Lieutenant (Karl Detlev von Schulzen), 2 Sergeants, 26 men, 49 horses.

Wounded: 3 Captains (Augustus Sympher, Wilhelm Braun, Friedrich Erythropel), 3 Lieutenants (Wilhelm von Goeben, Heinrich Hartmann, Ludwig Heise), 1 Sergeant, 49 men.

Missing: 4 men.

For their conduct at the battle Majors Kuhlman, Sympher and v. Arentsschildt were made knights of the Order of the Bath.

During the march on Paris after the battle of Waterloo, the 4th Foot Battery of the KGA was involved in the storming of Péronne. On 6 February 1816, following the 1st Hussars of the KGL, the two Horse Batteries, the 9-pounder Foot Battery with the 1st, 2nd and 4th companies of the King's German Artillery and one of the Hannoverian Batteries under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Hartmann, entered Hannover city through the Steintor - cheered by the inhabitants. Later that year the 1st Horse Battery together with the 1st - 5th Foot Batteries formed the 1st Battalion of the Royal Hannoverian Artillery (Hannover). The 2nd Horse Battery formed the nucleus of the 2nd Hannoverian Battalion. The 6th Foot Battery was disbanded with the men distributed among the 1st Hannoverian Battalion.

Bibliography

Beamish, Ludlow N.: History of the King's German Legion (London 1832 - 37), 2 vols.

Schwertfeger, Bernhard: Geschichte der Königlich Deutschen Legion 1803 - 1816 (Hannover and Leipzig 1907), 2 vols.

von Hartmann, Sir Georg Julius: Der Königlich Hannoversche General Sir Julius v. Hartmann (2nd edition Berlin 1901)

von Reitzenstein, J. Frhr.: Das Geschützwesen und die Artillerie in den Landen Braunschweig und Hannover von der ersten Anwendung eines Pulvergeschützes 1365 bis auf die Gegenwart (Leipzig 1896, 1897, 1900), 3 vols.

v. Sichart: Geschichte der Königlich Hannoverschen Armee (Hannover and Leipzig 1866- 1898), 5 vols 

 

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