General Officer in Command

I’ve finished painting the command figures for my Seven Years War Project – Last Bridge at Hoya. In the game Muskets and Shakos, and every other horse and musket game, there are figures used to represent the commander-in-chief or general officer in command of the army and figures to represent brigade commanders. In larger scale games you could also have command figures for wings, divisions and lines. It sometimes makes you think there were more generals than there were soldiers, but most of these commands were created on an ad hoc basis, particularly brigade commanders. It was common when battalions were formed into brigades for the senior officer among the battalions to serve as the brigadier. Unlike later wars where the brigadier would always be a general, during this time the brigadier could be a colonel or lieutenant-colonel. This was especially true of smaller engagements.

I’m using 10mm figures from Pendraken for my project and I’ve chosen to use three figures for the General Officer in Command stands and to use two figures for the Brigade Command stands.

Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Brunswick

The General Officer in Command of the allied forces was the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. He was young, dashing, inspirational and very competent commander, especially in the numerous smaller engagements known as the “kleinkrieg” or “little war.”

Here is the allied force I have completed to date. Each stand represents a company. In the back from left to right are the 2nd Battalion of the Brunswick Leib-Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the Brunswick Leib-Regiment, the Hanover Regiment von Haus and the Hanover Regiment von Oberg all battalions are complete with their battalion guns. In the middle are the Brigade Commander and two companies of converged grenadiers from the two Hanover regiments. The Hanover army formed grenadier units on an ad hoc basis right before a battle. The reason there are no Brunswick grenadiers is that the Brunswick army followed the Prussian convention of permanently forming converged grenadier battalions. And finally in the very front is the General Officer in Command.

I have not been able to find out who served as the Brigade Commander at the battle. The initial plan was for all of the infantry except for the von Oberg Regiment to cross the Weser river and attack Hoya from the flank behind the bridge. The von Oberg Regiment and the cavalry detachment were to feint an attack on the French entrenchments in front of the bridge. However, bad weather resulted in only the von Haus Regiment and half of the 2nd battalion of the Leib-Regiment being able to cross the river with the Hereditary Prince. So, who commanded the force in front of the bridge? Under the original plan it probably would have been the commander of the von Oberg Regiment, but with the bulk of the Brunswickers now in front of the bridge, the force was probably command by Colonel Christoph Heinrich von Harling who commanded the Leib-Regeiment. This is a guess on my part. Maybe some day I’ll find a better account of the engagement.

There were regulations for the uniforms French generals were supposed to wear. Many of them ignored the regulations. Some wore civilian clothing and some wore the colors of the regiment they had commanded before becoming a general. Below is a portrait from the era with the regulation uniform.

The Comte Charles Louis de Chabo, a marshal of France, had taken command of the area only two days before the battle. His orders were the same as the other French commanders – take position behind the swollen Weser River and delay the allied advance by destroying bridges and boats. I’ve found very little about the Comte de Chabo, in one source he was rated as a somewhat average commander, a bit cautious and hesitant.

And here is the French force I’ve painted so far. Starting in the back, from left to right, the 2nd Battalion of the Gardes Lorraines, the 1st Battalion of the Gardes Lorraines, Piquet Companies from the 2nd Battalion, Bretagne Regiment, the 2 Grenadier Companies of the Bretagne Regiment, the Brigade Command, the 2 Grenadier Companies of the Gardes Lorraines and the General Officer in Command. The Gardes Lorraines have their battalion guns. The 4 Grenadier Companies would be converged into a single unit at the beginning of the battle.

As with the Allied army, I fond no information as to who served as the Brigade Command during the battle. The Comte de Chabo had to split off a force to address the Hereditary Prince who was attacking from the flank and could soon be in position behind the French forces. So, my guess narrows down to the commander of the Gardes Lorraines, the Chevalier de Beauvau-Craon.

With the command stands out of the way, it is time to turn my attention to painting the cavalry. Some of you Warhammer, Kings of War, or Warhammer 40K players out there may be wondering why the allied force is larger than the French force. If you were playing a points based game, you’d be saying the forces aren’t balanced. Well, you have to take into consideration the French have a defensive position with entrenchments and an unfordable river anchoring a flank and their rear with only a single bridge over the river. As a general rule of thumb, a force attacking a defensive position where the defenders are dug in needs to be two to three times larger than the defenders.

As you can tell, I haven’t quite figured out how to paint and photograph 10mm figures. I think I’m getting better. Anyway, your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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