Thursday, 28 January 2010

Von Linsing's Grenadier Battalion

Von Linsing's grenadier battalion was one of three brigaded under Colonel Karl von Donop. The brigade was present at Long Island, White Plans, Brandywine, Germantown, Fort Mercer/Redbank, Monmouth and Charleston. When Von Donop was mortally wounded at the battle of Fort Mercer command of the brigade passed to Colonel Kospoth. The battalion recorded the highest number of casualties of all the Hessian units - 169 killed and wounded.

The assault on Fort Mercer in October 1777 (sometimes referred to as the battle of Red Bank) was a disaster for the Hessian corps. With their reputation badly damaged by Trenton, the Hessian commanders were keen to redeem themselves and show that their troops (and themselves) could make a positive contribution to the fighting. Von Donop in particular smarted from the Hessian surrender at Trenton as the troops stationed there formed part of his command. Fort Mercer was sited on the New Jersey side of the Delaware and it's destruction (together with other forts along the river) was essential to keep the Delaware open for the supply of the British army in Philadelphia. Von Donop volunteered to make the attack. The disaster that followed seems to have flowed from a mix of (1) bad intelligence, which mistakenly suggested that the fort was incomplete, (2) confusion as to the Hessians' orders, with von Donop thinking he had to assault the position at all costs and Howe assuming that the attack would cease if the defences were found to be too strong, and (3) canny fortification work by the Americans under the direction of French engineers. The assault came under heavy fire from both the defenders of the fort and ships moored in the Delaware and collapsed. Von Donop suffered a shattered hip and died 3 days later. Despite its failure, the battle illustrated the exceptional courage that the best Hessian troops could show, with both American and British soldiers remarking on the courage displayed in the attack, particularly by the officers.

I was surprised to see that I haven't painted any Hessians since September 2008, but I'm now trying to plug some of the gaps and the von Mirbach musketeers are close to being finished. Von Linsing's regiment comprised the grenadier companies from the 2nd and 3rd Guard Regiments, the Leib Regiment and von Mirbach Regiment. For my 18-figure recreation, I just painted 3 regiments' worth - the 2nd Grenadiers on the left, von Mirbach in the middle and Leib on the right. I'm not sure why I chose von Mirbach for the command stand, given that I'm painting the rest of the regiment now, and I should also point out a couple of mistakes: the officers should have silver lace on the facings and hat, not white and gold respectively and the drum rims should be white over red, not the other way around. Silly me. On the Von site, the Guard Regiments' uniforms look as if they have tassles on the button-hole lace. I tried to give a suggestion of this by adding white lace on the buttons in between the coat facings and turnbacks, but I saw no need to paint anything more elaborate than that.

For the published "British Grenadier" scenarios you need 18 figures for Long Island and Monmouth and 20 figures for Brandywine. I decided to go with 18, on the basis that I can always pretend it has 20 figures if I find myself doing Brandywine again. I'm still some way away from being able to field a full Hessian grenadier brigade (as far as I'm aware, only the great Eclaireur himself is able to do that), but I'm inching closer...I've been a bit slow at posting the past few days. More Carlists on Sunday and more AWI next week.

18 figures. Painted December 2009.


jmezz382 said...

Excellent work .....

Andrew said...

Good looking troops. I appreciate your unit history too!

I always like the striped-trousers-wearing Hessians. Of course, they are a pain to paint.

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Nice work Giles and interesting background story.


Sire Godefroy said...

Nice job!
You got to love these charging grenadiers, they are a splendid representation of my compatriots' valour. ;-) The Von Linsing grenadiers captured my interest immediately when I saw them portrayed in Osprey's "Philadelphia" volume.

Unfortunately, from last year's experience I've bound myself to build units of regulars first before painting more elite regiments.

However, it's good to hear that Mirbach will be your next unit since (as you might remember) it's on my list, too. Need only a bit of inspiration.


Frostydog said...

excellent work I have a couple of battalions of "Frontrank" grenadiers primed and ready to go. You may have inspired me to start tham sooner rather than later.