American War of Independence

15mm Hessians
One of the most appealing aspects of gaming the American War of Independence is the sheer variety of uniform colours and troop types.  In
my opinion the nicest of all are the German mercenaries which fought for the Crown.  These soldiers came from the principality of
Hesse-Kassel, Duchy of Brunswick, Anspach-Bayreuth, Anhalt-Zerbst, Waldeck and Hesse-Hanau.  Collectively these were all referred to as

Peter Pig have a comprehensive range of Jagers, Grenadiers, Musketeers, Fusiliers, and artillery crews.

My Hessians are all true Hessian-Kassel soldiers.  Originally the plan was to have half a dozen units in total.  However, I fell in love with the
sculpts and decided to collect the entire Hesse-Kassel field army, with the exception of the garrison regiments.  The characterful sculpts were
so nice I just couldn't help myself. :-)

The best source for the Hessians on the internet is the
von Donop re-enactment group.  The site has several contemporary prints of Hessian
soldiers uniforms upon their return in 1783-84 and proved invaluable when I was painting my figures.  Well worth a look.  

I must admit of all the figures I've painted so far for the American War of Independence the Hessians are by far my favourites.

All of my units use 20 figures (c500 men) as the default size.   Please scroll down to the bottom for my newer completed units

von Block (von Lengercke in 1777) Grenadier Btn

Consisting of the Grenadier companies of the Prinz Carl, von Donop, von Trumbach and
Wutginau Infanterie Regiments.

Hessian Grenadiers wore distinctive metal fronted caps in the same coloured metal as their button

von Linsing Grenadier Btn

This was constituted from companies from the 2nd and 3rd Guards,
Leib and von Mirbach Infanterie Regiments

von Minnigerode (von Lowenstein 1780) Grenadier Btn

This unit was formed from the Grenadier companies from the Fusilier regiments Erbprinz,
von Dittfurth, von Lossberg and von Knyphausen.

Peter Pig don't make Hessian Generals yet so these next vignettes are all made up of figures from
existing 'Generals' packs.  I will replace them once the necessary figures are released so these
represent a stop gap to allow me to field shiny new toys.

Hessian C-in-C

I included a couple of British liaison Officers on this base along with a Jager and a Company
standard bearer and Officer from Prinz Carl Infanterie Regiment.  
It is loosely modelled on von Knyphausen

Infantry Brigade Commanders

Grenadier Brigade Commander

The Hessian Grenadier Battalions were usually Brigaded together.  
I decided to model a Grenadier Commander, based loosely on von Donop.

The sapper with the axe is a head swap from a British Sapper.

Below is the Brigade in all its glory, accompanied by Jagers

Hessian Jagers

This corps was a true elite and one of the best, if not the best, units to fight in the colonies.

The Officer I modelled on Capt Ewald complete with eye patch.  
An idea shamelessly pinched from Giles Allison's
'Tarleton's Quarter' site.

Leib (Du Corps) Infanterie Regiment

The Leib regiment (also called Du Corps) was the senior Hessian Infanterie Regiment.

Hessian Infantry and Fusilier regiments carried five flags;
one for each company, and a regimental flag.  

One of the dilemmas is how many flags do you give a wargames unit of Hessians?

Obviously it depends on how many figures there are in your units.
Some people prefer two flags as the company flags were a slightly differing design to the
regimental flag.

In the end I decided that I preferred only one.

How ever many you decide to use, Hessian flags are undeniably lovely and add further colour to
what are often colourful units anyhow.

von Donop Infanterie Regt

Straw facings.  I chose to do them in Vallejo Iraqui Sand.

von Mirbach (Jung von Lossberg 1780) Infanterie Regiment

Red edged with white facings

Prinz Carl Infanterie Regiment

Red edged with yellow facings.

Below is a small Brigade of Infantry with Jagers

von Lossberg (Alt von Lossberg 1780) Fusilier Regiment

Hessian Fusiliers also wore caps with metal fronts.  These were smaller to the design of the
Grenadier caps.

Fusilier regiments actually ranked below the Infanterie Regiments in seniority.  

The von Lossberg Regiment had orange facings.  I gave them red turnbacks but some sources
have orange turnbacks.

von Knyphausen Fusilier Regiment

Black facings.

These two regiments were famously captured at Trenton losing their colours.

Erbprinz Fusilier Regiment (1776-1780)

One of my favourite regiments so far, with dark pink facings.

Later in the war the regiment was elevated to the status of an Infanterie Regiment with the facings
changed to crimson, and the adoption of the cocked hat to replace their fusilier caps.

von Rall (von Woellwarth 1777, von Trumbach 1778 & D'Angelleli 1780)
Grenadier Regiment

This was the only Hessian Grenadier Regiment per se to fight in the colonies.
The other Grenadier Battalions were composite units with companies being drawn from Infanterie,
Fusilier and Garrison regiments respectively.

As such it was the only Hesse-Kassel Grenadier unit which carried flags, five as per with the
Infantry and Fusilier regiments.  However, it managed to lose them all when the regiment suffered
the dubious fate of being captured at Trenton.

The regiment was reconstituted in 1778 and fought in the Savannah and Charlestown expeditions.

Hessian Artillery

These are the new Peter Pig releases and in my opinion the nicest crews in the entire range.  
I particularly like the chap  covering his ears and have a vignette in the pipeline featuring him as a
surrendering Hessian.

Hessian artillery seem to have used lighter pieces than Royal Artillery batteries.
These 2" square based batteries count consisting of four pieces.  

To represent two-gun sections of artillery or 'Battalion Guns' we use 1" square bases as shown

von Dittfurth Fusilier Regiment

This is my fourth and last Fusilier Regiment.  It has yellow facings, though some sources mention
white edged yellow facings early in the war.

von Trumbach (von Bose 1780) Infanterie Regiment

Later in the war this regiment, then known as the von Bose Infanterie Regiment, campaigned in
the south with Cornwallis being captured at the surrender at Yorktown.  
The regiment sported white facings.

Wutginau (Landgraf 1776) Infanterie Regiment

This is my sixth Hessian Infanterie Regiment, and infact the last full unit of Hessians I shall paint.


Since I painted my original Jagers Peter Pig released a new Jager Command pack.  
Of course having no self control I had to have some.

My Jagers now total 24 figures (600 men)

Hessian Skirmishers

These were a few spare figures knocking about that I decided might be useful as skirmish figures

New Hessian Generals

Well its been a long time since I painted any AWI Hessians but those nice people at Peter Pig at
last have released a pack of Mounted Hessian Commanders.  

I'm sure its just to shut me up as I've been pleading with them for a couple of years.

I ordered several packs and spent the evening re-doing my old Hessian Brigade commanders.

The pack consists of three poses; a chap with his had raised, another pointing and, my favourite,
a chap leaning forward in the saddle.

Lovely characterful sculpts as you'd expect from Martin Goddard

The chap below is my seldom used Hessian C-in-C with a British liaison officer.

I decided too to change the command stand of my Grenadier Regiment Rall to incorporate a
mounted commander reminiscent of
Johann Rall killed at the Battle of Trenton

Peter Pig also released a pack of Hessian Casualties.  
The pack consists of a Musketeer standing clutching his chest and two Grenadiers,
one lying and one kneeling.

I took the opportunity to add a few to my units to add more storytelling

Below is my Hessian Grenadier Brigade incorporating the new casualty figures...

...and the Leib (Du Corps) and von Donop Infanterie Regiments

I've also recently changed my Hessian flags to the style available

I'm now considering replacing all the regiment in 'fighting' poses with marching ones, as I've done
with my Continentals, but I'm not going to get a chance to do that until next year.

Hessian Amusettes

Recently to celebrate finishing another commission I allowed myself the luxury of scratchbuilding
something for my own collection.

I've long admired the
Perry's Hessian Amusettes as featured on Giles Allison's excellent
Tarleton's Quarter blog so I determined to make my own.

Essentially an Amusette was a large calibre, longer ranged musket usually mounted on a tripod,
or in this case with a wheeled mantlet as protection for the firer.  

There are references to them actually seeing action during the war.

I found some spare wheels in my bits box and made the mantlets out of card making sure to score
a wood planking effect on them, and cut a small firing slit.

For the crews I used existing Peter Pig Hessian Jagers.  
Choosing a kneeling figure I filed away the rifle slings and the flattened the end of the muzzle.

I then glued on an extra length of muzzle made from the stave of a spare standard bearer.  
This is almost the correct circumference and when fully dried you can smooth away the join with
a gentle rub with an emery board.

I was quite pleased how they turned out.  

They will certainly look nice on the tabletop but I can't see them becoming battle winning exactly.  
However, its not about the winning, its the taking part that matters.

Hessian Casualty Markers

Above are a selection of my Hessian casualty markers.  

These are useful as my AWI figures are mounted in fours with a base being removed once four
casualties have been received by the unit.

The triangular base (an idea nicked from British Grenadier) allows you to indicate when 1-3
casualties have been suffered.

The triangular side in contact with the unit shows how many figures have been lost thus far.  You
simply turn the casualty base as further casualties are received.  Fortunately, Peter Pig makes all
manner of useful figures for this purpose in their figure range.

I now routinely make a casualty marker for each new unit which is added to my collection.  

The numbers are just small pieces of black card marked with white marker pen.

Simple, effective and less obtrusive visually than a casualty die.

You can read battle our gaming group's AWI game reports here,
and view my collection of
British and Rebels.