Sunday, 10 June 2007

Rall Grenadier Regiment

Rall's Grenadier Regiment was not formed out of the grenadier companies of other regiments, but rather was a unit in which all the men were designated grenadiers and were uniformed as such. The regiment's primary claim to fame is that it was part of the brigade defeated (and captured) by Washington at Trenton on 26 December 1776. The brigade at Trenton was commanded by Colonel Johann Rall himself, who was too junior an officer to hold the position but had been given it since most other Hessian candidates were either ill or recovering from wounds. Rall was an able officer who was considered to be an inspiring and courageous leader on the battlefield. However, his reputation never recovered from the disaster of Trenton, even though many contemporaries felt that the harsh criticism meted out to Rall was far from justified (Captain Ewald of the Hessian jaegers wrote that many of those who criticised Rall after his death were not fit to have carried his sword). That said, Rall and his subordinates clearly failed to guard and fortify Trenton properly and Rall's failure reflected badly on the Hessian corps generally, which from 1778 onwards was largely confined to garrison duty.

Rall's Regiment had distinguished itself at the battles of White Plains and Fort Washington. Most of the regiment passed into captivity at Trenton and Rall himself died of his wounds the evening after the battle. Washington took 919 prisoners (20 Hessians were killed) at a cost of only 4 Americans killed and 8 wounded. Part of the Hessians' difficulty at Trenton was that their muskets would not fire in the cold, snowy weather, but the regiments were also too rigidly drilled to be able to adapt to street fighting. Instead of breaking themselves up into groups of skimishers, the Hessians formed up in close order and tried to fight as if they were on a typical European battlefield. The regiment was reconstituted in 1778 and fought in the Savannah expedition that December, in the Charleston expedition the following year and then helped defend Savannah against the French. Rall's regiment finished the war with casualties that were considerably higher than most other Hessian units, but it had recovered some of its self-esteem and, more importantly, had been restored to the Landgraf's "gracious favour".

This is an interesting unit to model as the Hessian combined grenadier battalions did not carry flags and Rall's regiment has some quite pretty ones. Perry make specific Rall regiment figures, in grenadier mitres and with uniform coats that don't have lapels. For some reason the command pack only has one standard bearer, but luckily one of the officer figures has an open hand so he can be given the second flag.

24 figures. Painted June 2005. Flags by GMB.


Anonymous said...

Hi Giles, As I have been watching your blog on an almost daily basis since SALUTE, I felt it was time to sign up and applaud your work. Tarleton's Quarter has been very informative and given me a lot of enthusiasm for the AWI period. The Rall Grenadier Regiment looks fantastic, what blue did you use on their coats? It is an interesting point you made about Perry's only giving one standard bearer figure. I take it Hessians carried two flags but am slightly confused, as it mentions in the British Grenadier rules(which I have only just borrowed of off a friend) that Hessians only carry one(page77). Also whilst on the Hessian subject, I noticed your Rall regiment is 24x figures, based 4x to a base. Your Minnigerode's Grenadier Battalion is 24x figures based 6x to a base. Is there a reason for this or does it not matter with these rules? Any chance in the future of showing your AWI collection in mass, captured on a couple of photo's? Keep up the excellent work,

Allan (AJ) Wright said...

Very nice work Giles. I particularly like the bed ticking breeches. Your moustaches are also elegantly subtle.

Giles said...

Pat, thanks for the kind comments. I use the Foundry "Dark Blue" palette as my default blue. This is used for everything, from Hessian to Continentals to British royal blue facings. I even use it for Napoleonic French. It's probably not dark enough, but I prefer a brighter look on my figures.

I'm no authority on Hessian flags, but if the Hessians followed Prussia's example (which they did in most things military) then the regiments would have carried numerous flags, at company and battalion level. GMB sell them in packs of two, and seems to have taken their information from this site:

I'm not sure my entire collection would fit into two photos, as I have over 1,200 figures! I've finished the 4th Foot now though and I will take some photos of the division of Howe's 1777 army which that unit completes.


Stokes Schwartz said...

Hi Giles,

I agree -- great ticking breeches, and the rest of your Rall granadiers is equally impressive. Good work!

Best Regards,

Stokes Schwartz

Ken said...


I'll second (third) what the others have said. Your blog has been a great inspiration and I use it as a guide to my own AWI painting now. Thanks for your efforts (by the way, ever consider posting a painting tutorial?)